Google Confirms January 5 Android Media Event

December 30, 2009 0

Mountain View, California — It may be the much-anticipated moment the tech industry has been waiting for as Google apparently seems well prepared to give outsiders a glimpse at its latest vision of the world-changing possibilities of smartphones — Google has officially scheduled an Android-related press event to be held next Tuesday, January 5 at its Mountain View, California, headquarters.

The Mountain View search giant dispatched invitations to various members of the media Tuesday, without disclosing any specifics about what is in store, to be held just days ahead of the annual CES gadget fest gets under way in Las Vegas.

The invitation entitled “Please join us for an Android press gathering,” promoting the event at Google’s headquarters, simply states the following:

(Click on image to enlarge)

“With the launch of the first Android-powered device just over a year ago, we have seen how a powerful, open platform can spur mobile product innovation,” the invitation read. “And this is just the beginning of what is possible.”

The move comes amid reports that Google will use the occasion to announce the release of a Google-branded smartphone known as “Nexus One” which would be sold directly to consumers and would not be tied to any one telecom carrier.

Google employees have been testing the device internally.

Although, Google did not mentioned about Nexus One. But recent media speculation exploded in mid-December that Google is planning to disrupt the wireless phone industry by offering an “unlocked” smartphone that would allow users to choose a wireless provider, much of the buzz has centered around the capabilities of the rumored new handset.

Here are the highlights, but follow the break-up of the whole shebang:

The Nexus One will be a GSM-device with a 3.7-inch AMOLED touchscreen display, 5 megapixel camera with mechanical AF and LED flash, 512MB RAM, 512MB ROM, 4GB microSD in-box expandable to 32GB, Wi-Fi connectivity, accelerometer and compass. It is expected to run the latest version of the Android operating system, Android 2.1.

Now regardless of Tuesday’s event whether it will involve details of Google’s plans to market the heavily rumored “Google Phone,” but analysts, and Google itself, have said in recent weeks that the significance of the company’s mobile efforts is broader than a piece of hardware. Instead, they say they are focused on how ever-more-powerful mobile devices, connected to the immense “cloud computing” power of a data network like Google’s, will offer users new ways to gather information.

“Everybody gets hyped up over hardware,” said William Stofega, an analyst with research firm IDC, “but platform is way more important.”

An increasing number of US telecom carriers and manufacturers have been adopting Google’s open-source Android software in their bid to challenge the Apple iPhone and Blackberry from Research in Motion.

Also the notion of a T-Mobile tie was strengthened with yet another purported leak published Tuesday morning. Mobile tech blog TmoNews released a document said to be from T-Mobile’s internal system. It says:

“Google, with support from T-Mobile, is scheduled to release a new Android device in early January. The Google Android phone will be sold solely by Google via the Web. Support for this device, including troubleshooting and exchanges, will be managed by Google and HTC. T-Mobile will offer service support, including billing, coverage, features, and rate plans.”

Ultimately, according to one member of Google’s mobile team who said: 2009 might turn out to be the year when people really grasped the world-changing possibilities of the smartphone.

“We do think that we are entering a new era of computing,” Matt Waddell, a member of Google’s mobile team, said in a recent interview. “The reason we say that is there is the coming together of three key trends and pieces of technology for the first time, all on this mobile device that everyone carries around in their pocket.”

Although Android’s contribution of the US smartphone market is relatively small, but it has doubled in the past year to 3.5 percent in October, according to comScore.

Google has “made a lot of progress recently in the mobile space, and the question that comes up is, are they going to build on this momentum, or are they going to shoot themselves in the foot by doing something that competes with their partners?” said Avi Greengart, research director for consumer devices with Current Analysis.

“This could be the best news Microsoft could possibly wish for,” Greengart said.

In any event, will Google offer costly unlocked handsets in the United States — a la Nokia — or will it come up with an ingenious model to subsidize the device cost through mobile advertising or carrier support? Google’s press conference next week should answer that question.

The timing of the Google’s announcement will likely kick off a crowded week for the technology industry and perhaps appears to be an attempt to upstage the annual Consumer Electronics Show which opens in Las Vegas later in the week.