The openness of Android is what many people love so much about the mobile OS – you can run your own code on it, customise it however you see fit, and generally tinker about much more so than you can with it’s competitors. The Android Market is open too – anybody can put an App on there and wait to start raking in the cash.
On Monday, I wrote an article about the competition between Apple’s iPhone and smartphones running Google’s Android. The article discussed some of the advantages and disadvantages of Apple’s vertically-integrated and closed approach and Android’s more open strategy. It concluded by quoting experts and analysts saying that while Android, and perhaps other systems, are likely to do well, Apple has little reason to worry.
Apple declined to comment for the story. But on Monday, Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, took time to address the issue during the company’s fourth quarter earnings conference call. This was unusual, as Mr. Jobs doesn’t typically participate in the company’s earnings calls. But Mr. Jobs said he couldn’t pass the opportunity to drop in for Apple’s first $20 billion quarter.
Mr. Jobs stared by pointing out that Apple sold 14.1 million iPhones during the quarter, a 91 percent surge from a year earlier. Apple sold those smartphones at an even faster pace than the overall market for smartphones.
Then he made an impassioned attack on Android and forceful defense of Apple.
“In reality, we think the open versus closed argument is just a smokescreen to try to hide the real issue, which is what’s best for the customer: Fragmented versus integrated,” Mr. Jobs said. “We think Android is very, very fragmented and becoming more fragmented by the day.”
Mr. Jobs noted that major Android manufacturers like HTC and Motorola put their own user interfaces on their devices and that different versions of the operating system with different capabilities are built into different devices, causing headaches for both consumers and application developers. Mr. Jobs said that Android sometimes left users to be the “system integrators.”
“We think this is a huge strength of our approach compared to Google’s,” Mr. Jobs said. “When selling to users who want their devices to just work, we believe integrated will trump fragmented every time.”
Then he added: “We are very committed to the integrated approach, no matter how many times Google tries to characterize it as closed,” he said. “We are confident that it will triumph over Google’s fragmented approach , no matter how many times Google tries to characterize it as open.”
Mr. Jobs wasn’t just dissing Google. With a bit less passion, and perhaps a touch of disdain, he also dismissed Research in Motion, the maker of the BlackBerry. Mr. Jobs noted that the iPhone had beat the BlackBerry, which sold 12.1 million handsets in the most recent quarter. “We now passed RIM and I don’t don’t’ see them catching us in the foreseeable future,” he said. Mr. Jobs said that RIM was now forced to move beyond its comfort zone and attempt to become a software platform. “RIM has a high mountain a head of them to climb,” he said.
Mr. Jobs also had a word about those who want to compete with the iPad in tablets. He said that while many in the media have said that an “avalanche” of tablets are expected to compete with the iPad soon, he believes only a handful of tablets will be released this year. He said all are Android-based tablets and are only 7 inches, far smaller than the iPad’s 9.7 inch size. A 7-inch screen, he said, is only 45 percent as big as a 9.7-inch screen, and Apple’s user testing has shown that is too small for a usable tablet.
“The 7 inch tables are tweeners, to big to compete with a smartphone and to small to compete with an iPad,” Mr. Jobs said. Lest there be any doubts about his confidence, he added: “The current crop of 7-inch tablets will be D.O.A.: Dead on arrival.”
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Rovio launched its full Android version of Angry Birds on Friday and the popular multi-platform game caused a stir. The game launched exclusively with GetJar and promptly crashed their servers. Despite its efforts, GetJar was unable to ramp up fast enough to meet demand and Rovio had to launch the app in the Android Market earlier than planned. With two marketplaces offering the app for download, Android fans were finally able to snag the download and launch some birds at those wily pigs.
Rovio confirmed via Twitter this weekend that the number of downloads on that first rocky day exceeded one million. While Angry Birds is not the first application to break this notable milestone, it did so with unsurpassed rapidity. Other applications like Adobe Flash 10.1 and Skyfire for Android have been downloaded one million times but it took those apps weeks and months to reach that number, not hours.
This milestone is significant as it shows the popularity of mobile devices as a casual gaming platform and confirms that Android is no slouch when its comes to the mobile applications market. Any lingering doubt about Google’s mobile OS as a viable option for mobile app development should be dispelled. Android may not be able to boast of 300,000 apps in its marketplace but it is an up and coming force that should be considered by any company or individual developer deciding on a business plan for mobile application development.
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Google TV will finally be available this Saturday, Sony says. The electronics giant just unveiled its line of Google TV products, including televisions and Blu-ray players, at a press conference in New York.
Each of the devices includes Google software designed to bring the complete Internet experience to TV sets. They’ll be on sale in Sony Style stores and at sonystyle.com on Oct. 16, and at Best Buy “shortly after,” Sony says.
Other upcoming Google TV products include a $299 set-top box from Logitech, which will be available at the end of the month.
Sony’s Blu-ray player is a pricey $399. Its line of four Google TVs have a wider price range than analysts had expected, starting at $599 for a 24-inch LCD, and going all the way up to $1,399 for a 46-inch LCD TV.
All of the Sony devices use Google’s Android operating system. You will be able to download Android apps — currently designed for Google phones and tablets — onto them starting early next year. Perhaps developers will come up with some new, TV-specific apps?
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The Apple iPhone and iPad made up more than half of third-quarter new activations of mobile devices by enterprise customers of Good Technology, a messaging and mobile management software company.
Who will give the ipad a run for its money? I would bet my bottom dollar on Motorola, or better yet, the dynamic duo of Motorola and Verrizon. Read more…
Google’s Android has overtaken Apple’s iOS in the global smartphone operating system market, the Financial Times reported Friday.
According to market researcher Gartner, Android’s market share climbed to 17.2 percent in the second quarter to rank third after Nokia’s Symbian (41.2 percent) and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry (18.2 percent).
iOS, used in the iPhone and other Apple mobile devices, slipped to fourth place with 14.2 percent.
Android is especially popular in the U.S. where it has also pushed aside Nokia and RIM to dominate the market, the business daily reported.
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The online games provider Kongregate has declared its support for its Flash-based games to be played from an Android handset.
Following the announcement from Steve Jobs at Apple that he has no plans to ever support the Adobe platform, this recent news is good for online games players who want to play their games while on the move.
At present, there are 30,000 games to be played on the games website and, along with a number of other games providers, offers free games to its site users.
Flash-based browser games are proving to be extremely popular amongst gamers looking to the Internet to play games for free. These titles are quick to load and offer players the chance to try out games in a wide variety of genres.
So, although Apple may not be backing the platform for its iPhone, those mobile users who have the Google operating system installed will soon be able to play these games from their smartphone devices.
Google has already encouraged Flash game developers worldwide to continue what they are doing, with a nod of approval to the imminent Flash Player 10.1, and this news that games will be going mobile through Android OS 2.2, just goes to show the future of online gaming is secure.
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