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25 Dec 12 Google in 2012: Android soars, battles with regulators and a tricky new role


Google is also facing questions from antitrust regulators in Europe and the United States over its advertising and search practices. The company was said to be near a deal with the FTC early in December, but those talks have since shown signs of fraying, according to The Washington Post.

Critics said the FTC was not being aggressive enough by passing over accusations that Google is prioritizing search results from its products over its competitors. The announcement of an agreement — once expected by the end of year — has now been pushed back to at least January, The Post reported.

Google+: Google’s play for the social space had an interesting year as the company continued to report that Google+ was growing. Google’s latest update on the site revealed that the year-old network has 135 active million users — up from 100 million in September. With the inclusion of people who use the company’s video hangouts feature, “+1” button and other elements of the network, that number jumps to 235 million. The company has continued to add features such as Google+ Communities, an answer to the Groups feature on Facebook.

Hardware pushes: Google has made some notable steps into the hardware space this year, launching branded smartphones and tablets meant to act as flagships for its Android mobile operating system. So far, Google hasn’t had any runaway hits, but its Nexus 7 tablet was a popular item on many people’s holiday wish list this year.

Other hardware experiments have been less successful: Google introduced and, within a few months, stopped production of a streaming-music device, the Nexus Q. The company is said to be working on a new phone through its Motorola Mobility unit next year. The Wall Street Journal reported that the new device, an iPhone competitor, is being called the “X Phone” within the company.

Meanwhile, the company continued to back its Android partners, many of whom were embroiled in legal battles with Apple over intellectual property. Page reportedly even met with Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook to discuss patent matters.

Android: Google continued to see strong growth in its Android system. The system enjoyed its fourth birthday with news from the IDC research group that 75 percent of all phones that shipped in the third quarter of 2012 were running Android. With partners such as Samsung, LG, HTC and its own Motorola unit, Google continues to go after all tiers of the smartphone market.

The company released a new version of Android, Jelly Bean, at its annual developers conference over the summer. The new system introduced features including a new form of typing, a better camera interface and a more unified system between smartphones and tablets.

Free speech: The company also increasingly had to act in a new role in 2012 as it navigated global attitudes toward free speech. As The Washington Post reported, the company was embroiled in numerous incidents around the world where it had to decide whether to remove content from its YouTube video site.

In some cases, Google cited its own community guidelines — which clearly advocate for freedom of speech — while it deferred to local laws in other cases.

Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/google-in-2012-android-soars-battles-with-regulators-and-a-tricky-new-role/2012/12/24/a761c3e0-4c4f-11e2-b709-667035ff9029_story.html

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21 Dec 12 Google Play growing faster than Apple’s App Store: Report


Google’s online Play shop of applications for Android-powered
smartphones or tablets is growing fast, a report released Thursday by
market tracker Distimo said.

The aggregate daily revenue at Google
Play shops across the 20 largest countries where they are available
climbed 43 percent during the past four months, while sales at Apple’s
online App Store increased 21 percent.

“Google Play is just
starting to rival the Apple App Store in a few countries on a worldwide
scale, even though it is still losing in terms of daily revenues,”
Distimo said in the report.

Apple’s App Store catering to its
iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch devices took in more than $15 million
dollars a day in November, while daily revenue at Google Play was just
shy of $3.5 million, according to Distimo.

“There were many
success stories in 2012 about applications that became very successful
in a matter of a few days and gathered millions of downloads and
revenues,” the analytics firm said in the report.

“Looking at the worldwide daily download and revenue volumes, the opportunity is really huge.”

Smartphone
game application “Draw Something” reached a million users in just nine
days, while Asian publisher Naver launched five games in November that
quickly became hits.

Naver game application Line Pop was downloaded 1.75 million times within three days of its release, according to Distimo.

A
report released this month by research firm IDC projected that Android
operating system will power more than two-thirds of smartphones sold
worldwide in 2012, and will remain the dominant platform for at least
the next four years.

IDC also boosted its forecast for global
tablet sales for 2012 to 122.3 million, from 117.1 million, in large
part due to demand for Android tablets and the new iPad mini.

Article source: http://gadgets.ndtv.com/apps/news/google-play-growing-faster-than-apples-app-store-report-308303

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21 Dec 12 Google Play growing fast: survey


AFP – Google’s online Play shop of applications for Android-powered smartphones or tablets is growing fast, a report released Thursday by market tracker Distimo said.

The aggregate daily revenue at Google Play shops across the 20 largest countries where they are available climbed 43 percent during the past four months, while sales at Apple’s online App Store increased 21 percent.

“Google Play is just starting to rival the Apple App Store in a few countries on a worldwide scale, even though it is still losing in terms of daily revenues,” Distimo said in the report.

Apple’s App Store catering to its iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch devices took in more than $15 million dollars a day in November, while daily revenue at Google Play was just shy of $3.5 million, according to Distimo.

“There were many success stories in 2012 about applications that became very successful in a matter of a few days and gathered millions of downloads and revenues,” the analytics firm said in the report.

“Looking at the worldwide daily download and revenue volumes, the opportunity is really huge.”

Smartphone game application “Draw Something” reached a million users in just nine days, while Asian publisher Naver launched five games in November that quickly became hits.

Naver game application Line Pop was downloaded 1.75 million times within three days of its release, according to Distimo.

A report released this month by research firm IDC projected that Android operating system will power more than two-thirds of smartphones sold worldwide in 2012, and will remain the dominant platform for at least the next four years.

IDC also boosted its forecast for global tablet sales for 2012 to 122.3 million, from 117.1 million, in large part due to demand for Android tablets and the new iPad mini.

Article source: http://www.france24.com/en/20121220-google-play-growing-fast-survey

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18 Dec 12 Android Is Red Hot, Except With the Business Crowd





Article source: http://go.bloomberg.com/tech-blog/2012-12-18-more-people-would-rather-have-no-tablet-than-an-android-tablet/

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18 Dec 12 The beauty of the Android fanboy battles


Ladies and gentlemen, a monumental shift is happening in the battlegrounds of mobile technology — and you don’t have to look any further than Android fan fights to see the effects.

We’ll get into the nitty gritty in a moment. First, we need to take a quick trip back in time: Not long ago, the emotion-packed debate among smartphone fans revolved almost exclusively around the “iPhone vs. Android” comparison. Just a couple short years ago, in fact, the main argument I heard from readers was how ridiculous it was that I dared suggest Android was in many ways more advanced than iOS.

Even the fact that I looked at ongoing trends and — way back when Android accounted for a single-digit percentage of the global smartphone market — had the audacity to point out that the platform was on its way to global domination was largely laughed off as blasphemous nonsense. I got called more bad names than I can count back then, and the number of people on the Android side of the fence was tiny compared to what it is today.

My, how things have changed. The latest numbers from ComScore show Android holding about 54 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, with Apple trailing behind at 34 percent. Globally, the disparity is even greater: According to IDC, three-quarters of all smartphones shipped worldwide in the third quarter of 2012 were Android-based, compared to just 15 percent for iOS. And remember, Apple launched its heavily hyped iPhone 5 within that very window.

The shift I’m talking about today isn’t about those numbers, though — not directly, at least. What’s more interesting to me is how the effect of that market change is starting to trickle down to the broader user perspective.

Allow me to illustrate: Over the last couple weeks, I wrote a series of stories sharing my pre-holiday recommendations for the top three Android phones both in general and for the various U.S. carriers. All of a sudden, I noticed a virtual bar-room brawl breaking out about my choices — people passionately arguing about how I could possibly pick Phone X over Phone Z, even insulting me because I didn’t recommend the particular phone or manufacturer they preferred.

Stop and think about that for a second: I’m now getting heckled for recommending one Android device over another Android device. The heated debate — the one that gets people’s blood boiling — is now over a perceived snub to someone’s Android brand of choice.

How cool is that?

That changing level of loyalty is a testament to how much the mobile landscape has evolved. This particular anecdote is just one example, of course; you can see the effect in plenty of places, ranging from similar intraplatform arguments to the iReminiscent levels of hype and rumor surrounding some Android device launches. Heck, we even have Android manufacturers pushing out attack ads against each other these days (seriously — who woulda thought?!).

So what’s it all mean? Simple: The game is no longer merely about working to grab attention away from the iPhone. Sure, that’s still a factor — and the mobile market is in a constant state of flux — but look at the numbers. For the moment, at least, that battle’s been won.

And let’s be honest: At this point, it doesn’t take much to one-up Apple (or at least significantly differentiate from it). The real challenge now is to win over hearts within the ever-expanding and competitive Android ecosystem — to stand out from the other Android manufacturers and stake a claim in this crowded realm of dessert-flavored delights.

That means LG has to keep stepping up its efforts if it wants to steal some of Samsung’s share. HTC has to figure out a way to expand its availability and punch up its marketing if it’s going to stay relevant. Motorola’s gotta fight to rebuild its reputation as a first-class handset-maker. And Samsung — much like Apple two years ago — had better not rest on its laurels if it wants to hang onto its crown.

The best part? No matter how it all plays out, we, the consumers of Android products, invariably win. In terms of technology and innovation, Android is moving at a breakneck pace — and it’s no small wonder.

Android Power TwitterWhen you compare this to the Apple-centric state of the mobile tech ecosystem a few short years ago, it’s really just mind-blowing. And it makes me more excited than ever to see what new competition-driven innovations — and competition-fueled discussions — 2013 will bring.

[Android battle image courtesy Vu Viet Anh (aoisora9x).]

Article source: http://blogs.computerworld.com/android/21518/android-fanboy-battles

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16 Dec 12 iPad mini, Nexus 7 to boost Malaysian tablet market: IDC – CNA ENGLISH NEWS


Taipei, Dec. 16 (CNA) The launch of Apple Inc.’s iPad mini and the price cut in Asustek Computer Inc.’s Nexus 7 will help expand the market for small tablets in Malaysia, research firm International Data Corp. (IDC) predicted in a recent report.

“Appetite for smaller tablets is irrefutable and 2013 will see intensified competition in the smaller tablet space, during which Samsung Electronics Co.’s current dominance is set to be tested, particularly by Apple’s iPad mini,” said Ryan Lai, an analyst at IDC.

“The arrival of the iPad mini at a comparable price to the United States and a 100 Malaysian Ringgits (US$33) price drop for the Nexus 7 represents the beginnings of a more competitive 7-inch tablet space in Malaysia,” Lai wrote in a Dec. 13 report.

Samsung accounted for 85 percent of Malaysia’s tablet shipments with screen sizes between 7 and 7.7 inches during the first nine months of 2012, IDC said, adding that the South Korean firm had built its reign under market conditions where little competition existed.

The arrival of Apple’s much awaited iPad mini, starting at US$329 in the U.S., will be a game-changer for the Malaysian tablet landscape and boost the 7-inch tablet segment, the research firm said.

According to data compiled by IDC, the small tablet segment currently accounts for only 26 percent of the market but is expected to grow to 45 percent in 2013.

Sales of the Nexus 7 — a 7-inch tablet — that has been co-branded by Taiwan-based Asustek and U.S. search engine Google Inc., have been strong since its release in June.

The tablet’s popularity has provided a fillip for Asustek’s tablet shipments during the third quarter, which were pegged at 2.3 million or nearly 1.9 times more than the previous quarter, Asustek said.

The Taiwanese computer maker expects tablet shipments to touch 2.6 million units during the current quarter and 6.3 million units for the whole of 2012, owing to strong demand for the Nexus 7.

Google and Asustek unveiled the original Nexus 7 on June 27, which is the world’s first 7-inch quad-core tablet, priced at US$199. The product will help these companies break into the less expensive Android tablet market.

Google said on Oct. 29 that a new version of the Nexus 7, which has a larger storage capacity of 32 gigabytes and Wi-Fi connectivity, has been priced at US$249, while a model with 3G cellular connectivity will cost US$299.

Asustek shares rose marginally by 0.15 percent to close at NT$335 (US$11.5) in Taipei Friday.

(By Jeffrey Wu)
ENDITEM/Shradhha/tc

Article source: http://focustaiwan.tw/ShowNews/WebNews_Detail.aspx?Type=aECO&ID=201212160008

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18 Jun 12 iPad to Grow Market Share Over Android Tablets: IDC


Apple’s iPad will grow its share of the booming tablet market over its Android-based rivals this year, thanks in large part to new features introduced with the iPad 3 and the company’s decision to reduce the prices further on the iPad 2, according to market research firm IDC.

The prediction comes as IDC analysts, citing the expected strong demand for media tablets in the second half of the year, increased their forecasts for the market overall, calling for 107.4 million tablets to be sold this year, up from the previous expectation of 106.1 million.

And the momentum will only continue, the analysts said in a report June 14. For 2013, they increased their forecast from 137.4 million units to 142.8 million, with sales jumping to 222.1 million by 2016. Those numbers could increase after the upcoming release of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system, which will offer not only touch-screen capabilities but also run on non-x86 systems, such as tablets powered by system-on-a-chip (SoC) architectures like ARM Holdings.’

Tablets also are getting more looks from businesses, according to Tom Mainelli, research director for mobile connected devices at IDC.

“Demand for media tablets remains robust, and we see an increasing interest in the category from the commercial side,” Mainelli said in a statement. “We expect pending new products from major players, increasingly affordable mainstream devices, and a huge marketing blitz from Microsoft around Windows 8 to drive increased consumer interest in the category through the end of the year.”

Apple and its iPad are going to be the primary beneficiary of the market growth, according to IDC. In 2011, the iPad and its iOS operating system held 58.2 percent of the market. This year, that share will grow to 62.5 percent. That will come at the expense of tablets running Google’s Android operating system, which will see its share slip from 38.7 percent last year to 36.5 percent in 2012, the analysts said.

Struggling BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion, with its PlayBook tablet, will see its already anemic market share drop even farther, from 1.7 percent in 2011 to 1 percent this year.

Mainelli attributed Apple’s market share growth to the addition of several key features in the iPad 3, which launched earlier this year, including Retina Display and 4G capabilities. Smart pricing moves also will help Apple, he said.

“After a very strong launch of new products in March, Apple’s iPad shows few signs of slowing down,” Mainelli said. “Apple’s decision to keep two iPad 2s in the market at lower prices—moving the entry-level price down to $399—seems to be paying off as well. If Apple launches a sub-$300, 7-inch product into the market later this year as rumored, we expect the company’s grip on this market to become even stronger.”

Other analysts also have cited Apple’s decision to lower the prices on its iPad 2 as having an impact on the tablet market. In a report June 8, IMS Research noted that the average selling price for a tablet fell 21 percent this year, to $386, with the drop in the iPad 2 price being the significant factor. The move put greater price pressure on rivals.

“There are few innovations from vendors to differentiate their tablets; low price seems to be the major factor to attract consumers to buy tablets other than iPads,” report author Gerry Xu said in a statement. “More vendors are expected to focus on the low-end tablet market. However, to balance performance and profitability with a low price remains challenging for most tablet vendors.”

IDC’s Mainelli said his firm has not yet factored in the impact of Windows 8 or Windows RT (the OS for ARM-based systems) into the tablet numbers yet. That will come later this year.

“Our current thinking, based upon early pricing expectations for these products, is that Windows-based tablets will be largely additive to our existing media tablet market forecast,” he said. “We don’t expect Windows-based tablets to necessarily take share from Apple and Android, but will grow the overall tablet market.”

With the growing demand for tablets—and the falling prices—IDC also revised its 2012 forecasts for e-readers, noting that sales in the first quarter were disappointing. The analyst firm now expects shipments this year to come in at about 28 million units, a slight drop from the 28.2 million units that shipped in 2011.



Article source: http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Desktops-and-Notebooks/iPad-to-Grow-Market-Share-Over-Android-Tablets-IDC-540056/

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16 Jun 12 Android Tablets Expected To Lose Market Share


The overall demand for tablet computers is on the rise, and amongst most customers, the iPad’s lead over rival Android systems will increase over the next several years, according to a new International Data Corporation (IDC) study released on Thursday.

The IDC has increased its forecast for global tablet sales in 2012 from 106.1 million to 107.4 million, anticipating strong second-half sales of the devices, according to AFP reports. The firm also increased projected 2013 tablet sales from 137.4 million to 142.8 million, and predicted that worldwide shipments could top 222 million in four year’s time.

The outlook isn’t promising for everyone, through. According to Chloe Albanesius of PCMag.com, IDC forecasts that Apple iOS tablets (i.e. the iPad family of products) will increase their global market share from 58.2% in 2011 to 62.5% in 2012. Meanwhile, the Android tablet market share is expected to dip from 38.7% to 36.5%, while Research in Motion (RIM) tablets are anticipated to drop from 1.7% market share to just 1%, Albanesius added.

“Demand for media tablets remains robust, and we see an increasing interest in the category from the commercial side,” Tom Mainelli, IDC’s Mobile Connected Devices Research Director, said in a statement. “We expect pending new products from major players, increasingly affordable mainstream devices, and a huge marketing blitz from Microsoft around Windows 8 to drive increased consumer interest in the category through the end of the year.”

“After a very strong launch of new products in March, Apple’s iPad shows few signs of slowing down,” he added. “The addition of the Retina Display and 4G capabilities to the third-generation products clearly enticed many current owners to upgrade. And Apple’s decision to keep two iPad 2s in the market at lower prices—moving the entry-level price down to $399—seems to be paying off as well. If Apple launches a sub-$300, 7-inch product into the market later this year as rumored, we expect the company’s grip on this market to become even stronger.”

One area where Android is about to pull ahead of the iPad is amongst business clientele, according to ZDNet‘s Rachel King. Citing International Data Group (IDG) figures, King said that 44% of the 3,124 IT and business professionals polled said that they would purchase an Android tablet within the next year, compared to just 27% for Apple’s tablet computer.

Slashgear‘s Rue Liu pointed out that the current IDC forecast does not include Windows 8 tablets. Liu said that the firm will begin incorporating those devices into their tracking statistics beginning next quarter. Furthermore, the IDC lowered projected e-reader shipments from 28.2 million units to 28 million on the heels of “disappointing” first quarter sales figures attributed to the availability of lower priced tablets.

Article source: http://www.redorbit.com/news/technology/1112609633/android-tablets-expected-to-lose-market-share/

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16 Jun 12 iPad Share to Grow at Expense of Android


Will Android-based tablets be able to eat away at the iPad’s market share? Not anytime soon, according to new stats from IDC.

In the coming months, the new iPad will help “shift a larger percentage of future units toward iOS and away from Android,” according to IDC.

Apple’s iOS will likely grow its global market share from 58.2 percent in 2011 to 62.5 percent in 2012. Android, however, will drop from 38.7 percent last year to 36.5 percent this year, while Research in Motion’s share slips from 1.7 percent to 1 percent, IDC predicted.

“After a very strong launch of new products in March, Apple’s iPad shows few signs of slowing down,” Tom Mainelli, research director of Mobile Connected Devices at IDC, said in a statement. “The addition of the Retina display and 4G capabilities to the third-generation products clearly enticed many current owners to upgrade.”


View Slideshow
See all (8) slides


New Apple iPad


Retina Display


Size Comparison: New iPad vs. iPad 2


Display Comparison

Also helping Apple was its decision to continue selling the iPad 2 at a lower price. “Moving the entry-level price down to $399—seems to be paying off as well, Mainelli said. “If Apple launches a sub-$300, 7-inch product into the market later this year as rumored, we expect the company’s grip on this market to become even stronger.”

The release of Windows 8, however, could shake things up.

“We expect pending new products from major players, increasingly affordable mainstream devices, and a huge marketing blitz from Microsoft around Windows 8 to drive increased consumer interest in the category through the end of the year,” Mainelli said.

At this point, IDC is not making any Windows 8-specific predictions, but will start doing so during the next quarter. “Our current thinking, based upon early pricing expectations for these products, is that Windows-based tablets will be largely additive to our existing media tablet market forecast,” Mainelli said this week. “We don’t expect Windows-based tablets to necessarily take share from Apple and Android, but will grow the overall tablet market.”

Microsoft will reportedly reveal its own tablet at a Monday press event in Los Angeles that promises a “major” announcement from Redmond. Stay tuned for all the details.

Overall, meanwhile, IDC has increased its tablet sale prediction from 106.1 million units this year to 107.4 million units.

For more, see PCMag’s full review of the new iPad and the slideshow above.

For more from Chloe, follow her on Twitter @ChloeAlbanesius.

For the top stories in tech, follow us on Twitter at @PCMag.

Article source: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2405871,00.asp

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15 Jun 12 Top 5 Android malware troublemakers ID’d


20 hrs.

Google

A security company has identified five leading types of malware in the wild that could be dangerous to Android phone and tablet users, including one that snags personally identifiable information and another that can send and read text messages.

SophosLabs said Thursday it examined statistics from the installations of its Android mobile security app on devices in 118 countries, and the “volume of malware that we’ve discovered highlights that mobile security is a real and growing problem, especially on Android,” said Graham Cluley, senior security consultant at Sophos.  

“Criminals are creating more and more targeted malware for different platforms, and smartphone users need to wise up to the fact that security is no longer limited to PCs, but mobiles and tablets are also at risk if not sufficiently protected.”

There are now more than 460,000 apps in the Google Play market for Android, according to AppBrain, although there are other sources for downloading Android apps. And it is those other sources than can cause trouble.

Chet Wisniewski, senior security advisor at Sophos, told msnbc.com that most users get infected when they “side-load” apps. “This is the act of loading programs from non-official sources … Often they are ‘paid’ apps offered for free by pirates who load them up with mobile Trojans.”

Naturally, there isn’t any obvious way to know when you’ve been infected, he said. “You might find out when charges appear on your mobile phone bill, or if your accounts start to become compromised. The best approach is to run security software on your phone to screen for anything malicious.”

In February, Google introduced “Bouncer,” a scanning service designed to identify malicious apps in Google Play. But recently, two security researchers crafted a malicious Android app called HelloNeon to the Play Market, and the app made it through Bouncer’s scan untouched.

We asked Google for comment about Sophos’ findings, and will update this post when we hear back. But when Bouncer was introduced, Google vice president of Android engineering Hiroshi Lockheimer wrote on the company’s blog that:

While it’s not possible to prevent bad people from building malware, the most important measurement is whether those bad applications are being installed from Android Market – and we know the rate is declining significantly.

Sophos

Sophos said among the most frequently found types of Android malware in the wild were these:

1. Andr/PJApps-C. “Most commonly these are paid for apps that
have been hacked. They are not necessarily always malicious, but are
very likely to be illegal.”

2. Andr/BBridge-A.  This one can “install additional malicious apps
onto your Android device. It uses HTTP to communicate with a central
server and leaks potentially identifiable information.

“These malicious apps can send and read SMS messages, potentially
costing you money. In fact, it can even scan your incoming SMS messages
and automatically remove warnings that you are being charged a fee for
using premium rate services it has signed you up for.”

3. Andr/BatteryD-A. “This ‘Battery Doctor’ app falsely claims to save battery life on your
Android device. But it actually sends potentially identifiable
information to a server using HTTP, and aggressively displays” advertising.

4. Andr/Generic-S. “These range from privilege escalation
exploits to aggressive adware such as variants of the Android Plankton malware.”

5. Andr/DrSheep-A. “Remember Firesheep?
The desktop tool that can allow malicious hackers to hijack Twitter,
Facebook and Linkedin sessions in a wireless network environment?
Andr/DrSheep-A is the Android equivalent of the tool.”

Sophos does have a free anti-malware program for Android users. Whether you choose it or another company’s, the time has definitely come to get protection.

Check out Technolog, Gadgetbox, Digital Life and In-Game on Facebook, and on Twitter, follow Suzanne Choney.

9 days

Android logo

Google can’t ‘Bounce’ all bad Android apps

21 days

Worldwide smartphone OS market share, first quarter 2012

84 percent of smartphone shipments worldwide were either Android or iPhone: IDC

41 days

Android logo

Hacked sites spread malware to Android smartphones

Close post

Article source: http://www.technolog.msnbc.msn.com/technology/technolog/top-5-android-malware-troublemakers-idd-828191

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