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Google puts iPad in the crosshairs

by Staff Writers
Mountain View, California (AFP) Feb 2, 2011
Google on Wednesday provided a glimpse at tablet computer software crafted to dethrone the iPad and courted developers key to the success of Apple gadgets.

Google showed off a Honeycomb version of its Android operating system that will debut on the upcoming Motorola Xoom tablet that won raves at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month.

"Honeycomb is tailored for the new generation of tablet-sized computers," Google mobile products director Hugo Barra said while demonstrating software features at the Internet titan's headquarters in Mountain View, California.

"We've spent a tremendous amount of time really optimizing performance on Honeycomb," Barra said.

The free, open-source operating system is expected to quickly be built into an array of touchscreen tablets in a booming market currently dominated by the iPad launched by Apple last year.

In a sign that Google is intent on wooing the developers behind the "apps" fueling the popularity of smartphones and tablets, executives here stressed that Honeycomb is built as a platform for software innovation.

Google also announced the launch of an Android Market Web store at market.android.com where people can get fun, functional or hip applications for devices running on the mobile operating software.

Google set out to address a long-standing lament by allowing developers to make money from in-application transactions such as buying virtual goods, music or other digital offerings.

"We've gotten a fair amount of feedback from developers that they want more ways to make money from their applications," said Android engineering director Chris Yerga.

"Today, we are releasing code for in-app monetization to the entire Android developer community."

Disney general manager of mobile Bart DeCrem said the US entertainment powerhouse had held off bringing its hit "Tap Tap Revenge" music game to Android devices until there was the option of selling songs to players.

"Tap Tap Revenge" was one of three Disney games for Android unveiled by DeCrem at the Google event.

"We've waited until the announcement today to bring 'Tap Tap Revenge' to Android because giving our users the hits they love is a key part of the game," DeCrem said.

"Tap Tap" is Disney's most successful mobile game and more than 50 million copies have been downloaded.

The slew of applications for Honeycomb demonstrated after the presentation included interactive software to link tablet users to CNN news stories, images and video.

"There is no secret that tablets are becoming a force in the marketplace and something we are going to be watching throughout the year," said CNN vice president of mobile Louis Gump. "We've been hard at work for an Android app for the tablet."

A free CNN application for Honeycomb tablets will launch "in the near future," according to Gump.

The Honeycomb event took place on the same day that News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch launched "The Daily," a digital newspaper created exclusively for the iPad, at an event in New York.

Murdoch, an enthusiastic fan of the iPad, said The Daily will only be available on Apple's tablet computer for now but will eventually appear on other tablets.

"We expect to be on all major tablets. But we believe that this year and maybe next year really belong to Apple," he said.

The Daily will be sold through Apple's App Store and iTunes and cost 99 cents a week or $39.99 a year.




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TECH SPACE
LG's first tablet to hit US market in March
Seoul (AFP) Feb 2, 2011
LG Electronics said Wednesday it would release its first tablet computer in the United States in March as it prepares to go head to head with Apple's iPad. LG said the G-slate was among the first tablet models to run on the "Honeycomb" operating system, which is Google's latest generation of Android platforms designed for mobile devices with large screens. The G-slate features a 8.9-inch ... read more

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