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.
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.
On day two of Google's I/O Developer Conference, the search giant announced a new platform called Google Wave. Arguably more ambitious than anything the company has done before, the new service looks to answer the question, 'What might email look like if it were invented today?'
The answer is anything but simple, and apparently it's not Gmail. Instead, Google Wave attempts to fuse what looks like a piece of client software with sophisticated threaded email, plus a whole bunch more. Instant Messaging is a big part of Google's vision for Wave, which will act like an IM when multiple collaborators are online at the same time.
Looking at the screenshots, Wave resembles something of a social networking app, sort of a Google meets Facebook meets Flickr, for lack of a proper description. With Wave, collaborators will have access to workgroup editing and instant photo sharing, and include a 'revolutionary' spell checker.
So what's the point? Well, to take on Microsoft in the online productivity arena, for one (and in a different way than Google Docs). Other possible reasons: to reinvent the web communication experience, to fully embrace the emerging HTML 5 standard, and to continue its domination of all things online.
Google is quick to point out that Wave is still in its infancy, so it might be awhile before we get a real feel for what Wave can offer. In the meantime, there's a ton more information on this interesting new service here and here.
Ready, aim, SPEND! That's the approach Microsoft is planning for Bing, its new search engine, Advertising Agereports. How much coin is Redmond prepared to spend to market Bing (previously code-named Kumo)? Somewhere is the $80-100 million range, Ad Age says, compared to Google's non-recruitment ad spending in 2008 of around $13 million. But, can spending 6-8 times as much as Google give Bing the jump it needs?
Microsoft's ad push (helmed by ad-agency powerhouse JWT) will not, unlike the recent anti-Apple campaign, mention Microsoft's search rivals - instead, the planned ads will ask consumers if search works as well as they'd like.
How about the product itself?
People who've seen the Microsoft product suggest it's useful and has some nifty filtering tools, even though it's not a markedly different-looking interface, at least for text search (some of the multimedia search results, however, do look quite different from how Google currently displays them).
When will Bing shove aside Live Search? The Register says "June," and also suggests keeping an eye on the D: All Things Digital conference this week for more details.
Google has long been an advocate of saving energy where possible, and now they’re bringing that same policy to their users with the recent introduction of the Google PowerMeter, a gadget that allows you to track your home’s power consumption.
The gadget will track your juice use by pulling information from your power company, just so long as it’s one of their partners. Their partners include: San Diego Gas & Electric (California), TXU Energy (Texas), JEA (Florida), Reliance Energy (India), Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (Wisconsin), White River Valley Electric Cooperative (Missouri), Toronto Hydro–Electric System Limited (Canada), and Glasgow EPB (Kentucky).
Currently the feature will only be handed out a small group of customers with each utility company, but this is purely for testing. They plan on making it more available once this process is taken care of.
If you’re interested in finding out more, be sure to check out the PowerMeter home page here.
It’s expected that Microsoft’s search engine rebrand will soon make its official debut.
The official announcement for Kumo is expected to come at the D: All Things Digital Conference next week, where CEO Steve Ballmer is currently scheduled to appear onstage.
With the rebranding Microsoft hopes to gain a new foothold in the search engine market that they currently only have an 8.2 percent market share in. They’ve got some pretty stiff competition as well, considering that Google’s search engine market share is a whopping 64.2 percent.
According to Google’s co-founder Larry Page, Twitter has them beat in the race to meet web user’s demands for real-time information – by a long shot.
Instead of gearing up for some heavy competition in this market, Google’s Search Engine Chairman and Chief Executive, Eric Schmidt, has hinted towards them becoming a partner of Twitter. “People really want to do stuff real time and I think they [Twitter] have done a great job about it,” said Eric Page. “I think we have done a relatively poor job of creating things that work on a per-second basis.”
No official word yet on what the partnership could be, but it’ll surely be an interesting situation to watch.
Google’s translation tool, which makes translating entire web sites extremely easy, is making its way to Gmail labs this month. Finally, you can find out exactly what those Japanese “happy pill” emails in your junk folder say!
The translation tool reportedly works in just a few seconds, and will translate both the subject and the body of the email while keeping the original intact. You can swap between both versions of your message by clicking a link.
Translated items won’t stay translated though; you’ll have to re-translate a message every time you wish to read it. And, the translated words don’t get cycled into Gmail’s search engine, so if you’re trying to track down a foreign email, make sure you remember how to type the characters type a required key word.
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.