Google’s mobile payment service has gotten a fair amount of attention from the media, but user and partner adoption has been slow since the service was unveiled nearly a year ago. Google Wallet is the Internet giant’s eWallet offering, which incorporates NFC technology and allows users to pay for purchases using their Android smartphones rather than physical credit cards. According to Bloomberg, Google is now rethinking its service in an effort to bolster adoption. Citing multiple unnamed sources, the site claims Google is currently weighing the possibility of implementing a revenue-sharing model that would give wireless carriers like Verizon Wireless and AT&T a cut of Google’s fees when subscribers make purchases using their Google Wallet-enabled devices. “They are in a bit of a re-evaluation pattern right now,” Aite Group analyst Rick Oglesby told Bloomberg. “It’s going much slower than anticipated.” More →
Google chairman Eric Schmidt started a firestorm when he was quoted saying the company planned to “market a tablet of the highest quality.” Since then, speculation surrounding a Google-branded slate has nearly spiraled out of control. DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim recently fueled the fire, suggesting that a Nexus-branded tablet will enter production in April for an initial run of between 1.5 million and 2 million units. Further reports also suggested that the Mountain View-based company had reached out to ASUS to design the Google-branded slate based on its Eee Pad MeMo tablet. Now, a new rumor suggests that ASUS has scrapped its $249 MeMo to focus solely on the “Nexus tablet.” Read on for more. More →
Following LG’s statement that the company is “heavily in discussions” with Google to become the next Nexus partner, HTC said it too is in discussions with the software giant. According to a new report from TechRadar, the Taiwanese handset maker is in talks with Google in hopes of being selected to design the company’s next flagship smartphone. Google previously worked with HTC to craft the original Nexus One. “Google hasn’t chosen its Nexus partner for (Android) Jellybean as yet. So right now all the manufacturers are crossing their fingers,” HTC’s global online communications manager Jeff Gordon said in a statement that has since been removed. Gordon said that the notion of being the next Nexus partner is “still very attractive to all OEMs, despite the imminent takeover of Motorola.” Gordon didn’t give an exact date as to when Android 5.0 would be released, but stated the company’s current priority is to bring Ice Cream Sandwich to its current device lineup.
UPDATE: HTC contacted BGR via email to clarify that the comments above were taken out of context, and Gordon was misquoted at least once as well. TechRadar, the source of the statements quoted above, has pulled the original article on its own volition as a result. More →
LG, which was once a leading player in the mobile space, has yet to make a real splash in the Android era of smartphones. The company is looking to change that, however, with the next Google Nexus device. “We’re heavily in discussions,” the head of LG’s smartphone division Ramchan Woo said in an interview with CNET. “We’re working on it.” Google’s partners have been concerned that the company will let Motorola, which it recently acquired, get access to the latest Android updates before other vendors. Partnering with LG would stem speculation that the search giant is playing favorites, although Woo warned that there has not been any commitment made thus far. Read on for more. More →
Speculation surrounding an own-brand Google tablet began late last year when Google chairman Eric Schmidt was quoted as saying the company planned to soon “market a tablet of the highest quality.” The slate is expected by many to be a 7-inch Nexus-branded device that will run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and compete with the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet at $199. The device could also push some Android partners out of the tablet market. Speaking with CNET, DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim stoked the fire, noting that the Google slate will enter production in April and the initial run will yield between 1.5 million and 2 million units. Shim also said that the Nexus Tablet will feature a high-resolution 1,280 x 800-pixel 7-inch display, besting Amazon’s 1,024 x 600-pixel panel. “I don’t know how they plan on marketing it,” Shim said. “If it’s going to be a premium device, or if it’s going to be a Kindle Fire type competitor.” April production could mean the tablet will launch as soon as the second quarter this year. More →
Media tablets powered by Google’s Android operating system have for the most part been unable to capture consumers’ interest. With just a few exceptions, sales of individual Android tablet models have been extremely low by all accounts. Amazon’s new Kindle Fire is one such exception thanks to an attractive price point and tight integration with Amazon services. Google has seemingly taken note of Amazon’s success, and a new report suggests the company is working on a budget-priced slate of its own that will launch in the next few months. Read on for more. More →
Google may be preparing to take its mobile efforts to the next level as it tests a Google-branded MVNO in Spain. Unconfirmed reports accompanied by photos of a Google SIM card and a Nexus S running on a “Google_Es” network suggest that Google is toying with the idea of becoming a Mobile Virtual Network Operator, or a company that provides cellular service by leasing capacity from existing wireless carriers and piggybacking on their networks. The photos suggest that testing is in the late stages as Google has already printed branded SIM cards, which have reportedly been delivered to Google Spain employees for testing. Additional details are scarce for the time being, but a Google-branded MVNO with deep Google Voice integration and a portfolio of Android devices from its potential Motorola acquisition could give the tech giant unprecedented control over the user experience. There is currently no firm indication that Google is testing similar services in other markets. Additional images follow below.
On August 15th, Google announced its intentions to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion and Motorola’s competitors all voiced support for the deal, suggesting the acquisition would help each company fight in patent battles against Apple and Microsoft. FossPatents, however, recently revealed a document that suggests Motorola Mobility could soon have the upper hand when it comes to new Android builds. An internal document that was released by a judge in the Oracle vs. Google case says Google should provide Motorola Mobility with the latest versions of the Android operating system ahead of its competitors:
- Do not develop in the open. Instead, make source code available after innovation is complete
- Lead device concept: Give early access to the software to partners who build and distribute devices to our specification (ie, Motorola and Verizon). They get a non-contractual time to market advantage and in return they align to our standard.
As FossPatents points out, it is unlikely the above information is simply about Google’s Nexus line of products. As we’ve exclusively reported, Google’s first Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich” phone will be made by Samsung. In addition, Google typically markets its Nexus products under its own name, not that of other handset manufacturers, so Motorola’s brand wouldn’t get the benefit. Either way, we can’t say we’re surprised by the proposed strategy to give Motorola the lead. Read on for an image of the court document. More →
Swype released the latest version of its popular software keyboard exclusively for Sprint Nexus S 4G users on Tuesday. Swype now supports new app gesture features, shortcuts, dictionary management, automatic noun capitalization and more. Users, for example, can now move from the Swype Key to “t” and then “w” to automatically launch Twitter. The shortcuts feature allows you to select all by moving from the Swype Key to “a,” and cut, copy or paste using similar gestures. We tested all the new additions on a demo Nexus S 4G with the Swype preloaded, and we liked the new features but we still can’t get the hang of typing quickly with it just yet. It’s unclear when the latest Swype iteration will be available for other Android handsets, but Nexus S 4G owners can update immediately. Hit the jump for a quick video of the new features in action. More →
We’ve received some information from a source with knowledge of Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich plans, and it’s looking like the first Ice Cream Sandwich devices could start hitting the ground in as early as October. We have been told that Google is looking to push up the release of Ice Cream Sandwich devices as Apple’s iPhone 5 is expected in September or October, and the Mountain View-based company doesn’t want potential customers coming out of contracts (especially original DROID owners) and “drooling over the iPhone 5.”
Samsung Romania appears to have accidentally verified BGR’s exclusive report covering the Nexus Prime along with various specs. Romanian paper Ziarul Financiar recently mirrored parts of our report, stating that the Nexus Prime will sport a Super AMOLED Plus HD screen and will run Google’s new Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system. Samsung Romania’s PR teem tweeted the story, which is a practice that is uncommon for official company Twitter accounts as such tweets are construed as confirm an article’s validity. The Ziarul Financiar write-up and Samsung’s original tweets have since been pulled, and Samsung Romania is blaming the snafu on a leak from an outside source. We’re also expecting the Nexus Prime to pack Texas Instruments’ new OMAP 4460 processor, and our sources have indicated that Google may be planning to launch “pure Google” devices with multiple OEMs across a number of carriers. A screenshot of Samsung Romania’s tweets follows below. More →
Skype announced on Wednesday that its Android application now supports video calling on select devices. The application is particularly attractive because it allows mobile users to connect with other users on Mac, Windows, TV, iOS, or other Android devices. Skype says the app was built with a complete new redesign, too, which includes a new main menu, easier contact navigation, quick access to your profile, and more. There’s even a new “mood” message box that allows you to show what you’re up to or how you’re feeling. Skype for Android requires Android 2.3 and above, as well as a front-facing camera for video chat. It currently supports the HTC Desire S, the Sony Ericsson Xperia neo, the Sony Ericsson Xperia pro, and the Google Nexus S. Skype says it also has plans to roll out support for additional handsets in the near future. Hit the jump for a video demo of the new client in action. More →
Google’s first Ice Cream Sandwich phone to be manufactured by Samsung, possibly dubbed ‘Nexus Prime’
We exclusively reported details of Google’s first Ice Cream Sandwich smartphone — either a Nexus device, or a “pure Google” flagship handset from one of Google’s key partners — and we now have more information surrounding the world’s most anticipated Android phone. We reported that the handset would nix physical menu keys going forward, and would feature a monster 720p -resolution display, and we have now confirmed with our source that the screen itself is branded as a “Super AMOLED HD” display. The branding confirms our suspicions that Samsung will indeed be the manufacturer. We have also confirmed that the processor in the upcoming device will be an OMAP4460, just as we originally reported. Hit the jump for more. More →