Android smartphone owners can finally do something iPhone and BlackBerry users have already been able to do: listen to Sirius XM radio on the go from their mobile phone. You won't find the app in the Android Market, and will instead need to navigate here to grab the apk file. Once installed, Sirius issues the following warning:
"This product will use a large amount of data and you are responsible for all data charges. Please contact you carrier's customer service to confirm / add an unlimited data plan," the app discloses.
We tried installing the app on our slow-as-molasses HTC Dream/G1 smartphone and it worked without a hitch. Assuming you're on a good connection, the stations and songs download quickly and begin playing within a second or two. The best part about this is Android's ability to multi-task, so you can fire up Sirius XM in the background while you go about your other smartphone business. We can also see this being a hit on upcoming Android tablets.
But Microsoft alone can not be held responsible for displaying undue optimism as market research firm IDC actually helped it arrive at the staggering figure. If Windows Phone 7 actually goes onto perform as claimed in that slide, Microsoft will again be a force to be reckoned with in the smartphone market.
Android is perhaps the hottest mobile OS on the planet right now, and much of its success can attributed to rabid demand in North America. According to AdMob's April Mobile Metrics Report, 75 percent of all Android devices reside stateside, followed by Asia at a distant second with 12 percent.
Despite Android's rapid rise, however, Apple's iPhone still claims the lion's share of the mobile device market, both in the U.S. and overseas. There are 8.7 million Android devices in the U.S. compared with 10.7 million iPhones. Globally, there are 11.6 million Android devices scattered all over the planet, compared to 27.4 million iPhones.
Both mobile platforms have shown strong growth around the world, and while the iPhone still dominates, Google's Android platform does claim a few territories. This was the case in China in April, where the HTC Hero, HTC Magic, and HTC Dream helped Android owners outnumber iPhone owners.
Google announced last week that the Nexus One would soon be making an appearance in third-party retail channels, and now we've seen the first example of that. An online phone retailer and T-Mobile affiliate called iWireless is now offering the Nexus One, but it's going to cost you. The iWireless price for the Nexus One is $299.95 AFTER 2 year contract discount. By comparison, Google is only charging $179 for customers that agree to a new contact.
Google did say they hoped to get the Nexus One into more retail channels, but they also said people wanted to try the phone in real life. This iWireless deal doesn't really change anything about how people get the phone, other than costing them more. It's possible we'll see the Nexus show up in T-Mobile retail stores. The carrier does not currently have a similar high end Android handset like Verizon and Sprint do.
The only benefit customers on the iWireless site have is the ability to choose more inexpensive plans than the Even More 500 Google requires. But that small savings is dwarfed by the $121 premium you'll be charged.
In a blog post last Thursday, Android SDK Tech Lead Xavier Ducrohet promised that "Android 2.2 will be here soon, and some devices will get the update in the coming weeks." Making good on that promise, Google has now begun pushing out Android 2.2, otherwise known as "Froyo," to Nexus One owners.
If you're not seeing the update on your Nexus One just yet, hang tight. Like previous rollouts, Froyo's is staggered, and it appears that members of the press are getting first dibs, says MG Siegler over at TechCrunch. For those of you who find that unacceptable, you can always take matters into your own hands and manually install the update by following these instructions posted on Phandroid.com.
Android 2.2 ranks as the first mobile OS to fully support Adobe Flash 10.1. In addition, the latest update finally allows users to install applications to an SD card instead of their phone's internal memory. Some of the other features include an app launcher bar in place of the pop-out app tray, an improved camera, and tethering and mobile hotspot functions.
Google has officially announced Android 2.2, codenamed Froyo. The new smartphone software comes with a plethora of improvements. One big addition to the platform is the new Just In Time (JIT) compiler. Google is claiming this new system will be able to run apps 2-5 times faster than the old Dalvik compiler. Google is also rolling out a cloud-to-device messaging API that looks like a sort of push notification system on steroids. Instead of just popping up a message, the system can launch apps or deliver data like map coordinates.
No word on official release dates. Google just said the new software would be out in the coming weeks. We assume that means it will be out for the Nexus one and maybe the Droid. Phones running a modified version of Android are likely in for a longer wait. Did you hear what you wanted from Google today?
Amazon today announced that its Kindle for Android app will make its debut this summer. It will be available as a free download and give readers access to over 540,000 books in the Kindle Store. Amazon says that, like all Kindle apps, this one will include the company's Whisersync technology, which saves and synchronizes a customer's bookmarks across their Kindle, Kindle DX, iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, PC, Mac, BlackBerry, and of course their Android device.
"Kindle for Android is the perfect companion application for Kindle and Kindle DX owners, and is also a great way for customers to enjoy over 540,000 books in the Kindle Store even if they don't yet have a Kindle," said Jay Marine, director, Amazon Kindle. "We think customers are going to love the convenience and simplicity of having instant access to a massive selection of books from Amazon on their Droid, Nexus, Incredible and many more Android devices."
There isn't a whole lot new here, other than being able to use Kindle on your Android handset. Kindle for Android will let users choose between five different font sizes, read in portrait or landscape mode, browse by genre or author, read the beginning of books for free, and access their library of previously purchased Kindle books stored on Amazon's servers for no cost.
Nothing was said about upcoming tablet devices, but this could be prove to be a fairly significant development as Android-based tablets start to come out.
Apple would have you believe that Adobe's Flash platform just isn't an exciting development for mobile devices. In an open letter to anyone who would listen, Steve Jobs criticized the platform up and down in defense of shunning Flash from the iPhone/iPod/iPad experience. So what's Google's approach? The exact opposite.
It's expected that Google will go public with Android 2.2 during the opening keynote for the Google I/O conference tomorrow, and when it does, Flash integration will be one of the main points of interest. According to TechCrunch, Android users with smartphones eligible for the 2.2 update, such as the Nexus One, Droid, and soon enough the HTC Evo will see a link to an Adobe Mobile website immediately after the upgrade. The site will give users the option to "View Flash enabled websites" or "Get Adobe products," and if you select the former, you'll see a list of portals that work with Flash 10.1.
The site is already live, which you can view here and then compare to Apple's list of iPad-ready sites, which are ones that either don't use Flash or have incorporated HTML5 audio and video in addition to Flash.
With iPhone 4 OS just around the corner and Google backing Flash in a big way, it will be interesting to see how everything shakes out on the mobile battlefield.
HP's Social Computing Lab said it's busy developing Gloe, a cloud service that allows users to tag, search for, find, and bookmark pages relevant to their location.
"HP Gloe is a geo-tagging experiment from HP Labs that attaches Web content to specific geographic locations, HP explains. "Gloe aims to provide a platform for location-based discovery of relevant information for mobile Web users, a growing subset of Web users that a recent survey by the Pew Internet & American Life project found had doubled from 2007 to 2009."
This is sort of new territory for HP, which exactly known for these kinds of mobile apps. But with the recent acquisition of Palm, Gloe could quickly become a native app on Palm smartphones, or even tablets, eWeek surmises.
Google has held firm that its Nexus One smartphone is selling just fine, even though it failed to make a dent into the Apple's iPhone market share, or any other major smartphone for that matter. That feeling of contentment -- if it ever really existed in the first place -- appears to be no more, and Google suddenly seems interested in pushing more Nexus One sales. To do that, the company needs to refocus its sales strategy, and that's exactly what Google is doing.
"While the global adoption of the Android platform has exceeded our expectations, the web store has not," Google wrote in an official blog post. "It's remained a niche channel for early adopters, but it's clear that many customers like a hands-on experience before buying a phone and they also want a wide range of service plans to choose from."
Having reached the above epiphany, Google said that once it increases the availability of Nexus One devices in retail locations, it will stop selling the handset online.
"Innovation requires constant iteration," Google added. "We believe that the changes we're announcing today will help get more phones to more people quicker, which is good for the entire Android ecosystem: users, partners and also Google."
We tend to agree, but why stop there? Under the Nexus One's current pricing model, only T-Mobile customers who are on an Individual plan qualify for the discounted handset pricing, which pegs the smartphone at $179. Everyone else -- including those who pay more for a Family plan -- have to shell out $529.