MIT Technology Review recently ran a yarn which quoted Skyhook Wireless CEO Ted Morgan said “a lot of companies” are forking Android; that “nobody wants to just be a manufacturer for Google.” He predicted that Android manufacturers are “mutinying” and a non-Google Android device is coming out later this year.
He said that manufacturers are tired of making commodity devices that are merely vehicles for Google’s Android OS, each indistinguishable from the other because of Google’s rules about how Android can be used. Apparently the only thing that has kept them tied to Google has been a desire to be part of the official lineup of Android devices.
Morgan does not name names but one of his revolting manufactures could be Sony who does work with his outfit. This could mean that the next Xperia handset as its own forked Android with content only from the Playstation store, which sells music, movies, and games/apps, similar to Amazon and Google. Sony has already sent its Xperia S handset access to the PlayStation Store. Another possible Skyhook forker is Intel which has its own Android fork that runs on x86-based processors.
So in other words what he might be describing is not so much a mutiny, but just an increase in Android competition from forkers like Sony and Intel.
Ainol’s Novo7 tablet has a 7-inch capacitive screen and runs on a 1GHz single-core MIPS processor, said MIPS Technologies and chip maker Ingenic in a joint press release. The tablet’s battery lasts eight hours on watching video, seven hours when browsing the Web and six hours when playing games.
The tablet runs on Google’s Android 4.0, code-named Ice Cream Sandwich, which is the successor to Android 3.0, code-named Honeycomb, which is found on the more advanced tablets today.
For its price, the tablet also has a vast feature list. The Novo7 includes cameras on the front and back, 3D graphics capabilities, 1080p video decoding and an HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) port to connect the tablet to high-definition TVs.
The tablet is available only in China through Ainol Electronics, but will come to other countries within the next several months under brands including Leader International and
OMG Electronics. New tablets with 8-inch and 9-inch screens will also become available in the future, MIPS and Ingenic said.
The tablet has acquired Google certification to run applications such as Google Maps, Gmail, Google Music and Google Talk. However, Google does not provide official Android market access in China, so the device lacks that feature, said Jen Bernier-Santarini, a MIPS spokeswoman. Access to Android Market is an ongoing concern for inexpensive tablet users.
“Android Market access is provided by Google through negotiations with carriers and OEMs as part of Google Mobile Services in other geographies. So Google will need to work with U.S. OEMs on this for future releases of the product,” Bernier-Santarini said.
The sub-$100 price is a breakthrough for users looking for new tablets with the latest Android OS. Most inexpensive tablets come with versions of Android 2, which is for smartphones, while notable tablets that come with tablet-optimized Android 3.0 are priced above $250. Other device makers are also announcing tablets with Android 4.0,
which has already been ported to the ARM and x86 processors.