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Android Embraces The Dark Side, Abandons Free Spirit

google android angry logo 490x350 Android Embraces The Dark Side, Abandons Free Spirit

Known for slaying Symbian and instilling fear within the heart of Steve Jobs, Android has apparently taken a turn for the worse.

In an attempt to squash fragmentation and speed up OS updates, Google is no longer allowing manufactures, carriers and the average hacker to modify Android without their express permission.

Over the last couple of months Google (GOOG) has reached out to the major carriers and device makers backing its mobile operating system with a message: There will be no more willy-nilly tweaks to the software. No more partnerships formed outside of Google’s purview. From now on, companies hoping to receive early access to Google’s most up-to-date software will need approval of their plans. And they will seek that approval from Andy Rubin, the head of Google’s Android group. (BusinessWeek) More →

Google Fiber Comes To Dorothy’s Home State

DorothyGaleNeill Google Fiber Comes To Dorothys Home StateAfter postponing their decision of which town was worthy of Google Fiber, it looks like the search engine giant has finally chosen a city to host the future of the internet.

After a careful review, today we’re very happy to announce that we will build our ultra high-speed network in Kansas City, Kansas. We’ve signed a development agreement with the city, and we’ll be working closely with local organizations, businesses and universities to bring a next-generation web experience to the community. (Official Google Blog)

Although the state of Kansas is known mainly for Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, it looks like the region (or rather the city) will soon be famous for boasting 1 gigabit/sec connection speeds.

Google plans on launching the service in 2012, although the company has not yet revealed what the prices will be for Google Fiber, although they do mention it will be “at a competitive price.”

Despite the fact that Google could only choose one city in the US, hopefully other internet service providers will be able to match Google’s speed in order to increase broadband speeds for the benefit of all.

Image Credit: John R. Neill

QR Codes Get Marketers Attention

QR codes have been around for more than a decade, but it is only now that they are gaining popularity in the United States. And now, more than ever, marketers are looking at the extensive possibilities that QR codes offer.

QR stands for Quick Response, and a QR code is another version of barcodes, so to speak. It is composed of black and white squares, and it serves as a repository of data in large amounts. You’ve probably seen QR codes – think of them as barcodes on something, steroids maybe. They are just a little larger and look slightly different from barcodes.

Much like you need a barcode reader to decode the data contained in a barcode, you need a QR scanning application to your smartphone, or any other similar device with a camera. You then need to scan the QR code, and it is up to the application to give you the data that the code contains. More →

IDC: Apple’s iOS Will Lose To Windows Phone 7

idcwp7iosandroidchart IDC: Apples iOS Will Lose To Windows Phone 7

The International Data Corporation (or IDC for short) apparently is able to gaze into the future and declare the dominant mobile OS in 2015.

While IDC isn’t doubting that Android will dominate the globe for the foreseeable future, their predictions regarding iOS are a bit puzzling.

“Up until the launch of Windows Phone 7 last year, Microsoft has steadily lost market share while other operating systems have brought forth new and appealing experiences,” added Llamas. “The new alliance brings together Nokia’s hardware capabilities and Windows Phone’s differentiated platform. We expect the first devices to launch in 2012. By 2015, IDC expects Windows Phone to be number 2 operating system worldwide behind Android.” (IDC) More →

No iPhone 5 From Apple This Summer?

iphone 5 No iPhone 5 From Apple This Summer?Based upon Apple’s previous schedule one should take this report with a huge grain of salt.

However considering the news is from Jim Dalrymple (who has a solid reputation according to Gruber) Cupertino might be throwing everyone a curve ball.

At past WWDCs, Apple might show off a new piece of hardware, but Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg warns about getting too caught up in the past.

“You get caught up in patterns, and it holds true, until it doesn’t,” Gartenberg told The Loop. “There is no reason for Apple to follow a predictable yearly pattern, and it keeps their competition off guard a little bit.” (The Loop)

Although rumors abound that Apple will release an update to iOS, the company might be delaying iPhone 5′s release in order to not upset Verizon iPhone 4 owners (who just purchased the device in February of 2011).

If the report turns out correct, then we may see Apple release iPhone 5 later on in the year (with some speculating a September launch along side the rumored iPad 3).

While this news would disappoint millions of users (this author included), it could give rivals like Nokia and Microsoft some breathing room, not to mention manufactures of Android devices as well.

(Image Credit: ITProPortal)

Motorola Hedging Their Bets Against Android?

motorola logo big Motorola Hedging Their Bets Against Android?Unlike Nokia (who abandoned MeeGo for Windows Phone 7), Motorola doesn’t seem to keen on relying upon Android to guarantee their future.

While the company has experienced success with the Droid serious, the company apparently is working on building their own mobile OS.

Over the past nine months, Motorola has been hiring engineering talent that would well-suited to create a new mobile operating system. Its team appears to include a significant number of ex-Apple and Adobe personnel, including Gilles Drieu, VP of software engineering at Motorola Mobility, Benoit Marchant, director of engineering at Motorola Mobility, and Sean Kranzberg, also a director of engineering at Motorola Mobility. (Information Week)

Although using Android has revived Motorola’s fortunes, the company is probably nervous about relying upon an OS whose legal future is not exactly certain.

This is probably one of the reasons why their rival Samsung has created their own OS (called Bada), which gives them an exit strategy just in case Android falters in their quest to challenge iOS.

It’s still unclear how far Motorola’s mobile OS is, or whether they plan on launching it within the US, but either way a move like this could enable the company to easily compete against Apple without relying upon others to release bug free operating systems.

(Hat tip: Gizmodo)

Will Nokia’s Gamble On Windows Phone 7 Pay Off?

microsoft nokia logos 300x116 Will Nokias Gamble On Windows Phone 7 Pay Off?While it’s no surprise why Nokia chose Windows Phone 7 over Android, what is surprising is the fact that the company is convinced that Microsoft’s OS will help them make a comeback in face of increased competition from iOS and Android.

Despite the fact that Windows Phone 7′s market share is not that impressive, Nokia believes they have an ace up their sleeve that will set them apart from other manufacturers.

But Nokia’s relationship with Microsoft is different from the other Windows Phone licensees, who launched the first crop of handsets, HTC, LG, and Samsung. Nokia alone has the right to customize the Windows Phone UI. [...]

“Even if we have the right to change it, it would be unwise to change it in ways that cause problems,” he says. Instead, Nokia plans to exploit the underlying OS to leverage both on-device features and a range of Nokia services: imaging, cameras, maps and navigation, to name just a few. (PC World)

Truthfully Nokia is going to need more than a redesign in order to attract the attention of the masses, let alone convince consumers to purchase their smartphone over iPhone, Blackberry, or the army of Android OEM’s sporting customized UI’s.

It might be wiser for Nokia to take a cue from carriers and strike up exclusive deals with app developers in order to help distinguish themselves from rivals big and small.

Unfortunately Nokia is not launching a Windows Phone 7 device this year, which means the company may find themselves in 2012 competing against yesteryear’s devices instead of the next generation of smartphones.

Can GalaxyTab 8.9 Revive Interest In Android Tablets?

galaxytab8.9 490x367 Can GalaxyTab 8.9 Revive Interest In Android Tablets?

After watching Motorola’s Xoom overprice themselves out of the tablet wars, it looks like Android fans have tablet that can actually challenge iPad 2 beyond the specs sheet.

While GalaxyTab 8.9′s  thinness will definitely appeal to the masses, it’s price could make the Android tablet a hit amongst consumers.

The Galaxy Tab 8.9 will come sporting 802.11 Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB 2.0 connectivity and Samsung also expects to offer the tablet with HSPA+ 4G support later this year.

Samsung will offer the Tab 8.9 Wi-Fi in two flavors initially, $469 for 16GB and $569 for 32GB, and says we can expect to see them hit store shelves this summer. (Mobile Burn)

While Samsung has yet to launch GalaxyTab 8.9 to the public (which will hopefully make a debut this summer), it looks like we may have the first real alternative to Apple’s tablet that isn’t half of iPad 2′s size.

If successful in the market, GalaxyTab could inspire more Android developers to make tablet friendly apps, helping to boost Google’s dismal app numbers (at least for those designed for tablets).

While it’s doubtful that GalaxyTab 8.9 will kill off iPad 2 (as the latter boasts over 65,000 apps), Samsung’s tablet could easily secure the silver, helping the company survive underneath Apple’s shadow.

Note: Mashable is reporting that the prices will be $499 and $599 for the 16 GB and 32 GB models, respectively, although regardless it looks like Samsung is determined to challenge Apple upon the tablet front.

Image and Video Credit: MobileBurn

Blackberry Playbook: The Price Isn’t Right

blackberryplaybookout 490x315 Blackberry Playbook: The Price Isnt Right

Blackberry fans will be excited to learn that they can finally pre-order the Playbook, which should arrive in the hands of users next month (April 19th at the earliest).

While the mini-tablet does boast a few features lacking upon iPad 2, RIM might want to rethink their pricing strategy if they want to thrive in iPad 2′s shadow.

The BlackBerry PlayBook will be available in Best Buy, Best Buy Mobile, Best Buy Canada and Future Shop stores April 19th in the following models and price points:

    • 16GB Wi-Fi, $499
    • 32GB Wi-Fi, $599
    • 64GB Wi-Fi, $699

You can pre-order your BlackBerry PlayBook from Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile stores in the United States and Best Buy Canada and Future Shop in Canada right now[.] (Official Blackberry Blog)

While RIM’s prices are competitive against iPad 2, the problem is that the Blackberry Playbook is about half the size of Apple’s tablet which won’t appeal to consumers who often look at the price tag when shopping in stores.

RIM might want to consider shaving off the price by $50-$100 or even having carriers heavily subsidize the device in order to remain competitive against Apple.

Devil’s Advocate: Why T-Mobile Users Will Love Their AT&T Overlords

tmobileatt 490x332 Devils Advocate: Why T Mobile Users Will Love Their AT&T Overlords

In a move that surprised tech pundits, business insiders and the press, AT&T announced that they have purchased all of T-Mobile USA for almost $40 billion.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Deutsche Telekom AG (FWB: DTE) today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which AT&T will acquire T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom in a cash-and-stock transaction currently valued at approximately $39 billion. The agreement has been approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies. [...]

With this transaction, AT&T commits to a significant expansion of robust 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) deployment to 95 percent of the U.S. population to reach an additional 46.5 million Americans beyond current plans – including rural communities and small towns.  This helps achieve the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and President Obama’s goals to connect “every part of America to the digital age.” T-Mobile USA does not have a clear path to delivering LTE. (via Mobilize Everything by AT&T).

AT&T will face an uphill battle getting this deal approved by the feds as acquiring T-Mobile will make the company the sole GSM carrier in the US (not to mention make it even harder to resurrect net neutrality).

Although a majority of T-Mobile customers have expressed outrage regarding the deal upon Facebook, there are at least a few reasons why they may end up loving their AT&T overlords (at least in the near future). More →