Google has a new greeter for one of their campus buildings. Google’s new Android Statue on its Mountain View campus looms over Building 45′s entry, its chrome arm waving to those on the campus and the nearby highway. Hello, Android. (more…)
The holidays are over, the New Year celebrations have passed, and 2013 is ahead. Well, the first month of the year is technically already over, but that’s not my point. Like every year, both the App Store and Google Play saw tremendous sales over the last few months.
But that’s not all that’s worth noting about January’s App Annie index. The Apple App Store earned “over three-and-a-half times that of Google Play in December 2012.” The month was also a record for the platform, and while App Annie does not disclose actual numbers, Apple has said in the past that the store typically brings in “around $333 million per month.”
Google Play, however, is undoubtedly on the rise. App Annie notes that “from Q3 to Q4, Google Play app revenue doubled, while iOS App Store revenue grew by about one-fifth.” Both platforms are surely growing, but as you can see in the graph above, Google Play is finally beginning to really take off. I would attribute this to a cohesive lineup of devices, such as the Samsung Galaxy S III and the Nexus line. What about you?
Back in 2010, an exception was added to the United States’ Digital Millennium Copyright Act by the Librarian of Congress that made it perfectly legal to jailbreak, unlock, or install unapproved third-party apps on any hardware (at the time, the exception was added with a focus on the iPhone, though it currently applies to any device). However, a change noted by Tech News Daily in the DMCA means that starting this Saturday, unlocking a phone through unofficial means will become illegal in the United States. (more…)
Apple’s association with the “sweatshop” manufacturing plants of China and various other countries has been under intense scrutiny for the past few years. The scrutiny culminated in a series of articles by The New York Times under the overarching title of the “iEconomy,” where the technology industry – with Apple at the center – was slammed for their practices of employing cheap labor and allowing dangerous working conditions in return for higher profitability margins. Since then, various changes have taken place throughout the supply chain of nearly every consumer electronics company.
Apple, to their credit, has taken a lead in this charge. (more…)
Google Maps launched to much applause, and the app was almost universally reviewed as offering more accurate data than iOS 6′s solution. While the design side of each app is more subject to one’s personal taste, Google’s data set is superior both in practice and from a technical point of view.
However, two notable journalists have recently decided that Google Maps is actually best viewed on an iOS device, and that the iOS client is superior to what is available on the web and on Android, Google’s mobile platform.
Walt Mossberg, writing for The Wall Street Journal:
However, the biggest news here is that the new iPhone version of Google Maps isn’t just better than Apple Maps. For now, at least, Google Maps is better in most respects on the iPhone than it is on Android phones. It has been redesigned with a cleaner, simpler user interface that makes it easier to use. Google officials say they took the sudden need to build a new iPhone version as an opportunity to rethink the popular app from the ground up.
David Pogue, writing for The New York Times:
Google admits that it’s even better than Google Maps for Android phones, which has accommodated its evolving feature set mainly by piling on menus.
In a straight comparison of features, the Android and iOS versions of Google Maps are comparable, with neither being able to assert a large lead on the other. Performance is also comparable, and depends more on network conditions than on the platform. However, the design of the iOS app is certainly different, and (it seems) simpler to use. Apparently, Google prefers the iOS client to that of the Android version likely because of its newer design and emphasis on search and gestures to navigate the UI.
Still, having used the latest clients for each platform, it’s difficult to pick a favorite. While the iOS version is certainly cleaner, some of the commands are more buried than on Android. The Android version seems to reveal more of the in-depth functionality, while the iOS version hides said functionality behind sliding panels.
Which version do you prefer? Is iOS’ Google Maps client really the superior choice, or do both have their upsides?
A year ago, Google purchased Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. Since then, Motorola’s phone division has continued to put out devices seemingly as if it had never been purchased. However, many wondered what would happen to Motorola Home – the division responsible for cable boxes and various other living-room centric products – after the buyout was complete.
Today, we have the answer. Both parties officially announced that Motorola Home would be making its way to ARRIS’ corporate umbrella, another cable-box provider and telephony provider, for $2.35 billion in cash and stock. According to the press release:
Under the terms of the agreement, upon closing of the transaction, Google will receive $2.05 billion in cash and approximately$300 million in newly issued ARRIS shares, subject to certain adjustments provided for in the agreement, representing an approximately 15.7% ownership interest in ARRIS post-closing.
Acquiring Motorola Home will enhance ARRIS’ ability to provide next-generation consumer video products and services, supporting a more comprehensive product offering while also accelerating its ability to deliver a comprehensive set of industry-leading new products for broadband to a wide spectrum of customers. The transaction will increase ARRIS’ patent portfolio and provide a license to a wide array of Motorola Mobility patents.
Breaking through the PR-speak shows that this acquisition was more of a patent grab, which is something that Motorola has plenty of. Beyond that, Motorola’s position in the cable-box industry should help to bolster that of ARRIS.
Apple released the iOS 6 software update for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch in late September, but the absence of Google Maps as a native app was reason enough for a significant number of users to refrain from updating their devices to the latest version of the mobile operating system.
Following the release of Google Maps as a third-party app on the App Store, however, many of those users that were holding off on iOS 6 have since made the update. According to mobile ad server MoPub, the iOS 6 adoption rate has surged by 29 percent since Google Maps made its reappearance on iPhone.
That number is only based off the 12,000 apps that MoPub supports, but it proves that some people were willing to wait weeks for Google Maps to launch until finally updating to iOS 6. MoPub CEO Jim Payne, speaking with TechCrunch, supports that belief.
“We observed since the launch of Google Maps for iOS 6 a 30 percent increase in unique iOS 6 users, and we think it’s related to Google Maps. It verifies the hypothesis that people were actually holding back to upgrade until Google Maps was available.”
Did your update your device to iOS 6 following the release of Google Maps, or have you already been running the sixth major of the platform since it was made available a few months ago? Let us know in the comments.
Last week, Google announced that it will stop Exchange Active Sync (EAS) support for non-business users in a suggestive post titled “Winter cleaning.” It’s a direct attack on Microsoft if nothing else, as EAS is the only method to have a relatively good Gmail experience on Windows Phone 8 devices. iOS, too, for that matter.
EAS is a communication protocol designed by Microsoft to sync not only emails but also contacts and calendars. Since its introduction way back in 2002, EAS has synchronously become the industry standard that can be found on virtually all devices that can connect to the internet.
Earlier today, Microsoft responded to Google’s decision in a post on its Outlook blog, claiming that they “were very surprised” by Google’s decision to remove Exchange Active Sync support in Gmail. Microsoft calls Google’s decision a “degrade” for users and suggest them to switch from Gmail to its newborn Outlook.com email service to get those features back.
Outlook.com was announced by Microsoft last summer to replace its decade old Hotmail service. Currently, Outlook.com already gained 25 millions users according to latest statistics. That number could balloon relative quickly as Microsoft’s 200+ millions Hotmail users had already begun to receive emails about upgrading services.
However the stumbling block for Microsoft is Windows Phone 8′s lack of proper Gmail support once Google finally shuts down its EAS support for regular Gmail users at the end of January next year. Other than EAS, Windows Phone 8 devices currently only support POP, which is an ancient communication technology and not preferable in this day and age of instant push communications.
iOS users will also be affected if they rely on EAS for all their emails, calendars, and contacts synching with Google’s services. Fortunately for iOS users, they can reconfigure their Gmail account to use alternative methods such as IMAPS, CardDAV, and CalDAV to sync emails, calendars, and contacts. More on this in a later post.
The big picture here is that there is a war going on right now between Microsoft and Google, and the users are the casualties.
Here’s an interesting number that indirectly burns Apple Maps: Google Maps for iOS has been downloaded over 10,000,000 times since its debut on the App Store last week, according to Google SVP of Commerce Jeff Huber. The third-party Google Maps app is much better than its predecessor native app on iOS 5 and earlier, and Google admits that it’s even better than the Android version it offers.
Google Maps for iOS features vector-based maps with voice turn-by-turn navigation, three-dimensional maps, transit information, shake to send feedback and more. The app has been critically acclaimed and is available as a free download on the App Store for iPhone and iPod touch. Both an iPad version and offline mode are reportedly in the works.