Posted tagged ‘Android’

HTC is a friend of Android

June 25, 2009

HTC the cell phone maker was the first company to come out with an Android phone with the G1. They now have two more announced. This latest one has no certain date in North America, but it looks good. I think I might want one.

The specifications look good:

Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE
Bluetooth® 2.0 with Enhanced Data Rate and A2DP for wireless stereo headsets
Wi-Fi®: IEEE 802.11 b/g
HTC ExtUSB™ (11-pin mini-USB 2.0 and audio jack in one)
3.5 mm audio jack
5.0 megapixel color camera with auto focus
Talk time:

*
Up to 420 minutes for WCDMA
*
Up to 470 minutes for GSM

Standby time:

*
Up to 750 hours for WCDMA
*
Up to 440 hours for GSM
microSD™ memory card (SD 2.0 compatible)

This is certainly going to be a compelling phone. It is no secret that I like Android. This added to the their previous phone leads me to believe that Android could take Apple’s iPhoneOS to task. I’m thinking about jumping into mobile development and Android is looking way better than Apple right now to me.

Should Apple worry about iPhone competition?

June 3, 2009

Wired ran this story, “Why Apple Can Afford to Phone It In With the Next iPhone.” It basically reads that the next iPhone, expected to be announced next week, will likely be a minor upgrade. Of course this is all based upon rumors, but as much as Apple tries to be secret typically the rumors aren’t that far off. Aside from the fact that this is all based upon rumors I am inclined to agree with the analysis with one word of caution.

Recently I have been writing about the Android rumors. I really am excited about it, but I have mentioned that my excitement is when they mature and that this is a good indication of what will be when my current iPhone contract runs out. Let me back up. When the iPhone first released the blogs were all abuzz and people lined up for days to get their hands on the first, worthless IMO, iPhone iteration. I largely ignored the first iPhone, not because I didn’t see the bright future, exactly the opposite, but because I knew the future held much more promise than their first release. Apple tested the waters and they were good. So good that they quickly released the iPhone 3g. It was at that point that the hardware was complete enough, though they could have done much better, and the software was complete enough, app store anyone, to grab my attention. Indeed, with that launch Apple sealed their prominence that every other hardware maker aspires to have now. But what this shows is that everyone must go through the growing pains. When Apple released the original iPhone they probably never imagined that the app store would take off like it did. They may not have imagined how people would eventually use or want to use the hardware. The initial released was the baby stage for what would blossom into a powerful teenager. It was and is at this point that I decided it was ready for my use, and it has proven up to the task. With the release of version 3.0 of the software Apple will finally mature the iPhone into adulthood. Where we are now with all other smart phones (Palm pre, G1, Android, Storm) is still infancy. It took Apple over a year for each stage to mature so it only makes sense that all others would follow a similar path to maturity if not slower. So as I see it Apple owns the smart phone market. All other competitors fail on multiple levels, but not for lack of trying. In this way the Wired author is correct. Apple can release a minor upgrade to the iPhone and not worry about losing market prominence or superiority.

With all that said my word of caution is this. Now that Apple is an adult it stands out from the rest, but it is now perched on a ledge waiting to be pushed off. Like I said all the other competitors are still in infancy, but they are showing good signs for quick maturation. For Android there is already a robust API it just needs better hardware. Palm Pre could shake up the industry, but as of yet hasn’t launched, and will likely face problems being tethered to Sprint. The Storm with all of its hardware advantages loses on apps and development platform. These are the same problems Apple faced and overcame. They may have made it look easy, but soon enough competitors will figure things out. Just give them time. Apple may not need to launch a hot new iPhone this time around, but they better have something good coming or else they may find themselves mediocre, compared to the competition, in the not so distant future.

This is why I am so optimistic. There are so many uses for smart phones. I don’t know that I could ever go back, but I am not sold on Apple or the iPhone. Right now I think I purchased the best there is, but the horizon looks good for some serious competition once it is time to upgrade.

Android news

June 1, 2009

This would be quite welcomed by me. Ars is reporting that up to 20 Android phones may be released by the end of the year. I am a huge fan of Android…at least I want it to succeed. Currently I am an iPhone owner, but honestly if the G1 had been a little compelling at the time I might have switched. I am hoping that as more Android phones are released more developers will create compelling apps for the system. There is no word on the “who, what, when, or where,” just yet. The article seems to suggest at the end that this may be more over in Europe with the America following next year:

He also pointed out that, because of the highly competitive handset market in the US, carriers here wouldn’t be as likely as those in Europe to jump on the new devices unless they are distinctive. That means Android fans in the US who aren’t keen on switching to T-Mobile for the G1 may have to wait a little longer than our friends on the other side of the pond, but if Google is on a roll with its distribution agreements, it undoubtedly won’t be long before more phones pop up.

I think it is a bit of a misnomer to say that we have a “highly competitive handset market.” Mainly because that would suggest that other economies don’t. The reality is that we have a highly competitive service provider market who artificially create scarcities to try to lure customers to their service. ATT makes pennies off of the sale of an iPhone, but the data charges and 2 year contract mixed with the sexy appeal of being the only iPhone provider give it a competitive advantage. There are people who would die to get an iPhone but won’t touch ATT. In other countries, particularly Asia, you purchase your phone first and get a service provider second. I think it is fair to say that they have a much more competitive handset market where we have a “highly competitive” service provider market. in Asia the handset makers actually have to do marketing work to lure you into a purchase. Personally I like the Asian way. Back when cell phones were brand new technology it made sense to subsidize phones based upon a 2 year contract. People were skeptical of the service already fearing high prices, and cell phones that comparatively do little cost exorbitant amounts of money. At this point, however, I would be more than willing to purchase a phone outright to avoid a contract. In theory this is possible (though not with an iPhone), but in practicality it isn’t. Given the two major carriers, verizon and ATT, a phone purchased for one would not necessarily transfer to the other giving little reason not to subsidize your phone.

So other than that slight tangent I believe this is good news. I think my timing will work out just right that when my iPhone contract ends I’ll have a couple of compelling choices to choose from as an alternative.

Android on Linux

May 26, 2009

I haven’t had too much experience with the G1 and I thought it was a little bit of a dude, but I am still very excited about the Android project. The potential is there and if someone could pair a good phone with the nice OS I think the market would boom. I do, however, think this latest bit of news is rather exciting. Ars is reporting that Canonical developers aim to make Android apps run on Ubuntu. From the article:

Canonical is building an Android execution environment that will make it possible for Android applications to run on Ubuntu and potentially other conventional Linux distributions. The effort will open the door for bringing Android’s growing ecosystem of third-party software to the desktop.

Google’s Linux-based Android platform is attracting a lot of attention. The new version significantly improves the platform’s reliability and could make it look a lot more appealing to carriers and handset makers. The availability of an experimental x86 port has caused some people to speculate that Android might have a place in the netbook market.

Count me in. This is exciting news. Hopefully we’ll see Android take off. I know I am rooting for it.

Using Android on Netbooks

April 2, 2009

We have talked about netbooks and Google’s Android before. I am pretty excited to see where Google’s Android is headed, and I am very hopefully that netbooks will continue to adopt Linux as a viable OS. Not that I fault anyone for buying a netbook with XP, but as Linux becomes more common on netbooks so too will the OS become more common in the mainstream.

So comes the news that HP is considering using Android in their netbooks. Ars does a good job breaking down the good and the bad. Android isn’t designed for the desktop, at least not yet. The OS is designed more for touch than for external input, but those barriers can be easily overcome. Perhaps the bigger negative is the ecosystem. Android has its own development platform and highly customized kernel. HP already ships with Ubuntu the advantage here is installing all the vast wealth of Linux and Open Source applications. Android would limit that integration with, as of now, a limited iPhone-like app store. However, this disadvantage to the Linux faithful may be an advantage to the Linux noob. If Google is reviewing each application it insures stability and compatability…something Ubuntu can’t do as of yet. It will also be pretty easy to install these applications. With that in mind having Google’s name backing up the otherwise nebulous OS may also be of great importance…who has heard of Ubuntu, but Google is something I can trust.

If HP takes Android in its current state than this is a bad move on HP’s part, but, given the open nature of Android, if they can make it into something truly revolutionary this may be one of the best moves for the Open Source community. Hopefully HP will surprise us all.

Phones, Phones and more Phones

February 18, 2009

I like to discuss phone technology. I believe we are at a point in time where the price for data plans is low enough and the need for phones to do more than just dial a phone call has been reached. I think the iPhone has played a significant role on both fronts. First they created a phone that allowed people to do all the things they could possibly dream of doing and secondly got, at least ATT, cell phone carriers to create data plans that were affordable and virtually unlimited. Now you know that I settled on the iPhone after seeing the G1. Deep down I really would rather have a more open/opensource phone, but wasn’t too pleased with the G1’s first offering. Now it seems that there are more competitors coming to the market.

First there is now a second Android smartphone announced. One of my problems with the G1 was that it was boxy and ugly, not that I require the sexiest phone out there, but hey wouldn’t it be nice? This Android phone looks to fix some of those problems. Beyond that details are sparse, but as far as the OS goes Google seems to be picking up the pace a little bit. Actually if you take the time to look there are some very cool apps for Android that won’t work on the iPhone, but so far nothing that would justify a switch.

The second phone is the Palm Pre. This phone has been the source of some major buzz, partly because it looks and works about as sexy as Apple’s iPhone, but also because it utilizes the touch interface Apple has been threatening lawsuits. Details are now emerging including the fact that the OS is based upon Linux. The application framework looks to be pretty sleek as well. All in all I look forward to the launch of this phone and hope that Palm’s app store will be a little more open than Apple’s.

Still no word about when the Palm Pre will be released or by what carrier, and the second Android looks to be in Europe right now, but it shouldn’t be too long before there are some very inspiring choices here in the states for smartphones. I’ll keep you posted on my findings. I am still hoping to get my hands on a G1 before too long.

iPhone and Google’s G1 Compared

February 2, 2009

There are a few G1s roaming around my work. I am hoping to get my hands on one soon and right a personal comparison. We’ll see if that actually happens. In the mean time Ars has a good run down of the iPhone vs. G1.

When I started looking for a replacement to my old phone (a Moto Razr) I knew I was finally ready for a phone to do more than just make phone calls. I think before I was a little nervous about data limits and the high cost of such data plans. The iPhone started to erode the low limits and the high cost of data plans across the board. I also started to realize the value, given my recent move to the city, of having a phone that can do more than just make phone calls. Not that I would choose to do this by default, but I have the ability to log into any machine I support at work from my iPhone. That can come in handy if I am away from the desk and get a page for a broken service and such. So the time came to figure out what I wanted to get. The two major choices for me were the iPhone and the G1. On principle my default would be G1. I like the fact that it is an open source project and I have warm feelings towards Google. I was happy that the G1 launched before I purchased my iPhone. My decision logic went something like this. When Apple first released the iPhone the hardware, software, and third party apps were all a little rough around the edges (Apple hadn’t released the SDK yet, and no 3G). It took version 2 of the iPhone to fix most of that, and now the iPhone has one of the largest app stores you can imagine. 3G is now included and the phone has a very polished look and feel. That is not to say that the iPhone is the perfect phone in my mind. First off is vendor lock-in, and secondly they clearly have left off functionality. I would love to see an SD slot, the camera phone is horrible, multi-functional software would be nice as well, and finally a better keyboard experience (though I don’t require a hard keyboard).

G1 fixes most of the problems I have with the iPhone, but looses on a lot of the other aspects. I feel like the hardware is an ugly mess, the software is half baked, and third party apps are just starting to take hold. That isn’t to say that the G1 is a bad phone. Now that I have finally seen one in action it is quite compelling, but it isn’t an iPhone just yet. I hope, and am pretty confident, that one day it will be everything the iPhone is, and more, but that day is certainly not today. It took Apple more than a year to get the iPhone as good as it is, and the G1 has only been out for a few months so we just need to give it time. Since I was in the market for a phone immediately, and most of the drawbacks to the iPhone weren’t that bad to me, I decided to go with the iPhone. My hope is that by the time my current iPhone is about to crap out there will be several compelling Google Android phones to choose from, and perhaps even other choices that haven’t yet emerged.

So just as Ars concluded the iPhone barely wins out over G1. If you are looking to buy now go for it, but if your target purchase date is after Spring I would wait. First, Apple will likely come out with a slight variation of the iPhone sometime in the summer, and secondly, perhaps we’ll see more Google Android phones coming to the market. Exciting times.