If you remember, Google was supposed to have bought AdMob, the mobile advertising company, for nearly $750 million way back in November. There was a hold up, with the FTC wanting more information on the deal but Google expressed no concern over the delay, citing that there were no 'regulatory issues'. Well, it looks like a few consumer groups think differently. Consumer Watchdog and the Center for Digital Democracy have asked the FTC to block the deal on anti-trust grounds and possible privacy issues.
In their joint letter to the FTC, they claim that Google's acquisition of AdMob would lessen competition in the mobile advertising market and have a negative impact on consumers, advertisers, and developers. They also express concern about consumer privacy--AdMob and Google have access to heaps and heaps of consumer data.
Overall, it's not uncommon for consumer groups to raise complaints during antitrust reviews because well, that's when they'll be heard. So though Google should still close their deal with AdMob, it definitely will raise awareness for the consumer groups. Don't be surprised to hear anti-trust issues brought up every time Google makes a deal.
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We've seen early builds of Google's Chrome OS, but the really interesting aspect will be the big G's own netbook, whose design is being closely handled by Google. And the technical specs of the netbook are beginning to leak out. The following come from IBTimes [via Engadget]:
OS: Chrome OS (natch).
Chipset: Nvidia Tegra (the Tegra II, perhaps?).
Processor: ARM CPU (which we mainly know from smartphones.)
Really, aside from what sounds like a stellar screen, there's nothing too groundbreaking there yet. Except for the $300 price point, which might or might not happen. (We're not placing any bets on that one.) And the IBTimes mentions "apps" such as Google Maps, Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar and voice search coming "preinstalled," which of course is more than suspect given that those are all Web services. That's probably just sloppy writing. But as all of this is still wildly unofficial, we're taking it all with a big grain of salt.
We already knew the Motorola Droid was going to be popular, thanks to those November AdMob numbers and, well, common sense. But check out these numbers from Flurry Analytics: Droid application downloads on Christmas Day -- last Friday increased 93 percent over the other three Fridays this month. And of last Friday's downloads, the Droid accounted for 49 percent of them. Of course, you're far less likely to get a G1 as a gift these days, but there's certainly no denying the Droid's popularity at this point. [via GigaOm]
That Android Netbook craze sure died down a bit once Chrome OS was officially unveiled, didn't it? In any case, the guys at pocket-lint have gotten their hands on one of the Android netbooks available, the Acer Aspire One D250, and gave it a full review. The Acer Aspire One D250 dual boots Windows 7 Starter Edition and yep, our very own Android OS.
It's your run of the mill netbook: 1.6 GHz Atom chip, 10.1-inch screen, tiny keyboard, and small footprint. The Windows 7 side of things performs admirably but it's the Android we're interested in, right? Well, sad to say, Android on a netbook seems to be nothing more than a gimmick. Though it boots fast (16 secs vs Windows 7's 1 minute), the performance isn't ideal. Pocket-lint termed Android on a netbook as 'stumbling', 'crude', and 'not [an addition] that is very compelling'. Hit the link for the full review.
On to the next one! Week 3 of the Smartphone Round Robin is underway and we have our hands on the iPhone 3GS. Don't let the looks fool you, even though the iPhone 3GS looks exactly like the iPhone 3G, it packs some serious zip and power inside. There's also a ton of new features like video recording, a digital compass, etc and the same good stuff (web browsing, ipod) that made the iPhone such an enjoyable device since its inception.
Whoopsie. No sooner than did Archos post an Android 1.6 update for the Archos 5 Internet Tablet, it apparently had to yank it. As you can see in the pic above, there was "a last-minute major issue with the Web Browser." The update was to bring improved video playback, better GPS fixes and some other Donut improvements. Archos hasn't re-released the update yet, so stay tuned. [Pocketables via Slashgear]
There's tons of FUD flying around (sorry, poor choice of words) in the aftermath of that botched terrorism attack on the Northwest Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit.
It looks like, for the most part, domestic flights -- as in starting and ending in the United States -- are unaffected, which is good news for all you folks sporting new Android phones after the holidays.
But international flights headed to the U.S. are subject to some new rules, as detailed in a Transportation Security Administration Security Directive and obtained by Gizmodo. In addition to additional screening at the point of departure:
1. Passengers must remain in seats beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at destination. 2. Passenger access to carry-on baggage is prohibited beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at destination. 3. Disable aircraft-integrated passenger communications systems and services (phone, internet access services, live television programming, global positioning systems) prior to boarding and during all phases of flight. 4. While over U.S. airspace, flight crew may not make any announcement to passengers concerning flight path or position over cities or landmarks. 5. Passengers may not have any blankets, pillows, or personal belongings on the lap beginning 1 hour prior to arrival at destination.
Sorry, folks, but you'll have to put your Android phones in their full upright and locked positions for the last hour of your flight. Hopefully we'll see everything calm down soon. And if all this FUD has you freaking out a little, we'll point you to this excellent piece by fivethirtyeight.com about the odds of an incident on any given flight.
Be sure to check TSA.gov and with your airline before flying, however, as things are likely to change. (And there's more analysis on this by our Canadian pals at The iPhone Blog.)
For those of you pining for a new Android device on Sprint, you may soon get your wish. The Boy Genius Report has snagged a shot from Sprint's inventory screen that shows the LG LS680, clearly listing an Android handset. (Don't get crazy about the $1 listing, that's likely just a placeholder.)
We joke that the Nexus One isn't official, but at this point it's unofficially official. And now we have an accessory or two to go with it. Above you see documents from the FCC (and first posted on AndroidForums) that show the Nexus One and a Bluetooth dock. Where things get really interesting is that the dock, in addition to being your standard plug-and-play accessory, also sports a Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR radio. And on top of that, you see in the pictures above the dock connected to a DVD player. Does that point to using the Nexus One as a mini screen for playback? We'll have to see.
Also after the break are a couple of photos of the Nexus One in a car mount, spotted on Picassa. Not quite as high-tech, sure, but important nonetheless. [via Engadget]
Remember that beautiful Android-powered Notion Ink "smartpad," which looked like it was plucked from the Garden of Eden? It apparently has an appropriate name, being dubbed the "Adam." And Notion Ink reportedly is testing 3G connectivity with U.S. and Indian carriers (and it sports AT&T's 3G bands).
And the best news? The price, which is projected at about $321, with a June launch date.
If you think about webOS and Android, the Pre and the Droid, and Palm and Google--there aren't too many apparent similarities. Think about it: round vs square, small vs big--it's as if they exist in two separate worlds. But you dig deeper and realize there are some similar underlying aspects. The Pre and the Droid have been easily the two most recognizable phones released this year (non-iPhone, of course) and webOS and Android are the two newest platforms that are actually changing the way we use our phones by bringing in better concepts.
Though they're both trending differently (financially, at least), there's a common will to see them both succeed. Sure it might be for different reasons--Palm, for the underdog, soft-spot-in-our-hearts aspect and Google, for the changing-the-world-we-live-in aspect, but the faith in the common smartphone user exists (okay maybe, we're reaching there).
Nonetheless, there's much to learn about the webOS platform but we'll give this away first: the Palm Pre and Palm Pixi were both splendid devices to use and webOS is such amazing execution of an amazing concept that I was thoroughly impressed with Palm's new direction and wouldn't even mind owning a Pre myself.
Now let's take a closer look at webOS from an Android perspective after the jump!
When you take this gig, you have to resign yourself to the fact that you'll be writing a lot about products that might or might not exist. And accessory-maker Seidio (whose wares we sell in the AndroidCentral Store, btw) is heading down that road with the Nexus One, teasing "the ultimate accessories for the ultimate Android Phone," which likely is headed for T-Mobile. But nothing is official there. The phone still hasn't been properly announced, and not even the name is official. But maybe they know something we don't, which would be fine. [Seidio via Gear Diary]
The end of the year and the holidays aren't stopping us from keeping an eye out for smartphone news and continuing to bring you comparative reviews in the Smartphone Round Robin. Be sure to check out the latest updates page to see what's new, or you can follow via Facebook, Twitter, and of course RSS. This week, you can listen to us discuss the iPhone on The Cell Phone Junkie Podcast, so don't go missing that either. On to the big news of the week!
We're still waiting on the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 to make an official appearance any time now, possibly on T-Mobile, possibly AT&T. Or maybe neither. We just don't know yet. Anyhoo, here's a look at the Google Goggles app running on the X10. Word of warning: Turn down your speakers, then peep the video after the break. [Via DailyMobile.se]
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