The biggest Android stories of the week included RIM's embrace of Android, Sprint pushing the technology into the enterprise and word that Ice Cream Sandwich could be on the way:
-- RIM debuts its Android simulator at BlackBerry World: In a nod to Android's massive success in encouraging third-party mobile app development, Research in Motion this week showed off its Android Player application that will be able to emulate Android applications on the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet during its annual BlackBerry World conference in Orlando. RIM said that users can simply download Android-based applications directly from BlackBerry App World and can then run them using the emulator. While RIM will retain control over which Android apps it allows onto its App World, this will significantly boost the number of applications available on the PlayBook, especially as developers begin creating more applications for Android 3.0 ("Honeycomb") that are designed specifically for tablet-sized screens.
-- Sprint pushes Android onto the enterprise: Following up on Verizon's attempt last year to push Android onto the enterprise market with the Droid Pro, Sprint this week debuted two enterprise-centric Android phones: The Motorola XPRT and the Motorola Titanium. Both devices are designed along the lines of the new BlackBerry Bold models, with touchscreens and physical qwerty keyboards. The XPRT will run on Sprint's 3G EV-DO Rev. A network while the Titanium will have push-to-talk capabilities and run on Sprint's iDEN network. The one downside: The XPRT will also feature Motorola's much-maligned MOTOBLUR technology.
-- AT&T gives thumbs-up to "sideloading": As reported by PCMag this week, AT&T has signaled that it will soon be open to letting its users download Android applications through sources other than from the Android Market. AT&T had originally resisted letting users "sideload" Android applications in an effort to limit their exposure to applications that are potentially infected with malware. But this week AT&T Senior Vice President Jeff Bradley signaled that AT&T was now going to take a more open approach to outside-the-Android Market apps, including Amazon's application store.
"First and foremost we were genuinely concerned from a network bandwidth standpoint and a customer experience standpoint for not having any mechanism to take down a bad app," Bradley said, according to PCMag. "And the only way we could do it at the time was relying on Google to leverage what ] they had in [the] Android Marketplace. We took a lot of negative publicity for doing it, but it was 100 percent driven by a desire to be able to have the ability to support our network and be able to help our customers."
-- Next Android likely called "Ice Cream Sandwich": And finally, we can expect the follow up to Android 3.0 (aka, "Honeycomb") to be nicknamed "Ice Cream Sandwich." In a post on an official Android forum, Android engineer Romain Guy referred to the impending Android update as "Ice Cream Sandwich" in response to a poster who asked about a bug on an Android 3.0 application. Android updates have so far been nicknamed as sugary desserts and have been listed in alphabetical order. Previous nicknames have included "Donut," "Éclair," "Froyo" and "Gingerbread."
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