Mucking with Android

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

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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.

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.