Mobomo Mobisphere Roundup — May 21, 2010

This is a stream-of-consciousness roundup of news in the mobile platform space from the past week. It covers Apple, Palm, Android and the mobile platform in general.

iPad sales in 2010 in the U.S. might hit 8M units, up from a previous estimate of 5M units [MacRumors]. Obviously, the international release is going to play a big factor in this, but at least iPad apps are now available internationally [Engadget]. Tablet devices in general could go from 7.6M units in 2010 to 46M units in 2014, according to IDC research [IDC]. To qualify as a “tablet” in IDC’s research, a mobile device must have a 7-12 inches in diagonal screen size and have no physical keyboard. IDC compares that figure to the nearly 400M portable PCs that they expect will ship in 2014. Also noteworthy is that while U.S. Mac sales were up nearly 40% [Fortune] in April 2010, iPads are outselling Macs [All Things Digital], are nearing iPhone sales levels, and are taking away iPod sales [Silicon Alley Insider].

iPad and general tablet device sales might be up, but DisplaySearch says that 376M touchscreen phones shipped in 2009 [Mobile Entertainment News]. Gartner Research says that mobile phone sales worldwide grew 17% in just Q1 2010 [Gartner]. With this rapid sales growth, it’s a bit refreshing to know that an extensive study does not conclusively tie cell phones to cancer [Bloomberg BusinessWeek]. Though unfortunately that doesn’t mean they don’t [Mobile Burn]

The number of Android-powered devices that Google is activating daily has increased from 30,000 last year to 100,000 now [TechCrunch]. Other news: there are now over 50K apps in the Android Marketplace, and with Google officially announcing Android 2.2 (Froyo) [MobileCrunch], that will increase. A couple of welcome changes with 2.2 include Internet tethering for carriers that choose to support it, and the ability to install apps on the SD card [PC World]. Google’s Android 3, aka Gingerbread, will be released in Q4 2010 [MobileBurn], thought it might actually be numbered as 2.3 or 2.5.

Adobe has revealed Flash 10.1 for Android-based mobile devices [Mashable], with the intent of showing Steve Jobs he’s wrong, that Flash can work smoothly on mobile phones [BusinessWeek]. Jobs’ issues with Flash is that it’s slow, power hungry, not touchscreen-enabled, and would cause mobile apps to crash. Now if they succeed in proving their point, and Jobs’ does rescind his ban, it still might be a year before iPhone OS devices get Flash, if ever. (Rumor is that Apple Mac computers will also stop supporting Adobe Flash, which is a serious disappointment to me as an Apple products owner and tech evangelist. While the fact is that Flash does crash regularly on both my PC and Mac, I’d still like the choice to view Flash-enabled Web sites, considering Hulu has yet to adopt the HTML5/ H.264 video format.)