While the mobile world drools over Droid, there's another smartphone that has a shot of stealing a few headlines. We're talking about Acer's upcoming Liquid A1, which is expected to ship in Europe within the next few weeks.
The Liquid A1 is the first Android-based smartphone to be built around Qualcomm's Snapdragon chipset. And even though the CPU has been downclocked to 768MHz, that's a lot more pep than most Android phones are boasting.
Oddly, Acer has decided not to step up to Android 2.0 (Eclair), and the Liquid A1 will instead run on Android 1.6 (Donut). That puts it a generation behind the Droid and other upcoming Android 2.0 smartphones, although this could change by the time the A1 ships. We also wouldn't rule out a software update after the fact, although Acer has spent some time tweaking "a new user interface with easy access to entertainment and web bookmarks."
No word yet on price or when this one's expected to land in the U.S.
Sony Ericsson today published the specs and a video of the Xperia X10, its debut Android smartphone, which was hitherto known by its code name “Rachel”. It can be expected to be a guaranteed fixture on the list of the most powerful Android phones by the virtue of its 1GHz Snapdragon processor.
As for the software, the X10 will run Android 1.6 Donut. In addition to apps found on the Android Marketplace, apps for this phone will also be available through Sony Ericsson’s PlayNow arena service. The X10 will feature a 4-inch TFT touchscreen, an 8MP camera with LED flash, WiFi, A-GPS and 3G. The company is expected to release the X10 in the first quarter of 2010.
There’s good news and bad news for eBook fans. First up: new eBook readers using Marvell’s ARMADA 166E chip could see triple the frame rate of first generation devices. The bad news: the faster frame rate of 3 fps won’t exactly have you playing Doom just yet but low frame rate animation will possible.
Marvell doesn’t mind though. The company’s new chip isn’t meant to just increase performance, it’ll also offer a cost reduction and power reduction by shrinking what is now a multi-chip board controller board down to a single chip. Marvell showed off several OEM designs including Spring Design’s upcoming dual-screen Alex.
This dual-screen eBook puts Kindle's web-browsing features to shame.
Google CEO Eric Schmidt is ready to put the hard times behind him and his company to usher in a new crowd of technological innovators. On the Google blog today, Alan Eustace, senior vice president of engineering and research, made an open offer to anyone who thinks they can make a difference to seek out Google for employment.
In the entry, he cites the success of Google Earth, Android, and Google Chrome as reasons to be technical innovators. He quoted Schmidt saying, “Innovation is the technological pre-condition for growth.” Eustace reiterated that the Google Chrome was the last in a long line of Google projects to receive the Founders Award, a multimillion-dollar stock bonus to all team members. "(The) future is shaped by small teams of creative people who want to make a difference. We're on the hunt for these kind of people -- let us know if you think you're one of them" said Eustace.
This is a much different attitude from earlier this year when Google made job cuts or lost some employees who felt their career path were best suited elsewhere.
Happy Halloween! Wait, that was last week. But then again, that's also when we recorded this episode of the podcast. Topics discussed this week: how the announcement of Android 2.0 and new Android hardware changes the smart phone market, the many controversies surrounding Activision's Modern Warfare 2, and whether the Left 4 Dead 2 demo assuages boycotters' concerns. We also answer a bunch of listener questions to round out the show. And best of all, we'll be releasing another podcast episode later this week!
Do you have a tech question? A comment? A tale of technological triumph? Just need to get something off your chest? A secret to share? Email us at email@example.com or call our 24-hour No BS Podcast hotline at 877.404.1337 x1337--operators are standing by.
HTC’s strengths are innovation and diversity. HTC was first on the scene with an Android phone, and is produces Windows Mobile powered devices. HTC has struck deals with nearly every major cell phone provider. All that’s missing is visibility, Chou hopes this will be corrected with an up-coming global ad campaign: “You.” HTC wants to move itself into the first tier of cell phone makers: Nokia, Sony-Ericsson, and Apple. It has the products, Chou believes, it lacks the name recognition.
Chou’s outlook on the market is interesting for a CEO. Competition doesn’t frighten him. Instead he views it as a positive: “You cannot expect you are the only player in town…You need other players to come and make the ecosystem stronger.” And Chou is still bullish on Windows Mobile, even though the brand has taken a bit of a dive because “innovation has been a little slow.” (A polite way to say Microsoft messed up on development.)
Chou, however, is careful not to spread HTC too thin. With all the portable electronic opportunities available: netbooks, eReaders, tablet computers, HTC plans to stick with what it knows best. “There is a lot of pressure to do these things, but we are a relatively small company and need to be very picky,” Chou said.
Verizon’s new Android based phones are expected to be released in early November. During the launch, the Motorola Droid is going to be paving the way for those looking for the latest and greatest Android product with Verizon.
However, Verizon is also launching another Android based phone, the HTC Droid Eris. This phone does not boast the same hardware specifications as the MotoDroid. It is running Android 1.6 on a 528MHz CPU, but it comes in at the ultra-competitive price of $99.
That will make the HTC Droid Eris the cheapest Android phone available on one of the top 3G networks in the country. It may not be ready for the November 6th launch date of the Motorola Droid, but it might be worth waiting for if you want Android on the cheap.
If we're to believe the hype (and it's awfully convincing), Motorola's upcoming Droid smartphone could be the first handset to truly challenge Apple's iPhone. We'll find out soon enough, as Verizon today confirmed Droid will arrive next Friday, November 6, for $199 with a 2-year contract and $100 mail-in-rebate.
"This is an exciting announcement for Verizon Wireless, as the Droid by Motorola is the first device that we are bringing to market under our ground-breaking strategic partnership with Google," said John Stratton, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless. "Droid by Motorola gives customers a lifestyle device with access to more than 12,000 applications that will help them stay in touch, up to date and entertained, using the best 3G network in the country."
Built around the all new Android 2.0 (Eclair) platform, the slim (0.5 inches thick) smartphone has a lot going for it, including a 3.7-inch, 854x480 capacitive touchscreen, a built-in 5MP camera, DVD-quality video recording, a TI OMAP 3430 processor based on ARM's Cortex-A8 architecture and capable of racing along at up to 600MHz, Microsoft Exchange support, HTML5 support, and a bunch more, all of which will be heavily marketed.
"The marketing campaign that will support the launch of the Droid will be the largest in our history. We're going to put significant energy behind this product," said John Stratton, Verizon's chief marketing officer.
If Droid lives up the hype, the marketing may take care of itself.
MTube’s latest touch screen device isn’t a new mobile phone or netbook. Instead, the Mtube Android MID is intended as a multimedia device for living room entertainment.
It offers a 7.6-inch OLED touch screen, an ARM processor, internet access and wireless streaming to your television. You can send videos and images to your television using touch screen gestures. The details on how the device communicates with your TV are not clear; it’s likely a WIFI receiver will connect your HDMI ports (on the TV) with the MTube. MTube has been in negotiations to integrate a receiver into displays.
It’s not exactly production ready (the demo unit crashed in the video) but it is an interesting use of the Android operating system and could prove to be a clever entertainment device.
Surprise, surprise - Acer, the same company who not too long ago bemoaned Google's open-source Android platform as not being suitable to run netbooks, has gone ahead with just such a device anyway, even though most other vendors are content to wait for Pine Trail before releasing more netbook models.
Acer did, however, play it safe by pairing Android with Windows in a sort of dual-boot environment (Android has to be booted first and acts like a sort of instant-on SplashTop replacement), but that's more than the other top tier OEMs have done. According to news and rumor site DigiTimes, that's because other OEMs are taking a more conservative wait-and-see approach and will re-evaluate things once the final quarter of 2009 shakes out.
After seeing sequential growth to the of tune of 20 percent in the last two quarters, DigiTimes notes that netbook shipments from Taiwan notebook vendors is on target to backslide 8 percent in Q4. Part of the reason, analysts surmise, is waning demand as customers eagerly await the arrival of Windows 7, but vendors are also trying to keep inventory levels down on the verge of Intel's upcoming Pine Trail platform, due to arrive in early 2010.
It still remains to be seen how many OEMs will embrace Android on netbooks, whether as a standalone OS or in conjunction with Windows. So far, Acer's dual-booting Aspire One AOD250, which was only recently announced in the U.S., is the only one consumers have to choose from here in the States. Other markets will also see the AOD250, but not until after the launch of Windows 7, DigiTimes reports.