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 27 2010

Marvell To Create $100 Tablet

Marvell Technologies has announced today that it will partner with the One Laptop Per Child foundation to create a $100 tablet, named the XO-3. The foundation achieved great success with the XO-1 laptop computer for children in developing countries.

More details about the XO-3 have emerged. It will have a power rating of 1 watt per hour, a multilingual, multitouch screen keyboard, WiFi, high quality video, and Flash 10 Internet. It will be based on an ARM processor, most likely the Marvell Armada 610, and run Google’s Android OS.

According to OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte, the XO-3 will eventually have an adaptable screen to allow for viewing in either sunlight or inside. The tablet will allegedly be 10.8 millimeters thick, which rivals the iPad.

The tablet is planned to be shown at the Consumer Electronics Show in January of 2011.

Via CNET, image via OLPC.

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 23 2010

AT&T Raises Termination Fee

AT&T has announced that it is raising its early termination fee (ETF) for smartphones from $175 to $325 starting June 1. Customers who were considering breaking their contracts with AT&T have just one week to decide before leaving AT&T early gets way more expensive.

The hike in this fee has fueled rumors concerning the iPhone’s AT&T exclusivity. Though AT&T insists that the price increase is unrelated, one cannot help but wonder: is Verizon perhaps going to be carrying the iPhone in the near future?

Those who choose to leave AT&T now face an uncertain future because there really is no guarantee that Apple and AT&T are going to let other carriers, such as Verizon, provide service for the iPhone. Even if Verizon does begin to offer iPhone service, it will not be until late June or early July, which means customers hoping to switch would have to go about a month without a phone, which is almost unthinkable in our society. If Verizon does not end up carrying the iPhone, customers will be forced to choose other Verizon phones—luckily, the company does have some great choices out there (my personal favorite right now is the HTC Incredible).

Via PC World, image via PC World.

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 14 2010

First Chrome OS Device to be an Acer Netbook

In a couple weeks — two to be exact — Taiwanese computer manufacturer Acer is rumored to be launching netbooks (and possibly other tech devices) that run on the Google Chrome OS.  The official display will take place at the Computex Taipei Show that will be held from June 1 to June 5.

It’s still uncertain what other devices the Google Chrome OS will be featured in, but Google has mentioned that smartbooks and tablets running ARM processors would be likely vehicles.  There has recently been rumors that Samsung is developing ARM-based smartbooks running Chrome.

Using an OS other than Google Android for netbooks is a good idea.  The Android OS is better suited for tablets and cell phones.  Google originally planned to release the Chrome operating system during the second half of 2010.  The rumored Acer Chrome OS-based netbook is expected to launch in June, so that’s just perfect.

Via VentureBeat and CoolTechZone.

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

HP Nixes Slate

HP has decided to nix its Slate tablet before even releasing it, according to reports today. HP’s reason for killing off its iPad competitor? Windows 7 does not measure up as a tablet operating system. HP will probably be searching for a new operating system, such as Google’s Android OS, or it could be planning to convert Palm’s webOS to work on tablets. Adapting webOS for tablets would make sense in light of HP’s recent acquisition of Palm.

The demise of the Slate may also have to do with its battery life. Analysts have speculated that with Windows 7 and Intel’s Atom processor, it probably was not getting even close to the battery life of an iPad, which is supposed to be ten hours.

Though Windows 7 has multi-touch support, it is unlikely that it is the best solution for a tablet, even with HP’s TouchSmart software. By abandoning Windows 7, HP has the opportunity to make a better product.

Via the San Francisco Chronicle.

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 30 2010

Apple Lawsuit Did Not Impact HTC Sales

Remember that lawsuit Apple filed against HTC? Luckily for HTC, it does not seem to have harmed the company’s sales. HTC did better in the first quarter than expected and has predicted a record-breaking second quarter.

The patent lawsuit filed by Apple alleges that HTC is infringing on 20 Apple patents relating to the iPhone. After the lawsuit was filed, there were fears that customers would turn to other phone vendors because of a potential import ban on HTC’s phones.

HTC has defended itself by demonstrating its own work in the smartphone industry, as well as its own patents. Some analysts speculated that the lawsuit was an attempt by Apple to slow down the sales of Android cell phones. If this is true, Apple appears to have failed because HTC noted that its Android phones have sold particularly well during the first quarter.

Via BusinessWeek.

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 27 2010

Apple and Google CEOs Have Coffee Together

BFFs? I think not.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Google CEO Eric Schmidt were spotted earlier in the day having coffee together at a Palo Alto coffee shop.

Google and Apple, two companies that used to be friendly with each other, have grown increasingly competitive in recent months. The enmity comes from Google entering what is perceived as Apple’s traditional part of the market: smartphones (Android is a competitor to the iPhone OS), browsers (Google Chrome, anyone?) and even operating systems (Google’s Chrome OS will compete with Mac OS X).

Jobs and Schmidt continued their discussion until they saw a crowd growing. According to an observer, Jobs then said, “Let’s go discuss this somewhere more private.” The only other thing heard from the discussion was Jobs saying, “They’re going to see it all eventually so who cares how they get it.”

Gizmodo reported about the meeting of the two CEOs, going as far as to hire a body language analyst (bottom line: the two men were extremely uncomfortable with each other). Though it would be easier and more accurate to analyze their body language from a video rather than from just photos, the analyst concluded that Schmidt is afraid of Jobs. Such fear is perhaps inspired by Apple’s recent lawsuit against HTC.

Via Examiner, image via Gizmodo.

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

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