Posts Tagged ‘Android’
New numbers from Nielsen released on Thursday show that Android’s market share grew in July while the iOS share stayed relatively flat. One stat in particular from Nielsen stuck out: Among early adopters, 40 percent would opt for an Android device as their next purchase, while only 32 percent would go for an iPhone.
Since the early adopter crowd is the group most likely to cycle through devices quickly, this makes sense. Android handset makers usually don’t adhere to any hard-and-fast update schedule, and they often release multiple devices or iterations of the same device within a single calendar year. If what you’re after is the latest available tech, Android has the edge, regardless of whether or not the overall user experience of iOS is arguably better.
Of course, it helps that Android has around a dozen hardware partners in the U.S. alone offering a variety of devices across all major carriers, but even among that crowd, some single device makers are beginning to pull away from the field with aggressive hardware upgrade plans.
The best example is Samsung, which announced a new 5.3-inch smartphone on Thursday at the IFA 2011 European tech conference. The new Galaxy Note, as the monster phone is called, also has a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor under the hood, as well as a pressure-sensitive touchscreen that can be used with a stylus for accurate drawing, sketching and writing. The huge 5.3-inch display boasts an impressive 1280×800 resolution, on par with many netbooks. Bristling with new shiny bits, it’s an early adopter’s dream device.
The features mentioned above won’t appeal to all, because as Steve Jobs has rightly pointed out in the past, most consumers are after an overall experience, not a list of specs. But one group, namely the early adopter group, is very much focused on the list of specs, and Samsung is showing that you can do well by appealing to that level of interest.
Early adopters buy early and buy often. The nature of Android devices makes it more possible for those on the edge to stay there, no waiting required. Given the rise in popularity of smartphones, combined with a generation of device buyers that grew up using them, we might see more and more consumers comfortable with device updates that are much more frequent than once (or less) yearly.
Apple doesn’t adhere to a strict yearly schedule with its Mac releases; approximately every six to eight months, it introduces minor overhauls and spec bumps when new processor tech is made available to keep its machines more or less current in terms of specifications. Doing the same with an iPhone might make sense and attract the wandering gaze of customers focused firmly on the horizon of mobile tech.
The next Android vs iOS battle is shaping up between two challengers in the U.S.: The upcoming Samsung Galaxy S 2 and anticipated next iPhone model. What makes this interesting is that comparisons between the two platforms are generally looked upon differently, depending on which platform you support.
Apple’s iOS handset sales are mainly generated from from one new model per year, although older models also contribute. Android sales are derived from a vast number of different phones using Google’s platform.
The U.S. is poised, however, to see these two companies go head to head. It’s expected that Apple will announce and release a new iPhone in August or September. Samsung introduced the Galaxy S 2 in May, spreading availability to many countries outside of the U.S. and claims 5 million sales in just 85 days.
Several U.S. versions of the Galaxy S 2, varying by carrier, are likely to launch within the next month or two, including at least one for AT&T that may have a hardware keyboard. AT&T accounted for more than 17 percent of all iPhone sales last quarter, so that particular battleground should prove interesting.
While all U.S. carriers have embraced Android, AT&T publicly renewed its commitment to Google’s platform this week. The second largest carrier said it will offer Android 2.3, also known as Gingerbread, for all Android handsets it launched in 2011, starting with the Motorola Atrix 4G. Five other handsets already earned a spot on the upgrade list, including the Samsung Captivate, which is last year’s Galaxy S model for AT&T; an then-impressive alternative to Apple’s iPhone.
Also impressive are this year’s Android phones; many of which bring either a faster processor, improved user interface, or high-quality camera sensor. T-Mobile’s myTouch 4G Slide gains all three of these features and impressed me over a two-week review period.
At 6.5 ounces, the phone is heavier than most smartphones, but the main reason is due to the 4-row QWERTY keyboard that hides under the 3.7-inch display. A 1.2 GHz dual-core chip keeps the phone moving along quickly and the wide aperture 8 megapixel camera is paired with smart software that supports a fast burst mode, HDR images and wide panoramic views.
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Alibaba Group, one of the most powerful Chinese internet companies, is building its own mobile operating system, the Journal reports.
This is an unusual move for Alibaba, which is mostly an e-commerce destination. But if Amazon is building app stores…
The OS will be “cloud-based” with most applications in the cloud instead of having to be downloaded. And even though it will initially launched in China, Alibaba doesn’t rule out rolling it out elsewhere, the Journal’s source says.
It’s hard to overestimate how powerful Alibaba is, and how big and important the Chinese market is, so this is worth paying attention to.
Don’t Miss: These Asian Tech Companies Are Just Crushing Their US Competition →
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June 30, 2011
Apple iOS up, Android flat, RIM down among recent acquirers.
Smartphones continue to grow in popularity. According to Nielsen’s May survey of mobile consumers in the U.S., 38 percent now own smartphones. And 55 percent of those who purchased a new handset in the past three months reported buying a smartphone instead of a feature phone, up from 34 percent just a year ago.
Android continues to be the most popular smartphone operating system, with 38 percent of smartphone consumers owning Android devices. However, while Android also leads among those who recently purchased a new smartphone, it is the Apple iPhone that has shown the most growth in recent months.
A handful of Android devices this week became the first to gain access to Hulu Plus, a subscription-based service for online movies and television programs. The software is free, but most content on Hulu Plus is only accessible by paying a $7.99 monthly fee. Similar to Netflix, Hulu Plus is only available for small subset of Android phones during the initial rollout; likely due to testing each individual Android phone model to ensure it meets the appropriate Digital Rights Management (DRM) requirements.
For now, Hulu Plus is only supported on the Nexus One, Nexus S, HTC Inspire 4G, and three Motorola phones: the Droid 2, Droid X, and Atrix 4G. In a blog post announcing the new software, the folks at Hulu Plus said it “expects to add to the number of Android smartphones and will be making additional device announcements throughout the year.”
I have both a Nexus One and a trial subscription to Hulu Plus, so I gave the software a try earlier this week. I found it to work quite well, even over a 3G connection. The menus are intuitive and the video quality is on par with other high-quality video streaming services.
In other Android news related to video quality, Sony Ericsson announced two new smartphones that borrow from Sony’s high definition television technology. The Xperia Active and Xperia Ray both use the Bravia Mobile Engine to enhance video playback on their “Reality Displays”, bringing improved contrast, color management and noise reduction. Although I haven’t seen either of these phones yet — they aren’t due to arrive until the third quarter of 2011 — the video demonstration shows promise:
Aside from the display technology, Sony Ericsson is trying to differentiate the Active by ruggedizing it for exercise. The capacitive touch screen works even with water or sweat on the screen and can survive up to one meter in water for 30 minutes. Various sports tracking software applications are also pre-installed.
These models may help Sony Ericsson’s market share, but Android’s as a whole is showing some slowness; at least in the U.S. Earlier this week, Charlie Wolf, an analyst from Needham & Co., suggested that out that Android’s market share in the U.S. fell to 49.5 percent from 52.4 percent in the first quarter of 2011.
This marks the first decline for Android in any region of the world and is largely due to the Verizon iPhone, thinks Wolf. If true, it’s likely that Android’s market share will continue to be challenged this year as a new iPhone is expected for both Verizon and AT&T in September. In addition to new hardware, the iPhone’s software looks good too; even from an Android owner’s point of view.
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Android This Week: Samsung’s Galaxy; HTC Evo 3D joins Optimus 3D; better keyboard — Mobile Technology News
Thanks to its Android strategy, Samsung is quickly rising through the ranks and is soon expected to be the top smartphone seller in the world. The company will surpass Nokia to claim the no. 1 spot as early as this quarter due to a long-term plan that began with the Samsung Galaxy last June. Other Android device makers have reaped benefits too, but Samsung’s approach has been calculated and methodical.
Instead of building a wide range of Android devices, Samsung focused on one, the Galaxy S, and then tweaked it for different carriers and regions, saving on research & development, as well as manufacturing costs. The company also designs and builds its own processors, flash memory and displays, helping to eliminate reliance on component providers. Samsung also has its own media ecosystem for books, music and videos, plus it created a backup plan to Android: Phones running the company’s Bada operating system outsold Windows Phone 7 devices in the first quarter of this year.
Other Android phone makers are trying to replicate Samsung’s approach, but supplement it with new features that differentiate. Smartphones with 3-D video capabilities are appearing, helped in part by more capable chips, graphic processors and display technologies. But consumers don’t want to wear 3-D glasses to view this content and two handsets aim to deliver a glasses-free vision.
The LG Optimus 3D and HTC Evo 3D both use a stereoscopic display to show both pictures and videos in 3-D without glasses. LG demonstrated its 3-D Android phone in February and now says it’s rolling out in Europe. Here in the U.S., consumers will see the HTC Evo 3D on June 24. The phone, for Sprint’s 3G / WiMAX network, will cost $199 after contract, comes with Android 2.3.3, HTC Sense 3.0, and a pair of 5 megapixel cameras for capturing pictures or 720p video in 3-D. I took an early look at a review unit to demonstrate how the 3-D functionality works, which surprisingly, was impressive.
Also impressive to many is the Swype keyboard for Android, which now claims 50 million downloads. The unique input system allows you to trace your letters, making for quick text entry with just a single hand. Swype debuted the next version of its keyboard, 3.0, in a public beta this week and it just may have me switching keyboards on my smartphone. The new version includes a tap word prediction function and support for displays up to 960 x 540 resolution. Swype is adding support for Honeycomb tablets as well, allowing for the keyboard to be resized or moved on the larger display of a slate.
Related content from GigaOM Pro (subscription req’d):
- Mobile Q1: All Eyes on Tablets, T-Mobile and AT&T
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Starbucks is keeping up with its ever-growing tech-savvy customers and has rolled out an Android app that lets them pay for their beverages and other goods via their mobile device.
The mobile loyalty app lets consumers make in-store purchases as part of the company’s national program that is now available at nearly 6,800 company-operated stores. Starbucks released the iPhone version earlier this year.
“Yes, we’re seeing a steep increase in user adoption of the payments solution,” said Drew Sievers, cofounder/CEO of mFoundry, San Francisco.
“There is very stro
ng demand for the product,” he said.
Founded in 1971, Starbucks is a global roaster and retailer of specialty arabica coffee.
The coffee giant tapped mFoundry to power the application and mobile payment program.
How it works
Consumers can enter their Starbucks Card number in the mobile app.
Then, their device will display a bar code and customers can use their smartphone as a Starbucks Card to make purchases.
Starbucks customers can manage their Starbucks Card account, check their card balance, reload their card, check their My Starbucks Rewards status and find a nearby location via the mobile app.
Additionally, consumers can check their balance and track the stars they can earn toward free beverages.
Customers can also reload their balance and add additional money to the card. Read the whole story: Starbucks steps up mcommerce game via Android payment app – Mobile Commerce Daily – Applications.
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We’re not exactly sure what Verizon has planned for June 26, but we’ve been told that it has to do with new plans that could eventually lead to shared family data packages. We first heard about family data buckets back in May, so this wouldn’t be completely surprising, although it seems a little sooner than we had originally thought. The idea here is that family plans already allow additional lines to pull from a main line’s bucket of minutes, and doing the same with data only makes sense. As you can see from the screenshot above, this new data screen shows the option to “Share Data”, but also shows a “Family Share” tab which is where we are drawing these conclusions from.
We should note that there have been no indications that tiered plans are imminent and likely won’t be involved on the 26th, but it sure would be a lot easier for Verizon to sell them if they also offer new family data packages. And June 26 could come and go and we might not hear a word on any of this, since it almost appears to be just backend stuff. What you will want to look out for though, is the time after the 26th which could involve announcements on the future of Big Red plan structuring.
And hopefully that wasn’t too confusing, but we wanted to make sure to keep you all in the loop on this stuff. We know that tiers and data are always a hot topic.
*Note – IGNORE the numbers in that screenshot. The only thing we are trying to point out is the stuff we’ve highlighted in green boxes
Apple’s Going To Start Releasing New iPhones And iPads Every 6 Months To Compete With Android — Analyst
Apple is going to accelerate its iPhone and iPad release schedule to 2 upgrades a year to better compete with the onslaught of competitors, thinks Adnaan Ahmad of Berenberg Bank.
(To be clear: This is his speculation, not news.)
Ahmad also thinks Apple will soon release a “cheap” iPhone priced in the $300 range (before subsidies) to fight off cheaper competition.
[But wait--isn't the 3GS already priced in this range? It now sells for $50 after carrier subsidies with a two-year contract.]
Ahmad also thinks Apple’s new iCloud strategy will lead to another round of earnings estimate increases.
So why isn’t the stock going up?
Concerns about the company’s leadership in a post-Steve Jobs era, says Ahmad.
But he’s sticking with his $445 price target.
In other news, Ahmad thinks RIM, Nokia, and other formerly household names are totally screwed. RIM’s the new Nokia, he say
It seems like we keep hearing about new versions of Android malware every other day and Norton says that isn’t an accident. The bad guys are going to be increasingly focused on the mobile space and Android should be one of the largest targets.
Norton has multiple products for the mobile space, so it does have a financial interest to get people concerned about Android malware. The company does have a wealth of experience in the security field, so I’d take its claims at face value.
Norton said Android is going to be an attractive target for bad guys because it fits the characteristics of a platform that will be targeted by cyber-criminals: it’s open, ubiquitous and monetizable. It’s open in the sense that there are plenty of documentation out there on the platform and it can be used to have apps modify it. If it’s not ubiquitous yet, it will be soon and it is increasingly being use for actions that can be monetized.
The security company said that we could see a rise in Android malware in multiple ways, including premium billing rates, spyware, search engine poisoning, adware, pay-per installs and more. We saw an example or how you an trojanize an app and it was a stunningly-simple process: You can save an app to your computer, run an off-the-shelf tool with a command line prompt that will decompile it, add the malicious code, adjust the manifest, recompile it and then you’re ready to submit your trojan app to the Android Market.
Google doesn’t really curate the Android Market, so this app could have the same icons as a legitimate app without much repercussion. Google has been good about killing apps once they’re discovered to be malicious but as we see a rise in legitimate third-party app stores like the Amazon App Store, consumers could be faced with more avenues for attack.