As The Age Of Android Begins, Symbian Cries In The Dark

androidcanalys 490x305 As The Age Of Android Begins, Symbian Cries In The Dark

After dominating North America in spite of iOS, Android has supplanted another mobile OS giant in order to steal the crown as the king of the mobile verse.

Canalys today published its final Q4 2010 global country-level smart phone market data, which revealed that Google’s Android has become the leading platform. Shipments of Android-based smart phones reached 32.9 million, while devices running Nokia’s Symbian platform trailed slightly at 31.0 million worldwide. But Nokia did retain its position as the leading global smart phone vendor, with a share of 28%. [...]

In Q4 2010, volumes of Google OS-based smart phones (Android, OMS and Tapas) were again boosted by strong performances from a number of vendors, notably LG, Samsung, Acer and HTC, whose volumes across these platforms grew 4,127%, 1,474%, 709% and 371% respectively year-on-year. HTC and Samsung together accounted for nearly 45% of Google OS-based handset shipments. (Canalys Research)

While this is great news for Google, Canalys analysis of the North American market remains mixed, as they suspect that the upcoming Verizon iPhone may slow down Android’s advance in the US.

Although it’s probably inevitable that Android’s dominance is too great for even Steve Jobs to thwart, Google’s mobile OS has yet to become a hit amongst the premium app crowd.

Unless something catastrophic happens to Android (i.e. Oracle wins their lawsuit against Google), we will probably see a future in which the majority of phones are powered by Android, with other players (iOS, Bada, Windows Phone, etc.) fighting for the scraps on the side.

(Hat Tip: Android Central)

Google: Are You Ready For The Next Evolution Of Android?

androidhoneycomb Google: Are You Ready For The Next Evolution Of Android?With half the geek world straining to analyze cryptic details regarding iPad 2.0, Google is preparing to show case the next generation of Android (dubbed Honeycomb according to Google).

Not content with merely releasing the Android 3.0 SDK, Google’s invited a smattering of press to its Mountain View campus on Feb. 2 for a closer look at Honeycomb. Didn’t get your invite? That’s OK, because the entire shindig’s going to be streamed atYouTube.com/android. (Android Central)

Although numerous Android tablets exist already, most of them are running a customized version of Android that was designed primarily for smartphones, not a larger touch screen device.

While Google’s mobile OS isn’t as impressive as webOS in my honest opinion, Android does have a greater developer community which could be Google’s key towards challenging iOS for the tablet crown.

It will be interesting to see if Android tablets running Honeycomb in 2011 will be able to slow down Apple’s momentum (similar to how Android has slowed down the iPhone’s momentum).

Unlike last year however Google may face stronger competition from rivals like the upcoming HP Topaz (sporting webOS) as well as the Blackberry Playbook, both who could potentially steal market share away from Google in 2011 (at least among tablets).

HP Launching “iPad Killer” Soon?

leoapothekerceobbc 300x168 HP Launching iPad Killer Soon?Mark Hurd is intent on challenging Apple for the title of “coolest tech company” around after his latest announcement regarding the time table of several webOS devices (which may include the Topaz tablet).

The starting gun will be fired on 9 February, with a “big product announcement” on mobile devices, and hints of phones and tablet computers. [...]

“I hope one day people will say ‘this is as cool as HP’, not ‘as cool as Apple’,” says Mr Apotheker.

So far, so obvious a sales pitch.

But HP, he says, is the only large IT company “that is equally good on the consumer side and on the commercial [enterprise] side. (BBC)

This should put HP on a crash course to confront iPad 2.0, which is rumored to be boasting some interesting specs (which apparently include a camera).

While 2011 will probably be seen as the year of the tablet, truth be told very few companies have come out with a serious iPad competitor including RIM (as the Blackberry Playbook’s smaller size may not appeal to the masses).

Although HP has the potential of taking Apple on and winning (as their webOS boasts a superior UI than iOS), their Achilles heel is the small number of webOS apps which make or break the tablet in the eyes of consumers.

(Image via BBC, hat tip Engadget)

Google Preparing To Roll Out “Super WiFi?”

googlelogo 300x111 Google Preparing To Roll Out Super WiFi?The search engine giant has just been granted approval by the FCC to help administer the next generation of wireless services which could compliment Google fiber.

Today we’re one step closer to a world with “super Wi-Fi.” In an order released yesterday afternoon, the FCC conditionally designated nine companies, including Google, as administrators for a white spaces database and outlined some important ground rules for its operation.

Just last fall the Commission adopted final technical rules on white spaces – the unused, public airwaves that we believe will lead to the next generation of wireless technologies. Before inventors can start to introduce new products and services on these airwaves, the FCC must certify the white spaces databases, which will ensure that different wireless signals don’t interfere with each other. (Google Public Policy Blog)

While it probably will take up to a few years for Google (along with the other companies) to thoroughly test out the spectrum, controlling the white spaces will help ensure that Google’s first vision of net neutrality (before they were blinded by Verizon) has a fighting chance for survival in the future.

Mobile Internet – Make the Most of It

lggm750vodafonesmartphone Mobile Internet – Make the Most of ItAs much as a convenience mobile Internet can be, it can also add up to your bills quite heftily if you don’t know how to use it right – so make sure you’re prepared to make the most of your time while surfing the Web from your mobile. In some cases, it could be a good idea to install a new browser on your device, and not use the default one – this is especially valid for non-smartphone mobiles, which tend to often have some questionable designs for their browsers.

The device itself is important as well, of course – a phone with a small screen and uncomfortable keyboard can make it very inconvenient to do your browsing and subsequently increase the time you need to do anything when surfing the Web through mobile Internet. Nowadays, there are plenty of good deals for mobiles that are specifically designed for Internet users – so do some shopping around until you find one and go for it – if you’re an active surfer, you’ll be thanking yourself later on!

Don’t just use the Web for your entertainment though – this may sound like redundant advice for some of you folks who’ve been using their mobiles for this purpose for a while, but still – it can also add up to your productivity to a great degree. You can check the schedules for the trains or public transport, check out what’s running at your local cinema, whatever you can think of – be creative and try to really benefit from the powerful mini-computer you’re carrying in your pocket!

It takes having some good pricing plans on your mobile Internet if you want to really make some benefit off of it though, so do your “homework” well before landing on a deal.

Google: Android Premium App Sales Are Pathetic

android robot logo2 Google: Android Premium App Sales Are PatheticWhile Google didn’t exactly say that Android sales were pathetic, their emphasis on not being happy with the sales overall is a clear sign that Android premium apps are not doing to well despite the mobile OS’s popularity.

During a session at the Inside Social Apps conference in San Francisco, a mobile game developer told Android platform group manager Eric Chu that although Android is now shipping on 300,000 handsets per day, users aren’t buying nearly as many apps as they do on Apple’s iPhone.

Chu acknowledged that Google is “not happy” with the number of apps being downloaded through the Android Market. (SF Gate)

Google is attempting at increasing sales by introducing more ways users can pay for apps, although truth be told the search engine giant may need to do more to ensure that premium developers skip over Android’s “barren desert” in favor of Apple’s thriving walled garden.

It might be time for the company to consider aggressively highlighting quality premium apps within the market (perhaps via an Android Genius recommendation feature?) in order to convince users that there are some premium apps worth their cold hard cash.

While Android does have plenty of apps available (over 200,000 now), if premium developers are not generating enough revenue to pay the bills, they may simply skip Android and instead focus all their attention upon iOS.

(Hat Tip: Android Central)

Verizon Avoids Committing Seppuku With The iPhone

iphone verizon 490x267 Verizon Avoids Committing Seppuku With The iPhone

In their quest to regain all the clients they lost to AT&T due to the iPhone (which includes yours truly), Verizon has been launching distinct features like Wifi tethering on top of competitive pricing plans.

However apparently Verizon’s quest for domination has its limits, which was revealed after they unveiled the latest feature coming to the Verizon iPhone.

“I’m not going to shoot myself in the foot,” he said. Not offering an unlimited plan would put up a barrier for customers who might otherwise switch from AT&T, he said. The country’s No. 2 carrier still has millions of subscribers grandfathered into unlimited plans they signed up for before AT&T switched to tiered pricing last summer. [...]

Update: But you’d better act fast. Speaking later Tuesday morning, Mr. McAdam said the iPhone unlimited plan will be a temporary offer and that the carrier will follow AT&T’s move to tiered pricing in the not too distant future. (Wall Street Journal)

While an unlimited plan would have all but guaranteed Verizon’s dominance in the US, it would have easily resulted in their wireless network being overwhelmed by “data hogs,” resulting in the damaging of their brand as the most reliable network.

Unlimited data plans were the Achilles heel of AT&T, who despite spending billions to improve their network has unfortunately been unable to keep up with demand.

Verizon has not commented how long they plan on offering the unlimited data plan, although if it proves to be a popular feature it wouldn’t be surprising to see Verizon remove it within a month lest they face mockery from their Ma Bell nemesis.

(Hat Tip: CNET)

Google Refutes Web Spam Myth

google logo Google Refutes Web Spam MythAfter hearing numerous complaints across the blogosphere, the search engine giant has finally responded to allegations that it was unconcerned web spam popping up in their queries due to the fact that many spammers are generating revenue via Ad Sense.

As we’ve increased both our size and freshness in recent months, we’ve naturally indexed a lot of good content and some spam as well. To respond to that challenge, we recently launched a redesigned document-level classifier that makes it harder for spammy on-page content to rank highly. The new classifier is better at detecting spam on individual web pages, e.g., repeated spammy words—the sort of phrases you tend to see in junky, automated, self-promoting blog comments. We’ve also radically improved our ability to detect hacked sites, which were a major source of spam in 2010. And we’re evaluating multiple changes that should help drive spam levels even lower, including one change that primarily affects sites that copy others’ content and sites with low levels of original content. (Official Google Blog)

With plagiarism at an all time high, many bloggers have been worried about content farms driving them out of business by simply stealing ones content and using SEO tricks to rank ahead of the original author.

Fortunately for bloggers and free lancers, Google is still placing a greater emphasis on original content (regardless of whether one is using AdSense or not), which should help ease up some fears about Google becoming lazy when it comes to fighting spam upon their search engine.

Android Fail: Evidence That Google Copied Oracle’s Code?

androidjavaoracle 490x213 Android Fail: Evidence That Google Copied Oracles Code?

It looks like Oracles accusation that Google illegally copied their code has some merit after all!

Florian Mueller (who blogs about software patents) was able to to an in depth comparison between Oracle’s original Java and the code used by Google’s Android with results that would make every Android lover cry geek tears.

In addition, I have identified 37 files marked as “PROPRIETARY/CONFIDENTIAL” by Sun and a copyright notice file that says: “DO NOT DISTRIBUTE!” Those files appear to relate to the Mobile Media API of the Sun Java Wireless Toolkit. Unless Google obtained a license to that code (which is unlikely given the content and tone of those warnings), this constitutes another breach. [...]

In version 6.0 the file has a GPL 2 header. Google said in its formal response that Oracle had omitted “copyright headers”. That is correct, but now that I have seen two versions of the original file, I don’t think that the missing parts are favorable to Google. Actually, the opposite is true. Whether under a proprietary license or the GPL, the related code could not be legally relicensed under the Apache license by anyone other than the right holder (Oracle/Sun). (FOSS Patents)

Note: Emphasis theirs.

This could not come at a worse time for Google who is currently in the midst of a leadership reshuffling (which means that Larry Page will have to answer the press regarding this debacle).

If Mueller’s analysis is correct, Google’s poaching of Oracle’s code will come at a hefty cost, as the company will probably seek licensing fees from not only Google, but from every manufacturer using the software as well.

While this news will probably not kill off Android (as Oracle would gain more from its survival than the mobile OS’s demise), it could help push manufacturers into the hands of Android’s upcoming nemesis (hint: Windows Phone 7).

Image Credit: Engadget

A New Google CEO: Good Idea Or Great Idea?

newgoogleceo 490x350 A New Google CEO: Good Idea Or Great Idea?

Truth be told I’m still stunned by the news, but the CEO of Google has announced that he is stepping down as CEO of the search engine giant and instead picking up a new role within the Googleplex.

For the last 10 years, we have all been equally involved in making decisions. This triumvirate approach has real benefits in terms of shared wisdom, and we will continue to discuss the big decisions among the three of us. But we have also agreed to clarify our individual roles so there’s clear responsibility and accountability at the top of the company.

Larry will now lead product development and technology strategy, his greatest strengths, and starting from April 4 he will take charge of our day-to-day operations as Google’s Chief Executive Officer. In this new role I know he will merge Google’s technology and business vision brilliantly. I am enormously proud of my last decade as CEO, and I am certain that the next 10 years under Larry will be even better! Larry, in my clear opinion, is ready to lead. (Official Google Blog)

For those wondering, Sergey will retain his title as Co-Founder, and focus on helping new Google products thrive while Eric Schmidt will become Executive Chairman which should free him up from the day-to-day responsibilities of the company.

While not stated, this move is probably in response to Facebook’s massive growth, as the latter races to become the pulse of the planet and the center of all things tech (something Google obviously fears).

With Eric Schmidt out, we could see a greater emphasis on Google launching better products (especially in the social realm) as Larry’s engineering mind could help Google get its groove back (not to mention avoid another public failure via a grandiose product).