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Sunday, January 9, 2011

Android weekend rumor recap

Welcome to the second rumor recap post of 2011. This is where we quickly discuss the best Android related rumors of the past week along with our commentary on them. If you prefer to follow the rumors as they appear, we recommend any of the Android blogs listed on the side of this site. This Consumer Electronics Show was going on this past week, and tons of announcements were made. But there were also a few juicy rumors that weren't confirmed this week, so keep reading to check them out.

First up is a rumor from the Wall Street Journal that Google is secretly working on an e-newsstand service for Android, where users can buy and subscribe to magazines and newspapers from their phone or tablet. No details are rumored regarding a launch date, and the rumor even admits that the service may never actually appear.
Ryan says: I suppose it's possible...Apple has a similar service for the iPad, so Google may be trying to go after that. But remember where this rumor comes from...a service that stands to benefit greatly if this rumor is true. To be honest, I don't really see it, nor would I be at all interested in it.
Shelsy says: I guess some people would want this. I'm kind of done with the whole newspaper business, personally, but not everyone's ready to give it up, so this could be a nice service for them if it ever comes about.

According to a new rumor, HTC is set to unveil their Android tablet at Mobile World Congress in February. Rumored to be called the HTC Scribe, sporting a 7" screen, and running Honeycomb, the device would be HTC's first tablet, which is a market they are notably absent from.
Ryan says: This makes a lot of sense, as HTC has previously used MWC to unveil new products. And in a market saturated by tablets, they almost have to have one coming soon. I just hope the previous rumors about the Scribe featuring touch and pen input are true. It could be one awesome device.
Shelsy says: I can't wait to see this thing, and to especially see how it holds up against the Asus offerings. I also have a feeling pricing is going to be a big factor in deciding among all of the many Android tablets popping up, so I'm curious to see how this will compare to the rest in that area as well.

The very, very long-rumored PlayStation Phone got another shot at the spotlight this week, with a Chinese website doing a very in-depth preview of the device, which is almost not even a rumor anymore. The preview included lots of detailed specs and pictures, but no additional speculation on a release date or price.
Ryan says: I'm still not personally interested in this, but it's really starting to look like quite a polished product, and I think it'll probably sell really well. I worry, though, that Sony will be shooting themselves in the foot by only releasing games for one device, and that device requiring two year contracts and such. Will enough people switch carriers, break contracts, etc. for a PlayStation phone?
Shelsy says: I really think this could do well. Imagine if the Nintendo DS could make calls. They would sell like crazy. I think this will have a similar response among PlayStation fans, especially if Sony releases some really great games for it.

At CES this week, T-Mobile and LG announced the G-slate tablet, but gave no indication of a release date. LG also showed off the impressive Optimus 2X smartphone, but didn't announce any details on carriers or dates. Now, a rumor from Tmonews indicates that both tablet and phone will be arriving at T-Mobile USA in April. If true, we will likely hear an official announcement about it very soon.
Ryan says: I am not interested in signing another contract just for a tablet. Not gonna happen. So if T-Mobile really wants to sell the G-Slate, they need to seriously think about offering a contract-free pricing structure...but I don't see much chance of that. As for the Optimus 2X...that phone is pretty amazing. It looks great, has a dual core processor, and a really nice screen. But it's just another black slab, so it's not for me. But it definitely makes me a bit jealous of its specs.
Shelsy says: Eh, not interested. There are too many other good things coming down the pipeline right now.

And finally, we have a rumor from a Spanish site indicating that Motorola has a WiFi only version of their Xoom tablet in the works and that it will arrive as early as April. This is surprising, and welcome news, since the Verizon version is expected to launch around that time as well. It's also possible that a tandem launch will occur in Europe and not the US.
Ryan says: The skeptic in me definitely doesn't believe that this will happen for the US. Verizon is quite proud of the Xoom and I'm sure they want to keep it tied to their network as long as possible. But anything is possible, and I've definitely got my fingers crossed.
Shelsy says: I agree with Ryan that Verizon is pretty greedy and is probably not going to budge much. But, Verizon also sells Internet service, so perhaps they'll bank on being able to sell a few more tablets to their Internet subscribers who aren't willing to take on another contract. I doubt it, but I guess you never know.

That wraps up another week of rumors. CES is over, and MWC is only a month away, so the flood of rumors and leaks isn't likely to stop anytime soon. Be sure to check back next weekend for another round-up of the best Android rumors.

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