Archive for November, 2009

Google Searches for “Android” Gains

November 20, 2009


MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (TheStreet)Google’s (GOOG Quote) Android operating system may be viewed as a shot in the arm for smartphone makers such as HTC and Motorola (MOT Quote), but the OS is also key to the Internet giant’s long-term strategy.

The tech heavyweight has been frantically extending its reach beyond its traditional search business into areas such as video sharing, digital music and PC operating systems.

Against this backdrop, Android represents a gilt-edged opportunity for the company to extend its desktop search capabilities into new areas. If Google is planning an OS war with Microsoft (MSFT Quote), then smartphones are the first significant battle.

With more than 10 devices and a number of service providers now in its camp, Android has done a good job dislodging the Windows Mobile operating system.

Apple (AAPL Quote), Research In Motion (RIMM Quote) and Nokia(NOK Quote) pose a stiffer challenge for Google, although the search giant is certainly establishing itself as an OS player.

“We think the adoption of Android so far has been better than expected, with nearly 20 devices expected to be available by the end of the year,” commented Youssef Squali, an analyst at Jefferies & Company, in a recent note.

With low-cost, scaled-down laptops, or netbooks, fast becoming the consumer technology du jour, the stage is set for Google. Although Android is unlikely to feature in mini-computers, the Internet firm has laid the foundations for its Chrome OS to mount an assault on Microsoft.

Microsoft, for its part, is attacking Google in its back yard through its Bing offering. The software giant has also clinched a search partnership with Yahoo! (YHOO Quote) as part of its long-term plan to challenge Google.

Such is the importance of smartphones, however, that Google is even rumored to be planning its own device. Bypassing telcos to sell the phone directly through retailers would undoubtedly be a bold move, but would underline the company’s desire to gain wireless share from Apple, Nokia and Microsoft.

Last week the search giant spent $750 million to acquire mobile-ad specialist AdMob. With Android phones such as Motorola’s Droid starting to catch on, the purchase is seen as a shrewd move.

“We view Google’s $750 million all-stock acquisition of AdMob as a strategic move, potentially accelerating the company’s growth in the mobile ad market the way DoubleClick expedited its entry into Display advertising,” wrote Jefferies & Company analyst Squali in his note.

The analyst explains that while Google will not generate revenue from the open-source Android OS, AdMobs could significantly boost the company’s advertising revenue.

“Over time, we believe Google would embed some of the AdMob technology platform deeper into Android to make the core of the mobile OS more advertising friendly,” he said. “The company’s aggressive forays into mobile should put additional pressure on other leading advertising players such as Yahoo!, Microsoft and AOL to come up with a more aggressive mobile monetization strategy.”

At least one analyst believes that Google also could reap the benefits of the e-book boom through the Android OS.

“Google, which recently announced a browser-based e-reader, could offer applications for Android-based devices of various form factors,” said Allen Weiner, research vice president at Gartner, in a recent statement.

Despite all the noise surrounding Motorola’s Droid launch and HTC’sAndroid phones, Google could be the biggest Android winner.

— Reported by James Rogers in New York

[via The Street]


HTC Passion (Dragon) Android 1-GHz Snapdragon Phone Possible Release Date

November 20, 2009


HTC Passion (Dragon) Android 1-GHz Snapdragon Phone possible release date

Evidence is mounting that HTC will soon release a new Android-based phone with a large touchscreen and a fast processor. According to unconfirmed reports, this model is headed for Verizon and will sport a wide array of high-end features.

Rumors say that this smartphone is code-named the HTC Passion. The actual name may be drawn from one of its features — this device will reportedly be based on Qualcomm’s 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, and the official name will supposedly be the HTC Dragon.

An Overview of the HTC Passion
HTC has drawn quite a bit of attention with the HTC HD2, a model that has an impressive collection of cutting-edge features. HTC’s CEO has gone on record saying that there won’t be an Android version of this device, but the Dragon will apparently be very close.

If the unconfirmed reports are correct, the Dragon will be the first Android smartphone running Qualcomm’s fastest smartphone chip. Sony Ericsson has announced a device with this processor, but HTC’s will supposedly be on the market first by a wide margin.

Like the HD2, it will supposedly have a 4.3-inch capacitive touchscreen and a 5 MPx camera. This smartphone will allegedly run Android 2.0 and have a microSD memory card slot and 3.5 mm headset jack.

If this really is an Android-based model, it will have a highly-functional web browser, and include tie-ins to a number of Google’s online services, like Gmail, Calendar, and Google Maps. It will also have access to thousands of third-party software apps available for this operating system.

Coming Next Month
Rumor says the HTC Passion/Dragon is going to be available in the middle of next month.

Exactly what Verizon will ask for this smartphone is not yet known.

[via Brighthand]

Full Samsung Behold II Review

November 19, 2009


T-Mobile’s tablet gets an Android update, but is Samsung’s TouchWIZ interface a good match for Android? Find out in our Samsung Behold II review.

Look and Feel – Good

T-Mobile’s new Samsung Behold II doesn’t look exactly like the Samsung Moment, but it has a similar feel, thanks to the hard plastics and the overall bulky feel. It uses a display that is slightly smaller than the screen on the HTC Droid Eris, though that phone is more tightly packed and smaller in every dimension. We like that Samsung went for hardware buttons on the Behold II, instead of the touch sensitive controls on the Samsung Moment, and we love the OLED display on both of Samsung’s Android phones. OLED is definitely the future of mobile devices, and the screen may not pack all the pixels of the high resolution Motorola Droid, but colors pop off the screen and blacks show up deep and rich.

We’ve reviewed plenty of devices running Samsung’s TouchWIZ interface (to check out a few of these, click here) but it has never been among the best interfaces out there. This becomes especially evident on the Samsung Behold II. In a nutshell, TouchWIZ offers a drawer filled with desktop shortcuts and widgets, as well as a shortcut bar along the bottom. The irony is that Android was already using a similar design to better effect. Android has a pull out drawer at the bottom of the phone, now on the side with the Samsung Behold II, and you can drag icons to the desktop from there, or add widgets, smart folders and shortcuts as you see fit. It worked nicely because widgets weren’t allowed to overlap like with TouchWIZ, and there were some powerful and highly customizable ideas for what you could add.

So, TouchWIZ adds nothing productive to Android. It slows down the interface noticeably and it even makes some existing features worse. Many of the redesigned apps and features on the phone, like the dialer, the calendar and the music player, look and function even worse on this Android phone than they do on our T-Mobile G1, the first Android device released more than a year ago.

Calling and Contacts – Very Good

Calls on the Samsung Behold II sounded pretty good. Voices sounded better on our end than on the receiving end of calls, but on both sides, our conversations came through clearly. Our callers reported occasionally distant voices and a slight, digital fuzziness, but nothing too serious. Battery life was pretty good, too. We got almost 6 hours of talking time out of a single call, which is just shy of estimates. Reception on the phone was also pretty good, hovering around 3 bars of service as we tested in the Dallas and Seattle metro areas.

When it came to calling features and contacts, we ran into some trouble on the Samsung Behold II. Contacts synchronized nicely from our Gmail and corporate Exchange address books, but none of our contacts’ photos came through, and when we added some folks to the Speed Dial screen, even their name was left off, rendering the concept useless. The phone also crashed when we tried to add a few names, including our own contact card, which would be handy to check voicemail on our other numbers.

The Samsung Behold II comes with voice dialing, but even once you’ve given the phone spoken instructions, you have to click on the correct choice, which reduces the benefit of this normally handsfree option. The phone gets visual voicemail support, which is a great feature. Conference calling worked well, but could have been more intuitive. We like to simply dial and press send to add a second call, but the Behold II had us digging through menus. Swapping and splitting calls was no problem.

Social Networking – Good

While many new smartphones are adding more social networking integration and easy status update features, the Samsung Behold II doesn’t even come with social networking apps preloaded for Facebook, MySpace or Twitter. You can download the first two from the Android Market, but Android options for Twitter are still unimpressive without help from the manufacturers. HTC, for instance, includes a nice twitter app with their Sprint Hero and Verizon Droid Eris phones. The phone claims to be able to send pictures directly to your social sites, but when we tried to upload to Flickr, they never ended up in our photostream.

The messaging app on the phone is competent and looks pretty good. Text messages and MMS messages are presented in a threaded style, so you can read them as a conversation, like instant messaging. Pictures are presented inline with the messages, and these can be expanded with a click. For instant messaging, the Samsung Behold II gets the basic Google Talk clients and another IM client for AOL, MSN and Yahoo. These all worked well in our tests.

Multimedia – Good

Unfortunately, the Samsung Behold II didn’t perform as we hoped when it comes to multimedia. Samsung’s tweaked music player didn’t even match the basic Android music player we’ve seen before. Some of our song information came through muddled, especially if special accent marks or characters were involved, in which case our text was replaced with Korean letters. Album artwork also got lost along the way. The Music Player also starts playing a song, seemingly at random, as soon as it starts up without asking.

Video playback performance was even more disappointing, which is a shame because Samsung just announced the first Android device with DiVX support, the European Galaxy Spica. Unlike that phone, the Samsung Behold II was hardly capable of playing any of our videos. It couldn’t resize larger files to play on the phone’s screen, and some videos that play perfectly on other Android phones played without sound, or with jagged edges on moving characters.

Business – Mediocre

Though it comes with Microsoft Exchange support, the Samsung Behold II makes a mediocre business device, and most corporate users should avoid this phone. The e-mail inbox looked horrible. Instead of presenting separate subfolders and categories, you get all your e-mails as a hierarchical list. But the e-mail handling was buggy and didn’t work properly. No matter how many times we requested to see more messages, the Behold II never delivered anything more, and some subfolders it could never populate in the first place. Calendar and contacts sync came through okay, but e-mail was mostly a lost cause. If you rely on Gmail for messages, the Behold II doesn’t come with any document viewing software, so you can’t even view Office documents, let alone perform simple editing tasks.

Camera – Good

The Samsung Behold II actually has one of the better cameras we’ve seen on an Android phone. The camera is easily the Behold II’s best feature. Image quality was pretty good, with some accurate colors and nice details, especially in the fairly close-up ‘macro’ mode. The sensor had a serious problem with red colors, like most small cameraphone sensors, and red flowers could blow up and lose all sense of detail. But for the most part we were happy with images from the Behold II. The camera did a nice job with face detection, and the onboard panorama stitching created some sweeping views of our backyard. Check out our image samples below:

  • Red Flower
  • Green Leaves
  • Palm Fibers
  • Palm Fronds
  • Self Portrait, Outdoors
  • Thermometer Close Up
  • Panorama
  • eBay Shot
  • eBay Macro Shot
  • Self Portrait, Flash Only
  • Traveling – Very Good

    The Samsung Behold II comes with TeleNav for turn-by-turn navigation, and the GPS mapping app worked very well in our tests. The phone had no trouble finding us quickly for a first fix and following us on our route through the Dallas suburbs. On a trip to Seattle, the phone followed our progress from the airport through downtown, and it didn’t get lost in the dense cloud cover and tall buildings overhead. The maps responded smoothly and reloaded quickly as we lost our way. The point of interest database was also robust, and it had local recommendations that were satisfying and accurate. No complaints here, TeleNav comes through again.

    Staying Informed – Very Good

    The Web browser on the Samsung Behold II is the standard Android browser, which is a good thing, as the Android browser does a fine job rendering our favorite pages. Navigating those sites is also a breeze, though we wish the phone had multi-touch gesture support, like the HTC Android phones we’ve used. Google Reader works very well on the Android browser, and our favorite news sites, like CNN and the New York Times, looked perfect, just like their desktop counterparts. The biggest problem we had was with the Wi-Fi performance. The phone didn’t bother to report a Wi-Fi connection in the menu bar up top, even when Wi-Fi was on and apparently connected to our WLAN. The Behold II was never able to connect with our home network, and even when it seemed to be connected to an open Wi-Fi network, it usually defaulted to T-Mobile’s 3G network for Web browsing. Because we never left a T-Mobile 3G coverage area, and you can’t turn off the 3G network on this device, we were left unsure if Wi-Fi was functioning properly at all.

    Price and availability

    The Samsung Behold II is available from T-Mobile for $230 with a contract agreement.

    [via infoSync]


    ARM Opens Resource Centre for Android Developers

    November 19, 2009


    ARM has launched a resource centre for companies developing ARM processor-based devices using the Android mobile operating system, while predicting major growth for ARM-based netbooks in 2010.

    The Solution Center for Android, unveiled on Tuesday, is aimed at companies making anything from smartphones and netbooks to smart photo frames.

    In a statement, ARM segment marketing chief Kevin Smith said the centre would serve as “a one-stop guide to provide developers with the tools and information they need to create innovative devices with applications that satisfy consumers’ needs”.

    Smith added: “ARM is the leading processor architecture for internet-everywhere applications from mobile to the connected home and, with that leadership, ARM is in a position to foster an innovative ecosystem to ensure that device manufacturers have the best development solutions at their disposal.”

    The 35 companies that are involved in the Solution Center for Android include Archos, Montavista, Movial and Texas Instruments, among others.

    ARM’s mobile solutions head Rob Coombs told ZDNet UK the centre would make it easier for small companies to integrate new Android releases with their devices.

    “Take Eclair [Android version 2.0] when it came out,” Coombs said. “At the moment it’s quite hard — it’s a massive amount of code and, if you’re a small developer, where do you go for help? It makes a lot of sense to try and put a lot of resources and contacts and devices together into one place.”

    Coombs said ARM’s ecosystem already involved over 600 companies developing tools, boards and software and optimising media codecs, so the chip architecture firm was well placed to steer the new centre. He also said not everyone involved in the centre would have to be a member of the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), the Google-led telecoms industry group that initially fostered Android’s development.

    “A lot of people outside the OHA want to do useful things with Android,” Coombs said. “[The centre] is particularly useful for small enterprises and SMEs who want to create, say, a web-connected photo frame.”

    In September, ARM’s main chip-design rival Intel launched a developer programme to attract applications for its Atom chipset. Atom is currently used almost entirely in netbooks and nettops, but Intel plans to use the low-powered processor in smartphones.

    Conversely, ARM’s latest Cortex A-series designs are set to make the leap from smartphones into netbooks or, as ARM calls cheap notebooks based on its architecture, ‘smartbooks’.

    According to Coombs, ARM-based smartphones and smartbooks will have performance and power consumption advantages over rival, Intel-based devices.

    “Intel have been very public in in saying they want a slice of the smartphone market,” Coombs said. “We’ve got more than 20 licensees of Cortex A8s and A9s, and that’s got more performance than Atom. That’s a battle that’s yet to come and we think we’re well placed on it — in the smartbook, we’ve got performance up to and beyond where Atom is today, before [Intel] have got their power consumption down.”

    Coombs said smartbooks would really “kick off” in the first half of 2010, to coincide with work emanating from Adobe’s Open Screen Project, an initiative to have Flash-based rich media applications running across a variety of devices and platforms.

    He also downplayed recent experiments with making Android run on x86-based devices, such as Acer’s use of Android as a second operating system on its D250 netbook.

    “The massive percentage of Android development today is on ARM — that’s where the smartphone market is,” Coombs said. “Because it’s open source, people can move it onto other things. A lot of people want to use Android because of the apps. The marketplace is a key part of the proposition, and those apps are written generally for smartphones and MIDs.”

    “Most are using, within that code, ARM native code, because they want more performance than Java can give. That does mean [such apps] only run on ARM.”

    [via ZDNet]

    Dell Streak 5-inch 3G Android MID leaks with Video!

    November 19, 2009


    After Dell CEO Michael Dell confirmed that the company’s Android smartphone would, in fact, make it to the US – albeit with some changes from the original Chinese model – details of a second Android-based device have leaked.  According to and another image supplied to SlashGear, you’re looking at the Dell Streak, a 5-inch WVGA 800 x 480 touchscreen Android 2.0 Donut MID, with WiFi, Bluetooth and 3G WWAN connectivity.  Front photos of the Dell Streak – together with size comparison shots – in the gallery, together with a hands-on video after the cut.

    DSC07432 540x435

    The Dell Streak – as the prototype is labelled – also has a 5-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash, a microSD card slot and a 1,300mAh battery.  Hands-on feedback is scant, aside from that the WiFi was very sensitive.  From the video, below, we can see that hardware controls are minimal, with three touch-sensitive buttons along the right-hand side of the display and volume controls – together with a camera shortcut and an unknown key – on the top edge.  A multifunction dock connector is on the bottom edge, and there appears to be a front-facing camera – presumably for video calls – on the left-hand side of the display.  On the “engineering sample” label, meanwhile, the model variant is listed as “US”, suggesting that at least prototypes using US-spec 3G are being tested.

    The existence of the device fits in with rumors from back in June, when the Wall Street Journal reported that Dell had been developing Android MID prototypes.  Described as “larger than Apple’s iPod touch”, the speculation was fuelled by later comments from Dell’s consumer devision president, Ronald Garriques, who suggested that the company was considering screen sizes ranging from 4- to 12-inches.

    Thanks Trung Tran!

    [via SlashGear]


    Bizarre Droid auto-focus bug revealed

    November 18, 2009


    What was making the Droid camera go out of focus?

    Verizon’s launch of the Droid has been marred by a handful of bugs that Google and/or Motorola and/or Verizon appear to be squashing pretty quickly (seriously, how much buck-passing goes on behind the scenes when there’s a bug with this device?). One of the most interesting bug stories I’ve heard in a while has to do with the auto-focus bug. Apparently it just didn’t work. The on-board camera would focus, then blur out again.

    And then it suddenly started working properly for everyone. The first theory of why it would fix itself was that there was some film on the lens when a Droid was fresh from the factory, but it got cleared off with use somehow. Folks claimed that directly cleaning the lens with a soft cloth would fix the problem, and that much made sense, but other theories had the film getting cleaned by the action of sticking the Droid in your pocket? I wish I lived in a world where things got cleaner the more you used them!

    The next theory was that some kind of stealth patch got pushed to the Droids without the owner’s knowledge. Officials quickly denied this rumor. Probably good news that they can’t (or at least, won’t) patch your phone without your choosing to accept the patch.

    Finally the real reason for the bug and fix was revealed, and maybe it’s just because I write web scripts for a living, but I really got a kick out of this. The auto-focus routines somehow make use of a timestamp, and the bug was due to a rounding error. In a comment on an Engadget post, someone claiming to be Google engineer Dan Morrill said:

    There’s a rounding-error bug in the camera driver’s autofocus routine (which uses a timestamp) that causes autofocus to behave poorly on a 24.5-day cycle. That is, it’ll work for 24.5 days, then have poor performance for 24.5 days, then work again.

    The 17th is the start of a new “works correctly” cycle, so the devices will be fine for a while. A permanent fix is in the works.

    How crazy is that? Engadget says they tested this by backdating their Droid to November 11th and sure enough, the problem returned. I pity the engineer who had to uncover this one; talk about finding a needle in a haystack.

    Anyway, let’s hope they get this patched up before the current ‘good’ cycle ends.

    By the way, I’m considering springing for a Droid; if any readers have one, I’d love to hear comments on it. Are you happy with your purchase?

    [via IT World]


    Adobe Flash Player for Android, webOS Will Be Available in 2010

    November 18, 2009


    Adobe Systems has promised users of phones running Google’s Android and Palm’s webOS that they will get a browser plug-in with Flash support in the first half of next year.

    Those who visit Adobe’s website on a device running either of these operating systems are told to check back next year. The note for Android users says, “Adobe Flash Player 10.1 is coming to Android 2.0 and future releases in the first half of 2010.”

    Last month, Adobe promised a beta version of the the webOS software would be released this year; it’s not clear if this is still going to happen. The company also promised a beta for Windows Mobile this year, too.

    More about Adobe Flash Player 10.1
    In previous years, Adobe has tried to get Flash support onto smartphones with scaled down versions, but not any more. The full version of Flash Player 10.1 will be for desktops running Windows or Mac OS X, as well as for Windows Mobile, webOS, Android, and several other platforms.

    It will support sites that use Flash for navigation, as well as Flash video.

    This software will take advantage of the capabilities of the devices it is running on, from multi-touch screens to Graphics Processing Units.

    Coming to Most Platforms… but Not All
    Adobe has committed to bringing Flash support to Android, Symbian, webOS, and Windows mobile in the first half of 2010.

    In addition, Adobe and RIM have announced a joint collaboration to bring Flash Player to Blackberry smartphones at some point in the future.

    Adobe would like to add Flash support to the iPhone, but has run into a problem. According to a statement from the company, “Adobe needs full support from Apple beyond what is available through the SDK to enable Web browsing of Flash-based content on the iPhone. While we have been working hard to make the browser plug-in available, without increased co-operation from Apple, it will not be possible.”

    Video Demonstration
    In this video demonstration, Adrian Ludwig from Adobe shows off various websites with Flash Player 10.1 on a Palm Pre running webOS:

    [via Brighthand]


    Samsung Behold II Will Launch Next Week

    November 17, 2009


    T-Mobile USA has made it official: its next Android-powered smartphone will debut in just a few days.

    The Samsung Behold II will be this carrier’s first device with a large AM-OLED display, and the first Android phone with the TouchWiz user interface.

    Samsung Behold IIIt is going to go on sale next Wednesday, Nov. 18. It will sell for $230 with a two-year service agreement, making it one of the more expensive models running Google’s mobile operating system.

    An Overview of the Samsung Behold II
    T-Mobile’s latest Android-based smartphone will have a tablet shape, and include a 3.2-inch touchscreen. As mentioned earlier, this will be an AM-OLED display, a type that uses less power and offers better colors at wider viewing angles.

    It will debut with Android 1.5, and will use  Samsung’s proprietary TouchWiz user interface in place of the standard one. This provides one-touch access to commonly-used features and applications, plus widgets located in a slide out tray.

    As an Android-powered smartphone, the Behold II will give users access to Google’s mobile services, including Google Maps, Gmail, and Google Talk as well as thousands of applications and games available for download from the Android Market.

    This Samsung model is going to support personal email and corporate e-mail with Exchange ActiveSync, as well as instant messaging, and text, picture, and video messaging.

    It will give users access to T-Mobile’s 3G network, as well as Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 2.1. It will also include a 5 megapixel camera with auto-focus, flash, five shooting modes and video capabilities.

    This smartphone will be bundled with a 2 GB microSD storage card, and user will have the option to upgrade this to 16 GB or 32 GB of storage by buying new memory cards.

    “The combination of 3G speeds, its high-resolution touch-screen, and access to loads of entertainment features is sure to make the Behold II into a holiday hit,” said Wendy Piñero-DePencier, vice president, brand and calendar marketing, T-Mobile USA.



    Why Sony Ericsson is embracing Android

    November 17, 2009


    Sony Ericsson’s new phones mark a shift in direction, and operating system. The man in charge tells us why the company has gone Google

    For Sony Ericsson, Google’s Android operating system holds much promise within the context of our multi-platform strategy.

    Our commitment to the Open Handset Alliance stems from a vision of the Google Android OS as an environment that enables developers to create rich user experiences with some of latest technologies available on the Internet. The Xperia X10 is the first of a family of products, some of which will use this technology.

    Google Android’s key benefit stems from the fact that it is a web-centric, rather than a Telco-centric platform.

    The approach towards working with open source, rather than proprietary technologies also suggests a certain way of thinking – one that maximises inclusion and encourages the sharing of innovation.

    The significance of this web-centric approach becomes apparent in a world where consumers are increasingly keen to enjoy the same online experience on a laptop or a mobile phone. Developers therefore have the challenge of creating online content that both functions and appears the same, regardless of which screen it is on.

    Enabling consumers to create their own personal “social web” is crucial for Sony Ericsson: users now typically access many different social networks – often at the same time – and want to access applications that help them do this effectively.

    The unique social network organisation tools available on the Xperia X10, Timescape and Mediascape are perfect examples; as signature Sony Ericsson applications that were developed to address the needs of users who have increasingly connected social lives.

    Because the Xperia X10 is built on a platform that is regarded by many developers as highly customisable, we see it as particularly suited to the creation of applications that help end users organise and personalise their mobile content.

    So why the focus on the web? Because Sony Ericsson sees a future in which the division between mobile and web development will become increasingly blurred.

    This will prove to be a catalyst for new ways of thinking that have the potential to stimulate the development of a wider range of applications, content and enabling technologies for the mobile handset, all of which will ultimately deliver benefits to consumers.

    [via Times Online]

    First iPhone, now Droid. Who needs Windows?

    November 13, 2009


    If the iPhone didn’t finish off Windows Mobile in the smartphone market, the Motorola Droid may.

    Windows Mobile is losing the last vestiges of its mojo–if it really had any to begin with–as the Droid and other phones based on the Android 2.0 operating system push the buzz meter needle into the red zone. Many in the media–which can play a big role in steering users to one technology platform or another–sense that Windows Mobile has now been relegated resolutely to has-been status.

    The Motorola Droid's high-resolution screen

    The Motorola Droid’s high-resolution screen.

    (Credit: Verizon)

    Let’s do a quick canvas of what some in the press are saying now that we’re at the start of the Droid era. A post on (the Web site of the San Francisco Chronicle) is, like other commentary out there, clearly dismissive of Windows Mobile. “Curiously, Microsoft is nowhere to be seen in this battle royal,” the author states, referring to the iPhone and Android.

    And there’s this more damning comment from a blog at “Rarely mentioned, however, is another player in the mobile OS market–Microsoft. Why not? Because not many people in the smartphone world seem to really give a hoot about Windows Mobile anymore.”

    The litany of like articles is long. This post on PC World asks: “Has Microsoft Placed Its Last Mobile Bet?” The article cites research from Canalys showing Windows Mobile slipping from 13.9 percent of the worldwide smartphone market in 2002 to 9 percent in the second quarter of 2009.

    The numbers are even less favorable in an accounting by ad service Admob, which compiles data on which operating systems are in use on mobile devices that access online ads. In August, according to AdMob, Windows Mobile had only a 4 percent share of the mobile OS market worldwide, down from 7 percent in February.

    But getting back to my original premise of no mobile mojo for Windows. The fact is that consumers don’t care about Windows on smartphones. In other words, while Windows seems to be a prerequisite for many consumers when buying a PC, it just doesn’t come into play in a big way in a smartphone purchase.

    This will have ramifications beyond Microsoft of course. Companies like Toshiba (and its attractive TG01 smartphone) will probably not be as successful on Windows Mobile as they would (will) be on Android 2.0. Or, at the very least, will not get the necessary buzz.

    Then there’s the Intel factor. Intel also wants to be a player, eventually, in the smartphone space. If it is indeed able to beat back Texas Instruments (whose chip is used in the Droid), Samsung (iPhone), Qualcomm (BlackBerry), and Marvell, it probably won’t do it by sticking to the tried-and-true “WinTel” combination that’s been so outrageously successful in the PC space.

    And Intel is chasing a fast-moving target. TI, and all the other ARM-based chip suppliers cited above, are slated to bring out dual-core designs that can hit speeds as high as 2GHz (think next-generation tablets and media pads). In other words, they’ll also be able claim the coveted speed mantle on phones, such as the Droid, where Windows Mobile is no where in sight.

    So the Droid may not be the iPhone killer but rather the Windows Mobile slayer. Microsoft, of course, will always have the unassailable PC franchise. But, wait, isn’t Android coming to Netbooks next year? Maybe the real battle royal for Microsoft is yet to come.

    [via cnet]