Holy dual-platforming netbooks, Batman, have you seen Acer's revamped Aspire One D250? The netbook has developed a split personality since we last saw it and now rolls with both Google's open-source Android OS and Microsoft's closed-source Windows 7 software in 32-bit form.
But this isn't your typical dual-booting setup. To load Windows 7, you must first fire up Android and poke around the OS's slide-out menu to select "Switch OS." Jim Wong, Acer's Senior Corporate VP, downplayed the additional step, noting that Android gives users "instant on" functionality. And judging by the YouTube clip, he's right - following the POST screen, Android appears to boot in under 10 seconds.
Acer's dual-boot strategy is a continuation of the company's previous plan to ship a combo Android/WinXP ultraportable. Acer's original stance was that Android hadn't matured to the point where it would be a suitable OS for netbooks, at least in standalone form, and that a dual-boot solution would carry less risk than an Android-only netbook. There's probably some truth to that, considering XP-based netbooks remain a much more popular choice than ones running Linux.
The downside to dual-booting is that Acer still has to factor in the cost of a Windows 7 license, so it seems pointless to toss an open-source OS into the fray without the benefity of a cost reduction. But Acer might be on to something by using Android as essentially a Splashtop replacement, which would count as an extra feature for those who planned on purchased a Windows 7-based netbook anyway.
What do you think about Acer's dual-OS netbook? Hit the jump and sound off!
Fresh from the rumor mill comes word that Barnes and Noble’s upcoming eReader may be running Android. This would certainly be a nice change of pace from the fairly low-power operating environments in other eBook readers.
Android seems like a great fit for eBook readers. It already has built-in support for wireless technology, and being open-source, a custom eReader interface could easily be added on top of Android. There could even be eReader specific apps in the Android Market. Not to mention, the modding possibilities are endless. This could mean a much more open environment than the tightly controlled Kindle model Amazon has gone with. Even if it isn’t so out of the box, it is Android. Someone will come along and hack it.
Barnes and Noble has released apps for both iPhone and Blackberry, but not Android. Perhaps this is why. The mysterious eReader may be announced next month, so we could know the truth soon.
In the next few weeks both Verizon and Sprint are launching multiple Android-powered smart phones. In fact, Sprint just announced another Android device, the Samsung Moment, today. This will leave AT&T as the odd man out with no Android phones. However, if some new rumors are to be believed, Dell may be partnering with AT&T to change that as early as 2010.
The Dell Mini 3i was originally created for the Chinese market. It lacks both Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity. The version of Android it runs is also more heavily modified than would be acceptable for the US market. The camera on the Chinese version is also fairly lackluster.
This is an exciting time for Google’s Android OS. A recent report indicates that this open-source OS will command more of the market than the iPhone, Blackberry, or WinMo by 2012. AT&T can’t afford to hedge its bets on the iPhone.
There are still unanswered questions as to the features Dell might bring to the Mini 3i in the US. In the end, AT&T might only need a mid-range feature set. If they can maintain their iPhone exclusivity, they might not care if they have a high-end Android handset. Still, if the projections are accurate, AT&T will want experience with Android, no matter the handset quality.
Google's open source Android platform will turn one year old later this month, and according to Gartner, the OS is about to hit a major growth spurt. While Android can be found on less than 2 percent of all smartphones today, Gartner predicts a seven-fold increase in global Android-based handsets by 2012.
That would put Android in second place, trailing only the Symbian OS, which today accounts for nearly half of all smartphones but is expected to drop to 39 percent in 2010, Gartner says.
Gartner acknowledges that T-Mobile's G1 -- the first Android-based smartphone -- was met with a mixed response among consumers, but the research firm believes Google's continued backing of Android and its focus on cloud computing capabilities will propel the platform to 14 percent of the smartphone market in just a couple of years.
"Google's other up-and-coming consumer and enterprise products should make [Android] a dominant platform," Ken Dulaney, VP of Gartner Research, told ComputerWorld in an interview.
Dulaney also predicts that there could be as many as 40 models of Android devices shipping in 2010.
Industry sources presumably in the know say that Acer, who is still developing Windows Mobile-based smartphones, has decided to shift its attention to the Android platform. The sources say that half, if not more, of Acer's new handsets launched in 2010 will be built around the open-source OS.
This won't have much effect on Acer's production partners, the sources added, saying the company will continue to outsource both Windows Mobile and Android smartphones to Compal Communications and Inventec Appliances.
Not wasting any time, Acer is expected to release its first Android-based smartphone, the A1, sometime next month. According to pre-order info at eXpansys (France and Germany), the A1 will sport a 3.5-inch touchscreen display, Qualcomm 8250 processor clocked at 768MHz, an internal GPS antenna, a 5MP color camera with auto-focus, and a 1350mAh battery.
Looks like Best Buy wants to keep its hands, and its phones, in everyone’s pockets. They sealed a deal with Google on exclusivity of some mobile applications and collaboration on an online and in-store mobile storefront. With this effort, they hope to continue to make Best Buy’s mobile division competitive with mobile carrier stores.
In the works so far is a location aware Best Buy mobile application where users can search for, and track stock of, in-store products. They are collaborating on a few other applications in addition to Android specific and Ford Sync applications, but Best Buy declined to give details.
They also hope to launch a Best Buy Mobile online store where eventually users can share reviews and research mobile electronics, as well as purchase products online. Amazon opened a similar storefront (AmazonWireless) earlier this summer.
Earlier this month, we posted a step-by-step guide showing Android G1 owners how to root their phones and install a third party ROM. There are several upshots to doing so, including the ability to overcome the G1's meager amount of memory by installing apps directly to a SD card. Wtih the Android Market now sitting at roughly 10,000 apps strong and third party ROM developers churning out mature firmware, we felt the time was right.
Unfortunately, Google's timing couldn't be any worse. The search giant last week issued a cease and desist order to ROM developer Cyanogen, maker of CyanogenMod, arguably the most popular Android ROM out there.The problem, says Google, isn't that Cyanogen is hacking away at the open-source OS, but that he's also including (and distributing) a handful of closed-source apps, including Market, Gmail, YouTube, and Google Maps.
Hit the jump to find out what the future holds for Android modders.
According to Taylor Wimberly of AndroidAndMe.com, uber popular Android hacker who goes by the name of Cyanogen managed to ruffle some feathers over at Google. From the sound of things, the search giant is none too pleased with Cyanogen distributing their closed source Android apps (Market, Talk, Gmail, YouTube, and others) with his third-party CyanogenMod ROM.
Going by the chat log Wimberly posted on his site, Google has issued a cease and desist letter to Cyanogen, who laments that "CyanogenMod is probably going to be dead." It would be a shame if it came to that, as CyanogenMod is probably the most popular third-party Android ROM out there, and is actively being developed, somewhat of a rarity in the Android ROM community whose only compensation is user donations.
But all might not be lost. Cyanogen said he has opened up a dialog with Google.
"My argument is that I only develop for Google-experience devices which are already licensed for these apps," said Cyanogen. "So we'll see what they say. Maybe we can work something out."
So do we. Otherwise, this could be a blow to the entire Android ROM community, not just Cyanogen.
Remember when T-Mobile's G1 was being billed as a potential iPhone killer? Powered by Google's Android platform, the open-source mobile OS was supposed to usher in the end of the iPhone OS era, and who knows, maybe someday it still will. But it won't be on the G1 (otherwise known as the HTC Dream), the chunky alternative that misses the mark of mobile greatness. But while the G1 might leave a lot to be desired out of the box, power users who aren't afraid to take matters into their own hands have the ability to significantly enhance the handset's capabilities.
On the following pages, we're going to show you how to hack your G1 the easy way so you can do things with your phone that other G1 owners only wish they could, like install apps to an SD card. And for you old school traditionalists who like to get your hands dirty, we'll also show how you to root your G1 the old fashioned way and wade through all the necessary code step-by-painstaking-step. After it's all said and done, we'll cover some of the most popular third-party ROMs and tell you which one we're rolling with.
Are you ready to hack? Grab your G1 and hit the jump to get started!
Score another win for open-source fans, and Google's Android platform in particular. While earlier this year LG seemingly committed to only releasing Windows Mobile-based smartphones, the handset maker today announced its first Android device, which the company hopes will give it "a broader and more dominant position in the market."
The new LG-GW620 comes with a 3-inch full touchscreen display, along with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard to mash out those Twitter updates and emails on the go.
"The LG-GW620 will appeal to first-time smartphone customers by offering a new and different kind of user experience," said Dr. Skott Ahn, President and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. "Our objective is to provide a wide selection of smartphones to satisfy the diverse preferences of today's consumers."
Perhaps looking to smooth things over with Microsoft, LG was also quick to point out that it will be introducing at least 13 other smartphones over the next 16 months, each one based on Windows Mobile.
As for the LG-GW620, it will be available in the fourth quarter in "select European markets." No word yet on price or U.S. availability.