Are Ubuntu Phones Doomed?

 Linux, Products, Smartphones  Comments Off on Are Ubuntu Phones Doomed?
May 202015

If not everything, timing is at least almost everything in the smartphones world.

Every day brings fresh excitement over snazzy new smartphones like LG4, YotaPhone 2, ZenFone 2, Galaxy S6 and Xiaomi Mi4i .

But there’s barely a pipsqueak about Ubuntu phones.

Even the little news that trickles out turns out to be all bones and no meat.

Are Ubuntu Smartphones Doomed?

Tough Challenges

Given the severe competition Ubuntu phone faces from both iPhone and the gaggle of Android phones, the odds of the Ubuntu Linux phone making a dent in the market are slim

A lot of us are familiar with the Ubuntu Linux distribution that powers desktops and servers but what exactly is an Ubuntu Phone?

Smartphones running on an optimized version Ubuntu Linux are popularly referred to as Ubuntu phones.

Right now, only two vendors are selling the Ubuntu phone – BQ and Meizu, both in a limited way.

BQ, a Spanish electronics retailer, is peddling the Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition (4.5 inch screen, 1GB RAM, 8GB usable storage, 8MP rear camera and dual SIM) in Europe. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 12:00 pm

Apple iPhones Fail to Crack Indian Smartphone Market

 Apple, Smartphones  Comments Off on Apple iPhones Fail to Crack Indian Smartphone Market
Dec 022014

Although some of you may think iPhones are as old as Adam and Eve, these modern era communication and computing devices have been with us for only about seven years.

But much has happened (a lot of it in the U.S.) in those seven plus years – Apple sold nearly 600 million iPhones, reaped tens of billions of dollars in profits, became one of the most admired companies, its phenomenal success contributed to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer being thrown out and buried Steve Jobs.

In the same period, I’ve watched hundreds line up for the latest iPhones outside Apple and AT&T stores, witnessed 14 and 15-year-old McDonald’s workers toying with their latest model iPhones, listened to 65-year-old fogies boast about gifting iPhones to their girlfriends and gone through three iPhones myself.

Oh yeah, I’ve seen Chinese people alighting from tour buses in droves at the nearby mall to buy tax-free iPhones to send them to eager buyers in China.

But while the rest of the world is going gaga over iPhone 5, 5S and the large screen 6 and 6 Plus, Indians have resolutely raised their collective middle finger to the iPhone.

That must be extremely distressing to Apple since India is still largely a feature phone market. At the end of the third quarter, smartphones accounted for 32% of the Indian mobile phone segment with feature phones taking the rest.

iPhones Fare Poorly in India

Indians Say No

Apple just can’t get those thrifty Indians to open their wallets to the pricey iPhones. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 10:52 pm

Ubuntu for Mobile Phones Nearing Completion

 Open Source, Smartphones  Comments Off on Ubuntu for Mobile Phones Nearing Completion
Oct 212014

Linux distribution Ubuntu should soon be wrapping up work on Ubuntu Touch, its first iteration for smartphones.

Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical (the commercial sponsor of Ubuntu), wrote in a blog post Monday, October 20, 2014:

Our ventrous quest to put GNU as you love it on phones is bearing fruit, with final touches to the first image in a new era of convergence in computing. From tiny devices to personal computers of all shapes and sizes to the ventose vistas of cloud computing, our goal is to make a platform that is useful, versal and widely used.

Ubuntu has partnered with mobile device manufacturers bq of Spain and Meizu of China to bring Ubuntu Touch based smartphones to consumers globally.

Ubuntu Touch should be available eventually for both low-end and high-end smartphones. The goal for the high-end version is to provide a desktop Ubuntu experience when users connect it to a monitor, keyboard and mouse.

Applications designed for Ubuntu Desktop should also run on Ubuntu Touch since the core technologies underpinning the two platforms are the same. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 8:00 am

Google, Microsoft Promise to Implement Kill Switch

 Smartphones  Comments Off on Google, Microsoft Promise to Implement Kill Switch
Jun 192014

Google and Microsoft are promising to implement kill switches in the next versions of their mobile operating system software at the request of police.

Apple has already implemented the “kill switch in its iOS 7 mobile software.

Kill Switch for Apple, Google & Microsoft Smartphones

What is a Kill Switch?

A kill switch lets users remotely deactivate their stolen smartphones, effectively turning them into “bricks” that are of no value to thieves.

A kill switch essentially kills the secondary market for stolen smartphones.

Theft of Apple and Android smartphone theft have ranked among the top crimes in major metros like New York, San Francisco and London in recent years.

In 2013, 3.1 million smartphones were stolen in the U.S. alone, nearly double the figure in 2012.

A lot of these stolen devices ended up in the secondary market or were shipped overseas. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 6:23 pm

10 Cool Features of Fire Smartphone

 Android, Smartphones  Comments Off on 10 Cool Features of Fire Smartphone
Jun 182014

10 Cool Features of Amazon Fire Smartphone

Unless you were hiding under a rock, you know Amazon entered the smartphone business June 18, 2014 with the launch of Fire.

Although it’s highly unlikely the 4.7-inch Fire phone will dislodge the Apple iPhone or the Samsung Galaxy series from their high perch any time soon, the Amazon smartphone does have a bunch of cute features that should appeal to a lot of potential buyers.

Here are 10 cool features of Fire that might perhaps tempt you into buying the device ($200 for 32GB version with two-year contract at AT&T):

* Unlimited Cloud Storage of photos taken with the Fire. Thanks to Amazon’s Cloud Drive, Fire owners don’t ever have to worry about where to store their photos or running out of space on the device because they get unlimited cloud storage for all their pictures. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 11:22 pm  Tagged with:

Amazon Fire Misses Golden Opportunity to Shake Up U.S. Smartphone Business

 Android, Smartphones  Comments Off on Amazon Fire Misses Golden Opportunity to Shake Up U.S. Smartphone Business
Jun 182014

Amazon Introduces Fire Smartphone
When Amazon launched the Fire smartphone today, it did what most large corporations often do – It went for the low hanging fruit while missing the larger opportunities.

Like a lot of people with more time on their hands than they know what do with, I watched Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos launch the Fire smartphone this morning.

As with any new smartphone launch these days, there’s always a few esoteric stuff in the gadget to tickle our senses for a few days.

With Fire, the novelties are the four cameras, the “Dynamic Perspective” interface and the Firefly scanning button to make it easy to buy more stuff from, of course, Amazon.

Otherwise, Fire is no different from any other new smartphone and will be upstaged by another device in the next three months or so with a different set of cute features.

But more than anything I was extremely disappointed to note the glaring absence of one thing.

So what’s the big thing missing?

A low price!

Opportunity Lost

Amazon missed a huge opportunity to strike at the stranglehold of the two big U.S. smartphone players, Apple and Samsung, by offering a cheap smartphone with all the bells and whistles. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 5:04 pm  Tagged with: