Google announced today that it will be holding a special event on Wednesday, June 6th, regarding the future of Google Maps. Anyone who knows Google knows that these products are huge for the company, ranking right up there with Gmail and Android. More importantly, however, Google Maps is very important to Google's largest competitor: Apple. Which is why, when Google announces an event for one of its last major strongholds on iOS mere days before Apple's WWDC, we take notice.
The last few years have been really exciting. Heck, the whole last decade. The explosive proliferation of broadband brought about a whole new world of possibilities for mankind, and the mobile revolution, even moreso. From about 2007 to the present, we watched as Apple and Google, as well as a host of phone manufacturers, turned the world upside down by putting powerful, location-aware, internet-connected, touchscreen mini-computers in the hands of everyday consumers for a price that is relatively affordable.
If you've been paying even the slightest bit of attention to the tech world for the past year or two, you're probably well aware that Android has more or less taken over the smartphone scene. Way back in June of 2010, Google revealed that 160,000 Android devices were being activated per day - at the time, that was more than double the combined total of iPhone, Mac, and iPad activations.
Today, Google announced that its acquisition of Motorola Mobility had officially closed. Make no mistake, this merger is something of a shotgun arrangement - and the offspring conceived out of wedlock is Android. So, how did we get here, two and a half years after the first DROID?
A Brief History Of Motorola And Android
Motorola was once Google's model manufacturer partner. At least in the US, it produced what was the most popular "first generation" Android smartphone, the original Motorola DROID.
This is the sort of quasi-rumor (it's fairly detailed and comes from the Wall Street Journal, so we're inclined to trust it) that makes me happy to be an Android fan.
According to the WSJ, Google is in cahoots with up to five device manufacturers to provide early access to the next iteration of the Android OS (Jelly Bean, we assume) so it can have an entire "portfolio" of Nexus devices ready by Thanksgiving - that's late November for those without turkey day.
Sony, you really confuse me sometimes. The US is just about to get the Xperia Ion on AT&T, supposedly the Sony-branded flagship smartphone. The problem is that the Xperia GX just took that crown from the Ion - before it even came out. I'm not sure what Sony's grand master plan here is, but looking from the outside in, it seems like the company (that lost $5.7 billion last year - most of it in the fourth quarter alone) is flying completely and utterly blind.
The Galaxy S III is... well... it's ugly. There's really no other way to put it. But why? Why is it ugly? I don't mean aesthetically, why is it ugly, I mean, "How did something like this ever make it out of Samsung's design studio?" I'll tell you how, it was never in the design studio. This phone design was born down the hall, in a room where the door sign reads "Samsung Legal."
It was designed by lawyers.
A long time ago (read: about 4 years), in a galaxy far, far away (read: Silicon Valley), a guy named Drew Houston started a little company called Dropbox. After securing seed funding from Y Combinator, Dropbox officially launched in 2008 at the TechCrunch50. To say nothing of the complexities of implementation, the idea was simple: put your files in one place, access them anywhere. And apparently, the idea was also a really good one: as of October last year, Dropbox had over 50 million users, doubling from a figure of 25 million in April.
Oh, RIM. You're hemorrhaging customers, executives, and share value. It's painfully obvious you're on track for a disaster of Palm-proportions. And still, your upper-level management fling zingers at the competition that would make anyone but the die-hardest of BlackBerry fans skip the facepalm and go straight to a facedesk. It's almost like watching a Shakespearean tragedy unfold.
If you've not been keeping up with the cutting edge of all things RIM, allow me to give you a quick run-down.
Clarification: Yes, it is 5 million sold to end consumers, officially confirmed by Samsung to Phone Scoop.
The Galaxy Note - it's a device that stirs up passions among many technology enthusiasts. It's big - so big that is just looks silly held up to your face. But its gorgeous, 5.3" HD display (1280x800) has owners absolutely loving the phablet (alright, I won't use it again - promise).
Apple iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy Note
It was panned by critics, and online magazine Slate even called it a "disturbing trend," saying Samsung should "take a lesson from [Apple's] success and realize that bigger isn’t necessarily better and that a phone’s utility decreases as its screen inflates." The Galaxy Note debuted with an MSRP of $800, and while carrier subsidies have seen many consumers avoid that price, it's worth mentioning that still means the Note is pricier for carriers than the iPhone 4S.