Mucking with Android

I’ve started to muck with Android. Details to follow.

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Two new Android phones

AT&T is finally carrying an Android based phone, this one is made by Dell, and called the Mini 3. This phone has been selling overseas already, so the specs are pretty well known. 3.5-inch 640×360 display, Bluetooth, 3 megapixel auto-focus camera with flash, microSD, and GPS.   Two things catch my eye, no WiFi and and microSD support.  So that is the bad and good points right off the bat.  No WiFi was one of the major complaints about the Crackberry Storm.

The inclusion of a microSD slot is a big, big plus.  The lack of an additional memory source is the biggest strike against the iPhone hardware, IMNSHO.

The other new Android phone is Google’s own Nexus 1.  We’ll see how long that name lasts.  The estate of Philip K. Dick is already taking legal action against the name.  Otherwise, this is an impressive bit of hardware. It sports a one-gigahertz processor, a 3.7-inch display, a five-megapixel camera, light and proximity sensors, and dual microphones that allow for noise cancellation.  Woot! This phone also has a removable battery!  The serious road warrior can pack a spare for emergencies.  The phone itself only has 512 Meg of flash memory, but it comes with a 4 Gig microSD card.  The phone will support up to 32 Gig in that slot, so expansion is available.

You can buy an unlocked phone direct from Google fro $529.

The Droid

Verizon has finally gotten what could a be a viable iPhone replacement.  A phone running the latest version of Google’s Andorid OS and a growing supply of applitions.

I haven’t got my hands on one yet, but I’ve read a few reviews that state it stands up quite well in head to head comparisons with the iPhone.  The biggest complaint I’ve heard is that the iPhone has a much deeper pool of applications available.  Not suprising, but I expect the number of Android apps to grow quickly.

Verizon is also pushing its much wider 3G coverage heavily, but it’s still not a GSM network.  That topic has been discussed here, and I’m sure it will again, but I’m still a fan of GSM networks.  It is my opinion that Verizon is going to have to bite that bullet sooner or later.

The Droid phone and its OS have another advantage, open source.  The iPhone is locked down tight by Apple.  It controls your apps, what they can do, and how much data you can transfer over the cell phone network.  An Android based phone, with a SIM slot, is much more flexible.

More colleges using google for student email systems.

I reported just over a year ago, that Worcester State College replaced its Microsoft Exchange based email system for Google Apps for student email accounts.

According to the Google blog, they have a lot of company now. I see this sort of outsourcing of a basic IT function as a win for both the students and the colleges.  The students are probably already used to the interface, so less of a learning curve for them and reduced training and support costs for the campus IT staff.

It also frees up the IT staff to focus on providing new services. Then there is the plus of less people using Exchange and Outlook.  I’ve supported Exchange servers and Outlook lusers. Saving other IT people from that fate is a good thing IMNSHO.

Bad move by Apple

Apple barred the new Google Talk App from the iTunes App Store.

The initial claim was that the app duplicated core services of the iPhone.

To get around Apple’s monopolitics ban, point your iPhone browwer to www.google.com/talk.

There has been other fallout from Apple’s ban, besides pissed off customers, the FCC is asking questions and Google CEO Eric Schmidt resigned from Apple’s Board of Directors.

Then there is also the added buzz about Google Talk this has generated. Perhaps it would have been better for Apple just to have allowed the app in the iTunes app store.

I called the Chrome OS back in October

Google announced an OS based on Chrome, this is supposed be a seperate OS than Android, which is already shipping on smartphones and has been ported to netbooks.

The Chrome OS is based on open source LINUX code, and Google plans on freely distributing the OS. This can’t make Microsoft very happy.

Back in October 2008, I noticed that Chrome had the potential to be a thin layer OS.

One of the exisiting theories is that Chrome is the first componet of a Google OS.  Chrome is supposed to be the interface to the applications.  If you look under the hood of Chrome, it is built more like an OS than a browser.

All it will need is a thin layer to access the hardware (boot, and then interface with video/storage/audio/periferal I/O(USB for a start)/network interfaces)  and it’s pretty much good to go.

This would a thin client model with most of the applications out in the cloud, and as much of the data. as well.

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.