Android users must know their location-based options to protect privacy

by Kristen Nicole

When The Wall Street Journal revealed both Google (GOOG) and Apple’s (AAPL) data collection tactics for their respective smartphones, it re-addressed an ongoing discussion around Android security, but also gave both platforms an opportunity to educate and win over consumers. It seems Apple’s keeping quiet on the matter, but Google’s rather versed in managing authorities as well as consumers when it comes to explaining their data collection and use-case scenarios. Admitting that they collect user data, Google ensures that the information is anonymous on their end, and is only tied to location, not personally identifiable data.

What can consumers do?

The expose has also given pundits an opportunity to re-visit privacy solutions, which are unique in the smartphone market. So far, opt-out measures seem readily applied to smartphone location-tracking, mobile browsers and such, though the matter of consumer education and reach is still an obstacle one way or another. When it comes to the highly personalized nature of smartphones, it will be largely the consumer’s role to manage access to their data, forcing us all to be more cognizant of this emerging industry.

Tablet market drives manufacturer goals

The tablet market is another huge area of potential growth for Android, with manufacturers still anxious to get their models in consumers’ hands. Acer (2353.TW) has been rather dedicated to an Android initiative, though its latest Iconia Tab A500 misses some marks. Running on Android 3.0, Acer’s Iconia Tab is heavier than most other tablets, and has received poor reviews on its touchscreen grid display.

The Dell (DELL) Streak Pro, however, has a bit more anticipation building around it, with additional details on the upcoming tablet leaked over the weekend. The 10-inch tablet will run on Android Honeycomb, though it may install its own Stage 1.5 user interface to enhance its tablet format. While the stats on the Dell Streak Pro have been floating around for months now, it’s the launch date that’s got people buzzing: Expect Dell’s Streak Pro tablet to be available this summer, as early as June possibly.