Google and Android executives announced version 3.0 of Android “Honeycomb”, touting its advances, as well as Google’s new cloud-based apps and services for Android. Google’s executives indicated that these releases are part of Google’s cloud services and tie together Android applications and services. “The cloud is also the central point at which all of the applications and services share information.”
Google also introduced the Web store, which is located at market.android.com. The service contains the entire Android app catalog and connects to a user’s Android device once they sign into their Google account. The service allows users to install apps on one or all of their compatible Android devices. Additionally, users can share apps more easily with friends via email links and Twitter.
Motorola Mobility and LG plan to release Honeycomb tablets in the coming months. The Honeycomb version is currently targeted to be a tablet-specific operating system and it is not planned to be used wholesale on smartphones. The latest version of Android designed for smartphones, 2.3 or “Gingerbread,” was formally unveiled in December. Honeycomb features will be included in smartphone versions of Android over time,
Google indicated that all Android apps that follow Google’s guidelines should work well on tablets, but added Google is encouraging tablet-specific apps as well. Honeycomb includes improved drag and drop capabilities as well as the platform’s new application bar, which brings common application commands to the forefront. Google also designed a new graphics engine for Honeycomb called RenderScript, which is aimed at optimizing 3D graphics.
In commenting on the philosophy of their cloud services, a Google executive was quoted: “Everything is connected, your phone is connected to the cloud and your Android Market browser is connected to the cloud.” I find it appropriate that Version 3.0 of Android is code named “Honeycomb”. It is an appropriate description of the Android consortium’s technology objective. Use the Android technology to allow “Everything connected to everything”.
But the cloud concept is not new. Those familiar with networking realize that networks have been graphically represented by a cloud for years. The cloud is a symbol that represents the equivalent of a black box. The black box that allows us to communicate to who (or what) we want, when we want. We do not know (or care) about the underlying communications infrastructure that is there to support our needs. We just expect it to be there, always working, always reliable.
With the evolution of Android, this is an important point. This product announcement acknowledges that Android supports a version for phones and a version for tablets. While Google indicates this is a temporary situation, “Standards” focus individuals must view this situation with alarm. Android is supposed to be standards based and this platform separation goes against what “standards” represent. But in the end, if Android allows phones and tablets to do the same functions and communicate with each other that there are separate versions? From a user perspective, it is not an issue if Android works as promised.
The concept of connecting everything to everything has been around as early as the 1980’s, once the ATT divestiture occurred.
It just took time for the technologies to evolve enough to implement this vision. The cabling, hardware, software, communications protocols, switches and router technologies are now available to allow users to connect into the cloud of services. But this is more commonplace than we thing. Just look at our land line services. It is quite common now that we get a video, Internet access and phone services from one connection provided by one service provider. And look at the wide range of services it provides: voice communications, video communications and internet access. We connect our computers, phones, entertainment systems and business systems to it. We do everything from email to financial management applications through these connections.
What is new is that the intercommunications vision now comes to wireless. It was always reasonable to expect this vision to be implemented in the wireless world. It was a matter of when. Through technologies like Android, it is now here.
About the Analyst
Mark Csernica is a wireless data expert with over fifteen years of wireless data experience. Mark has authored a number of papers on wireless communications for Mind Commerce, including one that delves more into the issues raised above.
Mark is author of:
This report evaluates the latest smart phone innovations including the Apple iPhone 4 and the Google Nexus and looks at the rise of the Android Application Store (Android Marketplace). It analyzes the business models being offered by the main mobile OS standards. It provides examples of MNO pricing and examines the strategy being employed by the MNO to ensure that it still remains relevant in the provision of content services over the smart phone device in response to the rise of the smart phone brand.
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