Monday, April 30, 2012

Half of all Android tablets sold are Amazon's Kindle Fire

Everyone’s busy talking about iPads dominating the tablet market shares, while there has been hardly any competition from Android tablets. Off late, however, Apple’s hold over the tablet market has been loosening and it has probably got something to do with the success of Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet. According to a report by Comscore, Amazon’s Kindle Fire now accounts for 54 percent of the Android tablet U.S market share, to be followed by Samsung’s Galaxy Tab family of tablets at a mere 15.4 percent, in comparison. The Kindle Fire’s market share went up by close to two times in just two months. Motorola’s Xoom and Asus’ Transformer tablets made up the third and fourth place respectively. All other manufacturers made up for tiny market shares in comparison to the rest.Being put in stores
Leading the Android tablet market

There’s also an interesting trend in the U.S where majority of the users accessed the web using 10-inch tablets. Looks like the trend here is - larger the screen, the more you’re likely to browse the web. The 10-inch tablet category has been dominated by the iPads, while the 7-inch tablets is dominated by the Kindle Fire. If Amazon’s Kindle Fire continues this way, there’s likely to be bigger shift in market shares. Amazon is already said to be working on three new models. While the Kindle Fire was an affordable 7-inch tablet, one of the three new models is said to be based on a 1920x1080 panel on a 8.9-inch display. This kind of resolution makes it very similar to the new iPad. Of course, this high-end model is unlikely to be priced at anywhere close to the existing Kindle Fire, but even if it’s placed somewhere between it and the new iPad, it’s likely to see a lot of buyers.

With no official announcement, an expected date or pricing, it’s too early to say how well it’ll do. One thing’s for sure though, if any other companies want to make a mark in the Android tablet space, there are lessons to be learnt from Amazon.

Sony out with Android 4.0 ICS update for Tablet S

Sony launched ice cream sandwich 4.0 update for his tablet S which will be available in U.S but also in other countries in few days
The next time you connect to Wi-Fi, your Sony Tablet S should prompt you to do a system update, just click OK to download, and in a few minutes you should be ready to go on Android 4.0,” Sony said in a blog post.
The ICS upgrade adds a range of new features such as new home screen actions, access to Google's Chrome Web browser and a range of new camera and video options. The upgrade also includes a face unlock, small apps such as calculator, browser and remote control for multi-tasking and direct access to files from SD Card.
The announcement, however, gives no indication whether Sony's Tablet P will get the ICS update. It is being rumoured that the Tablet P will not be receiving the ICS update.
Sony recently started rolling out the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade for its 2011 Xperia smartphones. The upgrade will be initially available for the Sony Xperia Arc S, Xperia Neo V and Xperia Ray devices. Update for rest of the 2011 Xperia devices will be rolled out in May/June. According to recent reports, a number of Xperia users in India have confirmed receiving the update.


Five Best Android Phones


Often referred to as a "phablet" because of its included stylus and massive 5.3" Super AMOLED display, the Samsung Galaxy Note (AT&T, $299 w/contract) is huge, but many of you praised it for blending the portability of a phone with some desperately needed tablet-like real estate. The 8MP and 2MP rear and front-side cameras and 1.4GHz dual core processor don't hurt matters either, and while it's definitely not the right size for everyone, those of you who have one love it, and others are looking forward to its release on other carriers. Plus, even though the Galaxy Note ships with Android 2.3 Gingerbread pre-installed, there are plenty of ROMs available to bring it up to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, or just replace Samsung's TouchWiz interface entirely.

HTC One  X/S

Five Best Android PhonesThe HTC One series is HTC's most recent attempt to recreate itself, not that the company really needed to—most people who have used HTC devices love them, and the HTC One X and One S are no exceptions to the rule. The One X (AT&T, $199 w/contract) is HTC's new flagship phone, sporting a 4.7" screen, a quad-core NVidia Tegra 3 (internationally) or a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon (US/Canada) processor, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (with HTC's Sense UI on top), built-in Beats Audio, and an 8MP rear camera with a 1.3MP front-facing camera. The HTC One S (T-Mobile, $189 w/contract) on the other hand is a slightly smaller 4.3" screen, a 1.5Ghz dual core processor, 8MP rear and VGA front cameras, Beats audio, and Ice Cream Sandwich. Both devices are slim, powerhouse devices designed to bring Android lovers' focus back to a select group of high-end HTC devices, instead of the dozen-plus ones HTC has released in the past. So far, it's working.

Samsung Galaxy S /S II 

Five Best Android PhonesThe Samsung Galaxy S series of devices are some of the most popular smartphones in the world, and even though Samsung and Apple are embroiled in a patent lawsuit over exactly how similar the Galaxy S is to the iPhone (and vice versa), that hasn't stopped the Galaxy S and the Galaxy S II from selling millions of units worldwide. The Galaxy S was one of the first dual-core Android smartphones, and definitely one of the first to feature Samsung's new (at the time) Super AMOLED display, offering bright and crisp colors even in bright light. It's still available for a song depending on the carrier you pick it up from (in the US, it was sold under the name Vibrant (T-Mobile), Captivate (AT&T), Fascinate (Verizon Wireless), and Epic (Sprint) in both 3G and 4G variants.) History aside, the Samsung Galaxy S II is the company's current model and features a 4.3" Super AMOLED display, a 1.2GHz dual core processor, and while it shipped with Android 2.3, most carriers have been slowly rolling out updates to bring the device up to Android 4.0. Pricing varies depending on the carrier and variant you pick up, but one thing is certain: when it was launched, most people considered the Galaxy S II the best Android smartphone—if not the best smartphone—available on the market, which makes the furor over the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S III that much louder.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Kindle Fire dominates US Android tablet sales

Never underestimate the power of a cheap, well-marketed tablet like Amazon's Kindle Fire. According to Comscore, the Kindle Fire accounts for 54.4 percent of Android tablets sold in the United States.
No other Android tablet comes close in Comscore's figures. Samsung's entire Galaxy Tab lineup only has 15.4 percent of the Android market. Motorola's Xoom -- the first Android tablet on the market -- has only a 7 percent share.
But the numbers are skewed for one big reason: Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet and Nook Color are omitted from the measurements. Comscore considers those Nooks to be e-readers, not tablets -- even though they run apps, browse the Web, and play music and video on full color displays, just like the Kindle Fire.
Barnes & Noble would likely capture a sizable share if its slate was included. Before the Kindle Fire launched last year, the Nook Color was thesecond best-selling tablet on the market, behind Apple's iPad.
In any case, Comscore's numbers confirm what most tech watchers already assumed: Android tablets owe most of their success to the Kindle Fire and presumably the Nook tablets, which use heavily modified versions of open-source Android. Their interfaces are designed around simple media consumption, and their pricing starts at just $200, making them safe, low-budget alternatives to the iPad. A study from January found that Android's tablet share tripled to 39 percent in the fourth quarter, when Amazon and Barnes & Noble launched their tablets.
The success of the Kindle Fire and Nook tablets likely vexes Google, because its own app store and content services aren't available on those devices. Google is now trying to bolster its own ecosystem by re-branding it as "Google Play," and will likely launch its own low-cost, 7-inch tabletthis year.
That may be Google's best hope at gaining ground, because no Android tablet that's taking on the iPad directly is getting any traction.

Google has lost control of Android

There was great news on the Android front this week. Samsung reported blow-out earnings, with smartphones -- the majority running Android -- accounting for nearly three-quarters of profits. Meanwhile comScore data spotlights the growing US Android tablet market. Additionally, Google started selling Galaxy Nexus direct, with no carrier contract, for $399. But all three share something in common -- what they foreshadow. Google has lost control of Android, and must swiftly act to regain it.
Forrester Research predicts that proprietary Android will surpass the Google Android ecosystem by 2015. Stated differently, Google's open-source mobile platform risks fracturing into multiple fatally fragmented Android ecosystems. Not one but many. There is little time for Google to demonstrate decisive leadership that can keep the ecosystem largely intact.

Burning Platform
Only a miraculous Google I/O developer conference can take back Android, but challenges remain. Big ones. Google's problem: Two partners are overwhelming successful, while the majority limp along, and one hurts the entire Android ecosystem. Apple is now the least of concerns. Putting Amazon and Samsung in their place is more important.
In February 2011, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop wrongly called Symbian (and Meego, too) a "burning platform". The term better applies to Android on tablets, where Amazon's Kindle Fire is in process of burning down the ecosystem. I've repeatedly warned this could happen. In December, I explained how Google's forthcoming tablet would be a year too late, as Amazon fills the leadership vacuum left by the search and information giant. In March, I focused on the Amazon problem in context of the broader Android platform. Earlier this month, I explained that, contrary to some popular punditry,Google's forthcoming tablet is more about Amazon than Apple.
comScore data released Thursday deeply troubles any future Android ecosystem analysis. Amazon started selling Kindle Fire in mid November. By end of December, the tablet already had captured 29.4 percent US share, putting it head of the Galaxy Tab family (23.8 percent). Over the following two months, Kindle Fire took sales from every other Android tablet, ending February with stunning 54.4 percent market share. Tab family ranked second followed by Motorola XOOM, with 15.4 percent and 7 percent share, respectively.
Other numbers also forebode. During fourth quarter, Android tablet share reached 44.6 percent, up from 32.3 percent three months earlier, according to IDC. Kindle Fire largely accounted for overall Android share gains. Looked at differently, two tablet makers, Amazon and Apple, accounted for 71.5 percent of shipments. Stated another way, the majority of tablets shipped during fourth quarter run iOS and Amazon Android.
I make an important distinction, because Amazon has largely customized Android, right down to the web browser and offers its own app store. The retailer is building its own ecosystem separate from the larger one Google leads. Amazon's objectives are contrary to Google's. For example, if I type the web address to Google Play into the Silk browser on my wife's Kindle Fire, Amazon's Android app store opens instead. On other Android tablets, Google Play is default but there is option to sideload from other stores, including Amazon's.
Kindle Fire's continued success is good for driving up Android shipments against iPad, but it's bad broadly, coming at the expense of the larger Android ecosystem.
"The Barnes & Noble Nook tablets are another example of proprietary Android tablets, which don’t support all Android functionality and thus according to Google cannot be labeled an Android device," Forrester analyst Frank Gillette writes in report "Tablets Will Rule The Future Personal Computing Landscape ", which published this week. . "The popularity of these content-driven devices will cause proprietary Android share to surpass the installed base of Google’s Android ecosystem in 2015. This further fragmentation will challenge Android developers, customers, and especially enterprises, and hamper the creation of a shared ecosystem". (See Forrester Research chart directly below.)
Blueprint for Imitators
Amazon's success is blueprint for other Android licensees, particularly as tablets spread across the planet. Forrester Research sees tablets displacing and eventually replacing PCs, with iPad market leader in most geographies, including China, for at least four more years. Tablet shipment compound annual growth rate will be 46 percent through 2016, when global number will reach 375 million, up from 56 million last year. The analyst firm predicts install base of 760 million tablets, compared to 2 billion PCs.
"Forrester believes that emerging markets will account for 40 percent of tablets sold in 2016, and that Apple will do well in these markets due to strong product and brand appeal", Gillette observes. "Despite Android plays from low-price local vendors such as eBen, as well as the retail footprint of Lenovo, Apple market share in China will remain above the global average. Even in 2011, 17 percent of metropolitan Chinese online adults 18 and older reported owning a tablet, versus 11 percent of US online adults".
What that means: There will be as much, if not more, competition among Android tablet makers than with Apple. That's good for customer choice but risks fracturing Android into multiple ecosystems. Microsoft prevented this with Windows by, for years, limiting how much OEMs can customize the operating system. Android's open-source license, and Google's listless leadership, allows OEMs incredible freedom, and perhaps too much.
Amazon uses that freedom wisely, as do other tablet makers -- and even more so smartphone OEMs (more on that in next section). Unlike other Android tablet manufacturers, Amazon takes complete control over the entire stack. Kindle Fire features the aforementioned Amazon-customized version of Android 2.x, its own Android app store, music and movie stores, ebook store, web browser and customized media consumption software and services. Sony is closest, followed by Samsung, among Android tablet manufacturers.
Amazon is creating a curated experience that matches Apple's and, in some respects, exceeds it. Consumers can buy Kindle books for Fire, but read them on their iPhone, Android handset or other device. Amazon allows movies and music on Kindle Fire or other devices. From Apple it's just devices supporting iTunes Store. People buying into the Amazon lifestyle get Kindle Fire plus something else. That's an added benefit not available from Apple or other Android tablet vendors -- okay, Sony is closest.
Amazon prioritizes features and pricing that matter for living one digital lifestyle around its cloud-connected services, rather than offering the latest, hardware and software. Like Apple, Amazon offers a stack of content and services. Kindle Fire isn't about techie features but a digital lifestyle around Amazon products and services.
Other OEMs are sure to imitate Amazon's success, which really copies Apple's, by doing much more than just skin Android, as Samsung does today on tablets and smartphones with TouchWiz UI. Samsung, not Google dictates, the Galaxy Tab user experience. Not surprisingly, many users upgrading Galaxy Tab 10.1 to Android 4.0 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich) can't much tell the difference, because TouchWiz UI is so pervasive. Samsung also offers a curated experience, just not as deep or as leveraged (because of as Kindle Fire.
Samsung's huge success with Galaxy Note, first on smartphones and potentially tablets, is foundation for yet another vertical Android platform, with customized apps and competing ecosystem. That's great for competition and customer choice, but not necessarily good for Android.
A Galaxy Far, Far Away
Still, Samsung is a bit player in the tablet market compared to Amazon and Apple -- even with first-to-market advantage over Kindle Fire. But in phones, Samsung is king. During first quarter, the South Korean electronics giant broke Nokia's 14 year reign as global handset market share leader, according to IHS iSuppli and Strategy Analytics. The latter firm puts Samsung ahead of Apple in smartphone shipments -- 44.5 million to 35.1 million.
Samsung offers three operating systems -- Android, homegrown Bada and Windows Phone. The majority of Samsung smartphones ship with Android, customized with TouchWiz UI, and led by Galaxy S II variants' stunning sales success. Next week, Samsung plans to launch its next flagship smartphone in London, presumably further outclassing iPhone 4S.
Like tablets, Samsung, not Google, controls the user experience on all but the Nexus series smartphones. At least Samsung adopts the newest Android eventually, unlike Amazon, but TouchWiz skinned. So those international Galaxy S II owners lucky enough to get Ice Cream Sandwich upgrades won't see much of it behind Samsung's skin.
Samsung does make Galaxy Nexus for Google, but shipments aren't great -- nor broader upgrades from this and other OEMs. According to official Google states, just 2.9 percent of Android devices, including tablets, ran ICS on April 2nd.
Updating is where Google's Android control is weakest, and where the company lacks leverage to offer uniform experience across devices or to assure they have the latest OS version. Verizon is shocking example of what's wrong. The nation's largest carrier started selling Galaxy Nexus in December, but has since fallen behind updating what's supposed to be a "pure Google" phone. The moniker refers to Android without alteration, and also promise of frequent and fast upgrades. Verizon Galaxy Nexus owners aren't getting them, unlike users of the HSPA+ international models.
This week, Google engineer Jean-Baptiste Queru put doubts to rest  about who's to blame: "The part that blows my mind is that some variants of the Google-engineered flagship devices still haven't received Ice Cream Sandwich (or are stuck with older versions of Ice Cream Sandwich) because of delays introduced by operator approvals".
Samsung isn't exactly rushing either, based on Android 4.0 update schedules released this week -- nor HTC and  Motorola. Samsung and HTC have little incentive, as they get more benefits from skinning Gingerbread and using that, additional apps and cloud services to differentiate phones between them, among other Android licensees and from iPhone.
Google Play to Win
Android 4.0 is many ways classier than iOS 5. ICS feels more fluid and modern, but few people get to experience it. What's that saying about a tree falling in the forest? Few people can appreciate Google's good work or ICS advantages if they can't get it, or if they do, have a skinned experience. Google is right to sell Galaxy Nexus direct, particularly with Verizon shunning updates and limited carrier adoption (here in the United States, no AT&T or T-Mobile).
Punditry fills the InterWebs about Android fragmentation. The problem is bigger: Platform fracturing into competing ecosystems. That's a scenario Google should seek to prevent, but the success of Amazon and Samsung push that direction.
Google could take full control of Android, by not releasing future versions to open source and changing licensing terms. The logic: Android is too big to fail, that OEMs would have no other choice but align their customized platforms with the broader Android ecosystem. But so doing also risks alienating Android licensees willing to go elsewhere. For example, Google wouldn't want to lose Samsung, which can fall back on Bada and Windows Phone.
I see the search and information giant moving down another path, and it's perhaps riskiest of all but with the biggest potential payoff. It's what the company should have done long ago. Renaming Android Market to Google Play, Ice Cream Sandwich's tighter ties to broader Google services -- G+ among them -- and greater cross-integration of cloud and search services, with social as center, is part of a larger, rebranding effort. What Amazon does right, like Apple, Google seeks to do: Sell a digital lifestyle.
All roads lead to a heavily branded, Google lifestyle around, search, social and mobile that's good for the company and the broader Android ecosystem. Another piece in place: Google Drive launched earlier this week, and the service is clearly primed for tablets.
Like Amazon and Apple, Google also increasingly offers a curated experience. Galaxy Nexus feels like an end-to-end device, even though Samsung makes the hardware. Now that Google owns Motorola Mobility the next Nexus phone may be homegrown. Certainly the Nexus tablet should be, whether or not it is.
Google may not unite the overall Android ecosystem but at least provide a place for the smaller licensees and swath of other partners to find stability -- even if Amazon and the like offer fractured platforms.
If CEO Larry Page and his top managers have any sense, Google will pull the digital lifestyle push together for the I/O developer conference in June. Already, some marketing is in place and really appeals, such as TV commercials for Chrome and Google Plus. What I'd really like to see for I/O:
  • Nexus tablet
  • Chrome 1.0 for Android
  • Chrome beta for iPad and iPhone
  • Android 5.0 preview for "pure Google" devices
  • Smartphone trade-in program, for unlocked, Galaxy Nexus -- for, say, $199
  • Co-marketing program for carriers and OEMs offering newsiest Android version
There is plenty more Google could do to excite developers and other partners, and lift the market to the newest Android version and in process take control by demonstrating more leadership. If not, Android's biggest enemy won't be iOS, but itself.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Android platform developer: five-month wait for OS update is "reasonable"

Sony recently updated its Tablet S product from Android 3 to Android 4. The latest version of Android, codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), was released in November. According to Jean-Baptiste Queru, an Android platform engineer at Google, the five-month wait is “very reasonable,” in light of the complexity involved in moving from Honeycomb to ICS.
Queru also acknowledged that Google has yet to roll out the ICS update to some variants of its own flagship Nexus device. He attributed the issue to delays caused by the network operator approval process. The remarks, which were posted  on Google+, have drawn scrutiny from Android enthusiasts and developers who are concerned about Android version fragmentation and the lack of predictable update availability in the Android ecosystem.
At Google I/O last year, Google’s Andy Rubin announced a new initiative to streamline the update process. The search giant said it would collaborate with handset manufacturers and mobile carriers to come up with a strategy for making Android updates more timely and predictable.
At the time, Rubin said that the effort was still at an exploratory stage and that it hadn’t produced any actual solutions yet. Google hasn’t issued any further remarks on the status of the update initiative. The update situation arguably hasn’t improved much  since that announcement.
Ultimately, there might not be much that Google can do to address the issue. Critics of the Android update model often compare it to Apple’s approach with iOS, where new versions of the operating system are rolled out to old devices at the same time that they launch on new devices.
Apple has a much smaller range of devices to contend with, however, compared to the breadth of the Android ecosystem, which has a more diverse spectrum of hardware. It’s worth noting that Microsoft has alsoencountered update difficulties with its own Windows Phone operating system.
One thing that Google could do to help simplify the process is to start developing Android in the open instead of developing it behind closed doors and doing a code drop for each major release. Easier access to the code while it’s in development would allow handset makers to do continuous integration and give them a head start on addressing challenges they need to overcome to align their own customizations with new versions of the platform.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Google Phone That Never Was

The Google Phone, as the company's Android phone prototype was called in November 2006, looks primitive by today's standards, but it was competitive at the time. The $199 device was to have run on T-Mobile's network and featured a $10 per month unlimited data plan for Internet browsing, Gmail, and messaging.
Trial Exhibit 387: Industrial Design Concept
The phone was expected to include a 200MHz or better ARM 9 chip, with GSM EGPRS baseband or possibly WCDMA. The design called for at least 64MB RAM and 64MB ROM, with external storage, a 16-bit color or better QVGA TFT LCD display, navigation keys, a 2MP CMOS camera, USB interface and Bluetooth 1.2 or 2.0.
Then Apple unveiled its iPhone on January 9, 2007 and it was back to the drawing board. The result was the T-Mobile G1, introduced in October 2008.

The Google Phone that never was showed up as evidence in Oracle's copyright and patent infringement lawsuit against Google. Oracle claims that Google copied its proprietary Java APIs to create Android. Google has admitted that a few lines of the Java APIs are present in Android but it insists any copying that occurred was a mistake, is trivial, and is defensible as fair use. Google further asserts that APIs aren't subject to copyright.
The Oracle v. Google trial continued on Thursday, with former Sun CEOs Jonathan Schwartz and Scott McNealy each taking a turn on the witness stand. Schwartz's testimony generally supported Google's arguments and McNealy's generally supported Oracle's.
The evidence obtained by Oracle via legal discovery and entered into the court record confirms that Google has struggled to match the Apple's iOS results with Android. For example, Google in 2010 predicted that its 5% share of Android app revenue in 2011 would come to $14.5 million. That would put the total app revenue projection for the year at $290 million, of which 70% or $203 million would go to Android developers. During 2011, Apple paid its developers about $2 billion.
Google's expectations about the ratio of paid apps to free apps downloaded by Android users is striking: While it's widely known that a greater number of the apps downloaded by Android users are free compared to the apps downloaded by iOS users, what's surprising is that Google expects a mere 1% of Android apps to be paid. A report last year suggested that 88% of gaming apps downloaded on iOS are free, which would make 12% paid. Google's internal projections from 2010 expected 99% of Android app downloads to be free in 2012, noting that this "conservative estimate" of 1% paid apps was far from Apple's 25% paid app figure.
But the documents also show that Android is a source of real revenue for Google. The company projected it would make $240.3 million on Android in 2010 and $840.2 million in 2012. Google believed it could make at least $1.3 billion in gross revenue from Android in 2013, or $800 million in net revenue, and possibly much more.
In fact, Android has been exceeding Google's expectations in terms of adoption. In mid-2010, the company expected there would be 145 million Android phones activated by the end of 2011. In Q3 2011, Google reported that over 190 million Android phones had been activated. By the end of 2011, Asymco estimated that between 224 and 253 million Android devices had been activated.

Google Engineer Blames Wireless Carriers for Wait on Android OS Updates for Nexus Smartphones

The honeymoon between Google and wireless carriers appears to be over.
Following Google's decision to once again sell unlocked smartphones directly to consumers, a lead Android engineer used Google+ to vent frustrations about the Android update process, even for Nexus devices that are supposed to receive new software early and often.
Jean-Baptiste Queru , the lead engineer on Google's Android Open Source Project, placed the blame squarely on wireless carriers, as Computerworld pointed out :
“The part that blows my mind is that some variants of the Google-engineered flagship devices still haven't received Ice Cream Sandwich (or are stuck with older versions of Ice Cream Sandwich) because of delays introduced by operator approvals,” Queru wrote. “I'm very glad that Google is back in the business of selling phones directly without any middlemen to interfere, and I'll be even happier when I see that program expanded to more countries.”
In the United States, Sprint's Nexus S finally received Android 4.0 in early April--four months after the roll out began for the GSM/UMTS version of the phone that launched on T-Mobile. Owners of the Motorola Xoom 3G/4G are still waiting for the latest version of Android, three months after the Wi-Fi version received the update. And although the unlocked Galaxy Nexus now runs Android 4.0.4, owners of the Verizon variant are still stuck on version 4.0.1.
“Writing the software doesn't mean that Google can deploy it immediately, there are operator approvals for devices that are sold and/or supported by operators,” Queru wrote.
Wireless carriers aren't solely to blame for slowing down the update process. Differences in chipsets and radio bands can also introduce delays, Christy Wyatt, Motorola's senior vice president and general manager of enterprise business, told PCMag  in February.
Still, the Nexus model is, in theory, supposed to allow for faster updates, because Google retains control over the software. Apparently that's not always the case anymore. The same carrier approval process that slows the delivery of vital bug fixes for non-Nexus phones seems to be affecting Google's Nexus devices as well.
The lag by wireless carriers in delivering updates may have influenced Google's decision to start selling the unlocked Galaxy Nexus directly for just $400. As Google Android boss Andy Rubin wrote in a blog post , the company originally started the Nexus program two years ago “to give you a pure Google experience and access to the latest Android updates.” Bypassing wireless carriers may be the only way to make sure the updates keep flowing.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Has Android hit a peak?

The rise of the Android platform for mobile phones and tablets has been incredible. But there are signs that Android is slowing down as Apple (AAPL +8.87% ) continues to explode.

Raymond James analyst Tavis McCourt combed through the first-quarter financial reports from Sprint (S -1.62% ), Verizon (VZ -0.05% ) and AT&T (T +0.06% ), and found that Apple nabbed 59% of the U.S. smartphone market. That's up from 36% a year ago, Forbes writes .

And get this: The non-iPhone sell-through appeared to drop 38% from a year earlier compared with a 55% rise for iPhone sell-through.

It's enough to make McCourt wonder if we're seeing the end of the U.S. growth of the Android operating system, which is made by Google (GOOG +1.41% ). "So here's a thought," he writes in a note obtained by Forbes. "Could it be the case that Google's share of the smartphone market has peaked?"

The following video has more information about Apple's blowout quarter.
Perhaps phone buyers are starting to prefer Apple's seamless, integrated approach over the "cacophony" of the Android market, McCourt adds. Cacophony is a good word. Mashable noted  in January that there were five different versions of Android on various devices. Android is used in everything from small gadgets to television sets. And device makers are branching their own versions of Android.

All those versions just make life harder for software developers.

Investors are still reeling from the monster quarter Apple reported Tuesday, one largely driven by iPhone sales. Apple sold 35 million iPhones in the first three months of this year, nearly twice as many as it did a year earlier. Profit nearly doubled to $11.6 billion.

It was all enough to make McCourt wonder if the competition is essentially over. "Could it, in fact, be the case that, while Google and Microsoft can innovate and find niche markets for their mobile OS offerings, that Apple has basically won the game, at least for the U.S. market?" he writes.

We may be seeing some similarities on a global scale as well. Android had 50.9% of the global smartphone market in the fourth quarter, Gartner reports . But that was down from just under 53% in the previous quarter.

You could say that smartphone users were still deep into the iPhone 4S upgrade cycle in the first quarter, and that Apple's momentum will slow. But the next iPhone, thought to be iPhone 5, is likely headed for an October launch.

By the way, one of the first mobile companies to embrace Android, HTC, now says  it has probably lost its hold on the U.S. market permanently. The threat from the iPhone has just been too intense to beat back. HTC is now going to focus on Asia and Europe.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

sony Mobile in India launches Android 4.0 update

Sony Mobile India has started rolling out Android 4.0 update for select devices in the country. These devices include arc S, neo V and Ray from company's Xperia series. Consumers will have to use the PC Companion or Sony Bridge for MAC software on their computers to upgrade the device.Sony is the second manufacturer to start the Ice Cream Sandwich update process for its smartphones in India; earlier Samsung released Android 4.0 for the Nexus S phone. Majority of Android consumers in the country are still waiting for the updates, including the owners for popular smartphones like Samsung Galaxy S II, Galaxy Note and Motorola RAZR.
The Ice Cream Sandwich update for Xperia phones brings new lock-screen, smart dialer, resizable widget, face unlock, new task switcher, and performance improvements.
Other smartphones in the Xperia series - Xperia arc, Xperia Play, Xperia neo, Xperia mini, Xperia mini pro, Xperia pro, Xperia active and Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman are scheduled to get the update at the end of May or early June.

Google Drive for PC, Mac, Android officially only

Better late than never

On Tuesday,the biggest company:
Google has just officially pulled the wraps off Google Drive, their own take on cloud storage solution. Google Drive is available to anyone with a Google account and to start off with, you get 5GB of storage free of cost. Google Docs has also been integrated into Google Drive allowing you to share, edit and access all your Office documents and PDFs in real time. The main purpose of Google drive however, just like Dropbox,, SugarSync, etc. is that it gives you a one stop shop for all your personal files, be it photos, video, music or just about anything else. Google Drive is currently available for PC, Mac and Android although iOS users will have to wait just a little bit longer for the app. Now, even though Google's made it official, the service is still being setup so not everyone has access to Drive just yet. You can still download the app from the Play Store, although you’ll be greeted with this message, “Your Google Drive is not ready yet”. 

While 5GB is enough for most people, you do have the option to increase the storage space to 25GB for a monthly fee of $2.49, 100GB for 4.99 a month or 1TB for $49.99 a month. Along with the announcement of Drive, Google will also be giving a little treat to Gmail users in the form of more storage space which bumps up your account to 10GB from the existing 7.5GB.,definitely you are going to love this new generation's GOOGLE DRIVE ,but sorry for ios users currently

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


In the US region Samsung company confirms upgradation of following mobiles for ice cream sandwich 4.0 :

For AT&T, the new Samsung list of ICS upgrades includes the Galaxy S II, Galaxy S II Skyrocket, Galaxy Note, Captivate Glide, Nexus S and Galaxy Tab 8.9.
For Verizon Wireless, the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 7.7 are on Samsung's list for ICS.
For Sprint, the Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch is listed for an ICS upgrade, with a note that ICS is already available for Nexus S 4G,
Samsung also listed ICS upgrades for its Wi-Fi-only Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus Wi-Fi, Galaxy Tab 8.9 Wi-Fi and Galaxy Tab 10.1 Wi-Fi.


Here is a sampling of complaints we found in various online forums about Android phone OS updates gone wrong:
  • Some HTC Droid Incredible users encountered problems with Android 2.3.4, including battery drain, memory shortages, and deleted contacts.
  • major slowdown in 2D graphics plagued the original Motorola Droid after an update to Android 2.1.
  • An update for the Samsung Fascinate caused random shutdowns for some users.
  • Some HTC Desire S users on T-Mobile reported signal loss after an update to Android 2.3.5 with Sense 3.0.
  • Users of HTC's Evo 4G reported internal memory leaks after updating to Android 2.3.
  • Some overseas users of HTC’s Incredible S had trouble receiving text messages in a timely manner with Android 2.3.3.
  • In a huge thread on Google’s support forums, users complain that voice search randomly starts up on its own with Android 2.3.3 and Android 2.3.4 on Samsung’s Nexus S.
  • Users of the unlocked Galaxy Nexus have reported signal-loss problems with Android 4.0.4.
  • Why Android Update Problems Happen

    No software platform is completely bug-free. Given the sheer amount of code involved, and the need to update that code to stay competitive, glitches are inevitable with any operating system. (Users of Apple’s iPhone 3G, for instance, reported sluggish performance after updating to iOS 4, a problem that took Apple more than three months to fix. Some owners of the iPhone 4 have also complained about performance issues with iOS 5.)
    Android, however, has two particular factors working against it. First, unlike iOS, which is designed for one kind of smartphone, Android must accommodate a wide variety of phone models, with potentially different screen sizes, screen resolutions, processors, RAM, storage capacities, and other specs.
    The Android Update TrapSecond, wireless carriers and phone makers tend to modify Android with their own user interfaces and software, complicating the issue. The companies enjoy much more latitude with Android than they do with the iPhone or with Windows Phone, so features found on one Android phone--such as Motorola’s battery-saving Smart Actions or HTC’s Sense widgets--may not be present on another. Although such tweaks can improve the user experience, they also put an extra burden on phone makers and wireless carriers to try to keep the software running smoothly.
    PCWorld spoke with members of XDA-Developers, a community of hackers who modify the Android software for their own phones--and who often work to undo the damage that bad updates cause. Several of these developers say that when phone makers and wireless carriers meddle with Android, they risk wreaking havoc on users’ phones, even if those phones haven’t been rooted or modified in any way.
    “From what I have seen, and from talking to other users and developers, a lot of the problems that users have come from the customizations that the carriers want to put into the ROM,” says Mark Dietz, an XDA-Developers member who specializes in Samsung hardware. Carriers tend to preload their phones with software that users can’t remove (known as “bloatware”), as well as other monitoring software that can introduce bugs, Dietz says.
    Another developer, who uses the screen name “attn1,” agrees that companies’ modifications to Android can lead to more bugs. Phone makers are under pressure to develop and update their software quickly, says attn1 (who answered questions by email but declined to give a real name), and as a result the companies may take shortcuts, such as using deprecated APIs or performing inadequate testing.


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