OEM Stories April 14, 2016

As an “Apple guy” the HTC 10 has been the one smartphone that I’ve immediately identified with in the Android ecosystem. That’s not to say that there haven’t been other Android devices that I’ve enjoyed or wanted to use, but I’ve always connected with HTC.

That probably has something to do with the fact that the HTC Wizard was the first “smart” phone I’ve ever owned. That phone ran the now defunct Windows Mobile and featured a resistive touch screen. Needless to say, I’ve long been a fan of the Taiwanese company, and its passion and desire to put out well-designed products continues to resonate with me in 2016.

So it’s with great empathy and concern that HTC has been struggling as of late. To be honest, the HTC 10 feels like the company’s make or break — the major fork in the road, if you will.

It’s very possible that the HTC 10 will be the release that paves a path to one of two destinations. Fortunately, I can report that this is a phone that’s good enough to pave that path in the right direction. It’s a phone that lives up to its billing, and in many ways exceeds expectations. It’s definitely not perfect, but it’s the best-looking and most complete HTC offering that we’ve seen thus far. expand full story

OEM Stories June 8, 2015

OnePlus One price permanently dropped to $249, or $349 with Dropbox Pro subscription for limited time

OnePlus has sold only somewhere over a million units of its OnePlus One (very small compared to the big OEMs), and went as far as to call its recent flash sales of the phone as something that would “shake up the industry,”  but the company isn’t stopping there. Based on taking a “hard look at the numbers to make sure we were maintaining our commitment to our users,” OnePlus has decided to make the $249 starting price of the One permanent (sorry to everyone who waiting anxiously at their computers to get the deal last week). It also has a new partner in another promotion…

Starting June 10th – and for a limited time, they say – the company will be offering the 64GB OnePlus One with a 1-year subscription to Dropbox Pro, the cloud storage service, for $349. The deal is valid in the US, EU, and Canada. We wouldn’t be too surprised to see this deal lasts longer, though, as Dropbox continues its ugly battle against Google, Microsoft, and others to be the future storage center of people’s millions of files as they move from device to device.

While the OnePlus One is a solid buy for anyone in the market for a gimmick-free, what-you-see-is-what-you-get Android phone sold at cost, we still expect to see a OnePlus 2 soon, with the last word from OnePlus that it would go on sale “sometime in 2015.” Bloomberg pegged the August through September timeframe as when we should see it, and we recently reported on seeing a mysterious device from OnePlus show up in Geekbench test results. Just something to keep in mind.

OEM Stories March 28, 2014

Following rumors that Google was preparing to starting forcing manufacturers to brand new devices with a “Powered by Android” logo, AndroidPolice today posted what appears to be evidence of the new requirement. Not every device using Google’s Android OS will have to bear the logo, but those that use Google’s Mobile Services— just about every Android smartphone from the major OEMs— will soon have to do so as part of Google’s updated requirements. Android has long been split into two distinct pieces: The Android Open Source Project that allows OEMs to freely use Android on their devices, and the closed Google Mobile Services, which gives access to Google Play services and Google branded apps like Maps and Gmail for manufacturers that agree to various guidelines.

It appears manufacturers are already putting the logo on new devices, although there’s no direct evidence that the device makers are required to do so. The Powered by Android logo appears of the startup screen of the new Galaxy S5 (as you can see in the screenshot above), as well as HTC’s new M8, but AndroidPolice notes it’s not on the Verizon variant of the device. Other reports claim that some devices show the logo on the startup screen every time the device is turned on, while others only show it the first time. There doesn’t appear to be strict guidelines about where the logo has to appear, but today’s report claimed sources say the branding is indeed mandatory.  expand full story

Deal: Get Pixelbook at 25% off: $750!

OEM Stories June 28, 2013

Research firm comScore is out today with its usual report covering U.S. smartphone subscriber market share for the three month period ending in May. Over the last three months Apple has gained in both categories including ‘top smartphone OEMs’ and ‘OS usage’, continuing its lead as the top smartphone manufacturer and growing its share of the market by platform.

The previous three month period had Apple at 38.9% of the market, making it the number #1 smartphone vendor in the US over second place Samsung. In May, Apple continues that lead by increasing its share 0.3 percentage points to 39.2% of the market. That’s significantly higher than the 23% Samsung grabbed despite growing 1.7 percentage points during the quarter. In a close race for third place is HTC with 8.7%, Motorola with 7.8%, and LG with 6.7%, all of which dropped less than a percentage point since last quarter.

When it comes to the market by OS usage, Android is still on top, growing 0.7 percentage points to 52.4% this quarter. Apple experienced slightly less growth at 0.3 percentage points to capture 39.2% of the market up from its 38.9% share last quarter. That means the majority of the growth, once again, comes at the expense of BlackBerry and Microsoft. expand full story

OEM Stories August 17, 2011

If you haven’t heard by now, Google has shocked many this week with their acquisition of Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, which still may have to pass regulatory review for GOOG to avoid an unusually high $2.5b reverse termination fee. However, while there might be a few hoping the deal falls through, Microsoft is taking this time to convince smartphone makers the Windows Phone platform is the only “truly open mobile ecosystem”.

President of Windows Phone division, Andy Lees, provided the following statement (via WinSuperSite) following the Google/Motorola acquisition announcement:

“Investing in a broad and truly open mobile ecosystem is important for the industry and consumers alike, and Windows Phone is now the only platform that does so with equal opportunity for all partners..”

This comes after Microsoft announced a deal with Nokia in February that would see Windows Phone 7 become Nokia’s primary OS for smartphones (a deal that appears to give Nokia an unfair advantage over other partners). As a result, Nokia will be working closely with Microsoft and integrating a ton of their own content into the OS including their content and application store, and the Nokia Maps app. The handsets will also receive the Xbox Live, Zune music store, and Bing search treatment from Microsoft.

While the deal isn’t exclusive (allowing Microsoft to partner with other manufacturers and Nokia to make devices powered by another OS), it certainly gives the two companies an unfair advantage over other OEMs considering the Windows Phone platform… and seems to contradict Lees’ statement of the OS being an “equal opportunity for all partners”. Google’s acquisition of Motorola may have a bigger impact down the line depending on their plans for the company… but for the time being the Google/Motorola partnership doesn’t provide any less incentive for new Android partners than the Microsoft/Nokia deal does for potential Windows Phone manufacturers. expand full story

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