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Firefox for Android Looks Promising

Mozilla's Firefox browser not only has a brand new rapid release cycle going this year (announced in February), but it also appears to have a new lease on life on the Android platform. Developer Jonathan Nightingale, in a Google Groups post, has confirmed that Firefox for Android will soon get a native UI instead of the current XUL version. For users, that means ultra-fast boot times and more. The announcement comes after missives from Google that appear to point to a version of Google Chrome for Android.

LibreOffice's Mobile and Cloud Horizons Appear Strong

Ever since LibreOffice, the productivity suite forked from OpenOffice, started to take shape, questions have arisen about how its trajectory might differ from OpenOffice's. This week, the LibreOffice Conference is going on, and The Document Foundation is generating some buzz through the announcement that versions of the suite will arrive for iOS and Android devices, giving LibreOffice a strong mobile footprint. Susan covered the news here. It's also very good news that the suite will arrive in a cloud-based version that could compete closely with Google Apps and other cloud-centric productivity tools.

Willow Garage Continues to Advance Open Source Robotics

Can open source take the field of robotics where it's never been before? We've covered several of the efforts to do so in previous posts, including here,?here, and here.?There are continuing efforts going on all around the world to advance open source robot platforms--some focused on humanoid robots and some not. We've covered the extraordinary open source robotics work going on over at Willow Garage a number of times. It is a project that originated at Stanford University. Robots being developed within it run ROS (Robot Operating System) software, and are surprisingly capable. Now, approximately 25 institutions are developing robotics applications on Willow Garage's open platform.

Open Source Platforms Lead the Machine Translation Charge

At a surprisingly rapid pace, machine language translation is now moving into high gear on devices that we already use, and open source platforms are leading the charge. Ten years ago, futurists such as Ray Kurzweil predicted that the devices we carry with us would become fast and efficient at translating languages, and it's happening now. If you haven't tried the translation tools in platforms such as Google Chrome and on Android, you're missing out.

The Document Foundation Thinking Beyond Desktop

libreofficeDuring the LibreOffice Conference in Paris yesterday, The Document Foundation made several interesting announcements. Among them, a new online version of LibreOffice and a port for smartphones are planned for next year or 2013.

Are There More Acquisitions to Come From Google?

If you look up and down the block you live on, you may very well see unemployed people, foreclosures and continuing signs that the economy is in a sinkhole, but don't tell that to Google. Yesterday, the company reported very strong earnings and revenues, and CEO Larry Page chose the word gangbusters to describe the company's trajectory. Google reported quarterly earnings fof $2.73 billion, up from $2.17 billion a year ago. Revenues were $9.72 billion, up from $7.29 billion a year ago.

That's a lot of money but it's also worth noting that Google now has $42.6 billion dollars in the bank. In all likelihood, we'll see some of that heading toward further acquisitions.?

Are IT Departments Ready for Dual Consumer/Business Smartphones?

Anyone who knows the story of Google's Android mobile OS knows that its rise has been meteoric. In fact, the existence of OStatic closely parallels the existence of Android. A year after OStatic launched, in early 2009, it was easy to question whether Android had any future on smartphones whatsoever. Truth be told, the prevailing view was that it didn't, due to lack of handsets built around it, and no app store to compete with Apple's. If you fast-forward to today, though, Android is a towering force on the mobile technology scene, and part of why Google announced that its biggest acquisition ever would be Motorola Mobility.

However, Android is more of a phenomenon among consumers than it is among enterprise users. Now, Qualcomm and AT&T are looking into challenging the notion that Android devices can't infiltrate enterprises through a highly unusual strategy.

Not Enough Ubuntu Yet?

UbuntuBoy, that Ubuntu, huh? No matter how much pleasure we derived from writing that Ubuntu users were leaving in droves or that Linux Mint kept moving up the DW PHR doesn't change the fact that Ubuntu is still big news. Is there a Website out there that didn't cover the Ubuntu 11.10 release?

Chrome Remote Desktop Extension Stretches Chrome OS Horizons

If you're using a Chromebook and depending on Google's Chrome OS as your operating system, it's well worth taking note of the new Chrome Remote Desktop (beta) extension. It works like standard remote control software always has but has lots of positive implications for Chrome OS, given that Chrome OS works on a cloud-centric basis and eschews many local computing practices. Using it, you can share with or get access to another comupter by providing a one-time authentication code.

FLOSS Manuals Offers New Documentation for Cool Tools

On a regular basis, we at OStatic compile documentation and guidance resources for popular open source platforms and applications. After all, one of the most common critcisms of these platforms and applications is lack of official documentation. One of the best ongoing projects for producing free open source-related documentation is FLOSS Manuals. It's an ongoing and ambitious effort to build online guides for open source software that we initially covered in this post. Recently, the site has added documentation for some projects that may interest you.

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