The world's biggest market, China, has largely been ignored by Android. Partly due to China's unique (read: difficult) phone standards, there has been little movement in preparing an Android phone for launch. This is all about to change. The HTC Hero, HTC Click, & HTC Magic are all headed to the shores of the Orient--this year.
The HTC Hero and HTC Click will both be re-branded under the Dopod brand (apparently a common occurrence for HTC phones in China), with the Hero being available starting in August for ~$820 (5,600 Yuan) and the supposedly low-end Click being available in Q4 2009 for ~$500 (3,400 Yuan). The HTC Magic will be available via China Mobile.
The price is obviously ridiculous, but hey, China has always done things differently. We're excited to see if Android will pick up in China. What do you guys think?
Google CEO, Eric Schmidt or Schmitty around these parts, has resigned his position from Apple's Board of Directors. In Apple's words:
“Eric has been an excellent Board member for Apple, investing his valuable time, talent, passion and wisdom to help make Apple successful,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Unfortunately, as Google enters more of Apple’s core businesses, with Android and now Chrome OS, Eric’s effectiveness as an Apple Board member will be significantly diminished, since he will have to recuse himself from even larger portions of our meetings due to potential conflicts of interest. Therefore, we have mutually decided that now is the right time for Eric to resign his position on Apple’s Board.”
Though Schmitty had been on Apple's Board since 2006, this move should really come as no surprise. Google has been expanding their business, first with the release of Android and now with the announcement of Chrome OS, those two products obviously compete with two of Apple's pillars: iPhone and OS X.
Combine those facts with Apple's controversial rejection of both Google Voice and Google Latitude applications on the iPhone, it looks like the once rosy relationship that Google and Apple shared is beginning to sour.
What we're wondering here at Android Central is what part played the most significance in this decision. Was it Android? Was it Chrome OS? Was it the rejection of the two Google applications? Or the combined cocktail of it all?
A forum member on xda-developers just posted this picture detailing an expected launch of the HTC Hero on October 11th on Sprint. Though this particular picture confirms nothing really, it does corroborate with what the same forum member has been saying about the Hero and Sprint since April.
Another tidbit to note is the date itself--October 11th is a Sunday. Would a Sunday launch work? Also, we're not sure if Sprint has a history of launching devices on particular days but the Palm Pre was launched on June 6th, a Saturday. Just food for thought.
There was a big fuss over the weekend over a huge Android SMS flaw that could leave our phones running our favorite operating system inoperable. To quote the security experts who found it:
"The bug is similar to the second iPhone bug in the way that it kills the telephony process (com.android.phone) and thus kicks the Android device from the mobile phone network," the pair state in their paper. "On Android the bug is a little more interesting since it will permanently kick the target device off the network if the SIM card residing in the phone has a PIN set."
Yikes, that doesn't sound good at all. Luckily, that boring 'ol Android Update we got a few weeks back likely fixed the issue because Google confirmed that this particular SMS issue for Android had already been resolved. Kudos to Google for fixing this quick and early.
Though HTC has grown considerably over the years, even managing to become a name player in a crowded market, it looks like the fun has to end for even the more successful companies. HTC is expecting 2009 revenue to fall by a low-to-mid-single-digit percentage because of "delays in product launches, a bigger than expected fall in contract orders, and lower than expected sales in China".
Analysts are pointing towards increased competition in the Android field, with Motorola and Sony Ericsson expected to release Android phones, as a reason for the expected fall in revenue. Considering HTC was the only Android game in the market for so long, new competition would surely chip away at its market share.
But honestly, we have no worries about HTC. They've proven to us that they can make highly desirable phones that can be both sexy and usable. Hopefully, the market will reflect that and not overreact over a slight dip in revenue.
So let’s paint a picture of a fantasy world. There’s this hot product that have a lot of folks abuzz and excited about. The product can be had by any company with no licensing costs and will certainly garner your company loads of media attention and likely success. Your company is also losing money and in dire need for a breath of fresh air—in short, you need this product. You definitely launch the product, right?
Well, if your company is Sony, Motorola, or Sprint and the product is Android, then the answer is no. Even though their companies aren’t doing so hot (and in some cases bleeding money) they’ve yet to launch an Android phone to the market or even bothered with a product announcement. It really breaks common logic.
Sprint might be the biggest offender of them all. Even though they launched the hotly anticipated Palm Pre this past quarter, they still managed to post $384 million dollars in losses and lost 257,000 subscribers. Could one HTC Hero come to the rescue for Sprint?
Motorola, though they beat analyst estimates, still only managed to sell around half the handsets they sold the same period last year. Motorola Calgary, Ironman, Sholes, or Morrison to the rescue?
Sony’s bad financial quarter ($400 million loss) can be summed up in other markets—they’re so large a company it’s borderline ridiculous—but Sony Ericsson could definitely use a jolt in the excitement department. The ‘Rachael’ would definitely do the trick.
Though we don’t claim to be financial experts (does it even matter these days?) we think that launching an Android phone would certainly do more help to their portfolio than harm. The phones rumored to show up by these companies are the most exciting phones that Android has in the pipeline, why not make it priority number one?
If you were disappointed with the Motorola Morrison, you weren’t alone. We thought that Motorola’s purported first Android effort was targeted more for the messaging heavy customer base (read: teenage girls) than the traditional smartphone user (read: us). And coming from a company like Motorola, whose hardware design is typically top-notch, we couldn’t help but feel underwhelmed. Luckily, that’s not Motorola’s only Android device. Meet the Motorola Sholes.
According to multiple reports, the Motorola Sholes has a 3.7” (480 x 854) touchscreen, 512 MB storage, 256 MB RAM, microSD/SDHC support up to 16 gig (with 8gb sd card shipping with the phone), 5 megapixel camera with autofocus, GPS, WiFi, and support for CDMA and EVDO Rev A. Oh yeah, it runs Android and is supposed to launch in October of this year.
The product photos point towards the Motorola Sholes being a Verizon phone but it’s still fairly early in the game to confirm. The design can definitely be likened to the Morrison but it looks loads more polished and light years more ‘grown up’. Though we’re good with the design, we’re a little confused about the Bottom Edge of the phone which feels incomplete, the slider front doesn’t cover the end—weird.
We’ve already reported on the much hyped Android application, Sherpa, being available on Android Market. Little did we know that another highly anticipated application, Visual Voicemail, was making its debut the same time. Both Sherpa and Visual Voicemail are a part of the T-Mobile AppPack that we reported on a while back.
The T-Mobile AppPack is a collection of Android applications that T-Mobile officially endorses, most of the applications are T-Mobile applications themselves but others are definitely ‘must haves’ on the Android platform. Go check out T-Mobile’s AppPack, along with Sherpa and Visual Voicemail, now!
We love the FCC—they always inadvertently leak information about upcoming tech products and we always reap the benefits. The Motorola Morrison, Motorola’s first Android Phone, just passed through the FCC with specs detailing T-Mobile 3G bands and UMA support. And judging by the fact that T-Mobile runs their own 3G band in the States and is the only carrier to offer UMA support, hmm, we think that the Morrison will be available on T-Mobile.
Hopefully with the Motorola Morrison hitting the FCC now, it means that it’ll release sooner than later. Not that we’re especially excited for the Morrison, but it may mean that the Motorola Ironman or Calgary is coming soon too!
Sherpa is the main application that T-Mobile has been pushing with their release of the myTouch 3G. Marketing it as a smart application for smartphones, it was booked as a standout feature for the myTouch 3G. But don’t worry, if you were expecting it to be a myTouch exclusive, you were thankfully wrong—it’s now available to all Android users via Android Market.
So users of the T-Mobile G1 will also be able to take advantage of this unique app. Sherpa ‘learns’ from users’ actions and remembers what and where you’ve visited in order to display similar options in the future. With the personality it develops from your usage, it can use location awareness to display options that are tailored to your liking. As T-Mobile puts it, the application learns your likes and dislikes through behavior and user feedback, prioritizing recommended retailers, restaurants and attractions.
We had just reported on the Philips V808 Android Phone and were pretty excited to see what Philips would do with their first Android device. We now know that it carries nothing but disappointment because the Philips V808 runs China Mobile’s proprietary Android build, Ophone OS. The Ophone OS on the Philips V808 won’t have access to Android Market, instead applications will be downloaded via a carrier store (read: suck).
The Philips V808 also fails in that it’s a device without 3G, without WiFi, and without multitouch support. Basically China Mobile customers who invest in the Philips V808 will get a device that’s relevant 5 years ago. But no worries, Android is available on sweet devices like the HTC Hero and Samsung Galaxy, so there’s little loss here.
An official Facebook Android application has been peculiarly missing from Android Market and some have pointed towards Google and Facebook's contentious history as being the reason why. Well, it looks like that's all about to change. Reports are pointing towards an official Facebook Android application to launch possibly as soon as the end of this week.
What's in store for the official Facebook application? Well, it's going to launch with a limited feature set (when compared to the iPhone Facebook app) that'll focus on having the full Facebook stream. The Android Facebook app is built around the stream and status updates, which should tie in neatly with Android's beautiful notification system.
So Facebook and Android sitting in a tree. Hopefully, it'll be a worthwhile application! What current app do you use for Facebook on your Android Phone?
We know that the iPod Touch has become wildly popular in part because it's seen as an iPhone without the phone. An iPod Touch gives you most of the functionality of an iPhone without being bogged down by an expensive data contract. Is there a similar device on Android? There is now.
Meet the Creative Zii Egg Plaszma (yeah, that's a mouthful). This iPod touch competitor has some pretty amazing specs: 3.5" 320 x 480 10-point multi-touch capacitive touchscreen, rear HD Video camera, front facing live chat VGA camera, 32 GB storage with SDHC card expansion, Flash Lite support, GPS, Wi-Fi and the ability to output 1080p video. And the knockout punch? It runs Android.
Investing in a Creative Zii Egg Plaszma will reportedly only run you about $199, a pretty good deal considering the oozing tech that you get. What's even more important is that you;re going to be using a desktop class OS to power it all, not some janky proprietary hogwash. Meet our future.
If you want more pizzazz than the graphite color option for you HTC Hero, you can head over to Carphone Warehouse to choose either pink or brown. The pink definitely adds a nice soft touch to an otherwise sharp phone. We personally prefer graphite over brown but that's just a matter of opinion. Which color of the HTC Hero is your favorite?
And as reported yesterday, T-Mobile UK has begun offergin the G2 Touch aka the HTC Hero on their website.
As excited we are for our friends across the pond to get their hands on the HTC Hero, the bigger question for us is, when are we going to get it? Can we at least get an HTC Hero announcement?
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