I think many who extol Android's flexibility fall into the tinkerer category, including some tech bloggers. They love all the ways they can customize their phones, not because they're seeking some perfect setup, but because they can swap in a new launcher every week. That's fun for them; but they've made the mistake of not understanding how their motivation differs from the rest of us.
A whopping 70%-80% of the world's smartphone owners have opted for Android over iOS. You could easily argue that 3-4 years ago, when Android was brand new, that it was for early adopters and tinkerers. To still trot out this ridiculous characterisation now that Android is on the vast majority of smartphones sold is borderline insanity.
Choice is not Android's problem. People who assume out of a misplaced arrogance that they represent the average consumer are the problem.
Apple has told two suppliers of its lower-cost iPhone 5C that it is reducing orders in the fourth quarter, according to a report by Dow Jones news agency Wednesday, raising concerns about weaker-than-expected demand for the new product.
Apple began selling it's the new low-price option last month in 11 markets, including the U.S. and China, but consumers have focused on the more expensive 5S model, which was launched at the same time.
While demand for the costlier version, that comes with a fingerprint sensor and faster chips, outstripped expectations - especially the gold-colored version - the iPhone 5C has failed to generate as much interest.
Leave it to the media to turn higher-than-expected demand for the more expensive model into bad news.
Efforts to reboot one of the oldest surviving mass-produced computers are under way in Milton Keynes.
The National Museum of Computing has taken delivery of what it believes is the last ICT 1301 computer to ever have a chance of working again.
The stock launcher in Android 4.4 is getting a version number bump - from 3.x to 4.x - and it's also renamed to Google Experience. On top of that, something interesting is happening.
There's another interesting thing happening here. If you take a look at stock Android 4.3, you will see that the current launcher's package name is com.android.launcher. The new one is com.google.android.gel. Now look at Google's current selection of apps in the Play Store. Almost all of them start with "com.google.android" instead of "com.android."
I'm not saying with 100% certainty that we're going to see the launcher released to the Play Store, but to me, it certainly looks like it. At least eventually and not necessarily with KitKat.
Other currently integrated parts of Android also receive the name change in their packages. It seems like Google is finally doing what it should have done ages ago. If you can't get device makers and carriers to update Android, just put as much of Android as possible in the Play Store. If this also allows crapware-riddled devices from e.g. Samsung to be converted to proper stock, then that's a big plus too.
Please let this be true.
AnandTech has reviewed the new Chromebook 11 from HP/Google.
Chrome OS is extremely purpose built and it is something that should bring about great concern to those at Microsoft. I personally don't have a problem with Windows 8, but purpose built is hardly a phrase that applies to the OS - at least if you're talking about it on a more traditional PC. I suspect by the time we get to Windows 9, Microsoft will have a better answer to the critics of 8/8.1, but that gives Google and its Chrome OS partners at least another year of marketshare erosion. At the beginning of this mobile journey I remember x86 being an advantage for Intel, and we all know what happened to that. Similarly, I remember Windows/Office being advantages for Microsoft. If Microsoft doesn't find a quick solution for making low cost Windows PCs just as well executed as Chrome OS devices, it'll find itself in a world where Windows no longer matters to entry-level/mainstream users.
Apple's taken over the high-end, Google is taking over the low-end, and in mobile, the company barely registers.
Microsoft's next CEO faces a herculean task.
This is not a joke. Let me repeat: this is not a joke.
The roll-out of the previous update - GDR2 - isn't even complete (thank you, carriers), and Microsoft is already pushing out the next one, GDR3. This update for Windows Phone 8 is the last one before 8.1 comes out next year, and brings with it a number of small improvements, such a close button in the multitasking view, a driving mode, support for newer hardware and 1080p displays, a rotation lock, and more.
There's no telling as of yet when Windows Phone 8 users will be getting the update, but non-branded phones will most likely get it first. On top of that, if you're a Windows Phone developer, you can get the update straight away.
Valve issued a video demonstrating its Steam Controller today. The game pad, which features two track pads in lieu of joysticks, is used for its series of Steam Machines, announced in September.
Happy Hangul Day! October 9th is a South Korean national holiday held in honor of the invention of the Korean writing system, which experts have called the most "scientific" (also "ingenious," "rational," "subtle," "simple," "efficient," "remarkable") writing system ever devised.
It's a bit outside of OSNews' regular stuff (although not unheard of), but as a language specialist myself, Korean, and Hangul in particular, has fascinated me for quite a while now. In contrast to other writing systems, which have developed over centuries - or millennia - without clear guidance, Hangul was more or less designed and set in stone 600 years ago, specifically for the Korean language. It is an absolutely beautiful alphabet, with a clear structure, and a unique way of organising letters - they are grouped in square morpho-syllabic blocks. To the untrained eye, Hangul may resemble e.g. Chinese characters - however, each 'character' actually consists of several letters.
Even though I'm not a programmer myself, Im pretty sure those of you who are will find Hangul fascinating. Due to its structured nature, it's incredibly easy to learn - I taught myself to read and write Hangul in a matter of days - and once you do take a few hours to grasp the basics, you'll surely come to appreciate its innate beauty and structure.
Dick move extraordinaire by Google.
On Friday, Google announced an update to its terms of service that allows the company to include adult users' names, photos and comments in ads shown across the Web, based on ratings, reviews and posts they have made on Google Plus and other Google services like YouTube.
When the new ad policy goes live Nov. 11, Google will be able to show what the company calls shared endorsements on Google sites and across the Web, on the more than two million sites in Google's display advertising network, which are viewed by an estimated one billion people.
If a user follows a bakery on Google Plus or gives an album four stars on the Google Play music service, for instance, that person's name, photo and endorsement could show up in ads for that bakery or album.
Luckily, we have an opt-out. Go to this page, remove the checkmark at the bottom of the page, and done - Google won't be abusing your personal information for endorsements.
Insightful article by John Gruber.
So the irony here is that iOS vs. Android (or, if you prefer, iPhone and iPad vs. commodity smartphones and tablets) is in fact a replay Mac vs. Windows - but not in the way that most who make the comparison would have you believe. Judging by its actions, Apple is keenly aware of the lessons to be learned from 20 years ago. To wit, this has nothing to do with focusing on raw market share, and everything to do with keeping the pedal to the metal on design and quality. If Apple maintains a lead over its rivals in those regards, the Mac suggests that Apple can occupy a dominant, stable, long-term position as the profit leader in the mobile market as well - a market that is already bigger than the PC market ever was, and unlike the PC market, is still growing.
As insightful as the article is, it does pivot on the assumption that Apple does, indeed, "[maintain] a lead over its rivals" in design and quality. Design is largely a matter of taste, but as far as quality goes, Apple has, in my view, been surpassed in almost every aspect by Android - at least, when it comes to software. And let's not even get started on internet services, where Apple is a complete and utter joke compared to its competitors. As far as hardware goes, however, Apple's supposed lead is harder to debate - I've held a lot of phones and tablets in my hands over the years, and while many come close to Apple's, I've never held anything that outright surpassed it (save for maybe the HTC One which no one is buying).
Unsurprisingly, Gruber believes Apple does maintain that lead, and as such, arguing his point becomes relatively easy. However, if you ascribe to the view that Android has surpassed iOS in quality (and certainly in design, in my view), it becomes a lot harder to accept that Apple can, this time, avoid the trap it fell into in the '90s.
Now, before people will twist and turn this into me saying Apple is doomed - I don't believe for a second that it is. However, that doesn't mean a repeat of the '90s is somehow magically off the table - Apple has a lot of work to do in order to avoid it. As Tom Dale stated so aptly almost a year ago, "Google is getting better at design faster than Apple is getting better at web services". With Motorola and the Moto X, design might not be the only thing Google is getting better at faster.
This is quite possibly one of the most beautiful articles you'll ever read about Nokia's demise. Five years ago, in 2008, a journalist wrote a letter to Nokia, on his own behalf, as a regular person (so not as a journalist). In it, he detailed how Nokia phones used to be easy to use by everyone. However, the Nokia E51 he was using now was a complete mess, insanely hard to use. He ended the letter with prescient words: "This will cause problems for Nokia".
The letter made its way to Nokia, and apparently caused waves inside the company, up to the highest levels. Company executives wanted to explain the company's strategy to him, and eventually, one executive even met up with him on a personal note. After first parroting the usual corporate speak, the executive eventually broke.
"I agree completely with everything that you wrote in your letter and what you have said now."
I was astounded.
"I completely agree with you and I want to apologise on behalf of Nokia for producing a bad telephone for you."
Then he started to tell about how a top-secret project had been launched at Nokia, in which a completely new operating system was being designed. It would result in new kinds of telephones. They would be easy to use and they would change everything.
I met the director again a few years later.
Then it turns out that he had been talking about the Meego. However, the project moved forward slowly, and finally the new CEO Stephen Elop shelved it completely.
This same Nokia executive took one of the many original iPhones Nokia bought home right after it was released.
As an experiment, he gave the telephone to his daughter, and she learned to use it immediately.
In the evening as the parents were going to bed, the drowsy four-year-old appeared at their bedroom door with a question: "Can I take that magic telephone and put it under my pillow tonight?"
That was the moment when the Nokia executive understood that his company was in trouble.
Paul Thurrot has a number of rumours up about Windows Phone 8.1. Two stand out to me.
Where GDR3 is widely expected to support 5- to 6-inch screens, 8.1 will supposedly support 7- to 10-inch screens as well. This obviously infringes on Windows RT/8.x tablets, so it's not clear what the thinking is there.
So, Windows RT will become even more pointless than it already is.
This I am not happy with. The back button is my main navigational input in both Android and Windows Phone, and I miss it dearly in iOS.
I'm just hoping on performance improvements, still my biggest issue with Windows Phone. I used my HTC 8X for a few hours today, and I was stunned by just how slow everything is compared to Android 4.3. Of course, application quality is another huge issue, but there's little Microsoft can do to convince developers that their Windows Phone applications are more than just side projects done between serious work on Android and iOS.
The Galaxy Gear just got interesting.
While the Samsung Galaxy Gear isn't the greatest piece of consumer technology we've ever seen, once you sidestep Samsung's not-very-useful software, you'll find a pretty cool platform for hacking.
The Galaxy Gear ships with a "USB debug" checkbox in the settings. Check that box, hook it up to a computer, and it will be usable with ADB, the Android Debug Bridge. ADB will in turn allow you to fire up a command line and sideload whatever you want onto the Gear's 4GB of storage. The Gear runs Android 4.2.2 with an 800MHz processor and 512MB of RAM, so it can run real apps just like any other Android device. Considering that the original Android phones all had 528MHz processors and only 192MB of RAM, the Gear is a miniature powerhouse in comparison.
This could very well be the saving grace for this otherwise mediocre consumer device. I'm very curious to see what the XDA community can do with this.
Samsung has taken the wrapper off its rumored smartphone with a curved OLED display. The Galaxy Round, which will launch on SK Telecom in South Korea, has a 5.7-inch 1080p screen the same size as seen on the company's Galaxy Note 3, but there's a difference - it curves on the vertical axis in a similar fashion to some of Samsung's OLED TVs.
Technologically interesting, but otherwise, I fail to see the point. The screen itself is probably more resilient than traditional ones, but since I'm assuming it has a glass cover, that aspect becomes moot. Also, it just looks weird.
Then again, everyone doubted the Note - now it's a legitimate category and the Note series alone sold more than 40 million devices, so what do I know.
Until now, Chromebook buyers have had to make a choice. You could get either a cheap laptop with cheap components or the premium-but-ridiculously-expensive Chromebook Pixel. When Google says that HP's new $279 Chromebook 11 is 'inspired' by the Pixel, it's not about components - the Chromebook 11 lacks the high-resolution touchscreen, the high-end Ivy Bridge CPU, and the solid aluminum construction - the Pixel's banner features. Rather, it's about making a laptop that makes enthusiasts happy without the Pixel's sticker shock.
The first non-Pixel Chromebook that actually looks decent and makes me want to buy it - except, what's with the crappy battery life? Only 6 hours on such a small ARM laptop?
Until now, Google hasn't talked about malware on Android because it did not have the data or analytic platform to back its security claims. But that changed dramatically today when Google's Android Security chief Adrian Ludwig reported data showing that less than an estimated 0.001% of app installations on Android are able to evade the system's multi-layered defenses and cause harm to users. Android, built on an open innovation model, has quietly resisted the locked down, total control model spawned by decades of Windows malware. Ludwig spoke today at the Virus Bulletin conference in Berlin because he has the data to dispute the claims of pervasive Android malware threats.
This is exactly the kind of data we need, and Google has revealed it all. So, less than 0.001% of application installations on Android - and this specifically includes applications outside of Google Play! - are able to get through Android's multiple layers of security. In other words, saying Android is insecure is a lie.Thanks to OSNews reader tkeith for pointing out this article.
Gartner analyst David Willis, who is chief of research for mobility and communications and who runs Gartner's Senior Research Board, said to Schmidt: "If you polled many people in this audience they would say Google Android is not their principal platform [...] When you say Android, people say, wait a minute, Android is not secure."
Schmidt didn't miss a beat, replying, "Not secure? It's more secure than the iPhone."
I don't know if it's more or less secure - all I do know is that there is no evidence pointing either way. People sometimes pretend that something is evidence, like reports that there are more malware variants targeting Android than there are variants targeting iOS - which has absolutely nothing to do with which of the platforms is more secure. For instance, we had a report from antivirus peddler F-Secure a few months ago, which stated that 79% of malware families targeted Android. Great. Too bad it didn't actually tell us anything about infection rate, the statistic which would actually tell us something.
Only 1% of malware families might be targeting platform Xyz, but if that 1% of malware managed to infect large numbers of devices, it's a far bigger deal than the 99% of malware families targeting platform Abc but only managing to infect a small number of devices. This simple fact seems - sadly unsurprisingly - lost on most bloggers and journalists.
So, lots of talk about how Android is supposedly insecure (almost always pointing to reports from... Antivirus companies), yet no proof that actually backs this statement up. Let me just repeat this common mantra: if you install antivirus on your smartphone, be it Android or iOS, you're wasting space and processor cycles on absolute total pointlessness.
Schmidt saying that Android is more secure than iOS is just as completely and utterly idiotic as saying the reverse. Both are just fine as they are. And in case you still haven't seen the memo, despite decades of evidence: antivirus companies are scum. Do not trust them. Ever.
Samsung's Galaxy Gear television advertisement bears a resemblance to the original iPhone advertisement.
This made me smile, though:
There is just no shame - or original ideas - in this company at all.
Yeah! Except for display technology. Oh, and except for microprocessor design. And, of course, they are a driving force in memory chip design. Well, yeah, except for all those things from which virtually every computer product today benefits - Apple or otherwise - Samsung has absolutely no innovative ideas at all. What have the Romans done for us, indeed.
I don't care about Samsung any more than I care about other companies, but to shove the company's contributions to technology aside just because you lack the capacity to grasp the kind of more bare metal innovation they do just makes you look like an idiot.
This wasn't Grignon's typical route to work. He was a senior engineer at Apple in Cupertino, the town just west of Campbell. His morning drive typically covered seven miles and took exactly 15 minutes. But today was different. He was going to watch his boss, Steve Jobs, make history at the Macworld trade show in San Francisco. Apple fans had for years begged Jobs to put a cellphone inside their iPods so they could stop carrying two devices in their pockets. Jobs was about to fulfill that wish. Grignon and some colleagues would spend the night at a nearby hotel, and around 10 a.m. the following day they - along with the rest of the world - would watch Jobs unveil the first iPhone.