Last week we attended CTIA and the MotoDev Summit where we had the chance to speak with tons of industry insiders. I tried my hardest to dig up some new Android info and was able to uncover a few interesting tidbits. Read along for the latest Android rumors.
Sprint 4G handsets
I was speaking with a Sprint developer and I asked him how committed was Sprint to Android. He casually said “Our first 4G phone will be Android.” I didn’t specifically ask him about 4G handsets, so I thought it was odd that he offered up this information.
Samsung has been rumored to be working on a 4G device for Sprint, so maybe that will end up coming true. Sprint just lit up a dozen new 4G markets last week (including my hometown Corpus Christi) and they are expected to have a 4G handset sometime in 2010.
Eclair (Android 2.0)
We had widely expected that Android 2.0 would ship this year on Motorola’s secret phone headed to Verizon. Motorola did not announce the device last week, which made me wonder about the status of Android 2.0.
I spoke with a high level executive from Samsung who was extremely knowledgeable about Android development. When I mentioned Android 2.0 shipping this year, he looked at me kind of weird and snickered. He told me not to expect Android 2.0 until Q2 2010.
We did see some Android devices running Eclair, but they appeared far from finished. No one else was talking about Android 2.0 so I’m starting to doubt a 2009 release. (I will explore the Moto/Eclair issues further in a post later today)
We have known for awhile now that INQ Mobile would be producing an Android smartphone in 2010. I bumped into an INQ head employee and quizzed him on the new handset. He provided no specific details on the hardware, but did mention some other interesting info.
The INQ smartphone should appear on a major United States carrier in 2010. INQ will provide a highly customized UI for Android. I believe his exact words were, “We are going to pimp out Android!” Expect the device to be heavily integrated with social networks Spotify, Facebook, and Skype.
LG recently announced their first Android phone (GW-620), but don’t expect it to show up in the United States. Instead we should see a new Android device from LG that is targeted for a major US carrier. I was told it could be awhile before LG makes the announcement. Look for more information at the next CTIA show in March, 2010.
We have previously reported that TomTom might be working on an Android app, but it could be awhile before it sees the light of day. A TomTom employee said they had received many requests for their product on different smartphone platforms, but iPhone is the focus right now. From what I could gather nothing is in the works at the moment and TomTom will continue to gauge the community interest.
Google Maps 4.0
I asked every maps and GPS company I came across about the possibility of Google releasing their own navigation software. Most people had no idea what I was talking about so maybe it is time to lay this rumor to bed.
I still believe it is a natural evolution for Google Maps on mobile to provide spoken turn-by-turn directions, but it would certainly turn the GPS industry upside down. Google services are already integrated into many GPS products, so I guess Google is not ready to upset those companies by releasing their own navigation service.
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