Nokia and Microsoft
Definitely the biggest story of the last week was Nokia. Following new CEO Stephen Elop’s burning platform memo to employees, the company sealed a deal with Microsoft to drop their own smartphone OS efforts in favor of Windows Phone 7. This is a huge coup for Microsoft who can now ensure that there will be a lot of phones shipping Windows Phone 7 across the globe. IE9 mobile can’t come fast enough!
RIM May Run Android Apps
RIM’s Playbook tablet device has yet to be released, but it looks like they are already concerned about having enough of a developer community for the Flash-based UI. According to Bloomberg, RIM is planning to have Android apps run on the Playbook. Building apps for Blackberry has never been easy and many of the top apps for Blackberry such as Facebook and Twitter were actually developed by RIM. Having access to the much larger and more robust Android library seems like it could be a good move for RIM even if it is effectively an admission that there may not be much interest in developing native apps for the device. Interestingly, the article makes no mention of Honeycomb, the tablet-optimized version of Android due out soon.
HP Announces One Tablet, Two Phones
This week HP held a fancy press event, a-la Apple, to announce two new smartphones and a promising new tablet, all powered by webOS. The most interesting product in the lineup is the tablet, dubbed the TouchPad by HP. From PC Mag:
The 9.7-inch TouchPad includes a 1,024-by-768 capacitive display. It will run a 1.2-GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, and comes with a 1.3-megapixel webcam that supports video calls, Beats Audio technology, and stereo speakers.
From a user experience perspective, the TouchPad looks to be the best tablet released since iPad and I’m actually excited to get my hands on one to see how it performs. The big question is whether or not HP can get developers to build apps for their platform. Fortunately, webOS runs WebKit meaning that Web-based apps built for tablet devices should work on webOS as well. HP did not provide a specific release date or a price, but rumor has it that the TouchPad will be priced at about $699.
Apple Planning to Release Smaller, Cheaper iPhone (WSJ)
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple plans to release an inexpensive version of the iPhone. Confusingly, they say it is about 1/2 the size of the iPhone 4. Hard to know if that means a smaller screen, thinner phone, or both. If the screen were half the size, I have a hard time believing it will run any of the existing iPhone apps and I doubt they will introduce a third form factor to build for. But who knows?
WSJ also says that Apple is considering making Mobile Me free and moving storage and sync into the cloud. I, for one, would love to be able to fire up my next iPhone or iPad without having to plug it into my Mac. Google has a significant advantage when it comes to cloud storage and sync right now. More details from WSJ:
The person who saw the prototype of the new iPhone said the device was significantly lighter than the iPhone 4 and had an edge-to-edge screen that could be manipulated by touch, as well as a virtual keyboard and voice-based navigation.
The edge-to-edge screen has me wondering if Apple will eliminate the home button as has been speculated after the introduction of new 4- and 5-finger gestures.