Showing posts from May 29, 2017

Vivo To Power Global Expansion With World Cup Sponsorship

It's entirely possible that you've never heard of Vivo even though it's now the fifth biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world. The Chinese OEM will make sure that isn't the case for much longer,  with the announcement that it is to become the primary sponsor of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup, the world's biggest spring event. 
Vivo follows the standard Chinese OEM template. Phones which look like the iPhone and do away with the Android app drawer in order to work more like the iPhone too. Sell these things cheap enough and make them well enough and they'll sell in bucket loads - in China and India at least. And as these are shortly to be the biggest and second biggest smartphone markets in the world.
However, without penetration into America and Europe none of these OEMs have any protection against the next Chinese OEM to come along with a slightly better iPhone lookalike and work alike. Vivo, Oppo, Xiaomi and Meizu are all on different stages of the sa…

WWDC: Hardware Deluge Promised

Tomorrow Apple throws open the doors to its annual developer-fest, WWDC. This year we're likely to have the unusual sight of Tim Cook outing a whole raft of new hardware – if rumours are to be believed anyway.
The current list includes a new iPad Pro, with a larger 10.5" screen; a new Alexa-aping, Sonos-wannabe home speaker; and refreshed Macbooks of all flavours.
The new iPad is the most interesting rumor. Apple needs more than a hardware refresh to make the iPad competitive. In fact I'd go as far as to say that the hardware is the least important upgrade Apple could make to its tablet.
With iPad sales in freefall and Mac sales not going much better, Apple needs a big result for computing from WWDC. That means making an iPad a better option for standalone computing.
So for me the most important thing that we will find out at WWDC is what Apple has planned for iOS 11. If there are new features which allow the iPad to better perform its role as a computer replacement we&…

OnePlus Short Changes Customers On Updates

The OnePlus 2 was launched a little under two years ago, with first customers taking delivery in August 2015. It's a device which should be well inside any reasonable definition of a support window. Customers should be able to bank on Android Nougat for their phones.
Instead OnePlus is cutting them loose - no Android update will be forthcoming for a device which is still available from many retailers.
Aside from raising the argument around who you should buy your Android phone from, it also further questions the validity of an Android purchase full stop.
Google has continually failed to fix its problem with Android and how difficult it is to get updates.

This year we've had more hot air about different fixes that Google intends to put in place, but history tried us they'll be no more effective than anything which has gone before.
Apple's recent 'switch' campaign hasn't focused on updates - yet, but it's such an obvious Android shortcoming it is only a …

Apple Users Have Spent Around $100bn On Apps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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…