Steve Jobs isn’t exactly a man known for keeping his thoughts to himself which is why excerpts found by Business Insider from a new book documenting the Google-Apple smartphone war are grabbing attention. According to the book written by Fred Vogelstein, Google was already working on its first Android-powered smartphone when Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007.
Lost in the shuffle of today’s events is that Google TV is getting significant updates today.
Today, Google TV is moving to the latest version of Android (Jelly Bean, 4.2.2), and we’ve refactored Google TV so that our TV OEM partners can update to future versions of Android in a matter of weeks rather than months. For developers, this means you can build TV experiences using the latest Android APIs, including the NDK.
Today Google TV is also moving to the latest version of Chrome, and from now on Google TV benefits from Chrome updates on the same six week cycle that you’ve come to expect from Chrome. In Chrome on Google TV, we’ve added support for hardware-based content protection, enabling developers to provide premium TV content in HD within their web apps.
Google TV has always been a(t least a) generation behind Android phones and you have to wonder if Andy Rubin’s move away from Android is allowing the YouTube group that runs GoogleTV more access to core Android features. Word on the Street is that Rubin and YouTube boss “couldn’t be in the same room together”.
Speaking of YouTube, the GoogleTV Youtube App got a facelift today with the following additions:
- New home screen interface.
- Enhanced video playback controls.
- Support for paid subscriptions.
Update: LG is on board. Press release and 4.2.2 demo below Read more
We heard in October that Google had plans to further reduce Motorola’s workforce after cutting around 20 percent, or roughly 4,000 jobs, in August. The Wall Street Journal reported today on an email from Google that confirmed the company is beginning to cut around 1,200 employees (a little over 10 percent of its current total headcount):
Motorola MSI -0.74% staffers were informed by the company via email this week that “while we’re very optimistic about the new products in our pipeline, we still face challenges.” The company email added that “our costs are too high, we’re operating in markets where we’re not competitive and we’re losing money.”
As for where the cuts might take place, we previously reported that Motorola, which was unprofitable for 14 of its last 16 quarters, planned to reduce its operations in Asia and India, but today’s report said the layoffs would hit workers in the United States, China, and India. Google also warned that further restructuring might be necessary and significant costs could be involved.
In a recent piece from The Wall Street Journal highlighting Google executives’ fear that Samsung is gaining too much dominance, Android chief Andy Rubin said the purchase of Motorola was “a kind of insurance policy against a manufacturer such as Samsung gaining too much power over Android.”
While Google might be happy with the mobile ad revenue Samsung brings in shipping roughly 40 percent of the devices running Android, The Wall Street Journal said Google execs worry behind closed doors that Samsung could use its dominance to renegotiate its cut of revenue from mobile ads and search:
Google executives worry that Samsung has become so big—the South Korean company sells about 40% of the gadgets that use Google’s Android software—that it could flex its muscle to renegotiate their arrangement and eat into Google’s lucrative mobile-ad business, people familiar with the matter said.
Citing its usual “people familiar with the matter,” WSJ claimed executives at Google are betting on companies like HTC and HP to release compelling Android devices that compete with Samsung. According to the report, Android chief Andy Rubin discussed the situation at a recent event for Google executives. He described Motorola as “a kind of insurance policy against a manufacturer such as Samsung gaining too much power over Android.” Read more
Are you ready for the latest breakdown of Android’s performance ahead of Apple’s iPhone 5 event tomorrow afternoon? Android boss Andy Rubin just announced this evening that 500 million Android devices have been activated to date, which follows Eric Schmidt’s announcement of 480,000 devices last week. Rubin reiterated Schmidt’s announcement, claiming 1.3 million Android devices are being activated daily (70,000 of which are tablets). Last week, we calculated Google could hit a whopping 1 billion devices activated in a year’s time at its current growth. Tonight’s announcement was definitely interesting timing.
There have been half a billion android activations to date, with over 1.3m added every day.—
Andy Rubin (@Arubin) September 11, 2012
Tim Bray (@timbray) May 23, 2012
A jury decided this morning that Google did not infringe upon Oracle’s patents.
The verdict came unanimously as jurors in the Google vs. Oracle trial found six claims in U.S. Patent RE38,104, including two claims in U.S. Patent number 6,061,520, did not infringe.
“Today’s jury verdict that Android does not infringe Oracle’s patents was a victory not just for Google but the entire Android ecosystem,” announced Google in a public statement, according to CNET.
Oh, and here is Oracle’s public statement on the decision: “Oracle presented overwhelming evidence at trial that Google knew it would fragment and damage Java. We plan to continue to defend and uphold Java’s core write once run anywhere principle and ensure it is protected for the nine million Java developers and the community that depend on Java compatibility.”