June 1, 2009 by Tap
It seems that Google Mobile Platforms director Andy Rubin really generated some buzz with his prediction at Google IO that there could be as many as 20 Android phones available by the end of this year. While this was interesting (but not really that surprising given Android's success and growth to date), what I found of more interest were his comments regarding Google's commitment to Android as an "open" platform as well as clarification of the various Android flavours available to carriers and handset manufacturers.
Google has taken some flack from critics who see the strongly Google-branded G1 and HTC Magic phones as cause for concern regarding the openness of the Android platform. Even manufacturers have expressed some concern, most notably Samsung which blamed its delay in announcing an Android phone on the fact that "some operators were concerned about the vision Google has". In an effort to allay these concerns, Google has actually released three different versions of Android as follows:
Option 1: Obligation free – manufacturers can install Android on their devices and provide access to as many apps as they want but cannot preload Google applications like Gmail or Google Calendar.
Option 2: Same as option 1 but manufacturers must sign a distribution agreement to preload Google applications on the device.
Option 3: Google Experience phones – includes Google branding and Google applications which cannot be removed from the phone. This option also provides uncensored access to the Android Market.
By offering these three flavours of Android, manufacturers and carriers are able to choose to what degree the phones integrate with Google so in the case of Samsung's I7500 (a.k.a. Samsung Galaxy), it looks like they’ve gone the Option 2 route as opposed to producing another HTC-like Google Experience Phone. Hopefully we’ll start to see more customisation of the interface and applications as manufacturers embrace the openness of the Android platform. This can only help to increase the number of new Android phones released this year as well as the number of carriers that offer these phones.
Via: The New York Times
May 12, 2009 by Tap
In case you hadn't noticed there's been a sudden outbreak of rumours and leaks regarding forthcoming Android phones. I've intentionally avoided getting drawn into this since spreading rumours without all the facts a) seems a bit pointless b) has a habit of biting you in the bum. This whole 'Bigfoot' saga is a case in point.
At the beginning of last week BGR broke the news of T-Mobile's purported US Android roadmap which made reference to the G1 v2 a.k.a Bigfoot. BGR followed this up a few days later with a supposed image of the G1 v2 but there was just one problem – the phone looked nothing like the Bigfoot mentioned in the leaked T-Mobile roadmap. Then on the 11th BGR again posted the same G1 v2 image this time saying that the phone was in fact being manufactured by Motorola, killing the assumption that the v2 would obviously be HTC kit.
Then things went from bad to worse that same day when Unwired View broke news of a Samsung phone called the Bigfoot. Interestingly enough this did look like the Bigfoot phone mentioned in T-Mobile's roadmap. Confusion sorted right? Wrong. Tmotoday then posted an update saying that according to a source involved in the supply chain, the G1 v2 is still being produced by HTC and is codenamed 'Bigfoot'.
So who do we believe? Is the Bigfoot the same as the G1 v2 and just what does the Bigfoot actually look like? Is it an HTC, Motorola or Samsung phone? I'm none the wiser and until I see some official confirmation, Bigfoot stays off my Android phone list.
April 27, 2009 by Tap
We can finally put previous Samsung rumours to bed with official news that the company's OLED touchscreen I7500 and not the S8000 is going to be its first Android phone – and what a phone it should be. It's taken Samsung a little longer than HTC to come to the party but they've certainly come in guns blazing and will give HTC's G1 and Magic a good run for their money.
So in terms of specs, how does the I7500 stack up? Well firstly there's a 3.2 inch capacitive OLED touchscreen versus HTC's 3.2 inch TFT; a 5 megapixel camera versus 3.2 megapixel; 8GB of internal memory expandable via microSD and instead of the usual mini-USB connector there's a standard 3.5mm stereo headset connector.
Add to that package GPS, Bluetooth and WiFi, all using a similarly spec'd 528MHz Qualcomm processor and you've got a real contender for the number one Android phone spot. Physically the handset will be sleeker (almost 2mm thinner than the HTC Magic) and hopefully lighter. Battery life should also be better thanks to a larger 1500mAh battery together with the improved efficiency of the OLED screen.
Samsung's I7500 is expected to be released this June as an O2 exclusive in Germany so it's not certain that we'll ever see it outside of that country. Nevertheless, if the I7500 is an example of Samsung's commitment to Android, the future looks bright.
April 15, 2009 by Tap
We first got a glimpse of Samsung's supposed Android phone back in March when a blurry slideshow presentation image was leaked. Now, according to a Czech website the same phone's been revealed again and this time we can actually make it out. However, everyone seems to have taken the original source to heart and seem certain that this is an Android phone. I am less convinced.
The original Czech article simply says that the phone 'could be' the first Samsung phone to run Android. That in itself should give some pause for thought. Add to that the fact that there is mention of 'Cubic' which some say is a reference to Samsung’s next interface makes it seem more likely that this phone will run Samsung’s native OS rather that Android. So, the jury is still out and until we get some real facts, this phone will have to stay off the TAP Android Phone List.
Source: iDNES.cz via GSMArena
April 3, 2009 by Tap
At last, some decent Android-related news out of CTIA 2009. It seems that Samsung's plans are progressing nicely and although they had nothing to show at the event, it looks like we can expect their first handset to be released in Europe this June. Could that be the one Orange was referring to as coming shortly after the HTC Hero?
According to Dr. Won-Pyo Hong, executive vice president of global product strategy in the company's mobile communication division, Samsung plans to release several Android devices this year. In addition to the European phone, the company will roll out another two devices in the US, most likely with T-Mobile and Sprint.
Just as interesting as the news of new phones were comments regarding why Samsung has been relatively slow to market their Android phones. It seems that this had less to do with Samsung and more to do with operators who, although keen on Android, are less enthusiastic about the operating system's close association with Google. As a result, Samsung has made a clear distinction between Android phones and 'Google Experience' phones, and chosen the former. What this means in real terms is that although still running Android, Samsung's phones may look and operate differently to what we've become accustomed to with the G1 and Magic.
March 25, 2009 by Tap
Rumours of HTC's Android Hero phone surfaced in the middle of February this year when HTC's supposed 2009 line-up was revealed on ppcgeeks. We haven't heard much about it since but it looks like the Hero has finally been picked up by Orange.
Orange France has already released the G1 as the HTC Dream (they couldn't use the G1 branding as T-Mobile has exclusive rights to that) and now, according to Mobinaute, they will be following that up with the HTC Hero. But that's not all - they reckon that the Hero will be followed by another Android smartphone a few weeks after that. Orange is definitely on a mission here and is keen to capitalise on what they see as the revenue potential of the Android Market.
Even more interesting, although this could be speculation, is that by the end of this year, Orange, in addition to HTC, plans to have Android phones from Motorola, LG, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. That last one especially comes as a welcome surprise as Sony Ericsson, although a member of the Open Handset Alliance, seems to have been very quiet on the Android front this year.
On the OS front, word is that Orange will be releasing the cupcake update for the HTC Dream by the end of April and a second "major update" a month later. Sounds mighty interesting.
March 17, 2009 by Tap
Yes folks - that blurry little picture, courtesy of Pocket-lint is supposedly Samsung's first tenative steps into the world of Android. The image was revealed in a slide show presentation at a dealer event in Amsterdam and comes with equally unclear specs:
- "large" capacitive touchscreen
- 3G support
- 3.2 or 5 megapixel camera
- 528MHz processor
- microSD slot
- Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP
Samsung exec, Won-Pyo Hong, has already said that the firm would start selling more than three Android phones by the end of the year - this looks like number one, although I won't be adding it to my official Android Phone List just yet.
February 20, 2009 by Tap
It seems that this year's MWC was a bit of a let down as far as Android was concerned with most manufacturers paying lip service but not actually delivering. Here's a quick roundup of who did what.
According to T3, the rumour is that the KS360 will be relaunched using Android this year. Other than that, Marketing Manager Jeremy Newing confirmed that two other Android phones would be released later this year. No other details were available.
Chinese handset maker Huawei Technologies was kind enough to show off a non-working mockup of a phone at it's MWC booth and confirmed that it was planning on releasing Android phones possibly in Q3 this year.
They had already confirmed that they weren't going to demo anything at MWC but in a statement to Reuters, Won-Pyo Hong, head of product strategy, said that the firm would start selling more than three Android phones by the end of the year.
In the runnup to MWC General Mobile had confirmed that they would be launching their dual-SIM DSTL1 at the show. As it turns out, they were one of the few manufacturers to deliver. Check out the hands-on video on engadget.
At the end of last month there was speculation that Acer would be getting in on the Android act when they started to distribute invites to their 'smartphones launch' at MWC. Unfortunately this all proved to be unfounded although when engadget pressed an Acer rep for information he did make reference to two mysterious "Android secret models".
Of course the prize has to go to HTC who, together with Vodafone, revealed their next handset, the HTC Magic.
February 12, 2009 by Tap
With this years Mobile World Congress just days away the hope was that this would be the ideal opportunity for Samsung to launch their first Android handset. Unfortunately, according to the UK's Guardian, Younghee Lee, head of marketing at Samsung's mobile device division, said there will be no Android phone at the show, but they are "planning internally" for a release in the second half of the year. She said the company is in negotiations with a number of operators about taking a Samsung-designed Android phone.
Update: February 15, 2009 - according to an article posted eFluxMedia it seems that Samsung never had any intention of revealing an Android phone at MWC and that "their development process is right on time, with the release coming in the second part of the year - just as scheduled."