After weeks of anticipation it looks like Android fans will finally have a worthy iPad contender from Motorola that can challenge Apple for tablet supremacy.
Unfortunately Motorola’s Xoom just made one major mistake that may convince consumers to overlook the Android tablet and instead choose iOS instead.
The first device to run Google’s new Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system, the Motorola XOOM will be available for purchase from Verizon Wireless for $599.99 with a new two-year customer agreement or $799.99 without a contract. Wireless 3G data service for the Motorola XOOM will begin at $20 monthly access for 1GB. The Motorola XOOM will be upgradeable to 4G LTE service at no additional charge in the second quarter of 2011. (via Android Central)
Note: Emphasis mine.
While the Xoom does look impressive and is cheaper than the iPad 3G (the latter which starts at $629), the fact that you have to sign up with a 2 year contract will probably be a turn off to the masses (who may already have a contract via their smartphone).
Although users can pick up the Xoom for about $800 contract free, that price range will put it out of reach for the masses who may simply opt for a less expensive Wifi iPad instead.
With iPad 2.0 expected to debut this summer, Motorola better hope that Apple doesn’t launch a less expensive iPad as that could result in a lot of Xoom tablets rotting away in ware houses over the summer.
There apparently is a disturbance in the iOS caused by Apple Execs at Cupertino (with Steve Jobs blessing of course).
In a bid to make the user experience “even better,” Apple is requiring that subscription services (like Amazon’s Kindle app or Pandora) provide in app purchasing to users which means Apple gets a 30% cut right off the top.
This rule wouldn’t be so bad if it were not for the fact that Apple is dictating (yes I said it!) that developers maintain the same price within the iOS ecosystem as they do upon other platforms.
Instead of cursing Steve Jobs, Cupertino and all things starting with “i,” here are several alternatives iOS developers can take in order to avoid Apple’sÂ ridiculousÂ fees without having to leave the iOS universe. More →
If the draconian rules upon iOS are Apple’s weakest points, Android’s can be summed up in one word: apps.
Despite the fact that Android is going to dominate the mobile verse, it looks like Google’s hack friendly OS will not have theÂ privilegeÂ of carrying one important app.
The good news is, manufacturers were showing off Netflix on Android devices this past week at theÂ Mobile World Congress and it looks as good as you would expect. What’s the bad news, then?
If you already own an Android device, Netflix likely won’t work on your device. As a matter of fact, it will only work on new devices and possibly not all of those. We’re placing a bet right now that “Netflix included!” is the tagline of the next successful generation of Android phones. (via RWW)
Since Netflix is in the streaming movie business, they probably are avoiding creating a universal Android app due to the fact that the mobile OS is “DRM unfriendly” (as hackers are constantly manipulating the software).
Either way, Google needs to find a way to discourage companies from embracing select Android’s devices again, as it not only fragments the ecosystem (something Steve Jobs argues), but encourages people to seek rival platforms like iOS and Windows Phone 7.
Hopefully Netflix will change their mind and embrace the Android Market overall as excluding devices based upon the lack of DRM is not only silly, but reduces their overall reach.
Although Microsoft has done pretty good job of selling Windows Phone 7 to carriers, the company is still being quiet on how many phones they are activating (i.e. consumers actually buying) in the wild.
Despite their silence as far as market share goes, Microsoft is hoping to increase their mobile presence by offering the masses a deal that is mostly unheard of within the smartphone industry (at least in the US).
Last Sunday, AT&T kicked off a special offer where you can buy an Acer Aspire TimelineX AS1830T and a Windows Phone (either a Samsung Focus or LG Quantum) for just $199.99 with new 2-year service agreement. Itâ€™s a pretty sweet deal for a Windows 7 PC and a new Windows Phone 7 device!
The AS1830T comes with some pretty nice specs: an Intel Core i3 Processor (1.2 GHz), an 11.6â€ backlit LED screen, and up to 9 hours of battery life. You can explore the capabilities of this PC from AT&Tâ€™s websiteÂ here. (Windows Experience Blog)
On paper this deal actually does look pretty good and it may convince a few users to join the Windows Phone 7 flock.
Unfortunately in order to accept the deal users will have to sign up with AT&T (who has beenÂ prominentlyÂ mocked regarding their signal strength) as well as overlook promising smartphones like the Motorola Atrix (which boasts a 4G signal) not to mention iPhone 4.
While this combo deal is a great start, Microsoft may need to do something more in order to promote their mobile device, as they are going to need something bigger than a “made by Nokia” sticker in order to convince consumers to purchase it over Android or the iPhone.
It looks like Microsoft has announced a Valentine’s gift for Windows Phone 7 fans which should make it easier for them to view the web without envying their iOS friends.
As far as iOS rivals go however, Microsoft had a few words regarding the browsers of their competitors.
As a result, when you compare different browsers side by side using official W3C standards tests, for exampleÂ here, you can expect very similar results for IE9 on Windows Phone and the Windows desktop. [...]
Our approach to sharing code involves using the same engine and the sameÂ highly-rated SmartScreen services. Using different enginesâ€”even subtly different enginesâ€”results in making developers do a lot more work and re-work to accommodate the differences. Articles likeÂ The WebKit Lie and the Future of Web Standards andÂ iPad is the new IE6 reflect the problems in fragmented nightly builds and forks. (Official IE Blog)
Although it’s good to see Microsoft finally release a decent browser upon Windows Phone 7, they may want to hold off on attacking the iPad until the company can come out with a superior browsing experience (as IE on Windows Phone 7 is not exactly that great).
Later on in their post Microsoft did announce support for HTML5 which should make it easier to use mobile sites on the go (like Weebly and Tumblr) without having to fire up the notebook.
(Image via Top Tech Reviews)
After giving up on MeeGo (unofficially that is), Nokia has announced that they are now courting Windows Phone 7 OS in an attempt to revive their dying brand.
Nokia will adopt Windows Phone as its primary smartphone strategy, innovating on top of the platform in areas such as imaging, where Nokia is a market leader. [...]
Nokiaâ€™s extensive operator billing agreements will make it easier for consumers to purchase Nokia Windows Phone services in countries where credit-card use is low.
Microsoft development tools will be used to create applications to run on Nokia Windows Phones, allowing developers to easily leverage the ecosystemâ€™s global reach. (Official Microsoft Blog)
While Nokia’s abandonment of MeeGo isn’t surprising, some may ponder why Nokia chose Android (whose OS boasts hundreds of thousands of apps) over Windows Phone 7 (who has yet to cross 10,000 apps total).
Although courting Android would have been a wiser move in the short run (especially seeing how popular the devices are in the US), choosing Windows Phone 7 was better in the long run for 3 simple reasons. More →
After being birthed from an alliance between Intel’s Moblin and Nokia’s Maemo, Nokia reportedly may abandon MeeGo altogether instead of using the prized mobile OS to compete against Android as well as iOS devices.
Nokia has stopped developing its first smartphone using the MeeGo operating system, two industry sources close to the company said.
In a leaked internal memo, Chief Executive Stephen Elop wrote: “We thought MeeGo would be a platform for winning high-end smartphones. However, at this rate, by the end of 2011, we might have only one MeeGo product in the market.” (Reuters)
This isn’t good news for Nokia who hasn’t designed a decent smartphone ever since iOS was first unveiled to the world.
While the company undoubtedly makes some of the best phones around (hardware wise), the company has never excelled at software which seems to be the achilles heel for theÂ company.
Betting on Symbian is probably equally foolish, especially in light of Android’s rise which could make the company obsolete half a decade from now.
Nokia’s only hope may lie with ditching Symbian for Android, although it wouldn’t be surprising to see the company choose Windows Phone 7 OS instead (given that their CEO Stephen Elop use to work for Microsoft).
Google apparently is losing their fear when it comes to courting the iPhone as the search company has unveiled another free iOS app for the masses to download.
The new app accepts voice input for 15 languages, andâ€”just like the web appâ€”you can translate a word or phrase into one of more than 50 languages. For voice input, just press the microphone icon next to the text box and say what you want to translate.
You can also listen to your translations spoken out loud in one of 23 different languages. This feature uses the same new speech synthesizer voices asÂ the desktop version of Google Translate we introduced last month. (Official Google Blog)
Overall the Google Translate app is rather impressive, although it will probably make Google’s HTML5 version more or less obsolete (as the native iOS app has more features).
Google has been aggressively courting the iPhone ever since Apple approved Google Voice.
With the exception of the Blogger team, Google has not hinted on which iOS app they plan on releasing next, although hopefully the company will consider Gmail in the near future (as Apple’s default mail app is not exactly pleasing to use).
Honestly I’m still puzzled as to why Motorola wasted $6 million producing a super bowl ad by trying to redo Apple’s 1984Â commercial (except this time portraying Apple users as mindless sheep).
The ad was so underwhelming that even commentors upon Android Central are complaining about it.
Although the Motorola Xoom looks impressive (thanks to Android’s latest OS, Honeycomb), the company should have emphasized why one should purchase a Xoom over an iPad, instead of trying to take subtle jabs at Apple (as you can see in the commercial below). More →
After previously announcing that one million public domain books were available upon Google Books, the search engine giant has announced another first involving 7 digits.
Google has digitized one million books from member libraries of theÂ Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC). The CIC is the consortium of the Big Ten member universities and the University of Chicago.
Each of these volumes has been scanned, translated from image to text with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology and added to the Google Books index. [...]
While Google preserves library books in digital form, and makes them more accessible to more people as a result, it also sends participating libraries (at no cost to us) digital copies for our own archives or other non-commercial use. (Inside Google Books)
The additional volumes should help Google compete against eBook giants Amazon and (to a lesser extent) Apple’s iBook store, the former which seems to have been a hit with publishers.
Google Books still has a long ways to go before it can catch up to rivals, but if successful it could prove to be a lucrative enterprise for the search giant as well as help them generate some revenue beyond their “one trick pony” (i.e. search).