Turbotodd

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

Archive for the ‘android’ Category

Google Input/Output

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Google I/O, the company’s annual developer confab, kicks off tomorrow (Tuesday, May 9th) in Mountain View.

The Verge provided a preview, and indicated there would be new news across the Google and Alphabet board, including information about its new wearable platform, Wear OS; Google Assistant to Android TV; Google Home; Google Play; and Search.

On the Android front, The Verge reports the new version will be called simply, “P,” and is “focused on making room for the now pervasive display notch on full-screen smartphones, giving users more granular privacy settings, and unifying and simplifying the design language and usability of menus, docks, and settings screens.”

On the AI front, The Verge says to expect more details on Google Lens, and the TensorFlow platform and Tensor Processing Unit chips (which are at the core of Google’s specially designed AI training systems).

And for Google Wear (rebranded from Android Wear), the Wear OS has been in developer preview and is expected to have improvements to battery life and more inclusion of Google Assistant features.

Also expect some new news about Google Assistant more broadly, and the accompanying Google Home hardware family, as well as info on Google Photos, News, Play and the company’s new gaming startup, Arcade.

You can check out the full Google I/O schedule here.

Written by turbotodd

May 7, 2018 at 9:27 am

Posted in 2018, android, developers

Tagged with , , ,

Saudi Cyber

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Don’t miss this doozy of a story from The New York Times’ Nicole Perlroth and Clifford Krauss about last year’s cyberattack in Saudi Arabia.

The executive summary: Last August, a petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia was struck by a cyberassault that intended to sabotage the firm’s operations and trigger an explosion.

The only thing that prevented the explosion was a mistake in the attackers’ computer code. 

For cyber warriors on the front line, it’s a must read.

On the flip side, Google recently released its “Android Security 2017 Year in Review” report earlier today, and it cited that 60.3 percent of Potentially Harmful Apps were detected via machine learning.

As reported by VentureBeat, its detection is done by a service called Google Play Protect, which is enabled on over 2 billion devices (running Android 4.3 and up) to constantly scan Android apps for malicious activity.

In other words, artificial intelligence and machine learning are the future of cyber monitoring, and the future has already arrived.

Speaking of the future and cybersecurity, at next week’s IBM Think 2018 conference in Las Vegas, you’ll be able to tune in to over 100 sessions LIVE via the IBM UStream. 

Be sure to check out the schedule here, and to case the cyber keynote from 12:30-1:10 PST on Tuesday, March 20th, entitled “Ready for Anything: Build a Cyber Resilient Organization.”

Written by turbotodd

March 15, 2018 at 10:16 am

Peak Smartphone?

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Samsung’s new S9 and S9+ smartphones are in just in time for Mobile World Congress (MWC) to kick into high gear.  What a coincidence!

The Verge has a hands-on look at the two devices, claiming they have the same look and fell as the S8, and a welcomed and improved fingerprint reader placement. The S9 will launch with Android 8.0 Oreo, and the S9 and S9 Plus will work with the Gear VR that launched last year (as well as with Google’s Daydream View headset). 

The Verge also makes much of the S9’s new camera system, with a single lens on the S9 and a dual camera on the S9 Plus, noting that the new camera is Samsung’s first with a mechanically adjustable aperture and can switch between a very bright f/1.5 to a smaller f/2.4. For true photo junkies, I would imagine the “manual” overrides are much welcomed.

Pre-orders from Samsung and T-Mobile start March 2 for $720 for the S9 and $840 for the S9 Plus. AT&T comes in at $79/$915, $800/$930 from Verizon, and $792/$912 on Sprint.

Back in Barcelona, MWC gets underway as worldwide smartphone sales have dropped for the very first time after years of unbridled growth. The decline, 5.6 percent YOY in the last quarter of 2017, can likely be attributed to a confluence of factors, including consumers moving more upscale in the smartphone feature sets and thus being able to hold on to their devices longer than they used to.

Or could it just be we’ve all grown weary of looking down all the time, ignoring everyone and everything around us?

Me, my iPhone SE still chugs along just fine, and when I want to look at a bigger screen?  Well, that’s what an iPad is for.  

They still make those too, right?

Written by turbotodd

February 26, 2018 at 9:06 am

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

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