When Google first presented Froyo (Android 2.2) to the world, and then Google TV, I was impressed to see Sony had already partnered with Google to include Google TV inside some of its TVs. Sony is a powerhouse when it comes to home entertainment products and knows a thing or two about stylish design. They are certainly one manufacturer that cannot be happy about Apple’s success in recent years. Sony used to dominate the ‘walkman’ category of portable music devices, a market now firmly in the grip of Apple and their iPod range of products.
Now there are rumours on the Internet about a Sony tablet device, running Android, that is under development. Chief Financial Officer Nobuyuki Oneda recently said the company “has to develop a device similar to Apple’s iPad tablet computer, because it is a different product category than the company’s existing electronic-book reader.”
It is also being reported that Sony has done a deal with Samsung to jointly manufacture a new range of screens that would be suitable for tablets as well as flat-screen TVs.
I’ve already said several times that Apple’s mistake has traditionally been to not allow other manufacturers to share their wonderful OS systems, and I would put Sony high on the list of manufacturers capable of taking the design fight to Apple. I keep hoping that Apple WILL finally license their software to other hardware companies, and when the new iPhone OS was renamed iOS 4 I really thought ‘this could be it’. But so far, nothing.
So despite the iPhone 4, Apple continues to allow hardware companies to rally around Google & Android. They are getting increasingly organised, HTC is showing them the way in terms of handset design and now companies such as Samsung are releasing some very desirable phones indeed. For example, the Samsung Wave which has similar capabilities to the iPhone 4 (e.g. HD video recording and playing). Customers can get the phone for free on a monthly contract.
(An interesting aside is that scientists have recently discovered that Apple’s A4 chip is probably manufactured by Samsung – design licensed from ARM – and so Samsung can easily develop phones with the same core as Apple … and more cheaply!).
Sony, Samsung, Motorola, Dell, HTC … just some of the huge companies gunning directly for Apple / iPhone, all sitting firmly in Google’s camp. Google’s army of manufacturers keeps getting larger.