With even Google leaping onto the smartphone bandwagon, those clamoring for a Zunephone now have a strong case. Perhaps Microsoft does need something more than just a software overhaul to arrest its slide in the smartphone market. OEMs remain under considerable pressure to abandon the relatively primeval Windows Mobile platform after the advent of the more voguish Android.
"Now, your other question was about I'm getting old. Zune, so Zune has been critically successful. And the way Zune is going to be successful for us in the future is you should think of that as our media service across multiple screens. We'll continue to have the Zune device screen. But, we now have Zune on Xbox. We have Zune on the PC. There are other places where Zune logically could go that we don't get to talk about yet. And I think lots of different screens with that capability can go,” said Bach. Zunephone still dwells the realms of wild speculation. Bach could very well be pointing toward something less radical.
Google’s Nexus One announcement earlier this week included confirmation that future phones sold on the Google website would all be available unlocked. So, Google intends to work with various hardware partners, and sell some of the resulting phones as Google branded. Some have said this could be a dangerous road for Google to travel, as they may risk alienating their partners. Among those critics is Microsoft.
Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices President Robbie Bach took Google to task for the move in a speech at CES. "Doing both in the way they are trying to do both is actually very, very difficult… Over time you have to decide whether your approach is with the partners or more like an Apple approach that is more about Apple. Google's is an interesting step. We'll see how people react," said Bach.
Microsoft has been struggling with Windows Mobile as of late, so you have to wonder if they should be giving Google advice in this space. It is possible that some hardware partners could be put off by Google’s move, but Android has one big advantage over Windows Mobile. Google does not charge their hardware partners a license fee to use Android. We’ll have to see if hardware companies are scared enough that Google could upstage them to pass up that deal.
Mobility is a nifty thing, and devices that can be mobile with you are a blessing. They are an even bigger blessing if they are keyed into your local surroundings, saving you from the tedious effort of narrowing down your geographic possibilities. Google has taken a step to make your mobile experience geographically relevant, adding a “Near me now” option to its search page.
Google says the “Near me now” option was designed to address two user problems: (1) making it faster and easier to find a place in the user’s immediate vicinity; and (2) making the search for popular categories really simple. Just load up Google.com on your mobile browser, allow your location to be known, and the “Near me now” option appears. Clicking it then limits your search to those places which are closest to you.
“Near me now” offers two possibilities. You can look up a specific place, such as a restaurant, or you can select an “Explore right here” option which will show you what’s local.
“Near me now” requires an iPhone (OS 3.x), or an Android device (version 2.0.1 or later). The accuracy of the service depends on how well your location can be determined through your phone provider or Internet connection.
Google made at splash at CES yesterday by officially unveiling its Nexus One smartphone "super phone," and while the device has garnered a range of responses, Google may have an even tougher time breaking into the enterprise market where security is the primary concern.
"Nexus One is running on Android 2.1, the latest update, so is equivalent to iPhone 1.0 and the first version of WebOS," said Dan Dearing, vice president of marketing at Trust Digital. "WebOS has improved its security to be on par with iPhone 2.0. [But] the iPhone 3GS provides the most comprehensive security controls with the addition of hardware-based encryption."
Dearing went on to claim that businesses are increasingly choosing the iPhone 3GS over competing devices, though that too also has security issues. But one of the roadblocks that could prevent the Nexus One from seeing a ton of enterprise use is the lack of a centralized model for distributing signed apps, says Forrester Researcher analyst Andrew Jaquith.
"In Android, you can sign your own applications, and what those applications do is left up to the developer, for good or ill," Jaquith said. "With the iPhone, Apple's stated intent with their approval process is to make sure the applications aren't doing anything naughty or using banned APIs. Unlike Android, Apple can yank a developer's certificate if it needs to."
AT&T finally seems ready to admit that this whole Android thing isn’t just a flash in the pan. The carrier that brought you the iPhone will be launching five Android phones in the first half of 2010. The announcement was a bit short on details, but there were some clues as to which handsets to expect.
AT&T plans to offer a Motorola handset with a “unique form factor”. This can only be the Moto Backflip we told you about recently. This phone is “blessed” with an awkward looking reverse clamshell design and a lack of Google apps (in the prerelease version at least). The announcement also said Dell’s first smartphone would be coming to the network. That clearly means a version of the Mini 3i with US 3G bands.
The remaining phones are to be HTC devices. No details on what these might be. Knowing HTC’s penchant for repackaging the same hardware, these phones could end up being variations of the Hero. We may see some of the phones spied in the leaked roadmap from a few weeks back. Any AT&T customers planning to buy into the Android craze?
This morning, Google officially launched the Nexus One, the newest flagship Android phone, and the first that Google is selling and marketing themselves. A lot has already been said about the Nexus One, but now all the details are official.
Read on to find out what you need to know about the Google Nexus One.
It’s no secret that Android is gaining momentum. The release of the Droid on Verizon and the upcoming Nexus One announcement have gotten people’s attention in a big way. A recent survey by ChangeWave shows us just how much Android’s star has risen in the last few months. With the millions Verizon has spent on advertising the Droid, this shouldn’t be too surprising.
In December, ChangeWave asked 4068 consumers that planned on purchasing a smartphone in the next 90 days which mobile platform they would like to purchase. They found that 21% of people planned to get an Android phone, up from only 6% in September. The iPhone still won out with 28%, but that’s down a few points from the last survey. Android’s 15-point jump seems to have also come at the expense of Windows Mobile and Palm’s WebOS, both down 3%. Blackberry weathered the Android storm well, and actually saw a small uptick in the December numbers.
Google’s brand and Verizon’s marketing seem to be combining to lure in consumers. While the iPhone isn’t about to be knocked off by Android, Palm is hanging on by a thread. Just a year ago Palm was the underdog darling of CES 2009, but they may have to pull another rabbit out of their mobile hat to make it to 2011.
Which OS does your favorite home appliance run on? In a few months, the answer to that could well be Android. San Francisco-based Touch Revolution today announced the Android-powered NIM1000 module. Its capacitive touchscreen and relative ease of integration make it ideal for original equipment manufacturers (OEM) looking to “integrate dynamic touch-screen interfaces in a broad range of appliances and devices, from microwave ovens and washing machines, to in-flight entertainment centers and advanced medical devices.”
We are not talking run-of-the-mill household appliances here. Touch Revolution wants microwaves using the NIM1000 to double up as “kitchen command centers” and to tune into some of the most popular internet radio stations. Touch Revolution plans to showcase the NIM1000 at CES.
Hopping right into the tablet vacuum left by Apple’s conjectured announcement of a tablet device (What is it now, the iPad, iSlate or iGuide? I’ve lost track.), Notion Ink has announced a tablet of its own, the Adam, which will come equipped with Nvidia’s Tegra, Android, and a Pixel Qi LCD display.
Tegra and Android are current news, so let’s focus on what’s new: the Pixel Qi display. It’s 10.1-inches, is built on existing LCD technology (making it cheap to produce), and, like e-Paper screens, it is an energy miser. Unlike e-Paper, Pixel Qi displays provide color (and full-motion video). Pixel Qi tells us its screens have a fast video refresh, fully saturated color, use one-half to one-quarter the power of regular LCD screens, and can be used in bright sunlight. The combination of the Pixel Qi display and the Nvidia Tegra suggest energy consumption 90 percent less than if a conventional LCD display were used.
The touchscreen Adam is expected to ship in June of 2010, and cost about $325.
“We need a Principle Program Manager who can help drive the platform and bring Xbox LIVE enabled games to Windows Mobile. This person will focus specifically on what makes gaming experiences 'LIVE Enabled' through aspects such as avatar integration, social interactions, and multi-screen experiences,” Microsoft announced in one of the listings.
The company is also on the lookout for a Software Test Engineer to join its Windows Mobile division. The person chosen for the job “will report to the Gaming Test Lead in the Windows Mobile Entertainment team and have the opportunity to make a critical impact the next release of Windows Mobile.” The company clearly wants to offer a unified gaming experience across various device platforms. It will be interesting to see how exactly Microsoft integrates Windows Mobile 7 and Xbox Live.