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Thursday, February 19, 2009

HTC Magic debuts at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

side by side comparison to the G1

Vodafone launched the HTC Magic, the handset maker's second phone based on Google's Android platform, finally bringing a true Android device launch to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The HSPA/WCDMA phone features a 3.2-inch touchscreen with a full virtual QWERTY keyboard, doing away with the T-Mobile G1's slide-out keyboard.

The form factor also is much sleeker than the G1. The phone has a trackball, WiFi and features all of the Google mobile applications.

Monday, February 16, 2009

G1 Released in Australia today

The Google Phone, widely touted as the first serious rival to the highly successful Apple iPhone, launches on the Australian market today.

Made by Taiwanese electronics company HTC and dubbed the Dream, it is the first and so far only smartphone in the world to use Android, an open-source computer-style operating system, built by Google and based on Linux.

The Dream is a quad-band touch-screen GSM 3G phone fitted with WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS capabilities, a 3-megapixel camera and a single USB port but no 3.5 millimetre headphone jack.

A microSD card of up to 8gigabytes can be fitted. Software includes a web browser based on Google's Chrome application.

Bundled features include access to YouTube, Google Maps, including Street View, a music player, instant messaging and email.

It is so far being sold exclusively in Australia by Optus.

Telstra says it has not yet decided whether or not to include the HTC Dream in its range. "We continue to consider how an Android-based phone might fit," spokesman Martin Barr said.

Like the iPhone, the HTC Dream is essentially a handheld computer that can also make phone calls, seen as primarily a consumer device and not a competitor for the BlackBerry in the corporate market.

"These days it is not just about the technology but about making it simpler and easier for the end user," says HTC Australia's marketing director, Anthony Petts. "There are now so many things you can do with your phone; people now use it just as they use their PC."

Some reviewers have gushed about the Android phone, others criticise its angular form and say it needs more work before it matches the iPhone.

They also point to rumours that a new, more capable iPhone will arrive about mid-year, said to have a body carved from a single block of aluminium, GPS navigation, 32GB of on-board storage, a removable battery and, possibly, a lower sale price.

For Google and Apple, as well as mobile phone network operators, the core of the smartphone market is not voice calls but software applications.

Rank Phone Product Price
Included Value Estimated
Min. Total Cost
(over 24 months)


HTC Dream (3G)
Optus Online Store
$79 Internet Cap + Unlimited Text
$92 $550
Save $100


HTC Dream (3G)
$79 Internet Cap + Unlimited Text
$92 $550


HTC Dream (3G)
Optus Online Store
$59 Internet Cap
$110 $350
Save $50


HTC Dream (3G)
$59 Internet Cap
$110 $350


HTC Dream (3G)
Optus Online Store
$99 'yes' Timeless Internet Plan
$123 Unlimited
Save $100


HTC Dream (3G)
$99 'yes' Timeless Internet Plan
$123 Unlimited


HTC Dream (3G)
Optus Online Store
$129 'yes' Timeless Internet Plan
$132 Unlimited
Save $100


HTC Dream (3G)
$129 'yes' Timeless Internet Plan
$132 Unlimited

Orginal G1 designs by Mike & Maikke

HTC Dream coming to Spain via Telefonica, gets a facelift

No significant details at this stage, but this looks a little more 'sculpted' than the original G1.
What do you think?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Google Alert - android phone news

Google News Alert for: android phone news

My Tracks turns Android phone into GPS device
CNET News - San Francisco,CA,USA
by Stephen Shankland Google on Thursday released an application called My Tracks that turns the T-Mobile G1 Android phone into a full-fledged GPS receiver. ...
See all stories on this topic
Palm shares jump ahead of Mobile World Congress
Forbes - NY,USA
The UK's Guardian cited a Samsung marketing executive who said there will be "no Android phone at the show." But a Samsung representative said the company ...
See all stories on this topic
Intrinsyc Showcases Solutions for Mobile Device Development ...
FOXBusiness - USA
Destinator for Android features a fully customized user interface that matches the look and feel of Android phone operation to maintain a consistent user ...
See all stories on this topic
Google axed Android multitouch at Apple's request?
Register - London,England,UK
If Google is successful in Androidifying significant chunks of the smartphone universe, it will face increasing pressure to allow Android-based phones to ...
See all stories on this topic
Avanquest Software Launches Advanced, Customizable Mobility ...
Supporting the world's first Android-powered smartphone, the T-Mobile G-1, Avanquest's SendPhotos also offers compatibility with the latest Apple iPhone, ...
See all stories on this topic
Teleca enables Android for the CDMA Phone Market
Teleca is enabling the Android platform to support CDMA-only as well as world mode phones (GSM/WCDMA/CDMA). This will allow handset manufacturers and mobile ...
See all stories on this topic
Expect More Linux Phones This Year - Mumbai,India
Additionally, with the likes of the Apple OSX, Google Android, Symbian and Windows Mobile vying to share a pie of the lucrative smart phone OS arena, ...
See all stories on this topic
Kindle + iPhone = Opportunities? - Santa Monica,CA,USA
Whether it's for the iPhone or Google's Android phone or the Blackberry, we don't know. On one hand, the announcement is a victory for those advocating that ...
See all stories on this topic
Google's G1 phone makes it easy to track surfing habits
USA Today - USA
The device is based on the new Android operating system, whose development was overseen by Google. More than 30 companies participated in the development of ...
See all stories on this topic
How To: Hack Android For Multitouch Web Browsing on the T-Mobile G1 - USA
Your phone is likely running either the RC30 (1.0) or the new RC33 (1.1) version of the Android software (you can check under Settings -> About phone ...
See all stories on this topic

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Paid Apps coming soon to Android Marketplace!

One of the biggest areas where the HTC G1 phone on T-Mobile's network lags Apple iPhone is the app store.

So far, the Android Marketplace allowed only free apps in its online store but that is set to change this week. Google is expected to allow developers to start charging for programs sold through the Android market place, says The Wall Street Journal.

You can already hand over money for Android apps - unlike the iPhone you dont have to go through a central store to install new stuff - but until now the ‘official’ shop front has only offered free downloads.

Developers can set the price of their apps and will receive 70% of the revenue - the remaining amount goes to carriers and billing settlement fees-Google does not take a percentage. Google say that they do not intend to make a profit from apps distributed via the Market.
Unlike the iPhone App store that has splits the revenue with the developers, Android allows for third party programmers to keep the profits to themselves. Apple keeps 30 percent of the revenue from apps sold through the iPhone store.

The Android marketplace is also open. Apps do not have to be approved by either the carrier or Google which developed the Android mobile operating system. That is in contrast to Apple's walled garden approach that requires all apps to be scrutinized by the company. iPhone users are billed for paid apps through their iTunes account. It is not clear what kind of payment framework Android will use.

Paid apps should help improve the Android marketplace. At the least, G1 phone users deserve equal access to Tipulator, Super Monkey Ball and iBeer.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Broadcom's combo chips may lead to cheaper, better Android phones

The less chips you need to put in a phone, the less compromises you must make designing it and the less money it costs to make. Chipmaker Broadcom Corp. announced yesterday that its BCM4325 combo radio chip will work with Google's Android operating system. Since the BCM4325 manages Bluetooth, WiFi, and FM, one chip will do the work of three.

"The move will serve to boost the Android platform," predicts Stacey Higginbotham in a article, "because...smaller and less expensive devices will be able to run on it. In contrast, the 3G iPhone from Apple has a Wi-Fi radio from Marvell, Bluetooth from CSR and no FM receiver."

How much does Android need the boost? More than three months after T-Mobile released the G1, it's still the only Android-based phone, although more Android phones will be released later this year by Samsung, Motorola, and Sony Ericsson.

Broadcom certainly thinks Android has a future. "Two of the most exciting trends in the handset industry are the growing popularity of Android and the transition to combo chips for connectivity," the press release quotes Chris Bergey, Director of Broadcom's Embedded WLAN line of business.Broadcom's announcement did not name any handset manufacturers that had committed to using the new chip.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Google Alert - android phone news

Google News Alert for: android phone news

Google Brings E-Books for iPhone and Android
Tech Fragments - Birmingham,USA
One of the great things about an iPhone or Android phone is being able to play Pacman while stuck in line at the post office. Sometimes though, we yearn for ...
See all stories on this topic
Read books on your iPhone
Inquirer - Harrow,England,UK
In a blog post a Gurlger said: "One of the great things about an iPhone or Android phone is being able to play Pacman while stuck in line at the post office ...
See all stories on this topic
Mobile phone market begins major freefall - Dublin,Ireland
Looking ahead to 2009, LG will emphasise digital convergence on its handset portfolio, and will launch 10 new models, including an Android phone by the ...
See all stories on this topic
Broadcom Enables Cheaper Android Phones
GigaOm - San Francisco,CA,USA
Porting Android to Broadcom's tri-radio chip isn't going to change the world, but it will enable a smaller, cheaper Google phone with more features and ...
See all stories on this topic

2 quick tips on Database development on Android

[no, this is not really a pic of me]

I've been teaching myself development for the Android platform for a few months now, and I thought I'd share a couple of what I consider not-so-well documented requirements for setting up successful database applications on the platform.

These are solutions that I personally have found poorly documented for the beginner, and it took me some time to stumble upon them.

These are not written in stone, and I'm sure a more capable developer may have other ways of doing this, all comments/suggestions welcome!

Firstly, create your entire database schema with one 'create' statement.
I didn't find this easily documented as a requirement but this link on spells it out nicely.

Secondly, when creating a database with multiple tables, incorporate the database name into your table create statements. Like this:

private static final String CREATE_ITEMS_TABLE =
" create table " + DATABASE_NAME +"." + ITEMS_TABLE +
" (_id integer primary key autoincrement," +
" title text not null);";


.. This took me a good while to realise, as your application will compile and work successfully for any transactions involving the first table, but not subsequent ones. You'll receive 'table not found' errors if you look in the debugger error messages.

I stumbled upon this via a diagram on the sqlite site:

.. more diagrams here for your reference.

Most of the examples available only use one table to demonstrate techniques, but as anyone who has been coding for more than a few months will know, all even slightly complex applications will require more.

Anyway, hope this has been useful to someone out there. If it has, please let me know.

And again, if I've got something wrong, please let me know... we're all in this together :).

till next time,

Thursday, February 5, 2009

HTC G1 coming to Australia

After several false starts, the first Google-powered mobile phone - HTC's Dream - will go on sale in Australia on Optus post-paid plans from the middle of this month.

But the Dream, sold overseas as the G1, could be rendered obsolete before it even arrives as a US telco executive has said a successor would be launched overseas "in the coming weeks and months".

It also faces tough competition from Apple's iPhone, which has similar features but a more elegant design, analysts say.

The 3G touch-screen device has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, 3.2-megapixel camera and the ability to synchronise email, calendar, contacts and documents stored on Google's suite of online applications in realtime.

The phone, based on the Google Android operating system, will initially only be available on plans from Optus starting on February 16.

Exact details of the plans have yet to be announced but there will be four plans, starting at $59 a month, while monthly data allowances will range from 500MB to 3GB. Customers will be locked into two-year contracts.

Last year, Melbourne consumer electronics maker Ruslan Kogan made waves when he announced his brand, Kogan, would begin selling the first Android-powered phone by Christmas. The launch was pushed back until January 29 but, on January 16, Kogan announced he was aborting the release, citing "potential future interoperability issues".

The Dream, sold in the US and Britain since October last year, is the only Android phone on the market today. The Australian launch will be the first time an Android device has been sold in the Asia-Pacific region.

But other manufacturers including Motorola, Lenovo, Sony Ericsson and Samsung have all announced plans to begin selling phones based on the Google operating system this year.

While Optus is the first Australian telco to take a punt on Android, Telstra appears to be cool on the idea.

In a recent interview with CNET, Telstra chief executive Sol Trujilo said the company was looking at testing Android but so far it "isn't at the stage where it's really robust".

"It's still in evolution right now. It's very Google-centric. And there are limitations. We are hopeful that it will be more open, because it offers a great alternative operating platform. But it's not there today," he said.

Meanwhile, loss-making handset maker Motorola announced during its fourth-quarter earnings call this week that it was shifting its focus from the Windows Mobile platform to Android. It will unveil its first Android-powered device in the second quarter of this year.

Like the iPhone with its App Store, the G1 supports third-party applications that can be accessed for free on the device from the Android Market. Analysts have predicted that the Google platform might have trouble attracting software developers because, unlike Apple's App Store, Google doesn't allow them to charge for accessing applications.

The phone also comes preloaded with a suite of Google online applications including Gmail, Google search, Google Maps, Google Calendar, Google Talk and YouTube. YouTube has been redesigned to be speedy and intuitive on a mobile screen, while, with Google Maps Street View, users can pan the view 360 degrees just by moving around with the phone.

Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said she believed "demand for the G1 will be much lower than for the iPhone", which she said had a more "sleek" and "iconic" design. But she said the G1's tight integration with Google services such as Street View was a unique selling point.

"The phone will provide a taste of what the Android platform is capable of, but we expect teething issues and some limitations," Milanesi said.

"The main challenge for Google and its manufacturing partners will be to come up with interesting devices with a very good UI [user interface] and accompanying services that appeal to consumers."

But the G1 could already be obsolete by the time Australians pull it out of the box. T-Mobile's senior VP of engineering and operations, Neville Ray, said in a recent interview with Fierce Wireless that more G-series Google phones would be launched "in the coming weeks and months".

Android: One Multitasking Operating System

When Google (GOOG) and its partners first unveiled plans for the Android operating system, they billed it as software that would run mobile phones. That mission was accomplished the following year with the late 2008 release of T-Mobile's G1 phone. More Android-enabled handsets are on the way.

But before long, you may be seeing Android in a lot of other electronic devices.

Just ask Mark Hamblin, who helped design the original touchscreen for the Apple (AAPL) iPhone. Now the CEO of Touch Revolution, Hamblin is tinkering with Android so it can work in a slew of gadgets other than wireless phones. In late 2009, Touch Revolution plans to introduce a remote control and a touchscreen land-line home phone that will be powered by Android. Also in the works from Hamblin's company: touchscreen menus for restaurants, Android-based medical devices, and a 15-in. kitchen computer where family members can leave messages for one another.

More Devices on the Way

Android everywhere would come as good news to Google and chipmakers such as Qualcomm (QCOM) and Texas Instruments (TXN) that have invested in its development and would welcome the chance to sell semiconductors in new markets. But Android ubiquity could cause headaches for Microsoft (MSFT), which would rather see its own software on a wider range of electronic devices.

Where will Android end up next? A handful of electronics manufacturers plan to unveil Android-based mobile Internet devices, or MIDs, and stripped-down computers known as netbooks at the GSMA Mobile World Congress, scheduled for later this month in Barcelona. "Nine months ago it was a lot of people who were curious" about using Android, says John Bruggeman, chief marketing officer at WindRiver Systems (WIND), a consulting firm that's working with several Asia-based manufacturers on the products. "Now they are starting to build designs" that effectively bypass Windows altogether, he says. Bruggeman declines to name the companies planning to introduce Android products.

Microsoft says it's undaunted by the prospect of increased competition from Android, itself based on Linux, a software whose code is freely available via the Internet and developed by programmers the world over. "We welcome the chance to compete with others in this space," a Microsoft representative said in a statement. "Overall, we find that customers prefer the familiarity, compatibility, and ease-of-use of Windows over Linux."

Designed to Run on Any Device

Yet in some cases, Android may end up with first-mover advantage as it shows up in devices such as netbooks or digital photo frames where Microsoft has yet to establish a beachhead. "It would make sense for any [software vendor] to play there," Hamblin says. "I see tremendous growth in these ubiquitous computing devices." That looks all the more attractive as growth slows in the computing industry. PC shipments are expected to increase only 4.3% this year, according to researcher iSuppli.

Manufacturers that work with Texas Instruments have built Android into video and audio players and picture frames due out within months. Rival semiconductor manufacturer Qualcomm is helping vendors ready more than 20 Android-based products, including video players and small tablet PCs, for release in 2009 and early 2010.

Google hasn't announced plans to market Android for use in nonphone gadgets. Still, "we are being very supportive to the [developer] community targeting these devices," says Andy Rubin, senior director of mobile platforms at Google.

While they didn't say much about nonwireless devices when they first started talking about Android, Google and its partners designed Android to run on any device—from a smart phone to a server. "We had the foresight to design it with bigger screens and [chips] in mind," Rubin says. Unlike many cell-phone and PC-based operating systems, Android can run on devices powered by a variety of semiconductors with minimal modifications needed. "There's nothing that I've been able to find out that would limit it," says Bill Hughes, an independent software analyst.

Competition from Linux

With flexibility comes economy. Manufacturers can keep costs low by being able to choose from a wider range of chips, for example. The software is also virtually free to use, while Microsoft charges licensing fees.

And just in case consumers fret that they won't be able to use their favorite Microsoft applications on an Android device, a company called DataViz will soon unveil software that it says will let people open, edit, and send Word, Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint files. The software will also allow synching between Android and Outlook e-mail. "Android has quite a bit of potential," says Ilya Eliashevsky, product manager at DataViz.

As potent as it may be, Android faces competition not just from Microsoft but also Linux. One of Android's creators, Intel (INTC), recently introduced its own Linux software, Moblin, for use with MIDs and netbooks running its Atom processors.

That said, there's no reason why the two efforts couldn't combine, says David Liu, CEO of Good OS, which plans to use parts of Android and Moblin to speed the boot-up times of its own computer software.

And in places where Microsoft is established, consumers familiar with Windows may also hesitate to adopt a new operating system. "People tend to be pretty sticky with their [operating systems]," Hughes says. "[Android] has to offer something cheaper and dramatically easier to use." Woe to Microsoft if it does.

G1's RC33 update includes Google Latitude

Keep frighteningly close tabs on the current location of all your friends, enemies, lovers, ex-lovers, bookies, and dealers!
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