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Displaying items by tag: Ice Cream Sandwich

Tuesday, 09 October 2012 20:03

Google asking for more focus on tablets

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Earlier this year Google released its first tablet, the Nexus 7, and now they are asking developers to build more apps optimized for tablets. Today they published a “tablet app quality checklist” on their android developers’ blog. They hope this will help them gain more buyers and with the developers help, they won’t have to worry about not having enough apps for their tablets. Currently there is a really small amount of apps made specifically for tablets. This initiative should bring more of them to the larger displays.

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News_3d_Apple_Logo_102The internet was all a buzz with Apple’s announcement of “The New iPad” which is what Apple has decided to call the 3rd generation of the iPad instead of following a numerical progression or (as some thought) adding HD to the end. So far the technical specifications look impressive with a 2048 x 1536 display (with 264 ppi which is an odd number), a 5MP HD camera (1080p@ 30fps) and video stabilization, WiFi, and even 4G LTE capability. Under the hood Apple has an A5X SoC.

Published in Editorials

_MG_7135CES 2012 - Las Vegas Nevada; nVidia had their big press conference for CES 2012 and as has been the trend for the last three years it is all about Tegra. This time we had a look at Tegra 3; As most of you know Tegra 3 is nVidia’s Quad/Quint Core SoC and is hitting the market in the form of Asus’ Transformer Prime Tablet. This new SoC (System on Chip) has been seen as the major competitor for Apple’s A6 SoC (although some still feel that the A6 has better and more elegant caching instructions).

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ICS-40There has been a lot of talk recently about the vast difference between the number of Android tablets on the market (around 6 million) and the number of iPad devices (about 30 million). There have been multiple excuses, causes and items to blame for this difference, but one that has been overlooked at almost every level is simply time. The original iPad launched in April of 2010 by comparison the first Android tables (of comparable size) did not hit the market until early 2011. Yes there were 7-inch tablets and even some terrible ones running Android 2.0 that were 10-inch but most of these were very short lived. By comparison the first real Android tablets running Honey Comb (Android 3.0) were not launched until around February/ March 2011. This put them in the market at the same time the iPad 2 was being delivered. Now, if you think that this did not impact sales you are seriously deluded.  People are always going to go with what they know and trust. At the same time that the iPad 2 was selling out there was also a large number of iPads hitting the second hand markets (eBay, Craig’s List etc.).  This only continued the cycle as people were looking to get these devices from former owners. The next thing that Apple did right was to push these to Target and WalMart.  That put them in line with the “price conscious” consumer. After all, if you can buy it at WalMart it must be a good deal right?

So with over a year head start, better marketing and a firm foot hold in the consumer’s mind Apple now has a 24 million unit lead on the Android Tablet. But, let’s look at where the Android Tablet is in reality. In only 6.5 months Android Tablets have managed to carve a 6 million unit hole into what was once Apple’s own playground. This is pretty impressive considering Apple claims that Android is inferior and that their OS is fragmented. If you doubt that Apple is concerned about the sudden success of the Android Tablet, just look at the number of lawsuits in progress where Apple is asking for an outright ban instead of monetary compensation. That above all is a big indicator of their mindset.

But what has really gotten Apple so bothered about this? After all it will take years (probably 2-3 just like the iPhone) for the Android tablet to overtake the iPad so why is Apple trying so hard to kill them now? To put things simply, Apple has a problem with iOS. There are two of them that have to be maintained. The iOS for the iPad is not the same as the iOS for the iPhone. For a developer this is a nightmare as they have to write two versions of their app if they want to cover both products. This is a headache to say the least. With Android and their tile based UI there is no reason to write for more than one screen size and this is with Android 2.3 and 3.0. When Ice Cream Sandwich(ICS) hits the market the division will be almost nonexistent. A developer will be able to write one app and not worry about different screen sizes or versions. This will be huge (right up there with Android’s full support of Flash) and could be an item that will lure some developers away from the Apple camp.

Of course this is not an indication that Developers will leave en masse especially with the fear of being locked out of Apple’s walled garden. It is an indication that more developers are likely to work with Android as the ROI (Return on Investment) is going to be much higher than what they will get doing double the work for Apple.

Although the convergence of ICS on the Android Based tablet is a step in the right direction, there is still a lot that Google has to do to grab a larger market share. They have to find a way to wall off certain apps for the average consumer while still allowing the freedom to explore to the more technical. I have talked to more than a few people about this and there are major concerns with owning an Android tablet. Most of these have to do with the type of content and the danger of malware in the Market.  Until this can be dealt with it is doubtful that a larger number of people will shift from the safety of Apple’s iTunes garden and enter the jungle that is present in the Market. Google also has to worry about Microsoft entering the ARM based tablet market sometime in late 2012 or early 2013. Personally I think that we will not see a larger adoption of Android tablets until ICS is in full swing. Once that happens and people see what they can have and do versus what they cannot do with the iPad and iPhone things will change.

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Published in Editorials
Tuesday, 18 October 2011 23:48

Google's Ice Cream Sandwich is Looking Very Tasty

ICS-40Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich has finally been launched. This new version of Android which will officially be Android 4.0 is supposed to not only bring new features to the table, but it also going to address some items that have been lacking on Android. According to many sources this new version of Android will touch every native app in some way. We can only hope they did something to improve the poor email app that currently is in Honeycomb, but we will have to see about that once the update is available for our Transformer.

Aside from the updates to all of the native apps we are hearing that there will be some very cool new features including a facial recognition lock. This will allow you to use the built in front facing camera to interrogate your face and compare it to an image stored on the device. If it matches you can access the device, if not; well you can figure that one out on your own.  Android 4.0 will also feature a new NFC-enabled feature called Android Beam. This will allow you simply tap two phones or devices together to share files, links and other information. Google is saying that this is being designed to work with a number of app that are already in the market so you won’t have to wait long to start bumping phones.

Next up is an overhaul of the camera app. This is also a very welcome feature as the current default one is very immature.  With the new interface you can access the camera right from the lock screen (if you choose to). You also FINALLY get a zero shutter lag in a mobile phone camera, this combines with the continuous focus and face detection. Android is also adding touch to focus and exposure lock. These are features that many phone makers have tacked on (like HTC) but are now showing up in the native app as well. Android did not stop with the Camera though, you also get some nice new features in the gallery including filters and a built in Photo Editing app which allows you to make changes and still maintain the original file for later tinkering.

We are sure there is a lot more to Android 4.0 that we are missing in our roaming around the net, but you can be sure we will be taking it for a test drive and comparing it to what you get with Apple’s new iOS 5 just to see if Android is lagging behind or actually catching up. If it is the latter then we can see the Android Tablet market picking up, especially with the Holidays coming up quickly.

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