The white box battle is on, and laptops are losers. The big trend in tablets isn't iPad, contrary to public convention, but non-big-brand slates, which account for one-third of shipments, according to NPD DisplaySearch. Their success is good for Android, bad for Apple and worse for notebooks.
The early DOS/Windows PC market succeeded largely because of clones (like those from Compaq) and white label/box manufacturers and build-your-own enthusiasts. BYO isn't a tablet trend, but white box is, and its greatest impact is growth markets PC manufacturers count on -- or at least did.
Apple's supremacy as tablet market leader may be even shorter lived than previous analyst forecasts suggest. Already, Android topples iOS share, and there is simple catalyst: White-box slates accounted for one-third of shipments last year -- a level NPD DisplaySearch predicts will continue in 2013 and beyond.
Android is the big beneficiary of the trend. In third quarter 2012, shipments exceeded iOS models, according to IDC. During first quarter this year, green-robot slates took 56.5 percent market share. At this pace, contrary to analyst predictions just a year ago, Android does to iOS in tablets what it did in smartphones -- take early leadership away from Apple.
Anyone moving up from a feature phone to smart one and considering iPhone 5 should look at HTC One. From a design perspective, both stand out for mostly metal enclosures, and they share similar design aesthetics. On T-Mobile USA, HD voice is available for both phones, too. Beyond that, their functionality couldn't be more different, because of screen resolution, physical size and overall interaction -- the latter more about operating systems than anything else.
I probably would chose the One over S4 but haven't used the Samsung. I reviewed iPhone 5 in September and one is in process for the HTC flagship. Simply stated: One is the best smartphone I have ever used. The device is so beautiful, the display equally so, that I want to hold and caress the device. Often. Social and news UI BlinkFeed changes how and how often I use a smartphone. More. More. More. The smartphone makes me happy in a way not since the original iPhone nearly six years ago.
Oct. 10, 2007 is the day I threw off the chains locking my music. I purged the last DRM-protected file from my personal catalog -- and not by stealing. I purchased every track, and getting them Digital Rights Management-free wasn't easy six years ago. The base collection started from CDs. The problem: Songs purchased from iTunes, starting in April 2003. Later, Apple offered facility to remove copyright restrictions. Meanwhile, I repurchased some tunes, or just did without them.
But chains remain. Every video purchased or rented for download is DRM-protected. Far worse are ebooks. There, the unsung hero -- your advocate and champion -- is JK Rowling. In late April 2012, she released the entire Harry Potter series as ebooks, DRM-free, baby. Rowling is more than a hugely successful writer; she stands up for readers, too.
So much for Apple's tablet reign that analysts stoutly stood by even just months ago. Android kicks ass, crushing iOS shipments during first quarter, according to IDC. Among the top four, the fruit-logo company posted the lowest year-over-year growth (65.3 percent), and considerably less than the overall market (142.4 percent). Meanwhile, the company's market share fell by 18.5 points to 39.6 percent.
Among tablet manufacturers, Apple is market leader, with the question being for how much longer. Samsung share rose 282.6 percent -- ASUS even more (350 percent). Strong Nexus 7 shipments pushed ASUS past Amazon to take third place. ASUS' challenge and opportunity could be Google I/O, where the tablet launched last year and new model is rumored for the event starting May 15. Challenge is maintaining shipments during product transition; opportunity is capitalizing on new sales.
I/O starts two weeks from today, and Google wastes no time whetting developer interests. Yesterday, the search and information giant revealed new Google+ Sign-In benefits. Today there are changes regarding "packaged apps". Surely the big stuff will wait for the keynote, which takes place on a single day this year, but expect more like last two days beforehand.
"Starting today Chrome packaged apps will be available in the Chrome Web Store for anyone on Chrome's developer channel on Windows and Chrome OS", Amanda Bishop, Google product manager, says. "You will notice that the App category now contains only the new Chrome packaged apps. A new category, called Websites, contains all existing hosted apps and legacy packaged apps". She tempts me to change Chrome channels, but I'll wait. And you?
Last week, I scolded colleague Mihaita Bamburic for writing old news -- charity auction for coffee with Apple's CEO. When I saw the item, someone offered $50,000 for 30 minutes with Tim Cook. About 24 hours later, when Mihaita posted: $180,000. Now, after 84 bids and 13 days to go, the number is $600,000. That bid, placed five days ago, looks like as much as anyone will pay.
I know that Apple products are notoriously pricey, but there is something simply unfathomable about paying so much for a cup of brew with Cook. No disrespect to him, but I could see this kind of cash to sit with Steve Jobs, who isn't available for obvious reasons. The winning bid (so far) is worth $20,000 a minute. The cash does go to charity. But really, pay $333.33 per second?
Here's a question for you: Is a company-provided device a benefit? You don't pay for hardware, software or service but might get older gear as hidden personal cost. I ask, because if Gartner is right, you'll soon pay, whether or not you want to. A survey of CIOs finds that 38 percent of companies plan to stop providing employees with devices by 2016. Wait a bit before reading on and think about what that really means.
"We're finally reaching the point where IT officially recognizes what has always been going on: People use their business device for nonwork purposes", David Willis, Gartner vice president, says. As someone working from home full time since May 1999, I must confess to rarely using company-issued computers or other devices. But that was my choice, and one often not supported by IT departments. Now, for many workers, there will be only choice of bringing their own.
Well, it's May 1 somewhere, which perhaps explains why Switch to Windows Phone popped up on Google Play tonight with the date. The concept is simple: Microsoft tries to ease the transition between platforms, or at least help evaluate if such move is workable. But the app-matcher comes up short and can't resolve something more fundamental: People with money invested in apps won't be quick to rebuy them elsewhere.
StWF is easy enough to use once installed; letting it scan and match on my Nexus claims to match 85 percent of the Android apps. But like most of the people reviewing the app, there's no way I see to view the list. Could it be the app posted early and the supporting services aren't switched on, or did Microsoft simply muck up?
Some days, I look at Google and my mind's eye sees Microsoft. This is one of them. Developers adopting Google+ Sign-In will get a big benefit in search results. The tie-in -- to monopoly search -- feels oh-so like Microsoft tactics to woo and keep developers on Windows during the 1980s and 90s. Yeah, I feel déjà vu right about now.
In February, the search and information giant added Google+ Sign-In as an option developers can include with their apps. In my news analysis then, I called the authentication service "bold and disruptive" and a "Facebook killer". The direct search tie-in makes my early sentiment a gross understatement. Google gives developers every reason to prefer its authentication mechanism, which hugely benefits the social network. The monopoly product is used to extend reach into an adjacent market. Say, didn't trustbusters on two continents prosecute Microsoft for tying together Windows and browser?
I have a question for you? Is 24-month financing the same as 2-year contract for service? Washington State attorney general believes so. He calls T-Mobile's "no contract" plans deceptive. Last week, the carrier agreed to making changes, paying court fees and offering customers refunds on phones purchased between March 26 and April 25.
About 45 minutes ago, I got email from T-Mobile offering full refunds on devices purchased during the time period (that would be iPhone 5 for my daughter and father-in-law). I live in California, not Washington State, but T-Mobile is headquartered there. So the court order is farther-reaching, which is why I'm posting today.
"Windows strength appears to be the ability to attract first time smartphone buyers, upgrading from a feature phone", Mary-Ann Parlato, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech analyst, says about the U.S. handset market for the three months ended in February. "Of those who changed their phone over the last year to a Windows smartphone, 52 percent had previously owned a feature phone".
End of story, or could be, if not for something else. Fifty-five percent of iOS buyers, and 51 percent for Android, are repeat smartphone purchasers. The two more popular platforms, while growing because of their larger bases, sell more to existing customers, which make up a more finite market. "With over half of the U.S. market still owning a feature phone, it’s likely that many will upgrade over the coming year, which will ultimately contribute to more growth for the Windows brand", Parlato emphasizes.
Honestly, gadget marketing doesn't get much better than this. Brilliant isn't strong enough to describe how fabulous and memorable is the new spot for Nokia Lumia 920. I showed the commercial to my wife, twice, and she laughed to tears both times -- and giggled for half an hour later.
If you watch nothing else today, make this video the one and only. I'm a sucker for good marketing, and this commercial works well on so many levels -- wedding setting, fanboyism and brilliant physical comedy -- I dare not dissect them and ruin the fun.
During the 1980s and 90s, Microsoft embarked on what the U.S. Justice Department refers to as an "embrace, extend and extinguish" strategy. Google revises the approach for the new century, but out of necessity. Many of its products or services entered categories where others dominated, such as email, operating systems, productivity suites and web browsers. The company's business is long about co-opting other platforms, everything from desktop search app for Windows to Google Frame for Internet Explorer, and more.
But there's nothing quite like Google's recent invasion of iOS, where many of the apps are even better than Apple's. Today, a new search app brings one of Android's best features, Google Now, to iPad and iPhone. There's irony here, too. On Android, the feature is only available on Jelly Bean, which makes up about 25 percent of the install base. The majority of Apple mobile device users are on iOS 6, and the app supports version 5, too. In short order then, depending on installations, a greater percentage of iPads and iPhones than Androids may have Google Now.
Gadget geeks love their toys, the more sci-fi the better. Several manufacturers offer wireless charging solutions, Google and LG among them -- for Nexus 4. The idea is simple: Rather than plug in the device, you rest it on something else connected to electricity. My question: If the phone lays down to charge anyway, why not just plug in and save, in this instance, $59.99 before tax and shipping?
I paid Google Play just that in a moment of weakness, and later regret. Don't bother, and that's really good advice. The Nexus 4 Wireless Charger is more than a wasteful, redundant accessory. The design is fundamentally flawed, where form goes before function to ruin. If you read no further, take away this: Save your money for something else.