Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Facebook is making a smartphone and rumour has it that they will be using the Google Android operating system as the template.
The news may not come as a surprise to observers who have seen a tense competition forming between Google and Facebook over the years.
Facebook has attempted to take on many of Google's qualities including a similar advertising revenue system and search within Facebook.
When the owner of Wikipedia declared that he wanted his company to eventually replace Google, Wiki was quickly punished in the SERPs.
But Google would be powerless to stop Facebook adapting the Android OS. The social networking company, which now has 500 million users worldwide, wants to branch out and offer its services on a mobile platform.
Facebook liked the look of the Google Nexus One and the company realised it could not achieve what it wanted to simply through the use of an application.
Facebook mobile products head Erick Tseng, who was recently pinched from the Android mobile team, said at the MobileBeat 2010 conference: "We really see mobile as the future."
Facebook creatives Joe Hewitt, who previously worked on the Firefox browser, and Matthew Papakipos, whose experience includes Google Chrome OS, may now be turning their attentions to a Facebook phone.
Expect the Facebook phone to include a calendar based on your events and, of course, your extensive Facebook contact list. It also might make it easier to use Facebook applications such as Places.
Rather than building an operating system from scratch, Facebook will have access to one of the fastest-growing smartphone services and all of its third-party applications.
At the same time it is likely that a Facebook Phone would fragment users of the Android OS even more.
Monday, September 20, 2010
To date only 43% of Android mobile users have access to the new version 2.2 of the operating system, codenamed Froyo.
The graph above shows that many Android smartphones still operate on version 2.1 with some phones stuck on 1.5 or 1.6. It is based on research by Chitika data analytics.
While users of the iPhone can all upgrade to iOS4, it is at the discretion of Android OS network providers when they will make Froyo available.
For instance Motorolla makes the Droid X and had promised customers that Froyo would be released this month but that does not look likely to happen. It is a bizarre situation considering that the Droid X is supposed to be the flagship Android OS smartphone for Motorolla. It has also sold well since it was released.
Since then Google has shipped Droid 2 with Froyo pre-installed. But the company lags behind Apple which has managed to get 68% of its users onto iOS4. Android mobile may be selling faster than the iPhone 4, but in the war between the two smartphone providers it seems that Apple has given its soldiers more up-to-date equipment.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Android mobile has continued its rapid ascendancy in smartphone market share at the expense of Blackberry and iPhone. Meanwhile the new Windows Phone 7 has not yet been released.
The report by marketing research company Comscore showed that Android mobile picked up another 5% of the smartphone user pie between April-July 2010.
Over the same three months Apple dropped 1.3% while RIM continued its recent decline and dropped by 2%.
However the smartphone market as a whole is booming (11% increase between April-July 2010) thanks to the massive popularity of the Android and iPhone.
Some industry analysts believe that one reason why iPhone is losing ground to Android OS is because it does not have as many contracts with large network providers. The main network for Apple in the US is AT&T, while Android works over Verizon Wireless and Vodafone.
However the iPhone4 has only been out for a few months, and is selling very well, despite the data showing a faster take up of Android.
The next Comscore report will provide a much clearer view of the situation; after all the iPhone4 had only been out for one month when this report was compiled.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Did you know that you can unlock the potential of your Android mobile by rooting it?
First of all rooting should not be tried by anyone who does not feel extremely comfortable with the more technical aspects of Google's Android OS. You're basically hacking in and changing the phone system permissions with the risk of making your Android totally useless while voiding the warranty in the process.
On the other hand a successful rooting can give you access to all sorts of cool features including advanced firewall apps. Furthermore you can get a ROM which allows you to download the latest version of Android well before other people.
However it should be noted that the manufacturers are wise to this and Android Froyo 2.2 is particularly difficult to root. The process is similar to jailbreaking as carried out on iPhones. Yet a simple Google search on how to root a certain phone can often pay dividends via the forums.
There are now apps available for HTC/Google Nexus One, Motorola Droid, Milestone and other phones which gives you one-click rooting. All you have to do is install the app with an the APK file on your SD Card, locate it with a file-management app and tap it to start the installation. Follow prompts and when the rooting apps appear in the App Drawer launch it. For full instructions on how to root your Android mobile see this article.
Monday, September 13, 2010
The full version of Angry Birds for Android mobile will be released in the next three weeks according to developers.
The beta was released at the beginning of the month, but it only allowed access to the first level of this phenomenon.
Although this engrossing game requires a lot of patience to complete as you try to find the right angles with which to catapult birds at pigs, it is safe to say that many people have completed the level and are hoping for more.
Furthermore there were some handset issues when the beta for Angry Birds was released. Because the HTC Wildfire phone uses QVGA displays these were not supported but efforts are being made to address the problem.
An Angry Birds developer called Rovio said: "We are currently working hard to ensure that Angry Birds on the Android mobile will offer best game experience for as many people as possible."
Angry Birds has been a massive success on the iOS4 where the app costs 99 cents, so expect the Android mobile to be priced competitively.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Another busy week for Android mobile as Google has added pedestrian friendly Google maps as an app.
That means you can get directions on foot around major world cities like London, and some smaller ones too. There is a street view feature which lets you know what your future path might look like.
Now sat nav has been around for a while, but it is good to finally get something pedestrian friendly. Many cities, admittedly in developing countries, do not cater to walkers very well.
These directions for Android mobile take no heed of one-way streets and also let you know about short cuts, for instance if you want to head through a shopping mall to get somewhere quicker. Directions can be audible or silent, with a vibrate option also possible.
The beta app is available on the Android market for versions 1.6 or above of the smartphone.
There is also some competition to the Android now that Apple has allowed Flash and Java on its phones.
Could this be a sign that Apple is taking a leaf from Google's book and becoming more relaxed about applications for its smartphone?
If so it will be interesting to see whether more developers side with the well-paid Apple apps or whether their decisions will always be made on an individual cost analysis basis.
Apple will also allow 3rd party advertisers. Watch this space.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
3CX, which makes the VoIP PBX 3CX Phone System and the Windows 3CX softphone, today added a free VoIP phone for the Android OS to its growing list of products.
The phone can be downloaded for free by both consummers and enterprises.
Therefore Android smartphone users on a variety of phones (including the Google Nexus, the HTC Desire and the Sony Ericsson Xperia) can make free phone calls via 3G and wireless.
The 3CX free VoIP phone for Android mobile works with standards based SIP servers including 3CX and other Phone Systems.
It is not locked down to a particular PBX or provider.
This gives users the flexibility to pick and choose their favorite VoIP PBX. They can also switch at any time or use different VoIP providers simultaneously.
The CEO of 3CX, Nick Galea, said: “Smartphones will soon be the defacto mobile communication option. With a docking station they can even act as a desk phone in time.
"A VoIP PBX must embrace this technology and deliver seamless integration to provide true mobility to its users.”
“Smartphone support is a key component of our strategy and the 3CXPhone for Android delivers on this vision”.
Mr Galea added: “We chose Android as our first platform because it is gaining market share and evolving at a rapid pace. Right now in the smartphone market Android has an advantage as it is standards-based, open and vendor independent. Furthermore Android mobiles are available at competitive prices.”
3CXPhone for Android is based on SiPagent. 3CX acquired this popular SIP phone for Android in June 2010. SiPagent users are able to upgrade free of charge to the 3CXPhone.