1.1 Android update available

Google has issued an update for the unlocked version of the Android phone. The version is specifically made for developers. Several bug fixes for issues that involve the alarm clock, device sleep, POP3 (Post Office Protocol version 3) email, and email notification are among the updates. Added to this includes the ability to save MMS attachments and voice search. As for matters of accessibility to applications, Google will only block those applications, regardless of whether they are free or paid, that use Google's copy protection. Different from the consumer version which allows users to copy applications which are sold exclusively through T-Mobile's Network. With this however, Google is blocking access to all copy protected applications, even for copy protected applications on the open device. Dan Morrill, Developer Advocate for Android says "many developers are concerned about the unauthorized redistribution of their applications, developer phones like the ADP1 allow for unrestricted access to the device's contents, making it impossible to enforce copy protection. If you choose to add copy protection when you upload your application to the Android Market, then you won't be able to test it on the ADP1's Android market client." [via CNET]

Android to outstrip iPhones by 2012

Industry watchers predict the lead iPhone has over the competition may be short lived. Informa Telecoms & Media have predicted in a new report that Android smartphone sales will outstrip iPhones by 2012. Overseas last month, Telefonica Europe said that sales of the iPhone topped 1 million in the U.K. Although T-Mobile UK, the exclusive carrier of the first Android device, the G1, would not say exactly how many of the devices had been sold, it did say the handset now accounts for 20% of its contract sales. London-based Informa believes Symbian's switch to open source will help the Symbian Foundation maintain its leadership over Android, Linux, and Microsoft over the next few years. Notwithstanding, according to Informa, both Android and OS X are eating into the market share of the best-selling smartphone OS maker, Symbian. Last year, just under half of smartphones sold were based on Symbian, a drop of 16% points from the year before when it had 65% market share. BlackBerry OS, Linux, and Windows Mobile are also gaining popularity and eating some of Symbian's share. Overall, Informa suggests smartphone sales will be immune to the global economic downturn, maintaining a prediction of "robust growth" of 35.3% year over year. The direction of phone technology will be very interesting to watch. I am at a loss to think what form a phone will take by 2010, let alone 2012! Who will you put your money on? [via CNET]

Android Community Week In Review: Week 10 2009

Big Android news this week was HTC's recently announced Magic handset getting official release windows on Vodafone UK and Orange France. Running Google's Android, the Magic will offer 3G internet, GPS, a slimmer form [than the current G1], and an on-screen keyboard for typing. Release dates are March 15th for Orange France and sometime in April for Vodafone UK. In case you're wanting to keep closer tabs on this bleak global economic state, Google has released an official app for Android to help you do just that. Google Finance is available in the Android Market now for the very appropriate price of $0.00, but only to users in the US. The software has limited stock market support (for now), though the major US indices are covered in near-real time. More companies are looking at Android as a new and powerful mobile OS for their upcoming devices. Acer has been surrounded by talks and comments regarding the possibility of Android powering their two forthcoming handsets. No concrete answer was given when asked directly if Android was the choice, but an OS other than Windows Mobile was said to definitely be in the cards. Still needing some feature bumps since its original debut in 2006, Road's S101 HandyPC is rumored to have switched gears from a Linux distro to Android as its OS of choice. Yuhua have also followed up their design of General Mobile's DLST1 handset with the Xphone-SDK concept. While only a concept at this point, the phone is limited to EDGE connectivity. Considering Android's dependence on 'cloud' computing, this may pose a problem with potential slow-downs. Potentially ground-shaking news is Android's perceived ability to give Apple's OS X Touch (iPhone) a run for its money by 2012. Industry analysts are predicting that current economic conditions paired with Android's non-commitment to a particular carrier or handset manufacturer will give it the extra boost it needs to catch up with Apple. Also considered was the fact that Smart phones have outsold notebook PCs for the first time ever, possibly signaling more powerful mobile platforms providing the majority of functionality that people need away from their desks. While OS X Touch is somewhat limited in its ability to multitask, Android can accomplish multiple things at once. This could also draw mobile professionals with the need to get more work done while on the go.

Android OS To Trump OS X Touch?

Analysts at Informa Telecoms & Media have calculated that sales of phones powered by Google's Android OS may overtake Apple's iPhone by 2012. A large part of this equation had to do with hardware developers depending on open-sourced software as a way to save money during the manufacturing process.

Once the market-leader in smartphone OS usage, Symbian has fallen to less-than-half market share over just a few years. This is surely partially due to Nokia's poor performance, but the advancement of competing platforms also plays a role. For the first time ever, smartphones have outsold notebook computers. This may symbolize a public's need to have a more portable device on the go, and a more powerful desktop computer at home. Robust platforms like Android, Symbian, Windows Mobile, and OS X Touch will begin to emerge as the preferred way to access data while away from the home or office. With no ties to specific hardware or carrier, Google could take a huge bite out of the market with the Android platform. [via vnunet.com]

Google Patent Application Influenced G1 Design?

A patent application filed by Google was recently uncovered, showing design ideas for a device not too unfamiliar to the Android-devoted. The application, filed in August 2007, details out a device with a touch screen interface on a slider mechanism covering a full QWERTY keypad. Based on the drawings included with the patent, it would appear we've already seen realization of this dream (gah I'm so funny), but we can't help wondering what would've happened without the help of HTC. Was Google prepared to enter the hardware sector? Or were they hoping all along for a manufacturer to pick up on this patent and offer up a partnership? Based on the patent application, Google spent a considerable amount of time scheming up the G1's current slider "arc" motion. A good number of the patent's points are used to describe the precise movement that the screen on the G1 takes when it is opened or closed. This almost makes it a good idea to keep an eye on hardware patent applications from Google, possibly lending insight into what the software giant has prepared for Android next.

Maybe an Acer Android for Christmas

Acer smartphone boss Aymer De Lencquesaing has escalated talks today that Acer may be developing an Android phone in 2009. Previous suggestions were made at the Mobile World Congress although now developments seem a touch more solid. Acer unveiled a number of smartphones during the Mobile World Congress. Now another two are scheduled for the forth quarter of 2009. When asked whether the new models would be using an alternative operating system to Windows Mobile De Lencquesaing said, "there is a possibility, yes." Although no concrete 'yes' or 'no' was given about whether said operating system would be Android, there are not many other choices available unless Acer is looking to jump in with the Symbian Foundation. So this is what we know: Acer are bringing out another two models in late 2009, they might not be operating with Windows Mobile, this might mean the integration of Google's OS and with this, Acer becoming part of the Android Open Handset Alliance. It is only March, looks like we are in for a wait to find out. [via Electricpig]

Road picking Android for S101 HandyPC? [Video]

Tucked away at CeBIT, Road have been showing the latest evolution of their S101 HandyPC, a clamshell smartphone with a full QWERTY keyboard and 640 x 240 internal touchscreen.  Originally intended to run a Linux OS with Trolltech Qtopia, according to the latest talk from the show the S101 HandyPC is now looking likely to launch running Android. The Road S101 HandyPC was first announced all the way back in August 2006, though thankfully the specifications have had a (mild) boost since then.  It's still not perfect, though, and hopefully Road will be making some more tweaks before its release: the wireless connectivity in particular needs some attention, with the current design maxing out at EDGE cellular data and lacking even band-g WiFi, never mind draft-n support. As for the Android implementation, while the demo unit didn't have any for of wireless connectivity active, the OS runs well and seems smooth on the letterbox-aspect touchscreen.  Depending on whether Road do tweak the final specs, and the eventual price, this could be an interesting device to watch come its eventual launch. Android on Road S101 HandyPC: [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UgoV-wpd1M[/youtube] [via SlashGear]

HTC Dream gets March 15th release on Orange France

Hot on the heals of Vodafone UK's HTC Magic announcement comes confirmation that Orange France will launch the HTC Dream on March 15th.  The Android device - which is better known as the T-Mobile G1 - will be the first to use the platform in the country, prior to the HTC Magic's launch on SFR later in the year. Although pricing for the Orange France HTC Dream has not been announced, the carrier has released a few details of its monthly price plan for the handset.  Right now we know that there four different tariffs starting from €23 per month ($29) to cover line rental, calls and messaging, with an extra charge of €36 per month ($45) if users want unlimited mobile internet access. Interestingly, Orange is not yet a member of the Open Handset Alliance, unlike Vodafone.  This could be a sign that Android's potential is being recognized outside of Google's existing group of supporters.

Google Finance for Android app released

Google have announced a new Finance for Android app that is available now in the Android Market.  Finance for Android links up with the online Google Finance website, and allows users to view real-time streaming quotes in their portfolio, access fast stock look-ups with search auto-suggestion, and call up "recent quotes" to check figures on-the-go. Each stock shows detailed quotes, charts and news, and any change you make to your portfolio automatically syncs up with the Google Finance website.  The software - which is a free download - is the work of Arun Mathew, Lead engineer, and Nick Fey, User experience designer, who coded it in their Google 20-percent time, the term given to space outside of core projects that employees at the search giant are encouraged to fill with their own projects.   It's not all perfect, however.  Currently the Finance for Android app is only available to users in the US, and there's limited market support: NASDAQ and Dow Jones shares are covered, for instance, but not the London Stock Exchange.  Hopefully the Google engineers will spend a little more of their 20-percent time tweaking an updated version that addresses those issues. [gallery]

Vodafone HTC Magic April UK launch confirmed

A new page on Vodafone UK's site confirms that the HTC Magic will launch at some point during April 2009.  No pricing or specific launch dates are given, nor is there any way to preorder the Magic; instead would-be buyers can register for updates. The Vodafone HTC Magic has a 3.2-megapixel camera, HSDPA, integrated GPS and a full capacitive touchscreen.  Unlike the T-Mobile G1 it lacks a hardware keyboard; instead there's a new on-screen keyboard, which we first saw at Mobile World Congress last month. The upshot of that is the newly reduced bulk.  Unlike the sizable G1, the Vodafone HTC Magic measures 117 x 55 x 14 mm, and curved edges make it feel even smaller.  You can see our video demo and gallery of the HTC Magic here. [via Droideo]
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