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Eric Schmidt made an appearance on “The Colbert Report” last night to talk a little bit about his company’s algorithms, what it’s like to be a billionaire, and his “Want privacy? Change your name!” joke that no one on the planet seemed to get. It’s a funny, sort of awkward interview.

The Woz plays nice with the Nexus One

Steve Wozniak is a little manic.Steve Wozniak is known for being a little eccentric, but he’s so much like a big, nerdy teddy bear that it’s hard not to like the guy. He’s also one of few corporate faces that will drop the marketing schtick and admit where his company has gone wrong. Most recently, he told NBC that his favorite gadget isn’t the iPhone, it’s the Nexus One.

It’s a strange thing to admit to someone like NBC, who will take that story and run in any direction that will get attention. He did say, though, that he hasn’t ditched his iPhone. The Apple product is still his cellphone of choice. My guess is he likes that Android is a little more open, that it doesn’t restrict extremely tech-savvy people like himself from doing what they want with the phone. He’s often criticized the iPhone for it’s rigid user interface.

Whatever the reason, you can bet there’s an Apple fanboy weeping somewhere at the news.

Source: NBC

The Google Phone is coming

Google logo.Yesterday I wrote a post about the Android explosion and the problems facing developers because there are so many different Android phones. Basically there is so much different hardware out there that developers have to spend time debugging instead of creating new features/apps. Today brings news of the one phone to rule them all, one phone to find them, one phone to bring them all, and crush their pathetic features under the full weight of Google R&D.

I’m talking about the Google phone, a phone that has been rumored for months. Really, Android has been waiting for a flagship device. I thought the Droid was it at first, but pointless features like that crap keyboard made me think otherwise. Michael Arrington and the crew at TechCrunch seem to have the inside scoop on the phone, and they’ve been kind enough to share.

The phone is basically Google’s vision of the perfect Android phone. As for features, there’s really not much to say other than that. From the sound of things it’s coming soon – think early 2010 – and will be sold both directly and through retailers. From the sound of things, it’ll be built by either Samsung or LG, though Arrington thinks it’ll be LG because Samsung already makes parts for the iPhone.

The phone would bring up the issue of competing with customers for Google. Making its own phone means other manufacturers will be going head-to-head with the company that makes the software. A recent update suggests the Google phone might be designed for data-only voice connections, which might assuage some of those concerns. It would still require a carrier – TechCrunch’s source says Google is considering AT&T for now – but calls would only be made over a data connection.

If nothing else, I’d be interested to see what Google considers the ideal Android phone. The Droid was good, but too many features felt like an afterthought.

Source: TechCrunch (first article / second article)

Eric Schmidt says Android is about to blow up

Android's about to get big.I’ve been cautiously skeptical about Google’s Android operating system as a successful mobile platform. I love the features, I love the UI, but the phones were seriously lacking. Google CEO Eric Schmidt made some comments during the company’s earnings conference call that may change my mind, though.

Schmidt says Android Adoption is set to blow up, and it’s because of those crappy phones the system currently runs. It’s not the phones themselves, but the number of them. There are currently 12 phones running Android, and more phones and netbooks coming out monthly it seems. As that number continues to grow, it gives developers more and more reason to spend time on the platform.

Mobile is Google’s next great frontier, and where analysts expect most of the company’s growth to come from over the next couple years. With more Android adoption, that growth is essentially guaranteed. Hopefully 2010 will see the release of a phone that might make me consider getting rid of the iPhone. I love a healthy competition.

FCC looking at Google Voice

Google Voice logo.The FCC is going to be taking a closer look at the Google Voice service to determine whether it should be governed by the same rules as other phone service operators. AT&T has been particularly whiney about the service and the lack of regulation.

The biggest problem AT&T sees is that Google is allowed to block calls that may be too expensive for users, something regular providers aren’t allowed to do. I’m not sure why AT&T has such a problem. It blocks calls all the time. You know, you get halfway into a call and AT&T decides it should be blocked. And you should not be compensated for any lost time. It also blocks your ability to have a truly unlimited data plan and blocks your phone from having basic services despite years of availability on other devices. Really, AT&T is blocking anything it wants, so why not spread the love?

I do find it funny that it took a high-profile app rejection to bring all of this to light. The results of the investigation will likely be applied to other VoIP services like Skype and Vonage, both of which have been around a whole lot longer than Google Voice. The unfortunate thing is that big wireless could gouge features out of customer-focused service because it fears competition.

FTC Commends Schmidt For Stepping Down

The FTC HQ.We reported earlier today that Eric Schmidt officially stepped down from his position on Apple’s Board. Now the FTC, which has been investigating Google and Apple for competition issues, has issued a statement commending Schmidt for his decision.

Bureau of Competition Director Richard Feinstein had this to say: “We have been investigating the Google/Apple interlocking directorates issue for some time and commend them for recognizing that sharing directors raises competitive issues, as Google and Apple increasingly compete with each other. We will continue to investigate remaining interlocking directorates between the companies.”

Sounds like the FTC got their wish when Schmidt stepped down. My guess is we won’t hear much more from them on this.

The FCC is another matter entirely. They’re the folks investigating the Google Voice snafu, which promises some sort of fireworks. Apple’s got itself in a fairly sloppy situation by blocking GV Mobile, which provides access to services people would find useful on the phone. Keep your eyes peeled on this one.

Eric Schmidt Resigns From Apple’s Board

Google CEO Eric Schmidt.Eric Schmidt stepped down from his position on Apple’s board today, amidst scrunity about the two companies’ internal dealings. In early July Schmidt said he would reconsider his position in light of the announcement of Google Chrome OS, which will directly compete in another Apple market.

In a statement today, Apple CEO Steve Jobs had this to say:

Unfortunately, as Google enters more of Apple’s core businesses, with Android and now Chrome OS, Eric’s effectiveness as an Apple Board member will be significantly diminished, since he will have to recuse himself from even larger portions of our meetings due to potential conflicts of interest.

Jobs also said now was “the right time” for Schmidt to take his leave.

Google’s CEO had some very polite words concerning his time at Apple. “I have very much enjoyed my time on the Apple Board,” he said. “It’s a fantastic company. But as Apple explained today, we’ve agreed it makes sense for me to step down now.”

It’s always hard to watch a breakup, but even more difficult when it’s two parties who you thought were so good together. Maybe now Schmidt will feel like he has the freedom to push Apple to allow more of his apps on the iPhone. I would like that very much.

Eric Schmidt to Reconsider His Role on Apple’s Board

Eric Schmidt.After unveiling Chrome OS this week, Google CEO Eric Schmidt said he will consider recusing himself from Apple’s board. The Chrome OS launch adds another dimension to the areas in which Apple and Google compete with one another.

In speaking to reporters at the Allen & Co. conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, Schmidt said, “I’ll talk to the Apple people. At the moment, there’s no issue.” Schmidt has already been taking leave from any Apple board meeting in which the iPhone was a hot topic. Obviously Google competes directly with the iPhone with their Android operating system.

Under federal law, no person can sit on the two board of two companies if it decreases competition between them. Schmidt’s been trying to avoid these kind of questions by opting out of certain meetings, but you kinda have to wonder what goes on behind closed doors. It’s not any kind of surprise that the FTC is curious, too.

Like Schmidt said, though, for now there’s nothing to worry about. I guess we’ll have to see what happens in the coming months for both Apple and Google.

Google Wants to Study Netbook Usability

Google's Android coming to netbooks?This past Thursday, Google posted an ad on Craig’s List asking for users willing to participate in a netbook usability study. Participants would be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement and be paid $75 in American Express gift checks.

The ad was released the same day as Google’s annual meeting, during which CEO Eric Schmidt declined to comment on the future of Android netbooks. From his short press conference, it sounds like Schmidt and the Google squad are looking to keep their web services viable on netbooks, and possibly roll out some new features for the netbook level consumer.

Sounds like business as usual for Google – telling us very little about what they’re actually doing. What kinds of applications are they looking to develop specific to netbook users? What kind of stability issues arise with netbooks/Google products. Why no word on Android?

Source: CNet