Android Heading in More New Directions

by Ostatic Staff - Sep. 21, 2009

What will advanced Android-based smartphones look like a year from now, and what will be under the hood? Motorola would have you believe that they'll place very heavy emphasis on unified social networking features. Archos has its eyes on tablets that double as smartphones, with advanced video capabilities. China Mobile and others believe that Android will work best in forked, unique versions.

Now, according to a PC World report, next year may bring the first 4G Android smartphone--much faster than current phones--with  WiMax capabilities. This type of phone could represent a big leap forward.

Reporting from 4G World Conference in Chicago, PC World's Mark Sullivan writes:

"I believe we'll be seeing an Android smartphone (possibly made by Samsung) and sold by Sprint next year. Sprint openly confirms plans to sell a 4G smartphone next year, but is quiet on the maker of the phone and the mobile OS. This WiMax-connected device will run three or five times faster than the 3G-connected iPhone (on a good day), and will feature a bunch of apps that fully exploit that speed (imagine watching high-def, no-latency SlingBox video on your smartphone)."

Sprint didn't confirm that Android will be the operating system on this type of phone, but I have to agree with Sullivan that it is the likely OS. The WiMax part of the story is also interesting. WiMax spent years being talked about only, but is now coming to fruition in many U.S. cities, in Korea, and many other parts of the world. It could be an attractive option on smartphones, allowing for fast data transfers no matter where you are.

If we truly do see phones three to five times faster than the iPhone arrive next year, that will definitely boost video applications. I'm not so sure that Sprint is the ideal provider for a super advanced Android phone, though. The company has been mired in trouble, with dwindling subscriber numbers, for a long time now.

Still, it's becoming more clear that when handset makers want to deliver an advanced smartphone, they're thinking of Android and its open source flexibility. And that's yet another reason why Symbian should speed up its delivery of an open source mobile operating system. The company is still only in beta testing after more than a year of development, while Android continues to march forward.