The Google Nexus 4 has been a very popular device – maybe too popular, with supplies of the handset scarce since its initial launch, and Google having to push back anticipated delivery windows for even those few customers who managed to buy one before Google stopped accepting new orders. Google’s UK and Ireland managing director Dan Cobley finally ascribed some blame in the situation, taking to Google+ to smooth things over with customers disappointed in the progress of their Nexus 4 orders.
“Dear all, I know that what you are going through is unacceptable and we are all working through the nights and weekends to resolve this issue,” he wrote in a reply to an original post about Google Zeitgeist. “Supplies from the manufacturer are scarce and erratic, and our communication has been flawed.”
Cobley’s statement was far from a knee-jerk reaction; he replied many times that he was looking into the issue in order to be able to share more information before answering many complaints in the thread about delivery times and Nexus 4 availability before providing that answer. It’s the closest we’ve come to seeing anyone with actual knowledge of the situation explain why Google has been unable to release the smartphone in anything but small batches. I’ve theorized in the past that LG might be holding things up, since the Nexus 4 is essentially the same on the inside as the LG Optimus G, its flagship device and the one it would likely favor if there was any question of limited component or assembly supply.
Cobley then went on to tell commenters that orders originally in the 3-5 day shipping estimate range were being pushed through, and to expect a credit refunded to their play account for shipping charges. Orders with pre-Christmas shipping estimates were also said to be going through shortly.
The Nexus 4 is a hot commodity, as you can see from the abundance of marked up handsets being resold by those lucky enough to have them on sites like Craigslist. The Nexus 4 also achieved “high demand” status on eBay, meaning that it was getting enough listings that eBay felt it necessary to set up sales restrictions to help prevent and minimize fraud.
Google provides search and advertising services, which together aim to organize and monetize the world’s information. In addition to its dominant search engine, it offers a plethora of online tools and platforms including: Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and Google+, the company’s extension into the social space. Most of its Web-based products are free, funded by Google’s highly integrated online advertising platforms AdWords and AdSense. Google promotes the idea that advertising should be highly targeted and relevant to users thus providing…
The LG Group is South Korea’s third largest conglomerate that produces electronics, chemicals, and telecommunications products and operates subsidiaries like LG Electronics, LG Telecom, Zenith Electronics and LG Chem in over 80 countries.
Football Manager is the best desktop program for managing a football (soccer) club. Last year, the franchise made its way to Android for the first time, and now the franchise is back again, this time in the form of Football Manager Handheld 2013. It comes with a fairly high price tag of the $9.99, but for hardcore football fans, the amount of gameplay it offers should counteract the high cost.
The odd part about the release is the inclusion of in-app purchases, even in spite of the high cost of entry. The in-app purchases are mostly designed to help speed things along. So like real life, you can throw down a little cash and build your team a little quicker. You can get everything out of the game without throwing down an extra money, it’s more just to streamline, which makes the additional purchases easier to stomach.
Of course, there is other new stuff in the game besides the inclusion of in-app purchases. It adds additional leagues such as those of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Obviously, all the rosters have been updated, so your favorite players will be on the correct team, but by the very nature of the game, those rosters will changing as you play.
The update also improves things such as media, player photos, player comparisons and form updates. MLS is not included in the game, so American soccer fans will have to run their team from another place around the world. The new game is available now on Google Play, and it looks like a good one for the hardcore football fans out there.
A single day in March foreshadowed news this week that, by one tracker’s measurements, Google Chrome has leapfrogged Microsoft Internet Explorer to become the No. 1 Web browser.
That’s the word from Ireland-based StatCounter, whose figures Microsoft has disputed in the past. To be sure, other trackers still give IE a solid lead.
In fact, it appears that Chrome’s lead again was for a single day, though the trend favors Google. StatCounter had Chrome edging IE on Sunday. Figures for Monday and Tuesday weren’t immediately available.
Chrome remains a priority for Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt (above) and top company executives. AP View Enlarged Image
Still, by passing Microsoft‘s (MSFT) Internet Explorer browser for at least two days in the past three months, Chrome did what its older rivals — Apple‘s (AAPL) Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox, among others — had never been able to do. It unseated the king that’s been atop of the field since overtaking pioneer Netscape in the 1990s.
And as Chrome becomes more popular, observers say the 4-year-old browser seems poised to be a sort of envelope product connecting Google’s Gmail, YouTube, Google+ and other products and helping Google better track users over multiple services.
It’s clear Chrome is quickly gaining ground, says Brian Blau, an analyst with research firm Gartner.
“More than anything, I think people are sick of Microsoft and their lack of innovation,” he said. “They’re thinking about using different software.”
While IE has introduced nine versions in 17 years, Chrome has launched 18 versions in less than four years.
Chrome is one of the “strategic growth areas” and long-term projects “that were seen as crazy when we launched them but now have phenomenal usage,” Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page said in an April conference call with analysts to discuss Q1 financial results.
Chrome’s been downloaded more than 200 million times, Page says. The company last quarter launched a version for its Android, the most widely used mobile operating system.
The metric that showed Google surpassing IE that day in March can be misleading, because it was on a weekend, StatCounter CEO Aodhan Cullen said in a statement, before Chrome again beat IE this past Sunday. He points out that IE is the default browser for many companies, and is on far more computers than Chrome. Microsoft says it has 48% of the U.S. market for Windows-based computers vs. Chrome’s 15%.
StatCounter’s daily figures in the past couple months give IE weekday leads over Chrome of five, six, seven or more percentage points. The weekends have been very close, though. On Saturday, IE just edged Chrome by .02 percentage point. The figures aim to track global usage by overall browser market share.
As 2011 ended, Internet Explorer preserved a precarious perch as first-place browser, yet Chrome was the only one that made such a big gain that becoming No. 1 some time in 2012 looks like a good bet. But its ascent won’t come completely clean: Google is reported to have paid bloggers to campaign for the browser, and the search giant has subsequently knocked itself down in page rank — as a self-inflicted punishment.
StatCounter’s global stats from December 2010 to December 2011 shows that of the top five browsers, Chrome is the only one that rose in usage, while IE and Firefox lost market share and Safari and Opera remained steady. Chrome began 2011 at 15.68 percent and ended it at 27.27 percent, while IE began 2011 at 46 percent and ended it at 38.65 percent.
(Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)
The Dublin, Ireland-based StatCounter was the same web analytics company that showed Chrome 15 overtaking IE 8 for the top browser spot for one week late in 2011.
In the U.S., StatCounter’s stats show Chrome began 2011 with 12.67 percent of the market, but ended the year with 18.73 percent. IE began 2011 with 48.38 percent and ended it with 48.26, with only one spike to 50.66 percent in November before reverting back to its constant just below half. Firefox still stands between IE and Chrome in the U.S., but just barely. It ended the year with 20.15 percent, but it began 2011 with 26.38 percent.
NetMarketShare’s stats also show IE still on top at 51.87 percent at year’s end, but that’s after it began 2011 at 58.35 percent. Chrome began 2011 at 11.15 percent and finished at 19.11 percent. Firefox and Opera went down, while Safari made modest gains that still kept it below 5 percent.
In an informal poll of about 6,200 votes in mid-December, msnbc.com readers revealed a preference for Chrome, with 41 percent telling us that’s what they were using. Firefox came in second at 34 percent and IE third at 20 percent.
But even if Chrome does close the gap on IE and become the world’s top browser this year, it does so at a cost of its own reputation.
Google begins 2012 under less-than-ideal circumstances, under a cloud of controversy, as sites such as Search Engine Land spread the word about an unauthorized pro-Chrome campaign that rewarded bloggers with payments.
Google has imposed a penalty on its own browser by demoting Chrome and lowering the site’s PageRank for at least 60 days — which means it won’t show up so high, or even on the first page, of searches for “browser” — and explaining it in sort of simple language for the mainstream through Google+.
Nevertheless, this may prove to be only a temporary setback to the browser’s inevitable march toward the top spot.
All eyes are on Google’s Chrome browser as it battles Mozilla’s Firefox in a tight fight for the No. 2 position behind Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, which is holding onto its market-leading share of the desktop browser market.
“In September 2009, Chrome was at 2.35% for worldwide usage. As of September 2011, it’s now at 23.61%. There’s been a massive increase for Chrome,” says Aodhan Cullen, CEO of StatCounter, a web analytics firm in Ireland.
StatCounter’s monthly statistics for September show IE in the lead with 41.66% of the market, followed by Firefox with 26.79%, Chrome with 23.61%, Safari with 5.6% and Opera with 1.72%.
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Most of the monthly fluctuations in market share revolve around Chrome, which has hit a number of milestones lately. It exceeded 20% of the global Internet browser market in June for the first time, according to StatCounter. On a country basis, it surpassed Firefox and became the No. 2 browser in Ireland in May and in the UK in July. And for one day in October — Sunday, Oct. 16 — Chrome overtook Firefox on a global basis by a fraction of a percentage point, snaring 26.22% of the global market to Firefox’s 26.16%.
“For one day, on that Sunday, Chrome became the No.2 browser,” Cullen says.
Chrome’s steady increase since its introduction in 2008 has come at the expense of IE, primarily, and Firefox to a lesser degree. If its trajectory continues, Chrome will surpass Firefox on a global basis in the coming months, industry watchers predict.
“Chrome is gaining on Firefox in usage market share. It’s coming on strong. It could certainly overtake Firefox — it seems to be on that path — but, that being said, things tend to change rather quickly in this market so you just never know,” says Vince Vizzaccaro, executive vice president of marketing and strategic alliances for NetApplications.com.
Chrome’s ascent and Firefox’s staying power beg the bigger question: Is it possible for either one of them to unseat IE as the leader in browsing usage?
“I personally don’t think it is,” Vizzaccaro says.
Chrome’s success has come from its speed, rapid development cycles and ability to constantly release new features, using beta versions to get people to help work out the kinks.
“Chrome is growing without the benefit of a homegrown hardware system. They’re doing it with a rapid development cycle. That’s great for personal usage. But corporations have a very slow process for testing, deployment and implementation of a new browser,” Vizzaccaro says. “I think IE is entrenched as No. 1 for the foreseeable future.”
Indeed, stats from Forrester Research paint a slightly different picture of browser trends, since Forrester’s view is centered on corporate usage. The research firm analyzes the browsers of PCs that visit its web site. By its count, IE dominates the corporate browser landscape with 58.7% market share, which is considerably higher than the 41.66% StatCounter credits to IE. In Forrester’s rankings, IE is followed by Firefox with 17.8%, Chrome with 14.1%, and Safari with 8.8%.
Likewise, Net Applications credits IE with a larger share of the market and shows a bigger gap between Firefox and Chrome: In its numbers for September, Net Applications reported IE with 54.4% of desktop browser usage, Firefox with a 22.5%, and Chrome with 16.2%.
“Chrome has experienced a slow but steady growth in the corporate browser market, thanks largely to tech-savvy, empowered workers clamoring for more control over the applications they run on their work computers,” notes Forrester in its report on corporate desktop browser trends. The firm expects Chrome use to continue its steady increase in the enterprise.
As for Firefox, the open-source browser’s comprehensive extension ecosystem is one reason for its No. 2 hold on corporate desktops. (See: 10 must-have Firefox extensions)
“Firefox now holds nearly 17.8% of the browser market share. Why? Because it’s firmly entrenched within many organizations thanks to the proliferation of add-ons that simplify and automate everyday tasks,” Forrester summed up.
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Mozilla has handled extensibility very well, agrees Vizzaccaro, who adds that Mozilla is often first to the market with new features and usability improvements. That emphasis on user-friendliness has won a lot of users, he says.
Another aspect that appeals to Firefox advocates is Mozilla’s underdog status and the fact that it’s not an enormous company with the resources of Microsoft, Google or Apple. “There’s a certain appeal to them being this rogue company out there. They’re open, nonprofit. It does appeal to a good portion of people,” Vizzaccaro says.
In the big picture, the beneficiaries of the competition among IE, Firefox and Chrome are the end users. The leading browser makers have been racing to deliver speedier performance, tighter security and usability improvements.
Microsoft used to command more than 90% of the browser market. Then Mozilla in 2004 debuted Firefox, which started grabbing mindshare and put pressure on Microsoft to innovate.
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“Microsoft is still a leader, but they’ve got some serious competition now and they’ve devoted a lot of resources to making sure IE stays in that leadership role. You can see it in the product,” Vizzaccaro says.
Security enhancements have been aimed at blocking malware and phishing attempts, while “do not track” privacy features let users opt out of online tracking by Web sites and advertisers. (Apple, Microsoft and Mozilla have embraced no-tracking, but Google remains a holdout.)
On the mobile front, meanwhile, there’s a different cast of characters vying for market share.
Apple’s Safari dominates mobile browsing with 55.6% of the market, according to NetApplications. Opera Mini is in second place with 18.9%, followed by Android with 16% (even though Android sales outpace iPhone sales), Symbian with 4.7%, and BlackBerry with 2.7%.
Overall, the mobile/tablet browser share represents a small portion of the overall browser market, with just 6% of Web users using mobile browsers, according to Net Applications.
Read more about software in Network World’s Software section.
Google’s Chrome is poised to become the second-biggest Web browser in the world before the end of the year, according to StatCounter. If trends as measured by the Ireland-based Web statistics firm’s analytics tools hold up, Chrome will pass Mozilla’s Firefox sometime in December and trail only Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) in global average user share.
Computerworld’s Gregg Keizer looked at the trend lines in user growth for the three browsers as presented by StatCounter (graph below) and saw Chrome growing in popularity at about double the rate as projected over 12 months that Firefox and IE were each losing share since January of this year.
Firefox started 2010 with about 31 percent of user share and was sitting at 26.8 percent as of last Wednesday, according to StatCounter. Chrome, meanwhile, rocketed up from just over 15 percent user share in January to 23.6 percent in September. That puts the two browsers on a collision course to swap spots in the overall user share rankings when (or more precisely, if) Chrome climbs to about 25 percent of user share later this year and meets Firefox on its way down.
IEowning 46 percent of user share in January and less than 42 percent as October beginswould be next in Google’s sights, though a Chrome takeover of the top spot wouldn’t happen until next August or so, extrapolating StatCounter’s numbers outwards. If Chrome and IE both maintain their exact current trends in user share growth, Chrome would meet IE at about the 35 percent user share mark in the late summer of 2012 before taking over the No. 1 browser spot.
Since StatCounter has the user share growth for Safari, Opera, and other browsers as essentially flat for 2011 (and combining for about 5 percent or less of the market besides), Chrome’s growth seems to have come almost entirely at the expense of Firefox and IE losing users.
Differences of Opinion
Of course, StatCounter isn’t the only research firm that’s monitoring global browser user share, as Keizer points out. NetApplication’s Net Market Share numbers also show Chrome trending up and IE and Firefox trending down, but NetApplication has IE currently owning a 55.3 percent of desktop browser user share, much higher than StatCounter’s figures.
Going by NetApplication’s numbers, Chrome would still pass Firefox, but not until the middle of 2012.
NetApplication does separate out mobile and tablet browsing in its analytics, but while that category is growing rapidly and handily led by Apple’s Safari, the use of browsers on mobile devices only represented 6.37 percent of overall browser use as of August 2011, according to the research firm. NetApplication also may factor in the Chinese market more than StatCounter does, further explaining the difference in their numbers.
Also interesting is NetApplication’s monitoring of the battle between Google, Microsoft, and Apple across browsers, operating systems, and search in the mobile and desktop categories.
Google is the most versatile of the three tech giants, owning significant browser share (15.7 percent of mobile with Android Browser and 15.5 percent of desktop with Chrome), OS share (16 percent of mobile with Android), and of course, search (92 percent of mobile, 83 percent of desktop).
Apple and Microsoft are almost mirror images across the mobile-desktop divide.
Apple has 53 percent of mobile browser share with Safari, 53 percent of mobile OS share with iOS, a small but steady share of desktop browser and OS users, and no search share in either mobile or desktop.
Microsoft’s mobile browser and OS user share is low enough that it’s not listed by NetApplication, and while its Bing search engine does have user share in mobile and desktop, it’s not a lot. But Microsoft still absolutely owns the desktop OS market with a 92.9 percent share for Windows and, as mentioned, IE still commands more than half of the desktop browser market, according to the research firm.
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