jueves, 19 de enero de 2012

Google’s fourth quarter: 250 million Android devices, 11 billion app downloads

If the reports that Apple was “catching up” with Android yesterday made anyone contemplative (and contemplate that it was a narrow focus on new smartphone buyers), Google’s earnings call today should be enough to put any and all doubts to rest. Amid the regular pomp and circumstance of corporate back-patting, Google CEO Larry Page noted that over 250 million Android devices have been activated worldwide, with more than 11 billion (that’s billion with a B) apps have been downloaded from the Android Market. That’s a heck of a way to start off the new year.

The last time we’d heard either figure was back in 2011: Android passed the 200 million device mark in November,  and Google celebrated 10 billion app downloads in December with a 10-day sale. That’s a growth of 50 million Android phones and tablets, 25% of the former total, in just over two months. Total app downloads have grown by 10% in less than one. Both Android sales and usage are at what creative mathematicians like to call the hockey stick point of the graph, and there’s no indication that it’s slowing down, particularly in worldwide markets.
Google doesn’t discuss direct revenue in relation to Android (though Oracle’s been mighty forthcoming lately) but the company’s total earnings passed 10 billion dollars for the first time ever. The vast majority of the 10.6 billion figure comes from advertising, with $410 million from outside sources. It’s not all rose-colored, though – while Google’s income and profits are both growing, Q4 2011 was the slowest growth all year, mirroring hardships from just about every company in the technology sector.

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miércoles, 18 de enero de 2012

Android 4.0 for Tablets Still Needs Work

GoogleIn (GOOG) October, Google launched Android 4.0, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich, for tablets and smartphones. The platform has two purposes: unify the software for use on both devices and make the tablet experience better. Prior to Android 4.0, large Google tablets ran on version 3 of Android, called Honeycomb, but the overall effort seemed rushed and incomplete.

Longtime Android user Jason Perlow has run Android 4.0 on his Motorola (MMI) tablet for the past two weeks. He shared his impressions on Tuesday. Although I don’t currently have Android 4.0 on a tablet here, I’ve used Google’s platform for about as long as Perlow has, and we both use Galaxy Nexus phones that run the Ice Cream Sandwich software. I’m concerned because Perlow is already finding usability issues with an Android 4.0 tablet: “Is it better than Honeycomb? Yes. But it’s not without its own share of problems,” he writes. “It’s going to take some time for apps to catch up to it, and you might want to consider using hardware that is actually up to the task of providing an optimal experience with the new OS.”

Perlow points out some of the same positives I’ve seen when using my new handset: The user interface is more consistent—elegant by comparison to prior versions—and more responsive overall. I see this on my Galaxy Nexus on a daily basis. Even if Perlow hadn’t pointed it out to readers, it’s clear to me that there are still inconsistencies within Android 4.0 on different devices.

Read complete at BusinessWeek.com

lunes, 16 de enero de 2012

Google announces Android Design style guide for apps

The new style guidelines for Android - which Google has released on its new Android Design website - are supposed to help developers working on apps for Ice Cream Sandwich create software with a common Google look. With summaries of Google's design principles, user interface capabilities and overarching creative vision available for perusal, Google looks to be tightening the reins a little on the previously free-from Android Market, at least where aesthetics are concerned.

Speaking to The Verge at CES, director of Android user experience Matias Duarte said that Google's mission with Ice Cream Sandwich was "to make it beautiful, to make it powerful" and that the framework of ICS made it "much easier for people to create beautiful, simple apps". In that spirit, the new Android Design site covers topics from themes to colour matching to typography to touch feedback - every visual element an app developer could care to name. "If you want to be serious about design, you have to do this stuff." Says Duarte. "Ice Cream Sandwich is Android getting serious about design."

The Android Design site is now live, and while some of the claims it makes about the design of Ice Cream Sandwich might raise a few eyebrows ("app icons are works of art in their own right" - yeah, we're sure your installation in the Tate will open any day now), pretty-fying and streamlining a mobile OS that has in the past been seen as something of a geeky younger brother to Apple's iOS is no bad thing in our books. Check out the full 35 minute interview at the link below.

Source: The Verge and T3

Link: Android Design

jueves, 12 de enero de 2012

Android: The King Of CES 2012

Consumer Electronics Show
Image via Wikipedia

It's Android all over at Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012 in Las Vegas. Android just conquered the show like never before. From smartphones and tablets to televisions and watches, over 30 Android-based gadgets were launched at the tradeshow floor at CES.

Here is a list of 20 such devices that made it big at CES 2012 and are likely to impact the market patterns in future.

1. Acer Iconia Tab A200

Acer showcased Iconia Tab A200, the latest member in Acer's line of Android tablets. It comes with 1GB of RAM and boasts a 25.7-cm (10.1-inch) display, with 1280 x 800 resolution. Available in either Titanium Gray or Metallic Red, the slate is powered by NVIDIA's 1GHz Tegra 2 processor. It also comes equipped with a 2-megapixel front facing camera and Acer Ring--a multi-tasking manager that provides shortcuts to Google Maps, screenshot functions and other apps. This tablet has a full-size USB port for hooking up other devices and a microSD slot for passing data. The new Iconia Tab A200 will be available on 15 January and is priced at $329.99. 

2. Acer Iconia Tab A700

Acer has unveiled its first quad-core processor-based tablet, the Iconia Tab A700. The tablet is powered by a 1.3 GHz Tegra 3 processor and runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich OS. The Iconia A700 features a 25.7-cm (10.1-inch) full 1080p HD screen that supports 1920x1200 pixel resolution. Apart from the processor, the A700 runs on 1 GB RAM and sports an HDMI-port, microSD and a micro USB port. There are no details yet on pricing for the tablet, but the latest addition to the Iconia Tab family is expected to be released in the second quarter. If the device is priced competitively, it could make an impact in the market. 

3. Asus Eee Pad Transformer Pad MeMO

Asus has unveiled the Eee Pad MeMO that runs on Android 4.0. Primarily designed to compete with the Amazon Kindle Fire with its smaller form factor and matching price range, the Asus Eee Pad MeMO sports a 17.7-cm (7-inch) display with WXGA resolution IPS panel, a 1.2-megapixel front-facing camera and a 5-megapixel rear facing camera capable of shooting 1080p video and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Powered by Qualcomm 8260 dual-core 1.2GHz processor, the Asus MeMo tablet packs 1GB of memory and has an NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor on the inside. The device offers up to 32GB of internal storage, and comes enabled with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. 

Read complete at efytimes.com

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sábado, 7 de enero de 2012

Google Android Look And Feel Gets More Uniform

Google makes Holo theme the Android device default, says developers and manufacturers can now customize with less risk of future compatibility issues.

Google has a new dress code for Android. The semi-open nature of Android has ensured that makers of Android handsets and developers of Android apps have considerable freedom to alter the user interface (UI).
The less open Apple iOS platform also allows developers to design apps as they see fit, provided Apple's UI guidelines aren't trampled in the process. But Apple doesn't have iOS hardware partners reimagining the basic device interface--which some would argue is for the best--the way that Google partners HTC and Samsung have done.

Despite a marginal edge in openness, Google has recognized that a bit of guidance about Android themes and styles could bring some order to its unruly mobile ecosystem. In keeping with the company's recent UI overhaul of its websites, Google is requiring its hardware partners to include the unmodified Holo theme on Android 4.0 devices--the native theme in Android 4.0 (a.k.a. Ice Cream Sandwich)--for the sake of compatibility.
"Before Android 4.0 the variance in system themes from device to device could make it difficult to design an app with a single predictable look and feel," said Google software engineer Adam Powell in a blog post. "We set out to improve this situation for the developer community in Ice Cream Sandwich and beyond."

Read complete at InformationWeek.com