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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.

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.

Android Apps Can Run On Your Computer

Early on in the rise of the Android mobile OS (which isn't very old), many critics expressed concerns that Apple had an insurmountable advantage with its App Store, and that the sheer number of available apps for the iPhone would ensure its dominance. Notably, though, Android Market teems with useful applications and is a very viable competitor after a few short years of life. If you don't happen to have an Android phone or tablet but still want to use useful Android apps, you can do so on a Windows computer. BlueStacks App Player is a free download for Windows users, and is coming soon in a Mac version.

Microsoft Serves Up Android Client for Hotmail

While Microsoft has a reputation for being less than friendly toward operating systems other than Windows, and especially unfriendly toward open source platforms, it also has a history of eventually realizing that it must offer its applications on non-Windows operating systems. Just look at the company's long history of delivering Microsoft Office and other applications for the Mac. In the latest news on this front, Microsoft is now offering a Hotmail client for Android.

Will the Kindle Fire Light a Fire Under Android?

Since releasing its new Kindle Fire tablet last week, which is based on the Android mobile operating system, Amazon hasn't released official numbers for how many of the units it is selling, but there are some reports that the Kindle Fire could become one of the biggest selling Android hardware devices ever. The Cult of Android blog is running a screenshot that it claims is leaked from Amazon and shows that the units are selling at an average rate of over 2,000 units per hour, or over 50,000 per day. If the sales numbers are correct, that would put the Kindle Fire on track to be a bigger seller than the iPad was fresh out of the gate. It goes to show that Amazon's big bet on open source is paying off.

The Linux Foundation and Big Backers Are Behind the Tizen Mobile Platform

The Linux Foundation's Jim Zemlin has made the following announcement, regarding a significant new mobile platform: Today we are welcoming a new project hosted at The Linux Foundation. Tizen is a Linux-based, open source platform designed to address the future of HTML5-based applications across a variety of device types. We think the project has a lot of potential, both for its technology and the major players it has involved in it. Intel and the LiMo Foundation are also backing Tizen, which succeeds the MeeGo and LiMo platforms. Could this finally be an open source mobile platform to compete effectively with Android?

Google Promises One Android for All Screen Sizes--As it Should Be

There have been many reports that Google wants to supercharge its Android efforts through its purchase of Motorola Mobility, which puts Google squarely in the handset and hardware mobile business. That has caused some concern among some of the hardware manufacturers who rely on getting the latest and greatest version of Android to deliver on their devices. How do they know Google won't keep brand new Android versions under wraps while Google itself delivers the latest and greatest Android phones? After all, Google has been accused of playing favorites with certain makers of Android tablets before. The good news is that Google has finally tipped its hand, and said it will deliver unified new versions of Android for tablets as well as phones, and for all screen sizes.

Could HTC Succeed with its Own Open Source Mobile OS?

Is it too late for a new open source mobile operating system to compete with Android? OStatic has made the point many times that Android has reached an incredible volume of welcome in a very short time. After all, in March of 2009, when only one Android handset was shown at Mobile World Congress, many analysts wondered if the OS was dead coming out of the gate. Android's meteoric success since then also coincided with multiple dropped balls from Symbian in trying to open source its once hugely powerful mobile platform. Now that HP has taken its foot of the gas with its WebOS platform, Android doesn't really have clear open source competition anymore. That could still change, though.

Two Reasons Why an Amazon Tablet Could Compete with the iPad

Not long ago, when Amazon first reported that it would be selling the Kindle eBook device, many analysts scoffed, and they had good reasons to do so. For one thing, many players with experience in the hardware business had tried and failed with eBooks. But there is no doubt that the Kindle is a resounding success, and delivering it was a bold move for an ecommerce company to make. Now, Amazon is said to be on the cusp of delivering its own tablet, with most rumor mills agreeing that it will run the Android OS. While there are those who think that an Amazon tablet won't have a chance against Apple's iPad, there are two big reasons why it just might.

Will Google Stay Committed to an Open Android Strategy?

Back in January, in a post Does Android Have a Forked Future? we explored the fact that Google seemed poised to explore several different paths with its Android mobile OS. Specifically, we noted that with Android 3.0 (Honeycomb), Google seemed to be aiming targeted features at tablet developers, while other versions of Android would be more appropriate for smartphones and other devices. Since then, many stories have appeared charging that Google is being less than open with Android, and it's generally accepted that Google won't necessarily release the newest version of Android to all hardware developers at once. With Google's Motorola Mobility acquisition, how likely is it that Google will pursue an even more closed Android strategy?

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