Just over a year ago, Finnish mobile firm Nokia acquired Symbian, a move that put the handset maker in direct competition with Google and Apple for mobile internet market share. But despite a vested interest in sticking with its Symbian platform, word on the web is that Nokia is developing a mobile phone powered by Google's open-source Android OS.
Nokia's decision came after seeng its global smartphone market share drop from 47 percent in 2007 to 35 percent last summer and 31 percent by the start of 2008. That's a frightening trend for a company which makes about four out of every 10 mobile phones being sold.
The smartphone maker has been doing everything it can to remain relevant in the mobile sector, including forging an alliance with Intel to develop a new breed of Intel Architecture-based mobile devices.
In October of this year, Adobe will release a beta version of its Flash Player 10 for mobiles, Adobe CEO Shantanu Naraye told investors. Supported OSes will include Google's Android, Nokia Symbian, Palm Web OS, and Windows Mobile powered devices.
"We are bringing Flash Player 10 to smartphone class devices to enable the latest web browsing experiences," Naraye said. "Multiple partners have already received early version of this release and we expect to release a beta version for developers at our Max conference in October."
As it currently stands, only Flash light can be found running on some platforms, a result of engineering challenges for high performance Flash and issues of control, VentureBeat says. To get that high performance, Flash needs to run in the lower layers of the OS or phone, something Android, Palm WeOS, Winmo, and Symbian are open to, but the same can't be said for RIM's BlackBerry and Apple's iPhone.
Just over two weeks from now, T-Mobile will begin taking pre-orders for its second Android-based smartphone, the myTouch 3G. Like the G1, the myTouch 3G is being built by HTC, but there are a few key differences between it and the G1.
For starters, the myTouch 3G waves goodbye to the physical keyboard found on the G1, which helps the new phone sport a slimmer profile. It will, however, come with a virtual keyboard that will automatically switch from portrait to landscape mode in "most applications."
The myTouch also doubles up on internal memory with 512MB compared to 256MB - a good thing considering the G1's frustrating inability to install applications directly to SD storage without rooting the phone. And speaking of storage, the myTouch will also ship with a 4GB microSD card.
T-Mobile will first make the myTouch 3G available for pre-order to existing subscribers starting on July 8 for $200 with a two-year contract. Shipments will be begin in late July, with full national availability expected in early August.
Scandinavian developer SPRX mobile has developed Layar, an augmented reality browser for 3G phones, which it claims is unprecedented. Despite the company’s we-have-the-first-AR-browser rant, Layar is in fact the world’s second AR browser. The first being Wikitude AR, which provides users with location-based Wikipedia and Qype content using the phone’s GPS, camera and compass. But Wikitude AR is certainly short on features when compared with Layar.
Earlier this week, Acer pulled a 180 and announced plans to ship an Android-based netbook after previously saying the open-source OS wasn't ready for netbooks. For the company's next trick, Acer now plans to dual-boot Android with Windows XP.
According to Acer chairman JT Wang, the dual-boot strategy carries less risk than shipping a netbook with Android alone, as consumer response has yet to be determined for the latter. But the company isn't ruling out a standalone Android netbook either. Acer plans to target telecom providers to sell the new netbook, and if there's enough demand, an Android-only model could be in the works.
Not everyone is happy about the decision, however, particularly open-source enthusiasts. It also remains to be seen what kind of consumer reaction there will be, considering the major selling point of an open-source platform is the reduced cost, but that won't be the case with XP tagging along for the ride.
What are your thoughts on a dual-booting netbook? Hit the jump and let us know!
As if Microsoft didn’t have enough on its plate in advance of the October 22 launch date for its latest operating system, Windows 7, an old, familiar friend is entering the fray. Like a second player that adds a quarter and interrupts your progression in an arcade fighting game, Google is bringing its open-source Android operating system out of the handheld market and into the PC world.
Acer netbooks are the target for Android’s first foray beyond the mobile market. The company has announced that it will begin offering both Microsoft-based operating systems and Google’s Android platform for a majority of its netbooks—or “mini-notebooks,” as Microsoft now prefers to call them. Acer’s latest Aspire One netbook will be the first of its kind to offer Android as an alternative platform, and you’ll be able to pick one up in the third quarter of this year.
The move is a boon for the open-source world… sort-of. For Android is as open as it is Linux, which is to say that it might be based on the Linux kernel, but it’s not a Linux operating system. Similarly, although Android comes close to fulfilling the philosophy and licensing requirements to deem it a full, open-source product, a few qualifiers exist that give cause for concern. Together, these two issues combine to create a troubled picture for Android’s future outside of the mobile market.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Acer will start shipping netbooks powered by Google's open-source Android platform in the third quarter of this year. The new netbooks will supplement -- not replace -- Acer's lineup of Windows-based netbooks.
The 180 comes as somewhat of a surprise, as two months ago Acer had stated it didn't believe Andorid was ready to run netbooks.
"For a netbook, you really need to be able to view a full web for the total internet experience," said Jim Wong, head of Acer's IT products and business line. "And Android is not that yet."
Fast forward to today and Wong is singing praise over Android's ability to provide a fast wireless connection to the Internet, which is apparently enough to outweight any cons the company might have previously felt existed.
If Google's prediction turns out to be correct, this could very well end up the year of the Android smartphone. According to the search giant, at least 18 mobile phones rocking the open-source OS will be released on the global market before 2010, and maybe as many as 20.
Andy Rubin, senior director for Mobile Platforms for Google, said the devices will be made by eight or nine different manufacturers, but stopped short of saying which manufacturers or which wireless carriers. As it currently stands, there are two Android smartphones on the market - TMobile's G1 in the U.S., and HTC's Magic available in Europe.
The summer looks to sizzle with heated competition in the mobile market. In addition to more Android phones, other contenders include the new Palm OS for the Pre, a new version of Microsoft's mobile version of Windows, and of course Apple's iPhone.
A couple of announcements surfaced today, one each for both of the smartphone heavyweights - Apple's iPhone and T-Mobile's G1. If you own, or are considering, one or the other, keep reading.
Amazon Updates Kindle App for iPhone
Score a win for iPhone owners, who now have an improved Kindle app to mess around with. Now in version 1.1, the updated release addresses a few customer complaints, one of them being that users can now read in either portrait or landscape mode. And to make reading easier, you can now change the background and text color combination. Other changes include tap support for turning pages, and multi-touch pinch to zoom in on images.
G1 'Cupcake' Update Pushed Back Until June
G1 owners who have been anxiously awaiting the much anticipated 'Cupcake' update (Android 1.5) will have to wait a little longer. What was originally supposed to be an "early May" release looked like it was finally going to start trickling out this week in the U.S., but word has come down that the update has been delayed at least one more week.
"We are working diligently to get Android 1.5 out as soon as possible, while aiming to ensure a consistent, positive experience for our customers," a T-Mobile forum moderator announced. "We're finalizing this build this week to ensure optimal functionality and smooth delivery. Therefore, the rollout schedule has been reset by approximately a week, and we expect all G1 customers will have the update by early June."
Barring any last minute changes, Android 1.5 will add on-screen keyboard support with auto-correction, text prediction, user dictionaries, and third-party keyboard layouts, live folders, folder shortcuts for YouTube favorites, starred contacts, MPEG4 and 3GP video playback, stereo Bluetooth, a new Linux kernel, browser enhancements, and several other goodies.
T-Mobile's G1 smartphone may not have been the iPhone killer some were expecting, but there's no doubt Google's open-source Android platform is here to stay. So what does the future hold for Android?
According to Strategy Analytics, global Android smartphone shipments will grow a staggering 900 percent in 2009, driven by widespread vendor and developer support. Coming in a distant second (in terms of growth), Apple iPhone OS will see a 79 percent growth rate in the same time period.
"The Android mobile operating system from Google gained early traction in the US in the second half of 2008 and it is gradually spreading its presence into Europe and Asia during 2009," said Tom Kang, senior analyst at Strategy Analytics. "Android is expanding from a low base and it is consequently outgrowing the iPhone OS from Apple, which we estimate will grow at a relatively lower 79% annually in 2009."
Thanks to its low-cost licensing model, mostly open-source structure, and support for cloud services, Android has the potential to be a major force in the smartphone market by the end of the year.