Not everything Google touches turns to gold (RIP Google Wave), but the search giant found its Midas touch with Android, the open source platform that's steamrolling through the mobile market. According to company CEO Eric Schmidt, Google thinks there are about 200,000 new Android devices being sold every day.
"People are finally beginning to figure out how successful Android is," Schimdt said at the inaugural Techonomy conference. "The number was about 100,000 [a day] about two months ago. It looks like Android is not just phenomenal but incredibly phenomenal in its growth rate. God knows how long that will continue."
Probably for a long time, and that's great if you have a vested interest in Google's success. While the open source platform itself is free, the more Android phones in the wild, the more people are using Google for Web searches, and that translates into cold, hard Google greenbacks.
"Trust me that revenue is large enough to pay for all of Android's activities and a whole bunch more," Schmidt gloated. "I should also say that we love the success of the iPhone because the iPhone uses Google's search and we get a chunk of that revenue when people search on the iPhone."
According to Canalys, a technology analyst firm primarily based out of the U.K., Google has reason to gloat. That's because Google's Android platform is making enormous strides in the smartphone market, with shipments of Android-based smartphones having grown a whopping 886 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2010.
"The latest release of our detailed and complete country-level smart phone shipment data for Q2 2010 clearly reveals the impressive momentum Android is gaining in markets around the world," said Canalys VP and Principal Analyst, Chris Jones, commenting on the publication. "In the United States, for example, we have seen the largest carrier, Verizon Wireless, heavily promoting high-profile Android devices, such as the Droid by Motorola and the Droid Incredible by HTC. These products have been well received by the market, with consumers eager to download and engage with mobile applications and services, such as Internet browsing, social networking, games and navigation."
As a whole, the smartphone market grew by 64 percent annually worldwide in Q2 2010, Canalys said. In the United States, the smartphone market grew by 41 percent year-on-year, making it the largest smartphone market in the world. Of those devices, Google's Android OS nabbed a 34 percent share, making it the most used smartphone platform in the country.
At the very beginning of the netbook era, some predicted testing times for team Wintel as they viewed the new form factor as a great opportunity for rivals to lessen the gulf. But both Microsoft and Intel emerged unscathed from the much hyped battle. However, with their rivals drawing first blood in the battle for tablet supremacy, the powerful alliance now faces a sterner test.
While the diminutive Atom has been received quite well in the netbook market, Intel knows that a few changes are needed as far as tablets are concerned. To this end, it is readying its next-generation Oak Trail platform. According to Digitimes' sources within the PC industry, vendors are unenthusiastic about Intel Atom tablets and only plan to launch Atom- and Windows-based models in small volumes so as to appease the two giants.
The Oak Trail system-on-chip (SoC) is designed to handle Full HD video while consuming 50% less power than the Atom. Optimized for tablets, netbooks and other small form factors, the SoC will support a number of operating systems including Windows, MeeGo and Android.
Late last week, Motorola Droid users rejoiced as it was announced they would be receiving an Android 2.2 update this week. But now another announcement is leaving a sour taste in users' mouths. Verizon has announced that the update will not contain the Froyo standard USB tethering and Wi-Fi hotspot functionality. In the statement, Verizon claimed it was a hardware issue, saying, "[the Droid] doesn't have [the] hardware to support a mobile hotspot."
Some users are calling Verizon's bluff though. The Droid is one of the most hackable Android phones available, and may custom ROMs exist for it. A rooted Droid is perfectly capable of running a hotspot with some of these ROMs. This fact makes Verizon's statement suspect. A more likely scenario is that Verizon simply doesn't want to allow users to use the free tethering in Froyo.
Some other Verizon phones, like the Droid X, have a special paid hotspot app that Verizon charges monthly for. It's possible Verizon and Motorola did not want to take the time to develop such a feature for a phone that is about to discontinued. What do you think? Conspiracy, or hardware shortcoming?
Until now, only users of Google's tragically short lived Nexus One had access to Android 2.2 (codenamed Froyo), but according to a communiqué from Verizon, the original Droid will be getting the update next week. This is big news for a large segment of the Android user base as the Droid was a very popular phone.
No word on updates for the Droid Incredible or Droid X as of yet. Though, with their skinned versions of Android updates are likely to take a little longer. Any Droid users out there jumping with joy?
According to reports, T-Mobile's historic G1 is no longer for sale. We can call it historic, right? After all, the G1 ranks as the world's first Android handset in mass form, and it was the first to truly challenge Apple's magical iPhone as the must-have smartphone, at least before Jobs and company fluxored the antennae and challenged themselves.
Perhaps more importantly, the G1 solidified Google's Android OS as a bona fide mobile platform, one that is now found on dozens of other smartphones and is arguably the fastest growing OS on the market right now. The Android Market now sits at over 70,000 apps strong, getting ever closer to that 100,000 milestone. And it all started with the G1.
Hit the jump to find out why I'm not too terribly broken up to see the G1 go.
We're as tired talking about all these upcoming no-show tablets as you are of reading of them, but sooner or later, these early announcements will have to translate into actual shipping products, right? Well, it happened, and in most unlikeliest of places: Kmart.
Kmart's latest circular advertises the Augen 7-inch tablet on sale for just $150 through July 31, and as you might imagine, that caught a lot of interest. So much so, that Kmart is having to hand out rainchecks.
"It's taking us a bit longer to get the product in all of our stores, but if you go to your local Kmart store and pick up a raincheck for the device -- it's on sale for $149.99 right now; the regular price is $169.99 -- wi will honor the lower price when you pick it up in stores," Kmart wrote in a blog post. "The Augen tablet should be in Kmart retail locations soon. (Of course, if you don't have the raincheck, you can still pick it up at the regular price, which we still think is a bargain!)."
The 7-inch Gentouch78 tablet sports a touch panel LCD screen with an 800x480 resolution, 800MHz processor, 2GB of internal memory and 256MB of RAM, SD card slot with support for up to 16GB, and Wi-Fi, all wrapped into Android's 2.1 platform. It will also have access to the Android Market App Store.
It doesn't appear as though the Gentouch78 comes with any USB ports or webcams, but hey, neither does the iPad, and that costs several hundred more.
Dell has announced that the US version of their Streak Android phone will be available for purchase today by those that pre-ordered. The phone supports AT&T's 3G bands and will cost customers $299 with a two year contract, and $549 without. The exact ship date was not given. After posting this information, Dell removed the blog post, but we expect the facts to remain the same.
The Dell Streak is a 5-inch Android phone that Dell is fond of referring to as a tablet. At launch, the Streak will have Android 1.6, which sort of astounds us. Android 1.6 came out nearly a year ago. Dell claims that a 2.2 Froyo update will come later this year. The phone runs a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 512MB of RAM, and the 5-inch touchscreen is 480x800 resolution.
The question is, will people in the US respond to a phone this big? The price is a little high, the OS is out of date, and the skin Dell is using looks fairly unattractive. Have any of you pre-ordered it? Does this pricing information scare you off?
The rumors have been flying for a while now, but HTC has finally officially confirmed that they will be moving to Super LCD screen in some existing AMOLED-sporting phones. The two models listed are the HTC Desire, and the Google Nexus One. Oddly, the very similar HTC Droid Incredible was not mentioned. All these phones currently ship with 3.7-inch AMOLED touchscreens, but Samsung (the maker of the AMOLED panels) has been unable to keep up with demand.
AMOLED screens do not use a backlight, are thinner, and generally perform better than regular LCDs. HTC is claiming that the Super LCDs they will be using actually perform better than AMOLED, and have better battery life. This seems like a tall order to us. The screen size and resolution will probably remain the same after the change. Even if the new Super LCDs don't quite match an AMOLED in color vibrancy, they will likely perform better in direct sunlight. Have you ever seen one of these rare Super LCD displays? Let us know what you thought of it.
On August 20, 2010 at precisly 4:30pm (EST), Samsung will show off the Epic 4G for Sprint on its television support site. Big whoop, right? Depends on if you're a Sprint customer anxiously awaiting your own version of the Galaxy S, because the last two times Samsung webcasted its carrier specific Galaxy S smartphone (T-Mobile Vibrant and AT&T Captivate), the respective phones launched shortly afterward.
That's still four weeks away, but if it comes as any consolation, the Epic 4G is primed to be the best Galaxy S smartphone yet. It will come with a slide-out keyboard, 4-inch Super AMOLED display, 5MP camera with LED flash, 720p video recording, front-facing camera, 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, six-axis accelerometer, and that sexy 1GHz Hummingbird processor. And of course it will do 4G.
On the software side, the Epic 4G will come powered by a retooled version of Google's Android 2.1 platform, with a 2.2 upgrade planned for the not-too-distant future.