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Archive for the ‘Windows Phone’ Category

Smart Phone OS Breakdown: Pretty Colors Edition ;).

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Now this is how you make a chart. Cold hard facts and figures are already irresistible, but Nielsen has done one better by organizing data about  US smart phone subscribers into attractive, colorful infographics. The chart shows the distribution of mobile operating systems by manufacturer, which gives Apple and RIM some nice big bars for their respective platforms. With their iPhone and Blackberry products, each company controls 27% of the US smartphone market. HTC is the next most successful manufacturer, with a 12% market share for its Android devices and 7% for its Windows Phone 7 handsets.

When considering OS penetration, Android managed to squeak past the iPhone and Blackberry marketshare with a leading 29% cut. Windows Phone 7 isn’t doing too badly for itself–10% seems like a decent portion of the market for such a young OS. A second chart, posted below, demonstrates the smart phone breakdown by age.

These results are remarkably even–while Windows Phone 7, webOS and Symbian obviously post smaller numbers, almost every bar shows a pretty consistent distribution of phones among age groups. Android has a 2% advantage in the 18-24 range, while RIM has a modest 1% edge among 45-54-year-olds.

Who said? Wesley Fenlon said ;).

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Written by Syafirul Ramli>>

March 24, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Smartphone wars: The PC wars all over again ;).

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How RIM, Apple, Google, and Microsoft are re-enacting the desktop wars of the ’80s and ’90s

The current smartphone playing field looks amazingly familiar. In fact, I think I’ve seen this movie before.

The names have changed, but the roles remain the same. The players today are RIM, Apple, Google, and Microsoft. Twenty years ago it was IBM, Apple, Microsoft, and Novell.

[ Despite Steve Jobs’ best efforts, you just can’t keep a good iPhone jailbreak app down. | In 2008, InfoWorld Editor in Chief Eric Knorr predicted Android would crush the iPhone. | Stay up to date on the lighter side of tech goings-on with our Notes from the Underground newsletter. ]

You might recall that once upon a time, IBM had a stranglehold on the computing market. It wasn’t threatened by anything, really. If you wanted computers, you went to IBM, where execs held court like emperors who meted out technology from on high at a spectacular price. Then IBM introduced the PC, and although there were were a few comprtitors, IBM didn’t really care. PCs were small potatoes and IBM was making beaucoup bucks with big iron.

Everyone else, however, did care about PCs. Apple introduced the Macintosh, showing the world how an intuitive computing interface should work. Then as now, Apple kept things proprietary and locked down. Microsoft, on the other hand, opened up to everyone, allowing its inferior product to gain acceptance simply because it was everywhere. IBM finally saw its mistake and started pushing OS/2 heavily, but eventually gave in and accepted defeat.

To sum up War No. 1: Even though it was first, IBM missed its chance to capitalize on the PC market; Apple created a superior product, but the lack of external licensing severely limited its market share; and Microsoft grew absolutely huge on the success of Windows and Office.

Meanwhile, Novell was trying really hard to show everyone that Netware was the superior NOS to Windows NT, only to be crushed by the Microsoft juggernaut.

This is pretty much what’s happening right now with RIM, Apple, Google, and Microsoft. RIM bears an unfortunate similarity to IBM: It basically created the smartphone market and enjoyed years of success as the only viable business communication device. However, it got lazy and for the most part stopped innovating, producing phones that seemed years behind the competition. Apple, meanwhile, is in the same position it was in way back then. With the iPhone, Apple showed everyone how an intuitive smartphone UI should work, and its product took off, but only on Apple hardware with Apple-approved applications.

Google holds Microsoft’s place in this comparison, since it has released a product inferior to Apple’s iOS. But Google has licensed Android all over the place, so it’s enjoying broad adoption. Android is “good enough” for many people — and it can be found running on devices in a variety of form factors available through just about every carrier.

Microsoft, of course, is filling Novell’s shoes. Windows Phone 7 is so lacking in inspiration, it’s likely to follow the path of the Zune, which is to say it will wander aimlessly for a few years before being refreshed with yet another incarnation that will do the same thing. (Frankly, that’s the weakest part of this comparison, since Novell actually had a compelling product. Novell just couldn’t — or some say, wouldn’t — sell it the way it should have been sold.)

The wireless wars are every bit as heated as the PC wars — except that they are transpiring at Internet warp speed. If history is any guide, RIM will become an also-ran in the consumer and business smartphone market; Apple will enjoy a steady revenue stream from the iPhone; and Google’s Android will basically take over everything else, if for no other reason than because it’s everywhere else.

RIM and Google are new to this situation, but Apple and Steve Jobs have been here before. I have no doubt that Jobs knew which way this was going to go as soon as the iPhone was an official success, but he’s maintained the same position with the iPhone that he did with the Macintosh back in the day.

If nothing else, it’s clear that Jobs absolutely values quality over quantity and always has. He’d rather be a smaller part of the market and offer the best user experience than be the market leader and relinquish control over his creation.

Based on Apple’s stunning recovery in the past 10 years, I suppose it’s hard to blame him. On the other hand, RIM must see the writing on the wall and know that there’s little aside from a miraculous and revolutionary product release that can stave off the inevitable. Google is flying high right now, although the Oracle patent lawsuit may be curtailing the jubilation somewhat.

And then there’s Microsoft, scratching its head and wondering how it wound up being the Novell of the smartphone wars.

Who said? Paul Venezia said ;).

Written by Syafirul Ramli>>

August 27, 2010 at 10:54 AM

Comparing smartphones to cars, from Prius to Lexus ;).

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The type of smartphone you carry can certainly say something about you, or at least it may be used by others as a way to try to glean something about you.

A BlackBerry says that you’re likely a corporate professional. An iPhone says that you’re more of an intellectual. An Android phone says that you’re probably a bit of a technophile. A Nokia device says that you’ve got European sensibilities. A Windows Mobile or Palm phone can mean that you’ve been in tech for a long time and you’re loyal to the more traditional brands.

When you hear people in the technology industry talking about how today’s tech is becoming more like fashion, they’re not talking about chips embedded in clothing. They’re talking about the phenomenon of some people selecting their gadgets as part of their self-expression, in the same way that some people choose clothes to wear as part of the image they want to portray to the world about the type of person they are.

In today’s world, the type of smartphone you use can be the digital equivalent to the kind of car you drive since both of these machines tend to have a very personal connection with their owners. That’s one of the reasons why I recently compared theHTC EVO 4G to a Hummer and the Motorola Droid X to a Cadillac Escalade. Plus, it’s just an interesting comparison to make because both markets have a lot of diversity in terms of brands, style, and functionality.

When I published both of the comparison pieces mentioned above, TechRepublic members asked about extending the car metaphor to other top smartphones, so this is my effort to do just that. I’ve put together a list of 20 popular smartphones and compared each one to a car brand or a specific car model. The best way to view this is in the photo gallery that we’ve built, but I’ve also included the list in text form below.

Keep in mind that this is just a fun exercise. As most IT and business professionals will agree, the functionality of a smartphone is far more important than it’s style, but fortunately there are lots of choices in the market right now and so there’s the option to have both in many cases.

If these smartphones were cars…

1. Apple iPhone 4 = Jaguar

The Jaguar is a luxury vehicle that’s a mix between a sedan and a sports car, and it comes in a package with the greatest attention to detail and style. Easy to see the similarities here.

2. Apple iPhone 3G/3GS = BMW

2. Apple iPhone 3G/3GS = BMW

The iPhone 3G/3GS reigned for two years as the most popular high-end smartphone on the market; the BMW 3 Series is most popular luxury sedan in the world.

3. Google Nexus One = Lexus

3. Google Nexus One = Lexus

Arguably the highest rated and most critically-acclaimed sedan on the road today is the Lexus; the Google Nexus One has received similar rave reviews, and it has the same type of style as the Lexus — top notch quality, but simple and not overdone. Plus, the name similarity is too good to pass up.

4. Motorola Droid X = Cadillac Escalade

4. Motorola Droid X = Cadillac Escalade

Both the Motorola Droid X and the Cadillac Escalade are symbols of oversized luxury vehicles. They both make a big, powerful statement.

5. Motorola Droid = Ford Fusion Hybrid

5. Motorola Droid = Ford Fusion Hybrid

The Ford Fusion Hybrid is Motor Trend’s Car of the Year (2010), while the Motorola Droid was widely hailed by the tech press as the phone that launched the Android revolution. Plus, they’re both very popular with the public, and the Fusion Hybrid gets great gas mileage (+40 mpg) while the Droid has some of the best battery life of any smartphone on the market.

6. Motorola Backflip = Chrysler Sebring

6. Motorola Backflip = Chrysler Sebring

Motorola Backflip has drawn customer interest, but has been also drawn wide criticism for “crippling” the Android experience. Similarly, the Chrysler Sebring was derided by U.S. News & World Report for its performance and style and called “the worst midsize car for the money.”

7. HTC EVO 4G = Hummer

7. HTC EVO 4G = Hummer

Another monstrous new smartphone in 2010 is the HTC EVO 4G. With its large, boxy design and everything-but-the-kitchen-sink feature list, the EVO naturally evokes the Hummer.

8. HTC Incredible = Infiniti

8. HTC Incredible = Infiniti

The Infiniti is a luxury sedan (made by Nissan) that often flies under the radar but is known for its quality and is typically well-liked by its owners. In the same way, the HTC Incredible is a top quality smartphone that is overshadowed by the EVO and the Droid X.

9. Samsung Galaxy S = Ford Taurus

9. Samsung Galaxy S = Ford Taurus

The Samsung Galaxy S is a new Android phone that is coming to many different wireless carriers under various product names in 2010. It’s automobile equivalent is the workman-like, unpretentious Ford Taurus.

10. LG Ally = Nissan Sentra

10. LG Ally = Nissan Sentra

LG’s first Android phone comes in a minimalist package and is a little underpowered, but the price is right and it has few nifty features to brag about, much like the practical and economical Nissan Sentra.

11. BlackBerry Bold = Cadillac CTS

11. BlackBerry Bold = Cadillac CTS

BlackBerry’s flagship device, the Bold, is a symbol of well-balanced, high-quality craftsmanship based on years of experience and design savvy. It’s design also represents a rebirth of a classic brand, similar to the Cadillac CTS. And both are popular sellers as well, especially in the US.

12. BlackBerry Curve = Toyota Corolla

12. BlackBerry Curve = Toyota Corolla

These two both represent minimal styling but reliable service year-after-year.

13. BlackBerry Storm = Audi A4

13. BlackBerry Storm = Audi A4

The Storm 2 and the Audi A4 are both slightly quirky but nevertheless top quality. Both tend to get lost in the shuffle because of more prominent competitors.

14. BlackBerry Pearl = Honda Civic

14. BlackBerry Pearl = Honda Civic

Like the Curve-Corolla match, here’s another example of two brands that represent substance over style. Both draw solid reviews year-in and year-out and are distinguished mostly for their dependability.

15. Palm Pre = Volkswagen Beetle

15. Palm Pre = Volkswagen Beetle

Here are two brands that both think outside of the box with a unique sense of style, and both have a small cult following because of it.

16. Nokia E71 = Toyota Prius

16. Nokia E71 = Toyota Prius

Nokia’s E71 has a great mix of high-end smartphone features in a very slim package with great battery life. The Prius packs lots of terrific tech features (from hands-free Bluetooth to a big LCD in the dash) into a small hyrid vehicle that can get up to 50 mpg.

17. Nokia N97 = Honda Odyssey

17. Nokia N97 = Honda Odyssey

Nokia loaded a ton of high-end features into the N97, including an excellent camera and a full hardware keyboard. But, the result was a thick, bulky device, the smartphone equivalent of a mini-van. And since the Honda Odyssey is among the most tech-equipped mini-vans available, it is the perfect analogue.

18. HTC HD2 = Ford F-series

18. HTC HD2 = Ford F-series

Before the EVO and the Droid X, the biggest smartphone on the market was the HTC HD2. This monster is still around, but since it runs Windows Mobile it’s a more utilitarian and less flashy device, albeit still very powerful. It’s perfect counterpart is the Ford F-series pickup truck.

19. HTC Touch Pro2 = Honda Accord

19. HTC Touch Pro2 = Honda Accord

The most popular Windows Mobile device on the market is arguably the HTC Touch Pro2. It’s the Honda Accord of smartphones. It’s a little bit nicer than its smaller competitors, but it also doesn’t have any of the extra touches that its high-end competitors can boast.

20. Microsoft KIN = Yugo

20. Microsoft KIN = Yugo

Microsoft’s KIN was hyped for years as “Project Pink” but the product was so disappointing when it finally hit the market this year that Microsoft killed it shortly after launching it. The whole saga has echoes of the much-hyped Yugo car from the 1980s, one of the most infamous automobiles ever made.

Your take

Which of these comparisons do you agree or disagree with? Which smartphones aren’t on the list, and can you think of a good car comparison for them?

Who said? Jason Hiner said ;).

Written by Syafirul Ramli>>

July 23, 2010 at 12:03 AM

Leaked Dell Windows 7 Phone Is Electric ;).

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It seems to be quite the time for leaked handsets at the moment.

Just as the he dust around the Apple iPhone 4G debacle had begun to settle, Dell has reignited the smartphone wars with a sleek new Windows 7 Phone called the Dell Lightning that looks every bit as good as its specification.

The Dell Lightning is a portrait slider handset that features a 4.1 inch Samsung WVGA OLED screen, a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 512MB RAM, 1GB Flash, 5MP camera and 8GB of MicroSD storage.

The device also has a built in accelerometer, GPS chip, compass, FM radio and can connect to WLAN B/G/N networks. The handset will support both full DivX playback, Flash and Silverlight although the operating system may ship without Flash support initially.

The Dell Lightning is expected to ship in Q4, sometime between October and December, indicating the Dell Lightning could be one of the initial Windows 7 Phone launch handsets. There is no word on an international launch date although you can expect that to be some time after the US release.

The last quarter of 2010 could be interesting – with the HTC Evo, HTC Incredible, iPhone 4G and now the Dell Lightning all out to market, you really will be spoilt for choice.

Dell Lightning Images

Who said? Matt Brian said ;).

Written by Syafirul Ramli>>

June 16, 2010 at 12:24 PM

7 Reasons Why The Windows 7 Phone Is THE iPhone Killer ;).

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The sleeping giant is back. With yesterday’s announcement of the new Windows Phone 7 I believe we are seeing the rise of Phone 7 as the iPhone killer. Forget Android, this is the one you need to pay attention to.

Why? Scale, style and apps are the key reasons. Not to mention one of the longest computing heritages and a suite of services that range from business to entertainment, browsing and searching.

The Windows Phone 7 hooks this all together in a way that puts the market on its head. Instead of emulating what others have done, Microsoft has taken a radical approach to the phone. I give you 7 reasons why I believe this is the one.

1. Tiles

From the get go, this just looks better. The tile function of the screen replaces the icon displays seen on the iPhone and the Android with living breathing tiles. Just picking up the phone you can see what is going on in your world without opening any app.

I know we can have push notifications on the iPhone and alerts on the Android but they both require some element of effort. The push notifications don’t always hang around on your iPhone and on the Nexus I have to slide the thing down and then read through the various bits.

This delivery of information is just one example of how Microsoft are looking to fully innovate with this phone, not just deliver a version of what the market is used to.

2. Hub Strategy

The Hub strategy is core for Windows Phone 7 and it makes a lot of sense. So, I will have a music hub in the shape of the Zune app. But this app is not restricted to content I have uploaded to, or bought in Zune, but all the music content on my ‘phone. On my iPhone I have many music apps, each with different content. I have to remember where my music is before I can play it. With the 7 I can access my music in the various apps, or I can have a centralised hub of music.

Take the hub strategy across to other content, like business documents and Office becomes the business hub. This strategy gives me the best of both worlds, I can use my preferred app or I can find it in the main hub. Smart.

3. Sexy Apps, Lots of Apps

It’s all about the apps. We saw some great app demonstrations yesterday from some of the biggest names in Apps. Seesmic, Foursquare, Shazam, the Associated Press – all bringing apps to the 7. So, we don’t need to worry about not having the big names you are used to. It looks like they are already lining up to come on board.

Quality Apps – the demonstrations we saw yesterday (longer post here) all looked awesome with plenty of depth, functionality and interaction. These apps were developed in 3 weeks running the new Silverlight platform announced yesterday. With around six months before the 7 will be released there is plenty of time to further develop great apps.

Try before you buy – forget this lite/pro app business. You get to download the app as a trial. The functionality for the trial is core to the new Silverlight toolbox, so it is down to the app developers to decide the best way for the trial. Some apps may be fully functional but on a limited trial time. Other apps may have limited functionality or the first few levels of a game.

4. Games

Did we mention games? Forget Flight Control, how about full on XBOX action on your phone? The graphics look up to it and the game levels, credits and achievements will be recorded against your Live profile.

This cross performance works on a number of levels. Not only will you be able to continue playing your XBOX games on the phone (we don’t know right now if you can play all of them) but also that it remembers you across platforms so you can pick up where you left off when at home in front of your XBOX.  In a sense, this is what Sony has been trying to achieve with the PSP/PS3 hook up, but with all the other mobile bits added.

If the 7 can be an awesome entertainment platform as well as the business platform of Microsoft’s heritage, this could be amazing.

5. A Great App Marketplace

One of the initial stumbling blocks for Android was the Market. Not only did it not have as many apps as ITunes, the actual interface was horrible (that’s a technical term.) The new market interface is better but still hard to find stuff.

What about billing? iTunes billing is great, if you have a credit card and an iTunes account. Android again, you need a card and a Google Checkout account. So Microsoft will launch with credit card payments, operator billing, and try before you buy.

The operator billing alone should extend the potential reach of app users (anyone under 18 for starters) and offer another convenient way to buy apps.

6. Email

The 7 will have full capability to support not just Exchange accounts but all other major email providers as well. So, you don’t need to have an Exchange account to be using this for email. However, if you do have exchange, this will be a boon.

Remember, the iPhone has Exchange support but the Android does not offer Active Sync. The 7 will offer multiple exchange account sync which will also be good for business users. Let us not forget there are still a lot more people running Exchange emails than Gmail or Apple Mail. Blackberry, are you paying attention?

7. Mesh. Finally

Remember Mesh? Microsoft’s plans to sync your life across channels and platforms? It seemed a little ahead of its time back then but with the 7, finally everything comes into place. Music, work, games, contacts all come of age in one place.

What we forget (or I certainly did) is that Microsoft has all the component parts to serve my digital life. Email, Search, Gaming, Music. Until now some of those have been a bit crap, the Zune didn’t really inspire, don’t get me started on Vista and pre bing, search wasn’t too hot either.

Roll forward a year and Windows plans are coming together. With the phone the potential centre of my digital universe I tend to gravitate to the platform that gives me the greatest experience to hook them all together. The iPhone gets better but doesn’t perfectly integrate my Google life. Nor does Android completely – Gmail, Google apps yes but other accounts like Google Finance still don’t hook up.

Microsoft is the sleeping giant. Historically not as sexy as Apple, and not as fast as Google. The 7  phone is the show piece if not the centre piece of their empire which will help them back on the path to greatness.

Of course this post assumes Microsoft can get the hardware right. We have seen some great things, beautiful graphics, great games but will the hardware be up to it? Multi tasking is not coming which is probably a smart reason to manage the hardware drain. No doubt they will be working hard to find the right partners to deliver the best handset possible. A glitch in the hardware could be the undoing of such great potential.

Until we start to see handsets in the wild, I will remain with my view that this is the iPhone Killer. You heard it here first.

Who said? Jamie Riddell said ;).

Written by Syafirul Ramli>>

June 16, 2010 at 12:12 PM

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