Posts Tagged ‘Google’

About bloody time, Google TV is finally here [video]

At Google’s developer conference I/O, the search giant finally unveiled its much anticipated Google TV, an Internet-connected set-top box or TV set powered by Android and the Chrome browser, with an app marketplace open to third-party developers.

It’s designed to bring Internet content to the living room (“TV meets web. Web meets TV” is the slogan) that can be, optionally, overlayed over existing broadcast content channels.

“We’re working together with Sony and Logitech to put Google TV inside of televisions, Blu-ray players and companion boxes. These devices will go on sale this fall”, says Google.

I haven’t really had time to fully digest the details, but we’ve been tracking Google’s TV ambitions for a very, very long time (hint: it’s all about search and advertising). But for now, I’ll leave you with the intro video from the search giant itself, which is appropriately hosted on YouTube.

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Motorola unveils Android-powered landline phone, lacks Skype or Google's app store


At this year’s CeBit, Motorola showed off a cordless landline telephone running Google’s Android operating system, as reported by Engadget earlier this month. Known as the HS1001, the device is built by Binatone, and is expected to ship in the third quarter of this year with a price tag of $150. The hardware sports a 2.8″ touch screen and loud-speaker. And as you’d expect, the handset uses DECT technology, but surprisingly, it also has WiFi.

The phone won’t carry the Android market place, however, or even have Skype installed, though you’ll still be able to access email and browse the web just as with any other Android phone.

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Free Sat Nav! Google Android 2.0 sticks it to TomTom, Garmin, Navigon and others

The next version of the Googe-led mobile OS – Android 2.0 – is already encroaching on the work of HTC, INQ, Palm, Motorola and others in the universal address book space, and now we learn that the search giant has an even bigger target in its sights: Satellite Navigation systems.

TechCrunch has published a short video of Google showing off the upcoming Google Maps Navigation, which offers free turn-by-turn navigation, along with other features such as text search, voice search, and sat nav versions of Street View and Satellite View. The app will only be available on phones running Android 2.0 or at least that’s what Google tells TechCrunch.

Update: Much more info over at the official Google Mobile blog.

Adobe Flash seen running on Palm Pre – Netbooks, MIDs, and other smartphones also set to win (iPhone aside)

Adobe has long talked up its ambition to have Flash running on all manner of screens, not just the humble PC, and today the company got a lot closer to walking the walk not just talking.

Through the Open Screen Project, Adobe was already known to be working with smartphone platforms from Palm (WebOS), Nokia (Symbian) and Microsoft (Windows Mobile), along with a raft of content providers, chip makers and consumer electronics companies. Today, the company added Google and Research In Motion to the list, with relation to Android and Blackberry-powered smartphones respectively, leaving Apple’s iPhone as the odd one out regarding planned support for full Flash (or any Flash support at all).

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Three things that I hate about Android #fail

Let me preface this by saying that there is a lot to like about Android and that the smartphones being powered by the Google-led OS are going to get better and better. I’m especially excited by the UI customization that HTC and Motorola, for example, have been developing on top of Android, testament to the mobile OS’s overall potential and, of course, openness.

(I’m expecting a loan of the social networking savvy HTC Hero later today, thanks to UK carrier Orange. A full review of the Hero should follow shortly.)

However, having lived with the Vodafone HTC Magic for a few months now, there are a few things that really bug me about the standard version of Android. Yes, this is going to be a bit of rant.

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Nokia dumps location-based service Friend View, falls in love with Facebook

During the opening keynote at Nokia World, which kicked off today, CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo was at pains to point out that the handset maker didn’t view Internet “services” as an interesting side business but that it was still the future of the company.

And along with music, messaging and turn-by-turn navigation, location-aware social networking, which the company calls SoLo, and other types of location-based services are key to this future. After all, Nokia has invested heavily in GPS-related technologies and applications, the boldest example being the $8.1 billion purchase of Navteq in late 2007.

What was and still is unclear is how much of Nokia’s SoLo strategy involves building out its own social networking offerings or partnering with and supporting established social networks. With today’s announcement of a tie up with Facebook and with it the death of the company’s own ‘Friend View’, with regards to the simplest of ‘SoLo’ applications — share my current location with friends — the handset maker has seen sense and decided to do the latter.

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Thoughts on Google Chrome OS

chromeThe big news this week, of course, is that Google is developing its own Operating System dubbed Chrome OS. Cue the headlines about the search giant, once again, taking aim at Microsoft. And of course, on one level that’s absolutely correct. Just like any other newly launched OS needs to take market share away from Redmond in order to succeed. But it won’t be easy.

See also: Linux on a Netbook? Intel thinks its all about the User Interface

While Google says it wants to build an OS from the ground up in order to make it easier for users to get on the web and utilize web-based applications – and view more Google ads – managing user expectations will likely be the bigger challenge. For all the technical hurdles that Google will undoubtedly overcome – faster boot up times, greater security, support for next gen web standards (HTML 5 etc.) – weaning users off of Windows will be no easy task. The failure of existing Linux distros to become the defacto OS for Netbooks, despite getting a head start and backing from OEMs, doesn’t bode well for Chrome’s chances unless Google is able to redefine not just the OS but what users expect from their PCs.

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Review: HTC Magic (Google Ion, T-Mobile myTouch 3G)

htc-magic-bothIt goes by many names. The HTC Magic on Vodafone here in the UK, Google Ion, when handed out as a freebie at the search giant’s developer conference, and the myTouch 3G on T-Mobile in the states. But, whichever way you slice it, the second Android-powered Google phone, manufactured by HTC, is an improvement over the original T-Mobile G1 in almost every way.

Where the original G1 is clunky, in part due to its death-trap of a slide-out keyboard – OK I exaggerate but only slightly – the HTC Magic is relatively slim with subtle curves and a much reduced “chin”, which is a universal complaint of the G1.

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Google, Android and the future of Netbooks

According to a flurry of reports, a number of established PC manufacturers – and new entrants – are planning to release a Netbook running Google’s Android operating system. However, recent comments made by the search giant’s CEO Eric Schmidt, suggest that Google isn’t particularly interested in seeing Android running on a Netbook – at least not yet, anyway – but is excited by the opportunities that these low-cost sub notebooks present.

Not only are Netbooks sales making Google take notice, their primary use case – surfing the web and accessing other Internet applications – fits perfectly with the company’s own ‘cloud computing’ vision (think Google Docs, Gmail and other Google services). “Keep an eye on this space”, attendees at a recent Google press event were told by Schmidt. So if not Android, what exactly does the company plan to bring to the Netbook experience?

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Google Latitude shows what's wrong with Nokia's social location (SoLo) strategy

If the next frontier is mobile, a key battle ground is going to be location-based services. And, drilling down further, location-based social networking, such as the ability to share your current location with friends. Yesterday, Google went head-to-head with Nokia and a plethora of startups with such an application. Called Latitude, the Google Map-powered software enables users to keep track of where their friends are and what they’re up to. Sort of like Twitter, IM and GPS rolled into one.

If that sounds a lot like Nokia’s Friend View and, more broadly, the handset maker’s social location strategy (SoLo), that’s because it is. But there’s one significant difference: despite investing heavily in its own mobile operating system, Google Latitude has launched simultaneously on multiple mobile platforms: Blackberry, S60, Windows Mobile, and Google’s own Android. iPhone support should also arrive soon, says the company. In comparison, like other Nokia web services, Friend View is only available on S60 and targeted solely at Nokia’s own cell phones.

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