Google Android Sees Second Coming at CES 2010

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-01-09

The 2010 Consumer Electronics Show may be the show the high-tech world looks back on and proclaims as the event that ushered in the second coming of Android.

A torrent of product releases from the show in Las Vegas this past week made it clear that Google's operating system is not just a trendy open-source platform, but a movement articulated with cutting-edge smartphones, tablet PCs and other devices.

The first coming of Android was Google and T-Mobile's launch of the G1, the first Android smartphone, in September 2008. This was followed by the T-Mobile myTouch 3G in August 2009.

Over the next several months, Motorola unveiled the Cliq social networking phone, Sprint unveiled its HTC Hero device, and Samsung launched the Behold 2 and Moment. Verizon Wireless introduced the Motorola Droid, the first to include Android 2.0 and Google Maps Navigation turn-by-turn GPS functionality.

Finally, Google Jan. 5 launched its Nexus One smartphone, selling it online unlocked or from T-Mobile with a two-year contract.

Then came CES, a stomping ground for TV and camera makers, with announcements from Apple, Microsoft, HP and others dabbling or dominating consumer electronics. For the first time ever, Android stood shoulder to shoulder with Windows and other platforms.

Perhaps no company's demonstration of allegiance to Android was greater than that of MIPS Technologies, which builds processors and architectures for home entertainment, media and communications devices. 

MIPS, along with DTV system maker Western Mediabridge and chip maker Sigma Designs, showed off an Android-based set-top box that boasts video-on-demand, ThinkFree Office viewer software, a Web browser, remote control/keyboard interface and 1080p video quality.

MIPS also demonstrated the Lemote YeeLoong8089 netbook computer running Android, and ConnecTV, a new software solution that maker Home Jinni claims is "the world's first social media center for Android-based embedded platforms."

ConnecTV enables consumers to search, manage and watch online media content directly from a TV, and lets users communicate via social networks from their living room.

So MIPS clearly paid homage to Android at CES 2010. What did other companies do? Motorola unveiled the Backflip smartphone; Lenovo announced LePhone (coming to China later this year); and Dell showed off a tablet prototype based on Android.

Perhaps no Android-oriented news was bigger than AT&T's revelation at CES 2010 that it finally pledged to make Android phones after keeping mum on its plans for the platform for the last three years while selling Apple's iPhone.

AT&T pledged to launch five new Android devices from Dell, HTC and Motorola in the first half of 2010. This should give Android prominent placement alongside the world-beating iPhone, which has sold more than 50 million units.

In short, CES 2010 presaged the second coming of Android, setting the stage for the platform to have a big year. This bodes well for Google's mobile advertising designs.

Mobile ad network AdMob, which Google is trying to buy, found the Droid boosted calls to the AdMob network by nearly 300 million requests, with worldwide requests from Android devices increasing 97 percent from October to December.

AdMob received over 1 billion ad requests from Android devices in December, showing Android phones are viable ad distribution vehicles.

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