May 28 2010

Motorola May Introduce Android Tablet

Motorola may be in the process of designing a tablet that will run Google’s Android operating system, says a company executive. The executive was answering questions at a conference when the subject came up. He also revealed that Motorola is focusing heavily on Android. The potential device, according to the executive, would be about 7 to 10 inches and would be intended to supplement a user’s TV experience.

This rumor has come about at the same time as another rumor concerning Android devices made by Motorola. Motorola is allegedly working on two new high-end Droid phones that will be released sometime in July with Verizon as their carrier. There has been speculation that one of the phones has already been seen by the public in the form of a prototype found in a gym earlier this week.

Either way, this summer looks to be very interesting in terms of Android devices.

Via PC World, image via PC World.

May 25 2010

Google Buys AdMob, Threatens Apple

Apple has been trying to break into mobile advertising recently and it seemed as if it would succeed in this endeavor due to iAd, a mobile ad service the company launched last month. However, Google is not going to give up its primacy in online advertising without a fight, as evidenced by a recent acquisition, AdMob Inc. With the purchase of this company, which was just recently cleared by regulators, Google will become the largest mobile advertising company.

Google’s acquisition of AdMob could make Android more attractive to advertisers who want to reach a large audience. This in turn could facilitate Android’s growth and even allow Android to surpass Apple by 2013. Though Apple is still a lot more widespread than Android, Android is increasing at a much faster rate and this incredible increase will allow it to pass Apple in the near future.

Both Apple and Google have declined to comment about the situation.

Via Business Week, image via AdMob.

May 24 2010

Google To Steal Apple’s ‘Cult’ Status?

At Google’s developer event last week, something strange happened: the high energy present made it more like an Apple event than a Google event. Could Google be ascending in popularity and eventually achieve the cult status that Apple has held for so long?

Many people are showing support for Android, and some have suggested that this means Apple is now trying to catch up to Google. At the event, Google introduced Froyo, the updated version of Android, which got people talking. Apple needs to do something new and exciting at WWDC or it will be left behind.

The funny thing is, in this whole Apple vs. Google battle, Microsoft is left out. Apple is cool, Google is on the way to becoming cool, and Microsoft is so uncool that it’s forgotten. But if Google wants to continue being in the ascendant, it needs to deal with some major issues, such as how Android and Chrome OS will work together.

Via CNET, image via Google.

May 19 2010

Google’s Android Beats Microsoft, Challenges Apple

Google’s Android operating system was the fourth most popular during the first quarter, according to the research firm Gartner. Android was in ten percent of smartphones sold, which put it behind Nokia’s Symbian, Research in Motion, and Apple. Gartner said that Android will beat Apple as soon as there are more handset makers using it.

Even though Apple’s App Store boasts over 200,000 apps to Google’s 38,000, Android’s openness has made it become more popular with developers. Many developers are choosing to write apps for Android, not Apple. Developers typically choose a limited number of mobile platforms to write software for.

Microsoft’s mobile OS has become less and less popular on smartphones. Microsoft is trying to compete with the iPhone by having high standards for handsets that use its software. But more and more handset makers are turning to Android, which is free—Microsoft charges a licensing fee to those using its software (it is the only major company to do so).

Via Reuters, image via Reuters.

May 13 2010

Sprint Announces 4G Phone

On Wednesday, Sprint announced its highly anticipated 4G phone, the HTC Evo 4G. It will be available June 4 starting at $199.99 with a two-year contract after a mail-in rebate (unless you pre-order it at Best Buy or Radio Shack, in which case you will not have to deal with the rebate).

The phone will require an Everything Data Plan, which costs $69.99 per month, plus $10 extra for WiMax, even if you do not live in a 4G coverage area. There is no data cap associated with the plan. The phone will also be able to act as a mobile WiFi hotspot for an extra $29.99 per month.

The Evo 4G will ship with a YouTube HQ player and a video chat app that can be used with the 8 megapixel front-facing camera. It boasts a 4.3-inch touchscreen and runs Android 2.1.

Via CNET, image via CNET.

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May 3 2010

Mobile Browser Could Offer Flash Support

Browser maker Skyfire has recently released a mobile browser for Android that has pseudo-Flash support. It gives access to Flash videos by sending the content to cloud servers where the Flash is converted to HTML5 and then streamed back and is able to play on a mobile device.

Skyfire has said that it intends to make an iPhone version of the browser and submit it to the App Store. If the app is accepted, iPhone users will have Flash support for the first time ever. Apple has not allowed Flash support on its mobile devices so far and has said it does not intend to anytime soon.

Android is a lot more open to allowing Flash support, though users will have to wait for a firmware update later this year. Skyfire will help users who do not want to wait. The CEO of Skyfire has said that if Apple accepts his company’s app, then “Apple can get the best of both worlds.”

Via AfterDawn, image via Skyfire.

Apr 30 2010

Adobe To Give Employees Free Android Phones

In a move that is not surprising considering the animosity between Adobe and Apple, Adobe is planning to give away free Android-based phones to its employees, according to three sources familiar with the company. Adobe has also said that it plans to develop a version of Flash for the Android platform and show it off at the Google I/O conference.

No one is sure which phone Adobe employees will receive—there has been speculation that it will be a Nexus One or an HTC phone. The shift will not be mandatory, but it’s clear that Adobe and Google want to encourage Adobe employees to use Android and Flash Player as often as possible.

Google is known for giving away Android phones very generously. It is planning to give all Google I/O attendees a Motorola Droid or a Nexus One. Earlier this month, it gave audience members at a Google Apps event Nexus Ones.

It is also unclear whether just developers or all employees will get the free phones at Adobe.

Via CNET, image via CNET.

Apr 21 2010

Google Chromium-Based Netbooks Priced at $300-$400

According to Google Chief Eric Schmidt, netbooks running on Google’s new Chromium operating system that are expected to be on sale in retail stores by the end of this year or early next year will be priced in the $300-$400 range. “Those prices are completely determined by the costs of the glass, the costs of the processor and things like that, but in our case Chrome OS and Android are free so there is no software tax associated with all of this,” Schmidt says.

Google introduced the Chrome operating system two months ago and boasted it as a lightweight, browser-based OS that could boot up in seven seconds or less.  The company has not yet revealed who they will be partnering with to manufacture their new netbooks, but Acer has said that it expects to offer about a million of these devices this year.

Google’s trying hard to get into the netbook market and is up for a fight against its competitors, namely Windows-based devices.  Guess we’ll just have to wait to see Google’s latest creation.

Via Wired.

Apr 12 2010

Rumor: Google Is Developing an Android Tablet

The iPad may be facing more competition in coming months in the form of an Android-powered tablet made by Google. This is just a rumor and no specifics are known, but it is nevertheless intriguing.

According to an article in The New York Times, Google is currently exploring the idea of creating a tablet. The information allegedly came from Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who was heard chatting about it with friends at a party this weekend.

Knowing what we know about the Android operating system, we can surmise that a Google tablet would probably be a lot more open than Apple’s iPad. Apple is pretty strict about developing for its devices, but Google’s Android Market allows developers to submit apps without being scrutinized. Android-powered devices also allow users to download apps from unofficial third-party sources. An Android tablet would also be likely to support Flash, unlike Apple’s mobile devices.

Though speculating about a future Google tablet is fun, we must remember that, at this point, it is definitely not a certainty. All we know right now is that Google is exploring the idea.

Via PC World, image via PC World.

Mar 22 2010

The Everyman’s Android MID: The Enso zenPad

This is one of the better looking concepts for an Android tablet, but its not so much a concept as an actual selling product.  Yes, this cute little Android machine has been released at the exceptionally low price of $155.  Read that again: $155.  Seriously, their site was shut down because of the overflow of orders.  Here are the specifications:

  • 5” LED Glossy 800×480 resolution
  • Resistive touchscreen with stylus
  • Samsung  6410 533/667 MHz Processor
  • 256 MB DDR RAM
  • 1 GB on board flash w/ included 8 GB microSD
  • Android 1.6
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • GSM/EVDO support
  • 6 Hour Battery on Wi-Fi

Is it the best specced tablet in the market? Of course not, but with a 5” screen it is only competing with Dell Mini 5 (or now the Streak) and other MID/PMPs like the iPod Touch and Zune HD. There is an optional GPS for $25 and the GSM is an additional $35.  At a total of $210, it is still very competitively priced.

Via Engadget

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Mar 22 2010

EAFT Magic Tile and Compal Bring Android Wonder To Another Pair of Tablets

There are times where it really seems as if Android tablets just grow off trees.  Indian-based EAFT is providing us with yet one more of these times. The Magic Tile is another minor brand’s attempt at providing a tablet for Android to run off of.  Let’s see how the specs line up for this one:

  • NVIDIA Tegra 2
  • 7-Inch 1024 x 600 Touchscreen
  • Front mounted 1.3 MP webcam
  • Optional 3G
  • 1080p support
  • 8 hours of battery life
  • Accelerometer
  • Bluetooth
  • HDMI
  • USB

Not bad, not bad at all… until you look at the image.  Very bad.  That logo and body in general have some serious work to be done if this machine wants fit within the last decade. Still, if it’s your taste it will be coming out sometime during Q3 this year.

However, that’s not the only Android tablet news for today: Compal announced in Mumbai that it is releasing a similar tablet.  The specs include a 7-inch screen, Tegra 2, 3 MP camera, and 512 MB DDR2 RAM.  What it most notably doesn’t include is any form of Wi-Fi.  How useful is an internet tablet without Wi-Fi, anyway?

Via Engadget.

http://netbookboards.com/2010/03/12/android-rises-in-smartphone-market-blackberry-still-king/

Mar 21 2010

Neofonie’s WePad Android Slate: Less Selfish Than Apple

The great thing about having an open source operating system is that so many different manufacturers can install it on their product and users get a wide array of choices to choose from.  The not so great thing is that it might take some time before that operating system finds a champion. Well, yet another company has announced the newest fad in mobile computing: an Android tablet.  German company Neofonie has plans and the oh-so necessary renders for their WePad.

The specs are not bad:

  • 11.6” 1366×768 LCD Display
  • 1.66 GHz Intel Atom N450
  • 16 GB Flash w/ expandable SD
  • Webcam
  • 2 USB Ports
  • WLAN, Bluetooth 2.1, GSM
  • SIM Card Slot
  • 6 hour battery life
  • Flash support
  • Multitasking

Of course, the last two are snipes at their obvious competitor: the Apple iPad.  Still, Neofonie wants to bring its own legitimate elements into this field.  It will have a WePad App Store and be Google-certified with the Android Market.  It also has a “publishing ecosystem” plan to become a mainstream eReader.  Of course, as with all Android products, the most important point will be price.

Via Engadget

Mar 15 2010

Google Employee Says He Hates the iPhone

In the latest move in the escalating war between Apple and Google, Google’s latest hire has said that he hates Apple’s iPhone.

Tim Bray, a developer advocate for Android who has been recently hired at Google, said, “The iPhone vision of the mobile Internet’s future omits controversy, sex, and freedom, but includes strict limits on who can know what and who can say what.” This harsh characterization of Apple and its iPhone was expressed in a blog post.

Bray’s comment is the latest move in an escalating competition between Apple and Google—a competition so intense that it may be driving Apple and Microsoft to possibly collaborate against Google in the future.

To be fair, Bray does reserve some criticism for Google as well, saying that Google is “now too big to be purely good or in fact purely anything.” He also mentioned the fact that iPhones are selling at a rate of 90,000 units per day and Android devices are selling at a rate of 60,000 units per day, supporting the fact that the competition between the two companies is getting intense.

Via InformationWeek, image via Apple.

Mar 12 2010

Android Rises in Smartphone Market, Blackberry Still King

ComScore, a market research firm, recently reported share holdings from September to January in the smartphone industry.  The results are mostly positive for Android, which has posted significant gains, and has finally overtaken Palm. Android now holds roughly 10% of the market, while Palm continues to steadily dip.  WinMo’s prospects don’t look much better either; after capping at 20% in October, it has also begun a major plummet.

Meanwhile, the iPhone has remained strong throughout Q4 ‘09, keeping its number 2 spot.  It now commands a strong 25.1% of the market, and seems to be going up.  The possibility of an iPhone OS 4.0 could bring new converts to the House of Apple, but they will have much to do before they can eclipse the Covenant of RIM.  Blackberry stands still as the premier smartphone, at a massive 43%, and has survived despite the lack of hype or interest tech blogs have had on RIM products.

Via Ars Technica

Mar 6 2010

Sony Looks to Compete with Apple

A recent news story about Sony published in the Wall Street Journal has caused a lot of speculation about Sony’s plans for mobile devices. Though Sony is not officially confirming anything, it is thought to be developing products and services to compete with Apple.

Sony is reportedly ready to launch an online media platform called “Sony Online Services” that is intended to compete with iTunes. It is also releasing a mobile phone with the Android operating system soon. The phone is going to be called Xperia X10. Currently, Sony makes an e-reader that is a competitor to Amazon’s Kindle.

If Sony is intending to directly compete with Apple, it may want to prepare itself for potential lawsuits. Apple is currently engaged in a lawsuit against HTC for patent infringement relating to the iPhone, which many people are interpreting as an indirect against Google.

Via Digital East Asia.

Mar 4 2010

Apple Patent Case Could Affect Android Phones

Apple’s legal action against HTC, the first manufacturer to use Android in its phones, could have larger implications for other companies using Android on their phones. In the case, Apple alleges 20 patent infringements, and this case could be the first of many.

Apple hasn’t specifically named Google in the lawsuit, but many of the patents relate to operating system processes. Google has declared its support for HTC. Due to the increase in competition between Google and Apple, some analysts have speculated that Apple is attacking Google indirectly through this lawsuit. Therefore, the lawsuit could have implications for other companies later.

Apple asserts that HTC has infringed on 20 patents owned by Apple that are used in the iPhone. Apple wants an injunction that would bar HTC from selling phones that use the patents in the United States.

Via BBC News, image via BBC News.

Mar 1 2010

An Android Tablet Drama: The Haleron iLet Mini HAL

Android’s beauty as an open-source operating system is that it allows any random manufacturer to develop a product and slap Android on top of it.  This does, however, allow for some issues in terms of legitimacy of manufacturers.  Case and point: The Haleron iLet Mini HAL.

If you want a tablet with groundbreaking features or earthshaking specifications, look elsewhere.  If you want a quaint little tablet that does its job, stick around but don’t buy this.  Why? I’ll tell you in a bit.  Here come the somewhat interesting specs:

  • VIA ARM Processor 600 MHz
  • 7” TFT LCD Touch Screen w/ 800×480 Resolution
  • 128 MB RAM
  • 2 GB Flash Memory
  • Up to 32 GB SDHC
  • 16 Hour Active Battery
  • Android 1.6, Upgradable to “Windows CE 6.0”

Amazing? Far from it.  But still it’s not a bad tablet per se. And it is a pretty sweet deal given the $200 price tag and March 1st shipping date.  So why did I warn against buying this?  Quite simple. It’s a scam.

Indeed, since the news hit the internet there was some wariness in trusting this random French company named Haleron. One commenter over at Pocketables did some research and couldn’t find much to back up their image as some sort of legitimate tablet maker.  The only picture of the iLet Mini HAL is a render found at some other French forum, and they clearly stated they did not license the design to Haleron.  Other attempts to find copyright information and company registration have ended up dry.  Unless we get any reports stating otherwise, then we will have to assume it is fake.  So  stay safe, and do your research when purchasing.

Via Gizmodo.

Feb 15 2010

Linux’s Tablet Answer: Notion Ink ADAM

ADAM
The iPad has yet to hit shelves, and yet it has already become clear that a tablet war will likely consume much consumer attention in 2010.  Apple, to much applause, has announced its champion, and Windows will likely respond with an arsenal of 3rd party devices. But who will carry the open source community’s banner into the fray?  Joojoo Tablet has fallen from favor once it became clear it would run a browser-based OS, and the other Android tablets have failed to garner much attention.

Notion Ink’s ADAM appears to be standing ready to fill this hole. It’s a Linux-based tablet that already has set its eye on defeating the iPad, and the spec list does not seem to betray it in that regard:

  • 10″ Transflective LCD, Pixel Qi Screen 1024 x 600 with low power mode
  • Multitouch capacitive screen
  • Dual Core ARM Cortex A9 with NVidia Tegra 2
  • HDMI 1080p Out
  • 3 USB Ports
  • Battery life: 160 hours backlight off, 16 hours video playback
  • Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth
  • Multitasking
  • Rear trackpad
  • Adobe Flash Support
  • Camera
  • SD Card Slot

The truly revolutionary component on this tablet is its screen, which incorporates Pixel Qi technology to give a similar experience as e-Ink when the backlight is off. This gives the tablet its godly battery life,  and allows it to directly challenge the reading experience of eReaders.  It is a powerful tablet, and the device’s multitasking with Flash support is undoubtedly a response to the iPad’s inability to do either.

Still, this thing comes with some weird quirks. It is unclear what the OS shall be on this tablet, as three are listed in the spec sheet (Android, Ubuntu, Chromium). Pricing is  highly variable, $327-800, but still easily competitive with Apple.  All that remains is to see how well Notion Ink will market this and get public support behind it.  For now, it seems like Linux’s best shot to take the mainstream.

Via Gizmodo, image via Notion Ink.

Feb 5 2010

Apple Forces Developer to Edit App Description

In the latest move of the Apple-Google battle, Apple has banned an iPhone app developer from using the word “Android” in the description of his app in the App Store.

The Flash of Genius app, developed by Tim Novikof, was a finalist in Google’s Android Developer Challenge, a contest that honors innovative apps. Novikof wanted to mention this fact in his description of the app, but Apple did not take too kindly to this. The app was rejected and Apple said it was not appropriate to mention the app’s success in the Android Developer Challenge.

Apple has caused controversy in the past for rejecting apps, including the Google Voice app and Google Latitude app. And this week, Apple raised some eyebrows by revealing a new policy that says developers are not allowed to make apps that use location data solely for location-based ads. Apple’s policies regarding the App Store have caused quite a bit of consternation amongst analysts.

Via PC World, image via PC World.

Jan 6 2010

Google’s Phone Is Revealed: Don’t Underestimate The Nexus One

The latest innovation from Google has arrived. It is the Nexus One smartphone, and analysts are already speculating that its introduction may be as revolutionary as the iPhone’s introduction in June 2007. The official website for the phone is up, though I’m not really impressed by it at the moment – the site does not integrate well with Firefox, at least at the time of this writing.

The most astounding and important feature of the Nexus One is its voice capabilities. A user can speak a search term, such as the name of a restaurant, and Nexus One will use GPS to find the nearest location and then give spoken directions on how to get there. The Nexus One is to speech what the iPhone is to touch.

The Nexus One could offer substantial competition to Apple’s iPhone. A recent survey said that the number of people planning to buy an Android smartphone in the next three months has risen to 21 percent from 6 percent. By contrast, the number of people planning to buy an iPhone dropped from 32 percent to 28 percent. Google is also not emphasizing apps as much as Apple does, preferring to rely on cloud services, which could appeal to some users. But only time will tell if apps or cloud services are preferred by the majority of smartphone owners.

Steve Jobs had better watch out. As amazing as the iPhone is, Nexus One has some very appealing features, especially its voice-to-text capabilities. It would not surprise me at all if Apple made some drastic improvements to their next iPhone in response.

Via Betanews, image via Google.

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