Apr 7, 2011

Apple-Created Touchscreen Shortage Blamed For RIM PlayBook Delay

Research In Motion—RIM to you and me—was forced to delay the release of its PlayBook tablet because Apple pretty much exhausted the supply of touchscreen displays. The tablet has been delayed for about a year now, so a few extra days probably won’t make too big a difference.
The PlayBook will be available on April 19, but unlike the Motorola Xoom it won’t require a second mortgage to finance its purchase. It’ll come in three flavors: 16GB ($499), 32GB ($599), and 64GB ($699). It should also be noted that it has a 7-inch display, but I could have sworn I’ve seen threads online wherein people wish there was a smaller version of the iPad, the current size being a tad too big to comfortably tote about town without constantly being reminded, “Oh, yeah, I’ve got this thing with me.” Jump

Verizon’s Samsung Galaxy Tab to Receive Update, No Honeycomb in Sight

I’m not sure if you should expect Android 3.0 Honeycomb to ever grace the 7-inch founder of the Galaxy Tab family, but if you are on Verizon a new update is prepped and ready to roll for the tablet. The 34.6MB update has some fixes and enhancements that promise better web browsing, more efficient (less battery drain) searching for Wi-Fi hotspots, and improved email and messaging. You can find all the info you need over at Verizon’s support page. The update should be rolling out now or in the very near future, let us know in the comments below if you have received yours!
[via DroidLife]

Google starts developing Chrome OS for tablets

Chrome OS, the web based closed source Linux based operating system from Google, is now being developed to work on tablet computers. According to CNET, "details in Google's source code reveal that company programmers have begun building a tablet version". This may not come as a surprise to many as Google had previously released a mockup last year (pictured), however this latest news shows that a release will happen, although we are not sure when.
Chrome OS is different from the open source Chromium OS, launched in 2009, in that it is closed source and only developed by Google, unlike Chromium which can be compiled by anyone from the widely available source code. The closed version was originally meant to be released on specific hardware last year, however various reports have said the release will be delayed until mid 2011.
So far Google have acknowledged the news but would not talk about any specific details, instead they said "We are engaging in early open-source work for the tablet form factor, but we have nothing new to announce at this time", and explained how a tablet version is not a priority at the moment, "Chrome OS was designed from the beginning to work across a variety of form factors. We expect to see different partners build different kinds of devices based on Chrome OS, but for this initial release we are targeting the notebook form factor."
CNET listed a few points which show further proof of the development, these include finding a specific "user-agent string" in the source which would allow sites to see which version of a website needs to be produced, either touch-based or traditional mouse-based and  a "virtual keyboard with a number of keys--tab, delete, microphone, return, and shift" which shows obvious signs that a touch screen version is in the pipeline. Jump

Half of World's Smartphones Will Run Android by 2012, Says Gartner

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In Android market share news, analysts at Gartner are now forecasting the Google-created mobile operating system will reach 49% smartphone market share by the end of 2012, based on handset sales. By the end of this year (2011), Android will be the most popular operating system in the world, as worldwide smartphone sales reach 468 million units.
Meanwhile, iOS will remain the second largest platform through 2014, says Gartner, despite seeing slight market share decreases this year. RIM will decline, and Nokia will push Windows Phone up to the mid-tier by the end of 2012, it predicts. By 2013, Windows Phone will be the third-largest platform.
Gartner april 2011

This isn't the first analyst firm to forecast that the Nokia/Microsoft partnership will have a major impact on smartphone market share. In March, IDC also said that Windows Phone would be boosted, arriving in the number two position by 2015.

Doubting the Analysts

Of course, these forecasts are not without their doubters. Both ZDNet and Engadget questioned IDC's numbers last month, and today, independent analyst Horace Dediu of asymco is questioning Gartner's.
He says that Gartner's assumption that Apple is "interested in maintaining margins rather than pursuing market share by changing its pricing strategy," contradicts statements made by Apple's COO Timothy D. Cook. He also doubts that RIM will be able to migrate from BlackBerry OS to QNX (the PlayBook OS) by 2012, as Gartner states. Finally, he doubts that the Nokia/Microsoft partnership will have that much of an effect by 2012, calling such a thing, if it was to occur, "an organizational miracle."
Dediu shared a useful chart, too, which showcases the current forecasts from various analyst firms, as well as the historical market share figures. The chart clearly shows that not all firms are on the same page when it comes to the future of the smartphone market. ABI Research, for example, sees more of a future in Samsung's Bada OS than it does in Windows Phone.
Marketshare smartphones
While it should be noted that Dediu is a decidedly pro-Apple analyst, he often makes more sense than some of the larger analyst firms. That said, predicting smartphone market share in an industry like this is usually a shot in the dark. Things change fast around here - long-term forecasts of any kind probably shouldn't be banked on. Jump

Galaxy S to Get Android 2.3 Gingerbread Update Very Soon

samsung galaxy i9000 2 300x227 Galaxy S to Get Android 2.3 Gingerbread Update Very Soon 

The Samsung Galaxy S will get an update to Android 2.3 Gingerbread as early as this month from what we hear today. No exact date has been provided, but we have been informed that we could expect the update sometime mid-April.
We can assume at the moment that the update will be for unlocked handsets not tied down to a specific contract. However, the Three network in the UK has also stated that the Galaxy S on its network will be arriving within the next couple of weeks.
The confirmation came in the form of a tweet from the official Three twitter account and read as follows:
@relentl3ss It’s expected in the next couple of weeks but we cannot confirm a date.
This was in response to a question asking about the Android 2.3 update.
The Samsung website also makes mention of 2.3, along with the April release date. Remember that Samsung isn’t the best when sticking to dates, so don’t get your hopes up too high at the moment. Jump