Apple and Google seem to get all the press in the mobile industry, but it’s easy to forget that Garmin has had a smartphone in the game now for over a year. GPS junkies aside, these handsets never seem to have reached the market share levels the company was expecting and CFO Kevin Raukman has suggested that they might finally be pulling the plug on their handset division. In an interview with Reuters he said they would need to make a decision on how to proceed within the “next couple of quarters”.
Raukman’s decision will boil down to either continuing forward with what appears to be a failing platform, or “pull back”. Garmin has had a tough time gaining a foothold in the mobile industry, but it would be rather unfortunate to see them give up all together. I think most smartphone enthusiasts would agree that the days of a dedicated single purpose GPS are numbered, which means Garmin could face a tough road ahead if they give up on mobile.
A new report from Gartner Research claims that Google's Android operating system will grow rapidly in the remaining months of 2010, passing both Apple and RIM. If you don't follow the smartphone world closely, you could be forgiven for forgetting Nokia is still number one worldwide. While their phones are rarely offered by US carriers, the market in other nations often encourages users to buy unlocked phones. Those are often Nokia handsets.
In late 2009, Android had only 3.9% of the market - Apple had three times more. Google is expected to hit about 17.7%, which will clobber Apple's iOS, and just edge out Blackberry. While iOS is still growing, Blackberry has been falling. The tepid response to the Blackberry Torch isn't helping matters.
Android has spread to all US carriers, and more manufacturers are getting in on the fun. It's impressive to see Google come from behind so quickly, especially considering the state Android was in before the release of the Motorola Droid.
Social networking addicts have a new entry-level camcorder to play with in Sanyo's VPC-GH4. For $200, this newest addition to Sanyo's Xacti line purportedly offers easy tagging and uploading of videos and pictures to sites like Youtube, Facebook, and Picassa. Twitter users will also benefit from the bundled software, which serves up a convenient link for use with the microblogging service, Sanyo says.
"More than ever, consumers are interested in easy to use imaging solutions that deliver with cutting edge technology," says Tom Van Voy, General Manager of the Consumer Solutions Group for SANYO North America. He added, "SANYO’s GH4 offers the perfect blend of style and performance while recording archive quality photos and videos that people will be proud to display on their HDTVs or share with friends and family from their computer."
Looking over the spec sheet, Sanyo has a compelling package in the budget camcorder arena. The $200 Xacti boasts 10MP photos, a 2.7-inch LCD monitor, Full HD videos at 1080, 60i (1920x1080), 10X dual range optical zoom, SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card support, and mini-HDMi port.
We can pretend like we're all surprised that T-Mobile took the wraps off HTC's G2 smartphone, the long awaited followup to the now crusty G1, but it's not like we didn't know this was coming. We are, however, stoked that it's finally here, which means we can officially put the G1 in our rear view mirrors.
T-Mobile says the G2 is the first smartphone designed specifically for the wireless carrier's new HSPA+ network covering 100 million Americans in more than 55 major metropolis areas across the nation. It also comes with a 3.7-inch touchscreen, and like the original G1, there's a full QWERTY keyboard tucked inside.
"T-Mobile ignited the spark that set the Android world ablaze two years ago with the launch of the world’s first Android-powered mobile phone, the T-Mobile G1, which remains an important milestone for both T-Mobile and the Android operating system," said Cole Brodman, chief technology and innovation officer, T-Mobile USA. "Now, with the launch of the T-Mobile G2, we are re-teaming with our partners at Google and HTC to provide T-Mobile customers with another first — the first Android smartphone designed to deliver 4G speeds on our new network."
The G2 crashes the smartphone party with a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM7230 processor clocked at 800MHz, 4GB of internal memory with a pre-installed 8GB microSD card, built-in 3.5mm headphone jack, 720p playback, and a 5MP camera with LED flash all wrapped in Google's Android 2.2 (Froyo) platform.
We had to dig a little bit to find any pricing info, and it looks like you can snag one "on approved credit [for] $125 down payment, plus 3 monthly payments of $125." That comes out to $500, and we expect around $200 with a 2-year service agreement.
We're starting to see some non-Apple-y tablets peek into the market place, like the eLocity A7 unit that's now available for preorder. That means competition will start to heat up for the iPad, which up to this point has had the tablet market mainly to itself. How will the iPad fare in 2011?
According to UBS Investment Research, the iPad will continue to fly off virtual and brick-and-mortar shelves for a long while to come. UBS reckons Apple could move 28 million iPads in 2011, enough to affect the sales of lower end PCs.
"Sales of traditional notebooks appear to be feeling pressure from the iPad, causing a scramble by vendors to launch iPad-like tablets," UBS Investment Research analyst Maynard Um wrote. "We believe that a majority of this impact is occurring on the lower end of PC sales as the iPad is priced close enough to this range that it becomes attractive to consumers looking to make purchases within this segment."
Naturally, that would be just fine with Apple, which doesn't really dabble in the low-end PC market anyway.
"If it turns out that the iPad cannibalizes PCs that, I think, is fantastic for us, because there are a lot of PCs to cannibalize," Apple COO Tim Cook during a recent earnings call. "It's still a big market."
LaCie has expanded its lineup of USB 3.0-enabled external hard drives (maybe because the Rugged USB 3.0 mobile hard drive it launched in late April had begun pining for siblings). The Minimus and Rikiki are the company's latest USB 3.0-powered HDD offerings. If you believe in love at first sight, then an innate predilection for “sturdy brushed aluminum”will surely boost the odds of you falling for these two drives.
"The Minimus and Rikiki USB 3.0 offer our customers easy and affordable options to access the super speeds of USB 3.0," Philippe Rault, LaCie Consumer Product Manager, is quoted as saying in a release. "Since these products offer backward compatibility with USB 2.0, they will work on any PC or Mac with no worry."
Sources are indicating today that Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system will be launching on October 11. An event in New York is expected to be used to introduce the operating system to the public at large. Interestingly, this doesn't mean you will be able to head to the local mobile phone shop top buy one right away. Phones should be available to consumers later in the month.
Microsoft will presumably have final hardware at this event to best show off the new OS. At the very least, we should see a phone that consumers will actually be able to buy. We have previously heard that phones will come from manufacturers like Asus, HTC, LG, and Dell.
Since it's unveiling at Mobile World Congress 2010, development seems to have proceeded quickly. But will this launch happen in time to give Microsoft a shot in the mobile space?
The rumor mill has been very busy churning out tablet rumors in recent times. Last month, tech blog DownloadSquad made its long-awaited contribution to the growing body of tablet rumors by claiming that HTC was building a Chrome OS tablet, which would be launched by Verizon on Black Friday, November 26 – the busiest shopping day of the year. But the chances of that happening are virtually nonexistent, if Anders Sandholm, Google Chrome's senior product manager, is to be believed.
"What we are focusing on is netbooks in terms of form-factor and providing a really good experience for that," Sandholm told our sister site TechRadar. Although he didn't rule out “experiments in things like touch and other form-factors,” it is clear from Sandholm's comments that a Chrome OS-based tablet is not currently in the works. The first Chrome OS devices will be available next year.
Oh no Qualcomm, say it isn't so! That mighty 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon chip we've been so anxiously looking forward to isn't slated to ship until July 2011, and maybe later.
This is the same part that we were previously told would show up in the first quarter of 2011, but apparently someone at Qualcomm misspoke. Qualcomm's PR dudes were quick to clarify that it's the 1.2GHz Snapdragon part that we'll see in early 2011, with the faster 1.5GHz silicon hopefully making it in time for the holiday shopping season next year.
On the bright side, a dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor should make for a nice upgrade over today's single-core 1GHz parts. And with Samsung hard at work developing a 2GHz dual-core mobile chip, we're still stoked about both the short- and long-term outlook of smartphones.
Seiko is trying to bring digital watches back in style, and to help do that, the company is equipping new models with e-ink displays.
This isn't the first time Seiko has gone this route, having used e-ink in a handful of limited edition watches for the ladies a few years back. They never really took off, which Seiko hopes is only because it was an idea slightly ahead of its time.
These second-gen e-ink watches sport an active matrix display that allows the screen to "actively" refresh itself whenever needed. The battery is only used when changing the display, so in theory, these suckers should run for long, long periods of time.
It's also equipped with a solar cell, and the movement is radio controlled so that it receives its time from an atomic clock. It all looks pretty promising (and geeky), and if the recent ebook price war is any indication, these things might actually end up being affordable too.