Microsoft and Quanta Computer have signed (what we presume is a giant stack of legal papers) an agreement that protects and licenses Quanta by providing "broad coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio for Quanta’s tablets, smartphones and other consumer devices running the Android or Chrome Platform". The full details of the agreement haven't been disclosed, and likely never will be, but it's another deal where Microsoft will earn money on the back of software using the Linux kernel.
Quanta Computer probably isn't a name you recognize, but there's a good chance you're using some of their products. They build hardware to spec for other companies -- including the Amazon Kindle Fire. This, and the addition of Chrome OS to the mix makes this a dangerous precedent. Microsoft has long considered open source software, and the Linux kernel in particular, a thorn in their side and have used creative ways to try to stop the distribution of products using the technology. Let's have a look at the history a bit after the break.
According to the New York Times, Google executives have claimed that they will be opening a Google Music MP3 store in the coming weeks. Likely to be connected to the current Google Music Beta offering, the service would compete with Apple and Amazon to allow users to purchase and store music files in the cloud. (Cue the lawsuits in 3, 2...). While Google officially declined to comment to the Times, as did any of the Music labels, the idea makes perfect sense. We know Google wanted to get content agreements for music, and after publicly criticizing the music industry Google decided to follow the route taken by Amazon and offer users storage for their own files. In addition, the songs that are offered for free on the existing service certainly aren't royalty-free, so some arrangements have to be already standing. If the rumor is true, this may be something we hear about on Oct. 19 at the Ice Cream Sandwich event. We'll keep you posted if anything further develops.
While on the Google Quarterly earnings call, Google CEO Larry Page let slip a little bit of his enthusiasm for Ice Cream Sandwich. With words like "You won’t believe what we have managed to do in this release", "I'm super excited", and "incredible" being thrown around, it's easy to see he's pumped about the ICS release. We are, as well, and I'm sure a good many of you guys are, too. Oct. 19 can't come soon enough!
Google has now taken the covers off their latest Google Translate update and it's a big one. In an effort to help bring down language barriers, Google Translate has brought speech-to-speech translations for 14 languages to Android.
We began with just English and Spanish, but today we’re expanding to 14 languages, adding Brazilian Portuguese, Czech, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Russian and Turkish.
To help with speech translations, Google Translate now also allows you to correct entries before sending them off for translations. Now when you speak, fluffy bunny with a mouth full of marshmallows and it turns out to be "funny money" you'll be able to correct it to ensure correct translation.
Translated text gets a tweak as well, you can now pich-to-zoom on text to view it better as well enter unrecognized words to your personal dictionary. The update is now live in the Android Market, you'll find the download past the break for you all.
The Google and Samsung event that was planned for CTIA on Oct. 11 -- the one everyone is sure would have been the Ice Cream Sandwich announcement -- has been rescheduled to Oct. 19 at 9:30 AM in Hong Kong. With today's email, there is no doubt that this one is all about Ice Cream Sandwich. While conspiracy theories and rumors abound, the official word was that the event was postponed out of respect for Steve jobs, who passed last week.
We're still looking forward to any announcements, and you can bet many an Android fan (including yours truly) will be glued to the live stream next Wednesday.
The long-awaited day has come, many of you searched, and hunted and well probably some other bad stuff to get your hands on the HP Touchpad during the fire sale in hopes of it getting an Android port. We have been teased a number of times with various videos of the progress, but now you -- yes you -- can get your grubby little hands on an Alpha release of CM7 for the HP Touchpad. Keep in mind, there will be bugs, probably a bunch of them, and things aren't going to work, but if you don't want to wait any longer, start downloading, reading and installing now!
Velocity Micro has announced two new Android tablets with features and cost in mind. Designed to be the "fastest, most feature laden tablets on the market for under $300", the T408 and T410 share a common set of specs, with only the form factor, size, and price differing between the two. The shared specs are:
"Ultra responsive" capacitive touch screens
1GHz Cortex A8 processors
Front facing cameras
A premium software suite including full versions of Angry Birds Rio and QuickOffice
Content via Amazon Kindle for Android
Downloadable Apps from the Amazon Appstore preinstalled - access to thousands of pretested applications
A fully licensed version of Adobe Flash Player 10.3
1-year parts and labor warranty with premium 100% US-based, non-tiered support
The T408 has an 8-inch screen with a 4:3 aspect ratio, and will retail for $239, while the T410 packs a 10-inch 16:9 aspect ratio screen and retails for $299. It appears that neither of these tablets will have the Android Market or any of Google's closed source applications, which puts them squarely at odds with the $199 Kindle Fire. But Velocity Micro does make solid electronic toys, and as they mention, offer up great customer support. We'll reserve any judgment until we have a closer look. Both models should be available at major electronics retailers in the US right now. Hit the break for a video, and for more information head to the Velocity Micro Cruz website.
Update: Velocity Micro has contacted us and let us know that since the release they have changed the price for the 8-inch T408 tablet, which now retails for $199. Excellent news!
If you sent your Motorola Xoom off to get its 4G upgrade, you no doubt noticed the OTA update that was waiting for you when you got it back. You did get it back, right? What that update contained was never really mentioned but Verizon has now posted the changelog:
Android™ Market has been updated.
When toggling between Airplane Mode, you will no longer receive the following error message: “Wrong Operator: SIM card is from an unknown source.”
After performing an over-the-air (OTA) update, the Android Market shortcut on the homescreen works correctly.
Android Books app has been upgraded.
Android Market Terms and Condition text is now easier to read against background color.
Android Market app now updates on its own.
Improvements in browser security help to block rogue certificates.
Enhancements to the 3G/4G data connection help prevent data stalls.
Nice update overall. I can't speak for how well the web browser is working now but plenty of folks in the forums have been discussing the update so feel free to jump on in there and discuss it further.
We're an equal opportunity group of people here. We know that a good many of you are curious exactly what the new iOS 5 update brings to the table -- and we're OK with that. I was curious myself. Luckily, Rene Ritchie has answered every question you or I could ever imagine -- and some we couldn't -- in his epic iOS 5 walkthrough.
If you're curious, stumbled here on accident (stay a while -- you'll like what Android has to offer), or even thinking of picking up an Apple device, you need to have a read. It's everything you wanted to know about iClouds, Siri, and Google Latitude Find my Friends. Don't worry, we won't tell anyone.
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