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Android is Getting Flash 10.1, Firefox, and Infringement Accusations from Microsoft

04.28.2010
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There's a ton of news surrounding the Android platform today.  The most concerning story centers around the public statements by a Microsoft representative claiming that the open source Android OS infringes on Microsoft's intellectual property, according to a CNET report.  Apparently HTC, the largest manufacturer of Android and Windows Mobile phones, is worried enough about the patents that they have signed patent agreements with Microsoft and agreed to pay royalties for its Android phones (including NexusOne).  HTC probably doesn't want another lawsuit on their hands since Apple is already suing them over patents related to its Android devices.

In CNET's interview with Microsoft deputy general counsel Horacio Gutierrez, no specific patents were indicated, but sources did say that they apply to the UI and the underlying OS and Linux Kernel.  Microsoft has signed many licensing deals with companies that allegedly infringe on their Linux-based patents, so there could be a similar case that they are making with Android.  Google certainly has a defensive patent portfolio of its own, but they aren't in the mobile manufacturing area, said an analyst from Gartner.  It's unclear whether Google will be able to protect HTC from its rivals' litigation.

Android 2.2 to Feature Flash 10.1
Some happier news for Android fans is the announcement made in a New York Times interview that version 2.2 of the Android OS ("Froyo") will support full Flash 10.1.  The technology may or may not come preinstalled on devices with 2.2, but we'll know soon enough with the Flash Player 10.1 release set for the end of June.  Unfortunately, phones running versions of Android that are lower than 2.0 won't be able to run Flash 10.1 without an update to the OS.  Phones will also need an ARMv7 Cortex processor in order to run Flash 10.1, so that completely rules out many older Android phones like the Hero.

Pre-alpha for Android Version of Fennec
Ok, this news is completely good, I promise.  Mozilla has released the first available build for Mobile Firefox (Fennec) on Android OS.  The Fennec team wants plenty of early feedback on Fennec so they can add to their list of known issues.  The minified Firefox is currently 10.24 MB and is available for Android 2.0 or later (bad news again for lower version owners, sorry).  Fennec for Android features the "Awesome Bar", a smart URL bar, support for tabbed browsing via thumbnails, and an experimental version of Weave, which syncs history and more importantly, open tabs.  With Weave you can switch between mobile device and desktop without the need to reopen the pages you were browsing.

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Image Source (2nd image): blog.vlad1.com