Tag Archives: HTC
It’s being reported that Android 3.0 will be available during the fourth quarter and most likely in November smartphones with the Google’s newest version of their mobile OS will be released by major wireless carriers. Also coming at the end of the year is Google’s Music service, which was shown off to some degree at Google I/O with a demonstration of a wireless device streaming songs from a computer to a phone through App Engine, the company’s cloud API.
One interesting thing to note about Android 3.0: it will have support for tablet devices that have screens larger than 4″. That makes it hard to determine where a Chrome OS tablet will fit in to the mix, as we have seen on Chromium.org evidence that there will be touch capability available to the manufacturers of the computer-based operating system.
It’s starting to look like although Google will spend huge amounts of resources on developing both Android and Chrome OS, the level of adoption for computer devices using each individual operating system will be left to device manufacturers. While mobile phone companies such as HTC and Motorola have seen enormous success with Android, there’s no stopping the deep pocketed PC manufacturers from developing innovative devices loaded with Chrome OS.
There’s still a deep separation between computers and smartphones, so at this point having a division of the two makes sense. Also, having consumer electronics manufacturer’s battle it out in terms of who can make the best hardware products loaded with Google’s OSs makes total sense, and is a very smart move for the company.
The bottom line is that Google will stay on the sidelines for any type of Nexus One-branded product of their own, providing its support for both OS platforms and if the two eventually merge into one in a matter of years – with perhaps Android the underlying system and Chrome on top for complex web applications – then so be it.
Last week, DownloadSquad’s Lee Matthews discovered some public repository files that referenced three hardware manufacturers: Dell, Acer and HP. A few days later, those files were then replaced by a different listing that included some legacy hardware such as Amiga, Atari and Commodore, among others.
This has got to mean something. One thing that jumped out in my mind when Matthews first reported this story was that Dell is not on the official list of hardware partners. When I contacted a source who is working closely with some official partners on hardware about Dell, I was told that there are no new announcements for the time being.
It seems the three manufacturers and there repository files on the Chromium site point to the logical conclusion that they will be the first companies associated with official Chrome OS products. It’s a different move than the route that was taken for Android where a more upstart company, HTC, took the first leap into the mobile OS and rode that platform to the success that it is today. I really don’t see HTC having the same spotlight it now holds with smartphones if it had continued down the Windows Mobile path it was on a few years ago.
Regardless, I have a great deal of respect for Dell, Acer and HP as longstanding companies producing computer hardware. The fact that they are getting behind this project further validates to me that Chrome OS will be a strong competitor in the consumer computing market over the coming years.
The iPad is ushering in a new era of computing device: the tablet. What’s really exciting is that this has all just begun, and we should expect to see a wide array of new tablets coming to market during the rest of this year. So here are the tablets that are expected to be launched with Chrome OS (along with an app store, we hope) as either the only platform or as an option. Without further ado, some of the contenders that will take on Apple tablet-style.
Specs: 7-inch display, 1GHz Cortex ARM processor, WiFi, Optional 3G
Freescale Semiconductor showed off a tablet running Chrome OS at CeBIT that they said would cost only $200. Although the prototype that they displayed needed a keyboard in order to provide input, they were the first to actually show off a tablet. It’s possible they could bring something like this at a very good price to market, but the concern would be that the components at that price would not be cutting edge and therefore could have problems competing in the market.
But at the same time it’s a cheap tablet, right?
Notion Ink Adam
Specs: 10.1-inch PixelQi display with multitouch, nVidia Tegra 2 graphics and dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, 16GB solid-state drive, Wi-Fi, 3G
Designed in India, the unknown Notion Ink Adam could be a hit, although many also thought that the Fusion Garage JooJoo tablet would be, so we shall see. Nevertheless, this device looks stunning, and with the innovative PixelQi display which can turn off the backlight this could be a great e-reader and web enabled device all in one. It’s expected to have options in terms of storage and connection options, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this tablet is priced close to the iPad. It also has features that Apple’s tablet doesn’t such as a 3.2 megapixel camera and an HDMI output port.
Specs: Qualcomm Snapdragon Processor, possibly dual-touchscreen?
HTC privately showed an Android tablet at CES a few months ago, and speculation is mounting that they will be working together with the folks at Mountain View to produce tablet which may or may not be branded as a Google tablet. Seeing as how Google and HTC have a cozy relationship with Android (Nexus One and G4 smartphones) the first Chrome OS tablet could very likely come from HTC.
The photo shown here is a prototype dual touchscreen concept that the folks at Phandroid have posted. We don’t have any other pictures, so this is the best one to ponder upon.
Specs: Unknown, likely similar to the Eee T91 (pictured here)
Asus is primarily a netbook manufacturer, but CEO Johnny Shih has been adamant about making a tablet. The company already has a hybrid netbook-tablet device called the Eee PC T91, which pairs a keyboard with a display that can be rotated and folded over to transform it into a slate. It has the same specs as your average netbook, running an Intel AtomZ520 with 1GB RAM standard, but interestingly packs a 32GB solid state drive which is a requirement by Google for Chrome OS devices to ensure speed and user interface quality.
I’ve left out a few manufacturers that I need to give mention. Acer has claimed that they will have the first Chrome OS netbook but that is not a tablet and there hasn’t been any good information even if they are working on one. We know that the Dell Linux team has been openly working on Chrome OS (April 7 build here), and it would fit on their Mini 5 line of tablets (also known as Streak) coming out but that is pure speculation.
If there are any manufacturers that I have forgotten, please let me know. In the end, we’ll see some more developments relatively soon. Computex is coming up which will be closing in on the third quarter, a period of time when Chrome OS devices are expected to surface.
Remember 2007? That summer was a magical time for smartphone enthusiasts. That was the summer that Apple introduced the iPhone, and while many said it wouldn’t work (marrying an iPod with a phone would be crazy) the exact opposite happened. Apple changed the smartphone market, created an application store that developers now salivate over and created an operating system platform that now extends to their newest product, the iPad.
It wasn’t too long after that Google announced it would lead a consortium to develop an open source platform for mobile phones called Android. Unlike the iPhone, however, Android took a different path to development into a highly touted architecture used by many smartphone manufacturers. The first phone with Android, the G4 manufactured by the little-know HTC with wireless service by T-Mobile, was a curious device and one that only captured the interests of the most early of the early adopters.
Now Android is a successful commercial system, but because of its open source nature it is not only in smartphones but also in netbooks, tablets and even cars. I can’t wait to run Android on my fridge. It’s so hard to keep organized right now.
Fast forward to today. I do apologize for being repetitive, but here’s the story so far.
Apple introduced the iPad, and while many said that it won’t work (supersizing an iPod Touch would be crazy) the exact opposite may or may not happen (600,000 sold already is not bad though). Apple potentially has changed the tablet market, with an application market that developers are salivating over and offering a device that is far cheaper and more widespread than any other tablet that is on the market.
You can fill in the rest for Chrome OS. I don’t have that information yet, but I would assume that the iPad is leading the way for some interesting open source development when it comes to tablets and other devices.
Gizmodo is reporting today that the Nexus One, released in early January as Google’s flagship Android smartphone product has had very poor sales numbers when compared to its competitors. Counting the seventy-four days since the Nexus One has been released, and then comparing the Droid and iPhone the numbers are paltry for Google. While the iPhone and Motorola Droid tallied a million and 1.05 million respectively, the Nexus One has only shipped 135,000 phones.At that number, the highly touted iPad tablet already has more pre-orders than Google’s official phone has sold.
But let’s go back to highly touted. Although the tablet from Apple was never really a for sure thing, there were plenty of news stories about it long before it was unveiled, one of the biggest was the fact that Apple already owned the domain name for iSlate – the supposed name for the device at the time. So what about the publicity for the Nexus One? Pretty slim, and it almost seemed like and afterthought once Motorola hit it big with the Droid that Google felt they almost had to release their own phone.
On the subject of Motorola, keep in mind that the marketing campaign for the Droid was in excess of $100 million dollars. There wasn’t a time you could turn on the TV and hear a robot saying “Droid” in the commercial blitz that commenced at the phone’s launch. By contrast, I’ve never seen a Nexus One commercial – the only ads that I have seen are on Google pages and some ads sprinkled here and there on the internet.
Just because the numbers are not that good for Google doesn’t mean that they haven’t learned a lot from this exercise. Remember, this was the first actual product that Google has released. And they decided to do it differently than any other mobile phone manufacturer on the market by selling it themselves. Even though in reality it was made by HTC, it has the Google brand on it.
Now they will sell the Nexus One for AT&T, competing directly with Apple – but you have to pay the full $529 for the privilege.
When it comes time for Google to sell their own computing device, what path will they take? I have a feeling that they will sell one themselves, but they may opt to also get the backing of a large manufacturer as well for mass marketing purposes. Remember, Acer as of late has been doing a lot of posturing about being the first to market with a Chrome OS netbook, that they will sell millions of them this year and so on.
Whatever the choice may be, it’s clear that the Nexus One was a trial run that required very little marketing expense for the company, which is where things could have got expensive. After all, it seems as if HTC is rolling out new phones all the time anyway, why not help Google out since incidentally, the search engine giant lent a hand with the G1 smartphone?
And don’t forget, the Nexus One has received favorable reviews, some calling it the best Android phone yet – even Gizmodo. Google doesn’t care about popularity for its branded devices yet; it’s more concerned with providing the best user experience possible.
So Samsung is working on a Chrome OS product. What a shock. Although maybe in a dry news cycle there is an appetite for anything related to Chrome OS, that unfortunately doesn’t really strike me as news. Maybe I’m cynical, maybe I’m a realist (I could also be dumb, you could comment upon that if you want). The truth is that there are probably a whole slew of manufacturers that want to be the first that gets into the genre of Google’s cloud computing platform. But in being realistic that means that the one that offers the most compelling device specs for the initial launch will win.
It would really be no coincidence that Samsung has initialized a partnership with ARM to provide graphics capabilities to their mobile devices, but other sites are not reporting this little nugget of information. Instead of providing specifications for a future netbook, the interest that I have is more about the synergy that Samsung and ARM will create with this partnership.
Sure, its just a press release, but the reality is that Samsung doesn’t need an integrated processing and graphics solution for a television or a mobile phone. It’s to get into the netbook/tablet/smartphone market. And say what you will about them, but their products are pretty good. Mind you, to compete in the soon-crowded cloud operating system market they are going to be dealing with Taiwan companies that have been successful in the netbook market such as Asus and Acer. However, I would not be surprised to see Samsung do some innovative development that puts them ahead of the pack and eventually have a Chrome OS product that is ahead of their competition.
If Samsung is really interested in entering this market and competing on price, then they could do well. Their track record in consumer electronics is pretty good. But HTC, which came out of nowhere, is currently dominating in Android mobile phone sales because they are ambitious and were willing to take risks that traditional mobile phone manufacturers were not willing to do. Is it going to be a consumer electronics company like Samsung that can heed the call for emerging web operating systems? We will see.
There is no speculation at this point that Apple’s tablet has been way overhyped – but it’s been some great free marketing. Plus, the iPad has a leg up on its rivals in that it does not have any solid competition right now in this segment. Many are saying that at $499 ($130 if you want wireless 3G) for the entry level 16GB iPad that this tablet is a good price. But the reality is that it’s a good price because there are not many tablet products out there as well as the fact that it’s a pretty cheap Apple product.
The only other tablet products that are out now are made by PC manufacturers such as HP and Lenovo, but these devices usually come with Windows 7, have swivel keyboards and cost over $1,500. Those products are tagerted toward businesses, and that’s a totally different market altogether than what the iPad is currently focusing on.
What you’re getting is essentially a larger iPhone – without the phone. There’s no camera, you cannot multitask and typing anything other than short texts are going to be difficult unless Apple has some really groundbreaking technology in this product. And did I mention that the operating system for the iPad is closed source?
Apple still doesn’t offer a product in the netbook genre. Instead, they are releasing a tablet. This may be a good idea for them – but I have a feeling once the competition heats up that only those who are Apple diehards are going to want an iPad. In fact, at a recent presentation at Google’ London headquarters, Senior Product Manager of Search Anders Sandholm basically had to go the “no comment” route when asked about whether Chrome OS will have a multitouch tablet product.
Final thought? Apple is going to have a cash cow on their hands – until Google gets a product from a manufacturer like HTC or maybe even an MSI product running Android. Also Motorola has announced plans to bring out a product that is cheaper and has more capabilities. And there’s no doubt that many other companies are going to announce their plans as well.
Don’t believe that Apple is just using this tablet to pad the bottom line from slower iPod sales? Look at this bill of materials report on the iPad by Computerworld. Interpretation? Apple has room to drop this price when competitors arrive, but they will try to keep their healthy margins as long as they can.
Asus doesn’t know what to do. The company, which actually has its roots derived from Acer, has about 30% of the nascent netbook market. And although they showed off a sleek designed Eee PC that was loaded with an ARM processor at Taiwan’s Computex back in June, they showed off relatively nothing at the recent CES show.
That’s probably because although they are testing both Android and Chrome OS in their labs, they haven’t yet decided which one they want to back. It’s possible that Google has made hardware demands to Asus that they company simple does not want to fulfill – creating an Android phone such as the long-rumored Eee phone would be an easier task than being under the scrutiny of being the netbook version of the Nexus One.
Unfortunately, Android just doesn’t appear to have the meat to be able to be a network operating system like Chrome OS does. And with competition coming from Intel’s Moblin as well as Ubuntu, using an operating system that was designed for smartphone use on a netbook just doesn’t seem realistic right now. Rumor is that Android and Chrome OS will at some point merge, but it appears to me that the two platforms are getting further apart in technology.
If the Google netbook is going to have an ARM processor, it is very realistic that HTC could be a dark horse candidate to be the manufacturer. They are taking their lumps a bit with the Nexus One, but that experience along with the fact that they would be entering a new and profitable netbook/smartbook market would be enticing for them to compromise with Google. Besides, before HTC came out with the first Android phone, the G1, who had ever even heard of them before?
So while it is apparent that Google wants to be at the epcicenter of even selling hardware, as the sale of their Nexus One phone on their website shows, it doesn’t appear that their customer service for this product is up to snuff when comparing other wireless providers. It’s being reported that the forums for Nexus One support questions are being overloaded and there is very little in terms of response from Google’s support people on resolutions.
Customer service on the Nexus One support page of Google’s website does not offer a phone number to contact, and email responses that are sent to Google are being responded to in one or two days. Too long, says some of the people over at the official Nexus One support forum.
In looking at the forum, it appears that many of the problems being reported are related to 3g coverage being extremely spotty, and that the phone keeps switching from 3G back to EDGE, which is slower, almost like 2G. Unfortunately for Google, I don’t know how much of this has to do with the hardware or Android, as it may be something that T-Mobile is going to have to address on their network.
And therein lies the problem of Google selling the Nexus One direct to consumers. With Google offering the operating system, HTC providing the hardware and T-Mobile running the network infrastructure, you have a new dynamic that is going on where there is a confluence of factors going into one product. Plus, that leaves some problems out of Google’s sphere of control and therefore is causing customer service problems.
I’m not saying that Google can’t make this right – it just means they need to try to learn from this experience if they want to launch other hardware offerings such as a Google-branded Chrome OS netbook in the near future. Because although that device may reach a different demographic than the Nexus One, it still will require the contributions of several different companies in order for it to be a success.
Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs announced at CES today that the company will be supporting Chrome OS as an operating system for future developmental projects. Their ARM-based chip architecture, known as Snapdragon, is focused on providing solutions for mobile devices that go beyond just the cellphone/smartphone market. Qualcomm has claimed that Snapdragon can support a device with a 12-inch screen.
The Nexus One, Google’s first Android phone product in a partnership with HTC, has a Snapdragon processor. Qualcomm showed off a Asus Eee PC with Snapdragon running Android at Computex in Taipei six months ago. The project was then put on hold, but that’s probably because Google was going to announce the release of the Chromium source code, which they did November 19. A machine like this would do better with Chrome OS than Android.
The Eee PC in the video is also fanless, as the technology does not use much power and thus doesn’t produce a whole lot of heat. That’s pretty cool:
Although the news is not surprising since it has been clear for a while now that Google intends to back devices that have ARM technology that usually is used in phones, Qualcomm supporting Chrome OS tells me that the market sees potential in using Chrome over Android for cloud applications. This further proves to me that Chrome OS is going to be loaded and sold on devices that break the mold of the traditional netbook genre – there will be devices that are smaller and offer very little other than the ability to get on the internet. And they may not support a full-on keyboard either. We shall see.
What exactly is it that Google likes so much about T-Mobile? Once again, as when Android first hit the wireless market, T-Mobile is the flagship wireless carrier for Google. This time it is for the newest Android phone, the Nexus One, which is made by HTC and sold officially by Google.
It started back in 2008 when Android was in its infancy, and yes that was really not too long ago. T-Mobile was the only wireless company that was willing to carry something new and somewhat revolutionary like the G1, also made by HTC. No one except Google one wanted to try to compete with Apple, and the reality is that the G1 was kind of an ugly phone. Although you could do some cool things with it, and Android was open source, the general feeling was that development-wise Android was not ready for prime time.
Well, now it is. And T-Mobile, which is a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom, is reaping the benefits from that earlier partnership. If you don’t opt for the $179 Nexus One with a two year plan, the “unlocked” phone will cost $529. But because the phone is set up for GSM, you can only use it with T-Mobile or AT&T. With Nexus One on the AT&T network, the phone can only operate at EDGE data speed, which is not as fast as the 3G on T-Mobile. This is because the two networks operate on different frequencies. Oh yeah, and it only works in the U.S.
So T-Mobile is the one who is benefiting from the decision to launch Android in the first place. Will there be other versions that will cater to other wireless carriers? There is supposed to be in the spring. We’ll see whether Google decides to make versions that cater to each carrier or not. Whatever the case, it’s interesting to see that Google is selling this phone on their own website instead of T-Mobile’s. There is a strategy in play here behind the reason to do that.
Bottom line? Expect this to be a trial run on how Google plans to release a netbook with Chrome OS. If the Nexus One is successful, I would expect Google to sell a Chrome OS netbook on their own and offer service plans from the wireless carrier of the users’ choice down the line. Intially I would expect T-Mobile to get the first crack at selling wireless data plans to subsidize the netbook’s cost as well.
So, when is Google just going to be billing for data service as well?
Who’s going to make the GoogleBook that is supposed to come out later this year? It’s not known yet, but it looks like there may also be a tablet. The rumor is that HTC is going to show off a tablet that is sporting Android at CES next week, and that there might be a Chrome OS version as well. The idea is to have something that competes with Apple’s impending tablet offering, which is expected to be unveiled later on this month at an official press release.
It’s possible that the ever-prolific HTC has been working on this for a while, although they have been focusing on phone products primarily, this may have been in the pipeline for some time. The rumor is that Google and HTC have been working together for over eighteen months, but if that is that case I would suspect that was initially for the development of the Nexus One phone, which is going to go on sale pretty soon, maybe even this month.
Netbooks, nettops and tablets. This could become overwhelming. But one thing is clear: Apple’s tablet will be going head to head with Chrome OS at some point soon.