Turbotodd

Ruminations on IT, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘android’ Category

25th Anniversary ThinkPad

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If you’re looking for a special gift for that special someone who has laptop-itis, or just general technology on the brain, you might be well advised to check out the special 25th anniversary edition of the IBM ThinkPad 700C.

The new 25th Anniversary Edition of the ThinkPad 700C

According to CNBC, the ThinkPad Anniversary Edition 25 features a backlit 7-row keyboard, a throwback multicolor logo, the original pink mouse nub and a blue return button. However, it will be a lot thinner then the original 700C, and will feature a 14-inch full HD display. The new old ThinkPad will be priced at $1,899. (I remember working on one of the originals, and thought at times it would make an excellent boat anchor).

On the other hand, if you’re looking for something a little more modern, The Verge provides a detailed first look at the just announced Google Pixelbook. Their verdict? “It’s an incredibly well-built, thin, and beautiful laptop that you can convert into a tablet by flipping the screen over,” but “is it really worth spending over a thousand bucks on a Chromebook device?” The answer to that question seems to depend on how much of an Android you are.

Written by turbotodd

October 5, 2017 at 10:29 am

Supercharge Me

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Google and HTC have announced a $1.1 billion cooperation agreement, one under which HTC employees will join Google and HTC will continue to work with Google on smartphones, including its Pixel line of phones released last year.

As The New York Times reported, “Bringing on the team from HTC is a sign that Google is doubling down on plans to produce its own hardware.” But the two sides did not reveal how many engineers and other key employees would move over to Google.

HTC would still be free to continue making its own smartphones under the deal, but it seems evident that Google would take on the creme de la creme of HTC design and engineering staff, but not be required to take on its manufacturing facilities.

It would be easy to forget Google has traveled down this road before, having acquired Motorola Mobility in 2011 for $12.5 billion before selling the company to Lenova in 2014 for $2.9 billion.

This is from the press release back when the Google/Motorola deal was going down:

The acquisition of Motorola Mobility, a dedicated Android partner, will enable Google to supercharge the Android ecosystem and will enhance competition in mobile computing. Motorola Mobility will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. Google will run Motorola Mobility as a separate business.
– via TechCrunch

And this is from HTC’s press release overnight: 

For Google, this agreement further reinforces its commitment to smartphones and overall investment in its emerging hardware business. In addition to the talented and experienced team of professionals, Google will continue to have access to HTC’s IP to support the Pixel smartphone family. Additionally, this agreement also represents a significant investment by Google in Taiwan as a key innovation and technology hub.
– via HTC

So one would surmise from all this that what this is really all about is supercharging smartphone hardware…and Taiwan?

If I do the math, Google spent $12.2B on Motorola Mobility, sold it for $2.9B, which resulted in a loss of $9.6B. Now, they’ve bought part of HTC for $1.1B, which means they’ve invested $10.7B in smartphone hardware over the past six years.

That amounts to their spending about $148,611,111.11 per month on smartphones since August 2011.

I think I’ll stick with my iPhone plan on Verizon.

Written by turbotodd

September 21, 2017 at 8:49 am

Posted in 2017, android, google, htc, pixel

How Apped Is That?

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App Annie is once again out with its “Spotlight on Consumer App Usage” report, and once again app usage growth looks like a hockey stick, up and to the right.

But wait a minute, you say, as you hit pause on that Facebook Live stream of a skateboarding bulldog. I thought everybody, including me, loaded all those apps on their iPhone or Android and then never opened them again.

To an extent, that may be true. You may not be using many apps, but the ones you…and the collective “We”…are using, boy are we using them.

“We,” in fact, used apps for nearly 1 trillion hours in 2016. I don’t know how much lost productivity 1 trillion garners, but I suspect it’s a lot, and I suspect there’s even an app to help us figure it out.

App Annie indicates the fast uptick in 2016 only continues to accelerate in the first few months of 2017, and concludes simply that “Mobile apps have become vital to our day-to-day lives.”

So let’s get into some of App Annie’s actual numbers.

The average smartphone user used over 30 apps per month, in recent months, and on average, between one-third and one-half of the apps on users’ phones were used each month.

So yes, there are still a lot of app orphans out there in the world, but it’s unquestionable that consumers increasingly manage their lives through apps.

App Annie also indicates in its report that in all the countries it examined, smartphone users used an average of at least nine apps per day, with iPhone users using slightly more per day than Androids.

A quick glance around the globe reveals that smartphone users in Brazil, India and China used the most number of apps per day, and despite WeChat’s dominant position in China, even in the Middle Kingdom users still use 11 apps per day on average!

If we look the categories of usage, utilities and tools are the most used (Think Safari on iOS and Google on Android), but beyond that, other top boxes include Social Networking, Communication, and Social.

This data suggests the continued relevance and importance of social categories to marketing efforts for all types of apps (especially if you’re concerned about the concurrent rise in the use of ad blockers).

Android users used over 30 percent more games than iPhone users, and yet iOS still leads in gaming revenue, thanks to much higher average revenue per user.

Average usage per day varies by country, with the U.S. averaging two hours and 15 minutes per day (which adds up to about one month per year…One month!). South Korea, Brazil, Mexico and Japan averaged around three hours per day.

If you break down usage across categories by sessions, Dating and Productivity apps saw the highest average sessions per day with around four. But Finance and Productivity users spent less than one minute per session.

So, to net that out, people are spending nearly six minutes per day looking for dates, juxtaposed with spending four minutes per day on Productivity. Or put more simply, for every three dates they find, they knock off two things on their To Do lists!

For advertisers, the good news is that the variation between categories in time and sessions per day means there is no one-size-fits-all apps strategy, and App Annie suggests marketers should define their KPIs in the context of their apps’ specific use case.

It’s an App world, and we’re just living in it…more now, than ever.

Written by turbotodd

May 5, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Posted in 2017, android, apps, iOS, mobile, research

PC On Your Person

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The jokes about the new Samsung Galaxy S8 were all but inevitable.

I confess, I played as well, saying to one of my colleagues yesterday via IM, “Does it come with an asbestos burn bag??”

And that’s all the beating up I’ll do on poor Samsung — they’ve had one tough year and are trying to rise from the ashes.

The Wall Street Journal’s Geoffrey Fowler covered the basic speeds and feeds, its new Bixby virtual assistant, and other regular fare in his latest column.

But he also highlighted the looming possibility of the smartphone as desktop replacement:

The S8 has one other unexpected software talent: With an adapter, the S8 can transform into a computer, capable of driving a monitor, mouse and keyboard. It’s actually a Samsung-modified version of Android called DeX, which creates a desktop-like experience including resizable windows.
– via WSJ

That’s almost enough to stop your nightmares of phone batteries exploding in your pockets or while playing Angry Birds on airplanes!

Imagine, a computer in your pocket that you could take to work, plug it in, and not need to carry around a boat anchor (even today’s admittedly lighter laptop boat anchors).

As Fowler points out, at your desk, you’d obviously need a monitor, mouse, and keyboard, but other than that, you’d be good to go and you could always have your “computer” be on your person without much hassle.

Engadget put the S8 through some desktop paces during its own demo time and had this to say.

In summary, they wrote “The road to the perfect phone-desktop hybrid is littered with the carcasses of ambitious failures…” but that they were “…particularly impressed with the way Samsung has customized Android for bigger screens.”

Et tu, iPhone?

Written by turbotodd

March 30, 2017 at 9:15 am

New Androids, Big Brains

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SXSW has barely ended and Austin’s about to host another world class event, this time for golf fans.

The World Golf Championship-Dell Technologies match play tournament commences with its first round today at Austin Country Club. PGA golfers from around the world, welcome to Austin, and good luck!

In the meantime, things in the tech world certainly aren’t slowing down.

The Verge reports that for the second year in a row, Google is making a developer preview for the next version of Android available in March. There are said to be improvements to battery life and some changes in notifications, and Google is “aiming to improve sound quality with wireless headphones with ‘high-quality Bluetooth audio codes.’”

LInkedIn is also introducing some changes today, writes Recode:

On Wednesday, the professional network is rolling out a “Trending” topics feed, a new section of the app where users can find a collection of recent news stories and accompanying user posts that are personalized based on their interests and profession. LinkedIn LinkedIn will use a combination of human editors and computer algorithms to detect important storylines, then collect articles and posts related to those storylines and put them into individual feeds. The product looks very similar to what Facebook does with its own trending topics section, and is somewhat similar to Twitter’s Moments feature.
– via Recode

It’s LinkedIn, only, like Facebook. Got that?

And hiring human editors with big brains? I thought the machine overlords were taking over those mundane tasks so we humans could sit on the beach and sip from rummy yummy drinks with cute little umbrellas???

Speaking of big brains, Chinese search giant Baidu lost a big one yesterday when the company’s AI chief, Andrew Ng, announced he would be resigning.

Wrote Ng in his announcement blog post:

 

Just as electricity transformed many industries roughly 100 years ago, AI will also now change nearly every major industry — healthcare, transportation, entertainment, manufacturing — enriching the lives of countless people. I am more excited than ever about where AI can take us.
– via Medium

Clearly, just not at Baidu.

Written by turbotodd

March 22, 2017 at 9:18 am

President-elect Trump’s New “Secure, Encrypted” Device

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Well, we’re only a couple of hours away from President-elect Trump’s inauguration as the 45th president of the United States of America.

Like President Obama before him, Mr. Trump is alleged to be “trading in” the Android phone (one that has helped make his Tweets so famous) for a Secret Service-approved smartphone.

President Obama, of course, was forced to give up his beloved Blackberry upon ascending to the presidency. Anybody remember Blackberry??

No real details seem to have emerged about President-elect Trump’s new device. It is, of course, Secret-Service issued, so the details remain secret. That’s the way that whole thing works.

I just sure hope somebody load the Twitter app before handing it over to the new president. Otherwise, we could see our first scandal of the new administration, and our first “You’re fired!”

 

Written by turbotodd

January 20, 2017 at 9:09 am

BlackBerry’s Uphill Battle

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So, tomorrow’s the big day.

Research In Motion is formally introducing its BlackBerry 10 operating system.

Will the industry yawn and wonder what part of the mobile wilderness that RIM the BlackBerry has been wandering, or will it welcome the potential for new innovation with open arms?

We shall see, but there’s been no end of speculation and expectation appearing in the blogosphere.

For IT professionals, The Wall Street Journal’s Clint Boulton indicated CIOs should be prepared to ask (and get answered) a few key questions.

They center around pricing, upgradability of BlackBerry’s Enterprise Server, interoperability with iPhone and Android, and the like.

The broader question is what will drive demand? Will the market be receptive to the new phones and software behind BlackBerry 10, or are iPhones and Androids “good enough?”

Plenty of tech and mobile companies have had their time “in the wilderness,” and there’s nothing to focus innovation and R&D like dwindling market share.

I was a faithful BlackBerry subscriber for several years, before the lure of the more user-friendly environment of the iOS operating system drew me away from my last RIM device, the BlackBerry Bold.

Looking back, there were a few things I especially liked about RIM’s earlier offerings.

Most notably, the real-time, secure email capability. At a time when I was traveling extensively, there was nothing like being able to walk off the plane and crank up my Bold to find out what had happened in my world the prior 10 hours I was in the air.

I also liked the ability to synchronize with my work calendar — nothing like missing a meeting because you didn’t know it was even happening.

What I didn’t like? The inability to easily introduce new applications and content, most notably music and video (vis a vis iTunes), and yes, that all important road warrior time killer, games. I could only take so many bouts of “Bricks” or “Breakout” (It’s been so long, I forgot what the game was called!)

The application universe also always seemed so limited with RIM, so if they are going to “break out” of the wilderness, that app ecosystem is going to be key.

But only if the OS is up to the task.

CNET’s Roger Cheng explains we can expect two new devices at least, the Z10 and X10, a touchscreen and keyboard version, respectively, and that they’ll be available in February.

As far as apps are concerned, Cheng indicates BB 10 will launch with 70,000 apps.

Though that pales compared to the number of iOS and Android apps currently available, it’s a start, and the real key will be are they the RIGHT apps (the ones that help the mobile warrior stay productive, informed, entertained, and sane on the road, and yet have enough attraction to pull in other demographics).

Creating awareness through marketing will also be key to RIM’s renaissance. The “mindspace” for mobile has been increasingly dominated by the Apple and Google juggernauts over these past few years, and we can hardly turn our heads without seeing Samsung’s TV spots suggesting the iPhone is your our parent’s geriatric mobile device.

RIM hasn’t been part of the conversation for…well, years.

But I think RIM’s challenges are much bigger than awareness. The proof is going to be in the pudding, or in their case, in the user experience.

Design of a useful, attractive and compelling user experience may not have been MORE important in a new product launch in eons, because despite having the early advantage in the mobile smartphone space, now every new experience (including the BB 10 is) going to inevitably be compared to another, existing experience like iOS and Android.

Between that, the desire for a rich apps ecosystem, and getting the word out to a skeptical public — well, over the next few months, let’s just say we’re going to find out how much Motion their Research has as they try to convince loyal, “pry this mobile device out of my cold, dead hands” users out of their comfort zone and into the land of the unknown BlackBerry.

Written by turbotodd

January 29, 2013 at 9:01 pm

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