Operating system Stories August 5, 2015

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Android is notorious in the developer community for its rampant fragmentation. Developing an app for Google’s platform means wrestling to make the app work optimally on the ecosystem of thousands of devices in different shapes and sizes. And according to a new report out today giving us a look at the state of Android fragmentation as of this month, August 2015, there’s both some bad and good news: There are more devices than ever before, but fewer users that are spread out across different operating system versions.

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Operating system Stories March 16, 2015

cyanogen

Cyanogen recently gave itself a rebrand, and now the company has come out to share the new boot animation shipping with its upcoming Cyanogen OS 12. It’s definitely sporting the company’s slick new logo which, according to Cyanogen, “celebrates space, with minimal letterforms that don’t quite connect, giving the logo a sense of motion and a feeling of inherent energy.”

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Operating system Stories November 10, 2014

Firefox OS

While it has yet to become a significant player in the smartphone market, Mozilla is hoping that its open-source Firefox OS will be a game changer when the mobile operating system gains a larger presence in countries like the United States and United Kingdom. In the meantime, the software maker has gone on the offensive against rival platforms Android and iOS. expand full story

Operating system Stories October 31, 2014

iPhone 6 Nexus

The latest numbers from Strategy Analytics reveal that Android was installed on over 8 of 10 smartphones worldwide in the third quarter, as the mobile operating system captured 84% global market share for the three-month period ending September. That figure arrives just one day after the research firm reported that Chinese company Xiaomi has become the third-largest smartphone maker in the world.

Android continued to be a dominant player in global smartphone operating system market share, increasing its lead over iOS by three percentage points compared to the year-ago quarter. Apple’s mobile operating system held 12.3% market share during the third quarter, trailed by Windows Phone (3.3%) and BlackBerry (0.7%). Other mobile platforms accounted for less than 0.1% market share. expand full story

Operating system Stories August 19, 2014

Amazon’s Fire Phone gets its first update, mostly things it should have had in the first place

Amazon’s Fire Phone didn’t get off to the best of starts, with most reviews panning it, but it just got a little better thanks to its first over-the-air update – mostly providing things it should have had in the first place.

Fire OS 3.5.1 provides a quick means of switching between apps, app folders, pinning of favorite apps to the home carousel, improved battery-life and more. To install it, swipe down from the top of the home screen to open Quick Actions, select Settings, then tap Device > Install system updates > Check Now to download. Once it’s downloaded, tap Install System Update and wait for the restart.

If the improvements are enough to make you consider a Fire Phone of your own, it’s available direct from Amazon from $649 outright or from $0 to $299 on contract.

You can read chapter-and-verse on all the improvements below. 

Operating system Stories March 3, 2014

There’s a dual-boot Android/Windows Phone smartphone on the way – we’re just not sure why

The Times of India reports that local phone maker Karbon Mobiles is launching phones that can run both Android and Windows Phone, with the first handsets expected to be available by June.

The company has just signed the licence agreement with Microsoft to make Windows-based phones and will put this along with its existing Android system to bring out the dual-OS phones in about six months, the company’s chairman Sudhir Hasija said.

While I can see the sense in a dual-boot laptop/tablet that can run both Windows 8 and Android, a dual-platform phone seems rather more of a ‘because we can’ gimmick. The explanation may be as simple as Microsoft waiving the license fee to help grow the platform, especially after Nokia announced its (kind of) Android handsets. Hasija commented:

Microsoft has eased the regulations and is opening up its platform for other players.

Karbon gets a cost-free talking point for its new handsets, Microsoft gets a bit more market share in a growth market. We’re just not sure what consumers get …

Operating system Stories January 16, 2014

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There have been indications for a long time that Google Now was eventually coming to the Chrome browser on the desktop. Via the Google Operating System Blog, the service has finally surfaced in the most recent release of Chrome Canary (Google’s name for the app’s ‘alpha’ channel builds).

As expected, Google Now in Chrome closely mirrors Google Now on Android. The contextually-relevant cards (which show information such as weather, news or upcoming flights) appear in Chrome’s Notification Center on the desktop. This area be found in the Window’s taskbar or the Mac’s menubar, represented by a bell icon.

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Operating system Stories January 15, 2014

hp_slate6

Last week, we went on the record saying that HP was set to unveil their new smartphones within a week and here we are just 5 days later with an announcement.  The quad-core Slate 6 and Slate 7 VoiceTab are (as predicted) 720P displayed “mega” phablets that will play in the same market as Samsung’s Galaxy Mega line. The initial launch country will be India but more are on the way.  While no price was given, we’d imagine that since the other details were true, the $200 price point for the Slate 6 VoiceTab and $250 for the 7-inch seem like a pretty good starting point.

The phones will come with 16GB of on board storage and have a Micro-SD card for 32GB more storage. As you can see in the image above, they both have stereo speakers a la the HTC One (no word yet on Beats Branding which HP still uses and HTC once used).

It appears that HP has really done its homework here and has identified a market where it can make things happen. HP obviously has a huge brand and PC presence in India and at the same time, the market is easy to enter because the carriers aren’t gatekeepers like they are in the US.

As for the phones themselves, they actually have some styling which is a notable step up from HP’s US slate lineup. While I’ll go on the record saying that I’m not a fan of the Black on Gold appearance from the press release and Android skin they are showing off, I’m not privy to style considerations from India.

Also ringing an alarm bell is the Android 4.2 launch OS. Combined with that pretty heavy looking skin/overlay, Indian consumers are already starting 2 OSes back…and counting.

In all, though Google has to be pretty satisfied with the launch. HP is traditionally a Windows shop but since Meg Whitman’s return has gone ChomeOS and Android first with the Slate line of tablets and now their Smartphones.

Another image if the Slate 6 Voicetab and Press release below: expand full story

Operating system Stories September 25, 2013

Valve announces Steam Machines hardware beta for SteamOS

Earlier this week Valve made the first of three big announcements being teased on its website with the introduction of SteamOS: a Linux-based, open and freely licensable operating system that will run any number of devices and deliver the Steam experience in the living room. Today the company announced the second part of the puzzle with the launch of a hardware beta program for “Steam Machines” that will run the operating system:

Entertainment is not a one-size-fits-all world. We want you to be able to choose the hardware that makes sense for you, so we are working with multiple partners to bring a variety of Steam gaming machines to market during 2014, all of them running SteamOS.

Valve has designed a “high-performance prototype” and it will ship 300 of the boxes to Steam users for free in order to test the platform:

While these products are still in development, we need your help. As always, we believe the best way to ensure that the right products are getting made is to let people try them out and then make changes as we go. We have designed a high-performance prototype that’s optimized for gaming, for the living room, and for Steam. Of course, it’s also completely upgradable and open.

The company is accepting sign-ups for the beta program until October 25. Here’s how to apply:

THE HARDWARE BETA ELIGIBILITY QUEST:

Before October 25, log in to Steam and then visit your quest page to track your current status towards beta test eligibility

1. Join the Steam Universe community group

2. Agree to the Steam Hardware Beta Terms and Conditions

3. Make 10 Steam friends (if you haven’t already)

4. Create a public Steam Community profile (if you haven’t already)

5. Play a game using a gamepad in Big Picture mode

With SteamOS, it’s not just games. Valve could quickly be on its way to making a full fledged Google TV competitor with the Steam Machines it will begin testing for an expected 2014 launch. The company noted that its SteamOS operating system will also include features for other content such as music, TV shows, and movies, and Valve is already in discussions with various media companies to make that happen.

Operating system Stories August 28, 2013

HTC thinks China is the way out of its troubles, with custom OS

The WSJ reports that HTC is now working on a custom smartphone operating system designed specifically for the Chinese market.

HTC Corp is developing a mobile software system specifically for Chinese consumers, people familiar with the project say, as part of a big China bet that the Taiwanese smartphone maker hopes will help revive sliding sales.

While the reality is likely to be some kind of Android variant, rather than a completely new OS like Samsung’s Tizen, it does have all the hallmarks of a somewhat desperate move by a company which somehow manages to combine a superb flagship handset with less than stellar financial performance. With morale faring no better, it had even been briefly suggested that HTC might have been planning to exit the smartphone market.

China is a juicy target for all smartphone manufacturers, as China’s emerging middle-class create a market beyond the largely budget handsets that currently make up the bulk of sales in what is now the world’s largest smartphone market. Even Apple, which has so far been content to operate exclusively at the top end of the market, appears to be eyeing China in particular with the iPhone 5C it is expected to announce on 10th September.

But it would be a gamble for HTC, ploughing resources into a country in which it is currently nowhere. A recent Canalys report into smartphone market shares in China showed that HTC was buried somewhere in ‘Other’.

The WSJ suggests thatHTC may be playing the long game, viewing the move as a diplomatic one rather than hoping for short-term financial benefit.

The project is seen by HTC insiders partly as an effort to forge political and business ties in China, since third-party operating systems have little chance of actually competing against the dominance of Android and Apple’s iOS. In the second quarter, Android held 79% of the global smartphone market, while iOS snagged 14.2%, according to market research firm Gartner. No other operating system captured more than 4%.

If so, the question remains what HTC’s strategy is to ensure that it has a long-term.

Operating system Stories May 28, 2013

Tim Cook noted during his interview at the D11 conference tonight that “Apple has no religious issue porting an iOS app to Android,” but was careful to point out that they would only do so “if it made sense.”

When asked about Facebook’s Android home screen replacement and whether such access would ever be available to developers on Apple’s platform, Cook noted that there are plans to allow deeper access to iOS, but such changes will only be allowed if they don’t impact the customer’s experience. Kara Swisher specifically asked about the possibility of Chat Heads becoming part of iOS, but Cook was quick to shoot the idea down: expand full story

Operating system Stories May 15, 2013

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Investors seem pretty optimistic about today’s events even though hardware and OS expectations have been tempered somewhat.

What might be interesting here is that if you negate Google and Apple’s cash on hand, the Market caps of the two companies are pretty close. expand full story

Operating system Stories September 10, 2012

Nielsen: Young adults and teens push smartphone growth in US, with Android at 52 percent of OS market share in July

While getting its graphics’ proportions right this time around, research firm Nielsen revealed July 2012 findings today and announced 55.5-percent of mobile subscribers in the United States now own smartphones with young adults and teenagers leading the charge.

According to the Nielsen blog

As mobile manufacturers announce new phones in advance of the holidays, Nielsen took a snapshot look at the mobile market in the U.S. Smartphone penetration continued to grow in July 2012, with 55.5 percent of mobile subscribers in the U.S. now owning smartphones. This is a significant increase compared to July 2011 when only 41 percent of mobile subscribers owned smartphones.

Overall, young adults are leading the growth in smartphone ownership in the U.S., with 74 percent of 25-34 year-olds now owning smartphones, up from 59 percent in July 2011. Interestingly, teenagers between 13 and17 years old demonstrated the most dramatic increases in smartphone adoption, with the majority of American teens (58%) owning a smartphone, compared to roughly a third (36%) of teens saying they owned a smartphone just a year ago.

Android still dominates the smartphone OS market in terms of owners and recent acquirers, at 51.9-percent and 58.6-percent respectively, but iOS maintains second place with 34 percent of smartphone owners and 33 percent of recent acquirers.

Nielsen’s monthly survey is conducted across 20,000 mobile subscribers from the ages of 13 and up in the U.S.

Get additional details at Nielsen.

This article is cross posted at 9to5Mac.

Operating system Stories August 28, 2012

Not a bad looking phone, but the specs are middle of the road. Although LG has not hit home runs in last two years, its latest models show it is not giving up.

LG EXTENDS L-SERIES WITH GLOBAL DEBUT OF OPTIMUS L9 Premium Optimus L9 to Offer Best of L-Style with Innovative UX

SEOUL, Aug. 29, 2012 – The LG Optimus L9 will continue the stylish L-Series lineup of smartphones with its global debut. Following the successful launches of the Optimus L3, Optimus L5, and Optimus L7 earlier this year, the Optimus L9 is anticipated to continue in the success of the L-Series emphasizing premium design heritage developed from LG’s design leadership.

Inheriting LG’s premium L-Style design philosophy, the Optimus L9 has a 9.1mm thin body with a slimming metallic streak and modern square style that offers a comfortable grip from its slim and stylish design.

The largest-in-class 4.7-inch IPS display of the Optimus L9 offers clear and true-to-life images with incredible detail for comfortable viewing experience. The high-density 2,150mAh SiO+ battery allows users to enjoy the various new UX features all day long with maximized performance while retaining its incredibly sleek design.

The Optimus L9 was also developed to be a smarter smartphone through LG’s differentiated UX features, such as the QTranslator and My Style Keypad function along with the ever-popular QMemoTM.

The QTranslator function instantly translates not only words, but also entire sentences and phrases with a simple scan from nearly 44 foreign languages to 64 user languages. Using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology, it recognizes letters upon scanning with the camera and utilizes electronic dictionary or online translation engine to translate words, sentences or phrases.

The My Style Keypad function comfortably adjusts the key formation of the keypad according to whether the user is texting with one hand (right or left-handed) or two hands. Lastly, the Optimus L9 will also include the QMemoTM, allowing users to capture, memo and share their ideas with others using their fingertip or handwriting.

“The Optimus L9 is a great smartphone that appeals to every consumer,” said Dr. Jongseok Park, President and CEO of LG Mobile Communications Company. “LG will continue to offer differentiated value through the Optimus L9 and strengthen our position in the smartphone market.”

Key Specifications: OS: Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich Chipset: 1GHz Dual-Core Main Display: 4.7-inch IPS Display Memory: 1GB DDR2 (RAM) / 4GB e-MMC Camera: 5MP rear / VGA front Battery: 2,150mAh SiO+ Size: 131.9 x 68.2 x 9.1mm / 125g Others: DLNA, QMemo™, QTranslator function, My Style Keyboard function

Operating system Stories July 2, 2012

Nokia hints at Android fallback plan if Windows Phone continues to suck

A Nokia board chairperson admitted to a Finnish talk show recently that his company has a backup plan in case the Windows Phone 8 software continues to fail.

According to CNET (via Yle Uutiset), Risto Siilasmaa, who has only been with Nokia since May, hailed the 2011 transition from Symbian to Microsoft’s Windows Phone during Thursday’s interview on “Päivän Kasvo“. Despite the accolades, he said a “contingency plan” is in place should the current mobile operating system “fail to live up to expectations.”

Windows Phone 8 launched in June and barely grabbed 0.18-percent of the marketshare for the month, according to NetMarketShare findings. The prospects do not look good, but Siilasmaa expects the OS to hold its own. Meanwhile, the details of Nokia’s Plan B are unknown. 9to5Google thinks the mysterious backup plan certainly hints at Android.

Google’s mobile operating system could be Nokia’s only saving grace, but fierce competition from Samsung and HTC will make a much-needed recovery even harder for the fledging manufacturer.

Operating system Stories June 28, 2012

BlueStacks now lets Android apps run on Macs

BlueStacks, the tool that allows Android apps to run on Windows, is now available for Macs.

The software, which is often touted as the “Parallels for Android”, now supports 17 Android apps on OS X. Pulse and Words With Friends are two of the more notable apps packaged in the launch, while high-resolution support for Retina Macs and additional apps are on the horizon.

The company attempted to court more developers—and celebrate the launch of its Mac Alpha —with a mock wedding for Android and Apple at Google I/O yesterday. The free download is available on the BlueStack’s website.

This aside is cross-posted on 9to5Mac.

Operating system Stories April 2, 2012

The latest marketshare-ish numbers are in for Android and it seems that people continue to update their phones…to Gingerbread. Almost two-thirds of all Android phones hitting the market in the last two weeks are running Android 2.3.x with a significant share—23.1-percent still on Android 2.2 Froyo. Honeycomb, the Tablet-only fix OS, is at around 3.3-percent, while Ice Cream Sandwich is on a scant 2.9-percent of devices including Galaxy Nexus, Acer Transformer Prime, and newly updated HTC Vivid (along with some custom builds and some unlocked manufacturer phones).

The distribution over time (below) is showing the long haul ICS has ahead of it (and do not forget we are likely going to hear about Jelly Bean at Google I/O in June).

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Operating system Stories November 29, 2011

Curious to see how Windows Phone feels, but don’t have a device around to do so? Us neither. But Microsoft has just released a new HTML 5 website that allows iPhone and Android users to get a taste of the Windows Phone 7 (Mango 7.5) operating system. The trial requires no downloads or registration, and you can try it out by just going to the webpage http://aka.ms/wpdemo on your Android device.

While it doesn’t use any of the data on your phone like your contacts, the demo does give you a pretty comprehensive look at all of Windows Phone’s features. Microsoft uses a blue dot to guide you around the operating system, and obviously some features like voice recognition just don’t work in the browser. Drat, that’s something we really wanted to try.

Will this draw users over to the Windows Phone platform? Probably not, but it’s always cool to see what the competition is up to.

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Operating system Stories October 27, 2011

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Up above here you have the graphic heading around the Internet today made by Michael DeGusta at the Understatement.com.  While some of it is unfair/sloppy –  He says the Nexus One was hanging back because it didn’t have Android 2.2 when it was announced, but that was a beta period before the final version was released – that’s like saying no iPhones had iOS 5 for 4 months back when iOS 5 was announced in June, Also the Samsung behold isn’t the most expensive Android phone offered ever on T-Mobile – the point is still valid

Overall it does serve to demonstrate the major problem with the Android ecosystem.  The motivations of the carriers and manufacturers are short term gains and keeping customers by locking them into proprietary overlays.  As DeGusta says: expand full story

Operating system Stories September 14, 2011

Australian Business Traveler is reporting that Boeing has selected Android as the exclusive operating system for the entertainment system in the new 787 Dreamline aircraft. Boeing will use Android to provide flyers with music, video, and airline specific apps that will be embedded through touchscreen panels on the back of the headrest, built by Panasonic.

First class and business seats will have non-touchscreen panels, because they will be much larger, but will feature hand-gesturing — which is a prototype as of now.

Luckily, the touchscreen panels in coach will have wider viewing angles and will be less reflective of light than airplane screens that you see today.  Also capacitative sensors will replace resistive touch.

For those of you who use laptops on airplanes, you’ll be thrilled to know the 787s will include laptop power sockets and USB ports on the menu for economy seats. Chromebooks, anyone? 

There have already been 820 orders of the new 787 Dreamline aircraft, so the number of people that will be open to Android will be significant.

More shots after the break:

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The official announcement by Google regarding Honeycomb for Google TV is just around the corner, and more and more leaks of the OS running on Google TVs are popping up. Today’s leak (seen in the video above) even includes video of the Netflix app optimized for the big screen — score!

You’ll also notice that besides Netflix, other Honeycomb optimized apps are appearing on the Market. A search in the Market for Google TV will return results like, “Fox News for Google TV”.

If you’re feeling adventurous, instructions for installing this latest build on a Logitech Revue are posted over at GTVHacker, but please be aware that this could brick your device. But at $69, it doesn’t seem like as big of a deal. The official announcement should be coming any day now..

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