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Summary:

Many companies are riding the wave of Android’s popularity; Sprint as much as any. The company’s popular Android smartphones have netted it a record number of subscribers. Barnes & Noble is riding the wave too, as its new NOOKColor is essentially an Android tablet.

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The rapid growth of the Android platform has been a good thing for many companies, and Sprint as much as any. The carrier has ridden the popularity of smartphones such as the Evo 4G and Epic 4G to add 644,000 new subscribers hot to get the phones. This month, the company unveiled the new Sprint ID feature, which is basically a pack of Android apps designed to customize Android phones to fit the customer. The ability for customers to use these Android phones as mobile hotspots allowed Sprint to take advantage of the hot iPad sales, as CEO Dan Hesse told Om Malik in an interview this week.

Book retailer Barnes & Noble announced the next iteration of its e-reader this week, the NOOKColor. It may be promoted as an e-reader, but the NOOKColor is essentially an Android tablet complete with touchscreen and apps. The 7-inch e-reader hits the market at only $249, a price that isn’t competitive with the latest Kindle from Amazon, but is very competitive with Android tablets. In addition to handling Nook bookstore content, the NOOKColor can play music and video. Who knows? Maybe it will end up competing with the iPad.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab is likely going to be one of the most popular Android tablets when it goes on sale, and it’s going to be sold in a lot of places. Five phone carriers will be selling the Tab in the U.S. alone, along with retailer Best Buy. All of these outlets will be offering the Galaxy Tab at different prices, and with data plan options that vary in price, as well. Wading through all of the prices and options is a daunting task, so this week we did that for you. Our Galaxy Tab roundup lists all of the places that will sell the tablet, and along with the device prices also breaks down the data plan requirements.

Smartphone maker HTC is the largest producer of Android phones, and this week, announced it expects to ship 8.5 million smartphones next quarter. They won’t all be running Android, as the company’s new line of Windows Phone 7 phones will factor into that number, but the lion’s share will be packing Android. HTC’s promotional campaign to bring its brand in front of the consumer has played a successful role in the company’s growth with Android.

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  1. I totally agree with your point about the Galaxy Tab being a formidable rival for the iPad, but I just hope all this confusion over its price won’t dent its popularity! I guess until we know for sure what the cheapest Galaxy Tab deals are then there will be a question mark over whether or not the Galaxy Tab will actually be able to rival Apple

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  2. A reader with cut and paste, does Internet downloads Adobe software, has a really intuitive spelling checker, and good word processing is great machine and if it has some of iPad’s outstanding features (I.e. Battery life, portable, slick looks, good sound, great screen …) that is a pad that could end up in every household. db

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  3. Samsung is god damn greedy!, think about it, they make the memory, the processor (hummingbird), the display, they control all parts of the galaxy tab, they can sell it at $250 and make a handsome profit, but no, they have to overprice it so much, they deserve to fail. Nook color is just 250 bucks and has OMAP 3621 (same processor as droid X), waiting for it to be hacked.

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    1. Point me a company that isn’t “greedy”. They are all trying to do the best they can to win and grab as much marketshare/revenue/profits/consumer attention what have you.

      The difference is how they do it, and if something is “overpriced” as you say then they’ll lose in a competitive marketplace

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      1. There is expensive and there is obscenely expensive. Galaxy Tab belongs to the latter

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  4. The Nook Color will not run apps straight out of the Android Market, but that does not mean it cannot run them. In fact, they have done a lot of tests on apps from standard Android smartphones and they pretty much run on Nook Color, which has Android 2.1 under the hood. (The Nook native interface and apps are just standard Android application layers.) Barnes & Noble special Nook SDK runs on top of the standard Android one and gives developers access to exclusive extensions and APIs for the Nook and its interface. So porting Android apps is not difficult. B&N says it is more like optimising them for Nook than porting them.
    Nook Color screen is supposed to be better (less reflective) for reading than iPad thanks to new LG screen with anti-reflection coating.
    It allows to watch videos, listen to the music, view Office documents and PDF’s.

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  5. I don’t personally know anybody who’ll be buying a tablet with a data plan. As far as I can see, tablet offerings that don’t have a WiFi option are dead-enders. Note that B&N didn’t even bother with 3G or 4G on the NookColor — it’s WiFi-only (probably until they can get a lower-power screen on it, but hey, they knew which feature was more important: battery life).

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