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Behind the Smartphone Craze: redrawing the map of mobile platforms February 2, 2010

Posted by andre in Mobile & Gadgets.
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Thought Android and iPhone are taking over the world? Think again. The device platforms map is more fragmented than ever, while the media hype distorts the commercial reality. […]

The Smartphone Craze
The other day I was reading some of the usual hype-induced reports on the Smartphone revolution. Wanting to put things into perspective I pulled out some old Smartphone forecasts from 2004-2005 by the likes of IDC, Informa and Ovum.

In those pre-historic days the main Smartphone contenders were Symbian and Windows. Blackberry was still an insignificant niche, and touch screen devices were still clunky stylus based UIQ phones and iPAQs. Yet surprisingly, the average Smartphone share of shipments that was forecast for 2010 was …about 30%. So even without the Apple & Google revolution fanning the flames, many analysts believed in the mass migration to Smartphones.

Reality check: by looking at the numbers for the first three quarters of 2009, it appears that last year there have shipped no more than 170-180 million devices considered to be Open OS Smartphones. Indeed Symbian, Windows, iPhone, Blackberry, Android, WebOS, LiMO and Maemo taken all together still only constitute about 15-17% of shipments. This percentage is in fact much lower than the 2009 Smartphone share predicted a few years ago by many research companies. […]

The bets are spreading
As of late 2009, the only companies who are shipping true Open OS Smartphones in mass volumes are Nokia (Symbian), RIM (Blackberry), Apple (iPhone) and HTC (Windows Mobile, now Android). This will no doubt start to change over the course of time as Android shipments start to ramp up and the rest of the platforms realize their growth potential, but it is still not an overnight revolution.

Looking forward, this thesis shows that the market will be much more diverse than the simplistic notion that everyone either wants an App Store capable iPhone or Droid, or alternatively, an ultra-low cost phone to make phone calls. There is many more commercial dynamics at play, making up a complex platform map which is driven by customer ownership.

In 2009 the number of available device software platforms effectively grew, creating more fragmentation in the industry, not less. There are clearly mid-range segments and geographical markets with varying needs, which can be addressed with various software platforms, not necessarily in the traditional view of Smartphones vs. RTOS “dumb phones”. Simply betting on one or two platforms to rule the industry is not a sensible plan.

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Read the full article at VisionMobile.comBehind the Smartphone Craze: redrawing the map of mobile platforms | VisionMobile :: blog

Android Likely Better Without Apple August 5, 2009

Posted by andre in Mobile & Gadgets.
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Hesitant is not a word often used to describe Google. But industry insiders say the Internet giant has been holding back its might in at least one area–mobile–due to its close relationship with fellow tech titan, Apple.

Many in the wireless industry believe Google’s friendship with Apple – until Monday, Google Chief Eric Schmidt sat on Apple’s board – is the main reason the company has yet to implement multi-touch gesture support into its mobile operating system, Android. Adding multi-touch would allow people to navigate Android handsets using finger swoops, pinches and flicks instead of more precise single finger taps and swipes. Due to its ease of use, efficiency and fun factor, multi-touch support is one of the most requested features among Android users.

Unfortunately for Google, Apple essentially owns multi-touch. The technology is based on intellectual property from a company called FingerWorks that Apple acquired in 2005. […]

One Android partner suggests that Google has been watching smart phone maker Palm for guidance. Palm butted heads with Apple several times during the development of its new operating system, WebOS, and flagship handset, the Pre. Palm made the Pre multi-touch capable from the beginning–a move that led Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook to threaten legal action during a call with analysts in January. Palm also devised a way to sync the Pre with Apple’s iTunes software and updated the software last month when Apple blocked it.

“Palm has been breaking some ground,” says the Android partner. “Google is waiting to see if Apple is going to protect their IP.”

via Android Likely Better Without Apple – Forbes.com

Google Bets Big on HTML 5 May 27, 2009

Posted by hruf in Internet & Communities.
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“Never underestimate the web,” says Google VP of Engineering Vic Gundotra in his keynote at Google I/O this morning.[…]

Vic pointed out that the rate of browser innovation is accelerating, with new browser releases nearly every other month. The slide below, from early in Vic’s talk, shows the progress towards the level of UI functionality found in desktop apps through adoption of HTML 5 features in browsers. This looks like one of Clayton Christensen’s classic “disruptive innovation vs sustaining innovation” graphs. It’s also fascinating to see how mobile browsers are in the forefront of the innovation.

browser_innovation.png

While the entire HTML 5 standard is years or more from adoption, there are many powerful features available in browsers today. In fact, five key next-generation features are already available in the latest (sometimes experimental) browser builds from Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Google Chrome. (Microsoft has announced that it will support HTML 5, and as Vic noted, “We eagerly await evidence of that.”) Here’s Vic’s HTML 5 scorecard:

  1. The canvas element provides a straightforward and powerful way to draw arbitrary graphics on a web page using Javascript. Sample applications demoed at the show include a simple drawing area and a simple game. But to see the real power of the Canvas element, take a look at Mozilla’s BeSpin. Bespin is an extensible code editor with an interface so rich that it’s hard to believe it was written entirely in Javascript and HTML.
  2. The video element aims to make it as easy to embed video on a web page as it is to embed images today. No plugins, no mismatched codecs. See for example, this simple video editor running in Safari. And check out the page source for this YouTube demo. (As a special bonus, the video is demonstrating the power of O3D, an open source 3D rendering API for the browser.)
  3. The geolocation APIs make location, whether generated via GPS, cell-tower triangulation or wi-fi databases (what Skyhook calls hybrid positioning) available to any HTML 5-compatible browser-based app. At the conference, Google shows off your current location to any Google map, and announces the availability of Google Latitude for the iPhone. (It will be available shortly after Apple releases OS 3.) What’s really impressive about Latitude on the phone is that it’s a web app, with all the platform independence that implies, not a platform-dependent phone application.
  4. AppCache and Database make it easy to build offline apps. The killer demo is one that Vic first showed at Web 2.0 Expo San Francisco a few months ago: offline gmail on an Android phone. But Vic also shows off a simple “stickies” app running in Safari.
  5. Web workers is a mechanism for spinning off background threads to do processing that would otherwise slow the browser to a crawl. For a convincing demo, take a look at a web page calculating primes without web workers. As the demo says, “Click ‘Go!’ to hose your browser.” Then check out the version with web workers. Primes start appearing, with no hit to browser performance. Even more impressive is a demo of video motion tracking, using Javascript in the browser.

As Vic said to me in an interview yesterday morning, “The web has not seen this level of transformation, this level of acceleration, in the past ten years.”

Vic ends the HTML 5 portion of his keynote with hints of an announcement tomorrow: “Don’t be late for the keynote tomorrow morning.”

via Google Bets Big on HTML 5: News from Google I/O – O’Reilly Radar.

Google Chrome Comics – another way of white paper March 29, 2009

Posted by hruf in Internet & Communities.
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On a quite interesting reportage about one of the genius developer behind Google Chrome (Lars Bak – The genius behind Google’s web browser) is a hint to “specially commissioned comic”, which tells the story behind Google Chrome. It’s definitely another way of a white paper 😉

Google Chrome Comic.

Thinking about developing for the Palm Pre? Read the first chapter of the book on webOS » VentureBeat February 17, 2009

Posted by hruf in Mobile & Gadgets, Programming.
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When it was unveiled at CES, the Palm Pre got almost iPhone-like hype. Its slick interface including multi-touch capabilities on a solid device makes it an intriguing competitor to the iPhone. Still, relatively little is know about the Pre and its operating system dubbed webOS. If you’re thinking about making an application for the device, you’ll undoubtedly want to know more — and here’s your first chance.

via Thinking about developing for the Palm Pre? Read the first chapter of the book on webOS » VentureBeat.

Palm® webOS™, Palm Mojo™ Application Framework, and Palm Mojo SDK February 16, 2009

Posted by andre in Mobile & Gadgets, Programming.
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Palm webOS applications are easy to write using Mojo, a new application framework based on the HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript standards that web developers already know and love. WebOS applications are installed and run directly on the device at native speed and have access to a wide range of device services.

Mojo will enable you to:

  • Build applications with gesture-based navigation, transitions, and scrolling
  • Use the webOS notification system to alert users without interrupting them
  • Leverage the local storage capabilities of HTML5 so that data is available even when users are offline
  • Use a JSON-based message bus to tap into a wide range of device services, including contacts, calendars, and location

via Palm.com : Palm Developer Network