“TVs are primarily entertainment interfaces,” engineering director Dave Burke said as he introduced AndroidTV to developers at the Google I/O conference today. The company wants app makers to support its effort to tightly integrate Android phone and app capabilities to TV navigation. For example, those with AndroidTV supported sets or set top boxes will be able to use a smartphone or watch to make search commands, including by voice, tailored for TV: If you ask for Breaking Bad, then it will offer to play an episode available for streaming, and provide info about stars. Users also can find programming by making indirect search requests: It can call up Oscar nominated movies from a particular year, or find actors from inquiries about the parts they play. Sony’s 2015 Ultra HD 4K TVs will support the platform as will next year’s models from Sharp and TP Vision. Others on board include Marvell, Intel, and Qualcomm — and Razer and Asus plan to make AndroidTV set top boxes.
Noting that Android phone users check the devices 125 times a day, the company raised the bar in smart watches — a market that Apple’s expected to enter this year. Google’s Androidwear software can respond to voice commands, tell you your heart rate, and provide information tied to what’s on your calendar or where you are. It knows when you’re at home to offer ordinary for reminders. If you’re traveling it can provide flight status, a boarding pass, and weather forecast at the destination.
We’re still waiting for Apple to introduce its long-rumored iWatch. But Google today showed what it plans for mobile devices, beginning with watches including ones made by LG, HTC, Samsung and Motorola: The Android Wear software integrates voice commands and the kinds of location-based information that owners of Android smartphones and tablets access from their Google Now cards. “Just say ‘Ok Google’ to ask questions, like how many calories are in an avocado, what time your flight leaves, and the score of the game,” the company says in a blog post. “Or say “Ok Google” to get stuff done, like calling a taxi, sending a text, making a restaurant reservation or setting an alarm.” Android watches also will feed commands to smartphones and TVs. This company video illustrates what it has in mind.
In contrast to Apple, Google eschewed the usual new product event hype today as it released its its long-awaited new flagship phone and the KitKat upgrade to its Android operating system. The company says in a blog post that its Nexus 5 phone, made by LG, is available today online. While it has high-end specs — I’ll get to that in a sec — the big selling point is the price: $349 with 16 GB of memory, and $399 for 32 GB, unlocked — and before any subsidies from wireless carriers. (It’ll work with AT&T, TMobile, and Sprint but not Verizon.) The Nexus 5′s low price could make it attractive to people who’d prefer to buy their own phone and not lock themselves into a two-year contract with a wireless carrier. Consider that the iPhone 5s with 16 GB costs $649, and $749 with 32 GB, without a subsidy. As for the specs: The Nexus 5 has a 5 inch screen and is 8.59 mm thick. It’s powered by a Snapdragon 800, 2.3GHz processor. The rear-facing camera has 8 megapixels and Optical Image Stabilization, while the front-facing one has 1.3 MP. It’s also the first device to come with Android KitKat. The company says the operating system upgrade uses 16% less memory than the previous version. As a result it can “run comfortably on the 512MB of RAM devices that are popular in much of … Read More »
Really, Google? A co-branding arrangement for the latest iteration of Android? Yep. The upcoming Android 4.4 will market a Nestle product: KitKat — a surprise to everyone who thought it would be named Key Lime Pie. The word had to begin with “K”: Google has been naming each major revision of its Android operating system after something sweet, with names proceeding in alphabetical order beginning with Cupcake and continuing with Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean. Marketers are taking this seriously. “Look for specially branded KitKat bars in a store near you that give you a chance to win a Nexus 7 or Google Play credit,” Google says. Nestle says the branding partnership is its “latest move in its ambition to leverage digital technology and online content to get closer to its consumers to better understand and cater to their preferences.”
People who can’t live without a smartphone may be surprised to learn that they’ve been in the minority until this year, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center‘s Internet & American Life Project. About 56% of the 1,127 adults questioned in May said that they own a computer-like, Web connected phone, up from 46% in a similar study last year. Pew says that another 35% in the new survey own a conventional mobile phone, and 9% don’t own a cell phone. As you’d expect, young adults are most likely to own smartphones: About 81% of 25-to-34 year olds have one; the number drops below half the population at age 55 and older. About 39% of those between 55 and 64 own one, sliding to 18% for those 65 and older. When it comes to smartphone operating systems, Google and Apple successfully held off threats from Blackberry and Microsoft: Among all cell phone owners 28% have a smartphone powered by Android (up from 20% last year) while 25% have an iPhone (up from 19%). Another 4% use Blackberry (down from 6%) and 1% are on Windows (down from 2%). But researchers found distinct differences in preference by demo. For example, Android beats Apple among those 54 and younger while Apple wins among college grads and in homes with incomes above $75,000 a year.
This is the first phone to run the new version of Google’s Android operating system known as Ice Cream Sandwich. Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus will use Verizon’s network and is expected to be in stores any day now; it went on sale in the UK yesterday. But, strangely, neither Samsung nor Google has set a firm date for the U.S. release or said how much it will cost – and the model sent to gadget reviewers ran on T-Mobile’s network. Still, most are gushing over the device. Among its more striking features: It uses facial recognition technology so you can unlock the phone by putting its camera in front of your face. Also, it’s said to be able to take pictures instantly without the common and annoying cell phone shutter lag. The Galaxy Nexus has a 4.65-inch Super AMOLED screen and a 1.2 GHZ dual core processor.
Our colleagues over at BGR say that “it is the best Android handset we’ve seen far as hardware and software go…The phone finally feels like it has a personality, even if it’s that of a robot from a TRON-like world.” Engadget says that it’s “an impressive flagship phone and Android 4.0 is a significant step forward for Google.” USA Today’s Ed Baig says that “many new features are indeed a welcome treat” — but adds that he needs more time to give it a full review: He notes that the facial … Read More »
The search giant generated $2.73 billion in net income, up 25.8% vs the same period last year, on revenues of $9.72B, up 33%. Not including some one-time expenses, earnings came in at $9.72 a share, handily beating Wall Street’s estimate of $8.74. The sites that Google owns accounted for 69% of its revenue. CEO Larry Page says that Google+ is thriving with 40M users. He added that he’s “super excited about the soon-to-be-released new version of Android called Ice Cream Sandwich” which will make it possible for Android apps to work both on smartphones and tablets. Meanwhile, CFO Patrick Pichette said that with the general economy, “what we’re seeing is not terribly surprising or different from what you’re all seeing watching on TV and reading in the press … and that’s why we will as always stay focused on what we control.”
This is the biggest deal Google has ever made. We’ll see whether it gives the Web giant the resources it needs to make its Android-powered handsets even more potent competitors to Apple’s iPhone. But Motorola Mobility investors should be happy with the $40 a share offer — a 63% premium from Friday’s closing price: Billionaire Carl Icahn, who owns 11.4% of the company and had urged it to consider cash-generating options such as selling its patent portfolio, says the deal is “a great outcome for all shareholders of Motorola Mobility, especially in light of today’s markets.”
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. & LIBERTYVILLE, Ill.– Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: MMI) today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Google will acquire Motorola Mobility for $40.00 per share in cash, or a total of about $12.5 billion, a premium of 63% to the closing price of Motorola Mobility shares on Friday, August 12, 2011. The transaction was unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies.
The acquisition of Motorola Mobility, a dedicated Android partner, will enable Google to supercharge the Android ecosystem and will enhance competition in mobile computing. Motorola Mobility will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. Google will run Motorola Mobility as a separate business.
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