Canonical, a leading software company, announced today that images and open source code for the smartphone version of Ubuntu will be released on February 21. The software will work on the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 smartphones, and is designed for enthusiasts and apps developers. Canonical wants developers to be able to familiarize themselves with the operating system and start developing apps. As more consumers shift away from Apple products toward competitive alternatives, there is an increasing craze over new product enhancements.
More innovation for the Nexus 4 and related products will be showcased at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona later this month where all of the leading mobile device manufacturers and supply chain companies will be present. It’s essentially the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) for mobile devices. Canonical first unveiled Ubuntu for smartphones in early January. The company is targeting two key audiences with the release including the enterprise market and basic, entry-level smartphones.
Google’s Nexus 4 Wireless Charger, also known as the “orb,” is gaining a lot of attention these days as well. The Nexus 4 Wireless Charger is produced by LG, just like the Nexus 4 itself, since Google does not possess the capability for manufacturing electronics in-house of this realm. It has regular micro-USB-to-USB cable plugs into the charger’s back and can then be connected to a wall outlet for power. Of course, the phone needs to be within a certain distance to benefit from the wireless battery recharging. The Nexus 4 sits on a magnetic plate and is inductive charged in about the same time as plugging the phone directly into the wall with a cord. It costs $60 which is approximately the same cost for a bluetooth device.
Google has followed a less-risky and more business-savvy approach to becoming a leading electronics company. They started with highly value-added software, which is easier to stomach for the average venture capitalist or startup investor and amassed a fortune with a low-overhead business model, developing a product that is now a trade name- just google it. Then, they took it to the next level by creating their own business for their software by producing mobile devices, which would run with internal products. Plus, they avoided the high capital cost of building manufacturing plants for producing electronic devices by outsourcing to LG, similar to how Qualcomm outsources the production of their leading microchips for smartphones. A fab-less, production-less model is becoming the norm these days, as these companies have been the most profitable by not being vertically-oriented. Just ask the likes of Intel and Texas Instruments, whom have to carry the load and absorb the blows.
The challenge moving forward will be develop solar-powered cell phone chargers. A few exist on the market from companies such as Apple and Samsung, but the price tag is above the threshold for widespread market adoption. One has to consider the increased energy consumption required to fuel all of these new smartphones, e-readers and tablets on the market and the resultant increased carbon emissions. Green energy and climate change issues are more than just the choice between going solar versus building a coal-fired power plant.
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