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Showing posts from May 27, 2017

Apple Users Have Spent Around $100bn On Apps

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Apple has announced it has paid out $70bn to developers in the nine years since the App  Store ;aunched with the iPhone 3G. Allowing for some variance in the commission Apple takes on differenrt payment types, that equates to a total spend by Apple's iOS customers of $100bn.
For a service Apple was originally not keen to launch that's a hugely impressive accomplishment.
It's the size of this pot and the willingness of iOS customers to pay for the apps they want which keeps developers focused on the App Store. Whilst Google has made great strides towards deliverng a similar service in the Play Store, the truth is that the larger number of Android customers don't translate to similarly large numbers of app sales. 
Whether that's because Android phones are more likely to pack the apps users want from the start or because Android phones are generally bought on value - and therefore at the cheaper end of the market is up for discussion.
The end result is the same. If y…

The iPad Needs A Mouse

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Interesting thoughts about the addition of a mouse to the iPad on Daring Fireball today. It's something I've been suggesting is required if Apple wants the iPad to leap from companion device to real computer and the fact that Apple heavyweights like Gruber are discussing the concept backs that idea up.
One thing that seems to have been part of the discussion on the Talk Show has been not providing a mouse cursor within iOS. It's something that's seen as being a negative and I'm at a loss to understand why.
Giving an iPad a mouse cursor removes nothing from its utility as a tablet. However it allows the user sat at a desk the choice to click rather than prod at the screen. It's an argument that Apple has been strongly making in its refusal to add a touchscreen to its MacBook line up. So how can it fail to be a valid argument here?
The answer is, of course, that it can't. 
If you've used an Android tablet with a mouse you'll know just how much easier…

New Apple 'Swtich' Ads Score Serious Points Against Android

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With news of two fresh Android security weaknesses still fresh in customers minds, Apple's new web ads designed to press the advantages of iOS home to Android users couldn't come at a better time. 
The first ad hints at Android's security weaknesses - without actually mentioning Android by name, a subtle dig in itself. The other ads in the range deal with the lack of smoothness in Android and how easy it is to transfer your contacts to an iPhone.


Microsoft Hardware And Software Reboot For Mobile Has No Credibility

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Over the last few days whispering about a reboot of the Windows Mobile platform have been tumbling out of Microsoft. Respected journalists have been talking about credible sources within Microsoft telling them about a new hardware device and a fork of Windows designed specifically to run on this new hardware.
The rumours may be credible, but Microsoft has none in the smartphone game. Having rebooted its platform four times in the last seven years, each time abandoning a portion of its hard won customer base you'd have to say another foray into the market is doomed to failure. Making that new platform incompatible with what has gone before just adds more 'fail' into the mix.
The annoying thing is that Windows 10 Mobile remains the best smartphone platform out there in so many ways. Microsoft and Nokia led the market with so many innovations its hard to count them. Certainly Apple and Google have cherry-picked  those ideas for their own platforms.
A colleague was recently e…

Essential Doesn't Have The Essentials Right

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Andy Rubin, co-founder of Android, announced his new smartphone today. Called the Essential, it rocks a near bezel free design, stock Android and expansion capability through wireless USB.
The danger is that Rubin has made the same mistake as others who have designed phones for the enthusiast, pushing the things that most customers aren't really interested in.
The Essential is targeted at the premium Android market. That means its going to sell in limited numbers - the sector isn't big and it's dominated by Samsung.
Does the Essential look like a device that can compete with the Galaxy S8?  I'd suggest not.  Samsung has made the S8 attractive by virtue of both its hardware and software. Essential's use of stock Android means limited integration of the platform and the hardware.

The S8's hardware is just that bit more impressive too.
There is one feature that might make a difference though, the ability to expand with new hardware through an expansion port. A d…

Sometimes I Don't Think Sony Knows Whether It's Coming Or Going

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If I were to ask you to sum up Sony's recent smartphone efforts I'm sure your answer would contain the phrases 'confused', 'lacking direction' and 'too many changes'.
Having promised to rationalise its range and slow down the rate of new device releases in order to seek out profitability, Sony promptly did the complete opposite. It added a whole new tier of devices, new model names and maintained its breakneck release schedule. The new Xperia X and X Compact weren't particularly well received, in fact at least one Android reviewer recommended the older Z5 over the X devices.
Yes it managed to crack a profit last year, but now more than ever its Xperia division looks like a rudderless ship moving with the tides.
This week we found out that the new 'Premium Standard' device tier it introduced last year is going to be phased out this year. What was the point?
It's increasingly difficult to believe the missives released from Sony's head of…

Android Click Stealing Malware Infects Tens Of Millions Of Devices

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Seems the coming apocalypse will be powered by Android. Just days after finding out about a weakness which allows a hacker to take ownership of an Android device, we now learn of a vulnerability which allows Android apps to install malware which steals ad clicks, defrauding advertisers on Google's ad platform.
Once again the security of Android - and Google's ability to close weaknesses comes into question. In this case a number of games under the banner 'Judy' have been identified as exploiting this weakness and Checkpoint, who uncovered the scam, estimate more than 38 million installs of the app worldwide.
Which begs the question, how many other apps in the Play Store are exploiting this same vulnerability and, for advertisers, what does this say about the reliability of the statistics and charges being generated by Google's ad platform?
Google has reportedly removed the apps after being informed of the issue but with another million apps sitting in the Play Sto…

Cloak And Dagger Android Malware Owns Your Device And Your Life

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Researchers at UC Santa Barbara and Georgia Tech have published details of a weakness in Android which could allow a hacker to take ownership of your phone, capture all of your input (including PINs and passwords) and make hay with the information captured.
The hack uses two permissions granted by default for Play Store installs and all versions up to and including Android 7.1.2 are affected.
Scary stuff.
Google has apparently updated its Play Store security tool to prevent installation of apps with this exploit, although there's no actual fix to the platform as yet.
This kind of weakness is likely to prove common on the Android platform and is a result of the openness of the platform and the ability to customise or change the way it looks or works to a much higher degree than iOS.
The worry is that if and when Google patches this vulnerability the number of devices which actually receive the update will be virtually none. 
No platform is completely secure, that much has become v…

Citrix Receiver (Finally) Gets Continuum Support In Windows 10 Mobile

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This could have been a real game changer a couple of years ago, now it probably sits under the 'too little, too late' label. Nevertheless, the news that Citrix Receiver supports Continuum will be a welcome one for those enterprises looking to consolidate their IT estate into one device per user.
Citrix Published Desktops are a virtual PC solution which allow client devices to work as a real PC in an enterprise environment. The Receiver software, which makes this possible,is available on most platforms, including Windows 10 Mobile.
Until today that didn't include support for Continuum, which would have made a Windows Mobile phone a viable desktop replacement for many organizations. 
Biggest potential Winter from this announcement is HP, whose Elite x3 plus dock plus lap dock looks an altogether more interesting proposition for enterprise customers who run Citrix.
With Continuum support now baked into Citrix, Terminal Services and VMWare Horizons clients, a do everything Wi…

How Does The Surface Laptop Fit With Microsoft's OEM Partnerships?

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Microsoft's Surface Laptop starts shipping in just a couple of weeks and, based on the reception this month's announcement generated, it's likely to be a popular choice for customers seeking a premium Windows laptop.
That's going to be interesting for Microsoft's OEM partners, who are going to find themselves competing on an uneven playing field once more. Microsoft develops the platform and therefore can more easily tweak hardware designs for both the best performance but also battery life.
Those OEMs have only just been able to find a market position which competes with Apple's MacBooks - for years clunky Windows laptops were stuck with low-end consumer sales and low margin enterprise deals, whilst Apple sucked up all the profit in the market.
Windows 10, hybrids and convertibles have all driven advances in the premium PC market in the last couple of years. Dell's XPS, HP's Spectre and Lenovo's Yoga all took the game to Apple and outdid them.
Now…

Don't Get A Samsung Galaxy S8 If You're Into Screen Mirroring

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Whilst Samsung sells the DeX dock for the Galaxy S8 it is rather expensive and overkill for most users. With Miracast support onboard you're probably thinking you're covered for quick slideshows of photos or to pop a video up onto a large screen TV.
It's technically possible, however I can tell you it's going to be a disappointing experience. The extended screen ratio of the S8 - and this is also true of the LG G6 - means that your mirrored display will suffer from extreme letterboxing when shown on a normal TV screen with 4K or 1080p resolutions.
It isn't a total deal breaker - you could use Chromecast to get media onto a big display, but whereas Miracast is in many (if not most) new TVs, using Chromecast means carrying an adapter around and hoping your destination display has a free HDMI port.
Incidentally, for those looking to work with a DisplayLink dock the same issue with display letterboxing is present. So without the DeX dock there'll be no impromptu &…