It doesn't seem like it, but just a year and a few days ago, Google made available the first handset to bear the Nexus name - and what a long way we've come since. When the Nexus One was released, there were cries of "iPhone killer" and of Google entering the handset arena in direct competition with Apple. While the latter assertion remains debatable - the first does not. The Nexus One was a near-total commercial failure next to the iPhone 3GS, and even the original Motorola DROID ate the Nexus One for breakfast in terms of sales.
Every month, mobile advertiser Millennial Media releases their Mobile Mix, a report detailing where things stand in the mobile industry. This month marks a significant first, as well as some all-around good news for Android. Their highlights:
- For the first time, Android surpassed iOS as the largest Smartphone OS on the Millennial network, with an 8% increase month-over-month and 46% impression share on our network in December. The iOS currently has a 32% share
- Android ad requests grew 141% from Q3 to Q4 and since January, Android has grown 3130%
- Android devices represented 16 of the top 30 mobile devices on the Millennial network
- When breaking down the revenue generated by apps in Q4—Android had a 55% share as opposed to 39% for Apple.
In what is the most carefully-worded way of saying "we don't know" I've seen in a while, Asus's UK marketing manager John Swatton has told Pocket-lint that the company's new Android tablets will be shipping with Honeycomb "if Honeycomb is available." The reason for the uncertainty? Swanson seems to be suggesting that Motorola's XOOM has been given special treatment by Google, while Honeycomb remains unavailable to most, if not all, other tablet manufacturers.
As Android's market share continues to grow, it is inevitable that it will become a target for viruses and other malware. Indeed Steve Chang, the chairman of Trend Micro, a provider of security software, cautioned that Android is far more susceptible to malware attacks than iOS.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Chang claimed that Android's open source infrastructure allowed hackers to better understand the underlying architecture and source code.
As you probably know by now, versions of the Android OS tend to be alphabetically named and include some sort of reference to a dessert. Therefore, it was only reasonable to assume that the version of Android following Honeycomb would be called "Ice Cream."
However, according to Andy Rubin, that is not the case - instead, the name will be "Ice Cream Sandwich."
We still don't know Ice Cream Sandwich's version number, the features it will introduce, or anything else about it, but for those of you interested in the reason behind the name, TechCrunch has a pretty good theory: Google's statue for Android 2.2 includes frozen yogurt, which would be pretty hard to distinguish from ice cream.
If there's one thing CES told us about the upcoming twelve months in technology, it's that 2011 will be the year of Android tablets. And with noteworthy entries such as the Motorola XOOM, ASUS' lineup, and the T-Mobile G-Slate, it looks like the tablets' quality might be just as high as their quantity - at least hardware-wise.
But what about the software? After all, isn't a device's OS what makes or breaks it?
During CES 2011 Sony Ericsson's newest smartphone, the Xperia arc, was sighted running Android version "2.4".
A few weeks ago there were rumours that Honeycomb, Google's next iteration of the Android platform, would actually be Android 2.4 and not Android 3.0. Although it was later confirmed that Honeycomb will indeed be Android 3.0, rumours suggested that an incremental update to Android was being readied. The About section of the Xperia arc, displayed below, appeared to confirm that there was indeed a version 2.4.
It's not unheard of for tuners to throw a small PC into a car (commonly called a "carputer" in the industry). It's a lot less common for Android to appear in cars, though it does happen - GM has considered using it to power OnStar and has a Volt app, while the Roewe 350 rocks Android in a pretty hardcore way. We've yet to hear of aftermarket tuners taking advantage of Android - until now, that is.
Motorola is expected to launch its XOOM tablet in February 2011 and, according to DigiTimes, they have placed an order for about 700,000 to 800,000 units. If there is greater demand, DigiTimes expects the order to reach up to one million units by the end of the first quarter of 2011.
Interestingly, DigiTimes also claims that Motorola and Samsung are being given special treatment by Google, while competitors, such as LG and HTC, are being left behind.
I've been roaming the booths of CES for 3 days now, and I think I've seen almost everything even remotely related to Android that was worth seeing. One company, Recon Instruments, has been on my mind since the beginning, however, and I'm really glad I finally made it to their booth today.
Their current product, called Transcend, is a full snow goggles solution incorporating a little color LCD screen in the bottom right corner.