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Posts Tagged ‘mobile operating systems’

More Industry Bloodletting: Nokia To Cut 10,000 Jobs Over Next 18 Months

June 14th, 2012 06:38 admin View Comments

The mobile space will see a shakeout of sorts over the next 18 months. Nokia, the Finland-based maker of mobile phones, announced Wednesday that it will cut 10,000 jobs from its worldwide workforce through the end of 2013, as it attempts to regain its once-dominant place in a market increasingly defined by Apple’s iPhone and a variety of mobile devices built on Google’s Android operating system.

“These planned reductions are a difficult consequence of the intended actions we believe we must take to ensure Nokia’s long-term competitive strength,” Stephen Elop, Nokia’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “We do not make plans that may impact our employees lightly, and as a company we will work tirelessly to ensure that those at risk are offered the support, options and advice necessary to find new opportunities.”

The shakeout extends to Nokia’s executive team as well, as chief marketing officer Jerri DeVard, executive vice president of mobile phones Mary McDowell, and EVP of markets Niklas Savander are all out effective June 30.

Nokia has made a bid to rejeuvenate its phone product lines by adopting Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system as its devices’ base, making it the largest mobile device maker for that system. Microsoft paid Nokia $250 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 in a partnership deal that should net Nokia “billions” over the next few years in what the companies have termed “platform support” payments.

However, the company has lost significant market share over the past five years in particular to the iPhone and Android, dropping it to second place worldwide in mobile market share behind Samsung, and it faces a tough uphill battle to regain its momentum even as competitors press their advantages with those increasingly popular mobile operating systems.

The announced layoffs are another in a string of recent job cuts at significant industry companies, most recently Hewlett-Packard’s decision to eliminate 30,000 workers. Yahoo chopped 2,000 jobs in April, amounting to 14% of its workforce, and Nokia isn’t the only company in the mobile industry to be shedding positions — Research in Motion, the maker of the Blackberry, also expects to eliminate jobs as it similarly fights to regain market share lost to the iPhone and Android.

Image courtesy of Nokia.

Source: More Industry Bloodletting: Nokia To Cut 10,000 Jobs Over Next 18 Months

With Windows 8, Microsoft Learns From the Mobile Revolution

February 29th, 2012 02:30 admin View Comments

The software world is becoming an interconnected Web of services tied together within the cloud. Applications used to be stand-alone objects that did not communicate with each other and were designed to do one thing and do it well.

Then came the mobile revolution. And the cloud.

More than anything Microsoft has ever produced, Windows 8 is informed by the lessons of the mobile generation. It is app centric, gesture based and tied to the cloud. Apps are no longer static beings and user identity becomes an important aspect of the experience. Many people have been waiting for Microsoft to “get it” when it comes to mobile development. With Windows 8, Microsoft may have finally figured it out.

Windows: Still Something to Like

windows8_keyboard.jpgFrom a consumer perspective there is a lot to like about Windows 8. The platform is a marriage of PC and mobile operating systems and has a sleek new user interface that is more reminiscent of mobile operating systems than of the traditional Windows interface. Will Microsoft be able to make a dent in the tablet market with Windows 8? How will it fare with traditional PC users and enterprises? These are questions that remain to be answered. Microsoft took its time in rolling out Windows 8 and the full launch is not expected until later in the summer. Will it be too late for Microsoft to make a dent in the tablet market? Can it maintain its hold on the PC industry with this new mobile centric approach?

From a tablet perspective, it is hard to gauge how successful Microsoft will be with Windows 8. By the time the first Windows 8 slate arrives in stores, there will be already have been three different versions of the iPad released with another one likely right around the corner. If Windows 8 tablets do not come until the end of the third quarter beginning of the fourth this year, Google and Android have a lot of time to make up ground against Apple and cement its position in the market.

As far as the PC industry goes, the main capability of Windows 8 will be to seamlessly integrate into the Windows ecosystem. Some users are still working with Vista or XP. Will apps that come from those older platforms be able to transfer to Windows 8 if a consumer or enterprise decides to upgrade? Some of the major PC manufacturers are tied so closely to Microsoft that they will not have a choice but to make whatever Redmond tells them. A mobile-centric platform may not be an ideal environment for a PC and users may revolt. Yet, unless Windows 8 is too confusing for users to figure out, Microsoft’s lead in the PC market is safe from the likes of Apple and Linux.

Cloud: Front and Center

windows8_skydrive.jpgWhen Microsoft released its Windows 7 marketing blitz, the message was, “to the cloud!” Whether the average user understood what that meant or not is up for debate but the lessons learned in Windows 7 have been optimized in Windows 8. Everything associated with Windows 8 starts with the cloud and how it creates connections between applications, people and services.

The cloud experience starts when the device is turned on. Users can connect their Microsoft accounts to cloud and access almost anything found on the Web or locally. That includes games, photos, files, apps as well as social services like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The cloud cuts across boundaries and devices. For instance, I can save a document on one computer and pick it up and use it from another or on a Windows 8 tablet.

This is not a new concept. By necessity, mobile devices have most of their functionality tied to the cloud as opposed to local processors and storage. What is different is that Microsoft is now tying that basic mobile concept to the PC. To a certain extent it is a play out of Google’s Android and Chrome playbook. Outside of search, Google long ago figured that its future would be in mobile, Web-based solutions tied to a third-the cloud. This is especially prevalent in Google’s enterprise apps services. As the enterprise is Microsoft’s bread and butter, it recognizes that business must be fully ready to be mobile and connected to the same material at any time.

windows8_apps.jpgThe cloud allows Windows 8 to start faster, run longer and be more connected because much of the processor intensive computing has been taken off the device itself. Microsoft also claims that the cloud makes the experience (and your data) more secure but that is a different discussion that carries much debate within the developer ecosystem.

Apps: No Longer Individual Islands

Microsoft touts its cloud connectivity through its new mail, calendar, photos, people and messaging apps. That includes Microsoft Skydrive that connects a Microsoft account from any device.

For the first time, Windows is an app centric model. That may seem like a weird statement but consider that much of what Windows did before was built on suites and services. Yes, there were applications involved but it was more about being platform-centric, “this is what you can do with Windows.” The shift towards a mobile-like app ecosystem makes the approach, “these are the apps that can make your life better with Windows.”

window8_gestures.jpgApplications no longer come in CD form. The Windows Store is a cloud-based repository of apps that can be downloaded on demand. The app store model is inherent with the mobile and cloud revolutions and Microsoft is finally moving to it as the de facto avenue for software dissemination.

Gestures: Marrying the PC to Mobile

Windows 8 is fully gesture based, trying to replicate the PC mouse and click world with swipes and taps. For instance, a tap on Windows 8 is the equivalent of a left mouse click on a PC, slide to drag is the same as click, hold and move. Application commands can be made from the top and bottom corners of the device.

There are several Android task launcher applications that allow users to tap or slide from the edge of a device to start a specific application. The BlackBerry PlayBook was one of the first devices to initiate actions and apps by being tapping on the fringes of a device.

As for input, a keyboard can be set up to a Windows 8 device with Bluetooth or USB or it can be fully touch based. For larger devices, Microsoft has split the keyboard into right and left hand functions. Users will understand the gesture-based commands from the time they have spent with capacitive screen smartphones and tablets.

Source: With Windows 8, Microsoft Learns From the Mobile Revolution

The webOS Features Other OSes Should Steal

February 21st, 2012 02:04 admin View Comments

Operating Systems

New submitter egparedes points out a post dissecting webOS and highlighting the things it did right, in the hopes that developers for other mobile operating systems will use them as inspiration. Quoting: “webOS isn’t quite dead yet. It’s just being open-sourced, which, when it happens to commercial software, often turns out to be the digital equivalent of being reanimated as a walking corpse in a George Romero movie. … Of course, it’s not assured that this is the end of webOS. Maybe open-sourcing it will be the best thing that ever happened to webOS. But maybe it just means that HP doesn’t care anymore, and that webOS won’t receive much attention anymore. This would be unfortunate, because webOS is one of the few current mobile operating systems that are actually a joy to use. It’s been hurt by HP’s incompetent management, rather than any egregious faults of its own. The least we can do now is to keep its best ideas alive, even if webOS itself won’t make it.”

Source: The webOS Features Other OSes Should Steal

iPads and iPhones Make Up More Web Traffic Than Mac Desktops

February 10th, 2012 02:15 admin View Comments

The tablet revolution. The post-PC era. The smartphone explosion. Whatever label you want to apply to it, personal computing is changing. People are spending more time with smaller devices like tablets and smartphones and less time on desktops and laptops. This been evident for awhile, but the trend is still relatively young and the data points are only just beginning to trickle in.

For evidence of this shift, look no further than Apple. The company just reported an absolutely bonkers financial quarter, in which it sold 37 million iPhones and 15.4 million iPads. The two products now make up 72% of Apple’s quarterly revenue and the consumer demand shows no sign of letting up.

As iOS devices sell like crazy, it only makes sense that the amount of Web traffic coming from these gadgets would increase. But by how much? Well, that traffic is now greater than the traffic that comes from Mac OS X, according to data from advertising analytics firm Chikita.

This month, iOS edged past Mac OS X for the first time, accounting for 8.15% of all Web traffic, compared to the 7.96% coming from Mac desktops. Of course, this data does include Android, which probably constitutes a share of Web traffic that’s roughly comparable to iOS. Even so, the combined mobile operating systems likely do not even begin to outnumber desktops overall, as there are still plenty of Windows machines out there.

Indeed, it will be some time before tablets and smartphones truly outnumber desktops and laptops. For now, most consumers are not replacing their computers with smaller devices, but rather supplementing them.

ios_mac_web_share_chart.jpg

Source: iPads and iPhones Make Up More Web Traffic Than Mac Desktops

Microsoft Details Windows 8 for ARM

February 10th, 2012 02:54 admin View Comments

Microsoft

MrSeb writes “In an 8,000-word treatise, Steven Sinofksy himself has taken up pen and paper to describe Windows 8 on ARM (WOA) in great detail. There’s a lot of good stuff in there, but one point is particularly troubling. Quoting Sinofsky: ‘WOA does not support running, emulating, or porting existing x86/64 desktop apps. Code that uses only system or OS services from WinRT can be used within an app and distributed through the Windows Store for both WOA and x86/64. Consumers obtain all [WOA] software, including device drivers, through the Windows Store and Microsoft Update or Windows Update.’ It’s hard to under-emphasize just how huge a change that is. It’s one thing to say that ARM CPUs won’t support x86 emulation; something else entirely to split software delivery and installation. Up until now, one of the biggest differences between desktop and mobile operating systems has been the ability to install software. It’s true that Microsoft’s decision to wall off unapproved software installation is similar to the approach of Android and iOS — but iOS isn’t the same thing as OS X. Combining both of these decisions under the ‘Windows’ brand could be disastrous, not because Microsoft is evil, but because it creates two entirely different user experiences on the basis of which ISA your CPU supports.”

Source: Microsoft Details Windows 8 for ARM

Chrome Beta for Android Will Be Good for Mobile HTML5 Development

February 7th, 2012 02:15 admin View Comments

When Google announced that the Chrome browser would become its own operating system and run on netbooks, the thought around the tech community was that eventually Google would have to merge Chrome with Android. After all, what is the point of supporting two disparate mobile operating systems? The convergence has not yet occurred but may have taken a step further today as Google announced Chrome for Android available on devices running version 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

Chrome for Android is a win for everybody. Except, of course, most users. As of Google’s latest Android platform numbers, only 1% of devices are running Ice Cream Sandwich. That will change as 2012 moves along with adoption accelerating from new device purchases and updates. Chrome for Android immediately becomes on of the go-to browsers on the platform, will be good for HTML5 development, reliability and security.

A Big Day For HTML5

The best thing that Chrome for Android brings to the table is robust HTML5 integration. The native Android browser is known to have mediocre HTML5 performance (pre-Ice Cream Sandwich) but Chrome for Android promises to make up what has been lacking.

That will include a hardware-accelerated canvas, overflow scroll support, HTML5 video specs support along with Indexed DB (for offline caching, presumably), WebWorkers and WebSockets.

The biggest advantage for mobile HTML5 though will be the ability to bring Chrome tools to the Android platform. If a developer knows how to work in Chromium, working in Chrome for Android will be a seamless transition. This is where the possible convergence of the Chrome and Android platforms will take place.

“Much of the code for Chrome for Android is already shared with Chromium and over the coming weeks, the Chromium team will be upstreaming many new components developed for Chrome for Android to Chromium, WebKit and other projects,” Arnaud Weber, Google’s engineering manager for Chrome, wrote in a blog post.

Chrome for Android has already been put through its initial HTML5 tests with a score of 343 (+10 bonus) on HTML5Test.com. The native ICS browser scored 256 (+3 bonus) which put it in the middle of the pack in terms of mobile browsers.

Enhancements For Users

Chrome for Android promises to be fast, simple and reliable. It pre-loads pages with the Chrome Omnibox (only when Wi-Fi is enabled) and predicts where and what you want to navigate to. It also brings a simple user interface to the Android browser environment, something that many users will be very grateful for after dealing with some of the more complicated UIs from third-party options like Opera, Dolphin HD and Skyfire.

The best aspect of Chrome for Android though will be the ability to sign in to your Chrome browser and have access to all of your bookmarks, tabs and browsing history from anywhere. If you leave your computer with open tabs, Chrome for Android will recognize those and open them for you. Chrome will also be able to track your browsing history to better provide search suggestions. Like many other mobile browsers with desktop presences, Chrome for Android will also be able to sync your bookmarks to your mobile device.

This 1% Problem

We are going to be perfectly honest. No writer at ReadWriteWeb has a device running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. So, we could not put the Chrome Beta through the paces (most RWWers use iPhones as well).

And there is the rub. Next to no one has Ice Cream Sandwich yet, outside a couple Galaxy Nexus users. This poses a problem, if a temporary one. Many existing Android devices are never going to get the ICS upgrade and the devices that have it pre-installed are still in early adopter/Android geek territory.

For many, the Chrome for Android is just an exciting announcement to shrug at since most will never see it on their current devices. Chrome for Android developers have plenty of time to roll out dynamic Web apps before the mass of Android users actually gets the browser. So, perhaps there is a positive side.

Excited for Chrome for Android? Will you develop for it? What about signing in to Chrome across all your devices? Let us know your reactions in the comments.

Source: Chrome Beta for Android Will Be Good for Mobile HTML5 Development

iOS Vs. Android: Which Has the Crashiest Apps?

February 5th, 2012 02:08 admin View Comments

Android

First time accepted submitter creativeHavoc writes “Forbes author Tomio Geron takes a look at data accrued by mobile app monitoring startup Crittercism. After looking at normalized data of crashes over the various mobile operating system versions he compares crash rates of apps on the two platforms. He also breaks it down further to look how the top apps compare across the competing mobile operating systems. The results may not be what you expect.”

Source: iOS Vs. Android: Which Has the Crashiest Apps?

Samsung Breathes Life Into Tizen By Merging With Bada

January 17th, 2012 01:15 admin View Comments

tizen_150x150.jpgThe long evolution of Tizen continues and is about to get its biggest boost yet. Samsung is going to merge its Bada platform with the Tizen project, bringing the Linux-based operating system to more smartphones and developers across the world.

Tizen is the Linux smartphone operating system that was once called MeeGo that, in turn, was once the confluence of Maemo and Moblin from Nokia and Intel. Nothing tangible has ever really come out of the Tizen/MeeGo project except for a few demo phones and the Nokia N9 and N950. With Samsung throwing its manufacturing weight behind the Tizen development project, that may be about to change.

A Twisted Road For Tizen

The growth path of Tizen has been nothing if not amusing. First, Nokia and Intel got together to merge Linux platforms. MeeGo was born. Nokia then found itself with a serious problem of a “burning platform” and had to jump to Windows Phone and cut its ties with the MeeGo project. Intel was left to shop MeeGo around looking to gain some traction. It eventually found a home with the Linux Foundation, which subsumed the project under a consortium with a wide array of so-called supporters, Samsung included.

Samsung’s participation comes through the LiMo group. When we wrote about the purported “Death of MeeGo” last September and the rise of the LiMo group, we pointed out that Samsung would have a great opportunity to build a framework around Bada development with the backing of the Linux developer ecosystem. Near five months later, that is exactly what is happening.

According to a report from Forbes, the integration of Bada and Tizen will give developers the same tools to develop for each platform. That would make perfect sense. Call it “streamlining Linux mobile operating systems.” Basically, the entire project, from the very beginning, has been to absorb other Linux platforms. Overall, one would think that would give Tizen more functionality and a broader developer base, but that is not what has happened. Every time Tizen has absorbed and changed its name, the development timeline has been set back. Now that Samsung is bring Bada to the project, will this change?

Great For Tizen While Samsung Hedges Its Bets

The great thing for Tizen about the Bada integration is that Bada actually exists on smartphones across the world. Bada was built by Samsung to be a low-end smartphone operating system intended to go head-to-head with Nokia’s Symbian and S-series devices. Tizen and MeeGo were never really designed for low end devices. Bada integration could give Tizen a wider swath of the smartphone vertical with more apps and developers across smartphones of different hardware specifications.

The irony has the potential to be delicious. Nokia ditched MeeGo and is eventually putting Symbian to bed. MeeGo then turns to Intel and the Linux Foundation that turns to Samsung and Bada. All of a sudden the low-end smartphone market is flooded with Bada/Tizen smartphones from Samsung competing directly against Nokia.

By taking a broader role in Tizen, Samsung is giving itself more options. The company does not shy away from producing smartphone of varying sizes, costs and platforms making everything from flagship Android devices to Windows Phones and bottom of the market devices running both Android and Bada. Tizen and Bada give Samsung its own recourse against the potential Google/Motorola partnership and the rise of other dominant players in the Android ecosystem.

According to Forbes, there will be “at least one or two” Tizen devices from Samsung this year. Look for announcements to be made during the summer with release schedules for the end of the year.

Source: Samsung Breathes Life Into Tizen By Merging With Bada

In A Data Driven World, Tablet Publishers Have An Evolving Toolset

November 30th, 2011 11:00 admin View Comments

newspapers150.jpgThe media and news industry, after 10 years of disruption and economic torture, finally thought that it had gotten a step ahead. Publishers were in at the ground floor when the tablet revolution started with products ready to go even before Steve Jobs introduced us to the original iPad. The marriage of tablets to publishing would be a boon for everybody.

The honeymoon has not been sweet.

Publishers did not have the tools to create fully functional magazines from the very start. Sure, they were nice looking, that was about it. Over the last two years though, publishers and developers have created dynamic tools that allow the news media to create apps that do not just meet user expectations, but go beyond them.

The growth of the toolset for publishers directly coincides with the rise of the startup community that has emerged that is creating new functionality built on top of the major mobile operating systems. For instance, Urban Airship, a cloud services provider for mobile, was probably not ready to fully unleash its suite for publishers when the iPad was first announced. Localytics, a mobile analytics company out of DogPatch labs in Boston, was just starting as a gleam in CEO Raj Aggarwal’s eye. Other cloud services like Kinvey, StackMob and Parse were just ideas.

What can these services offer that was more difficult to do when publishers initially came around to the idea of tablet magazines and newspapers? Quite a bit, actually. Let’s look at what Urban Airship can do for publishers looking to put magazine apps in Apple’s iOS Newsstand.

  • Newsstand library support: configures newsstand apps for auto-renewable subscriptions and single issue purchases through Apple’s in-app purchasing toolset.
  • Content delivery: Hosts and delivers content available to users on any iOS device.
  • Push notifications: This is a big one and perhaps one of the main items missing from original tablet apps. The ability to create easy push notifications enables publishers to put news right under the noses of users, increasing engagement, page views and alerting readers of new issues. The evolution of push notifications for mobile and tablet apps will be a critical piece in how publishers utilize the devices.
  • Audience segmentation: Who is reading what? Where do you want to push certain readers? Urban Airship has “tags and aliases” features to associate mobile users with publishers CRM and personalize the experience.
  • Free seed content: Users hate to download a news app and then automatically be forced to subscribe before getting content. Publishers need to sweeten the deal a little bit and give users free content, such as back issues, listed next to subscription services.
  • Reports: How are users interacting with the news app? Analytics is the heart of understanding mobile users and there are a variety of companies out there, from Urban Airship, Localytics, Flurry, Apsalar and others that can help administrators reach the core goals of engagement and behavioral analysis.

newsstand_ios5.jpg

What it comes down to is that publishers need to start looking at tablet apps like a developer would look at any other app, like a game or a utility. The goal is to gain reach, engage users, analyze behavior and monetize it. The Guardian and Future Publishing use Urban Airship and large publishers employ Flurry, Apsalar and Localytics for engagement and advertising insights.

There are also design tools that publishers can turn to for creating news apps that have evolved in the last year or so. Mag+ recently announced a new suite of publishing tools and pricing tiers for the smallest publisher to the largest magazine. Designed by editors and designers for editors and designers, it provides three tiers of publishing tools. There are also solutions from companies like Daylife, which launched real-time media management in June.

Apps are a data driven ecosystem, tied to the cloud, in the pockets of users on the go. News publishers need to understand the tools that can help them make the jump for the decaying old media standard to flexible and responsive new media technology companies.

Source: In A Data Driven World, Tablet Publishers Have An Evolving Toolset

McAfee Threat Report: Android Sees 76% Increase In Malware Threats; While iOS Remains Unaffected

August 24th, 2011 08:55 admin View Comments

iOS

AppleInsider reports that according to McAfee Threat report – Second Quarter 2011, Apple’s iOS has remained unaffected by malware in the second quarter of this year, while Google’s Android has seen an increase of 76% in the number of malware threats compared to the first quarter.

In the first quarter, Android was the third most targeted mobile platform and has now jumped to the top position in this quarter, followed by J2ME (Java 2 Platform, Macro Edition).

Here’s a snippet from the report about malware affecting mobile operating systems:

One significant change in the first quarter of 2011 was Android’s becoming the third-most targeted platform for mobile malware. This quarter the count of new Android-specific malware moved to number one, with J2ME (Java Micro Edition), coming in second while suffering only a third as many malware.

This increase in threats to such a popular platform should make us evaluate our behavior on mobile devices and the security industry’s preparedness to combat this growth.

We also saw an increase in for-profit mobile malware, including simple SMS-sending Trojans and complex Trojans that use exploits to compromise smartphones.

As you can see in the graph below, despite the steady growth in mobile malware threats over the last two years, Apple’s iOS has remained unaffected, which is quite impressive:

The report however warns that fake or rogue anti-virus malware like MacDefender that have affected the Mac, could make its way to the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Interestingly, HP’s webOS was the other mobile operating system that was unaffected by malwares, although the future of webOS remains uncertain after HP announced last week that it is killing webOS based devices.

You can read the entire McAfee Threat report, Second Quarter 2011 by following this link.

[via AppleInsider]

Source: McAfee Threat Report: Android Sees 76% Increase In Malware Threats; While iOS Remains Unaffected

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