Vendor News

Honeycomb Shut Tight-- For Most

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Bloomberg reports Google's holding tightly to Honeycomb's source code-- releasing it to none but its biggest partners.

Honeycomb logoNow smaller developers and manufacturers are going to find out what happens when the Google decides its software "is not ready to be altered by outside programmers". The only manufacturers having Honeycomb access are the industry's heavyweights-- Motorola, Samsung, LG, HTC and their likes.

Some commentors say Google's holding back in order to "protect" users from "poor experiences". Yet the delay won't protect anyone: the smaller hardware vendors in Europe will only suffer more delays (and the costs involved) while waiting for Google to finally open its now closed vendor club.

Meanwhile the poor experience will continue flooding the market-- in the shape of inferior Chinese mobile Android iPad-wannabes.

With the situation as it is, the only Honeycomb tablet options retailers will have are those from the big brands-- the Xooms and Galaxy Tabs. Which is where the "poor experiences" theory falls flat. No big company will risk its millions-- and reputation-- in the name of an unfinished OS, not even a Google-branded one. If Honeycomb wasn't ready, no one would have had it.

In an interview with Businessweek, Android group head Andy Rubin also expresses fears that should Honeycomb be released out in the open source wilds, nothing would stop manufacturers from using it in smartphones, creating a "really bad user experience." Then again, as mentioned earlier, nothing's stopping Chinese developers from shoehorning the Android 2.2 (or earlier) experience into tablets.

One would expect any normal company (whose motto does not read "Do No Evil") to do just that-- using first access priviledges in order to sell to the industry's big players. With the "delay" expected to run for a few more months, the competition-- the small hardware vendors-- struggles between a rock and a hard place, while retail has to stick to selling Big Brand Honeycomb.

Go Google Holds Honeycomb Tight (Bloomberg)

Microsoft Out of Nokia's Tablet Game?

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Nokia's plans to enter the tablet market may exclude (or not) its recent American smartphone partner, Reuters reports. 

Nokia TabletThe news agency's source says Nokia is considering its tablet options-- which include MeeGo, the Nokia-Intel OS project. 

Even if Apple still dominates a crowded tablet market (while an increasingly crowded competition squabbles for the remaining scraps) Nokia still wants a slice of the pie-- but appears to be taking its time in order to "get its first tablet right". 

Another question still remains-- did Intel drop the MeeGo ball? As Nokia pairs up with Microsoft for its post-Symbian smartphone plans, Intel is said to be looking for new partners in its aims for the mobile market. 

Meanwhile Windows is still pushing Windows as a tablet platform, and should be launching a Windows 8 tablet by 2012.

Go Nokia's Tablet Path May Exclude Microsoft (Reuters)

No More Chargers?

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wysipsWysips proposes a means to eliminate chargers of any kind-- by turning device screens into solar chargers.

Its technology involves layering a superthin (less than 100 microns thick) transparent photovolotaic film on top of a device's display, with the film producing power from nearby light sources (be it the sun or electric lamps).

It would take 6 hours of direct sunlight to fully charge a typical mobile's battery (more if using indoor lighting). The phone automatically charges up whenever it's exposed to light.

The company says its film won't affect touch screens or glasses-free 3D screens. Wysips already has a working prototype at CTIA 2011, with the final product (for launch in a year's time) to be integrated directly into a device's LCD.

Wysips has ambitions to integrate its technology not only into phones, but also eBooks and tablets, together with digital signage and technical textile applications

Go Wysips

Wristwatch, Phone, and Tablet?

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Asus IRISAsus shows off its next generation of mobile computing device concept at CeBIT 2011-- IRIS (Inspirational Research for Immersive Space)-- a device that turns into whatever its user needs it to be.

Using a form of paper thin flexible display, the device concept is stretchable; sliding the display's edges turns it from wristwatch size (attaching to a bracelet) to phone, tablet and gaming device.

The concept video also shows off a couple docks with built-in projectors, including an alarm-clock sized example that produces dynamic sleep environments (complete with ambient lighting and interactive 3D alarm projections).

Asus has a penchant for weird and wonderful hybrid creatures (like the Asus Eee Pad Slider), and the example shown at CeBIT actually works (sort of), but one seriously doubts the IRIS will get to exist someday. Then again, who knows what the future holds?

Go Asus Design Centre-- IRIS Project

iPhone 5-- Smaller, Cheaper, Neither?

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iphone The New York Times reports sources close to Apple say the company is looking into making the device less expensive to produce-- but not in a smaller form factor, as some other sources are saying.

The report continues that the next iPhone will also work with voice commands but will come in a size similar to the iPhone 4's.

Meanwhile Bloomberg says the new iPhone will come in a cheaper, smaller package, with a focus on streaming media and cloud-based storage.

However the New York Times' predictions are more convincing-- a smaller screen would only cause app store defragmentation (and wouldn't be necessarily cheaper to produce) as developers end up rewriting their apps. Steve Jobs himself describes the iPhone's uniformity is its "huge strength".

Either way we'll surely continue getting more news and rumours on whatever Apple's iDevice sequels will develop into.

Go Apple is Weighing a Cheaper iPhone (NYT)

Go Apple is Said to Work on Cheaper, Smaller iPhones (Bloomberg)