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04 Jun 12 Any.do task manager launches for iOS and Chrome, now syncs across platforms …


Any.do is one of the most popular and acclaimed to-do list apps for Android, and today the company behind it is bringing the same app and experience to the iPhone and the Chrome browser. The new free apps preserve most of Any.do’s best features, and bring an almost entirely unchanged interface to the new platforms as well. We got a chance to try out the app ahead of its release, and if you’re in the market for a new task manager, there’s a lot to like about Any.do.

The app reminds us a bit of Clear, another ultra-intuitive and beautiful task manager for iOS, though Any.do’s even simpler to navigate. You organize your tasks either by date or by folder, and to move and sort tasks all you have to do is drag and drop. There are plenty of other gesture-based features, too: to complete a task, you swipe to the right as if you’re crossing it out; to add a new task, just drag down from the top of the screen. You can add a task by voice, just by dragging from the top and holding. Tapping once on a task lets you add a due date or a note, or mark it as high priority — pressing and holding activates it for dragging around.

As you add a task, Any.do tries to guess what you’re typing, so if you say “get ready for” it might autocomplete with “get ready for the beach.” The prediction and voice recognition are hilariously wrong as often as they’re right — you’re better off using the built-in Dictation feature in iOS — but it’s a handy thing to have when it does guess correctly. The app also tries to guess what your task means, so if you say “call Dad,” it will look for Dad in your address book and give you a button to call your Dad in one click.

It’s beautiful, simple, useful, and has terrible voice recognition

The app is absolutely gorgeous, with a focus on typography that would fit in perfectly as a Metro app for Windows Phone or Windows 8. By default, all you see are collapsible lists of your tasks; dragging up from the bottom reveals the different menus and options. Rotating your phone on its side gives you a landscape view with a calendar on one side and your tasks on the other, so you can tap on a day to see your to-do list or easily move tasks around between days. There are light and dark themes, both of which look great.

The Chrome app is a stripped-down version of the same thing: most of the gestures aren’t available, but it’s still really easy to move tasks around or add a few. The app resides in the Chrome address bar, and opens over top of your current window so you can quickly add a task without opening a whole new tab. If you want, you can pop it out into its own small, always-open window. The Chrome app syncs seamlessly with the Android and iOS versions of Any.do: you create an account or log in with Facebook, and everything stays automatically up to date.

For power users, Any.do might be too simple — if you have a lot of tasks, the lists can get a bit unwieldy, particularly the “Today” list that shows both everything due today and everything without a due date. The app also has far more competition on iOS than on Android: from Things and Omnifocus to Clear and Due, there are a lot of good task managers for your iPhone. Any.do should fit in nicely, though, and is definitely a solid way to manage anything from a shopping list to a job’s worth of projects.

Any.do for iPhone and Chrome screenshots


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Article source: http://www.theverge.com/2012/6/3/3059220/any-do-tasks-app-ios-chrome-hands-on

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01 Jun 12 Android’s Next Patent Challenge Comes From Nokia


Androids Next Patent Challenge Comes From Nokia

Nokia could be considered the grandfather to the modern cellphone. The company obviously owns a lot of patents and receives royalties from those who make smartphones. Heck, patent royalties net Nokia €8 per every iPhone sold. Now they want a little something out of Android.

After just coming off of a patent lawsuit win over Oracle on software patents, Google now has to contend with Nokia on a trickier subject – hardware patents. According to Reuters, Google apparently thinks Nokia is in cahoots with Microsoft to knock its Android business down a peg.

Nokia is having none of it, however, by saying that Google’s “suggestion” is “wrong.” How is Google wrong? Nokia says that both themselves and Microsoft are different companies with different portfolios and strategies. That being said, Nokia was quick to point out that Android did infringe on several Nokia patents.

I could take Nokia at their word if it wasn’t for the fact that they are so intertwined with Microsoft at the moment. As you most likely know, Nokia is Microsoft’s strongest partner in pushing the Windows Phone 7 operating system. The Nokia Lumia 900, which runs Windows Phone 7, was even touted by Siri as being the best smartphone on the market.

It’s up to the courts to decide whether or not Microsoft and Nokia are trying to double-team Google, but it does seem awfully coincidental. This on top of reports that both companies transferred over 1,000 patents over to a well-known patent troll just reeks of everybody’s favorite waste of court resources – patent lawsuits.

Google isn’t the first company working with Android that Nokia has targeted. Earlier this month, the company filed suit against RIM, HTC and ViewSonic over their respective products. The patents that Nokia claimed these companies infringed include such basic smartphone features including app stores, multitasking and dynamic menus. It almost seems like Nokia just owns patents on what makes a cell phone, well, a cell phone.

Maybe Nokia should patent its phone use as a hammer. It could then target HTC’s newest product, the HTC One X, over its ability to perform as a hammer as well. I’m all for protecting property rights when people legitimately copy a company’s hard work, but the above example should help illustrate just how ridiculous these patent lawsuits can get.

We’ll keep following this latest attack on Android. Nokia has a better chance of winning than Oracle ever did, so it will be interesting to watch. We may eventually see Google paying out €8 per device that licenses Android technology.

Article source: http://www.webpronews.com/androids-next-patent-challenge-comes-from-nokia-2012-06

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27 May 12 Android, Apple top smartphone market – in that order


Two San Jose area companies are at the top of the smartphone industry. Mountain View-based Google and Cupertino-based Apple are number 1 and 2, respectively, in their shares of the smartphone market, based on operating system. The proof comes from a report from the research firm IDC on smartphone sales worldwide in the first quarter of 2012.

According to a May 24 report from IDC, 59 percent of the smartphones shipped in the first three months of this year were powered by Google’s Android operating system, up from just 36.1 percent in the first quarter of 2011. The market share boost was driven by a 145 percent increase in unit shipments to nearly 90 million this year. Apple, whose operating system is called iOS, followed with market share of 23 percent, from 18.3 percent in the year ago quarter, driven by an 88.7 percent jump in sales to 35.1 million units this first quarter.

As I’ve noted before, Android is growing faster than Apple because its OS is offered on a wide variety of smartphone brands, primarily, HTC, Motorola and Samsung, which has helped those brands thrive in sales tracked by IDC based on brand. The iOS operating system, on the other hand, only runs on iPhones.

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Everyone else’s smartphone OS shares are in single digits: Symbian OS, used on Nokia smartphones, a 6.8 percent share in the first quarter; BlackBerry OS from the beleaguered RIM, 6.4 percent; the open source Linux OS, 2.3 percent; and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 and Windows Mobile, 2.2 percent.

And in the dynamic smartphone industry, of course, things are changing fast. Nokia has discontinued the Symbian OS and decided to use the Windows Phone 7 OS going forward. Windows Mobile was the predecessor to WP7 and while it surprises me that phones with Windows Mobile on them are still being sold, I guess there are some pockets of the world where they are still available.

But obviously, the smartphone business is thriving; the IDC report says smartphone sales jumped by close to 50 percent in the first quarter to 152.3 million units, from 101.6 million in the year ago quarter.

With better processors, a wide variety of apps to download from each OS company’s app stores and faster carrier networks available, people can get more out of their smartphones, including faster loading Web pages, dedicated social media apps, taking and sharing of photos, improved video streaming quality and other features, smartphones have become a must-have gadget for more and more people.
 

Article source: http://www.examiner.com/article/android-apple-top-smartphone-market-that-order

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26 May 12 Smartphone competitors fail to keep up with iOS, Android: IDC



Smartphones running Apple’s iOS platform and Google’s Android operating system are outshining the rest of the smartphone market, says a new report from market researcher IDC.
Both Android and iOS have seen their share of the smartphone market grow progressively over the last twelve

months, with Android accounting for 59% of the smartphone market and iOS 23%. During the first quarter of 2011 Android and iOS accounted for a combined share of 54.4%.

“The popularity of Android and iOS stems from a combination of factors that the competition has struggled to keep up with,” says Ramon Llamas, senior research analyst with IDC’s Mobile Phone Technology and Trends program. “Neither Android nor iOS were the first to market with some of these features, but the way they made the smartphone experience intuitive and seamless has quickly earned a massive following.”

Previous market leader Symbian saw a sharp decline over the last year as Nokia transitioned to Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform. BlackBerry was also on a downwards spiral falling from 13.6% of the market in 2011 to 6.1% in 2012.

While Windows Phone 7/Windows Mobile currently accounts for just 2.2% of the market, the platform is expected to show moderately increased growth in the latter half of the year and beyond as both Nokia and Microsoft boost WP7 sales volumes. IDC notes that platform growth will be slow until “Nokia speeds the cadence of its smartphone releases or more vendors launch their own Windows Phone-powered smartphones.�

A separate report from analyst firm ABI Research suggests shipments of “phabletsâ€� — devices that are bigger than smartphones but smaller than tablets — such as the Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Note will exceed 208 million units globally by 2015.

“One of the chief drivers for phablets is the amount of time people use their smartphones for web browsing, reading articles and newspapers on the go, or simply navigating their journeys,â€� says senior ABI analyst Joshua Flood. “The larger screen sizes make a significant difference to the user’s experience when compared to conventional-sized touchscreens between 3.5 to 4 inches.â€� Additionally, new phablet-styled devices provide an attractive two-in-one device proposition and are beginning to see the competition between these larger smartphone form factors and smaller media tablets (less than seven inches).”

Article source: http://www.hindustantimes.com/technology/PersonalTech-Updates/Smartphone-competitors-fail-to-keep-up-with-iOS-Android-IDC/SP-Article1-861664.aspx

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26 May 12 Orange Exec: Android, Windows Phone and iPhones Are Gas Guzzlers and …


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.

Already the company is looking at a variety of options including Mozilla’s Boot-to-Gecko project and mobile Linux options like Tizen, in addition to low-cost Android variants coming out of China.

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.”

Article source: http://allthingsd.com/20120525/orange-exec-android-windows-phone-and-iphones-are-gas-guzzlers-and-developing-world-needs-a-prius/?mod=googlenews

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24 May 12 iPhone, Android account for 82% of smartphones shipped


Computerworld - Android and iPhone devices together made up 82% of all smartphones shipped to retailers in the first quarter of 2012, IDC said Thursday.

The combined worldwide shipments of Android- and Apple iOS-based devices dwarfs those of other smartphone operating systems, including Research in Motion’s BlackBerry, a traditional frontrunner now on a “downward trajectory,” IDC said in a statement.

Gartner on May 16 had said that Android and iPhone smartphones accounted for nearly 79% of all smartphones shipped in the first quarter, slightly below.

Smartphones shipped to retailers are expected to be sold, especially the popular Android and iPhone models.

Android phones made by various manufacturers accounted for 59% of first quarter shipments, or 152.3 million devices, while iOS-based iPhones accounted for 23%, IDC said.

IDC analyst Kevin Restivo said smartphone OS laggards like BlackBerry and Windows Phone need to win greater loyalty from app developers to grow market share. “Developer intentions of enthusiasm for a particular operating system is typically a leading indicator of hardware sales success,” he said in a statement.

IDC said Samsung accounted for 45.4% of all Android-based smartphone shipments in the first quarter, which topped the pack.

The Symbian OS held a 6.8% of the share of shipments in the quarter, down 60% from the first quarter of 2011, as a result of Nokia’s move to Windows Phone.

BlackBerry’s share of shipments was just 6.4%, a 30% decline from the first quarter of 2011.

Windows Phone and Windows Mobile OS’s had a 2.2% share of first quarter shipments, up 27% from the first quarter of 2011, IDC said.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at Twitter@matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt’s RSS feed Hamblen RSS. His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

Read more about Smartphones in Computerworld’s Smartphones Topic Center.

Article source: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9227447/iPhone_Android_account_for_82_of_smartphones_shipped

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24 May 12 Microsoft Office for iOS and Android May Arrive This Fall


Microsoft Office for iOS and Android May Arrive This FallMicrosoft appears to be closing in on a release of Microsoft Office for both iOS and Android this fall, despite previous denials.

The software is expected to be ready for a release in November, sources tell Boy Genius Report. This would match up with a previous report from The Daily, which claimed to have seen a working prototype of Office on an iPad.

Microsoft was quick to deny, calling the report “inaccurate rumors and speculation.” So much for that: BGR’s source claims that the Office they saw looked “almost identical” to a picture shown by The Daily, so maybe the folks in Redmond weren’t entirely truthful.

In any case, releasing a mobile version of Office for both Android and iOS makes a lot of sense. Windows Phone is behind its larger competitors in terms of market share and, although Windows 8 is supposed to be tablet-friendly, there’s no guarantee that those tablets will be able to compete with the market-leading iPad.

Users Want Productivity Apps

If you need more evidence of the public’s desire for mobile Office, look at the top paid apps in the iTunes App Store. In the Productivity category, Apple’s Pages, Keynote, and Numbers apps are consistently in the list of top ten bestsellers, and have been since iWork for iPad’s launch in January 2010. As of Wednesday evening, Pages was third, Keynote ninth, and Numbers is 11th in that category.

These apps serve their purpose, but are far from perfect. iWork does not natively save documents to Office formats, and its export function trips up sometimes when it comes to formatting. Microsoft can obviously build better support for Office in its own productivity suite than Apple could.

Microsoft is silent this time when asked about the rumors. While it was quick in February to deny, this time it declined to comment. That silence speaks volumes about Redmond’s future plans.

For more tech news and commentary, follow Ed on Twitter at @edoswald, on Facebook, or on Google+.

Article source: http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/256127/microsoft_office_for_ios_and_android_may_arrive_this_fall.html

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21 May 12 Disassembling Android Part 2: Who Wields the Blowtorch?


To truly disrupt Android, other OS makers face an uphill battle. It is no longer 2009, when Android stepped into a mobile market hungry for options beyond the iPhone (then only on ATT) and the aging BlackBerry and Windows Mobile ecosystems. The market is now well established and the only two players that currently mean anything are iOS and Android.

For the sake of clarity, let’s look at the other contenders (in order of importance):

  • Windows Phone: On its way to becoming a solid Number 3 behind iOS and Android.
  • BlackBerry 10: Research In Motion’s next BlackBerry operating system and perhaps its last gasp to save the franchise.
  • Mozilla B2G: Open, browser-based OS currently in development from Mozilla and the open source community. 
  • Tizen: Formerly MeeGo. Has the backing of the Linux Foundation and Intel, and it has caught the eyes of several manufacturers looking for an alternative.
  • Linux/Ubuntu: Pure, open Linux-based OS has been kicked about by the open source community, but generally unavailable in devices until 2013 at the earliest.
  • webOS: Open-sourced by Hewlett-Packard, may have a legitimate future if developers embrace browser-based mobile interaction.

Microsoft and Nokia would love nothing more than to see Windows Phone eat Android’s market share. In the short term, that is not going to happen. The best Windows Phone, the Lumia 900, available through ATT, does not measure up well with the best Android phones, either in specifications or user interface. What Windows Phone does have going for it is increasing traction with both carriers and manufacturers tired of dealing with the array of Android devices and the never-ending need to support them. Windows Phone is a known quantity and will continue to rise in market share. It will not reach the levels of Android, but it can shave 5% to 10% of its market share within a couple of years, especially if carriers continue to market and subsidize Windows Phone devices.

The problems for Windows Phone in disrupting Android are the macro-problems that face any OS aiming to usurp the crown. First, the Windows Phone Marketplace is a wasteland of copied and boring apps (with a few exceptional entries). Developer support is critical to the success of a smartphone OS, as developers create the content that drives adoption. The better a developer can fare on a platform, the harder it will work to build a productive ecosystem around it. Windows Phone and BlackBerry do not, at this point, have developer interest equivalent to Android and iOS. With almost 500,000 apps in Google Play (against 70,000 for Windows Phone and BlackBerry), conquering Android is bound to be an uphill battle. 


Manufacturers and carriers may be starting to look at throwing more weight behind Windows Phone. There are a variety of reasons for this. The most important is that Microsoft is willing to pay for visibility, and manufacturers and carriers are happy to take money whether or not Windows Phone actually sells well. 

While Windows Phone appears to be on the rise, Blackberry is still in wait-and-see mode. What will BlackBerry 10 ultimately look like? Will it be sexy enough to not only compete with the current crop of Android phones but remain viable for two or three years? To take market share back from Android, RIM needs to focus as much on what it releases this year as what that platform will look like in 2014. 

Tizen occupies an interesting space in this ecosystem. It has indirect backing from Samsung and could easily add HTC to the list of supporters if manufacturer relations turn sour with Google over its Motorola acquisition. Tizen will continue to be pushed by Intel – but the fact is that there may be little hope for it. It does not have the industry clout to disrupt Android in the short or long term. A wild card: Tizen has been seen running Android apps, a development that could give it traction.

What applies for Tizen also applies for webOS. These open source projects will likely produce nominal results and devices, at best. 

That leaves the two most intriguing candidates – Ubuntu and Mozilla. These are also open source projects, but they have significant developer communities behind them. Canonical has proposed an Ubuntu mobile operating system that has potential to step right into Android’s position. One can imagine that an Ubuntu mobile OS would be very similar to Android (both with a Linux kernel) but not tied to Google. That would please Google’s manufacturer and service partners that would love to be free of Google’s regulations about how a device must behave to be allowed access to Google Play. 


Mozilla’s Boot2Gecko Mockups

Mozilla is in a different category. It is an operating system that is of the browser, by the browser. In that way, it’s similar to Google’s Chrome operating system, though B2G would be specialized toward mobile devices rather than notebooks. This is where HTML5 could truly disrupt Android, as it would run through the mobile Web and not be restricted by… anything. The trick for Mozilla is to create a browser-based operating system that has all of the device capabilities that Android, iOS, BlackBerry and Windows Phone have with native APIs and hardware acceleration. That is not something the HTML5 environment does currently (at least, not well) and will be the biggest challenge for Mozilla as it develops the OS. Right now, Mozilla’s problems are technical in nature. Get the OS right first and then we can start talking about how it deals with manufacturers, carriers, developers, marketers, advertisers and the rest of the mobile ecosystem. Of all the methods and technologies used by would-be Android competitors, HTML5 has the highest ceiling. The company that pulls together a browser-based mobile operating system could fare very well, especially with developers. 

Taken individually, each would-be Android killer has strengths and flaws that will help and hinder it in trying to unseat Google. The near-term players (Windows Phone and BlackBerry) will have to battle OEMs and manufacturers and curry favor with developers. Everybody else still has to work out development and technical issues before they can gain the kind of traction that Android has created. 

Consequently, for the next two years or so, the mobile world will likely be a race between Apple and Google. 2012 will not be the Year Of Something Other Than Android. 2015 and beyond? Perhaps. 

What do you think has the greatest potential to disrupt Android? Let’s hear your picks in the comments. 

Article source: http://www.readwriteweb.com/mobile/2012/05/disassembling-android-part-2-who-wields-the-blowtorch.php

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21 May 12 Windows Phone: Photography the key to its success?


All of my Bahamas vacation photos were taken with a low-end Samsung Focus i917 Windows Phone.

Going on vacation these days for me is something of a mixed bag affair. On one hand, I’m psyched that I’m going to get some extremely crucial rest  relaxation, but on the other, I have a lot of personal stuff going on right now in the background that’s driving me completely crazy and of course I end up missing out on what is going on in the industry at large.

So to summarize, while I was beach bumming, Facebook IPOed, Zuckerberg promptly got married, and the CEO of Yahoo! resigned in disgrace with a golden parachute, and the Oracle vs. Google lawsuit is shaping up to be Groundhog Day. Does that sound right? Alrighty then.

So where does Jason like to go on vacation? Preferably someplace cut off from civilization with warm weather, swimming pools, nice beaches, and good places to eat.

One of my favorites is Grand Bahama, as it’s pretty easy to get to (It’s only 60 miles off the east coast of South Florida) and has some of the best beaches in the world, with cool breezes, welcoming local people and of course, great native cuisine.

I tend to do a bit of digital photography when I go on trips, but this time, I was so scatterbrained that I forgot to bring my trusty Canon point-and-shoot.

However, I didn’t forget to bring a GSM-capable cell phone. Just before I left, I packed a spare Samsung Focus lying around that I upgraded to Windows Phone Mango. I hadn’t intended to use it as my vacation camera, or to do any cellular data. I simply wanted to use it for the occasional Wi-Fi email check and to place and receive occasional calls using a local pay-as-you-go SIM card.

As it turned out, the Focus had to be unlocked, was exorbitantly expensive to do locally ($80) so I bought a cheap Nokia world phone ($50) and had some minutes thrown onto it. Which left the Windows Phone somewhat redundant on my trip.

And then I realized, the Focus had a camera. And a pretty decent one too, a 5 megapixel. Maybe I could take some halfway decent photos for my food blog with this thing.

As it turned out, I really enjoyed using the Focus as a photo device. For a low-end smartphone, it took really good pictures, and after being forced to use it most of the week as my primary data device, I actually preferred its native camera app to the one on my Android 4.0-based Galaxy Nexus at home.

Right now, Windows Phone isn’t exactly known as a true shutterbug’s preferred smartphone platform — that honor goes to Apple’s iPhone. But what if Microsoft wanted to get serious about making Windows Phone a best of breed digital photography platform?

The Nokia Lumia 900, which went on sale last month to mostly positive reviews from the mainstream tech press, has a 8MP camera with Carl Zeiss optics. That’s a good start, and puts it someplace on par with the iPhone 4S iSight camera, but I know Microsoft can do better.

Windows Phone shouldn’t simply match the iPhone on camera specs. To distinguish itself, it really needs to out-do it. This may sound like a very tall order, but I know this is possible.

Nokia recently announced a Symbian-based phone for the European market with an incredible 41 megapixel camera, the 808 Pureview. To achieve this impressive picture resolution, it uses a technology called Pixel-binning which oversamples the image recorded on an over-sized 5MP CMOS sensor (which is three to five times larger than on most most cell phones and point-and-shoot digital cameras) to produce extremely high-quality images.

While the Pureview technology is proprietary only to Nokia, this way of doing digital photography on smartphones is probably the way of the future.

We can also be assured that this technology is eventually going to appear on future Windows Phones, possibly as early as the first or second quarter of next year, when the “Apollo” based-phones are eventually released.

The companies that are likely to suffer from these advancements on smartphones are the old-school camera brands, such as Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus and even SONY. While their professional and prosumer markets are safe for the time being, their point-and-shoot business is going to evaporate very quickly.

Which makes them potentially excellent partners for Microsoft to work with, as combined they have a tremendous amount of expertise in producing high-quality optics and also many years of experience in digital still and video camera design.

While Nokia certainly has a lead in smartphone camera technology, the company and Microsoft can’t afford to be complacent. Apple isn’t going to sit still.

What I believe Microsoft should do is put together a Windows Phone smartphone photography consortium of the traditional camera vendors and partner with them and the OEM handset licensees (such as Samsung and HTC) to produce best of breed mobile devices with leading-edge photographic and video capabilities using superior quality CMOS sensors and imaging processors (Such as Canon’s DIGIC signal processing chips).

Canon and SONY in particular, both of which have a long history with making lenses and cameras for broadcast and professional video, could add significant ICAP to Microsoft’s smartphone camera arsenal, should they be chosen as partners to help develop these new phones.

In addition to bringing the old guard camera companies into Windows Phone’s fold, Microsoft needs to work closely with Facebook to get Instagram built into the next version of Windows Phone, and should also work with companies such as Adobe in order to code native WinRT photography and sophisticated mobile photo editing apps for Windows Phone 8, which should also come built into the devices.

While photography isn’t the only make or break technology for Windows Phone, having an advantage over the other platforms in this space could very well seal the deal for consumers looking for a shutterbug’s paradise.

Do you think Windows Phone could make a superior digital photography platform to iOS and Android? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

Article source: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/perlow/windows-phone-photography-the-key-to-its-success/20425

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16 May 12 Samsung Tops Handsets With 40% Android Share, Gartner Says


Samsung (005930) Electronics Co. sold more
than 40 percent of all Android mobile phones in the first
quarter as the South Korean manufacturer became the world’s
largest handset maker, research company Gartner Inc. said.

Global handset sales declined 2 percent to 419 million,
dragged down by a drop in low-end handsets, Stamford,
Connecticut-based Gartner said today in a report. Smartphone
sales rose 45 percent, the researcher said.

Samsung, which also makes screens and other hardware used
in smartphones, has profited from its ability to offer devices
running Google Inc. (GOOG) (GOOG)’s Android software at a wide range of
prices. Android is currently installed on 56 percent of new
smartphones, more than twice Apple Inc. (AAPL) (AAPL)’s share. The prospect of
even cheaper Android models led customers in Asia to postpone
purchases, the researchers said.

The market for users of feature phones, or low-end handsets
that can’t run a full range of applications, to upgrade to
similar devices “has declined more significantly than we
expected,” Anshul Gupta, a Mumbai-based analyst at Gartner,
said in an interview. “Consumers are holding onto their
feature-phone devices hoping for better smartphone deals coming
up.”

Nokia Oyj (NOK1V), which Samsung overtook as the world’s biggest
handset maker, fell as much as 3.2 percent to 2.20 euros and was
trading down 2.3 percent at 1:25 p.m. in Helsinki. Samsung
extended dropped 6.2 percent, the most in 3 1/2 years, to 1.23
million won at the close in Seoul, before the Gartner report was
released.

Smartphones as Commodities

The Gartner study measures sales to end users at operators
and retailers. No other vendor besides Samsung has more than a
10 percent share of Android handsets, the researcher said,
adding that the smartphone market has become “highly
commoditized.”

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) (MSFT) software ran on 1.9 percent of handsets
sold in the quarter, compared with 2.6 percent a year earlier.
Nokia Chief Executive Officer Stephen Elop has said his company
and Microsoft are trying to establish the Redmond, Washington-
based software maker’s Windows Phone as a “third ecosystem”
versus Android and Apple systems.

Nokia’s total handset market share declined to 19.8
percent. The Espoo, Finland-based manufacturer remained ahead of
Apple, which accounted for 7.9 percent of the market. The
proportion of smartphones running Symbian, Nokia’s older
operating system, fell to 8.6 percent, or about one-third of its
share a year earlier. Nokia’s total smartphone share, including
Windows Phone and the N9, was 9.2 percent, Gupta said.

European ‘Uncertainty’

“Economic uncertainty has really impacted markets like
western Europe, with smartphone upgrades declining,” Gupta
said. Nokia now has the third-largest share in the region,
behind Samsung and Apple, he said.

The researchers forecast that Windows Phone will be the
second-biggest smartphone system after Android by 2015,
displacing Apple’s iOS, Gupta said, reiterating earlier
predictions.

Gartner lowered its full-year mobile-phone sales forecast
to 1.9 billion handsets, for growth of approximately 5.5
percent, including sales of 650 million smartphones,
representing a 38 percent jump. The research company earlier
forecast growth of 7 percent overall this year, with a 39
percent gain for smartphones.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Diana ben-Aaron in Helsinki at
dbenaaron1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Kenneth Wong at
kwong11@bloomberg.net

Article source: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-05-16/samsung-tops-handsets-with-40-percent-android-share-gartner-says

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