Google has unveiled a cloud service to update Android devices with new apps from a PC web browser and has demonstrated the new Android Honeycomb operating system for tablets in a news conference at its headquarters in Silicon Valley. Andy Rubin, who leads Android’s development, introduced the event and said there would be a number of new features unveiled, including improvements in the Android Market and cloud services supporting Android. The news as it was unveiled is after the jump. Read more

Perhaps the only surprising thing about Apple’s long-expected decision to end its US exclusivity with AT&T and bring the iPhone to Verizon Wireless is that it didn’t wait for the No. 1 network’s upgrade to much-faster 4G, which is still in process. The fact that it couldn’t wait shows how badly Apple wants to boost growth both for the gadgets themselves and more fundamentally for its slice of the mobile audience, where Google is pulling ahead. Read more

HTC, Motorola and then Samsung have successively stolen the Android smartphone limelight, but it could be Sony Ericsson’s turn in 2011. The handset maker is planning a big push, starting with the Xperia arc Android smartphone launched at CES, with several more models including a PlayStation phone on the way. Read more

Vizio, the leading LCD TV brand in the US, is working with Google to promote 3D apps for its televisions as it switches to Android from supporting Yahoo’s Connected TV technology. Vizio is also announcing plans to break out from televisions and launch a smartphone and a tablet device at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. Read more

Google will release the latest version of its flagship Android smartphone this month, made by Samsung and offering a curved screen and faster processor.

The Nexus S is the first handset to feature the latest version of Google’s Android operating system, dubbed Gingerbread. It comes as smartphones running Google’s software overtake Apple and close in on Nokia in global market share. More than 200,000 smartphones running Android are activated every day, Google says. Read more

Though Google still makes the lion’s share of its revenues through search advertising, that may begin to change as Android, YouTube and display advertising mature, writes the FT’s Lex column.

Google is not the font of all knowledge, rather the rummage bag in which it resides. However, it has made bold predictions this week as it tries to grab the advertising industry’s attention. By 2015, the Googlers think mobile phones will be the most popular screen for web browsing, and the display advertising market will grow to $50bn.

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Does Google trample on tech start-ups that get in the way of its larger advertising ambitions?

That’s what Skyhook, a small company whose software is used in handsets to identify their location,  says in a lawsuit filed in Massachusetts on Wednesday. It accuses the search giant of twisting the arm of Motorola, forcing it to eject Skyhook’s software (and replacing it with Google’s own) as a condition of being able to ship Android handsets.

There’s no question that location data is becoming a very valuable resource in mobile advertising, so Google had plenty of incentive. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s guilty as charged (it’s funny how the mere filing of a commercial dispute like this brings out a rash of stories on the Web about Google’s supposed willingness to “do evil”.) Read more

Google’s momentum in smartphones is not likely to stop at just overtaking Apple’s iPhone in terms of global sales, according to analysts from Taipei-based Digitimes Research, who are predicting that Android sales will jump to number two above Research In Motion’s BlackBerry before the end of the year.

Gartner, the research group, last week said Android’s global share in smartphones had jumped from 1.8 per cent a year ago to 17.2 per cent in the second quarter of 2010.  This put it ahead of Apple’s iOS operating system, which had a 14.2 per cent share, but still behind RIM’s 18.2 per cent global market share.  Read more

If Research in Motion had rolled out the Blackberry Torch a year ago when RIM first began serious work on the device, it would have been a showstopper.

As it was when Mike Lazaridis, RIM’s co-chief executive, unveiled the device at a New York event on Tuesday, there were few if any surprises though some eyebrows were raised by the news that AT&T which already boasts the iPhone in its smarphone portfolio, would be the exclusive network partner in the US.  (AT&T’s Ralph de la Vega was on stage at the launch event to say nice things about RIM and the new device.) Read more

First the confession. After breaking the screen on a Nexus One in one week flat, I’ve now done in a Motorola Droid X in record time as well.

An envious store assistant at a Radio Shack in Los Angeles had just been pawing it and telling me how much he wanted one. Five minutes later, after an encounter with a few drops of coffee – honestly, nothing much – the screen was kaput.

What is it with these big, dazzling screens? I may be ham-fisted, but mobile phones should be able to handle some rough wear. My battered MyTouch Android has taken much more of a licking and is still going strong (though its weak, 528 Mhz processor heart now beats so painfully slowly.)

Anyway, this is not slowing the advance of Google’s Android operating system, which is on a roll particularly in the US. Read more

More than a hundred innocuous-looking wallpaper applications for Android handsets have been harvesting users’ phone numbers and SIM card information and sending them off to a Website based in China, researchers said Wednesday at the Black Hat tech security conference in Las Vegas.

The wallpapers–background pictures of ponies, basketball scenes and the like–have been downloaded more than a million times, the researchers said in highlighting growing concern about potential for malicious applications on Android, Apple’s iPhone and other smartphones that are rapidly gaining popularity. Read more

This week saw the release of new operating systems by Apple and Google – iOS4 and Android 2.2 – and the launch of two new phones – iPhone 4 and the second-generation Droid X.

In Friday’s Personal Technology column in the FT, we look at the astonishing growth of the smartphone category and the capabilities of its latest entrants. Read more

As lines began to form for the iPhone 4 outside Apple stores on Wednesday, Motorola and Verizon Wireless tried to steal a little of the limelight with their unveiling of the next-generation Droid X.

However, the new smartphone seems more of a competitor to another Android phone – the HTC Evo, sold by Sprint. Read more

Slingplayer has come to my rescue more than once during the current World Cup, relaying games live to my mobile device when travelling.

A beta version for Android on my HTC Evo has taken the experience to the next level – providing better controls and a great picture on the phone’s large 4.3-inch screen. Read more

Apple’s iconic handset has undergone its most radical redesign with the iPhone 4, unveiled on Monday and going on sale on June 24.

I was among the media given a few minutes to play with the device, after Steve Jobs’ keynote launch, and its look and features are much improved over its predecessor, the iPhone 3GS. Read more

Dadi Perlmutter, executive vice president of the Intel Architecture group, used a curious turn of phrase during his presentation at Computex on Tuesday when describing Intel’s role in the future world of computing.
Besides highlighting Intel’s traditional strengths in designing and manufacturing advanced processors, Mr Perlmutter (pictured) said Intel sought to be the “port of choice” for various operating environments. Read more

The first fourth-generation cellphone in the US – the HTC Evo on Sprint’s WiMax network – is a fast, video-rich smartphone that can turn itself into a Wi-Fi hotspot. Read our Personal Technology review from the Business Life section of Friday’s FT:

“Even without its 4G mobile broadband capabilities, HTC’s Android-powered EVO 4G smartphone is an impressive touchscreen-based handset because it combines many of the best features found in other devices to produce what could start a whole new category, which might possibly be called ‘superphones’.”

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Before the main event of Google TV taking on all-comers at the Google I/O developer conference on Thursday, there was an undercard bout of surprising ferocity between Android and Apple devices.

It was an amazing one-sided spectacle, with Android phones throwing frozen yoghurt in the faces of the iPhone and iPad. Blows of scorn and sarcasm rained down on a defenceless Apple from Vic Gundotra, vice president of developer platforms. It seemed all the more shocking considering the two Silicon Valley companies shared so much in common not so long ago that Eric Schmidt , Google chief executive, was a valued member of the Apple board. Read more

It’s been a long time coming, but Adobe is finally enabling fully-featured Flash gaming and video viewing on mobile phones with the launch of Flash Player 10.1.

A public beta of 10.1 is being launched today at Google’s annual developer conference for phones running a new version of Android – 2.2, codenamed Froyo. Read more

Google-backed Scvngr, the location-based service that sets challenges for its users (such as Guess the Missing Vowels perhaps?), has been hard at work in San Francisco setting up a game and tourist trek for the Google I/O annual developer conference, which starts on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, journalists have been hard at work on the challenge of guessing what Google might announce – with cars, televisions and frozen yoghurt providing big clues as to its Android ambitions. Read more