Top 5 Most Exciting Android Rumors

By Steven Farrell

Google’s long-awaited Ice Cream Sandwich is arriving this fall, finally merging the functions of FroYo and Honeycomb. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Android’s wacky naming scheme, this means the tablet and smartphone versions of the OS are merging, creating a single app database that should rival Apple’s. As with any major release, there are plenty of rumors surrounding Android’s future.

Android Messenger to Challenge iMessenger and BBM

Blackberry Messenger has long been the standard for instant messaging on phones, and Apple hopes to duplicate this success with their announcement of iMessenger for iOS 5. Not wanting to be left behind, Google is rumored to be working on a similar app. Platform fighting aside, this means most buyers could drop their text messaging plans when they get new Android devices.

Android moves to OMAP

While early development on Android 4.0 centered around nVidia’s Tegra 2 and rumors of the quad-core Kal El making an appearance in tablets, Google may shift the platform to Texas Instruments’ OMAP processors. Phones coming out this summer with the Tegra processor will look dated once Ice Cream Sandwich devices hit stores.

Microsoft Squeezing Droid Manufacturers with Patent Fees

Last year, Microsoft struck licensing deals with Android device manufacturers because the software giant claims that the OS infringes on a wide range of patents. There are new rumors that there may be some correlation between the patent fees firms pay to Microsoft and their production of Windows Mobile-based phones: In effect, Microsoft may be using these claims to leverage market share. If this is true, the software will certainly put more pressure on manufacturers as Windows Mobile 8 is prepared for release.

The Next Nexus

Google’s next phone is highly anticipated, since it will point the way for future Android-based smartphones. This new Nexus phone will probably be the first device to ship with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Physical menu buttons will be dropped to allow for a larger 720p screen, while video processing will be improved to provide full 1080p video capture and playback. The Nexus will use a dual-core processor running between 1.2 and 1.5Ghz. Memory is expected to be 1GB.

It’s a Phone! It’s a Tablet! It’s the Padphone!

The first tablet available with Ice Cream Sandwich will probably be Asus’ Padphone. It takes the OS merging to a physical level, using a smartphone that can work by itself or plug into a tablet dock for expanded functionality, much like the Motorola Atrix phone/netbook concept. The tablet has a built-in battery that can recharge the phone while in use and adds WiFi for local data transfer. Users will also be able to seamlessly move between the displays while only requiring a single 3G subscription.

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