Monday, April 29, 2013

Intel to Finally have a Significant Presence in Mobile Computing?

While Intel has made a few phone and tablet chips, they have not been as powerful as ARM competitors and have not been widely used. This may be about to change.

In my first post on this blog I talked about the problem Microsoft, Apple and Intel were having adapting to a world of low-cost computing. Well, it looks like Intel at least finally sees the problem and is responding with appropriately priced chips that they are saying will have performance and power characteristics that are competitive with the current round of ARM-chips. They have fallen short before, but it looks like this time they may actually deliver.

'Wintel' on the wane: Intel goes Google | Business Tech - CNET News

Intel To Produce Android-Powered Laptops - Technology News - redOrbit

From statements at Intel's last earnings call, it does now appear that Intel at last is producing Atom chips at a price that allows low-cost Intel-based Android devices to be produced.

The Bay Trail line of Atom chips are supposed to be shipping next quarter to OEMs and Bay Trail devices are supposed to be available for the Holiday season.

These chips might have better power characteristics than A15-based ARM chips. They are believed to be competitive in performance to the current round of newly released ARM chips... BUT NO BENCHMARKS ARE AVAILABLE YET.

Intel is promising Android laptops starting at $200. Bay Trail tablets, laptops and all-in-one desktops are all expected to be available. Personally, I cannot wait to see Linux Mint run on these things!

This may help Windows 8 with the niche of users that want full Windows on a tablet, but are not pleased with the performance of Intel Clover Trail nor the huge price, heat issues, fan issues and poor battery life of the Microsoft Surface Pro.

The chips should make good, fanless servers for home and small business use as well.

Intel, put this off to the last second though. Linux ARM software is making great progress and Android of course works very well on ARM already. This battle is far from over. It is possible that the NVIDIA Tegra 4 ARM chips will out perform Bay Trail.

We'll have to wait to see if Intel really does deliver, but it may be a very exciting holiday season for those who want to have their computing needs met for less than $400.

One wonders how Microsoft and Apple will respond.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Google Glass - Food For Thought

Google Glass brings up all sorts of new issues. Some good, some bad. In preparation for a Google Developer's Group meeting, I put together a list of YouTube videos (mostly parodies) that explore the issues.

The playlist is here.

Android News

The main part of the report does not include information about "white-box" tablets (i.e. those great selling, mostly Chinese tablets that sell so well on Amazon).
With those included, market share is: Android 52%, iOS 41% and interestingly, 7% for Windows 8.
Looking on Amazon, the Windows 8 usage seems to come from x86 tablet/laptop hybrids. Apparently there is a niche market for people that want tablet/"real" Windows functionality in one device.
Global Android tablet shipments increase 177%

Google outlaws Android app updates that don't come from its Play store

Despite International Expansion, Amazon's Appstore Will Struggle To Compete

HP Slate 7 now available for $170

World First: Braille Smartphone in the works

Report: Smartphone Shipments Overtake Feature Phones for First Time

Samsung Electronics profits grow 42% on strength of smartphone sales

$200 Intel-based Android notebooks confirmed by chip maker

Android Laptops? They Must be Mad

Google adds screen rotation to Chrome... does that mean Chrome OS tablets are coming?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Apple News

iPhone: Passed by the HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S4

Apple's iCloud services again hit by global outage

IDC: Apple's iPhone sheds marketshare as smartphones out-ship feature phones for first time

Faulty fingerprint sensors force Apple Inc. to cull 8m iPhone 5S

The headline is faulty... it should read: "Android now has biggest share of global tablet market"
The main part of the report does not include information about "white-box" tablets (i.e. those great selling, mostly Chinese tablets that sell so well on Amazon).
With those included: Android 52%, iOS 41% and interestingly, 7% for Windows 8.
Looking on Amazon, the Windows 8 usage seems to come from x86 tablet/laptop hybrids. Apparently there is a niche market for people that want tablet/"real" Windows functionality in one device.
Apple Maintains 48 Percent Share of Global Branded Tablet Shipments in Q1 2013

Amazon to sell set-top box to challenge Apple TV

Linux News

For your robot-building needs, $45 BeagleBone Linux PC goes on sale

$80 TV dongle aims to bring Linux-based XBMC media center to your TV

I'm sure this would not be my first pick for a game to be revived... but it is interesting that it is also available on Linux. That is new... very few non-open-source packages make it to Linux.
Leisure Suit Larry Reloaded dated & priced, Journey composer pens music

Linux on mainframes used more widely than you might think

Ubuntu 13.04 Review: Linux for the average Joe or Jane

Google Glass News

Three Questions I Hope Google Answers Before Google Glass Is Released

How it works: Google Glass

Google Glass is 'weirdest thing', says Google boss

These next two are repeats from earlier posts, I include them because they are really interesting.

Strange, Possibly Humorous News

A lot of strange stuff this week... and I want to see how many people actually read this stuff, so I'm having you click through this time...

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Developer News

The last week or so had a number of articles for developers.

The term "Glasshole" was unveiled. It kind of amazes me how much emotion Google Glass seems to invoke.

Google Glass retail launch still a year away | Android and Me

Google Glass and the emerging Glasshole culture | ZDNet

There are two articles questioning the future of smartphones. Oddly, this question came up in my own life this week. I was playing with NFC and found it is nearly useless because of the need for a PIN on my phone. The fact that your phone has access to your entire digital life means it is much less useful for quick uses like NFC or utility apps. It makes me wonder if one doesn't need two or more different devices. Certainly security partitioning as it exists (i.e. you put in a PIN then get access to everything) is wrong. For many things one needs instant access, but for others it should be relatively hard (i.e. deletion of all data on your Google Drive should be rather hard to accomplish).

The End Of The Smartphone Era Is Coming - Business Insider

Are Smartphones On Their Way Out? | Enterprise Mobile Hub

Learning to code was a popular topic:

There's A Boom In Teaching People How To Code – ReadWrite

Should kids be taught to program? | ZDNet

Kodable Teaches Kids To Code Before They Learn To Read – ReadWrite

And a number harder to classify:

Planned Facebook Ads Go Big But Less Social — And Users Will Hate Them – ReadWrite

Do Consumers Really Want Touch? | TechCrunch

No-cost desktop software development is dead on Windows 8 | Ars Technica

Why is everyone making a smartwatch? - Android Authority

[APK Teardown] Google Games, Anyone? Play Services Is Getting Real-Time And Turn-Based Multiplayer, Invitations, In-Game Chat, Lobbies, Leaderboards, And Achievements!

Smartphone News

There's a fair bit of Smartphone OS news this week, but it hard to categorize:

Opinion: Can Apple afford to go cheaper with new iPhones?

Rumor: Apple returned batch of 8 million defective iPhones to Foxconn

Petition to end Verizon contracts reaches over 60,000 signatures

Samsung’s flexible displays delayed - Android Authority

Revenue from Apple's iOS App Store more than twice that of Google Play

ARM tops forecasts on boom in smartphones and tablets | Reuters

Archos introduces range of unlocked Android smartphones for $99 and up - Liliputing

HTC Mini: a glorified headset or the answer to all our phablet woes?

Google-Motorola Avert Phablets : Make Smaller, ‘Phenomenal’ Android Phones | SiliconANGLE

Firefox OS taking off:
Geeksphone to ship first Firefox OS dev phones next week - Liliputing

Firefox Developer Phones Go On Sale, Sell Out In Just Two Hours | SiliconANGLE

The first major music app for an Android tablet:
Fruity Loops Studio Android app available in the Google Play Store

A really good set of numbers:
Who’s Winning, iOS or Android? All the Numbers, All in One Place |

These batteries are likely to be important in the future:

Innovative Battery Could Make for Smaller, Faster-Charging Devices |

U.S. researchers develop "microbatteries" that can offer big power -

Monday, April 22, 2013

Microsoft News

PC Makers: Microsoft Is 'Destroying' The PC Market - Business Insider

Microsoft’s new strategy: Pray

IBM may be going to sell its x86 server business to Lenovo (just as it did with its PC business several years ago).
IBM's potential x86 server sale to Lenovo highlights oncoming train | ZDNet

Microsoft released earnings last week. You may have seen headlines like "Windows 8 sales lead to 19% profit increase". Nothing could be further from the truth. Pull out deferred earnings and Windows was flat. Pull out the fear-induced upgrades (Microsoft raised the price on upgrading to Windows 8 from $40 to $199) and Windows would be down substantially. Not all reporters got this wrong though... here are a few that got it right:
Don't be fooled by Microsoft's earning report about Windows growth | Computerworld Blogs

The Microsoft number we all want to know: Windows 8 sales to date | ZDNet

Microsoft earnings: Windows wasn’t as bad as expected but it wasn’t good either — Tech News and Analysis

News Questioning Productivity Software

Don't get me wrong, spreadsheets, word processors and presentation software can be used well and properly, but a rash of articles has me wondering if they have not become way too complex. It has long been known that spreadsheets are error prone and can bias users to believing numbers they would otherwise not believe (see this WikiPedia entry). As much as I like blaming Microsoft for things, it applies even to packages like LibreOffice (though Microsoft is clearly king of complexity).

Below are a few of the articles running around the past couple of weeks discussing such issues:

Blame Microsoft

Influential Reinhart-Rogoff Pro-Austerity Research Riddled With Errors: Study

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Google Glass News

Google Glass specs revealed, offers 16GB of storage and 5MP camera

Mirror API for Google Glass released

Google Glass web-based setup page and MyGlass app available now

This is a great introduction to Google Glass programming:
Google Glassware: How Developers Can Build Apps For Google Glass

I disagree with this idea. Google Glass is more like the Palm Pilot that the iPad. The Palm Pilot made techies happy because it was cool, but the necessary hardware and integration with other computing was barely there. In the end it just was not all that useful. Google Glass is likely to be like that. Barely doable at this point. Undoubtedly cool, but probably not all that useful at this point in time. Especially if you look at cost relative to the benefit. I do hope I'm wrong, but I've seen many things like this come and go over the years.
10 things about Google Glass: Could this be Google's iPad?

Developer News

This article is about the computing needs of small businesses and how they are not well served by anyone... an interesting read if you are looking for product ideas:
The Problem Microsoft Can't Solve

I don't understand this. I have not heard of it before. However, it does sound very interesting:
What is probabilistic programming? - O'Reilly Radar

Exciting UI news:
Leap Motion-HP Deal: Gesture Control Goes Mainstream

This next article is more interesting for its comments arguing against the premise of the article:
Why Cloud Development Environments Are Better Than Desktop Development

Lots of OpenStack news:

VMware, Canonical team up on OpenStack

OpenStack Summit Highlights: HP Support, Third Party Solutions Gain Traction

Red Hat pushes open source cloud with OpenStack distro

Smartphone Related News

Facebook Home suffers poor reviews in Play Store

For iOS and Android:
Hope you’re ready developers, the Pebble smartwatch SDK is here

The article is talking about how Apple should try to keep everyone developing of iOS first. It contains a large number of interesting facts about phone development.
Time For Apple To Buy Developer Love With A 0% Cut?

I've noticed that nearly all reporters are strangers to Android... well this kind of confirms it... the AP Stylebook is available only for iOS and Blackberries [the old ones, not 10].
Associated Press Stylebook

Mozilla launching Firefox OS in emerging markets first, and US in 2014

Interesting statistics about cell phones:
35% of cell phone purchases are high end devices

Microsoft, Still Not Doing Anything Right

The company that wants to replace Amazon in Cloud Computing has had substantial pieces of Xbox LIVE down for over 3 days.
Xbox LIVE is currently down, Microsoft is working hard to fix it

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols saying game over for Windows 8, and really maybe for Windows period:
Windows: It's over

There is a debate going on between Windows Pundits about whether or not the desktop will go away. Paul Thurrott says yes, Mary Jo Foley says the start button is coming back. This is sjvn on the matter. It shows how little of substance is happening in the Microsoft world.
No Windows desktop mode!? No!

This is actually a good question. I would like to broaden it. For most general purposes do we really need office suites [like Microsoft Office or LibreOffice] at all? I'm not saying those programs do not have a place, but most people really do not need that kind of complexity -- even in business. I think such software is in need of a major rethink.
Tell me again why we need Office on the iPad?

More signs that the mighty has fallen:
Microsoft withdraws KB 2823324, second botched automatic update this year

Microsoft being pathetic about platforms that want people to believe they are competing with:
Microsoft's Terry Myerson calls Android "a mess"

Friday, April 12, 2013

Chip News

At $153 per chip, this is "quiet" proof that Intel still does not understand why ARM keeps winning.
Intel quietly rolls out 10W Celeron 1019Y Ivy Bridge CPU

Intel Has No Process Advantage In Mobile, says ARM CEO

64-bit ARM chips seem to be on track for early 2014.
ARM, TSMC, Cadence produce first 16nm finfet Cortex processor

Intel seems to be willing to do anything but admit it needs to accept lower profit margins.
Intel sets up joint lab with China's Baidu for mobile apps

Android News

If you want to use LUA for Android development:
Corona's alternative Android development SDK now available for free - Android Authority

I particularly like the one that comes with SATA:
UDOO: $109 single-board computer is like an Arduino crossed with a Raspberry Pi - Liliputing

Google Play Store leading in number of downloads, says Canalys study

This next is very well done, makes you really appreciate Android growth:
The Developers Guide To Android History [Infographic] – ReadWrite

The Coming Golden Age For Mobile-Game Developers – ReadWrite

Can Apple do Anything Right?

Yeah, I used the same title as for Microsoft, but there is one important difference: Apple could actually have a future. Microsoft probably doesn't have a future beyond slowly disintegrating.

AppGratis CEO in 'total disbelief' over rejection since Apple approved app 'a week ago'

iMessage & FaceTime outage hits Apple devices for second time in a week

Foxconn sales drop could foreshadow Apple earnings

While I tend to take Google's side, I do have to agree with the judge here:
Judge accuses Apple, Google of using courts as 'business strategy' instead of settling

Development issues may cause later-than-expected debuts of 'iPhone 5S,' low-cost iPhone & next iPad mini

Can Microsoft do Anything Right?

Lots of bad Microsoft news this week. The stock is plunging, but not nearly as much as it will if they miss earnings on Thursday.

ChromeOS, Google News

There are at least three unannounced ChromeOS devices in progress, 2 of them are known to be ARM-based.
At least 2 more Chrome OS devices in the works?

Chrome OS Is Getting A Virtual Keyboard

Chrome OS To Get User Switching Without Logging Out

Google Inactive Account Manager: Decide What Happens to Your Account After You Die

Strange, Possibly Humorous News

We mentioned this one before during CES, but Ars Technica actually fired one of these:
Bullseye from 1,000 yards: Shooting the $17,000 Linux-powered rifle

Holy Crap, Is This Mark Zuckerberg's Embarrassing Childhood Angelfire Website?

Don't panic, this one's just a joke:
North Korean Missile Test Delayed by Windows 8

Sadly, this one is not a joke:
Shodan: The scariest search engine on the Internet

Flying iPad lodges in woman's bumper?

This one is serious, but, where do you draw the line?
My iPhone Supports Gay Marriage. Does Yours?

Iranian scientist claims to have invented 'time machine'

These folks clearly need to buy the $17,000 Linux rifle to go with the car...
Lamborghini Aventador Police Car in Dubai Not for Pursuit, Show and Tell of ‘How Classy Dubai is’

Another one you really wish was a joke:
Hacker demonstrates how to hijack an airplane using an Android app

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Stubborn Microsoft is Killing PC Industry

Back in December, I wrote that Windows 8 was killing the PC industry.

In February, the sales numbers from 4Q12 showed clearly that Windows 8 was the problem.

In March, I wondered when investors would lose confidence in Microsoft.

Well, the numbers for 1Q13 are in and both IDC and Gartner are finally laying blame where it belongs: Microsoft's Windows 8. IDC and Gartner behave a lot like investment advisors... by the time they tell you to sell, it is much too late.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Microsoft News

Microsoft Complains Facebook Home Is A Lot Like Windows Phone - Forgets To Mention It's Also Free

Microsoft Store slashes prices on Windows 8 tablets, hybrids

Microsoft threatened as smartphones and tablets rise, Gartner warns

Where can you find a PC running Windows 7?

Reliable Microsoft Bull Merrill Gives in, Removes 'Buy' Rating

Gartner: Microsoft is dead, Windows has expired, Office has ceased to be

Have Office 2010? Don't Buy Office 2013 - Here's Why

Report: Traditional PCs on Decline; Microsoft to Shift Gears?

This next is an article poking fun at "journalists" talking about Android fragmentation, you can also see my earlier post about this topic: Android Versions and Bad Journalism

Why Windows fragmentation will blow Windows to smithereens (cough)

News Roundup

News this week is sparse and not easy to categorize so I'm putting it in one posting [dividing it by sections]. Part of it is anticipation... the next 2 weeks should bring various earnings reports and market share reports. I'm expecting grim news for Microsoft... not sure about the rest of the world.

I will put Microsoft News in a separate post as there is a lot of it.

Added a New Resource about Smartphone OSes.

I have added a list of current and coming-soon smartphone/tablet operating systems and basic information about each.

You can find it here: Smartphone OS Roster

It is also available from the Resources link section at the right side of the blog page.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Recent, Spectacularly Bad Journalism

When I was in high school (mid 70's), I wanted to be a journalist. I even wrote for a local weekly newspaper. By the time I hit college, a combination of journalism becoming sleazy and a desire to make money changed those career plans, but I never quit caring about journalism. All through my computing career I've engaged in various forms of amateur journalism. Back at the height of USENET I made regular postings, doing news summaries not entirely unlike what I do on this blog. In all that time, I'm not sure I've seen so many widespread examples of bad journalism as I have in the last couple of weeks.