According to the latest report from research firm IDC, it’s Google’s Android OS that’s dominating the smartphone OS market. Their “Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker” shows that Android accounts for a stunning 75% of all smartphone shipments in Q1 2013, representing 162.1 units shipped. IDC notes that Samsung has a “commanding 41.1% market share” of all Android smartphone shipments. Apple’s iOS followed with 17.3%, or 37.4 iPhones shipped. This combined for Google and Apple to reap 92.3% of all smartphone shipments during Q1 2013.
The battle for third place – which BlackBerry and Microsoft have both desired to claim – was captured by Windows Phone with 7 million smartphones shipments, representing 3.2% market share. The OS slightly nudged out BlackBerry (both older versions of BlackBerry OS and the new BlackBerry 10) as their shipments in Q1 reached 6.3 million devices, or 2.9% market share.
Kevin Restivo, analyst at IDC, said “Windows Phone claiming the third spot is a first and helps validate the direction taken by Microsoft and key partner Nokia. Given the relatively low volume generated, the Windows Phone camp will need to show further gains to solidify its status as an alterative to Android or iOS.”
Samsung’s Galaxy S4 is a big hit, but not big on internal storage. The 16GB flagship Android only offers users about 9GB of actual available space. This became a heated discussion after it was highlighted on the BBC TV show Watchdog in the UK. Samsung initially stated some of the storage was consumed by the “high resolution display and more powerful features” and if users wanted more they should use a microSD card.
“As one of the most advanced smartphones on the market, the Samsung Galaxy S4 uses part of its internal memory to bring our customers its innovative and unique features. We appreciate this issue being raised and we will improve our communications. Also, we are reviewing the possibility to secure more memory space through further software optimisation. Samsung is committed to listening to our customers and responding to their needs as part of our innovation process.”
There’s no word of when the “further software optimisation” will arrive, or specifically how they’ll “secure more memory space.” Google and Samsung will be releasing a Galaxy S4 with stock Android Jelly Bean in the US on June 26th, but not in Canada.
On stage during the Google I/O kickoff keynote address, Hugo Barra, VP of Android Engineering, deflected our expectant stares. “This is not a device giveaway,” he stated, before launching into a product announcement that few were expecting.
A Samsung Galaxy S4 running stock Android 4.2.2, SIM- and bootloader-unlocked, with pentaband 3G and dual-LTE support was probably unthinkable a few days ago. One of the most “bloated” devices by definition — the carrier-sold S4 has just over half of its 16GB storage available out of the box — Samsung’s acquiescence in building a pseudo-Nexus device was probably done as a favour to Google.
While it will be sold exclusively on Google Play starting June 26th for a tidy $649 sum, the emergence of an unofficial Nexus built around the same hardware as the world’s most popular Android phone bodes well for the future of stock Android as a product. Because it will only appeal to a small number of users — those who are willing to eat a price tag double that of the still-excellent Nexus 4 and need it to be running stock Android — this is likely not going to set the market on its head. But for those few who really want a Nexus-like device on the latest and greatest hardware, this is for you.
Continuing along the theme of cross-device synchronization, Google Play Books for Android, iOS and the web have been updated to allow for syncing between devices an d the web, with the added distinction of letting users upload EPUBs manually from the Google Play web portal.
Both iOS and Android have received some nominal aesthetic revisions, too, with the Android app getting a left-side sliding bar and a Recent Books screen that adopts Google Now’s Cards design.
To upload books manually to Google Play Books, you’ll have to hit up the web interface. The service only supports DRM-free EPUB files, which should account for many popular eBook services. You can also use the desktop app Calibre to turn any incompatible file into a compatible EPUB.
This was one of the most requested Play Books features, mainly because the app was among the most feature-filled and smooth eBook readers on Android. Allowing users to bring in their own eBooks is a huge step towards competing with Apple’s iBooks across both platforms, since once the book is added via the web, users don’t have to manually add it through iTunes.
Via: Android Police
SwiftKey for Android is one of our favourite third-party keyboard replacements, and its natural language technology has been licensed by Samsung for use in its newest smartphones. Today, the company is coming out with version 4.1, a bug fix release with a few relevant additions. For starters, SwiftKey 4.1, there are three new themes – Regal (purple), Pitch (black, good for AMOLED screens) and Dusk (dark blue) — for those who are tired of the status quo. Of the three, Pitch is the nicest, but I’m not partial to too much colour on my keyboard.
Most of the other changes are bug fixes — improvements to the punctuation slider; better functionality in Opera browser — but SwiftKey promises more big features, too.
The app is also on sale for $1.99 for a limited time, so if you haven’t convinced every Android owner you know to pick it up, now is your chance.
Download SwiftKey for Android.
Via: SwiftKey Blog
When BlackBerry announced its popular messaging platform, BBM, would be snaking its way on to iOS and Android handsets this summer, the reaction was understandably mixed.
Many users decried its lateness –- where was it two, even four years ago? – tacitly acknowledging its declining importance in the hugely popular and potentially lucrative messaging ecosystem. So what if BBM users send 10 billion messages daily; who cares about 60 million users? WhatsApp boasts 20 billion daily discourses and 200 million active users, an enviable number for any service.
More importantly, though BBM’s siloed nature worked in its favour during the height of BlackBerry mania, it has since been supplanted by companies willing to develop for multiple operating systems. Again WhatsApp comes to mind, but Waterloo’s own Kik is making remarkable strides in net users on just two platforms, BlackBerry not being one of them.
Indeed, the two most important places to be on mobile these days are iOS and Android, and by building for them BlackBerry is saying two things. First, it is admitting its place in the hierarchy; even if BB10 finds success it will likely never unseat Android and iOS for market share. Second, it is attempting to eke value from one of two remaining consumer brand images that still engender loyalty, the other being the company’s iconic QWERTY keyboard. BlackBerry 10, responsive and feature-filled as it is, doesn’t tower over the competition for features or performance, and while its security promises afford it a level of trustworthiness and reliability, the average consumer either feels adequately safe loading apps and sending emails on iOS and Android or he doesn’t care either way.
BlackBerry still has an edge in the enterprise market, but as we’ve seen from the Pentagon’s recent policy changes, that star may not shine as brightly a year from now, either.
Another milestone has happened. Apple has successfully crossed over the 50 billion app download mark. The number was reached around 4:55pm and Apple will give a $10,000 gift card to the person who downloaded the 50 billionth app (still waiting to see who that is).
The Apple App Store was officially launched on July 10th, 2008 and reached 1 billion downloads in 9 months (April 23rd, 2009), then passed over the 5 billion download mark on June 23rd, 2010. The 10 billion app downloads occurred 6 months later on January 22nd, 2011. The massive 25 billion app download milestone was achieved on March 3rd, 2012.
Update: The 50 billionth app was Say the Same Thing, which was downloaded by Brandon Ashmore from Mentor, Ohio.
Google announced a replacement to its Talk platform today called Hangouts. The unified cross-platform messaging tool brings text, photo and live video hangouts to mobile and the web, and it is now available on iOS and Android, as well as the web through a Chrome extension.
Hangouts stay in sync across devices, and with the newly-announced Google Cloud Messaging APIs, so do the notifications. It’s a great tool that we’ll look at more in-depth in the coming days.
Via: Gmail Blog
Last, but certainly not least, is Mobilicity with their launch of the Galaxy S4. Even though they’re a couple weeks behind other carriers, they’ve come to market with the lowest price at $649.99.
However, finding one might be initially difficult as they noted on Twitter that “A limited number of the new Samsung Galaxy S4 phones are now available at select locations. Contact your local store for availability!” We’ve reached out to Mobilicity for specific locations and will update you when we hear back – but if you know a location that has one, please leave it in the comments below.
Also, if you’re considering the GS4 make sure you check out our in-depth hands-on here.
Google I/O has always been a source to gain deeper insight into how much impact Android is having. New Android Chief Sundar Pichai said “the momentum has been breathtaking.” Back in 2011 the number of Android activations hit the 100 million milestone. The following year the number quadrupled to 400 million in 2012. This year, the company has significantly to a mind blowing 900 million Android activations. Humbly, Pichai stated “It’s a big number but we have to remember there are over 7 billion people on the planet — we have a long way to go.”
In addition, Hugo Barra, Android Product Management at Google, declared that Google Play has over 48 billion app downloads, with 2.5 billion installs in the last month. “Even better than that, in the last four months we’ve already paid out more money from Play than in all of last year. Revenue per uses is 2.5 times what it was a year ago, globally.”
Make sure you check out our live blog here for all Google I/O details.