Thursday, March 24, 2011

Afternoon odds and ends: Google keeping Honeycomb out of the hands of developers, at least for now; more on Journalism Online sale to RR Donnelley

After the mess some carriers made of earlier versions of Android, Google has decided to keep Honeycomb away from the developers for the time being.

Bloomberg/Business Week (or whatever they are called now-a-days) reports today that the decision is probably a move to prevent the version of Android that is specifically optimized for tablets from suddenly appearing on a new smartphone.

But while some developers might howl, the move is probably very good for users -- at least for now.

Ken Doctor writes a long piece on the sale of Brill's Journalism Online to R.R. Donnelley on his Newsonomics site. I think he pretty much nails it.

What I would add is that I just don't see much value in this for Donnelley, but then again no transaction price was announced so it might have been one of those "heck, why not?" acquisitions. We might learn more later.

Comcast Interactive Media released another update to its iPad app today bringing more content for cable subscribers to view on their tablets. But unlike Time Warner, Comcast is not about to get themselves messed up with the networks when it comes to the streaming of live television.

All the content available to watch on your iPad is on-demand programming: HBO, Starz, Cinemax, Showtime, etc. A few cable channels like BBC America and TBS are thrown in, too. But none of its is live programming, just archived material.

The word that the new BlackBerry PlayBook will be able to run Android apps has led to more than a fair number of chuckles. The apps will have to be ported over, but the problem is still the same: unless an app is native to the device it tends to suck.

As I've written before, when Apple's Steve Job first announced the iPad back in January of last year, part of his announcement was that iPhone apps would run on the iPad. Shortly after users received their iPads, though, it was quickly discovered that you really didn't want to run an app designed for a smartphone on a tablet -- it just looked terrible.

A few apps, like radio players, really aren't a problem, but media apps and games are another matter.

RIM will make the addition of both Android and Java apps possible by "two optional app players that provide an application run-time environment for BlackBerry Java apps and Android v2.3 apps," according to the statement.

"These new app players will allow users to download BlackBerry Java apps and Android apps from BlackBerry App World and run them on their BlackBerry PlayBook."