Google co-founder Sergey Brin said during an interview published on Sunday that Apple and Facebook pose serious threats to Internet freedom because of their closed approaches to software. While speaking with The Guardian, Brin said there are “very powerful forces that have lined up against the open Internet on all sides and around the world. I am more worried than I have been in the past. It’s scary.” The executive pointed to the “walled-garden” philosophy that sees companies like Apple and Facebook maintain tight control over third-party software on their respective platforms as the cause for his concerns. Read on for more. More →
Google CEO Larry Page stated in a blog post on Thursday that the company’s Android platform is “on fire.” The CEO boasted that there are now more than 850,000 Android devices activated each day through a network of 55 manufacturers and more than 300 carriers. Page called Android a “tremendous example of the power of partnership, and it just gets better with each version.” He went on to explain his excitement for the Motorola acquisition and “the opportunities to build great devices capitalizing on the tremendous success and growth of Android.” The CEO then reiterated the benefits surrounding Android’s open ecosystem, maintaining that “we have no plans to change that.” The Mountain View-based company in February stated that Android activations were up 250% year-over-year. Google also previously announced that the Android Market is home to more than 450,000 apps. More →
While speaking at HP’s global partner summit in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman discussed her company’s strategy moving forward, further emphasizing the potential of the now open-source webOS platform. Whitman is already on record saying that webOS offers big benefits compared to iOS (which is closed) and Android (which is fragmented), and now the chief executive is pushing things a step further. “I think there is room for another operating system,” Whitman said at the summit according to Channel EMEA. “IOS is great but it is a closed system. I think that Android may end up as a closed system because of [Google’s] relationship with Motorola.” Google’s $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility was approved by U.S. and European regulators earlier this week, and Whitman suggests the union may end up having a huge impact on Android’s future. Google has said that its Motorola buy won’t affect other Android partners adversely but as the company works to develop a new generation of own-brand hardware, the future of the platform as it stands today is anything but certain. More →
Android may be an open source operating system, but it’s not as open as other platforms according to a new research report from VisionMobile. The research firm compared Android, Eclipse, Firefox, the Linux kernel, MeeGo, Qt and Symbian and found that, of those open source environments, Android was the least “open.” According to the report’s “open governance index,” which scored each environment on how open it is, Android scored a 23%. It was far below the others; Eclipse scored the best with an 84% open governance index and no other platform scored less than a 58%, ArsTechnica said. Google’s Android compatibility chief Dan Morrill likely swayed the opinion on Android a bit when he said Google was using compatibility “as a club to make [phone maker’s] do things we want,” and the report cites that quote specifically. However, VisionMobile also backs up its findings with a statement that can be read in full after the break. More →
The “is Android open?” question is one that constantly fades in and out of focus on blogs and in the tech media. The latest snippet that will undoubtedly reinvigorate the argument was revealed this past weekend, and this time it’s not a pretty one for Google. As part of Skyhook Wireless’ lawsuit against Google, which alleges that the company interfered with a contract that placed its services on Android phones sold by Motorola, several internal emails have been made public by a Massachusetts state court. Collectively, the emails provide various insights into the business strategies employed by Google’s Android team. One email in particular, however, is attracting a great deal of attention. In it, Android Open-Source & Compatibility Program Manager Dan Morrill writes, “we are using compatibility as a club to make them do things we want.” In other words, we’re brought right back to the earlier revelation that Android partners can do whatever they want with the platform, but only those that play ball with Google’s compatibility requirements get preferential treatment, such as early access to new Android builds. Of course this time, the sentiment comes straight from the horse’s mouth in a relatively gruff manner, which doesn’t exactly do a service to Google’s repeated “open” claims. More →
Looking to assuage the previously expressed concerns of some lawmakers, Chinese telecom juggernaut Huawei is asking for a formal U.S. government investigation into its businesses. Huawei is looking to sell its equipment to United States companies, but has been met by heavy political headwinds. Our company is asking for this investigation “in an effort to reach a clear and accurate conclusion,” writes Huawei.
“Efforts to do business in the United States in the past 10 years had been hurt by misperceptions,” reports Reuters. This includes “unproven claims of ‘close connections with the Chinese military.'”
Huawei made the request this week via an open letter on its website. The coalition of lawmakers who have opposed the company’s entrance into the U.S. market place have yet to issue a statement. More →
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson gave a keynote presentation at Mobile World Congress on Tuesday, during which he shared some interesting thoughts surrounding Apple’s iOS App Store. Stephenson expressed some distaste for the way Apple’s application ecosystem is set up at the moment, saying customers shouldn’t have to lose all of their apps if they switch to a device other than the iPhone. “You purchase an app for one operating system, and if you want it on another device or platform, you have to buy it again,” Stephenson said during his speech. “That’s not how our customers expect to experience this environment.” He went on to essentially call HTML5 the answer to the problem — more specifically, the carrier-run Wholesale Applications Community is the answer to the problem. WAC is a Web-based app store of sorts that houses Web apps theoretically compatible with any device that uses an HTML5-capable browser. The apps within will be limited in function for the time being, since only native apps can take advantage of all of the developer tools available for various platforms. That won’t stop carriers from pitching WAC, however, as they continue to search for ways to make money off of the booming economy apps have created. Each of the four major cellular carriers in the U.S. is a member of WAC, so expect to hear about it quite a bit moving forward. More →
One day after the launch of the Nexus S, the source code for the device’s operating system — Android 2.3 — is being pushed to the Android Open Source Project’s (AOSP) master branch. In a blog post, AOSP engineer Jean-Baptiste M. Queru noted that he was in the throws of getting the code in place. Mr. Queru does however offer this warning:
Even though Nexus S is designed to be suitable for AOSP work, there are some caveats. I very strongly recommend against trying to use Nexus S for anything related to AOSP at the moment. Trying to unlock or use your Nexus S for AOSP work could easily turn it into a Nexus B (where B means “brick”); I have two of those, they’re not very useful. I’ll send some guidelines about what is currently possible once I’ve finished pushing the source code.
If you’re interested in getting your hands on the new bits, hit the read link and go nuts. More →
“Apple today announced that the Mac App Store will open for business on Thursday, January 6.” That is the opening line of a press release fresh out of Cupertino. The new service announced back in October offers developers a 70-30 split in revenues for applications sold and looks to mimic the utility and ease of the iOS-based App Store on the desktop.
“The App Store revolutionized mobile apps,” quipped Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs. “We hope to do the same for PC apps with the Mac App Store by making finding and buying PC apps easy and fun.”
The store will be available in ninety countries upon launch and will contain both free and paid applications. Hit the jump for the full press release. More →
Alright, we don’t want to get everyone all riled up on a Monday morning, but this next bit of speculative news is pretty exciting. Recently, a gentlemen by the name of Alvaro Fuentes Vasquez let go a pretty exciting tweet. The 160 character quip, which was written in Español, roughly translates as:
Prepare your Nexus One (Developer version) for Android OTA update 2.3 (Gingerbread) for the next few days :-D
A quick look at Mr. Vasquez’s LinkedIn profile reveals the following position:
Leadership team and usability at Open Handset Aliance (sic) | Google Andoid (sic)
Assuming that “Aliance” means Alliance, and “Andoid” means Android, this is pretty big news. The Open Handset Alliance is “a group of 78 technology and mobile companies who have come together to accelerate innovation in mobile and offer consumers a richer, less expensive, and better mobile experience,” explains the group’s homepage. “Together we have developed Android, the first complete, open, and free mobile platform.”
Will we see Android 2.3 drop in the “next few days”? Man, we hope so. More →
Hulu Plus, a premium Web-based video streaming service, is now available to the public. Rob Wong, product director for Hulu Plus, made the announcement Thursday on the company’s blog, saying the service is now available without need for an invitation. Hulu provides a service that allows users to stream movies and TV episodes for free to computers. Hulu Plus, which costs $9.99 each month (for the time being, at least), offers enhancements such as additional content and the ability to stream to more devices like Apple’s iPhone and the Sony PlayStation 3. Rumors suggest interest in Hulu Plus has been minimal though, thanks to widely available free content as well as subscription competition like Netflix’s Watch Instantly. Hulu claims to have had a successful closed beta period, however, and it will continue to expand the service to more devices during the current open preview period.
According to the Economic Times, India’s government has asked the Department of Telecommunications (DOT) to send a notice to RIM, Skype, and Google requesting that each service open its email and other communication data to the Indian government. The data must be presented in a format that is readable by security and intelligence agencies and has given each company 15 days to comply with this request. If a company fails to meet this deadline, it risks being banned or blocked by the government of India. This latest request escalates the ongoing dispute between RIM and India over access to RIM’s proprietary BIS and BES services and expands it to include these other service providers. Neither RIM, Skype, nor Google has responded to this latest request so we will have wait to see how this all turns out.
Back in 2008 after its legal woes with Apple began, Psystar, seller of Mac clones, was seeking out the support of investors in an effort to secure $24 million to continue development, expansion and “compete directly against Apple.” The reason that Psystar was seeking such a large amount of funding had to do with its sales projections which were clearly not grounded in reality. According to ComputerWorld:
Under its conservative projections, Psystar told investors it would sell 70,000 computers in 2009, 470,000 systems in 2010 and 1.45 million machines in 2011. The firm’s aggressive growth model, however, put those numbers at 130,000, 1.87 million and 12 million during 2009, 2010 and 2011, respectively.
The projections were ludicrous considering that we now know Psystar only sold 768 desktops from April 2008 to August of 2009, so just what was it that Psystar hoped was to be such a big seller? It’s vaporware “OpenBox” notebook which the company has been promising since August of 2008 that never materialized. Specs were to include a 13.3″ display, 2GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB RAM and a 250GB hard drive and retail for $699. Of course Psystar is probably never going to get the chance to sell its OpenBook (if it ever pops its head up) considering that a judge has already agreed its in violation of the DMCA as well as Apple’s copyrights. Both sides are due in court on December 14th to make their opening arguments in a new lawsuit in which Apple is seeking an injunction against all future sales. More →