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.
The e-book reader market is fast becoming a crowded niche, so in order to stand out from the competition, some manufacturers are taking liberties with the basic design. Take Spring Design, for example, who on Monday announced a dual-screen e-book reader built around Google's Android platform.
"This is the start of a whole new experience of reading content on e-books, potentially igniting a whole new industry in multimedia e-book publishing for secondary authors to create supplementary content that is hyper linked to the text," said Dr. Priscilla Lu, CEO of Spring Design. "We are bringing life to books with audio, video, and annotations. This gives readers the ability to fully leverage the resources on the Web, and the tools available in search engines to augment the reading experience."
Called 'Alex,' the new e-book readers sport a 6-inch e-ink EPD display on the top portion and a 3.5-inch color LCD on the bottom. Spring Design says Android has been optimized to support integration between the two displays to prolong battery life. But what exactly is the point of the color display?
Apparently Alex owners are able to capture and cache Web content on the color display and toggle to view it on the EPD screen without taxing the battery. Users can also create their own images and notes to augment the original text.
Spring Design says it is still talking with "major content partners" and hopes to release Alex into the wild by the end of the year.
This means that we are a few weeks away from the launch of another Android handset. Shih was addressing the media along with Asus president and CEO Jerry Shen, who said he expects demand for netbooks to remain steady in 2010.
Android and netbooks are not the only things keeping Asustek’s top brass occupied. Chairman Shih said that the company is mulling an entry into the green technology market.
Spring Design unveiled an Android power eReader device dubbed “Alex,” today. The new eReader is powered by Google’s Android OS, features dual screens (!), SD card reader and a Wifi/3G network connection.
There is no question the most unique feature of “Alex” is its multiple screens. It features a 6 inch monochrome display optimized for reading text. However, it also features a color 3.5 inch display allowing the user to simultaneously browse other content. The two screens have been optimized to work together.
"Users can capture and cache web content from their online experience on the LCD screen, and toggle to view it on the EPD screen without taxing the battery life," explained Spring Design CEO Dr. Priscilla Lu. "Browser features such as bookmarking, history, and security settings are built in, and the device with full Android browsing capability, is mobile enabled with smart phones capabilities."
Spring Design is currently shopping for content providers and hopes to be shipping the device before the end of 2009.
Apparently you just aren’t a real computer company these days unless you have your own smartphone, and Dell is finally ready to take the plunge. Details on the new Dell phone for the U.S. market are pretty scarce at the moment, but apparently it may, or many not be based on the Android operating system, and it will be released sometime in 2010.During an appearance at FiReGlobal today, CEO Michael Dell confirmed not just the existence of the device, but its importance to the company’s future.
“Mobility is absolutely the theme” Dell claims, and this will have a big impact on their PC business as well. “The only reason people buy desktops today is if you are concerned about price or power, otherwise, laptops dominate”. He also heavily downplayed the significance of the netbook market, predicting that the market share would level off at around 12 to 15 percent. “I think there is some disenchantment and user dissatisfaction…. After 36 hours, you say the screen is too small”.
As for carriers of the new Dell phone, he wouldn’t comment specifically on the AT&T rumor, but he did confirm that China Mobile will carry the launch device and would be the starting point for their entry into the market. As for their long term plans, Dell claims they have left the door open to pursue other platforms, and that future devices may not be Android based depending on how the mobile space plays out.
Perhaps they are waiting to see if Windows Mobile 7 actually catches up to the pack, as Dell traditionally enjoys a pretty cozy relationship with Microsoft.
Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, held the company’s third quarter conference call today and has some things to say about Android. According to Schmidt, “Android adoption is about to explode.” There are 12 official Android phones in production now, and the pace of Android handset releases is rapidly increasing. Additionally, mobile searches are up over 30 percent over last quarter.
The Android platform is aimed at getting these mobile search numbers up. By producing a free and open-source OS for manufacturers to use, they’ve almost guaranteed wide adoption. Google hasn’t mentioned how much of their overall revenue comes from mobile, but they have said they expect it to be a big source of growth in the coming years.
While Google may be acting coy, analysts have estimated that 70% of mobile advertizing will be based on search. Clearly, it is in Google’s best interest that we all get an Android powered phone in our hands so they can sell us stuff. You may have already bought the phone, but they want to sell you other stuff.