Appolicious powers Verizon Educational Tools

Android users crave custom and control; entertainment drives device innovation

by Kristen Nicole

Google (GOOG) may be blocking rooted phones from playing YouTube rentals for DRM purposes, but at least HTC (2498.TW) users can finally root their phones at all. The manufacturer has been looking at unlocking its bootloaders for some time now, and confirmed last night in an email to ZDNet that they will no longer block users from root-accessing their devices.

“There has been overwhelmingly [sic] customer feedback that people want access to open bootloaders on HTC phones. I want you to know that we’ve listened. Today, I’m confirming we will no longer be locking the bootloaders on our devices. Thanks for your passion, support and patience,” Peter Chou, CEO of HTC.

Entertainment drives Android device innovation

It speaks to the rising demand consumers are pushing for more control over their devices, and the varied niches emerging in the mobile market. It seems there’s a device for just about everyone these days, and entertainment is driving inspiration around new products. Yesterday saw the launch of the Xperia Play, Sony’s (SNE) PlayStation phone geared towards gamers, while the new LG Revolution comes pre-loaded with the new Netflix app. BlueStacks, a virtualization tool that runs Android apps on the PC, found its first practical application running mobile games on the family computer.

Envizions is taking mobile gaming a step further, with plans to launch an Android-powered console this fall. The EVO 2, set to retail at $249, will bring Android games to your television, complete with an EVO TV remote, game controller and HDMI cable. It’s an interesting transition device that’s looking to cash-in on gaming’s virtual goods appeal, with its own ecosystem where earned points convert to tokens, used to purchase premium titles. The EVO 2 will also come with a game cloud, and plans for a 3D motion sensor later in the year.

The promise of an Android ecosystem

The Android ecosystem is seemingly branching off in many directions, creating its own opportunities along the way. Google will need to nurture this ecosystem if Android’s to succeed at market domination, especially as the iPad turns up the cool factor, evolving a media-centric ecosystem all its own. The tablet market is still lagging for Android’s OS and supported device line-up, though Amazon’s (AMZN) growing Android marketplace and expected tablet may prove a good boost for Google’s mobile platform.