Windows Phones – Dark Times Will Continue

 Android, Apple, Smartphones  Comments Off on Windows Phones – Dark Times Will Continue
Dec 042015

It seems there is no light at the end of the Windows Phone tunnel.

Market research specialist IDC has put out a new report on smartphones with a depressing take on the Windows Phone.

IDC’s number crunchers estimate that Microsoft’s share of the smartphone market (currently at a pitiful 2.2%) will grow by just 0.1% through 2019 to 2.3%.

Despite pouring billions into its smartphone business, Microsoft has little marketshare to show it.

Disdained by consumers, ignored by developers and brushed-off by mobile operators, Windows Phones continue to languish at the bottom of the smartphone pile.

Tough Times Continue for Windows Phones, Says IDC

Here’s what IDC had to say on the Windows Phones:

Despite all the effort Microsoft has put into the launch of Windows 10, IDC does not expect Microsoft’s share of the smartphone OS market to grow much over the coming years. In 2015, IDC expects the average selling price (ASP) of Windows Phones to be $148, which is $71 lower than Android’s ASP of $219. This was brought about by the Microsoft/Nokia push into the low-end mass market. While this approach helped drive shipments up to 34.9 million units in 2014, IDC is forecasting a year-over-year decline of -10.2% in 2015, followed by further decline in 2016. The weak results can largely be attributed to the lack of OEM partner support.

Although Android devices account for the bulk of smartphones shipments, Apple makes the majority of profits in the smartphone business.

Reflecting the turbulence in its mobile unit, leading Android smartphone vendor Samsung recently changed the head of its mobile division.

Koh Dong Jin has been named the new chief of Samsung Electronics’ mobile division replacing Shin Jong-Kyun.

Samsung, Google Vow to Fix Android Security Nightmare

 Android, Security  Comments Off on Samsung, Google Vow to Fix Android Security Nightmare
Aug 052015

Google Nexus 5Security has been a nightmare for hundreds of millions of Android device owners given the slow/nil issue of patches for even serious vulnerabilities.

But some relief is finally at hand for owners of Google and Samsung mobile devices.

Security – Samsung, Google Act

Anxious to counter widely held perceptions that Android mobile devices are not as secure as their iOS counterparts, Samsung and Google today separately announced major overhauls to their security update policies.

Samsung Electronics plans to implement a new Android security update process to fast track security patches over the air when security vulnerabilities are uncovered.

The goal is to send out security updates regularly about once per month.

The South Korean electronics giant said it’d disclose details about the new security update policies for specific models and timelines after talking to its carrier partners. Continue reading »

Inviting Trouble – 82% of Android Devices Still Running Older Versions of Android

 Android  Comments Off on Inviting Trouble – 82% of Android Devices Still Running Older Versions of Android
Aug 042015

Android Version Adoption IssuesNine months after the launch of Lollipop, nearly 82% of active Android devices are running an older version of the software.

According to Google’s recently released data on Android version adoption, 15.5 of Android devices are running Lollipop 5.0 while 2.6% of devices have the latest Lollipop 5.5.

A huge chunk of Android devices (39.3%) are still running Kitkat, which first debuted in October 2013.

Another 33.5% of Android devices are running the the three-year-old Jellybean, which first showed up in June 2012.

We’re just a few months from the release of the new Android M and tens of millions of Android devices are still running pre-Jellybean releases like Ice Cream Sandwich, Gingerbread and Froyo.

Why Such Low Adoption

A major cause of low adoption of new versions of Android is that Google has little control over these devices unlike in the case of Apple which owns and controls both the hardware and software platform. Continue reading »

Remix Mini Android PC gets Lots of Love on Kickstarter

 Android  Comments Off on Remix Mini Android PC gets Lots of Love on Kickstarter
Jul 202015

A mini Android PC is drawing a phenomenal response on the crowd funding site Kickstarter.

Against a modest funding target of $50,000, the Remix Mini Android PC has received commitments for over half-million dollars with 39-days still left for the funding campaign.

The highlight of Remix Mini is that it combines the Android app ecosystem with PC features like a taskbar, multiple window multi-tasking, mouse and keyboard support.

But a few Remix Mini backers are upset that the device does not support the Kodi technology (enables hardware accelerated video decoding) and are threatening to withdraw their backing.

Remix Mini Android PC

Remix – Android PC

Latest to ride the mini PC wave, Remix Mini runs on a custom version of Android Lollipop (Android 5.0, the same OS beneath the hood of a gazillion smartphones). Continue reading »

Android M – 10 Things You Must Know

 Android  Comments Off on Android M – 10 Things You Must Know
May 282015

Android M Developer Preview

A glaring weakness of Google’s Android mobile platform (including the current version, Lollipop) has been the absence of finesse and polish when compared to its key rival, Apple’s iOS.

So I was more than pleased when Google today took the wraps off the next version of its Android mobile OS, Android M, at its annual Google I/O jamboree and declared the central theme of the upgrade would be on improving core user experience via polish and quality.

Polish and quality – Worthy goals, indeed! And long overdue with Android!

Android M – Highlights

Now here are 10 things you ought to know about Android M:

1. Android M is the successor to Android 5 aka Lollipop.

2. Android M will give users greater freedom and flexibility in granting permissions to apps requesting access to location, camera, microphone, contacts, calendar, SMS, phone, and sensor. Previous versions of Android failed to provide users with the granular options that Apple iOS has offered to its users. With Android M, users can  now grant or deny permission to individual services like camera, contacts etc the first time the app is loaded. Currently, Android asks users for all permissions at the time of app installation. Mind you, the app flexibility in Android M is only for new apps and older apps will continue to behave as before.

3. Chrome Custom Tab, a new feature of Android M, allows developers to insert webviews directly into their apps making for a smoother experience when users click on a web link in their app. Chrome Custom Tab also lets users take advantage of Chrome features like Sign In, Saved Passwords and Auto Fill from inside their apps.

4. Improvements in app-linking system (i.e. when users move from one app to another app) without opening dialog boxes is another notable feature of Android M. Continue reading »

Storm Clouds Gathering in Smartphone Market

 Android, Smartphones  Comments Off on Storm Clouds Gathering in Smartphone Market
May 272015

As the Chinese market witnesses saturation and the Indian market embracing low-end cheap devices, the outlook for smartphone vendors is starting to look grim in 2015 and the coming years.

A new report from market researcher IDC sees growth in the smartphone business slowing to 11.3% in 2015, down from 27.6% in 2014.

Smartphones Growth Seen Slowing Down in 2015

China – Slow Down

IDC expects 2015 will be the first year in which China’s smartphone growth, projected at 2.5%, will be slower than the worldwide market.

In a development that must be sending shivers down the spines of most vendors, smartphone shipments in China fell year over year in the first quarter of 2015.

In a related forecast, IDC’s number-crunchers see Android smartphone shipments growing slower than the worldwide market at 8.5% in 2015.

Although Apple is beginning to make inroads among wealthier Chinese citizens, China has largely been Android territory.

China accounts for 36% of total Android smartphone shipments and any slowdown there should ring alarm bells at Android’s parent Google and partners like Samsung, LG, HTC, Sony etc. Continue reading »