New iPhone hardware rumors

Apple has changed the rules for the Rev 2, 3G iPhone sales. Customers can buy “unlimited quantities” without the AT&T contract that subsides the price.  This is the same tactic Apple used to clear out Rev 1 hardware before they announced the 3G iPhone.

The Apple Developers Conference, June 8-12, would be a good place announce a new rev of the iPhone hardware that will use the new firmware to the best advantage.  Apple could use a new iPhone to offset the Palm Pre and new Android phones.

New Skype on the iPhone rumors

From GigaOM we have the latest rumors about a Skype application for the iPhone. The buzz is that it will be announced next week.  I’ll believe it when I see it on the iTunes app store.

Cell carriers are going to start coming around to the reality that for smart phone users, they are a data carrier.  Voice is secondary and they want greater flexibility.

Update: Ok, I believe it.  I downloaded the Skype app from the iTunes app store today.  It only works over WiFi, but if you can get a WiFi connection, you can talk to your Skype buddies without AT&T having anything to do with it.

3.0 iPhone software

The big news, Cut & Paste!

The new software is supposed to announced tomorrow.  Rumors of a tethering app as well, but expect AT&T to want extra for it.

Apple Netbook rumors

A Mac blogger lists 10 items about a possible Apple netbook.

Not surprisingly, two of those items are about how it’s going to be at the top, and extend upwards, the cost range of netbooks.  Duh! It’s an Apple. 

The other interesting items are:

No keyboard, keeps costs down, and profit margins up. Think of a tablet/iPod touch cross.

It’s a shot across Google’s bow, pushing OS X as a netbook OS. This is in response to Android being ported to the netbook platform.

It will run apps, like the iPhone & iPod Touch. Keep the users locked to Apple via the iTunes interface.  This also keeps Apple in control of the device.

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.

Microsoft rumored to announce their own smartphone

Microsoft has been in the smartphone business for a while, but only as a software vendor with their WinCE OS (ok, so Microsoft calls it “Windows Mobile” now, but the WinCE name is so descriptive).  

There are rumors circulating that Microsoft will be announcing their own smartphone hardware.

Microsoft already produces hardware, the Zune being the closest to what they need for a smartphone platform.  How the current hardware vendors who sell phones with the Microsoft smart phone OS will react to Microsoft starting to compete with them in the hardware arena.

Google’s GDrive

The rumors are flying hot and heavy that Google will start offering online storage.  Ya, you get space with Gmail and with their online photo storage service, but this would be generic storage space.

It will be interesting to see how much ‘free’ space Google offers and how much they will charge for additional space.  Online storage sites have come and gone, so it will be interesting to see what Google’s business plan is.

Personally, I see this as useful for road warriors.  Keep your data in the cloud access it when you need it from your netbook.   For back up, it could be useful, but there are services that do this already and are optimized for backups.   

This will become interesting when the GDrive integrates with Google docs and I’m accessing it on a netbook running Android.

Microsoft is going into the cloud

Microsoft is playing catchup with Google and entering the Cloud Computing space. Here is what CEO Steve Balmer had to say about it:

 “We need a new operating system designed for the cloud and we will introduce one in about four weeks, we’ll even have a name to give you by then. But let’s just call it, for the purposes of today, Windows Cloud.

“Just like Windows Server looked a lot like Windows but with new properties, new characteristics and new features, so will Windows Cloud look a lot like Windows Server.”

We’re not driving an agenda towards being service providers, but we’ve gotta build a service that is Windows in the cloud.”

Microsoft probably feeds the need to respond to Google’s new browser, Chrome.  What I’m hearing about Chrome is that isn’t so much as a entry into the browser market, but a platform for more robust “cloud” based apps such as Google Documents.

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.

It seems that Microsoft is taking this serious enough to announce their own cloud base computing plan.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

The Digg/Google rumors

MIT Tech Review is now covering this story.  Kevin Rose was on the lastest episode of TWiT and talked about it.

He said the company policy was not to comment on such rumors and then went on to say it was not the kind of deal that Digg was looking for at this time.

I wonder if all of his board is as immune to massive amounts of google bucks as he appears to be.