android os

Broadcom release combo WiFi/Bluetooth/FM chip drivers for Android

Broadcom has announced Android compatibility for its multifunction wireless combo chip, that packages WiFi, Bluetooth and FM radio capabilities on a single component.  The company has added drivers for its BCM4325 combo chip to the latest build of the Android platform, meaning that hardware manufacturers will be able to use one component for all three functions, rather than incorporate two or three separate chips as is required now. By using a combo chip rather than individual components, handsets can be smaller, use less power, and have lower parts costs.  That, together with open-access to "portions" of the drivers for developers, will hopefully result in not only more compact and cheaper Android-based handsets, but a new generation of location-based, internet-connected apps to run on them. Broadcom was one of the founding members of the Open Handset Alliance, the group initially formed to collaborate and promote the Android platform.  The company has not disclosed which manufacturers it's working with on Android handsets.  Press Release:
Broadcom Becomes First to Enable the Android Mobile Platform to Support Wireless Connectivity 'Combo Chips' Access to Broadcom's BCM4325 Drivers Enables the Android Ecosystem to Support the Most Advanced Wireless Connectivity Solutions IRVINE, Calif. - February 5, 2009 - Broadcom Corporation (Nasdaq: BRCM), a global leader in semiconductors for wired and wireless communications, today announced that the software that controls its industry-leading Wi-Fi®/Bluetooth®/FM combination solution is a standard component of the latest Android operating system. This is the first time that the Android platform includes native support for a multi-functional wireless connectivity solution (or "combo" chip). Open access to portions of Broadcom's combo drivers provides Android developers with a head-start in designing mobile devices and applications that utilize the best in wireless connectivity solutions. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and FM technologies are becoming increasingly common in today's mobile phones, enabling a variety of popular media and data applications. The current generation of Android-based handsets features both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, but uses discrete components. The Broadcom® BCM4325 is the best-selling Bluetooth and Wi-Fi combo chip on the market, offering best-in-class space, power, cost and coexistence features. Adding Broadcom's BCM4325 drivers to the Android platform simplifies the integration of these connectivity technologies and accelerates platform development cycles. "Two of the most exciting trends in the handset industry are the growing popularity of Android and the transition to combo chips for connectivity," said Chris Bergey, Director of Broadcom's Embedded WLAN line of business. "As a founding member of the Open Handset Alliance, we are committed to advancing the Android platform by contributing our software and facilitating greater access to our combination chips in the open source community. We expect a plethora of products and applications to evolve from the connected Android platform in the not-so-distant future." The inherent benefits of multi-radio integration have changed the way many handset manufacturers think about connectivity features, which is driving significant growth for combo chips. According to IDC, a global market intelligence firm, combo chips will account for nearly 60 percent of connectivity solutions that ship into mobile phones by 2012. Broadcom was the first chipmaker to successfully combine Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and FM technologies on a single silicon die, and now offers the industry's largest portfolio of wireless combo chips. About the Android Platform Developed by the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), Android is the first free and open mobile platform. It includes everything a manufacturer or operator needs to build a mobile phone, including an operating system, middleware and key mobile applications. Developers can take advantage of the comprehensive software stack to develop innovative applications and compelling services. By contributing to the Android platform, members of the OHA can make it easier for developers to distribute and commercialize their applications. About Broadcom Broadcom Corporation is a major technology innovator and global leader in semiconductors for wired and wireless communications. Broadcom products enable the delivery of voice, video, data and multimedia to and throughout the home, the office and the mobile environment. We provide the industry's broadest portfolio of state-of-the-art system-on-a-chip and software solutions to manufacturers of computing and networking equipment, digital entertainment and broadband access products, and mobile devices. These solutions support our core mission: Connecting everything®. Broadcom is one of the world's largest fabless semiconductor companies, with 2008 revenue of $4.66 billion, and holds over 3,100 U.S. and over 1,400 foreign patents, more than 7,600 additional pending patent applications, and one of the broadest intellectual property portfolios addressing both wired and wireless transmission of voice, video, data and multimedia. Broadcom is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and has offices and research facilities in North America, Asia and Europe. Broadcom may be contacted at +1.949.926.5000 or at www.broadcom.com.
[via GigaOm]

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.

G1 gets Voice-Controlled Search with RC-33 update

Google have added voice-controlled searching to the T-Mobile G1, part of the new feature set introduced in the latest firmware update.  The widget has been integrated into both the Android browser and the home screen search bar, in the form of a new microphone icon. Tapping the icon brings up a "Speak now" prompt, at which point you can search for multi-word terms.  If the app doesn't correctly recognize your voice, you can also choose the arrow to the right of the search box and see a drop-down list of other suggested interpretations.  The Google Android team claim to be working on refining the recognition algorithms for future updates. The functionality also works within the Android browser, and can be accessed by choosing Menu > Search and tapping the microphone icon.  Unfortunately the new functionality is currently only available in the US, with the RC-33 firmware rolling out over this coming week.  Have you tried voice-controlled searching on the G1?  Impressed or disappointed?  [gallery]

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.

Android Community Week In Review – Week 5 2009

This week saw a few big stories for the Android platform, the most anticipated being T-Mobile's official announcement of offering more Android-based handsets in 2009. A specific number was not given, but HSPA capabilities on these handsets are almost a given, with T-Mobile's stance that they will have 3G data networks available in 300 cities by the end of 2009. This would make T-mobile highly competitive with Verizon and AT&T. T-Mobile also released their Q4 2008 numbers, and the results left some wondering if the G1 was really able to compete with the iPhone, as it hadn't drawn near the same number of subscribers to T-Mobile from previous carriers. Another factor to consider is the currently bleak job market and economy, and the possible unwillingness to pay early termination fees to switch for a new phone.

SlingPlayer Mobile’s Next Stop: Android?

A few sources, including one of our very own, have come across an un-official confirmation that Sling Media's mobile player will make its way to Android handsets. SlingPlayer is software that allows streaming of user content from Slingbox, a home media set-top unit, over the internet to computers and other mobile devices. We don't have any timeframes just yet, but a software developer connected with Sling Media has targeted Android as the next potential platform to tackle. Sling Media forum user and developer MegaZone writes, "At this time we have not officially announced any development for Android or webOS, but we’re keeping an eye on both of them. Android seems to be the next logical platform, looking at the overall market, and Sling reps have talked about it a few times. I believe some have gone as far as to say it is our next platform, but I won’t since we haven’t made any announcements. The kind of support we’re seeing through the OHA is very promising, and if even some of the announced devices and partners come to market it will be a strong player." "There has to be a business justification to invest the resources in developing the client. The next logical platform is Android, which we're already taking a strong look at. Unlike webOS, Android already has multiple announced devices with commitments from several major device makers for even more, with carriers lined up world-wide. Remember that from our point of view it is the intersection of users with the platform *and* a Slingbox who are also interested in using SPM. Engineering resources aren't free, so there has to be some return on investment." Without coming out and saying, it would appear Sling Media has taken a wait-and-see stance with webOS, sure to be another heavy competitor in the smartphone arena. With several Android-based phones already announced and more reportedly on the way, the platform seems indeed logical as the next obstacle Sling Media must overcome in taking over the streaming media universe. Purely as speculation, one has to wonder if Sling Media would host some type of beta program with a mobile application on Android, given the open-nature of the platform. Wouldn't that just be aces?

G1 Not Carrier Switch-Worthy?

According to Q4 earnings reports, T-Mobile has reported just 621,000 new customers for the final 3 months of 2008, a 35 percent drop in new subscribers from the same period in 2007. That brings T-Mobile's total subscriber base to an estimated 32.8 million users.

Fujitsu launch ‘Service Built for Android’ for bespoke device design

Fujitsu Japan have announced a new project called "Service Built for Android", in which they offer to assist any other company looking to deploy the Android OS.  The service is not limited to smartphones, either, with Fujitsu suggesting cars, consumer electronics and embedded devices being ideal candidates for Google's open-source platform. Assistance can take any form of consulting, training, engineering and embedded middleware.  It's unclear how much Fujitsu will be charging for the technical support, but they maintain that in utilizing both the free platform and their own services will see a cheaper final product and faster deployment. Fujitsu's hardware partner appears to be Freescale Semiconductor, with the company producing evaluation boards using their Android-compatible processors.  A number of seminars discussing Android's potential impact on embedded systems are scheduled for February. [via Akihabara]

Android Bootcamp developer training: What’s the best way to learn?

One of the key factors in Android's favor is the fact that it's open-source, meaning developers are free to code their own apps for the platform and go on to release them through the Android Market.  What, though, if your ambitions and ideas are more impressive than your coding skills?  Interestingly, there's a growing industry in Android-specific developer training . One such project is the Android Bootcamp, which promises a week long intensive course of Android-themed developer training, under the tutelage of Mark Murphy, founder of CommonsWare and author of The Busy Coder's Guide to Android Development, among other titles.  Taking place in Atlanta, the course costs $3,500 including lodging, meals and classes, though not your airfare.
"You will not only learn the basics of setting up activities and UI widgets, but the advanced capabilities that make Android compelling, such as GPS, mapping, Web service access, and on-device search"
I'm curious to know your opinion on courses like this.  Obviously $3,500 is a whole lot of money; do you think this is the best way to get into developing for Android - or for any platform, for that matter?  Press Release:
Register for Android Bootcamp Atlanta, GA - January 15, 2009 - Get Your Android Training at the Big Nerd Ranch, March 16-20, 2009 The biggest idea in new technology comes in the smallest package. When Google announced it was entering the mobile device market with Android, developers got excited. Really excited. Now, the recent partnership between Google and T-Mobile has spurred top-tier mobile device manufacturers to start developing devices for Android, setting the stage for Android to become a dominant mobile application platform. Based in Java, Android boasts an open architecture with an open source foundation that stands out from any other mobile development platform, with untapped potential for software development. For entrepreneurs wanting to tap that potential, the Big Nerd Ranch, premier provider of intensive, week-long classes for programmers, web developers and system administrators, is now offering Android Bootcamp, March 16-20, 2009. The Android training class is taught by one of the top names in the mobile development industry, Mark Murphy, founder of CommonsWare and author of The Busy Coder's Guide to Android Development (Version 2.0) and The Busy Coder's Guide to Advanced Android Development (Version 1.0), slated to be released in March or April of 2009. The ebook version of the book was released June 3, 2008 and has become a top- selling guide to Android programming. Mark has more than 25 years experience as a development trainer and consultant, building real- world applications for top companies. He is a frequent contributor to the Android support Google Groups. "Android is significantly different from any other mobile development platform or Java-based environment," said Android instructor, Mark Murphy. "This class will immerse you in the Android platform, leveraging your existing Java expertise, so you walk away able to build Android GUIs and related components. You will not only learn the basics of setting up activities and UI widgets, but the advanced capabilities that make Android compelling, such as GPS, mapping, Web service access, and on-device search." Mark draws upon his extensive mobile development experience and leverages students' existing Java expertise to immerse students in the Android platform and guide them in building sophisticated Android GUIs and components. By the end of the week, students attending the class will be to: • Create professional Android user interfaces using XML • Connect Android applications to the Internet, embed browsers into applications and create database-driven applications • Utilize content providers to publish data to Android applications and communicate with other applications to use their data • Use services to build long-running Android processes • Integrate advanced Android features like mapping, search, and location-based (GPS) services into applications Read more about Android Bootcamp (including the complete syllabus) or our instructor Mark Murphy. The Big Nerd Ranch incorporates intensive training classes for Unix and Mac OS X programmers in a retreat setting outside Atlanta, GA. Class price of $3500 includes lodging, all meals, original instruction materials, 24-hour lab access, and transportation to and from the Atlanta airport. Students are encouraged to bring independent projects to class, allowing for input from classmates and individual instructor attention. For more information, call (404) 527-6211 or visit www.bignerdranch.com
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