The second half of 2010 and early 2011 will be a fast-moving and important phase in the development of Google's Android open mobile operating system with phones becoming available that stretch from high-end smartphone to value-conscious handsets and new form factors like Internet tablets arriving.
With that in mind, Light Reading Mobile is running down new Androids due in the coming months, picking out five that break new ground or give an indication of how the market is evolving:
Motorola Droid X
The Motorola Inc. Droid X from Verizon Wireless is a key device for both carrier and vendor. The $199 Droid is being aggressively positioned as a summer rival for the iPhone 4. The device's launch Thursday didn't inspire vast early-morning lines like the iPhone 4, but the Verizon Wireless store in New York City on 5th Avenue and 20th Street had sold out their full stock of around 40 of the new Droids by early afternoon. (See The Droid's Summer Price Push and Verizon Reveals iPhone 4 Challenger From Moto.)
Cisco Systems Inc. is taking a shirt-and-tie approach to Android with its "Cius" tablet, aimed at "business collaboration," due early in 2011. The 1.15-pound tablet will do HD video streaming, real-time video, email, and Web browsing, and will be Cisco's first tablet product and one of the early Android tablets. The Cisco device could help to break down enterprise barriers for the operating system, which has seen success mainly in smartphones aimed at the consumer market so far.
HTC HSPA+ Android
T-Mobile USA could have five or more new Androids available before the end of the year. Key amongst these will be a High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) Android phone developed to take advantage of the operator's 21-Mbit/s upgrade to its 3G network. The unnamed phone is expected to be available in September and will offer some of the fastest download speeds on any smartphone available in the near future. T-Mobile needs some fast flagships to take on Sprint Nextel Corp.'s WiMax phones and -- in 2011 -- new Long-Term Evolution (LTE) devices from Verizon. (See T-Mobile HSPA+ Smartphone Due in September .)
Samsung Epic 4G
Speaking of Sprint and WiMax, the upcoming Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. Android smartphone that supports both 3G CDMA and WiMax will be a proof-point for the operator: Was the recent HTC EVO launch a novelty, or can it continue to sell dual-mode smartphones in large numbers, even in markets that don't support the new technology? The "Epic 4" is one of five new Android phones that Samsung will offer in its "Galaxy S" line. The first of those -- the T-Mobile "Vibrant" went on sale Thursday in the US. There's no word yet on pricing or availability for the Sprint phone. (See Samsung's US Galaxy Quest and Samsung Gets Epic With WiMax Smarty for Sprint.)
A $99 mini netbook using the Android operating system and sporting a seven-inch screen, the newly launched CherryPal computer might be the cheapest netbook yet offered. Expect to see Android crop up in many more lower-end devices over the next year as Samsung and others offer phones and gadgets that dip below $100. (See Vodafone Launches Low-Cost Androids.)
â€” Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile