We're quickly learning that Google isn't playing around when it comes to Android--they fully expect Android to become the future pseudo-standard for all smartphones. And in order to become that relevant, Android is going to need more devices. At Google I/O, we have news that Google is expecting 18-20 NEW Android Phones to hit the market by the end of 2009. Yeah. Eighteen to Twenty Android Phones in 2009. Say it with us: oh. em. gee.
Sadly, Google expects more Android devices to hit in foreign (read: non US) countries first with US releases to lag behind the world. Why? Because US carriers seem to be a bit pickier when it comes to final firmware, customization, and the like. There wasn't any specific manufacturers named but man, 18 to 20 after months with only 1 Android Device? Simply A-Mazing.
Looks like 2009 is shaping up to be what we expected it to be!
Before the Android 1.5 Cupcake Update is released to ALL Android Users, we already have word on the new features of Android 2.0 'Donut'. There are some neat new features but nothing especially game changing...yet. What piques our interest and makes incredible sense for a search-based company like Google is Donut's universal search, aptly dubbed 'Android Search'. Android Search will allow you to search online and locally on the device (contacts, music, calendars, etc).
Also, there's a new text-to-speech API that'll allow developers to take advantage of voice search-esque implementation for their application. What's even cooler is new support for handwriting gestures--as we see it, you can draw out any letter on the touchscreen and it'll automatically jump to that section in whatever list you're in. So for example, in the music app you can handwrite 'e' on the touchscreen and you'll be brought to the corresponding 'e' section. That new feature should be incredibly useful.
We're growing more and more excited about Android 2.0 by the day and we're hoping/praying/begging that T-Mobile will handle the release of Donut a lot better than they did Cupcake. Who's with us?
Following up their Android Dev Phone 2 giveaway at Google I/O, Google just announced that Android Developer Challenge 2. With the release of the Android 1.5 Cupcake Update, we can fully expect a slew of new apps that'll take advantage of the new aspects and features of Android 1.5.
If you remember, the first Android Developer Challenge was hugely successful, bringing the likes of popular apps such as ShopSavvy and Locale. As always, the winner of the Android Developer Challenge 2 will be determined by Android user votes. The Android Developer Challenge 2 will be specifically targeted for NEW Android applications that run smoothly on Cupcake 1.5. There'll be 10 categories for which developers can submit their apps for.
We're definitely excited to see what new applications the Android Developer Challenge 2 brings. If history is any barometer, we can fully expect some game-changing applications to be developed for Android. Definitely exciting stuff.
According to reports, Orange UK will be the exclusive carrier for the HTC Hero. We had originally reported that Orange was looking to release 6 Android Phones this year--landing the HTC Hero would be a great start. Currently, there isn't an Android Phone in Orange's lineup--the Hero would be the first.
If you've forgotten what the HTC Hero looks like, you can head over to this story. We're not a big fan of it style-wise but if it packs Android, that's always a good thing. We don't know how long this exclusivity will last, a 6 month timeframe would be par for the course.
Google just gave away free Android phones for those who attended Google I/O 2009! Congratulations if you were lucky enough to be a part of the 4,000 or so attendees! The free Android phone is not a regular Android Dev Phone 1 but rather a Dev Phone version of the HTC Magic! Considering that the HTC Magic isn't even an 'official' phone in the USA, we think you guys hit the jackpot!
The free HTC Magic also comes with 30 days of free voice and data. Hopefully, all of these Dev Phone 2's (?) will be put to work. Now developers have no excuse to not develop applications for Android!
HTC CEO Peter Chou recently stated that HTC will build an Android device for China Mobile, one of the biggest carriers in the world. The HTC Ophone (no, not that one) is a re-branded HTC Magic with highly customized software from China Mobile. The brand Ophone is supposed to represent the Openness of Android and assumedly less abstract than that of the 'Magic' moniker. There's been speculation that the 'Ophone' brand for China Mobile will eventually represent all Android devices.
The price has not yet been set but early reports point at a 5,000 yuan ($730) price range. The HTC Ophone should be available next month.
We're from the good ol' US of A so we're not especially aware of the unique aspects of each foreign carrier and how certain countries expect certain features in their phone plans. So though we're used to unlimited data for $24.99 from T-Mobile USA, a lot of our friends across the border don't enjoy the same luxury.
Luckily, our friend Rene (from the iPhone Blog) gave us the heads up that there are reports floating around that Rogers Wireless in Canada may bring back the 6GB/$30-a-month data plan that helped Rogers catapult the iPhone 3G to success. Reports have Rogers bringing back the 6GB/30 data plan for the launch of the HTC Dream and HTC Magic on June 2nd. Sounds like Rogers is really pulling all the stops for the 'revolution'.
Any Canadians excited about the 6GB/$30-a-month plan?
Fresh off the news of AT&T's First Android Phone the HTC Lancaster, we caught word that AT&T has another Android phone in the works: the Motorola Heron, what we previously knew as the Motorola Iron Man. According to the leaked slide (via engadget) it looks like the Motorola Heron was originally slated for Windows Mobile but will now move to Android. Score!
We're definitely intrigued by the vertical QWERTY slider, a form factor yet to be explored by forthcoming Android devices, and Motorola's typically high-quality build. The specs are expected: 2.8" touchscreen, 3 megapixel camera, aGPS, 3G, and more. Of course, all the listed specs are subject to change considering the Heron's move to Android. Expected availability will be November 2nd.
So it looks like by the end of 2009 most of the bigwig phone manufacturers will have an Android device. Which future Android device interests you the most?
We weren't really aware of Panasonic Phones here in the US, in fact we pretty much had no idea they dabbled in the cell phone market (we're assuming they're big in Asia?). So it took us as bit of a surprise when Panasonic announced that they're interested in incorporating Android into some of their phones, especially since they said Panasonic Android phones can come as early as 2010. I guess when it comes to Android, everybody wants a piece.
To quote Panasonic Executive Keisuke Ishii:
"We are seriously considering developing an Android-based handset and entering overseas mobile phone markets in fiscal 2010. The global market for smartphones based on open source platforms including Android will reach 100 million units in three years," Ishii said. "We are discussing specific measures to succeed in such a large market."
Panasonic seems to have very high confidence in Android and especially in its potential. And you know what Mr. Ishii? We agree completely. Anyone who can come up with an Android phone that becomes relevant will lead to a pile of success. Everyone seems to care about Android. After a quiet first couple months, it really seems as if everyone is genuinely excited about Android. And that, is a good thing.
We know there are multiple Android devices coming out from the likes of HTC and Motorola but after watching this video of the Samsung Galaxy I7500, we're thinking every other device takes a back seat. This may become the Android device of our choice.
In the video, you get to see the beautiful AMOLED display, multiple angles of the Samsung Galaxy and an all around general 'feel' of the device. If you're interested in future Android devices, we suggest you start here.
It's going to be one interesting winter once all these planned Android devices hit the market!
Holy cow. Android is finally coming to AT&T. Score one for Android, score two for AT&T, and score three for AT&T's customers. They'll finally get to take Android out for a spin (in a very nice looking package, no less)! Engadget got their hands on an AT&T slide that shows the HTC Lancaster, AT&T's first Android device, in full detail: specs, key features, target launch date, pretty much everything you wanted to know about a phone without the real-life hardware.
The specs are fairly typical: tri-band EDGE and 850 / 1900MHz HSPA, AGPS, a 3 megapixel camera, Bluetooth 2.0, microSD expansion, and a “unique HTC social messaging user interface”. What's a bit odd is that the display size is only a 2.8” screen with QVGA 240 x 320 pixels (as opposed to the HTC Magic's 3.2" screen with HVGA 320 x 480 pixels). The HTC Lancaster will be an AT&T exclusive for 6 months with a targeted release date of August 2009.
Other than the smallish screen, we think this device is solid. It's looking to be a pretty crowded Android field come fall/winter-time.
hit the jump to see another picture of the HTC Lancaster !
Sometimes, enough is enough. We've all been waiting for the Android 1.5 Cupcake US to come to our G1 phones since...who knows when. We gave you guys the details on how to manually upgrade your G1's to Android 1.5 via the UK update but that meant certain sacrifices had to be made (Amazon mp3, voice search, etc) in order to take advantage of Cupcake's goodness. Luckily a US version of Android 1.5 has popped up so you can now manually install the Android 1.5 Cupcake US version onto your G1.
Yeah, this is pretty close to official. And yeah, we know the rollout is supposed to begin tomorrow but geez, we wanted this 6 months ago...we don't know if we can wait another day! Here's how to get the Android 1.5 Cupcake US version onto your G1:
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