Google Readies Multiple Android Initiatives
By Joseph Palenchar On May 23 2011 - 4:01am
SAN FRANCISCO –
Multiple mobile-device initiatives
unveiled by Google include fourth-quarter availability
of a unified OS for tablets and smartphones and
the beta launch of a music-locker service that lets users
stream their personal music collections from the
cloud to PCs and Android devices.
In addition, Google entered the movie-download business;
began a wireless home-control initiative; unveiled
the 3.1 version of its tablet OS, called Honeycomb; and
introduced the first laptops – from Samsung and Acerusing
the company’s cloud-based Chrome OS.
Google’s unified mobile OS, called Ice Cream Sandwich or Android 4.0, will deliver one OS that
“works everywhere, regardless of device,” will automatically
reconfigure applications to different types of
devices, and bring tablet-like Honeycomb OS features
to smartphones, including the holographic user interface
and richer widgets, the company said.
No additional upgrades to the current smartphone
OS 2.3, or Gingerbread, are planned before the
launch of the unified OS.
In entering the music-streaming market, Google
launched Music Beta by Google, which lets consumers
upload their personal music collection to the cloud
for streaming to computers and to Android devices.
Users can also listen to music when they’re offline, the
company said. Pricing wasn’t announced.
The service can be streamed directly to a home device
called the Tungsten to connected stereo systems.
Google also said it will extend its platform beyond mobile
devices with the Android Open Accessory program,
which is designed to help developers build hardware accessories
that will work across all Android devices.
The company entered the movie-download business
with movies for rent through the Android Market. Thousands
of movies available at $1.99 will be viewable on
multiple Android devices owned by a consumer.
Google also previewed an initiative that it called Android@
Home, which lets Android apps discover, connect
and communicate with home devices. Tablets and
smartphones could control home systems, and wireless multiroom-audio systems could be Android-based
Under its Android@Home initiative, Android tablets
and smartphones will use Wi-Fi to control lights and
other home systems equipped with 900MHz transceivers,
which will communicate with the tablets and
smartphones via WiFi-to-900MHz converters plugged
into wall outlets.
With the announced tablet OS update, Motorola
Mobility became the first tablet maker to date to announce
plans to upgrade its tablet to the newly
launched Android 3.1 OS, which enables such new
features as renting downloaded movies from Google’s
new movie-rental service and displaying the movies on
a large display via HDMI connection.