Google inspires today’s selection. The Alphabet subsidiary is holding a media event presumably to launch the new version of its mobile platform and new Nexus devices. Russian photographer Oleg—his importance implied by no given last […]
I can’t confirm Bloomberg’s report that the the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department allegedly are beginning a joint investigation into Google’s Android licensing agreements. But I can explain what it means. Striping to the bones, from an antitrust perspective, there are two pivot points: Monopoly position and exclusive contracts. Then there is the broader regulatory agenda: Correcting (or preventing future) consumer harm.
Globally, Android is unquestionably a monopoly in the market for smartphone operating systems. However, its dominance in the United States is comparably muted by competition from iPhone. Based on smartphone subscribers, Android’s share was 51.4 percent for the three months ending July 31, 2015, according to comScore. iOS ranked second with 44.2 percent. By cell phone manufacturer, Apple leads the market, with the same share, followed by Samsung (27.3 percent). Android is leading but declining—down 0.8 points, while iOS is up 1.1 points, from April to July.
In my last post, I joke about the other five people who bought bought Nexus 6 to make a broader point. Apple laps up positive PR—and rubs Android’s nose in stinky sidewalk dog poop—by touting rapid iOS 9 adoption. Based solely on devices accessing the iTunes App Store, the number is 52 percent as of September 19. By the same measure, as of September 7, from Google Play: 20 percent of Androids run the newest version, Lollipop. iOS 9 released last week, and Android 5 arrived last year. Ouch!
Google shouldn’t let the comparison stop there. The company should release Lollipop adoption data selectively, for stock Android devices like Nexus 6. That makes the comparisons to iOS more equal, being devices for which both companies control updates. Apples to, ah, Apple comparison is more appropriate and it’s smart public relations management.
Three weeks ago, Google filed its expected rebuttal to the European Competition Commission’s statement of objections released in April 2015. The EC alleges unfair competition in online shopping services.
My missive focuses less on the “what it is” and more on the “what does it mean”. Google blogged about the filing, but I haven’t yet seen the document. I choose not to source the blog, which is more about public relations. You can read the post by Kent Walker, general counsel, for yourself or the recap somewhere else. A Google blog recapping the filing is secondary to the legal document.
My apology goes to Art Alexakis, lead singer for Everclear. In a post last night observing his role as a tattoo artist in movie “Wild”, his name is misspelled. Funny thing, so to get it right, I copied and pasted from the web into the WordPress post editor. Yet somehow when published, and I missed, his name appeared as Alexis. My thanks goes to Scott Bell, who pointed out the error in Google+ comment.
It’s strange how tech meant to be beneficial gets in the way. More mistakes appear in my stories because of autocorrect than I make myself. The pattern is consistent: I will write, nix autocorrect’s misspelling, but later edit something else in the sentence. Word changes! As a long-time writer and editor, I revise constantly until publishing—and afterwards, too. The mistakes I most often miss typically are the ones made for me during spot edits.
Satya Nadella is a man with a formidable challenge. Microsoft CEO’s predecessor, Steve Ballmer, squandered the company’s mobile fortunes. From smartphone platform leader a decade ago, the software-and-services giant is a category also-ran in 2015. Microsoft has no independent mobile platform future. The war is over. There remains this: Making alliances with old enemies to preserve existing territory, while using the foothold to reach into new frontiers.
Made available August 5th, Outlook for Apple Watch is a very smart move and metaphor for what went wrong on Microsoft mobile platforms and what has to go right to preserve and extend the legacy applications stack. While Windows 10 makes its way to Lumia devices, the future is Android and iOS and how the company supports them with contextually meaningful cloud-connected apps and services.
Over at BetaNews I pose question “Will you upgrade to Windows 10?” and provide readers a poll to answer the question. Timing coincides with the official launch of the platform tomorrow. To be brutally honest, I seriously considered using headline: “Will you upgrade to Windows Death?”
Because: if Windows 10 doesn’t succeed it will be the last viable version, given the success of Android or iOS; shipments of both mobile platforms either match or exceed Windows computers; and Microsoft’s advancing cloud strategy signals the end of Windows as we have come to know it, as the operating system evolves and updates in a manner more like Chrome OS than the big release delivered every few years. Then there is the criticism, much of it among beta testers, that makes upgrading to Windows 10 seem like Death.
I want to love Google-branded, HTC-manufactured Nexus 9. But ours is a contentious relationship. N9 is not a bad tablet; others offer better value and performance for the price (or less), with Apple iPad mini being high among them. That said, if pure (aka stock) Android is your thing, there is no worthy alternative. Just prepare for a few compromises, particularly if moving up from Nexus 7.
In his November 2014 review, my BetaNews colleague Brian Fagioli calls Nexus 9 “magical“. I can’t agree. During my four months using the tablet, response occasionally hesitates and WiFi too often disconnects. Last week, my N9 received the newest Android update, which somewhat resolves both problems. I purposely delayed this review, waiting for v5.1.1.
Late yesterday morning, LG Watch Urbane arrived from Verizon. Turnaround is quick for anyone who wants one right way, rather than waiting for Google to ship (now 1-2 days rather than by May 8). I am rushing a first-impressions review for BetaNews, and some comparison to the Moto 360 is mandatory. If round is your taste, consider one of these two smartwatches.
Meantime, to collect my thoughts for the review and for anyone considering the Urbane, I share something sooner. Overall, I am satisfied with the initial out-of-the-box experience. Urbane is gorgeous and looks like a traditional watch. The always-on, dimmed face contributes to the effect—without bleeding dry the charge. The watch is also more functional as a timepiece, as such. I mean, shouldn’t it be?
A smartwatch by any other name is compromise. The question: How much are you willing to pay, if anything, for the privilege? No matter what any manufacturer promises, battery life will never be enough, particularly when daily recharging is the minimum requirement. If you use the wristwear as prescribed, no less is demanded, regardless of the device maker. None delivers daily use without sacrificing something.
Nearly all these mini-computers on the wrist aren’t smart enough. You need a phone, too. Is two of one and half-dozen of the other worth the trouble? The answer depends much on your lifestyle. If you text and drive, and can’t break the habit, a smartwatch could save your life or others. If your mobile handset feels like a ball and chain, adopting glance-and-go lifestyle can liberate you. But if your smartphone is practically surgically attached, for its frequent use, you shouldn’t add another tech accessory. If your phone battery often runs out, because you forget to plug in, don’t multiply your troubles. If you don’t wear a watch now, and haven’t for years, don’t bother.
When isn’t a cell phone too big? The Motorola-made, Google-branded phablet answers that question for me, and may very well for you. From Samsung’s introduction of the original Note, I scoffed at large-screen smartphones—and, honestly, the seemingly stereotypical gadget geeks using them. But big is better, and my arrogant attitude about phablets and the people buying them was unwarranted.
Simply stated: Nexus 6 is the best handset I have ever used. The experience is so fresh and delightful, the emotional reaction reminds of using the original iPhone that I purchased on launch day in June 2007. N6 shatters my negative preconception about phablets, particularly unwieldiness when used daily. That said, I made some lifestyle changes, including choice of clothing, to accommodate the mobile’s massive size.
I can attest firsthand to the rising health-care costs everyone talks about. My mom went to hospital on January 30th for outpatient surgery. Still woozy from anesthesia, she left her Nokia Lumia Icon Windows Phone in the bed’s blankets. The hospital ships the linens to Canada for cleaning, and, well—cue the violins—that handset is gone to cellphone heaven or into someone’s greedy, grubby hands. Wouldn’t you know, Medicare won’t cover the cost of replacing the phone.
Yeah, I’m being facetious. It helps mellow my frustration buying her a replacement mobile. Mom is done with Windows Phone and must satisfy with an older Android. This post explains why, and how during a big week of new smartphone announcements she gets a—cough, cough—2013 model.