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T-Mobile To Launch Android Tablet

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 5 years ago | from the that's-one-big-ass-iphone dept.

Handhelds 101

nandemoari writes "T-Mobile is planning to use Google's open source operating system 'Android' on devices that blur the line between cellphone and home PC. In addition, Samsung says they will also produce Android phones, but need to work out the kinks first. Both announcements come shortly after HP revealed that it is investigating the idea of using Android to power some of its low-cost netbook computers in place of Windows."

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Why Not Existing Phones? Am I Missing Something? (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27479981)

It's my understanding that Android is a mobile OS based in Linux [wikipedia.org] so why do we need to feature new phones? Can't we take an already popular model (like the Chocolate or Razr or whatever the devil it is the kids consume these days) and just compile it down to match the architecture and write the drivers for the devices on the phone?

I mean, I've got Linux running on my Nintendo DS [wikipedia.org] from a community effort and it seems to support much of the DS' devices like the touch screen. You're telling me Google or Samsung or interested parties couldn't do the same for an existing phone? Am I missing something regarding hardware requirements? I mean, I know it uses Java libraries for the applications but a lot of existing phones should be beefy enough for that, right?

Re:Why Not Existing Phones? Am I Missing Something (5, Insightful)

tknd (979052) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480093)

why do we need to feature new phones?

Because the phone manufacturers and networks would love you to buy a new phone and sign a new 2 year contract. If they allowed you to upgrade your software, the only company that wins is Google.

Re:Why Not Existing Phones? Am I Missing Something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27481013)

This is why I bought an iPhone.

3.0 coming in June.

Re:Why Not Existing Phones? Am I Missing Something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27481161)

and your argument states what? Iphone or Gphone, they both came with an operating system and both can be upgraded.

You didn't get the IPhone OS on an old phone, nor will you. This is why apple stans, get looked at as being crazy people....

WTF are you talking about???? (3, Insightful)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 5 years ago | (#27482855)

"Because the phone manufacturers and networks would love you to buy a new phone and sign a new 2 year contract. If they allowed you to upgrade your software, the only company that wins is Google."

Android is Open Source . Did you miss the memo?

Google only wins if we win. It is a symbiotic, and very healthy relationship type known as interdependence, which you may want to read about here [wikipedia.org] .

Oh yeah, and one final thing. Google already won. We already won. I have a G1 running Linux with root access and the ability to cross-compile whatever kernel, libraries, and applications I want and install, boot, and use them.

Re:WTF are you talking about???? (2, Informative)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483189)

The problem isn't that "Google wins", but that "the people trying to sell you a new phone & contract lose".

Re:WTF are you talking about???? (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 5 years ago | (#27487389)

Well, I'll see if I can get T-mobile to understand that later today when I stop in to pay my bill, but I think the fact that I shelled out the money for the G1 and renewed my contract as a direct consequence of the Andrioid project might make it hard for us to make our case ...

Re:Why Not Existing Phones? Am I Missing Something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27480095)

quite simple, they are in it for the sales. putting android on an old phone won't increase sales much (at the cost of development) while creating a newer product will. phones are ever moving and advancing so spending extra to support older products won't benifit the company as much. Android may change this eventually (where support for legacy phones becomes cheaper) but for now, it's easier for them to just create a new phone with a ui designed around android instead of trying to hack it in on older phones.

Re:Why Not Existing Phones? Am I Missing Something (1)

Ortega-Starfire (930563) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483121)

>quite simple, they are in it for the sales. putting android on an old phone won't increase sales much (at the cost of development) while creating a newer product will. Considering that the carriers get little from the phones themselves, having an upgradeable phone gives the carrier a guaranteed revenue stream rather than a worry about what new phone to cram down the throats of the consumer.

I still haven't purchased an Android Phone... (1)

billlava (1270394) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480159)

...but it seems to me that there are probably rather specific requirements for an Android Phone in order to ensure compatibility across all the platforms (which seems counter-intuitive to the concept of an open platform...) Like they should all be touchscreen, have GPS, accelerometer, and have really good battery life and an efficient low-energy processor. Still, you would think that such phones could be found and equipped with Android. I guess everyone just wants something 'new' even if it is just the same-old in new packaging.

Re:I still haven't purchased an Android Phone... (3, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480893)

which seems counter-intuitive to the concept of an open platform

Not at all. Android can't have drivers for a technology if there's no way for its authors to get their hands on specs, short of reverse engineering each piece of hardware which is prohibitively time intensive.

Re:I still haven't purchased an Android Phone... (1)

pmarini (989354) | more than 5 years ago | (#27485979)

you might be missing the concept of open in the context of hardware here...
take a common base for a platform (be it software, hardware, food - yes, as in beer), then declare it "open" and release the specifications for it to be seen, modified and reused at will
this obviously has the double advantage of letting people add or subtract parts, but you do either of these "operations" at your own risk...
to give an example (different for the usual car one): take water, you can add CO2 and have fun or you can remove hydrogen and have fun too...

Re:Why Not Existing Phones? Am I Missing Something (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27480167)

Yes we totally can do that. In fact, many people already have. The hard part is writing the drivers with no hardware documentation.

Re:Why Not Existing Phones? Am I Missing Something (5, Funny)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480205)

Can't we take an already popular model (like the Chocolate or Razr or whatever the devil it is the kids consume these days) and just compile it down to match the architecture and write the drivers for the devices on the phone?

1. Joe Sixpack is gonna use whatever OS is on the device they buy.

2. Commercial driver support is needed for this to avoid the hell that linux drivers can become.

People using Android on a phone do not want to mess with the OS on their appliance. For adoption to happen, people must have a smooth transition, and a cobbled-together Android distro for $HARDWARE will turn off a lot of potential users.

That said, do you really want an Android with a Razor? What could it possible need to shave?!.

Or an Android with a Chocolate, or a Blackberry? My wife would leave me in a second for a robot that takes orders and comes bearing sweets.

Re:Why Not Existing Phones? Am I Missing Something (2, Funny)

zobier (585066) | more than 5 years ago | (#27484003)

My wife would leave me in a second for a robot that takes orders and comes bearing sweets.

Fortunately for you I'm already married -- what's that honey... OK, I'll have it ready in a minute -- GTG.

Re:Why Not Existing Phones? Am I Missing Something (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27497343)

If your wife does say she's leaving you for a robot, remind her of the sexual issues. I'm told their lovemaking is rather mechanical.

Marketing is not technology (3, Interesting)

xzvf (924443) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480231)

A more important question is why Android? To answer my own question, it is marketing and the value of attaching Google to the phone. Doesn't matter that the phone runs Linux, what matters is the phone is attached to Google. It is an interesting shift in ownership of mobile phones. The iPhone is an Apple product, not an AT&T phone. Will Google follow the MS PC model and like Windows PC by Dell will become Android phone by Samsung?

Marketing IS technology (1)

Lexible (1038928) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480569)

namely, technology to encourage consumers to part with their cash, to develop brand loyalty (so that they part with their cash in the future), and to commit mindshare (so that the idea of parting with their cash to the makers of brand x is socially worthy).

if you were to create a technology to do these three thing, people would call it marketing.

Re:Marketing is not technology (4, Interesting)

Locutus (9039) | more than 5 years ago | (#27481747)

I'm not sure the phone/OS being attached to Google is a big deal or game changer. What we're seeing is not phone vendors selling phones to the public but Telco's still selling phones tied to their networks. Apple controls the iPhone OS much like Microsoft controls the OS for some phones. but, the difference with Android is that vendors are allowed to take Android outside its basic design. For instance, Microsoft, for over a decade would not let vendors change the desktop UI phone users saw on their WindowsCE/PocketPC/Mobile phones. Only late last year after much complaining from one vendor did Microsoft allow the vendor to define what the UI looked like for the customer. Microsoft also dictated the screen resolution. Android give alot of power/control to the device or telco vendor and also provides alot of backend stuff with the application store end of it. Unfortunately, we're finding out that the Telco's are still given ways to block apps so Android is not yet the "user" friendly phone platform. Telco's like a massive amount of control and they are still getting it.

LoB

Re:Marketing is not technology (3, Interesting)

the_macman (874383) | more than 5 years ago | (#27484287)

You've touched on something I've been trying to understand for a while. I'm a big proponent of OSS. When I first heard about Android I figured it would be similar to Linux except on my cellphone. From what I've seen it's the same old bullshit as usual. Tied to certain carriers, certain apps are blocked, etc.
 
Would someone with an android phone or maybe an android dev explain what exactly is open source about it?

Re:Marketing is not technology (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 5 years ago | (#27498453)

From what I've seen it's the same old bullshit as usual. Tied to certain carriers, certain apps are blocked, etc.

Would someone with an android phone or maybe an android dev explain what exactly is open source about it?

G1 owner and hobbyist Android app developer here.

Android is open source in that you can download the source code for the OS, recompile it, redistribute it with or without modifications, recompile it, bundle it with hardware you sell, and so on. Just like Linux. That means you can expect to see it on a lot of hardware, since companies can use it for the cost of porting (no license needed to get the code or distribute it).

That doesn't mean the hardware is open source, though -- just like Linux. That's up to the manufacturer. TiVo runs Linux, but you can't install your own modified firmware (without some hacking), and the same is true of the G1. But you can root your G1 and install your own firmware, or buy an ADP1 and install whatever you want with no hacking.

Android isn't "tied to certain carriers". The G1 is, to an extent (it's hardware-incompatible with AT&T's 3G network), but other carriers have Android phones in the works.

It's also not true to say "certain apps are blocked". Google has unfortunately caved to T-Mobile's request to remove tethering apps from the Android Market (as seen by T-Mobile users, at least), but you don't have to use the Android Market anyway. You can install apps from any web site with the built-in browser, whether or not they're on some carrier's blacklist. No hacking required; anyone can do it without using special software, violating the carrier or manufacturer's terms, or being accused of copyright infringement (cough cough, iPhone).

Of course, since Android is open source, the carrier could sell a phone with a version of Android that's been modified to reject blacklisted apps from any source, and then prevent you from installing unsigned firmware, subjecting you to their application policies (much like TiVo does to subject you to their advertisement and copying policies). That hasn't happened yet, but it could. That's the downside of most open source licenses.

Re:Marketing is not technology (1)

anothy (83176) | more than 5 years ago | (#27482449)

what matters is that the interface doesn't suck.

most mobile phones, from free up through the $300 models with WinCE on them, have just plain horrid UIs. the iPhone came along and, far from being perfect or even close to it, didn't totally suck. and people were amazed, and wanted to know why their phone didn't not suck. Android also doesn't suck, so now people will have more options. and the best thing the iPhone's done for the industry is making other manufacturers realize that, in the near future, their interfaces are going to have to not suck, too, if they want to remain competitive.

i'm really tired of this whole "it's just marketing" meme. 9 times out of 10 it just indicates that the speaker doesn't know anything about usability. better than half the times it also indicates that they don't know anything about engineering generally.

Re:Marketing is not technology (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#27482547)

most mobile phones, from free up through the $300 models with WinCE on them, have just plain horrid UIs. the iPhone came along and, far from being perfect or even close to it, didn't totally suck. and people were amazed, and wanted to know why their phone didn't not suck.

Windoze suck! Amiga rulez!

So you think they suck, and the Iphone doesn't - that's an assertion of an opinion, can you tell us why, with evidence or examples?

As an example: my phone's UI doesn't suck. Good things about it are that it can copy and paste, and if I want to run applications from a unofficial site, or use it as a modem ("tethering"), it doesn't need to be hacked (it Just Works). All good interfaces have objective reasons why they are good - I would be curious for some examples?

Re:Marketing is not technology (1)

anothy (83176) | more than 5 years ago | (#27485599)

copy and paste is (was? what's the right verb tense with beta code out there?) a legitimate UI issue; app locking isn't UI.

compare the SMS interface. the chat-like representation blows away pretty much everything else. application selection beat most things (on par with palm), scrolling beat pretty much everything, zooming beat pretty much everything, soft keyboard beat pretty much everything (despite still being the weakest part of the UI, imho), popup notification (even before 3.0 beat most things (and is even better now). all of these have a measurable effect on time per action and errors per action.

before the iPhone, most vendors mostly didn't bother with UI design (Nokia did, somewhat; Microsoft sorta did, but making the bet that familiarity would yield better results than changing the model to fit the device; bad bet).

this was not uniform. maybe you really do have one of the few phones by a vendor who cared about UI. but the industry, as a whole, gave the entire topic of UI very short shift. the iPhone and Android finally have vendors paying attention.

Re:Marketing is not technology (1)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | more than 5 years ago | (#27486027)

As an example: my phone's UI doesn't suck. Good things about it are that it can copy and paste, and if I want to run applications from a unofficial site, or use it as a modem ("tethering"), it doesn't need to be hacked (it Just Works). All good interfaces have objective reasons why they are good - I would be curious for some examples?

So when talking about interfaces, you run off several features as evidence of why it doesn't suck?

The parent wasn't talking about tethering, or running unofficial apps, he was talking about the interface (copy and paste is the only thing you mentioned which *is* a UI issue, and agreed it's crazy they didn't have it in from day 1 on the iPhone).

Compared to Nokia, Motorola and Samsung phones, the UI on Android or the iPhone is far far ahead. Things like picture manipulation, app launching, tabs (on Android), reading email, texting etc are vastly simplified, compared with the menu based hell and inconsistent UI of Motorola/Nokia phones, which is often based around a series of OK/Cancel or Menu/Options choices, which require you to push one of a confusing array of hardware buttons below the screen.

Re:Marketing is not technology (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483571)

A more important question is why Android? To answer my own question, it is marketing and the value of attaching Google to the phone. Doesn't matter that the phone runs Linux, what matters is the phone is attached to Google. It is an interesting shift in ownership of mobile phones. The iPhone is an Apple product, not an AT&T phone. Will Google follow the MS PC model and like Windows PC by Dell will become Android phone by Samsung?

The Android OS is separate from the Hardware, in other words, the OS is already available to any hardware manufacturer who wants to use the OS. This isn't the Windows (paid licenses) or Apple (restrict hardware) model, its the Linux model.

Unlike the Desktop OS market the Phone OS market is fractured between several almost completely incomparable proprietary (or developed as proprietary) OS, Windows Mobile, Symbian, Palm, and Blackberry. Currently manufacturers pick an OS and build the HW, what Android hopes to do is create an OS that can be used on a variety of Hardware with little or no reconfiguration and bring standardisation to a fractured industry. What this means for the consumer is that smart phone prices will go down as the costs of software development are separated from the costs of hardware development and the amount of wheel reinventing is reduced (costs will go down, even over the objections of the Telco's). The Linux distribution model is quite doable on the mobile industry as there is no dominating force (like Microsoft) to get in the way and strong arm hardware vendors.

Re:Why Not Existing Phones? Am I Missing Something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27480385)

why do we need to feature new phones?

I love how people are so naive. Companies are not interested in selling you good quality reliable products. They are only interested in you giving them your money, and will do whatever it takes, but absolutely nothing more, to get it. So yeah, T-Mobile could simply update the software and give everyone great new features for their existing hardware, but then that would keep people from buying new hardware.

Don't like this situation? Then STOP BUYING STUFF. Start personally valuing reliability and longevity over trendiness and chrome-content.

As someone who has been around a while, I will not hold my breath that anything will ever change.

Re:Why Not Existing Phones? Am I Missing Something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27482331)

T-Mobile does not control the distribution of the operating system.

Google controls the distribution and if TMO pushes google not to update the G1 someone will port the new software like we are already seeing with the custom HTC magic firmware hacks.

If you are going to spew crap at least do some research first.

Re:Why Not Existing Phones? Am I Missing Something (2, Informative)

miknix (1047580) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480463)

It's my understanding that Android is a mobile OS based in Linux [wikipedia.org] so why do we need to feature new phones? Can't we take an already popular model (like the Chocolate or Razr or whatever the devil it is the kids consume these days) and just compile it down to match the architecture and write the drivers for the devices on the phone?

The motorola razr2 v8 already comes with Linux:
https://opensource.motorola.com/sf/projects/razr2v8 [motorola.com]

Fuck you, rimmer! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27480481)

Loser idiot....

Re:Why Not Existing Phones? Am I Missing Something (1)

TheophileEscargot (309117) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480485)

The whole user interface is based around a touchscreen where you drag elements around. It would be pointless on a device with just a keypad.

Re:Why Not Existing Phones? Am I Missing Something (2, Informative)

milas (988484) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480547)

Cellphone specifications are usually very closed. However, since HTC makes the T-Mobile G1, and its internals are very similar to HTC's other smartphones, it has been ported [androidonhtc.com] to some of them, although it is still a work in progress.

Re:Why Not Existing Phones? Am I Missing Something (1)

demiurg (108464) | more than 5 years ago | (#27481541)

Because mobile phone hardware architecture is far from being standard. There are too many options and no standards to speak off. It can have two processors (application and baseband), or one, or the two can reside on the same die. There multitude of buses and interfaces. It takes many man years to create a decent mobile phone (Openmoko anyone ?)

Re:Why Not Existing Phones? Am I Missing Something (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 5 years ago | (#27481591)

you can do this in Europe because they have an open system and people buy phones and then pick what service they went to enable for this phone. You know, competition on performance of the network. Here in the US, it's all about the lockin and preventing competition. The Telco's sell the phones already customized and tied to their service so you have to buy the phones from them in most cases. You can find unlocked phones but they are usually 2+ year old models already or going out of production. Telco's don't like you doing this.

Actually, Android is having some fits because the US Telco's don't want to give up their lockins so they must find ways to block and lock Android features on their networks. They don't like VOIP for instance.

It also doesn't help that there are a few different networks playing here with little sign of any one winner so the Telco's have the phone radio as another lockin/lockout method.

LoB

Re:Why Not Existing Phones? Am I Missing Something (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27498601)

You can buy unlocked phones in the U.S., too. On AT&T's and T-Mobile's networks, there's nothing preventing you from doing it. Verizon and the other CDMA carriers are a bit tougher, and you do admittedly get mostly older phones on the secondary market there, but that's what you get for going with a proprietary, non-standard technology.

I use T-Mobile and have bought my own GSM phones for years; sometimes I've chosen to buy phones that are a few years behind the bleeding edge because I'm a cheap bastard, but I certainly haven't been forced to. I think most Americans don't do this because they're addicted to the subsidy business model that the carriers promote in order to lock customers in. The subsidies have deflated their idea of what a phone ought to cost, down to a level that's far less than fair market value. Phones that are at least $100 are "free," and something like the iPhone 3G which is probably at least a $500 product (I think it goes for even more than that, sold legitimately unlocked in jurisdictions where the law requires that option), is "$200".

But if you want to buy an unlocked phone you can do that, and you can run whatever software you want to on it. On my Nokia E61, for instance, I have a WiFi tethering program (JoikuSpot [joikuspot.com] -- it's awesome) and the phone has a SIP VOIP client and a VPN client built right into the operating system. And it has none of the remote-update or kill-switch "features" that seem to be de rigueur on branded smartphones. No bullshit tie-in to a proprietary application store or code-signing requirements, either -- you can download and run all the crap from the Internet you want. You can buy one right now, drop your SIM card in, and away you go.

If people buy subsidized and/or crippled phones through their cell carriers than they pretty much deserve the crippled pieces of shit that they get. Good phones without restrictions are there for the buying if you're willing to pay what they actually cost, and what people in other countries routinely pay.

Re:Why Not Existing Phones? Am I Missing Something (1)

Locutus (9039) | more than 5 years ago | (#27505677)

that's what I said in one sentence. The fact that people can't purchase the latest greatest phones for any network is a limiting factor. We'll see if Android eventually breaks that model in the US.

LoB

Re:Why Not Existing Phones? Am I Missing Something (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 5 years ago | (#27482797)

"It's my understanding that Android is a mobile OS based in Linux so why do we need to feature new phones?

.. and ...

"Am I missing something regarding hardware requirements?"

If you had a G1 or newer hardware, you'd have never asked the question, because you'd know that the second question's answer is yes, and in a big way .

You might be able to run Android on the Motorola RaZr, but what would be the point?

  • No touchscreen
  • No GPS
  • No WiFi

... and that is just off the top of my head. I suspect the processing power in the Razr also doesn't compare, but I could be wrong there.

minimum feature set ... (1)

taniwha (70410) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483519)

screen a minimum size (bigger than most current cell phones)
touch screen
storage
net access of some kind
gps/compass/g sensors etc

I don't get it (1)

OMGcAPSLOCK (1507399) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480001)

Wouldn't this be more of a palm device than a tablet PC?

Re:I don't get it (1)

xenolion (1371363) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480079)

Thats what i was thinking.

hmmmm (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27480017)

the same company that pushed WIndows through their company is NOW concerned about security and pushing a none windows platform??????? T-Mobile is about as lame as Verizon.

Re:hmmmm (4, Informative)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480085)

No, nobody is as lame as Verizon.

been debating: iPhone versus Android (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27480019)

I've been debating on learning to write software for the iPhone or the Android OS. I'm thinking if T-Mobile has a nice tablet PC based on Android that this will probably make me decide to go with Android since it uses technologies I already know how to work with.

Re:been debating: iPhone versus Android (2, Interesting)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480065)

Rhodes is a ruby framework that lets you write apps that run on all the major mobile platforms. While you won't be able to make a Quake port with it. For the many apps it's very suitable.

Re:been debating: iPhone versus Android (1)

LDoggg_ (659725) | more than 5 years ago | (#27481485)

What type of applications are you intending on writing?

For something like 3d games, you'll have to decide on a platform. If you're doing something that can be rendered in a browser but still requires hardware access, you might want to take a look at the opensource PhoneGap project. That way you can write in a somewhat cross platform way and target both android and iphone devices.

To distribute or for yourself? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27482131)

I'm thinking if T-Mobile has a nice tablet PC based on Android that this will probably make me decide to go with Android since it uses technologies I already know how to work with.

The question you need to ask is, are you writing stuff mostly for yourself or for other people to use? Are you thinking to write something targeting the tablet specifically?

On the iPhone, free or paid app you are going to get a larger user base.

On Android, you are going to have a smaller number of people using the app but potentially more flexibility (I say potentially because there are some areas where the iPhone currently has greater capabilities (like touch API support or working with media) than Android while the Android platform is of course more open in how you can manipulate the system with an application).

It may well be a good idea to target Android initially and see if your idea works well on a mobile device, but the iPhone does have a learning curve and it helps to learn with an idea that interests you.

Re:To distribute or for yourself? (1)

CdBee (742846) | more than 5 years ago | (#27486127)

Not sure I agree with this:

"On the iPhone, free or paid app you are going to get a larger user base. On Android, you are going to have a smaller number of people using the app"

OK right now there are more iPhones than Android phones out there. I bet in 3 years time Androids will outnumber iPhones by 3 to 1 or better, as there's just the one iPhone and the one carrier for it (usually) but a near infinite possible range of 'Droids..

Stats do not point that way (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#27491453)

OK right now there are more iPhones than Android phones out there. I bet in 3 years time Androids will outnumber iPhones by 3 to 1 or better, as there's just the one iPhone and the one carrier for it (usually) but a near infinite possible range of 'Droids..

Yes, there will be many more Android phones in the next few years. However there are a ton of Windows Mobile phones right now, and that has not stopped the iPhone from surpassing them in sales. What I see in a few years is the iPhone OS having a commanding lead (in part due to Touch sales, which isn't really a phone but acts to expand the platform userbase), with Android and the Palm Pre fighting it out for second, possibly Windows Mobile in fourth though I think they've taken too long to react.

Also coming up this year is the halfway mark for AT&T exclusivity - can Android overtake the iPhone before that platform goes to all carriers? It seems unlikely to me given the lead that exists.

There is a very large network effect from the number of apps the iPhone has, and Apple really does have a lead on the platform and API currently that I do not think will slip much.

The Palm Pre is the real wildcard here, I think it will do pretty well but it's hard to say just how well.

Re:been debating: iPhone versus Android (2, Interesting)

mjwx (966435) | more than 5 years ago | (#27483543)

I've been debating on learning to write software for the iPhone or the Android OS. I'm thinking if T-Mobile has a nice tablet PC based on Android that this will probably make me decide to go with Android since it uses technologies I already know how to work with.

At this stage I'd go with Android simply because of the fact that there are more Android devices planed. From HTC the G1/Dream is released and the G2/Magic is slated for release mid year. Samsung have claimed to have an Android device out by EOY, Nvidia is working on a mobile device claiming it will run Winmo and Android. Motarola may still be working on Android devices as well (but rumours are their Android team was diminished by the financial apocalypse). Android will have better numbers compared to the iphone at this stage and I think that the people who don't care about phone aesthetics or OS (most phone purchasers) will end up with an Android device in a few years due to the fact that Google are trying to make the OS accessible to manufacturers however it will take some time for Android to grow in numbers.

In addition to this, Apple have set up their App store to cater to large software development houses, independent developers will be forced out via attrition. Very few developers have actually made money from the appstore considering the cost of entry, Android marketplace is US$25 + your time. Further more Apple will maintain dictatorial control over the appstore reserving the right to refuse publication of your app or even yank an published app for any reason. Granted that Google can pull apps from the Android Marketplace but you can publish your app on your own website and people can still install it from there as Android is not restricted to the Android Marketplace.

Re:been debating: iPhone versus Android (1)

Phoghat (1288088) | more than 5 years ago | (#27486829)

I am loathe to buying all things Apple. Hey, I like bright shiny things as much as the next crow but don't want the Apple Tax attached to it. That being said, I take the subway in NY city to work each AM and when I see someone with a smart phone (usually a pretty young thing) I sit next to them and strike up a conversation by asking about their phone. EVERY damn one is an iPhone. These are the consumers. No one is interested in whether the software is open source, but they do like what it does and how it looks. When Android is bright and shiny, let me know.

Re:been debating: iPhone versus Android (1)

LDoggg_ (659725) | more than 5 years ago | (#27487037)

"No one is interested in whether the software is open source"

Of course not, but people do like free things. I'm hoping that the more Android devices come out, the bigger the market of free apps will get.

Re:been debating: iPhone versus Android (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 5 years ago | (#27498013)

Youre only noticing the iphone, there aren't actually more of them. It's like when you are at the beach and someone wanders along with their lunch hanging out (Lunch is Aussie slang for their wedding tackle) if you pretend that it doesn't exist it stops sticking out. After doing this I notice more Nokia E series (E71 is particularly popular in AU) and Blackberries then iphones as the E71's and blackberries are very popular in business. Also at a distance the iphone looks very similar to the ipod touch.

I also take public transportation to work (A$4.40 for the bus or A$10 for parking) and iphones/ipod touches are most common with the adolescent crowd.

Android will be shiny, give it time. In the mean time I'd like to get into the OS so I can be fully prepared for when clueless user #58 brings one to me for whatever reason.

Re:been debating: iPhone versus Android (1)

Phoghat (1288088) | more than 5 years ago | (#27498427)

I read. A LOT. I almost exclusively read e-books on a Windows Mobile 5 device (paper is both heavy and wasteful). When I see someone reading something I ask what they're using. There is an ap to read books on the iPod, Blackberry and Nokia but I always seem to see iPods used this way. I'm only sayin'!

Re:been debating: iPhone versus Android (1)

mjwx (966435) | more than 5 years ago | (#27499109)

Mobile phones are too small for me to read from, I need at least an A5 page to make it worthwhile. I'm beginning to see a few E-book readers on public transportation these days. They aren't Amazon Kindle's either given the fact that Amazon doesn't sell anything in Australia (Yes I can buy from Amazon US but the postage is a bitch). I'm waiting for them to drop in price.

I like paper books, but only for things I want to keep, if I could have all my textbooks in E-book form I'd be very happy, as for my novel collection dead tree is best.

Re:been debating: iPhone versus Android (1)

Phoghat (1288088) | more than 5 years ago | (#27501431)

Point your magic browser to plasticlogic.com and see what they're coming out with at the end of the year. It will handle most formats of e books and in addition will also handle eReader books available at Fictionwise.com and other sites. BTW, Fictionwise has just been bought by Barnes and Noble so I think an e-book war is on the horizon.

I'm telling you, it finally, really is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27480081)

...the year of Android on the...urm..netbook!

Orthogonal (5, Funny)

Pentalon (466561) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480113)

> ... that blur the line between cellphone and home PC.

I always wanted a desktop cellphone.

Re:Orthogonal (1)

drgould (24404) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480217)

I always wanted a desktop cellphone.

Here ya go. [sparkfun.com]

Re:Orthogonal (1)

Samschnooks (1415697) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480355)

Damn!

It'd be a bitch to text on!

Re:Orthogonal (1)

Phoghat (1288088) | more than 5 years ago | (#27486837)

Must be wearing cargo pants

It's about 40 years late. (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 5 years ago | (#27498839)

I always wanted a desktop cellphone.

Cell phones designed for home use are sort of the 'next big thing,' at least to the cell companies. Each of the 3 major carriers seems to either have one out already, or in the works.

It makes sense -- right now, they've pretty much saturated the market for cell phones: I don't know a man, woman, or child in the U.S. that wants a cell phone that doesn't have one (people who truly can't afford them excepted, although the barrier to entry is getting lower by the month; there are some prepaid phones that verge on being disposable they're so cheap). Once you've put a device in everybody's pocket in the country, where can you go? The logical step is to start chipping away at the other places where they still use non-cell phones. Offices are tough (you have PBXes and complex switching requirements), so instead the carriers are going for the remaining home phones.

To me it seems a bit ironic that the "smart home phone" -- a mythical central-hub unit that does voice, video, and text communication, plus provides news and other information feeds -- which has been a broken promise from wireline phone companies for [deadmedia.org] literally [edn.com] decades [porticus.org] , is finally going to be delivered ... only the network behind it will be a wireless one, not POTS, and far from being the local telcos' salvation, it may be the final nail in their coffin. (That is, unless they really get over their reluctance and embrace a future of being bit-pushing broadband ISPs.)

Is this a good idea? (5, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480161)

...blur the line between cellphone and home PC.

This doesn't seem like a good idea to me. I'll be happy to admit I'm wrong if they make something great, but this just strikes me as a device that we don't need.

A cell phone (I've got an iPhone) is designed to be portable. I'm just not going to use a portable 8" tablet all the time. A cell phone should be small, but it's portable so I can whip it out at any time to look something up.

Something larger, a home PC, is too big. Even if we take something like a netbook, it's bigger than something I want to carry around all the time. I don't think there are enough people who will want to carry something that size around all the time.

I'd expect battery life to be a problem, at least if you want to keep it light.

There may be a reason that people aren't rushing to buy stuff bigger than Nokia 810s. As other cell phones get more powerful and easier to use for the web, there doesn't seem to be a big reason to carry something bigger. You quickly get to the point where a netbook would fit you better.

But something between a netbook and a cell phone? I'm skeptical of the size of that market.

Re:Is this a good idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27480433)

I'm very skeptical of the market, and yet I'd buy something like that. I'm specifically thinking of the rumored jumbo-sized iPhone, though, because that's where my personal interests lay as a developer and user. I'd use it for all kinds of audio work - field recording, creating/editing sounds, writing songs, controlling MIDI controllers - where the iPhone currently works okay, but a somewhat bigger screen. Plus, of course, it'd make for a decent portable entertainment unit.

The most important thing for me is that they maintain the sort of efficient interface of mobile devices, rather than get bogged down in all the extra confusion involved in a regular desktop OS. I've found that a limited OS (both from a user's perspective and in terms of things like sandboxing) can make apps much more powerful, more quickly.

Re:Is this a good idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27480887)

Oops, submitted mid-edit.

A somewhat bigger screen and maybe a little more processing power would add a lot of possibilities.

I'd think battery time would stay about the same if the battery increase is commensurate with the overall size increase -- it might actually slightly improve as the processor, hard drive, and antenna aren't likely to have proportional increases in power draw.

Re:Is this a good idea? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480509)

After playing with various devices, I'm settling on 13" as my minimum screen size for "ordinary" web browsing, that is: web browsing where I might want to use the keyboard to type a comment or send an e-mail.

Now, if you move to consumptive web browsing, such as playing Pandora radio, checking stocks and weather, reading e-mails without responding more than a very few words, reading news, etc., then that can be done on an iPhone sized device, although personally I'd like a little bigger screen, or at least a lot more pixels (1280x720 is my "happy place" for a small screen, anything less starts to feel cramped.)

One thing I haven't found a use for is monthly fees - there are very very few gadget features that I see a reason to pay a monthly fee for. But, it's what makes this world go 'round... they'd get a lot farther with me if I were just paying for access to the network and could foot the bill for my own devices, rather than the revolving 2 year contract BS.

Re:Is this a good idea? (1)

rcharbon (123915) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480731)

When you're home, you plug the phone into a dock, with larger I/O. Duh.

Re:Is this a good idea? (1)

DeltaQH (717204) | more than 5 years ago | (#27481209)

Women! You forget women!

You have no idea what women carry on their bags.

Room enough for a netbook, even battery back integrated in bag.

Some integreated social network software and you have a new bussiness line in your computer production

Dell? Apple? Are you hearing?

Re:Is this a good idea? (1)

mdwh2 (535323) | more than 5 years ago | (#27482605)

An excellent point.

And it will be interesting to watch 50% of the population miss out on new gadgets (or have to awkwardly carry them around), because they are constrained by centuries old social gender roles. (Or perhaps the old requirement about having to cram everything into a small pocket will finally be done away with - of course, they'll be "netbook bags", not handbags...)

Re:Is this a good idea? (1, Funny)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 5 years ago | (#27482853)

If a woman needs to use a computer, she just seduces a 20 something... and gets any task done correctly and for free.
Thats where a few years of seduction experience is more useful than a 20 something's decade in moms basement.
Woman can seduce their way onto any OS or system or network.
Woman programme you and get to enjoy bags of any size.

Re:Is this a good idea? (1)

LDoggg_ (659725) | more than 5 years ago | (#27481379)

Yes, it is a good idea.

This would be nicer than a laptop for reading in bed.

I really enjoy having a g1 phone, but I only put up with a 3 inch screen when I'm not near a full sized computer.

Re:Is this a good idea? (1)

pimpimpim (811140) | more than 5 years ago | (#27481527)

Indeed, you can never cramp a comfortable screen size (say, starting 9 to 10 inch) in a device with the comfortable size of a cellphone. Still, I have nothing against my desktop PC and my phone having exactly the same OS. Not just the same type, really the same OS. It would make life terribly easy, syncing calendar data, music, etc.

I'm almost there, I currently have only one PC, a dell-ubuntu mini 9. It is connected at home to my 20 inch CRT and an external dvd drive to watch movies (planning to add a beamer). I have no need for more computing power! My only internet connection is a prepaid UMTS stick (no contract). I considered using the netbook also as a phone with some bluetooth headset, but the 3 hour battery life is not really helping. Also, I'd always have to carry around a relatively bulky 1 kg of electronics. Fits only in the baggiest of pants.

My plan: In a year or so, I'll get the android. I already played with the android SDK and emulator on the netbook, and it's pretty neat to create programs with that, but I would be even neater if the netbook could run the programs natively and have the same touchscreen interface. Only disadvantage to an android netbook would be the lower availability of packages compared to ubuntu etc. Also, the availability of packages might be artificially limited from google's side, I'm unclear on how much lock-in there is.

Re:Is this a good idea? (1)

Roman Mamedov (793802) | more than 5 years ago | (#27485465)

this just strikes me as a device that we don't need.

Who is this "we" that you speak about?

Blurring the line between cellphones and landlines (1)

Kirth Gersen (603793) | more than 5 years ago | (#27486945)

I'd like to see a cellphone that you could plug into a wired jack.

That would often let you make calls more cheaply and reliably. It would presumably use a lot less battery power, and you might be able to charge the phone off the phoneline. And you would have all your stored contacts, messages and whatnot in the phone, so you wouldn't have to rekey anything.

It would probably need some sort of "locale" support, so that you could use different prefixes when dialling via the cell network or via the landline network, but that's doable.

I don't know if the wired network supports SMS, but it would be very handy.

Conceivably 3-way calling would be possible too.

Why not just use Linux? (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480189)

BTW, the HP article linked to is hosed.
Try: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123852934905974845.html [wsj.com]

Why use Android on a netbook? Will we get the same vibrant community that the Asus Eee PC has - with many custom Linux distros available, most a vast improvement on the crap that Asus ships them with - with HP & Adroid?

Could be a good carputer (0)

f1vlad (1253784) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480301)

Interesting, could be my next generation carputer [google.com] .

Not Gonna Fly, Wilbur (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27480339)

This from the same Google-TMO marriage that prohibits tethering? The same Google that can't keep your documents private, even when they want to? Does Android run MS Office? (Note, that's MS Office, not something-allegedly-compatible-with) TMO has shown promise in the past, and was the price/performance leader for years. But today, their pricing is at best, competitive, and typically worse than ATT, Verizon, and Sprint. While their VOIP implementation is pretty spiffy, the billing options aren't so groovy, and call handoff just doesn't work. They don't seem to want to keep their customers happy. I'll be passing, again.

Re:Not Gonna Fly, Wilbur (1)

SaDan (81097) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480981)

Eh? I just jumped ship from Verizon to T-Mobile for the express purpose of getting better reception at home (yes, I understand, YMMV depending on location), but I also really wanted the G1.

I get MUCH more from my two phones from T-Mobile (family plan) than I could if I had stayed with Verizon and purchased new phones, and I pay the same as my old Verizon rates.

My wife has a WiFi/VoIP capable phone, and it works very well for us. I was impressed at how hands-off the process was, and how nice the calls sounded (compared to a lot of VoIP I've been exposed to).

T-Mobile doesn't have the greatest coverage, and I have noticed a couple places where I would have signal with Verizon, but do not with T-Mobile. I'll just have to keep that in mind when I travel, but it hasn't been a big deal so far.

I'll say this, after being a Verizon customer for 12 years, I'm tired of having to choose from a stagnant lineup of phones. I truly enjoy using the G1, and it has enough capability that I no longer have to travel with a laptop.

So, bash T-Mobile for not allowing you to tether, or whatever niche issues that affect you personally, but I am thankful they were willing to stick their necks out and go with Android. If they can succeed using this OS and expand their line of hardware, I say go for it.

Re:Not Gonna Fly, Wilbur (1)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 5 years ago | (#27487695)

I blame Verizon for betting on CDMA and not GMS like the "REST OF THE FUCKING PLANET!" :-)

Thank you.

You're never going to get newfangled devices on Verizon. I'd be interested to know what Verizon offered RIM to get the Storm to try and stop the hemorrhage of subscribers to AT&T and the iPhone.

Re:Not Gonna Fly, Wilbur (1)

SaDan (81097) | more than 5 years ago | (#27496407)

CDMA is far superior to GSM, but much like Beta vs VHS, the better technology doesn't always win.

Re:Not Gonna Fly, Wilbur (1)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 5 years ago | (#27484375)

Actually T-Mobiles plans are priced very well.. but phone wise, unless you buy into the G1.. their options for data plans (for phones) suck. For example, I was close to purchasing a Sony Ericson phone that they offer, but could not get an unlimited data plan to go with it, like the G1 has. The choices were 50gb a month or 100gb a month... For all I know either of those MIGHT be enough for me.. but why can't I get the unlimited plan for $4 more than the 100mb like the Google phone ?

Anything to do with Cell phone companies = (1)

zymano (581466) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480429)

ripoff.

wow, why wasn't any of this at the CTIA conference (2, Insightful)

Locutus (9039) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480455)

The CTIA 2009 conference was just a few weeks ago and there was almost no news on Android. Now we are hearing from many vendors who where there but showed and said nothing about these products. I even saw one post where a reporter had to ask about Android to find out they were going to ship an Android phone mid-2009. That same reporter noticed that this vendor was only announcing Windows Mobile 7 stuff at the show and _that_ wasn't even targetted for 2009.

Now that we are starting to see/hear about Android products and phones, it really blows me away that businesses still let Microsoft sucker them into defining their marketing. I would not like to see Google or anyone else have to resort to paying customers to pre-announce and pre-promote their products to stall or diminish the value of the partners other products. But this is classic Microsoft and not any new and improved Microsoft. They've done this in the 80s and 80s so change is not in their blood. But what is up with these companies how let them do this and take their money while allowing them to dictate what their customers want, need, or deserve? Does $$$ really buy everything including the future of your company?

It's good to see someone is finally talking about new product showing up this year. I still wonder what kinds of backroom pressure is being exerted to limit these kinds of things.

LoB

Re:wow, why wasn't any of this at the CTIA confere (1)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 5 years ago | (#27487717)

It's why I'm convinced advertising is the curse of the 20th Century and the bane of the new millennium.

The next logical step. (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480511)

I think the next logical step is to bring to market something between the mobile/PDA and a netbook. I thought the 7" screen of the eeepc was more than enough for me.

I want something small to bring with me to read the internet, check mail, write mail and do simple online tasks. What i dont want in any way, shape or form is a small Windows computer. I want it to just work and no computer has ever done that for me like a mobile phone can.

An android phone with a bigger screen, about 5-6" would suite my needs perfect for this. I dont want something like a laptop that you drag between power outlets, its got to have good battery time. I have android on my openmoko and i love the UI, the apps and the general structure and thinking behind it. For a handheld computer its just perfect.

Sadly the netbooks took the wrong development thanks to Microsofts heavy subsidising and marketing preassure, from small to bigger to ordinary Windows laptops. The market for small cheap Mobilephones/PDA with constant uplink is still there untapped. Whoever comes first with a priceworthy gadget will win that race.

Re:The next logical step. (1)

AtomicDevice (926814) | more than 5 years ago | (#27481575)

The pandora! It does all of these things, and is the size of a ds. And the best part is it might not even be varporware!

android netbook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27480595)

sign me up for one

Probably a good move (1)

MarkWatson (189759) | more than 5 years ago | (#27480681)

A small device with very long battery life. Also, the Android SDK with Eclipse plugins is a nice dev environment, so there may be lots of small usefull apps. That said, a tablet device might need different types of apps (e.g. geo location may not be of as much use?)

Cellphone with projector (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27481005)

They have projectors the size card decks.

Project the screen, the keyboard, and the mouse when you want a PC. The rest of the time, carry it around and use it like a cell phone.

It's so obvious that I'm sure someone is working on it.

Re:Cellphone with projector (1)

SaDan (81097) | more than 5 years ago | (#27481155)

Even if you were required to supply external power to use the projector feature, this would still rock.

Since they're making tablets and such ... (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 5 years ago | (#27481019)

Here's what I'd like to see in a new tablet. But I doubt I'll see it.

A4 or A5 sized screen
E-ink or similar
Touch-like/pen interface (maybe with a decent type of protection for the screen, like thin layer of glass)
Slimmed down UI for browing and viewing documents. (Linux seems a safe bet here, even gives you access to better flash storage optimizations)
Custom program for displaying pdf-files and the like, where you can write on top of the document. Doesn't have to do recognition, I just want to to put a second layer on top of the file so I can highlight stuff and make my own notes
Wifi + sim-card + 3G compatability

Essentially an e-book with better compatability for your own stuff. Hell, if you do it right you could add your own "layers" to websites and just save the interesting bits.

Since it'd use e-ink, you're not looking for super fast performance, so go for a nice ARM processor for better battery life.

Ah, well. I can dream, can't I?

Re:Since they're making tablets and such ... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#27482207)

My wife works as an architect. They spend a lot of money on big printed plans, which get used during construction. A good sized tablet with e-ink would displace some of the use cases for printing, and provide a way for builders to get accurate information about the structure they are working on. I recall one argument with a builder over whether a thick line on the plan always denotes a fire rated wall.

Re:Since they're making tablets and such ... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#27482925)

Ah, well. I can dream, can't I?

You could also relieve your wallet of it's contents. The iRex 1000 [irextechnologies.com] is pretty close. Pretty spendy (and mostly limited to Windows) as well. Keep dreaming.

Re:Since they're making tablets and such ... (1)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27497427)

A4 or A5 sized screen

In Amerispeak: letter-sized or half-letter-sized.

I actually own a Motion tablet that's almost letter-sized. But I paid a stiff premium for it. Until this technology gets more commodified, I doubt that you'll see anything affordable.

mod do3n (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27481267)

FreeBSD continues the hard driv3 to an arduous ballots. You could keep, and I won't have an IRC client surveys show that BitToRrent) Second, to say there have Usenet. In 1995,

What Android does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27482675)

According to engineers I know the Android OS "phones home" every day and uploads an encrypted payload. Can this be confirmed? If so, what is it that is being uploaded?

Re:What Android does (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27486065)

FUD

mod do38 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27483685)

yes (1)

bleach258 (1526537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27487301)

Will Google's Android may be replaced by Microsoft Windows Mobile. But sure is the phone will more than now.
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