We generally credit smartphones for making camera and audiovisual players irrelevant. But we often forget that every smartphone is also, by default, a GPS receiver. Quite correct, if not precise, latitude and longitude of the device is being instantaneously updated and displayed. This standard feature is embedded in every smartphone regardless being Android or iOS. It has prompted Battalgazi Yildirim, a (literally young Turk) geophysicist from Stanford, developing a mobile-based IoT application named Zizmos for earthquake’s early warning system.
Cisco’s annual security report has said that 99% of the total mobile malware targets Android devices. The report highlights the current security concerns and trends in vulnerabilities so that users can build more effective countermeasures. The report also said that mobile malware constituted of 1.2% of all web malware encounters during 2013. Another highlight from the report is that 71% of web-delivered malware was meant for Android only.
Our world is still overwhelmingly populated by feature phones, but it won’t be long before smartphones take over (only question is when). Just yesterday we were discussing how GPS enabled smartphones, if given to government officials or even private sector people, can overcome the problem of them actually going to the places they’re supposed to go to (the example was the agriculture extension officer who does not go to the actual place where the plants are, but gives instructions from the office or the road). So here’s an update on the smartphone wars: The competition is only going to grow more heated. Android doesn’t just use different carriers, different manufacturers, and different software than the iPhone; it represents a different vision for the entire mobile industry. Apple exerts complete control over the iPhone.
Part of an ongoing discussion at LIRNEasia is the tipping point from the operator-centric world of feature phones (intelligence in the center) to the operating-system-centric world of smartphones (intelligence at the edges). In the developed economies, lots of people assume the tipping point has been crossed. But the operators have not seen their “obituaries,” and seem to be working on immortality pills, in the shape of Blackberries: While the carriers do not openly talk about the threat of Apple and Google, analysts say the two companies have fostered a system that could make carriers slow-growing utilities selling little more than generic network access. The revenue from apps, which provide entertainment, news and other services, do not flow to the carriers. In an apparent bid to exploit those concerns, RIM has repeatedly told carriers that, unlike Apple, it believes that they deserve a portion of revenues from its apps store and as well as future services.
Many are aware that Android, the open source operating system that open for anyone to use, is now the leading smartphone OS. Two search engine providers in Korea appear to think this has shut them out of the exploding smartphone market. In its complaint, NHN said that Google, “through a marketing partnership with major smartphone producers,” had unfairly created “a new ecosystem” by offering the Android system free as a way to control the market. Google denied the accusations, saying in a statement that “carrier partners are free to decide which applications and services to include on their Android phones.” South Korean consumers are famous as early adopters, and most new phone buyers here are opting for smartphones.
For a number of reasons, including our conclusion that for most of the BOP the path to the Internet runs through a mobile handset, LIRNEasia is interested in how people use smartphones. Here is a report summarizing research findings: The average smartphone owner spends 667 minutes a month using apps. That is more time spent with apps than spent talking on a smartphone or using it to browse the Web. But not all smartphones are equally friendly to apps. Programmers have an easier time designing apps for iPhones and Android phones, giving these devices a much broader pool to draw from.
Nokia is big in emerging markets, very big. But marginalized in the smartphone segment. Now the long shot to change that: abandonment of Symbian and adoption of Windows. Why not an open system, one wonders. Microsoft’s operating system software dominates the PC industry.
The NYT reports a possible alliance that appears to be a reaction to the rise of Android. Shares of Nokia, the mobile phone market leader, climbed for a fourth day on Thursday amid speculation that the company may be poised to announce a software alliance with Microsoft designed to revive its struggling U.S. smartphone business. Nokia’s shares have risen more than 4 percent since Monday when an analyst, Adnaan Ahmad of Berenberg Bank in Hamburg, urged the Nokia chief executive — and former Microsoft executive — Stephen Elop, to form an alliance that would put Microsoft’s Phone operating system on Nokia’s advanced smartphones.
As the owner of a G1, I can afford a little smirk about the ascendancy of Android. But really, the bigger story from the perspective of the people at the BOP who are our prime constituency, is the Gartner prediction that this is the cross-over year for those accessing the Internet through mobiles, though of course, one has to interrogate the basis of the prediction. Google’s operating system for cellphones has overtaken Nokia’s Symbian system as the market leader, ending the Finnish company’s long reign, a British research firm said Monday. In the three months through December, manufacturers shipped 33.3 million cellphones running Android, Google’s free, open-source cellphone operating system, up from just 4.
LIRNEasia has been supporting app stores because we believe this is the solution that reduces transaction costs and mobilizes decentralized innovation. But as the NYT story today shows, it’s not an easy path for developers: Because Google makes its software available free to a range of phone manufacturers, there are dozens of different Android-compatible devices on the market, each with different screen sizes, memory capacities, processor speeds and graphics capabilities. An app that works beautifully on, say, a Motorola Droid might suffer from glitches on a phone made by HTC. IPhone developers, meanwhile, need to worry about only a few devices: iPhones, iPods and iPads.
Now that Android has taken a bigger market share than Apple in the smartphone market, the lawsuits are coming hot and heavy, according to the Economist. Eventually, even lawsuits must come to an end. How much harm they will cause remains to be seen. If Apple wins against HTC, that would be bad news for upstart handset firms. Until a few years ago, HTC only made devices for others, but now it has become a brand of its own.
Competition in the handset market cannot but accelerate the process of mobiles becoming the primary interfaces to the Internet. Google plans to begin selling its own smartphone early next year, company employees say, a move that could challenge Apple’s leadership in one of the fastest-growing and most important technologies in decades. Google’s new touch-screen Android phone, which it began giving to many employees to test last week, could also shake up the fundamentals of the cellphone market in the United States, where most phones work only on the networks of the wireless carriers that sold them. Full story
There seems to be something about open operating systems, as shown by this NYT story. The question now is whether Apple will open its operating system too. More cellphone makers are turning to the free Android operating system made by Microsoft’s latest nemesis, Google. Cellphone makers that have used Windows Mobile to run their top-of-the-line smartphones — including Samsung, LG, Kyocera, Sony Ericsson — are now also making Android devices. Twelve Android handsets have been announced this year, with dozens more expected next year.
Handsets using the open platform Android will soon be available from Verizon, according to NYT, leaving AT&T as the only US carrier not offering Android phones. A year after Google introduced its Android operating system on T-Mobile, the smallest of the major wireless carriers in the United States, it announced a deal to offer handsets with Verizon Wireless, the nation’s largest carrier. The carrier said Tuesday it expects to introduce two Android phones this year. It didn’t name the manufacturers, but one is expected to be made by Motorola. In addition, Verizon and Google said they would work together along with manufacturers to design handsets specifically for Verizon’s network.
LIRNEasia’s thesis that most people will experience the Internet through mobile networks depends to an extent on cheap terminal devices. According to the Economist, Android is playing a role in bring low-cost producers into the smartphone segment. Prices are now on a downward spiral, says Ben Wood of CCS Insight, a research firm. Several other handset-makers are already offering cheap smart-phone-like devices. Android allows cut-price Chinese firms such as Huawei and ZTE to enter the smart-phone market, which they had previously stayed out of for lack of the necessary software.
One point the experts at LIRNEasia’s Mobile Broadband QoSE workshop agreed: Mobile broadband test results will be device specific. Unlike PCs, mobile handsets, with their software and hardware limitations, have an impact on results. That is why iNetwork Test, one of the few test sites we could find on the net insists the users to take a choice between iPhone or Android. The approach is parallel to what LIRNEasia plans.