Author Archives: Brady Landgren

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]

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.

Android Community Week In Review: Week 8 2009

The Android platform finally got entrance of paid applications into the market this week, which many believe will finally give Android the edge it needs to compete with other smart phones. Purchase and payment takes place through Google Checkout. Of note, purchases can be "returned" within 24 hours of purchase (not of install) for a refund, something that the iPhone's App Store doesn't allow. Reports are that the paid apps have been trickling into users' Market apps over the past week, though availability at this time is limited to the US. Also being reported is that the Android Developer phones (identical to the G1 in functionality) do not have access to paid apps copy-protected apps from the market. The reasoning for this is not known at this time, and some users of these phones are still able to access paid apps copy-protected apps.

Improved T-Mobile Unlimited Voice Plans Live In SanFran

Chalk one up to the rumor mill today, for long-term San Francisco T-Mobile customers are now eligible for the improved Unlimited Voice plans we got wind of earlier this week. Unlimited voice minutes including cell coverage across the entire country is available for just $49.99, additional lines $39.99.

Android Market Now Accepting Pay-For Applications

According to an e-mail sent to registered Android developers, the Android market is now accepting submissions of paid-applications. Initially, the market will allow US buyers to purchase apps directly from their device "starting mid next week," according to the e-mail.

Android Community Week In Review: Week 6 2009

The Android platform saw quite a bit of noteworthy news this week. The most notable was the release of RC-33, the latest update to the Android OS, pushed over-the-air to G1 devices. This update adds a few new features, though blatantly missing are the famed "Cupcake" features such as the on-screen soft-keyboard. RC-33 now allows the user to save MMS attachments to their SD card, utilize Google Voice Search, and check for new software updates directly from the device. Also included in the RC-33 update, and being pushed to other devices with Google's Maps application, is Google's Latitude. It utilizes a device's AGPS and other wireless location-based networking abilities to show where your contacts are in the world on the included Maps app. Latitude is also being deployed on other platforms such as Blackberry, Windows Mobile, and Palm. It is expected to make its way to the iPhone in the Google Mobile app or possibly integrated into maps with the next software release. Followed closely by the official release of RC-33, JesusFreke and others have cooked up JFv1.41-RC33, a custom build of the latest software. It includes all new features of RC-33, and builds in previous hacks to enable an implementation of multi-touch, auto-rotate using the accelerometer, and allows easy access to the root file system of the phone. Notably missing from the cooked update is the RC-33 radio firmware update, which is instead included as a separate install file. Broadcom has announced availability of a driver compatible with Android for their combination wireless chips. The chips combine WiFi, Bluetooth, and an FM radio tuner into one compact component, allowing manufacturers to add more functionality on a smaller footprint. Finally, we got wind of new Android handset possibilities for 2009. Samsung is highly anticipated to release an Android handset at MWC '09, and Motorola has announced their new focus on Android as a mobile OS for their 2009 handset lineup.

Android Handsets From Motorola in 2009

According to their annual earnings call Tuesday morning, Motorola will be focusing their efforts in 2009 toward higher end devices on the Android platform. Sanjay Jha, Motorola's CEO, admitted that the company's mobile device division wasn't doing well, and the solution may be to churn out higher-end phones with a more robust platform. Windows Mobile 6.5 was not a focus, though he did mention Windows Mobile 7 would be a new direction in 2010.

Intel Prepares For Android Netbooks

Anticipating an influx of Android-powered netbooks to the market, Intel has begun preparations to supply manufacturers with chipsets that will support the platform. Traditionally a Windows and Linux-dominated market, netbooks could benefit greatly from Android's design as a mobile and small-footprint operating system.
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