An FCC filing spotted by Dutch site TabletGuide.nl (via Engadget) suggests that Google may be working on a new streaming media player to replace the Nexus Q, the device Google announced, shipped to pre-order customers free of charge and then withdrew from the market. Read more
In March, Fortune reported that Google had signed up Warner Music for an online music service similar but not identical to the popular Spotify service. Today, Greg Sandoval at The Verge is reporting that Universal and Sony Music have also signed on and the service will be launched tomorrow at Google I/O:
When Google rolls out the new services tomorrow at I/O, it will mean that it gets the jump on Apple, which is also trying to launch a new streaming-music service. According to reports, Google’s subscription services would resemble Spotify, and offer on-demand songs that would be streamed to their PCs and mobile devices. In contrast, Apple is working on an online radio service that is said to be more akin to Pandora, the top webcaster.
Google comes to these negotiations as a powerful player in music. While Google Play is still a relatively new service, insiders say YouTube is a juggernaut. The user-generated video site sees more than 800 million unique visitors a month and music videos are among the most popular fare.
I may not have exotic taste in music but I’ve never not been able to find whatever I want to listen to on YouTube. Google already owns the space and an advertising-based version of YouTube streaming is just a GUI change in my book. Read more
KGI Securities analyst Mingchi Kuo, who has been known to have accurate information regarding Apple product launches in the past, is out today with a new note that includes some surprisingly specific specs for upcoming products from Google. One of the products Kuo expects to see at Google I/O later this month is a new Nexus 7, but the note also included info on what he thinks Google has in store for the months after the event, including: an Android powered notebook, a new TV product, and even a Google smart watch.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about an Android-powered notebook over the years, and just last month Intel executives confirmed that the majority of its new sub-$200 notebooks running on its mobile Atom CPU will be Android based. However, according to Mingchi, don’t expect to see the notebooks making an appearance at I/O this year. That’s because Android 5.0 won’t be ready to show off at I/O, says Kuo, but vendors such as Samsung will apparently move first with Android 4.x powered notebooks coming within 3-4 months:
Android Book – Android Book won’t be introduced at the upcoming Google I/O as development of Android 5.0, which is targeted at NB, is incomplete. We think Android Book featuring Android.4x will be rolled out in the coming 3-4 months because some brand vendors, like Samsung (Korea), want to move first. But shipments will be limited as the current Android OS isn’t well supported for laptops.
As for Google’s rumored over-the-top TV content business, Mingchi says an Apple TV-like competitor is on the way but delays due to a change to Nvidia Tegra from TI OMAP means we likely won’t see it at I/O. Kuo also said in his note to clients today that he expects Google to launch a smart watch-like wearable device alongside Google Glass, but it apparently won’t go into mass production until next year: Read more
Well-connected Analyst Mingchi Kuo from KGI securities is known for his often accurate predictions (timing notwithstanding) of upcoming Apple products. He’s got a detailed report out today on the new Nexus 7 that he thinks will be announced at Google I/O and could ship as early as June or July in large numbers.
Perhaps the most interesting bit is that the entry level price will remain at US$199, with Google likely to lose US$5-10 per unit sold according to the analyst. Why is keeping the same price interesting? Because this thing is getting supercharged according to Kuo:
We think the new Nexus 7 will come with the following major spec upgrades: Qualcomm APQ 8064 processor; narrow bezel LTPS 7-inch high-resolution panel (1,920×1,200); 5MP AF rear camera lens; and wireless charging. We also think it will be much lighter and thinner than the previous version.
How light and thin? He’s saying that a smaller bezel around the edges and 7.5-8.5mm thinness should put it near or below the size and weight of Apple’s iPad Mini. He expects the next Mini 2 later this year.
Kuo expects Google/Asus to move 5M units in the second half of the year and continue with the same distribution strategies (selling at the Google Play Store and at retailers simultaneously).
We are positive on Nexus 7’s reception ahead of the iPad mini 2 launch given that the specs have been upgraded but the price has not been increased. However, tablet PC competition has become much fiercer this year, so we reckon new Nexus 7 year-on-year shipments growth will be limited.
It will be interesting to see how close to the current display size the new screen is. 1920×1200 is a 16:10 screen ratio just like the current 1280×800 but enlarging it a few points would go a long way in making it more competitive with Apple’s 7.9-inch iPad Mini, and with the shrunken bezel size, Asus could keep the same handheld form factor.
Research firm Canalys is out today with its latest report tracking worldwide smart mobile device shipments for Q1 with Android accounting for almost 60% of smart mobile devices shipped by OS. That’s compared to a 19.3% share for Apple and approximately 18.1% for Microsoft. Keep in mind Canalys’s report also includes notebooks, in addition to tablets and smartphones, which account for the majority of Microsoft’s share. When looking at tablets alone, Apple continued its lead with 46.4% share in the quarter, although Canalys warned Apple “lost share to its Android-based rivals for the third consecutive quarter.”
‘Spearheaded by Google and Amazon, the commoditization of the tablet market has happened far quicker than that of the wider PC market,’ said Canalys Senior Analyst, Tim Coulling. ‘Profit margins are being squeezed and vendors without a low cost structure will find it hard to compete. A solid range of must-have accessories and a software and services strategy are vital as vendors will increasingly need to make revenue around their devices.’
When it comes to smartphones, the report has Android at roughly 75.6% of shipments with around 32% of those shipments coming from Samsung. We know Apple sold around 37 million iPhones in the quarter but, as always, we warn that the stats from Canalys don’t include shipped vs sold data. Read more