Marvel comics go digital, Palm's not worried about patents and the world goes Android mad

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Marvel comics go digital, Palm's not worried about patents and the world goes Android mad

It’s debatable how easy it is to really justify things like flash carts for the DS, or jailbreaking your iPhone, but if there’s one argument that could always win me over it’s using them as comic viewers.

Fair enough, it’s hard to find legitimate comics to view on them once you do have the right package installed, but anyone who’s ever tried reading a comic on their iPhone, DS, WinMo, Palm or whatever will undoubtedly agree how well it works. It’s kind of baffling that none of the pulp publishers have ever really capitalised on it - until now.

Marvel, it seems, is looking at the iPhone as a possible contender for digital comics books. It’s apparently gearing up to produce a few InMotion comics for release on the App Store.

These comics feature small animations, voice overs and sound effects (zap, kapow, etc.) as well as panels restructured to better fit the handset’s screen. It’s been tried before by Marvel with online Flash comics, but hopefully this’ll pan out a bit more successfully.

If Marvel is paying attention (finally) it might also take interest in getting these digital comics onto the Android, as paid applications will be made available this week.

Not all the top apps will cost, of course, and to prove it Lasf.fm has just released an Android application to let its listeners stream their favourite channels direct to the phone, view their friends' profiles and listen to the radio in the background while still using the handset for other things - something we’d like to see more of on the iPhone. But that’s probably a long way off, if it’s coming at all.

Palm is looking as though it doesn’t intend to tie down the hot new toy, the Palm Pre, in the same way. It just announced that it’s scrapping the old PalmOS from this point on, and concentrating on the new WebOS.

Maybe this isn’t especially interesting news if you like the old system, but Palm also promised the new OS would allow users to install applications from third parties and PCs, so we won’t be restricted to the official app store as, once again, we are with the iPhone.

Quite where this next item fits into our mobile remit it’s hard to say, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s damnably exciting.

Admittedly, Google’s Android system is still in its infancy. It’s out there, but it’s still not really being used to its full potential, which is what makes the news from Archos so intriguing.

The hardware manufacturer is promising an internet tablet powered by the Android OS, which will be able to play games as well as take advantage of all the other open source possibilities that Google’s system offers. It’ll have a five inch touchscreen, wi-fi, 500GB hard drive and also mentions phone functionality.

But that’s about all the hot hardware news we’ve got this week. Samsung, like so many other handset manufacturers, has been promising an Android powered device too, but the latest report says its release date has now been pushed back - just the same as the Australian made Kogan handset.

It was supposed to be unveiled at the World Mobile Congress, but Samsung has provided a weak excuse about internal marketing policies that boil down to no Android until later in the year.

Kia Ora!