Tag Archives | Google Android

Microsoft Does Another Deal Over Android

Microsoft has struck a deal with Quanta, the giant contract manufacturer, to license its patents which may be violated by Google’s Android and Chrome OS. (I knew that Microsoft had been doing these pacts for Android, but wasn’t aware that it thinks that Chrome OS also rips off its intellectual property.)

Jay Green of Cnet reports:

As Android has grown and surpassed Microsoft’s mobile-phone operating systems in the marketplace, the company has targeted handset and tablet makers that use the Google operating system. It’s racked up a laundry list of licensees in a little more than a year, starting with longtime partner HTC. Just last month, Microsoft reached an Android licensing agreement with Acer.

I’m not criticizing Microsoft for its dealmaking. For one thing, I’m not a patent lawyer, so I don’t have a stance on the legitimacy of its claims against Google’s products. For another, aggressive licensing is probably less depressing than what the rest of the industry is doing: Attempting to sue everybody else’s pants off. But considering the company’s lack of success with Windows Phone so far, the possibility exists that it’ll slowly devolve from a product company into a patent-licensing one–and that would be sad.

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Hipmunk’s Flight Search: Just as Hip on Android

Slowly but surely, many of the best iOS apps are coming to Android, and their quality once they get there is improving. Case in point: The excellent air travel search engine Hipmunk, which arrived in a version for Android phones this week. Its Android version is just as good as the iOS one–good looking, easy to use, and brilliantly useful. (It ranks flight options by a price/complexity formula it calls “Agony,” and, as you can see above, shows which flights have Wi-Fi.

Hipmunk does flight search better than competitors such as Kayak and Bing Travel, but it’s not the only airfare research tool you’ll ever need, mostly because it only shows prices available through Orbitz, and routes you there when you’re ready to buy. Still, even if you just use the app to look for flights you’ll buy elsewhere, it’s invaluable. And it’s nice to see it didn’t get watered down on its way to Android.

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Amazon Tablet Event Liveblog Tomorrow

Enough with the pretense–Amazon.com is unveiling its Android tablet tomorrow. (I’d like to see a new Kindle e-reader, too, OK?) I’ll be at the New York event and will liveblog it starting at 10am ET. I’ll also have a special guest: Jason Snell of Macworld, who will provide color commentary and generally hang out with us.

It may not surprise you to learn that Apple events get by far the highest liveblog attendance here at Technologizer. (Google Android events and Facebook ones are more or less tied for a distant second place.) I’ve never liveblogged an Amazon press conference, so I’m looking forward to it–and wondering whether, as with Apple events, tens of thousands of you will choose to join me.


Me, Elsewhere

I haven’t written as much here recently as I like to, but I have a good excuse: I’ve been hard at work writing for other sites. Three new stories are up today:

* At TIME.com, I reviewed two new Android phones from Motorola: the potent (and battery-hungry) Droid Bionic, and the basic (and thrifty) Triumph.

* TIME also asked me to try and make sense of the drama going on over at AOL and TechCrunch. I’m not even sure if that’s possible, but I tried.

* Over at AllBusiness.com, I wrote about a newish gadget that small businesses seem to be snapping up with the same zea they once adopted IBM PCs and PalmPilots. It’s called the iPad.

Whew! (And stay turned for another bit of related news in the not-too-distant future.)

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“Nexus Prime” Rumored for October, Just in Time for iPhone 5

Get ready for a big smartphone battle in October, when Google’s Nexus Prime Android phone is rumored to lock horns with Apple’s iPhone 5.

The Nexus Prime will reportedly run Android Ice Cream Sandwich, which will merge Google’s smartphone and tablet operating systems into a single version of software. Like previous “Nexus” phones, we can assume that the Nexus Prime will run a pure version of Android with no custom user interfaces from the phone maker and no bloatware from wireless service providers.

And the hardware, according to the Korean-language Electronic Times (via Boy Genius Report)will be beastly. Rumored specs include a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor and a 4.5-inch display with 1280-by-720 resolution. Samsung is reportedly the manufacturer, although Nexus phones are Google-branded.

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Fusion Garage’s Grid-10 Tablet: Not the CrunchPad and Not the JooJoo. And Not Android, Either–Except That It Is

A startup which called itself TabCo has been teasing the world about its upcoming tablet in recent weeks while remaining stealthy and mysterious. (Among its PR tactics: Delivering pizza to journalists such as me.) Today, the company came out of hiding–and it turns out that it’s not a new startup at all. It’s an old startup named Fusion Garage, known until now as the company which worked with Michael Arrington of TechCrunch on his CrunchPad tablet idea before cutting Arrington out of the project and releasing a spectacularly disappointing, unsuccessful device called the JooJoo. The TabCo ruse was intended to drum up interest in the company’s post-JooJoo products, a tablet called the Grid-10 and a phone named the Grid-4. I met with Fusion Garage founder Chandra Rathakrishnan today to get demos of both gadgets.

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Another Print Publisher Turns to Tablets

In the latest news of print media companies turning to tablets,CNN reports that its sources say media conglomerate Tribune Co. plans to develop its own tablet device that would in turn be offered to subscribers.

Tribune publishes several major dailies, including the Chicago TribuneLos Angeles Times, and the Baltimore Sun, as well as several smaller papers, plus a host of television and radio outlets.

The plan sounds to me to be a lot like a similar pilot program. soon to be underway in Philadelphia. There, local papers plan to sell devices at a discounted rate to support digital editions.

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A Harvard Professor Puts Smartphone Usability to the Test

[UPDATE: Upon further reflection, this seems to be a student project created for the class, not research by Galletta himself. And as I said, it’s not clear how serious a test it was or what the methodology was. (I do note that the end credits list a “cast.” My bad for jumping to conclusions after reading this story.]

Professor Dennis Galletta has been teaching a summer course at Harvard on Human Factors in Information Systems Design. As part of it, he conducted some usability testing of the iPhone 4, Samsung’s Windows Phone 7-based Focus, HTC’s Android-based Thunderbolt, and RIM’s BlackBerry Storm. He had people who hadn’t used any of the phones try to make a call, add a contact, and send a text message, and videotaped their attempts to do so.

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Time Commits Big To Tablets for Its Magazines

Time Inc. is sticking its neck out in a big way, announcing Wednesday its intention to make available tablet versions of its entire U.S. magazine lineup available by the end of the year. If the plans are successful that would be 21 titles in all, and it would also be the first publisher to bring its entire catalog online.

The company makes mention of “leading platforms,” which leads me to believe that it’s referring to iOS and Android. It has also made  some of its magazines available on HP’s TouchPad — which runs WebOS — but it isn’t clear whether Time is including that in the guarantee.

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