Android smartphones now take up a 68% share of the global smartphone market (or about four times the market share of Apple), according to the latest report from research firm International Data Corporation. Android, however, is evolving beyond just smartphones, as the operating system can now be found running cameras, media streamers, and even a picture frame.
MEDIA STREAMERS: TV’S INTELLIGENCE AMPLIFIED
For a quick, easy, and cheap way to turn your normal HDTV into a Smart TV, Diamond Multimedia offers the AMP1000 ($120). The Android media player lets you browse the Internet; read eBooks, newspapers, and magazines; download apps from Google Play; and watch online videos all on your TV. You can also turn your TV into a home workstation thanks to the ability to check email and access business applications. The media player also comes with a 3-in-1 remote that features a keyboard, mouse and motion control.
DIGITAL PICTURE FRAME: NEW HOME FOR INSTAGRAM PICS
D2M (Design to Matter) used funding platform Kickstarter to raise money for its new venture: Instacube. The digital picture frame is wirelessly fed your Instagram pictures as you take them and the images are displayed at a 600×600 pixel resolution. It also runs on Android, leaving open the possibility for new features and apps to be added in the future. At press time, Instacube had raised nearly $230,000 through Kickstarter with pledging open until September 20. The company plans to release the product to the public by March 2013 at a retail price of $149.
TABLETS: TAKE NOTE
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 ($500-$550) is one of the latest Android 4.0 tablets to hit the market, and this one comes with a handy friend: The S Pen. The stylus promises to improve both creativity and productivity with features including S Note (seven different templates for note-taking with options such as meeting note, idea note, magazine, and travel), Shape Match (automatically turns squiggly shapes, like bars on a makeshift graph, into organized figures), and Adobe Photoshop Touch (edit photos with professional effects). Multi-tasking is also easier with the multiscreen option so you can edit a report as you catch up on the news.
SMARTPHONES: KEYBOARD ENTHUSIASTS REJOICE
We couldn’t dedicate a whole section to Android and not mention a single smartphone, after all, that is the operating system’s main domain. The Motorola Photon 4G LTE ($200 w/ 2-year contract with Sprint) runs on Android Ice Cream Sandwich and features a full QWERTY slide-out keyboard, with an extra row just for numbers—a real rarity these days. This smartphone is also convenient for international business travelers as it comes worldphone-capable with advanced security features like government-grade encryption.
CAMERAS: POINT, SHOOT, SHARE
The Nikon Coolpix S800c ($350) is a 16.0-megapixel digital camera that doubles as an Android smart device. On its back is a 3.5-inch HD touchscreen where you can do many of the same things as an Android smartphone, including browse the Internet, check email, visit Facebook and stream music. You can also instantly share pictures right from the camera. And via Google Play you can download apps specifically designed for taking and editing photos and videos. One caveat, however, is the lack of 3G or 4G connectivity so you will have to be in range of Wi-Fi.