Archive for ios
Android has emerged as one of the most popular operating systems in use today. That devices running Android has outsold all its competitors in 2013 is no doubt a good measure of its popularity, beating even Apple iOS in the process. The online search giant has now upped the ante claiming its mobile OS has proved to be the fastest to reach the top.
“I mean, look, in the history of operating systems, I think Android has been the quickest and most successful adoption of an operating system in the world. So you just sort of stop, take pause and say, oh my God, that’s crazy. Nobody could have ever predicted that we’re going to get an operating system adopted in an industry, which has so many different OEMs, manufacturing with their own operating systems having adopted around the world,” said Nikesh Arora, senior vice president at Google while speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference.
First acquired by Google in 2005, Android (the company also of the same name) has since seen several upgrades. However, as stated by Google, the OS first attained a level of maturity from the Ice Cream Sandwich version. The OS then attained newer heights with the upgrade to Jelly Bean which continues to be the most used version of Android so far. Google has since launched the Android KitKat version, the most recent so far.
However, to completely ignore Apple’s iOS when discussing the most successful of mobile OS’s will be just half the story told. Apple devices such as the iPad and the iPhone continue to be the single largest tablet and smartphone brand respectively, outselling any of its Android competitors by a healthy margin. It’s just that the iOS got swamped by an operating system that is based on a completely different business strategy. Android is doled out free enabling any manufacturers to use it as per their will. In contrast, Apple maintains a vice like grip over iOS and is the only maker of gadgets based on it. In any case, it will be interesting to see how things pan out now that Android has proven to be more popular than iOS.
Android tablets are out on top, beating Apple for the first time ever and by a comprehensive margin. Figures revealed by analysts Gartner show that Apple has had a 36 percent share of the tablet market in 2013, almost half that of the 62 percent share that Android has had for the same period. Android accounted for 121 million tablet sales in 2013, compared to 70 million iPads sold. In all, 195 million tablet devices were sold in 2013.
For Apple, the results were in spite of registering a growth over its 2012 sales where 61 million iPads were sold. That number translated to a 53 percent share of the tablet market. For the same period, Android accounted for 46 percent share of the tablet market, or 53 million tablets.
Apple can still take consolation from the fact that the iPad continues to be the single largest tablet brand, outselling others by a comfortable margin. Samsung came in second, having sold 37 million tablets to equal a 19 percent market share, a huge improvement over the 7 percent market it had in 2012. Asus made up the third slot, having sold more than 11 million tablets, which comes to 5.6 percent share. Surprisingly, Amazon, who started the affordable tablet race, managed to sell just about 9 million tablets in 2013. Its market share dropped to 4.8 percent from 6.6 percent in 2012, making it the only manufacturer among the top 5 to record negative growth rate.
As for reasons behind the rise of the Android tablet, it is the emergence of low cost entry level tablet options that appears to have done the trick. For the first time, consumers had a lot of affordable tablet devices to choose from. Fortunately for them, these tablets offered decent specs in spite of the relatively cheap price tag. In contrast, the iPad caters to the premium segment that makes it within the reach of a distinct class of consumers. However, the challenge before Android is to ensure the huge user base who has invested in an Android tablet gets to have an endearing user experience so that they remain within the Android fold.
Further, both Apple and Google will have to watch out for a resurgent Windows platform that has registered growth in 2013. Though still quite insignificant with 2.1 percent market share and 4 million tablet sales, it could make for a much better performance in 2014 on the back of rumors of a thoroughly improved Windows 9. Also, the emergence of improved low power chips have led to better acceptance of Windows tablet which is poised for a take off if Microsoft gets its act together in providing for an enhanced software experience over Windows 8.1.
A new concept video providing us a glimpse of what the rumored Apple iWatch will be like has come online. The first thing that strikes is that the supposed iWatch is unlike any other smartwatch that we have come to see so far. Rather, it’s more akin to a wearable band or a bracelet sort of thing with a curved display. Not that it looks any bit odd with the design theme it incorporates. On the contrary, the iWatch looks even more futuristic than any of its peers. Further, a curved display also seems to be more befitting a smartwatch than perhaps a smartphone or a tablet. Overall, the design looks slick and smart even though it shares quite some similarity with the Nike+ Fuelband.
The concept iWatch as depicted in the video shows the date and time along with a lot of other notifications in a horizontally tiled manner. There is also the likelihood of the Healthbook fitness tracking app that the iWatch can feature, one that could be part of iOS 8. Another purported app that has been making some noise off late is the one that will be able to predict heart attacks, something that could prove to be a game changer if designed well enough.
Overall, we have seen quite a few smartwatch concepts so far though none have made quite the kind of splash that they might have expected. Maybe, that is left to Apple to do, something of the sort that the Cupertino company has done in the past with the iPhone and iPad in the smartphone and tablet segments respectively.
As for the iWatch concept, it has been designed be Fuse Chicken, a startup based in Cleveland ‘currently funding a magnetic charging cable and dock for iPhone.’
Contrary to the oft held belief that the iPad suits more for entertainment than anything else, the Apple tablet has topped the charts among tablets used in the enterprise scene. To put that in figures, the iPad has made up for 91.4 percent of all enterprise tablet activations in Q4, 2013, reveals enterprise software vendor Good Technology. Delving further into the pattern of iPad usage in the business scene, it is the financial sector that has emerged the single largest user of iPads, accounting for a comprehensive 46.8 percent of all activations. Next comes business and professional services sector that makes up 13.8 percent of iPad activations.
In contrast, Android makes up for a far less share of the enterprise scene with smartphones and tablet devices running the Google OS making up 26 percent of the segment. Not surprisingly, it is Samsung here leading the charge, making up for 56 percent of device usage, as per a survey by Fiberlink Communications. The company that deals with mobile device management (MDM) was recent acquired by IBM last November.
Meanwhile, the online ad and web analytics firm Chitika put forward that the Microsoft Surface tablets shone in the BYOD segment, drawn from the fact that the Surface tablets were used a lot during office hours.
“Surface users generate a slightly greater share of their total Web traffic during working hours as compared to iPad or Android tablet users,” the Chitika report said. “However, in terms of raw traffic volume, iPad and Android tablet users lead the pack at all hours of the day, and usage patterns among all tablets remain relatively similar overall.”
However, the report from Good Technology can be considered to be far from being comprehensive in that the company does not yet support Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 tablets. While the latter is known to have made some inroads in the enterprise sector, what is amply clear is that they are yet to make a big enough impact to unsettle the big two in the business, namely Google Android and Apple iOS. Further, the Good report is based on data from organizations that activated more than 5 devices during the fourth quarter.
Further, the Chitika report too can’t be considered to be comprehensive in that it is unable to differentiate between x86 based devices such as the Surface Pro or traditional desktops based on the same chip. Chitika report though can pick up Surface or Surface 2 devices running ARM chips. As such, the Chitika insight into Windows tablet usage can be considered to be fairly accurate in predicting the usage of Surface or Surface 2 devices.
Overall, we do have a rough picture of the iPad being the most popular device used in business with Android making up a distant second. Microsoft has shown mixed results in that it offers both ARM and x86 based devices to be used in the business segment. Also, now that we have seen quite a few Windows 8.1 devices being launched mostly during Q4, 2013, things could be a bit different a few months from now.
Scribd has lined up a treat for owners of the Kindle Fire range of tablet devices; the company’s online ebook subscription service which has now been extended to include to the Kindle Fire tablets. This has been made possible via an app that was launched on Wednesday and will offer unlimited ebook downloads for the same $9 a month as it offers for other Android and iOS devices. The above move does make a lot of sense considering the Kindle Fire range are oriented more towards reading books (along with other Amazon services such as it movies and music streaming services) and having a presence here means a head start right away for Scribd.
“Since launching our subscription book service, our readers around the world have been asking for an app that worked with Kindle Fire,” said Trip Adler, CEO and cofounder of Scribd. “It’s one of the most popular reading devices available today and we want to enable our readers to enjoy Scribd across any of their devices.”
However, those eager to try out the Scribd service will have to avail of the app directly from the company site as the same isn’t listed at the Amazon app store for Kindle Fire tablets. Further, with an agreement with only one major publisher – HarperCollins – Scribd for sure will not have as wide a choice so far as ebooks are concerned.
Android may be accounting for a phenomenal growth in the mobile segment though all of that is fraught with risks of being infected with malware, warns senior vice president of marketing at Apple, Phil Schiller. Quoting Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report, the Apple executive pointed out that Android alone accounted for an unprecedented 99 percent malware threat in 2013. The same for iOS is an almost insignificant less than 1 percent considering there are others like Windows and Blackberry in the scene as well.
What should be even more worrisome for Google and users of its Android platform is that its vulnerability to attacks from malware has only increased over the years, having grown from 79 percent in 2010-12 as mentioned in the Mobile Threat Report, Q4 2012 from F-Secure. In contrast, Apple can be considered to be holding steady in the face of malware attacks which is said to have compromised just 0.7 percent of iOS devices as mentioned in F-Secure’s survey for the period 2010-2012.
The latest Cisco report also mentions that Java is open to 91 percent web exploits. Further, it is Trojans that has turned out to be the primary source of worry, accounting for 64 percent of malware with adware making up a smaller 20 percent. The report also stated that it is malware Andr/Qdplugin-A that has been found to have infiltrated the most on Android device. The malware is introduced via a legal app not listed at the official Google Play Store but on other Android app stores. The report also highlights the fact that Android users would be better off to source all of their app requirements from the Google Play Store than from third-party app stores.
The above no doubt will enhance the appeal of iOS devices even more as a stable, secure and safe platform compared to Android that might be raking in the numbers right now but is more prone to online malware threats.
In what can be considered as a boon to those who rely more on cross-platform apps and services, Google has made available another of its service, Google Play Movies and TV on iOS. This will enable users of the iPad and iPhone to play back movies and TV shows that they have bought from the Google Play Store.
However, while the above development can be considered to be one in the right direction, there still are a few issues to be wary of. These include the inability to playback movies when offline or on the go. This since the new app only supports streaming over a wi-fi connection and won’t sync to allow playback in offline mode. This no doubt can dent the prospect of the Google service against Apple’s own iTunes that allows both offline playback and video streaming while on the go. In addition, there also is the restriction of in app purchase which is understandable considering this would entitle Apple to seek a share of all sales made.
All these issues notwithstanding, the app looks almost the same as their Android counterpart. Further, the movies downloaded quickly enough while the quality too is top notch. In any case, the new app that enables Google Play Movies and TV Shows to be viewed on iOS devices can still be a boon to those who have invested considerably on Google Play Movies and related media ecosystem. For movie buffs, Apple’s own iTunes still steals a march over the Google service so far as iOS devices are concerned.
For the third time in three years, the digital-comics app Comics by comiXology was the top grossing non-game app for the iPad. This comes as no surprise, as it is often at the top of the charts on Wednesdays, when new comics are out. Rachel Edidin has a great piece about it on Wired’s Underwire blog, in which she interviews comiXology CEO David Steinberger.
ComiXology has truly been a game-changer: Not only is it the dominant digital comics app, it has actually been bringing new readers to comics, not just to digital but to print as well:
Of the 20 percent of ComiXology customers who bought their first comics online in the last quarter 2013, 64 percent have begun buying print comics as well.
That’s pretty impressive. ComiXology was founded in 2007 and launched the Comics app as an iPhone app in 2009. I spoke to Steinberger shortly after the launch, and he was pretty excited that comiXology could offer 100 comics, with 40 more in the queue, and that readers could buy them in-app rather than having each comic be a separate app, which had been the paradigm up till then. And from the very beginning, comiXology was promoting brick-and-mortar stores, with a built-in comic shop locator and an affiliate program. Also, at the time of the interview, the app cost 99 cents to download (being an early adopter, I paid for it) and it was the top selling book app in the iTunes Store.
Not even five years later, comiXology has a library of over 45,000 comics from 75 different publishers, and they announced this week that they have downloaded over 6 billion pages of comics—4 billion pages in the past year alone. That looks like exponential growth, but it’s interesting that they have switched from the number of comics, which is what they usually talk about, to pages: In September they announced that they had reached 200 million downloads. But maybe they just thought 6 billion was a more impressive number.
Whatever. The fact is that just a couple of years ago the single-issue comics market was looking dire. ComiXology has managed to not only sell a lot of comics but also bring more readers into (or back to) comics, thus growing the overall market, print as well as digital, and they have also promoted independent and emerging creators via their ComiXology Submit program. That’s not a bad set of accomplishments to rack up in less than five years.
The smartwatch segment is heating up gradually, with more players joining the race to have the smartest device on consumers’ wrists in the coming year. French manufacturer Archos is the latest to join the race, having announced plans to come up with multiple smartwatch offerings in 2014; given Archos’ usual strategy to launch low cost devices, the same is expected of its smartwatch venture. Archos has already stated their smartwatch line up will be comprised of several devices, with the least priced among them to cost no more than $50. Archos has also stated their smartwatches would be based on the “Pebble” concept, which makes us wonder if they will be e-ink based. Its battery savings despite a colored display no doubt will enhance their appeal even more. Further, the Archos smartwatches will be compatible with both Android and iOS, which no doubt will increase its consumer appeal.
Expect complete details at the upcoming CES event.
Consumers who own iOS devices have been found to be far more active when it came to shopping on Christmas Day than their Android counterparts, a report from IBM cites. When translated to figures, 23 percent of online orders placed on Christmas Day were done from iOS devices compared to just 4.6 percent from devices running Android. iOS users also emerged as the biggest spenders, having spent on average $93.94 per order, compared to $48.10 by Android users for each order. As a natural consequence, iOS users also emerged as the biggest drivers of online traffic, which at 32.6 percent is twice that of 14.8 percent from Android.
Another interesting finding is that users generally prefer to do their browsing with smartphones, while tablet devices have emerged as the preferred choice for actually placing the orders. Smartphones accounted for 28.5 percent for internet traffic, compared to 18.1 percent from tablet devices. The trend reversed when it comes to actual sales, with 19.4 percent sales coming from tablet compared to 9.3 percent from smartphones. In any case, mobile devices have accounted for 48 percent of all online traffic, the highest so far.
In another interesting revelation, referrals from Facebook friends have led to four times the sales than the same from Pinterest, showing the importance that these social networking sites have come to yield over users and their spending habits.
As part of the holiday recognition of their customers, a number of companies are offering their users free content in this post-holiday period when many users may have received new devices. Apps likes Apple’s 12 Days of Gifts offer everything from free songs to free ebooks via the iTunes store.
One company that has extended the free gift period is children’s ebook app developer iStoryTime. The zuuka-owned platform has produced a number of major titles for companies like Dreamworks, including Kung Fu Panda, The Smurfs, The Penguins of Madagascar, and more.
Today only, and only available with this code from Good e-Reader, iStoryTime is offering enhanced ebook of Shrek Forever After, the most recent installment about the world’s most beloved ogre.
“Burdened by responsibility and trapped by routine, this ogre has lost his roar. In order to recapture his past as a real ogre, Shrek is tricked into striking a bargain with Rumpelstiltskin, trading a day from his life as part of the deal. But the fine print of the contract lands him in an alternate universe where he’s feared, all right, but he’s also never rescued Fiona or met Donkey, Puss in Boots, Gingy and all his fairytale friends. Now, to get back to reality and his family, Shrek has to find Fiona and defeat the devious Rumpelstiltskin before the deal expires.”
To claim a copy of the book for iOS, go to the title’s landing page in the app store and enter the code CANDYCANE under the Use Storycode button. The title can be found by clicking HERE.
Magzter Inc. which counts itself among the fastest growing digital magazine store and newsstand that is compliant with multiple platforms announced having secured $10 million in a series B funding. The latest round of funding is aimed at further consolidating their position as one of the largest operators in the field of digital magazine stores besides also venturing into digital books. The company has also set itself a lofty target to build a library comprising of more than a million ebooks available on its platform by early 2014.
The latest round of funding is led by Singapore Press Holdings which holds considerable clout in the South-East Asian regions and elsewhere in the world. It publishes over 100 magazines that reach more than 3 million readers.
As for Magzter, the New York based company that started operation in 2011 has managed to ink partnership with more than 900 publishers which has flooded its magstore with over 2,850 issues of magazines covering 30 international languages. This has drawn in 16 million users of its app in over 200 countries in the short span of just 2 years. Magzter has been one of the most downloaded app on iOS in several countries.
One of the biggest pluses with Magzter is that its proprietary publishing software that enables publishers to make available their content on multiple platforms. As has been reported by Techcrunch, “Magzter is also working on product solutions that better automatically format content from magazines for small screen devices, so that publications can reach an audience on iPhone at the same time as they reach the iPad and tablet crowd, but with a delivery method better suited to the smaller screen.”
“Over time, we have seen a lot of the publishers in other geographies, a lot of the licensees in different parts of the world, are using Magzter,” said Magzter CEO Girish Ramdas. “If you go to Magzter and type in ‘Maxim’,” for example, you’ll find 10 to 15 editions of Magzter from different countries, including Switzerland, South Africa, India, Singapore, etc.”
Vijayakumar Radhakrishnan, co-founder and president of Magzter also added they are thinking of offering an ad based model where users will get to read the content for free while costs will be met with revenue from advertisements. Currently, Magzter rely on a revenue sharing agreement with publishers which means they earn revenue only when the publishers make money. This they claim allows them an edge over the subscription based service offered by Adobe.