Yikes. We knew apps in Android Market weren't exactly selling like hotcakes but with newfound buzz and interest in Android from the recent releases of the DROID, DROID Eris, HTC Hero, etc. we figured developers would continue to plug in and eventually reap the benefits. Unfortunately, Gameloft thinks differently. They've chosen to cut back on Android development due to the 'weakness' of Android Market. To quote:
We have significantly cut our investment in Android platform, just like … many others. [The Android Market] is not as neatly done as on the iPhone. Google has not been very good to entice customers to actually buy products. On Android nobody is making significant revenue.”
According to Gameloft, one of the biggest mobile game publishers around, they're selling '400 times more games on iPhone than on Android'. That's an astounding difference but could probably be explained. Perhaps Android users aren't purchasing apps because of the relatively miniscule available memory for apps on Android devices. Or maybe looking at 400x sales isn't fair considering Android phones have yet to take off like the iPhone has (but in time, surely will). Either way, we think there's still a lot more to be said about the success of Android Apps than what Gameloft is saying. Cutting back investment in Android right now may be a little too rash.
If you're an avid reader of Google News, you might have noticed a mobile facelift of the news aggregator on your Android devices. That's because Google just released the new Google News for Mobile (Android, iPhone, Palm Pre) and as Google explains it:
This new version provides the same richness and personalization on your phone as Google News provides on desktop. Our new homepage displays more stories, sources, and images while keeping a familiar look and feel. Also, you can now reach your favorite sections, discover new ones, find articles and play videos in fewer clicks. If you are an existing Google News reader on desktop, you will find that all of your personalizations are honored in this mobile version too.
We think it's a pretty good translation for the Android screen but then again, we're not hardcore Google News users. What do you guys think?
Android finally has options when it comes to Twitter applications. Seesmic just announced their Android application and after our first go around with it, it works and looks great. It has 4 large, easy-to-press tabs for quick navigation (timeline, replies, messages, and profile) that make for a very smooth user experience. Seesmic also allows users to link your bit.ly account, choose which photo and video service to use, and share your location, among other Twitter-specific actions.
One downside is that Seesmic doesn't currently support multiple accounts nor does it offer a widget for Android. But other than those missing features, we're sure that Seesmic will find a following in the Android community. Twidroid watch out!
So what you guys think? Seesmic or Twidroid or something else?
If you're interested in getting to know Google Chrome OS, Google's latest development in re-creating how we use computers, the videos after the jump are a great start. The funny thing about Google Chrome OS is that it's ambitious in what it's trying to do but relatively tame in its execution. The idea of Google Chrome OS centers around creating a browser as the Operating System, which makes some sense for a lot of users. Since what we do on a computer is often just access the internet through the browser already, the extra weight and fluff of an OS doesn't apply as much anymore.
So Google Chrome OS is basically a browser. Your applications are fueled by either pre-existing web apps like Gmail, Google Docs, etc. or forthcoming ones that'll be developed according to web standards but more powerful (has access similar to what native apps have in other OS's). It looks pretty much exactly like what the browser Chrome looks like just with a few more tabs. It also supports little things to extend usability like 'virtual desktops', the ability to place smaller windows of apps on top of everything, and running different processes for each tab, so it's a bit more powerful than your run of the mill browser.
So what kind of hardware will Chrome OS run on? And how does it relate to Android? Hit the jump!
Read more about Android Central's thoughts on Google Chrome OS after the jump!
No question of loyalty here. Sergey Brin, one half of Google's dynamic duo aka the Masters of Search aka the Founders, was caught using a Motorola DROID at the Chrome OS event. We would take that as a ringing endorsement for the DROID and great for our ego considering Brin's worth billions of dollars and invented the closest thing to the answer-of-life, Google, yet he uses the same device available to all of us.
Maybe he had a top-secret HTC Dragon running Android 3.0 in his other pocket but yep, like we said, the DROID is the current go to device for Android users.
Now we know why Sony Ericsson is desperate to find a US carrier to subsidize the phone, there's no way it can find a market at that price. And even when you consider carrier subsidies, it'll still be the most expensive Android phone around. When other Android devices are available for $400-$500 off-contract and sub-$200 with contract, even after carrier's subsidize the $879 price you're still looking at a $400-$500 premium over every other Android phones. It's just ridiculous.
We know this is just a report and not official word from Sony Ericsson but in a world where you can get top-notch devices for under $200 on 2-year contract, you're asking for failure with a ridiculous cost.
The picture above, under all the blurriness, is the Motorola Motus, Motorola's next Android phone. It definitely shares a significant resemblance to the Motorola CLIQ but comes off with more sleekness. The keyboard is very flat looking but the buttons look pretty sizable, at least there's no d-pad to throw off the symmetry. What's most interesting to us is that the Motus looks like it could have an interesting slide/flip mechanism, from our perspective it looks like the screen and the keyboard look like they're completely side-by-side with little overlap.
We're not exactly sure what 'Reverse flip keyboard' means exactly other than it's different from your typical reveal of the keyboard. The 'Rear directional touchpad' is easier to determine but still confusing in how it'll be executed, really a touchpad on the back of a phone? In any case, it looks like the Motorola Motus will join the CLIQ and extend the MOTOBLUR family! We'll definitely keep an eye on this!
It has been rumored that the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 was slated for a February 2010 release, but after seeing people's first impressions of the device, well, it looks like there's still a lot of work to be done. The Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 just got a bunch of first looks and hands on from the usual suspects and we tidied up their thoughts for your reading pleasure. Here it goes!
It's missing that spark, the emotional drippings of OMG, that say, the Droid has. The X10 is perfectly fine. It's just that everything outwardly belies the specialness of what's going on inside. The all plastic-build feels just slightly better than cheap, the shape is kind of awkward unless you have gorilla hands, the design—it all just feels, well, incredibly ordinary.
It seems that performance is very contingent upon how much content is loaded into the device and what particular thing it's trying to perform. Sometimes we'd fly through the stacks of faces, while other times we'd sit there waiting for the simplest thumbnails to load up. The good news is that we have until next year to see this thing really come together, and the word is that the software is improving and a rapid pace.
The UI is very functional and it gets the job done, but it’s not as attractive as HTC’s Sense UI. We’re not quite sure what it is about the XPERIA X10, but we’re just not feeling that “wow” we got with the Droid, for example.
Overall, it seems like everyone was ready to love the XPERIA X10, but the XPERIA X10 never gave them a reason to. The design isn't groundbreaking, the hardware wasn't amazing, and the software still needed work. To be fair, it wasn't all bad. The 8.1 megapixel camera got rave reviews from everybody, the screen is lovely, and Timescape and Mediascape (features of the Nexus UX formerly the 'Rachael' UI) were great ideas. But in the end, it just seemed as if the XPERIA X10 just simply isn't ready.
There's no official release date (and we'd much rather have Sony Ericsson spend time tweaking everything anyway) and no official carrier linked to it (Sony Ericsson says they're working with US carriers to get it subsidized), so there's still a lot of unknown with the device. We had high hopes for the XPERIA X10 and we still think that Sony Ericsson can deliver a winner of a device. It's just going to take more time than we thought.
Hit the jump to see pictures of the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10!
Sprint has decided to join the party of releasing commercials for Android devices and market the Sprint HTC Hero as a highly customizable phone with access to thousands of applications. The Sprint ad spot shows Sprint's impressive holiday phone lineup: the Palm Pre, Blackberry Tour, and HTC Hero. We love how the HTC Hero is finally getting its well deserved shine in the spotlight and hope that it'll spur more folks to go Android.
There's a new Gmail Labs feature that'll allow Gmail users to see which of their Google Talk contacts are using Google Talk on their Android devices. In short, it's awesome. The typical green/orange/red lights have been replaced with the cute Android robot icon we've loved since day one. In Google's words:
Turn on Green Robot, a new experiment in Gmail Labs, and you'll see a robot icon next to people who are currently using Android phones. In the case below, Shirley is online with Android, Nicolle R. is using regular Gmail chat, and Chris I. is currently away but also on Android. Slatka is not an angry robot — she's online with Android but currently busy.
We think it's a great little idea that can help Google Talk users differentiate between who's on-the-go and who's on their desktop. And on top of that, the more that cute green Android Robot pops up the happier we are!
Good news guys! Fring is now available on Android Market. For those unfamiliar with Fring, Fring for Android enables free VoIP calls over Fring, Skype, MSN, and Google Talk. Basically Fring allows you to use your 3G, GPRS, or Wi-Fi connection to make phone calls, no minutes necessary. On top of that, Fring even allows you to chat with your friends using the popular messaging platforms. You can now think of Fring as your one stop shop for all your messaging needs.
We suggest you try out Fring today! Download it from Android Market and VoIP away. This may very well be the future of making phone calls.
GSM contacts do not appear in fring's buddy list on the DROID
Call disconnection tone may be heard a few times when terminating a call
SIP and SkypeOut calls are not yet available on the DROID
As if it couldn't get any more interesting with a Google Phone, there's an updated report suggesting that the Google Phone may be a data only, VoIP device that does away with your usual voice plan and minutes. Take a step back and imagine that. If the Google Phone was to step away from the carrier stranglehold of minutes and simply route calls through Google Voice and use the recently acquired Gizmo5 as the onboard VoIP service, it truly would be the Google Phone. Your phone, no carrier influence, all delivered through data. It could work.
It's unclear how supportive the carriers would be of a data-only Google Phone considering it directly affects their primary business. In fact, the precedent of accepting a data-only Google Phone could make way for gigantic changes to the way the carriers do business. And we know how much the carriers love change. But AT&T has given Windows Mobile and Blackberry users data-only plans for quite some time (no data only option for iPhone), so it's not an impossible stretch.
The problem is of course, how the average consumer will see the move and if they'll buy into it. For us at Android Central the answer is simple, if Google does deliver a Google Phone, we're in for the ride. If it's data only and uses VoIP for calls, even better (we've been itching for data only devices anyway). But would it be too complicated for the average consumer? Could they get around the idea of leaving carriers behind and using VoIP for phone calls? Would it still be subsidized? Is this kind of Google Phone targeted to only the tech-savvy?
Also, if Google does release this data-only, VoIP Google Phone, it kind of, sort of sidesteps direct competition with its current Android-making partners. We're sure they'll still be unhappy about Google's power move but it's certainly a better scenario than Google releasing a 'true phone'.
In any case, there's a ton of questions regarding the potential of the Google Phone that can't be fully answered until Google officially announces the thing. But the data-only, VoIP version might be the scenario we love the most considering the novelty of it and the sweeping changes it might start in the industry.
According to our readers, an update for the Sprint HTC Hero has arrived. Unfortunately, it's not the Android 2.0 software update we've all been itching and crawling for but rather the 'maintenance release' we reported was coming a few days ago. Our readers told us to manually check for the firmware update (Settings > About Phone > System Updates > Firmware Update) but our Hero isn't showing it yet. What about yours?
The firmware update weighs in at around 3.7mb and supposedly fixes SMS and DST issues.
Here we go again. There's whispers going around that the device we've all been waiting for, since even before the existence of Android really, is coming early next year. Yep, the Google Phone, as in the hardware and design and all the little and final decisions that goes into building a phone is made by Google. According to the report, Google will sell the phone directly and through retailers, the Google phone was supposed to come this Holiday season but has been pushed back to early next year, and the phone will be produced by a major phone manufacturer but only carry Google branding.
Basically, it's purported to be Google's vision of what a phone should be and how it should fit with Android. Almost sounds too good to be true. The Google Phone will likely be produced by either LG or Samsung (more likely LG) and there'll be a huge ad push for it.
In theory, it all sounds great. Google gets to deliver a handset that is directly tied to the Android experience, kind of how Apple is the sole provider of the iPhone experience. The problem is, Google for all its talents and genius, has yet to ever prove it can handle hardware (or even design). It's a company filled first and foremost with engineers, albeit engineers with great talents and ideas, but engineers nonetheless. This is the company that leaves its product in Beta for years upon years! Why bother investing in a hardware device that HTC, Motorola, Samsung, LG, etc have proven well capable already? Hardware has never been Google's M.O.
And if Google does so happen build a wonderful Google Phone, it'll likely alienate its hardware partners. Why would I buy a Motorola DROID or Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 if I can get an official Google Phone built from the ground up for Android? How will companies feel if the Google Phone launches with 3.0 but every other Android device is stuck at 2.0? Will they continue to make Android devices? Google would be leaving the companies that backed Android from the beginning in the dust. Simply put, the existence of a Google Phone automatically makes third-party Android phones second-tier devices because Google's priority will shift to the Google Phone, all others second.
There's definitely a lot more questions, both good and bad, regarding the Google Phone but if it is true, Android is going to take off. Again. It's going to be an exciting year.
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