First we had the Android Netbook fad, now we have the Android Smartbook craze. Only a wee bit bigger than your average smartphone, this particular Freescale Android Smartbook comes with a slightly larger 4 inch screen with a full QWERY keyboard running the Android OS. The details are incredibly vague, as always, but a release date 'later this year' is expected.
Though we're beginning to turn the corner on Android Netbooks and believe that they could be the future, Android Smartbooks have another hurdle to clear before we fall in love with them. Why would we choose an Android Smartbook over an Android smartphone? We honestly have no idea.
Nearly everyone uses Facebook and nearly every Facebook Android User is unhappy with the current state of Facebook Applications on Android. And with Facebook staying mum on an official Facebook Application, third-party developers hope to fill the void. The Android Facebook App is looking to offer compelling features that will improve the Facebook integration in Android.
They say competition breeds innovation, so if you want to know where the smartphone market is headed, it's best to take a look at the market leader--in this case, iPhone. If you've been living under a rock, you may not know that the iPhone launch party aka WWDC was yesterday. Apple showcased their new desktop OS, refreshed the notebook product line, and of course, introduced a new iPhone: iPhone 3G S.
As convoluted as the name may be, the iPhone 3G S introduces some compelling features--it promises to be even faster than the iPhone 3G in every way, brings a better camera to the table, and much more.
We absolutely love netbooks here at Android Central--they're convenient, cute, and affordable. We also love Android here at Android Central (bet you couldn't have guessed that)--the OS just oozes versatility and potential. However, we're still not sure how we feel about an Android netbook--on one hand its the best of both worlds, on the other we're unsure how Android will translate in netbook form. Regardless of how we personally feel, Android Netbooks are en vogue with all the big manufacturers. Here's the latest news on Android netbooks:
ECS T800 Netbook runs Android and is uber-sexy but does it work?
The ECS T800 is incredibly beautiful, boasting a Sony Vaio P form factor with sleek lines and an almost pocketable size, this is perhaps one of the most exciting Android netbooks to date. Hint: it's the netbook pictured above in this post. The basic specs are: your choice of 800 MHz or 1GHz OMAP3 processor, 1.76 pounds with 8.1 inch display and512 MB RAM. The one problem? Well, it's basically a dummy prototype--no one's seen it actually run Android yet. Still, we'd pick this netbook over any other.
Acer Android Netbook Runs Firefox
Acer showed off a test model of an Android Netbook at Computex using the current Aspire One D250 to showcase how Android would work on a netbook. Android seemed to be unmodified and relatively snappy in startup/shutdown times, what was most interesting was that the test model actually ran Firefox. Firefox on Android? Where do we sign up!
Acer Android Netbook Dual-Boots Android and Windows XP
Hmm. On one hand, if you're going to make an Android Netbook, you should MAKE an Android Netbook. Not offer Android as a gimmicky toss-in like Acer is planning to do with their first Android Netbook (that also boots Windows XP). On the other, it looks like Acer is playing it safe by allowing users to boot Windows XP. Though we do agree that if you include Android, you should at least modify it to fit the entire netbook experience. We wonder if this is going to be the initial trend, let users figure out if Android is right for them.
Maybe this Android Netbook thing will work after all. You should check out this video of the Compal Snapdragon-based, Android Netbook. Compal has built a custom start-up interface that looks pretty cool and more importantly, highly useable. Details are of course vague but boy, we're starting to believe in this Android Netbook craze. How about you guys?
This is an Android news roundup for our international readers. If you live in the US of A this doesn't apply to you because T-Mobile has yet to officially acknowledge the existence of the HTC Magic or Samsung Galaxy. Yeah, the rest of the world gets to enjoy multiple Android devices while we just get to sit on the sidelines. Bummer.
The Netherlands is receiving the HTC Magic exclusively from Vodafone for free with qualifying voice+data plan. Poland is also receiving the HTC Magic via Orange Poland.
This is why we love Android. Reports are surfacing that Google is beginning to develop an 'eyes free' interface for Android that'll allow users to adequately navigate applications without the need to actually see the input screen. This new eyes-free interface can allow visually impaired people to use Android effectively. In fact, we can even see the usefulness of an eyes free interface in normal-sighted people as well. Just imagine being able to use your phone without even looking at it!
According to T.V. Ramen, a Google researcher:
“We are building a user interface that goes over and beyond the screen,” says Raman. Often, eyes-free interfaces are employed for blind users, but Raman, who himself is blind, assures that these interfaces have much broader implications. “This is not just about the blind user,” he says. “This is about how to use these devices if you’re not in a position to look at the machine.”
We're definitely excited to see how this plays out. Watch the video to see a demo of this 'eyes free' interface!
The T-Mobile myTouch 3G will be available in three colors: black, white, and merlot (red). We're especially excited to see how they pull off the 'merlot'. As for the box art, it certainly looks a lot more wild than previous T-Mobile boxes--maybe they're covering up the fact that they chose a horrible name?
hit the jump to see more pictures of the T-Mobile myTouch 3G box art!
Before we're even comfortable with Cupcake, news is already hitting that Android 2.0 code-named 'Donut' is going to release in three to six months (via The H). Which means, if Google, T-Mobile, and whoever else is involved, stick to the schedule, we should see Android 2.0 hit our Android devices before the end of 2009.
Universal search, new speech-to-text API's, and handwriting gesture capabilities have been reported as 'Donut' features. We're hoping for a little more feature-wise but more importantly we sure hope the 'Donut' release is handled better than Cupcake.
Adobe just announced that they've set a timetable to bring Flash to Android (and other smartphone platforms) and that it'll likely happen before the end of the year. Adobe smartly realizes that the game is changing with mobile devices becoming the new PCs. And with mobile devices being used more and more, the cry for real Flash has only grown louder.
Adobe has been "reengineering its software so that Flash-based games and videos can run on different handsets without being modified." Adobe has even gone as far to strike alliances with chip designers and phone makers and have "offered millions of dollars to developers willing to write programs for mobile devices that use its software".
We've yet to personally experience true flash on our mobile devices so we're definitely excited to see what Adobe can bring to the Android platform. What about you guys?
Intel (you know them) just purchased Wind River Systems (you may not know them) for $884 million dollars. Why is this news to us Android users? Because Wind River Systems has been dabbling heavily and betting big on Android and by purchasing Wind River, Intel is showing that it wants a bigger piece of this burgeoning mobile market. Things are getting serious!
Wind River hopes to profit off Android by packaging the open source software for commercial use by phone operators and handset manufacturers and servicing licensed customers with updates and patches.
It's pretty exciting to see that Intel is taking such a keen interest with Android (and the rest of the mobile market) hopefully the good things that Wind River was cooking up for Android (and its partners) can still be put in play.
All this talk about the backend of Android is almost making us geek out more than news on upcoming Android devices. Almost.
Add another manufacturer to the list of upcoming Android devices. BenQ just announced that they'll be bringing both an Android smartphone and Android netbook to the market in 2010. The details at the moment are sparse (of course) so we can't give you guys any exclusive nuggets, but it looks like every manufacturer in the world is jumping on the Android-wagon. And that my friends, is a good thing.
Remember that London Press Event we told you guys about? The one happening on June 24th where no one has a clue what's going to be released. Well, we're getting reports from the Economic Daily News that it may be an announcement for BOTH the HTC Hero and HTC Lancaster. Yeah, two Android devices launching on the same day!? Crazy!
But if you remember correctly, the HTC Lancaster was leaked as AT&T's first Android phone. That note is important considering that AT&T is supposed to have timed exclusivity with the HTC Lancaster, which brings into question the location of the press event: London. Why in the world would the press event be in London if it was for AT&T's big Android launch?
It doesn't really make sense to us. Combine the fact that the EDN didn't cite any sources, this is beginning to sound like a stab in the dark. Hey, they could very well be right and we wish for them to be, but this sounds too good to be true, for now.
What do you guys think? Could two Android Phones be announced the same day?
We've all been in that situation before: You're in a new city, you have no idea where anything is, you need help. Thankfully, we can now all fire up Google's 'Places Directory' application on our Android phones to solve the problem. Places Directory conveniently uses GPS and Google Maps to help locate the 'places' around you that you may need to find. The 12 categories include: Attractions, Banks, Bars, Coffee, Gas Stations, Hotels, Medical, Movie Theaters, Parking, Restaurants, Shopping and Taxis.
We can definitely envision ourselves using Places Directory in the near feature!
Our good friends at PreCentral.net just published their full review of the Palm Pre and have come away impressed. For those who've been living under a rock: the Palm Pre is most definitely the most exciting smartphone release since well, Android. Our main man Dieter really stepped up and delivered a magnificent review of this much ballyhooed device and we're excited to welcome a new competitor to the fold.
If you ever wanted to know anything about the Palm Pre, PreCentral.net's Review should serve you fine. Over 200 images. 12 videos. Yeah, they do it right.
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