For most of the past few years, Yves Maitre has lead the effort to ensure its Orange cellphone customers in places like Britain and France have the right selection of phones.
And when it comes to the company’s major markets in Western Europe, Maitre said things are in pretty good shape. Windows Phone, Android and iOS have paved the way for a solid set of options for both high-end devices and even midrange ones, often sold prepaid and, in some cases, under the Orange brand name.
But when it comes to serving the next 6 billion potential smartphone customers, Maitre said that none of the major operating systems is really lightweight enough from either a cost perspective or from the amount of bandwidth consumed.
In an interview Thursday, Maitre likened it to when he was growing up in France and his family had a two-cylinder Citroen. He idolized the huge eight-cylinder cars coming out of Detroit in the 1970s. And while those cars did enjoy a moment in the sun, the world realized that with more cars out there, gas wasn’t unlimited.
In the end, the car makers like Toyota that created fuel-efficient vehicles fared better.
While conventional wisdom is that low-cost Android devices will bring smartphones to the developing world, Maitre says even Google’s OS is too resource intensive. It may have started out as a four-cylinder or six-cylinder car, he says, but with the latest Ice Cream Sandwich release it is every bit the gas guzzler that iOS and Windows Phone are.
Maitre said that Orange is committed to building 3G networks in all of its markets, but that it needs more energy efficient vehicles, if you will.
“I cannot run an eight-cylinder car because it is too expensive,” said Maitre, a senior vice president at France Telecom’s Orange unit. The average selling price of phones in Orange’s developing markets is $54. And while customers might be willing to spend an extra $30 to get a smartphone, they can’t spend another $100.
“If we are not in a position to give them a smartphone at $80, we will miss the six billion,” Maitre said, adding that Orange is committed to having smartphones that hit that price. “If I cannot have Microsoft on it, if I cannot have Android, if I cannot have iOS, then I will look somewhere else, mostly likely in China,” Maitre said.
Phones also must become more bandwidth-efficient, Maitre said, because, like gas for cars, bandwidth is a limited commodity.
Today, he said, there are about a billion people crowding the airwaves, most of whom use less than one gigabyte of data per month.
“Tomorrow, seven billion people will use bandwidth and all use [in the range of] five or six gigabits,” he said. “The bandwidth will start to become a very valuable resource.”
* Android share surges in Spain, Italy, Germany
* Android share surges in Spain, Italy, Germany
* Apple gains in US, Britain; slips in Europe
* Windows Phone share jumps to 3-6 pct on Nokia switch
* Nokia’s Symbian, RIM fall most
By Tarmo Virki
HELSINKI, May 15 (Reuters) – Google’s Android
smartphone software stretched its market lead in early 2012,
helped by new models from handset makers like Samsung and HTC
and piling the pressure on rivals like Research In Motion
Research from Kantar WorldPanel on Tuesday showed Android
gaining share strongly in most of seven major markets -
Australia, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United
States – in the 12 weeks to mid April.
In Spain and Italy, its market share more than doubled
year-on-year to 72 percent and 49 percent respectively, while it
almost doubled to 62 percent in Germany.
Strong demand for the iPhone 4S helped market No.2 Apple
narrow the gap with Android in the United States and
Britain, but its share slipped in continental Europe.
Microsoft’s Windows Phone began to show some signs
of growth thanks to Nokia’s decision to swap its legacy Symbian
platform for Windows.
Windows’ share in Germany more than doubled to 6 percent
over the past year, and climbed to 3-4 percent in Britain,
France, Italy and the United States.
These gains came at the expense of Nokia’s Symbian platform
and Canadian BlackBerry maker Research In Motion, the biggest
market share losers. RIM’s share in the U.S. market dropped to
just 3 percent from 9 percent a year earlier.
Kantar said HTC’s One X model made a strong start in
Britain, making the Top 10 list for the 12 week period even
though it was on sale for less than a week.
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Intel silicon has shipped in mobile devices before, but the Xolo X900 from India’s Lava is a new breed of mobile device for Intel to tackle. It’s an Android smartphone, one that aims to tackle the middle- to high-end of the Indian smartphone market. It’s also a new beginning for the world’s most well-known maker of chips.
The Xolo X900 is based on Intel’s Z2460 system-on-a-chip, which will provide a 1.6-GHz Atom engine in addition to a 400-MHz graphics chip. Thanks to the Z2460′s 32-nm process, it’s power efficient as well as zippy. The X900 boasts a 4-inch LCD display, in addition to an 8-megapixel camera with 1080p HD video capture, a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of built-in storage space, and HSPA+ 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, and HDMI.
The X900 will ship with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but Lava says Android 4.0 is coming soon. Lava and Intel say the X900 can surf the Web for five hours and support eight hours worth of voice calls.
The device goes on sale April 23 through the Indian retailer Chroma. It will cost about $420.
[ Mobility has produced some of the most sweeping changes ever in how we work, live, and play. Don't Be Late For The Mobile Revolution. ]
Intel’s partnership with Lava was first announced at CES, and then expanded at Mobile World Congress, where France-based network operator Orange said it will sell smartphones based on Intel’s Atom family of processors. Lava and ZTE said they plan to bring Intel-based smartphones to the market and Lava’s X900 managed to be the first out the door. Intel announced a similar product partnership with Motorola earlier this year. These partnerships give Intel three hardware partners and one operator partner.
It’s a start, but Intel has a lot of ground to make up.
Qualcomm and other chip makers have a solid lead in the mobile space with their ARM-based chips, with sales in the hundreds of millions of devices. That success came about through good partnerships among platform providers (in this case, Google), handset makers, and carriers, not because of the silicon inside them.
Intel needs its partners Motorola and ZTE to design compelling handsets that carriers–especially those in the United States–will want to sell. Motorola has had a bumpy ride with Android sales in the last year, and ZTE is barely a blip in the U.S. market (though admittedly it is much larger in Asian markets).
Intel and Motorola were expected to unveil a new Atom-based Android smartphone two months ago. There’s no word on what’s causing the delay, but Intel needs to get its chips into as many handsets and onto as many retail shelves as possible.
Put an end to insider theft and accidental data disclosure with network and host controls–and don’t forget to keep employees on their toes. Also in the new, all-digital Stop Data Leaks issue of Dark Reading: Why security must be everyone’s concern, and lessons learned from the Global Payments breach. (Free registration required.)
Welcome once again to our weekly update on everything you need to know in the Android universe. If you’ve neglected your news for the last seven days, take a few minutes to consider the following – everything else is a sideshow. There’s a considerable amount of hardware, software, modding and business news to cover in the Android world, so settle in. While no earth-shattering announcements were made this week, those who like big tablets and even bigger acquisitions should be well satisfied.
One of the most interesting bits of hardware news came right away on Monday, when Toshiba announced brand new 7.7, 10 and 13-inch (!) tablets in their Excite line. All three Tegra 3 ICS machines should be out by the summer. HTC had some rather humdrum announcements for new Desire phones in China, and leaks are beginning to show off the low-end HTC Golf and Verizon’s HTC Incredible 4G. Those waiting for the One S on T-Mobile won’t have to wait too much longer: a launch party and dummy units make the rumored April 25th date seem likely.
As usual there’s a lot of movement in the Samsung camp: the Galaxy Tab 2 10-inch gets an official price of just $399 for the 8GB version, and rumors indicate that even more 7-inch and 10-inch tablets are coming under the “Espresso” label. Finally, the Galaxy Note 10.1 may not be in its final form just yet. Both Lenovo and Barnes Noble are showing off new devices, the former with a new IdeaPad 10-inch tablet and the latter with a lighted version of the Nook Simple Touch. LG’s new Optimus L7 is coming to France this month, with its little brother the Optimus L5 following in May. A pair of smartwatches made splashes, Sony’s Xperia SmartWatch for coming to the US, and the brand-new Pebble e-ink smart watch for getting an incredibly successful Kickstarter campagin. Finally, ASUS’ toned down Transformer Pad 300 will be here in the US by the end of the month.
The biggest industry news was Facebook buying the photography app Instagram for an incredible one billion dollars. There were rumors of Google trying to sell Motorola’s hardware division to Chinese handset manufacturer Huawei, not to mention some interesting statements on low-cost tablets during their quarterly earnings call. Nearsighted folks like yours truly will be glad to know that Google’s Project Glass will work with prescription eyeglasses, and we finally found some concrete evidence of the Samsung Galaxy S III’s screen buried in an OLED Association report.
In update news, Motorola’s showing off some Ice Cream Sandwich training videos for the DROID RAZR… but still won’t say when the update is actually coming. At least there’s some progress on a community-created workaround for that pesky locked bootloader. If you’ve got an international HTC One X, you’ll want to check out this easy battery-saving mod. At least one Samsung Galaxy S III has been spotted in the wild, but it’s in disguise. Sony’s started updating their Xperia phones to ICS, as promised, but only in northern Europe so far. Finally, if you’re a Dolphin Browser HD user, you’ll want to check out their latest update to Version 8.0.
Here at Android Community we’ve got lots of fresh content for you. You’ll want to check out our in-depth look at the HTC One V, and a second-hand review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7-inch version. We’ve also got a review of the latest Samsung PMP, the Galaxy Player 3.6. Galaxy Nexus owners wishing for a little more longevity will definitely want to read our review of Mugen Power’s 3900mAh extended battery. On the software side we’ve got an in-depth review of the new Next Issue magazine subscription service, and a look at the incredibly useful social widget BlingBoard. Finally, we’ve tracked down the five best alternatives to Instagram, for those who aren’t into the hipster scene. As always, stay in school, don’t do drugs and always make a Nandroid backup.