Android Ecosystem — This Week in Android

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Welcome to our newest Monday feature — Android Ecosystem! As I mentioned last week, I was still trying to get the latest Android x86 build on my Intel Core Solo (s intc) powered Samsung Q1UP. I literally just got it working this morning and it’s darn near usable on the 7″ touchscreen slate computer. I’ll have to share some of my playtime on video later, but this build is already much better than the prior one. For example, inserting a FAT32 formatted USB drive now allows for application installs — this build recognizes the drive as an SD card. Even better is the dedicated hardware button for the Android Menu option. When I tap the right mouse button of the Q1UP, I get the standard Android contextual Menu options. That’s key because without that function, I was literally dead in the water on many screens.

More to follow, but I wanted to give an up to date report since I just got this working. As far as the solution, I used UNetbootin with the Android x86 image. Here’s a quick pic of what this is looking like:

In more traditional Android news, I recently saw some alleged 2.1 screencaps on an HTC Hero and I’m hoping that we’ll hear more this week. Currently the Hero runs on Android 1.5, but HTC did say that an upgrade will be available once they port the Sense UI to a newer Android build. It will be up to individual carriers to offer such an upgrade, but odds are pretty good that it will happen. If this pans out, I may be looking to jump ship from my Palm Pre sooner rather than later, simply because Android has far more applications available.

Also on my Android radar screen is talk of the Google Phone (s goog). Some say it’s real, and if it is, I’m sure I’ll want one provided there are certain conditions met. I’d want it if it’s not tied to a long term contract and uses 3G or Wi-Fi for voice. I could supplement it with my iPhone (s aapl) if there’s no wireless coverage, for example. And I expect — given what little we know — that it would be cheaper on a monthly basis simply because there’s no voice component to pay for thanks to Google Voice. True, I’m shooting in the dark on this, so maybe it’s more of my Google Phone “wish list” than Google Phone reality. What do you think such a device can or will be?

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I bought an Archos 5 IT this weekend so I could play around with Android without giving up my iPhone.

After applying all the Google hacks to it, I’m pleasantly surprised. It’s actually more stable than I imagined it would be, and pretty much all of the apps I’ve tried seem to work.

I’ve been using it off and on all day today on battery, and I still have 70% left.

So as far as an android-powered slate goes – I’m thinking it’s hard to beat it right now. Plus you can just pop down to Best Buy and grab one instead of digging online.

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