Tag Archives | Android

Netflix is Kinda Coming to Android, Sorta

Android is the best-selling smartphone platform in the United States right now. Netflix’s streaming video strategy revolves around support for popular devices. So why can’t Android and Netflix get together? Digital rights management, or lack thereof.

In a blog post, Greg Peters of Netflix product development explained that the company really wants to launch on Android devices. “The hurdle,” he said, “has been the lack of a generic and complete platform security and content protection mechanism available for Android.”

In other words, Hollywood doesn’t like the way Android does DRM, and Netflix is powerless without Hollywood’s go-ahead. On the bright side, Netflix will work with individual handset makers to satisfy Hollywood’s needs, so while you won’t see a Netflix Android app any time soon, certain Android phones — and tablets, one hopes — will get their own Instant Watch video players early next year.

I sense a bit of politics at work here.

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Latest Motorola Android Phone to Debut.. On Oprah??

Color me slightly confused on this one: Motorola is set Monday to debut its Defy phone on Oprah as part of the show’s season premiere — which is also its last. I guess it may be a good marketing decision considering the ratings for the show would probably be quite high, but then again are soccer moms a good target audience?

The Defy launches on T-Mobile later this year, and sports a 3.7-inch scratch-resistant touchscreen, Android 2.1, Motorola’s BLUR interface, five-megapixel camera, and a “rugged” exterior shell. This extra rigidity keeps out dust and water better than other smartphones, Motorola claims.

Motorola also will include noise-canceling technology on the device as well as Adobe’s Flash Lite, a feature that seems to have become ever more popular on recently released Android phones as of late. T-Mobile’s product management chief Paul Cole is calling it “a connection hub wrapped in a layer of protection.”

Another interest feature is built-in DLNA support. DLNA allows electronics to share content between devices supporting the technology. A cool feature, but it obviously requires other DLNA-equipped devices in order to truly be useful.

Pricing has not been announced — that will be part of the Oprah debut. So I guess you have to tune in and find out if you’re interested in the Defy. Now I guess it *might* make a little sense?

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Kindle for Android: Basic, But Still Welcome

On Sunday night, Amazon began embedding audio and/or video in a handful of Kindle e-books for the iPhone and iPad. On Monday, it released a Kindle e-reader for Android phones–and it can’t play those sounds and movies. As with other first incarnations of Kindle apps, it gets the job done but feels a bit bare bones: For instance, if you tap on your phone’s Search button while you’re reading a book, you get a message saying that search is coming soon.

This is still good news for Android handset owners–especially ones who (like me) have already invested in Kindle e-books. It also cements Kindle’s position as the most widely-deployed of the e-reading apps associated with a major book merchant: You can read Kindle books on Amazon’s devices, PCs, Macs, iPhones (and iPod Touches), iPads, BlackBerries, and now Android phones. ePub, championed by Barnes & Noble, Sony, and others is more theoretically open, but it’s kind of moot so long as everyone wraps their e-books up in copy protection and Amazon’s books work with the widest variety of hardware.

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Google TV: It's Official

Google’s I|O conference includes two–count ’em , two keynotes–and the company definitely saves the sexier stuff for day #2. This morning, we saw a long preview of the next version of Android, version 2.2 “Froyo,” plus some beyond-Froyo features. And then we got an equally lengthy preview of Google TV. Most of the rumors about it were true: It combines TiVo-like navigation and search with Web access, supports Flash, runs Android with third-party apps and a marketplace, and is built around a special Intel Atom CPU. Sony will be making TVs and Blu-Ray players based on it; Logitech will have a standalone box and accessories.

More thoughts on both Froyo and Google TV soon–for now, a few fuzzy photos of the Google TV interface after the jump.

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Kindle Enroute for Android Platform

Kindle fans with Android phones, your wait is over. Amazon has announced that it plans to release a version of its bookreading software for the platform. Currently, the book retailer has applications for Windows, Mac OS X, and several phone platforms including the iPhone. The applications allow for a subset of Kindle functionality available on Amazon’s popular reader devices.

As with all of its applications, Kindle for Android will include Whispersync — which synchronizes information including last page read, etc. across all Kindle applications and devices automatically.

Those wishing to use Kindle will need Android OS 1.6 or newer and an SD card. Specifically, Amazon has mentioned that the software would work on the Droid Incredible, Google Nexus One, HTC MyTouch, Motorola CLIQ, and Motorola Droid on a page announcing the launch of the application.

No specific details on availability have been announced, although a statement from the company says “this summer” — which could mean next month or September for all we know.

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Jobs Calls Out Android Over Porn

Easily the line of the day from today’s presentation. Following a question from gdgt’s Ryan Block on why the iPhone will not allow the running of unsigned apps like both Palm and Android already offer, Steve Jobs comes back calling out Android’s “porn store: “There’s a porn store for Android … your kids can download them … that’s a place where we just don’t want to go, so we’re not going to go there.” That is NOT going to make Google very happy…


Android Proving a Worthy Contender to iPhone, RIM

comScore’s latest numbers show that Google’s Android platform is really beginning to gain some traction in the smartphone market. From the November 2009 to February period, Android took 9 percent of the market, up sharply from 3.8 percent in the previous three month period.

Notable among comScore’s findings is the fact that Android seems to be attracting a different user base than either market-leading RIM or Apple. RIM managed to increase its share to 42.1 percent, while Apple maintained its 25.4 percent share. Instead, Android’s victims are Microsoft (who fell four percent to 15.1%) and Palm (7.2 to 5.4 percent).

Overall, smartphones have shown 21 percent year-over-year growth, verifying that there is still plenty of room for growth in this still somewhat nascent market.

I’ve long said since Verizon’s “iDont” commercials that the Android platform would for the most part not take market share from Apple, and this has proved that theory somewhat. Those on the platform are probably more likely new to smartphones overall, and the open nature of the OS means that the availability of Android phones is much broader (there is now at least one Android-powered phone on every major US cellular provider).

One thing can be said now, I think: Android is indeed a success.


A Web Site is No Longer Enough

The way in which we interact with technology has changed dramatically over the past few years. The era of light computing has begun, and social media is big enough that the average person can shape perceptions. A Web site is no longer the most meaningful way for us to interact to tell companies about their products or to use online services.

Smartphones are selling in droves, and people are using apps rather than visiting Web sites for everything from buying movie tickets to checking stocks. At any given time, it is likely that conversations about big businesses are happening on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, and those conversations can be initiated by anyone from anywhere.

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iPhone Growth Impressive Overseas

While many are focusing on market share aspects of a report from mobile ad company AdMob today, there are some other interesting factoids within the report that I found especially prescient considering discussions I’ve been having with my friends lately.

Those partial to Microsoft have started to float the argument that Windows Mobile is still far more popular overseas, with Apple the also-ran in those markets. If we’re going to believe AdMob’s work, that’s probably not a very sturdy argument to make.

Since the iPhone and iPod touch are on the same platform, its somewhat difficult to gauge the true growth of iPhones overseas as they are not separated when it comes to detection (how these statistics are compiled). Either way Apple’s growth in some of these markets is very impressive, and should worry the fans of Redmond.

In Japan, the user base has grown by nearly 350 percent, followed by France which has seen a 300 percent increase. Australia, China, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands all grew by more than 200 percent during the year. More details of the report can be found in this PDF.

As should be expected iPhone growth in Canada and the US is lagging, although still up 100 percent. There’s a pretty straightforward and simple explanation for this: by far this is the most established market for the device as it has been here the longest.

I think these numbers are certainly beginning to put to rest the assumption by some in Microsoft that Apple can not compete outside of the US. Yes, Cupertino’s struggling mightily selling computers outside of its home markets — but apparently that’s not preventing people from picking up an iPhone.

When you add to this the data that’s showing Android’s doing well, like Colin Gibbs over at GigaOm is reporting, and data that shows RIM is also hitting its stride, you have to wonder if Microsoft really stands a chance to do much of anything in the mobile space.

Who knows, could we soon be talking about a “Halo effect” when it comes to the iPhone, too?

Caveat: As Technologizer reader John Baxter points out in the comments, we should take into account that some of these numbers on growth may be skewed due to the fact that these are emerging markets for Apple’s iPhone. Like the US and Canada, it’s probably fairly likely we’ll see a dramatic drop off in growth here too as the market saturates.