Smartphone Tracker

Analysis

Apple hates Flash on the iPhone: it has its reasons, just not what you think!

Paul Nesbitt


Apple is upfront about its refusal to permit Flash content to play on its i family. However, there are other bigger factors behind its stance. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has called it a 'resource hog', which eats up battery life and which has security issues, which could compromise your iPhone/iPad.

And he's got a pretty good case on both counts. Even Adobe has admitted it's been slow to produce a version of Flash that runs decently on mobile devices.

Was it a sign that Adobe has got its act together that Google, which had previously backed the rival open standard for content playback, HTML 5, (along with Apple) recently decided to add support for Flash to its Chrome platform? Possibly, but it's more likely an attempt to undermine Apple, which is even more firmly in the anti-Flash camp, following its decision to ban repurposed Flash... Read More...

Why the iPhone is scaring the hell out of Google

Paul Nesbitt


Apple opened a new front in its escalating war with Google, when it unveiled a brand new interactive mobile advertising platform for the iPhone and iPad.

Apple launched iAd during a high profile press launch for iPhone OS 4.0 and Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, made it crystal clear that Apple is gunning for Google.

‘On a mobile device, search is not where it’s at; not like on the desktop. They’re spending all their time on these apps — they’re using apps to get to data on the Internet, not generalized search,’ he said.

Jobs couldn't have been clearer in spelling out what industry insiders have been saying for months. Google is terrified that the success of Apple's App Store and the use of apps, rather than a web browser on smartphones poses a fundamental threat to Google.

If more and more people use smartphone apps rather than their laptops and browsers to look for information, Google is in serious trouble. Google's business is based on one source of revenue: people using its search engine via their browsers to find stuff. Google charges companies to appear at the top... Read More...

At last! Multitasking is coming to the iPhone (and iPad)

Paul Nesbitt


Apple iPhone OS 4.0 multitasking

Apple has finally announced that full multitasking will come to the iPhone. And it will be just one of many new features included in version 4.0 of the smartphone OS, which will be released until late summer.

And iPhone OS 4.0 will also include, iAd, a new advertising platform designed to give Google a run for its money in the fast growing mobile advertising market.

Speaking at the launch of iPhone OS 4.0, Jobs announced that Apple was opening seven APIs to developers, which will enable them to build apps that can continue to run at the same time as the iPhone is being used for something else. The APIs are for audio streaming (which will enable music apps like Pandora to play on, while you’re doing something else), for VoIP, background location, push notifications (news alerts can pop up, for example), local notification (alerts generated by apps on your iPhone), task completion (leave an upp to upload an image and switch to something else) and fast app switching.

Also introduced was a folders feature, which enables you to store apps in folders. ‘As people are downloading more and more apps, you’re having to flick from page to page to find... Read More...

Apple iPad has to be really good at what it does

Paul Nesbitt


Apple has pulled out all the stops to get the iPad off to a good start. The company's successful generation of pre-release hype and skillful use of secrecy has helped the company create an impression of a hot selling must-have device.

And yet the iPad's fortunes will ultimately rest on the content that is available on it.

Here the message is mixed, and the reasons are at least partly of Apple's own making.

Apple's insistence on excluding Adobe's Flash from the iPad means that a large proportion of websites are peppered with warnings that Flash-based content is not available. This hardly makes the iPad a best of breed web browsing experience, when it really needs to be to attract purchasers.

Apple has also yet to get many content providers onboard: the company has created a page listing what it calls 'iPad ready' websites, which are effectively ones which offer HTML 5 content players, rather than Flash. The list might inbclude some big names like the New York Times, CNN and Time Magazine, but it only contains 20 sites.

For ebooks the iPad already looks like a more reasonable proposition, especially you can... Read More...

Apple lawsuit is scaring the hell out of smartphone makers

Paul Nesbitt


Apple's lawsuit against HTC has left most of the smartphone industry delaying plans for new handsets and planning workarounds to avoid Apple patents, with some even reconsidering their commitment to Google's Android.

That's the assertion of Oppenheimer analyst, Yair Reiner, citing 'industry checks'. And Reiner believes that any second thoughts by the makers of Android handsets – like HTC and Motorola –  could end up benefiting Microsoft, whose Windows Phone 7 OS looks like a plausible alternative.

In a report to clients, Reiner said that Apple has been in discussions with 'tier-1 handset makers' since January 2009 about its displeasure at what it regards as infringements of its intellectual property (IP) relating to the iPhone.

Indeed, it was back in January 2009 that Apple COO Tim Cook, in a conference call with analysts, issued a blunt warning: 'We will not stand for having our IP ripped off and we'll use whatever weapons we have at our disposal. I don't know that I can be more clear than that,' he said.

At the time Cook's warning was widely interpreted as being aimed at Palm, which had announced its own iPhone-like handset, the Pre,... Read More...

Apple's plans to derail the Android project.

Paul Nesbitt


Apple's suit against HTC is almost certainly a dry run for a series of suits by the iPhone maker, which is determined not to let Google's Android take sales away from the iPhone. And with Apple and Nokia also embroiled in legal actions, industry analysts predict that smartphone sector could become tied up legal spats over technology patents.

But why has Apple gone after HTC, a Taiwanese handset maker, which cut its teeth doing manufacturing for other companies, before starting its own brand? HTC now sells handsets that run Microsoft's Windows Mobile OS as well as Google's Android. However, it was HTC's early adoption of Android that has raised its profile. 

However, The patents which Apple alleges are being infringed primarily relate to software. They are:
They are:
    •    Patent #5481721: Method for providing automatic and dynamic translation of object oriented programming language-based message passing into operation system message passing using proxy objects
    •    Patent #5519867: Object Oriented Multitasking System
    •    Patent #6275983: Object-Oriented Operating System
    •    Patent #5566337: Method and apparatus for... Read More...

UK consumers increasingly choose phones for their apps

Paul Nesbitt


This year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was all about the mobile networks trying to reestablish their stranglehold over an industry, which has been transformed by the iPhone.

No longer do many people define their mobile phone experience according to which network they are with. Increasingly they are all about the apps they use on their phone. And in the case of the iPhone, they download their apps directly from Apple, or if they have an Android handset, directly from Google, who will also sell you a handset directly from its website.

That's what the announcement of the Wholesale Applications Community (WAC) was all about - an attempt to wrest back control of the smartphone experience by the networks.

And now, a recently released survey by TNS of 27,000 phone users, in 35 markets around the world, has revealed that 13% of mobile phone users buy handsets based on what content and applications they offer. That's 13% of all mobile users, not just smartphone users. By... Read More...

Smartphone innovation coming from America

Paul Nesbitt


Nokia CEO says European handset vendors have fallen behind US companies in the smartphone market. And he’s right.

Takling to analysts Kallasvuo said: ‘There is no doubt the center of mobile innovation has shifted from Europe to Silicon Valley.’

However, Kallasvuo said that Nokia had responded by appointing over 3,000 engineers to work in North America. ‘We are working to tap into this innovation,’ he said.

Nokia was a follower rather than a leader in many of the recent smartphone innovations. For example it was Apple, which led with multitouch and selling apps online, and BlackBerry that trailblazed push emails.

Even troubled Motorola has bettered Nokia over the last few years with a series of more exciting industrial designs with products like the Razr and the Droid.

Nokia’s Symbian OS looks old fashioned compared to Android and the iPhone, and Nokia’s recent announcement of a new Linux-based smartphone OS, MeeGo, together with Intel has left it with a confused message for Symbian. Some wags have already dubbed it... Read More...

Apple: The New Mary Whitehouse? Discuss.

Paul Nesbitt


Apple's extraordinary decision to block 5,000 iPhone apps from the App Store underlines the bizarre corner Apple is backing itself into a corner by acting as some kind of moral authority.

And Apple's decision to move the goalposts about what it does and does not allow poses worrying implications for anyone considering developing for the iPhone.

Worse still, Apple's decision to stop iPhone users from downloading apps which range from mildly purile to pornographic has been inconsistent at best, and probably hypocritical.

One developer, John Atherton, who had his iPhone app (called Wobble - 'Add realistic 3D wobbly bits to your iPhone photos') taken down from the App Store recalled his conversation with Apple. Atherton said that Apple told him that its new policies meant that there can be:

    •    "No images of women in bikinis"
    •    "No images of men in bikinis!"
    •    "No skin (he seriously said this) (I asked if a Burqa was OK, and the Apple guy got angry)"
    •    "No... Read More...

The networks get that it's the apps, stupid. But can they do anything about it?

Paul Nesbitt


Say what you like about the iPhone, but it's completely revolutionised the smartphone market. And not just for consumers. It's scared the bejeezus out of the mobile networks as well as handset makers like Nokia and Motorola.

In the pre-iPhone days it was the networks, like O2 and Orange, who called the shots. The whole mobile phone experience was controlled by the networks, who enjoyed the direct contact with the customer, and who determined, by and large what features appeared on your mobile.

Hell, O2 even had a large dome-shaped building in south London, which no-one knew what to do with, named after itself. The idea was that as an O2 customer, rather than, say a Motorola, HTC, Nokia or Sony Ericsson customer, you would enjoy privileged access to O2 concerts, and cool clubs, as well as discounted meals.

It was rare to see TV commercials advertising the benefits of a new must have handset. Compare that to today where it's hard to avoid TV commercials for the iPhone telling us that it's the handset you use that's important rather than the network.

Actually it's not even the iPhone, which Apple is using as the prime selling point. It's all those little iPhone apps,... Read More...

10 reasons why the Google Nexus One flopped

Matt Wainwright


Why the Google Nexus One launched with a whimper rather than a monumental bang.

So the launch of the Google Nexus One came and went. And in its first week on sale Google sold approximately 20,000 units of its super-hyped, iPhone Killer.

Let's put that figure into some context. The T-Mobile myTouch Android touchscreen shipped 60,000 in the same period. The Motorola DROID - another Android smartphone - sold 250,000 in its first week on sale. And the one they are all striving to dethrone - the Apple iPhone 3GS - shifted 1.6 millionunits within 7 days of its launch last June.

To be fair to Google, it hasn't spent tens of millions on advertising and marketing around the launch of the Nexus One. But then it hasn't had to - the hype machine has been churning out reams of free publicity across the online and traditional media. After all 'Google versus Apple' is the kind of ding-dong brand against brand headline that journalists and punters love.

Could it be that once you remove all the sound and fury what you're left with is a... Read More...

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