Google has quietly begun rolling out a new version of Android to its flagship Nexus devices, but so far it has remained shtum on just what has changed.
Support pages from US wireless player T-Mobile reveal that the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 handsets and the 2013 version of the Nexus 7 tablet all began receiving over-the-air updates to Android 4.4.3 on Monday.
While Samsung is trying to create an early-bird monopoly in the smartwatch market, Apple and Google are busy working on a smartwatch of their own. Though both the smartphone giants haven't announced anything yet, it's only natural to assume that they're not going to overlook such a huge market. Samsung, with their Galaxy Gear smart watches was the first big company to make a foray into wearables. Serving as a mere companion to Samsung's Galaxy smartphones, these smart watches haven't been met with glowing reviews. Many find the Gear smartwatch clunky, lacking features, and overall, an unbaked product. Though Samsung made the first Gear watch based on Android, it has quickly realized its mistake and switched to Tizen instead. Thus, we don't have any major Android-based smartwatch available yet. Given that the smartwatch competition has just commenced, we, as tech fans, have some seriously high expectations from Google. If Android were to make its face shown on a watch, it better be good. That's why we've listed some of the things we want from an ideal Android smartwatch.
It looks like major computer makers are finally warming up to operating systems other than Microsoft Windows, and they are also experimenting with open source operating systems. Not onlly is Dell out with new tablet hybrid devices that run Ubuntu, but Hewlett-Packard has announced a new Android-only laptop. The 14-inch, Tegra-driven Android system is called the HP SlateBook 14, and will be available on August 6 for $399.
Samsung's first generation of smartwatches is officially ditching Android. SamMobile reports that the original Galaxy Gear is being upgraded to Tizen, the operating system used on the newer Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo (but not the Gear Fit, yet another model released this spring.) Samsung has made a point of differentiating its software from stock Android — its various Android smartphones are loaded with design tweaks — but in this case, the main difference will be in added features; we and other reviewers found that the Tizen interface looked and operated very much like the Android one.
The Linaro Digital Home Group, or LHG, follows other working groups from Linaro, a not-for-profit company owned by ARM and many of its top licensees. Linaro develops standardized open source Linux and Android toolchain software for ARM-based devices. Previous groups have included the Linaro Enterprise Group (LEG), the Linaro Networking Group (LNG), and most recently, the Security Working Group (SWG).
As usual, the goal is provide standardized software and requirements for relevant upstream open source projects. In this case, Linaro defines digital home applications as media-centric devices including set-top boxes, televisions, media players, gaming, and home gateway devices. Home automation does not appear to be a central focus.
Though it's difficult to compare two operating systems that are targeted at different users, Mozilla's Firefox OS still feels half-baked compared to what Ubuntu offers. While Canonical is focused on making a full-fledged mobile OS that goes head-to-head against Android and iOS, Firefox's approach is towards making smartphones more affordable. Initial reviews of Firefox OS have been really underwhelming so it will take about a year for us to see both operating systems in the hands of its end users. Finally, it would be a great idea to wait till both operating systems get enough exposure and that would be somewhere around April 2015 where both Ubuntu and Firefox would have (hopefully) reached enough stability to be used on a broader scale.
Following HP's lead with its $100 7 Plus Android tablet, Toshiba has launched three new tablets that emphasize price over fancy features.
At $109.99, the Excite Go (pictured above) is a little pricier than its HP competition, but it offers a couple of key advantages. It ships with the latest version of Android, 4.4 KitKat, while the 7 Plus sticks with the older 4.2.2 Jellybean. The Toshiba also provides twice the amount of built-in storage: 16GB versus the HP's 8GB.
Toshiba tipped a $110 Android tablet using a quad-core Intel Atom, while Intel revealed plans to license Rockchip to make its own low-cost Atom-based SoCs.
Ever since Intel’s 22nm, Silvermont core-based Bay Trail and Merrifield system-on-chip families were announced, it seemed that the x86-based Atom would finally draw close to ARM on battery life while also offering competitive performance. Yet it remained to be seen whether Intel could also compete on price. Two announcements today suggest that the company can do just that.
Is Intel doing more than many of the other major vendors when it comes to facilitating Android implementation?
The answer, quite possibly, is yes.
Anyone signed up for the Intel developer newsletters will receive a string of alerts from the company we used to know as the "chip giant" -- is it now becoming the "software giant"?
Intel is turning to a Chinese chip maker with a history in ARM processors to help it expand deeper into the highly competitive low-end Android tablet market. Intel officials on May 27 announced a partnership with Rockchip in which the companies will build a new family of mobile SoFIA systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) that will feature Intel's x86 Atom platform and its 3G wireless modem technology. The Intel-branded processors will help the giant chip maker fill a hole in its planned SoFIA lineup that initially included a dual-core 3G version expected to hit the market later this year, and a quad-core 4G LTE version scheduled for the first half of 2015.
So far, most of the talk about Ubuntu convergence—Canonical's effort to make Ubuntu Linux run on smartphones and tablets as well as traditional PCs—is about hardware compatibility. But what about building the applications that Ubuntu mobile users will need? That's a problem Ubuntu developers are now beginning to solve, too.
Imagination has joined with Broadcom, Ingenic, Qualcomm, and others to form a non-profit group called “Prpl” to build MIPs-based Linux and Android software.
With Prpl, Imagination Technologies aims to replicate some of the success of rival ARM’s Linaro non-profit firm, which has helped to stabilize and standardize Linux and Android code across a variety of licensed platforms. Just as ARM formed Linaro with many of its licensees, Imagination has tapped MIPS licensees like Broadcom, Cavium, and Ingenic Semiconductor as founding members.
The situation then is substantially similar to the situation today. The key difference is that some of Google's affirmative defenses to claim non-infringement have been eliminated by this new ruling. The FSF now sincerely hopes for the next best thing to Alsup's original ruling: that Google is successful in its fair use defense.
Notwithstanding our support of Google's fair use defense, the FSF urges caution to all prospective Android users. Even though the core of the Android system is free, every Android device sold comes pre-loaded with a variety of proprietary applications and proprietary hardware drivers. The FSF encourages users to support the development of Replicant, a distribution of Android that is 100% free software. The FSF also encourages users of any Android-based system to install F-Droid, a free replacement for the Google Play app that allows users to browse, install, and receive updates from a repository of free software Android apps. Replicant uses F-Droid as its default repository.
The history of Linux in China is chequered. Android is doing extremely well there, even if it tends to be varieties that are more or less independent from Google (no bad thing.) But on the desktop, GNU/Linux has had a pretty disastrous showing. That's strange, because you would think that the Chinese authorities would jump at the chance to adopt a free operating system that was independent of the US, and which could be inspected for NSA backdoors even before the current Snowden leaks showed why that would be a good idea.
Chrome is going places these days. Google's browser-turned-desktop is proving out to be a dark horse in the OS marketplace. A few years after its first release, Chrome has turned itself into a veritable threat to Microsoft's dominant empire. The recent Scroogled campaign targeted at Chromebooks only seems to confirm the fact that Google is slowly spreading its claws into a domain that is solely controlled by Redmond.
For business owners, Chrome offers a lot of choices. It is free from the cycle of operating systems and the agony they bring with their difficult licensing, while also in sync with most of the Google services they already use. Those benefits aside, Chromebooks are cheap, well designed, and are extremely fast. The success of Chromebooks is worrying Microsoft so much that they cut Windows licensing fee by a significant amount.
Some of you might not know this, but Android is actually based on the Linux kernel, although the Google developers are releasing it with a modified version of the kernel. This has been the case right from the beginning and the Android source has been released under a number of open source pieces of software.
This doesn't mean that any company can get the source code and start shipping devices with the OS just because it is open source. The problem is a little more complicated than this and it has to do with the type of license. The source code may be open source, but if you plan to make money off it you will need to cut Google a part of your pie, if by any chance you are going to also use services like Gmail or any other proprietary software.
Amazon, the company behind the most successful e-book reading device in the market has decided to spread its wings once again. The retail giant has been making many technological endeavors recently. First, they came up with Kindle, which was wildly successful. Then came Kindle Fire, which was a direct competitor to the Nexus line of tablets. If competing with Google wasn't enough one time, Amazon came up with Kindle Fire TV. Now, if the rumors are true, Amazon is coming up with a new smartphone. Will it succeed? We don't know. But we do have some expectations from the retail megastore.
Google introduced the £30 Chromecast in the UK back in March following the successful launch of the device in the US. Compared to the sale figure of more than a million devices shipped in the US, the 100k figure does pale in comparison, but nonetheless it is a solid start for the device in a new land. Also, given that fact that the device isn’t as pricey as some of its other competitors like Apple’s AirPlay and Roku 3, the Chromecast have a very good probability of being a dominant force in the field.
Adlink has released a rugged, Android 4.0 handheld with a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm SoC, 3.8-inch WVGA display, NFC, 3G, and a 5-megapixel barcoding camera.
Adlink’s IMX-3000 handheld computer updates its earlier IMX-2000 model. This in turn is a slightly revised version of its first Android handheld, the circa-2011 TIOT 2000. The IMX-3000 is designed for applications including retail, logistics, on-site inspection, warehousing, and transportation, says Adlink.