Everyday the battle between iPhone and Android gets more intense. Even though Android is nowhere close to iPhone yet, but the growth rate is phenomenal. A recent proof of that comes from the fact that Android market now has over 38,000 apps. FierceMobileContent reports that this is a 70% increase from last quarter.
More interestingly, Google claims that they are now selling and activating around 60,000 new Android phones every day. There are now 34 different phones from a dozen different manufacturers that are powered by Android. With Google’s acquisition of adMob, Apple starting a rival mobile ad platform and the high growth rate of Android apps, the competition between iPhone and Android will just get more fierce.
However, it is clear that Google has its fair share of problems when it comes to mobile. For example, the FTC still doesn’t like Google’s acquisition of adMob for $750 Million and is trying to mount an anti-trust challenge. If Google cannot hold ground in this issue, it would be a huge below for Android. There are tens of other mobile ad networks out there and with so many new phones coming out each week, the market is getting quiet competitive.
Google has recently acquired a ‘mobile visual search’ startup from UK which goes by the name of Plink. This is the first time a Google acquisition has set foot in UK. Plink has announced this on the Plinkart blog and their twitter account. The financial details of this acquisition have been kept secret though.
The official blog post at the PlinkArt blog says,
We have some very exciting news Plink has just been acquired by Google.
We started Plink to bring the power of visual search to everyone, and we’re delighted to be taking a big step towards that goal today. Google has already shown that it’s serious about investing in this space with Google Goggles, and for the Plink team the opportunity to take our algorithms to Google-scale was just too exciting to pass up.
Plink founders claim its Android app has been downloaded over 50,000 times in the last four weeks. The two founders of Plink, PhD students Mark Cummins and James Philbin, will now join the Google Goggles team and help enhance their own product under Google.
Plink was first noticed by Google when they won a sum of $100,000 from the Android Developer Challenge in December. Plink is currently available as a popular Android app named PlinkArt which is similar to Google Goggles.
After the recent release of the Orkut app for Android, Google has also released a official Google Buzz app for Android based devices.
The Google Buzz app for Android is a widget for phones running Android v1.6 and later. The Buzz app will allow you to post text and photos with a single tap. In addition to that, you can also tag your post with your current location or place you posted it from.
Once you have posted the message, the Buzz app will process it in the background, so that you can continue performing other tasks without having to wait.
The Google Buzz app is available in the Android Market, just head over there and search for Google Buzz. To add the widget to your home screen, go to "Menu" and select "Add > Widgets > Google Buzz". Currently, the Google Buzz app is only available in English, with support for future languages coming soon.
Orkut is still one of the biggest social networking sites in India and Brazil, and obviously will get more focus from Google, lest they lose out to Facebook, which they will in near future.
However, to keep up with the latest trends, the Orkut team has now released a Orkut app for Android devices. The new app adds some nice features, which tie in nicely into the Android OS.
For example, you can add your friends as live folders to your Android home screen and you will be able to browse the friends list even when you do not have access to data networks. In addition to that, users can also upload photos to Orkut albums and receive scrap notifications from their friends.
You will of course be able to send scraps to friends and others, add your friends to your contact list, or send them an email too.
The Orkut app is currently available in the Android Market, just go to the market and search for "orkut" and follow the instructions to install the app to your device. More information is available at the Official Orkut and Google Mobile blog.
RoboForm the popular password manager and form filler have released a free app for Android based devices. The app allows users to keep their password in sync between various computers and devices and allows users to securely backup their passwords.
Currently the RoboForm app works with RoboForm online accounts and will allow you to log in to sites on the Native Android browser.
Current features for the app include:
- Access your RoboForm Data files using your RoboForm Online Account, a free service at https://online.roboform.com/
- Use RoboForm Online to log in to sites on the Native Android Browser.
- View your Logins from your Android device.
- Log in to sites on the fly using the "Matching Passcards" functionality.
- Landscape View – You can rotate in any window and view the proper Landscape View that the Android provides.
You can download the RoboForm app by visiting this link or searching for it in the Android marketplace. The app is free to use and download.
Following the rage of app stores, Google announced it would open another one focusing on Google Apps. This would probably be the first app store not focusing on a mobile device and geared towards enhancing web services already being offered by Google. These web services such as Gmail, Google Docs, Google Books and more, can use a lot of third party applications to provide more integrated services and enhanced features. The apps would be directed more towards enterprise users who can pay a small premium to utilize these apps.
Google already has something similar in place called Google Marketplace Solutions, but the upcoming app store would be a revamped version featuring more apps. The store would be launched as soon as March 2010 and would allow Google to keep a cut of the price customers pay for premium apps. In addition to increasing revenue directly, the store will tremendously help Google fight Microsoft applications by offering a broader range of features.
Along with other things, this app store will also make users more vulnerable to security issues since third party apps may not be as reliable as Google’s own services. Google estimates that currently 2 million businesses are using free or paid versions of Google apps.