Summer of the Smart Phone

Let’s review what is announced/rumored for this summer.

Palm’s Pre is due out in two days.  Will it be enought to save Palm? Hell, Sprint could use the boost too.

Two days after that,  the new iPhone firmware is release, and probably new iPhone hardware as well.

Later this month, Nokia’s N97 is due out

After that,  Google will release another rev of Android and multiple Android phones will be hitting th streets.

Advertisements

Android marches on

Andy Rubin, Google’s senior director for mobile platforms claims that Android will be on 18-20 mobile phones from over a half dozen manufactures by the end of the year.

It will be interesting to see how much of the iPhone/Blackberry Smart Phone market all the G-Phones manages to get.

Google’s Android on more platforms than WINCE (or Window Mobile, which is what they changed the name to after somebody in Microsoft marketing figured out what WIN CE spelled) and Android starting to crop up on netbooks.  If this isn’t causing people at Microsoft to chug Maalox ™ by now, it should soon.

The netbook market

I hear that netbook sales have flattened. The pundits blame it on market saturation. I blame it on manufacturers missing the whole point.

I was at a large compute store the other day and all the “netbooks” they had were running full versions of XP and 120 Gig or larger spinning hard drives.  

The netbooks that sold like hotcakes were lean and fast running.  They booted LINUX of flash ROM and had Solid State drives.  Small, but then it’s a flipping netbook! If you need extra space it’s got SD and USB slots.

To summerize, the sale of small laptops is flat.  The netbook market may pick up again when units running Android hit the street.

Dell jumping on the Android Netbook bandwagon?

Microsoft is rushing to get Windows7 out the door. One reason is so they can push it into the netbook market.

Netbook manufacturers have been looking at alternate OS solutions, including Google’s Android (it’s not just for Cell Phones anymore).

The latest rumor is that Dell is working on an Android based netbook

If a major retailer like Dell starts shipping Android on systems, I’m betting that somebody in Microsoft OS sales is going to buying a lot of Malox ™.

The first Android Netbook

Back in early November of last year, I predicted that Android would be running on Netbooks before Windows 7. Last month, it came out that Asus had Android running on one of their netbooks in a lab.

Now ComputerWorld is reporting that Guangzhou Skytone Transmission Technologies Co. Ltd, based in Communist China, will have their Alpha 680 netbook, running Android, for sale in Q309.  They already have prototypes out in the wild. Here are the known specs so far.

They weigh about 1.5 pounds and measure 8.5 inches long, 6 inches wide and 1.2 inches thick. A 7-inch LCD screen at 800 x 480 pixels, 128 MB of DDR2 RAM (expandable to 256 MB, a 1 GB solid-state disk drive (expandable to 4 GB).  The netbook will have a SD card reader aand two USB ports. It will also have built-in Wi-Fi, keyboard and touchpad. No mention of an Ethernet jack.  Bareboned, but that will put the retail price at about $250, or less than the retail price of your average smartphone.  Battery life is still an issue, with the prototypes running 2-4 hours with the WiFi active. 

This is just the first shot against Windows7 bow in the Netbook market.  I expect more models, more features, better battery life, and sub $250 prices in 2010.

New Android Phones

The makers of the G1 announce that they are working on three new Android based phones.

Details only on one.  About the same size as the G1, but no physical keyboard.

I’m interested to see how Google responds to the latest iPhone firmware announcement.

Android as a Netbook OS

There has been grumbling about the lack of cell phone platforms available for Google’s Android OS. Perhaps it is because the cell phone platform was just a Beta test for Android.

Rumors about Android being targeted for Netbooks have been around for a while.  Well, it’s not a rumor anymore.  Android has been successfully loaded on an Asus Eee PC 1000H Netbook.

A low overhead, open source OS with the backing of the Google brand behind it.   This could be bad news for Micosoft’s sales projections of Windows7 in the Netbook space.  Consumers who are not comfortable with the current alternate of a LINUX based OS would feel more comfortable with a Google branded OS. (Yes, I know Android is LINUX based, but I’m talking marketing here, not the technical aspect.)

The fact that Google has made Android open source, means no OS licencing fee.  The Microsoft licensing fee is a big cut into the profit margin of any netbook sold running XP, Vista or Windows7 in the future.

Add Chrome to the mix, Google’s browser, which many feel was designed more as a platform for cloud based applications than a general purpose browser and you have a platform that fullfills many of the basic functions that users have.   Google has added the “offline” feature” to gmail and their calendar app.  I expect tasks and Google docs to follow soon.

Here is a senario to consider, using your Android cell phone’s G3 connection as the Internet connection for your Android netbook.  The Android to Android connection could be over Bluetooth, WiFi or even a USB cable.