Reuters first confirmed that Android 2.0 (Eclair) will be released this year and my sources keep telling me the Motorola Sholes from Verizon will be the flagship phone to launch the new update. Motorola announced we would get a first look at their new Android phones in September and recently sent out media invitations for a September 10th event. With two more weeks left to go before we might see Android 2.0, tips are flying in at a rapid pace.
The following information should be considered a rumor and I’ll let you judge how accurate we have been in the past. I think our readers are pretty smart so I’ll present some public info and you can answer the following questions on your own.
Please remember that anything is possible with Android 2.0. Google, Motorola, and Verizon are working very hard to make this major update compete directly with the iPhone OS 3.0 and the Palm Pre WebOS. It appears they are pulling out some major new features to ensure Android 2.0 is a huge success.
5. Is Flash 10 coming to Android 2.0?
I’m sure most of you have seen the video where Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch demos Flash player running on a T-Mobile G1.
That video was filmed in November 2008 at the Adobe MAX conference. It was there that Andy Rubin announced Google and Adobe were collaborating to bring flash to Android. Since that time, we have seen Flash Lite on the HTC Hero, but nothing official on Flash 10 for Android.
Adobe MAX 2009 takes place October 4-7 and Flash 10 for mobile is expected to be the key announcement. It has been confirmed that a beta player will become available for smartphones during this conference.
Several people with access to a Motorola Sholes have told me that it will come with Flash. Previously, I was not sure what version would be included but after looking at all the evidence it appears to be Flash 10. Look for Adobe to make the announcement on October 4, 2009 and the Motorola Sholes to possibly be the first phone to ship with Flash 10.
6. Is Google Earth coming to Android 2.0?
Many people asked “Where is Google Earth?” when Android first launched. It was a popular iPhone application and many people expected it would ship with Android.
Unlike my first five predictions, I do not have any new evidence to bring to the table. This tip comes directly from an inside who has been very reliable in the past. Google Earth should launch around the time of Android 2.0 and be available as a separate download in the Market. Google Earth is not really that important to me, but all the people who cried out for it should be happy.
Android 2.0 Recap
1. Google Maps 4.0
Fact: Google Maps 4.0 is being developed for Android.
Rumor: We have heard it would include spoken turn-by-turn directions, but have been able to confirm this. New info I have received reported there was a special “Verizon edition” of Google Maps running on the Motorola Sholes. It could be that Verizon will be offering enhanced map features and thus the rumor for turn-by-turn.
Fact: Multi-touch code has been spotted in future Android code.
Rumor: We know multi-touch support is coming, but don’t know the exact build it will appear. The Motorola Sholes is expected to ship with multi-touch, but we do not know if this was a Motorola add on or comes from native support by Android 2.0.
3. Chrome Sync
Fact: Chrome is adding support to sync bookmarks to multiple devices.
Rumor: I think this one is a no brainer. I expect to see it included with Android 2.0 by the time it rolls out. Google already syncs a lot of data for Android phones and browser bookmarks will be a welcome addition.
4. New Android Market
Fact: A new Android Market is in the works.
Rumor: I got new screenshots of the Market update this week and I’m excited an update is finally coming. I was told the new Market was pictured running on a Donut build. This make perfect sense to me because I believe Donut (Android 1.6) and Eclair (Android 2.0) will launch at the same time. Expect all Android phones with access to the Market to get an update in late October.
5. Flash 10
Fact: Flash 10 for mobile is coming October 4, 2009.
Rumor: This is another no brainer. I expect Flash 10 will be available on all second generation Android phones. As for the G1, nothing is really certain when it comes to updates but I hope it will get Flash 10 as well.
6. Google Earth
Rumor: This one is pure rumor. I have nothing to back this up other than an inside source. I thought some people would be happy to hear this information so I decided to share it.
Give us your feedback
If all these features come to Android 2.0, how do you think it will stack up against iPhone OS 3.0? Are there any major features missing from Android 2.0 that you would like to see added? Do you hate the inside info we post and want to flame us for ‘making stuff up’?