Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Microsoft Continues Death Spiral

Last week I wrote about Microsoft starting a death spiral. Among other things, Microsoft announced a $900 million charge related to a discount of Surface RT tablets. Well, today's SEC filing should add to the speed of that spiral.

Microsoft revealed that for the fiscal year ending June 30:
  • Sales and marketing expenses increased $1.4 billion or 10%, reflecting advertising of Windows 8 and Surface.
  • Surface revenue was $853 million. 
  • OEM revenue decreased 3%. Excluding the impact of the Windows Upgrade Offer, OEM revenue decreased 10%. This decrease primarily reflects the impact on revenue of the decline in the x86 PC market, which we estimate declined approximately 9%.
Advertising costs clearly are larger than revenue from the Surface.

There will of course be a huge amount of press on this, but here are some of the best so far:

Microsoft Reveals Revenue From Surface Tablet - Digits - WSJ

Microsoft reveals true size of its Surface tablet flop - MSFT AAPL - Investors.com

Microsoft Filing Reveals Surface Financials | Paul Thurrotts WinInfo content from Windows IT Pro

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Android News

Android Is The New Windows

This next points to a couple of interesting charts. In particular the breadth of Android devices available is simply breathtaking.
Android Fragmentation Report - Business Insider

Android fragmentation surges, but is that a bad thing?

Android 4.3 shows persistent notifications for “unkillable” apps

Turn an Android Stick into a Streaming Media and Google Voice Server

Android Device News

HP Slatebook x2 gets special coverage. I think it is the first Tegra 4 based hybrid. It is the first machine I'm comfortable saying is a real ARM/Android-based, Wintel competitive, laptop.  It has the added bonus of being a tablet as well! Back in February, I made this Demo of an ARM-based laptop using a Samsung Chromebook... the Exynos 5250 not being quite up to the task but did make a decent showing. Since the beginning of this blog, I have been saying such a laptop would come. It appears to have arrived at last! I have not gotten to use one yet, hopefully it will live up to my hopes!
HP SlateBook x2 convertible tablet now available for $479 - Liliputing

HP launches Android-based SlateBook 'PC' | Mobile - CNET News

HTC One mini review

Arm and Intel News

Do we really need eight core processors? - Android Authority

Benchmarking Scandals


Personally, I think it's all overblown [though should be reported]. Cheating on benchmarks was extremely common in the days of heavy competition in the PC era. It went on in the mini-computer world before that. I take this as a sign that the computing world has gotten interesting again! There is now real competition or they would not be bothering to cheat! As always, take benchmarks with a grain of salt and when available use multiple benchmarks.

The first two articles are about the same scandal, the second of the two is very detailed:
Samsung caught optimizing its phones to score higher on benchmarks

AnandTech | Looking at CPU/GPU Benchmark Optimizations in Galaxy S 4

This next is what caused me to revise the Clover Trail+ chip greatly downward on my Arm vs Intel Benchmarks page.
ARM Beats Intel With Revised AnTuTu Benchmark | EE Times

Apple News

Why doesn't Apple see these things coming? In fairness, Apple is probably not worse about this than most tech companies... but the nature of their fans makes this a bigger issue for them.
Apple making cheaper iPhones at Chinese factory that mistreats workers, group says

It's been like 2 weeks now and the developer center is still not fully up!
Apple Faces App Review Backlog After Developer Center Breach

Historically, Apple has never treated its workers as well as most of the tech industry did... as Apple has gotten bigger, this seems to have gotten worse.
Apple retail workers file class action suit claiming lost wages over bag searches

This next article is about why the author chose a Nokia Windows Phone 8 phone over an iPhone 5. While I am not fond of Windows Phone 8, I do not find it awful in the way I find Windows 8's Metro to be awful. On a smaller screen the interface works reasonably well. There is still the problem of the active tiles making it difficult to tell what you are trying to launch, but again, on a phone it is manageable. Anyway, this next article shows just how vulnerable the iPhone is... this guy makes a good case why it makes sense to choose it over an iPhone. The overarching reason is that the iPhone is stagnant. Even Nokia, dragged down with Microsoft issues and not on the most stable financial footing, makes a much more interesting phone than an iPhone. Indeed, Nokia makes a range of phones that are more interesting than the iPhone [and cheaper too]. As the author points out, even "Live" tiles are interesting relative to iOS [they are not as good as what is available on Android though].
Five reasons I dropped my iPhone 5 for a Nokia Lumia 1020

Monday, July 29, 2013

ARM News

MediaTek is clearly a place to be watching. Rockchip, more on the low-end, but increasingly important as well.

Rockchip working on quad-core ARM Cortex-A12 RK32xx chip - Liliputing

MediaTek announces first true octa-core ARM processor - TechSpot

MediaTek introduces its first ARM Cortex-A15 chip with big.LITTLE tech (MT8135) - Liliputing

Non-Android Linux and Open Source News

Rikomagic "Android" stick PCs are not just for Android any more.
Rikomagic UK to offer Minix Linux ARM PCs (MK802 III LE, MK802 IV LE)

Rikomagic goes Linux with Picuntu

How Firefox OS Could Sneak Into the Smartphone Chicken Coop

So this is your idea of a great user interface, Mozilla?

Microsoft News

These next 2 stories are about the same Ballmer admission:
Ballmer admits Microsoft built too many Surface RTs, disappointed with Windows sales | The Verge

Windows device sales aren't meeting Microsoft's expectations, Ballmer admits | PCWorld

The stories above, lead naturally to the observation that Microsoft has been less than forthcoming with shareholders....
Why Is the SEC Silent on Microsoft? - TheStreet

Microsoft support Yammer in Chrome, not sure if they will in Internet Explorer...
Yammering it up in ... Google Chrome | ZDNet

Disruptions: Microsoft's Struggle to Make Things Simple for Consumers - NYTimes.com

Samsung won a ban of iPhone 4 with the ITC.
Microsoft, Intel, Oracle & AT&T come to Apple's defense in looming iPhone 4 ban

Best Buy and Microsoft: The Blind Leading the Partially Sighted - TheStreet

Nokia left frustrated by Microsoft's slow Windows Phone progress | The Verge

Android News

Android 4.3 speeds up the original Nexus 7 - Liliputing

How Google just quietly made your Android phone more secure | Computerworld Blogs

Android quietly partners up with Chrome | ZDNet

Google's Hugo Barra: Android tablets have 'been lagging,' but change is coming | The Verge

How Android 4.3 Jelly Bean Points Towards A Future Of Google Wearable Devices – ReadWrite

I really think people make too much about this... it is all just Linux at its heart and Android was already running on the hardware used in Android.
Chromecast rooted, apparently runs Android from Google TV, not Chrome OS

7 Things App Developers Don’t Know About the China Mobile Market (But Should) – ReadWrite

There's not likely to be much left of Apple's vendetta against Samsung. Basically Apple picked a way to decrease its profits by making one of its key suppliers angry.
Samsung gets a boost with USPTO's 'final' rejection of Apple's pinch-to-zoom patent


Android Device News


RK3188 Android Mini PC Review | Android TV Sticks

Strange, Possibly Humorous News

Mostly funny items this time.

10 Funniest and Strangest Smartphone Commercials | Digital Trends

The Joy of Tech comic... Apple Status

4 Disturbing And Avoidable Linux Distros

I'm sure Microsoft didn't mean to be funny, but...
Microsoft accuses Microsoft of copyright infringement, asks Google to scrub search links | PCWorld

Chinese scalpers booking & selling Apple Store Genius Bar appointments online

Apple Tablet Market Share May Be Even Lower

Yesterday I reported that Apple's share of the tablet market had plummeted. Well things may be even worse than that. New data from Strategy Analytics says the following about market share:

Android67.0%
iOS28.3%
Windows4.5%

See this ReadWrite article for details:
Strategy Analytics: Android tablet shipments up to 67% in Q2 2013, iOS fell to 28.3%, and Windows secured 4.5%

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Tablet and Phone Market Share -- Apple's Share Plummets

UPDATE: Apple iOS tablet market share may only be 28.3%

Here are numbers for world wide market share of units shipping for smartphones and tablets:
In smartphones Apple has 13.1% of the smartphone market in 2Q13, down from 16.6% last year.
In tablets Apple has a 35.5% share, while the TrendForce change from last year is not listed, IDC shows 68.2% for Apple market share in 2Q12 (IDC totals may not include "White Box" tablets, so think more like 50% to be safe). Regardless, this drop is simply astounding. Without major changes, Apple could be relegated to niche status 2 years from now.

I've not seen breakout numbers for Windows Tablets yet, though judging from the Microsoft numbers listed, I think it likely they do not top 5%. [Generally, the rest would be Android, which is likely around 60%.]

Fascinating to me, "White Box" tablets are shown at 23.5% of the market. Many of the market share analysts were not counting them last year, which I thought was shameful as they really were making up a significant piece of the market then (probably less than the 23.5%). These tablets tend to be much cheaper and have lesser hardware, especially w.r.t. display resolution. They have shown marked quality improvements in the last year or so. The hard part of course is picking out the bad ones from the good ones, though you'll find many in Amazon's Best Selling Tablets list.

Here's some articles covering the matter:
Apple Inc. (AAPL) Is No More World's Most Profitable Phone Maker

Apple Inc's smartphone market share slips to lowest since 2009

iPad market share is the lowest its ever been; Android catching up

iPad Market Share Q2 2013: Apple tablet share falls to all-time low

Chromecast News

Google's new $35 Chromecast device is generating a huge amount of buzz. We just got one and it largely lives up to what I expected. Note, there is a limited number of services supporting this at the moment... though many are in progress and I think there is major momentum here. That said it is the best way to deal with Netflix and YouTube EVER. The mind boggles at how good it is likely to be within a year, as more and more apps come on line.

If you don't know what a Chromecast is or have not paid attention to the details, (many people have very misguided notions about how it works), see these earlier overview articles.

These are the latest with new information:

HBO GO, Revision 3, Washington Post, Songza and more currently being tested for Chromecast

Chromecast teardown reveals a simple, easy to disassemble device

The battle between Android and Chrome is over -- and Chrome won

Keeping it simple: Chromecast, Google TV, and the zen of a $35 dongle

How to Stream Local Files Using Google Chromecast

Chromecast news: Google releases open source code, hackers working on root

Paul Thurrott (Windows pundit) who famously labeled the iPad an "iDud", has this to say about Chromecast:
If you feel like you’ve read this story before, you have: Apple does the same thing with AirPlay and its Apple TV, as does Microsoft with Play To/Play on Xbox/Smart Glass and the Xbox 360. Will Google’s third try succeed? No, because no one has found the secret sauce to the living room yet, and this me-too solution certainly isn’t different enough to be a big deal. Sorry, Google, but Roku already works just fine, thanks.
He is amazingly wrong on so many levels. First of all it works very differently than a Roku. It is much faster and simpler than a Roku. While Apple and Microsoft do have similar technology, they both keep it tightly controlled. Apple and Microsoft also charge much more - which matters a lot when you want to support multiple TVs. It is easy to make apps that take advantage of Chromecast. Google already supports it from Chrome (including Linux, MacOS, Windows and ChromeOS), iOS and Android, neither Apple nor Microsoft come anywhere close to supporting that number of devices. In it's breathtakingly simple ease-of-use, the Chromecast is anything but a "me-too" solution. It is to TV boxes, what iPhone was to earlier smartphones. In fairness to Paul, he's far from the only one to misunderstand the device. What really amazes me is how many do not understand that its secret to success is its cross-platform capabilities.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Apple Misdirection During Earnings Call

You may have seen a lot of misleading headlines about Apple's Q3 2013 results. There was nothing good in those results. It's true that they beat (some of) Wall Street expectations... but that in no way implies the results contained good news.

Arm and Intel News

Intel News


The short answer is: yes
AnandTech | Is Haswell Ready for Tablet Duty? Battery Life of Haswell ULT vs Modern ARM Tablets

'Broadwell'-based chip to help Intel challenge low-power rivals | PCWorld

Intel keeps up the unethical SDP scam with "new" 4.5W parts | SemiAccurate


ARM News


Snapdragon 800 powered Galaxy S4 overwhelms Tegra 4 in GPU performance | Android Authority

Record busting ARM shows challenge for Intel | Business Weekly

Build your own supercomputer: First $99 Parallella boards ship | ZDNet

AnandTech | Samsung Updates Exynos 5 Octa (5420), Switches Back to ARM GPU

AnandTech | NVIDIA Demonstrates Logan SoC: < 1W Kepler, Shipping in 1H 2014, More Energy Efficient than A6X?

Motorola new X8 ARM processor to power the Moto X

Eight core MediaTek MT6592 takes on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800

Chrome News

If find the fact that this list is made fascinating... this sort of thing used to only be Windows, and maybe Macs, then Smartphones. I think it shows that Chrome really is its own platform now.
Lifehacker Pack for Chrome 2013: Our List of the Best Extensions

Google Chrome Blog: Simpler printing from more places


Chromecast News


This is a new way of using your TV from Google. Announced Wednesday, it is already sold out. I think it might just be the new hot thing that everyone was looking for from Apple.

$35 Google Chromecast lets you stream internet videos, music to a TV - Liliputing

10 Things You Need To Know About Google's New Chromecast – ReadWrite

Chromecast will disrupt the living room; Apple TV and Airplay don't stand a chance - Android Authority

Google Chromecast roundup: Stream local files, peek at the insides, consider the future of TV - Liliputing

Chromecast shows how Google is really “merging” Android and Chrome — Tech News and Analysis

How Chromecast works: HTML5, WebRTC, and the technology behind casting - Android Authority

Monday, July 22, 2013

Chrome News

Microsoft beware: Google Chromebooks could surge

How QuickOffice on Chrome will help Google beat Microsoft

Google Rolls Out Next-Gen Chrome Browser-Based Packaged Apps

Infiltration complete: Google's Chrome app launcher lands on Windows

"Native Chromebook Apps (that also work on Windows, Linux and MacOS) are beginning to roll out:
“Pocket” Is Now Chrome Native App That Works Offline on Your Chromebook!


Microsoft Begins Death Spiral

I wrote about this originally on March 14th in Microsoft, When Will Investors Lose Confidence? Technology companies often die this way. Once faith in a platform diminishes, sales lag, investors get nervous, stock prices fall, bad press ensues, faith diminishes... eventually leads to death. Microsoft is probably not beyond the point of no return, but then they seem to have no products in the pipeline that could turn things around. Their one bright spot, business apps (Office and Server), will eventually be hurt by the rest of the business and does not provide a way to bring up the rest of the business. Current management seems to be hopelessly inadequate. I find it unlikely they have more than a year or so to turn things around. It is likely they'll reach some sort of zombie-like status when 4Q13 holiday sales are announced in February 2014.

Here's a selection of articles (there were many, many more):

Microsoft leads tech-ad spending in the first quarter with Windows 8 push

Microsoft stock plummets 11%

Microsoft's $900 million Surface RT write-down: How did this happen?

Microsoft was wrong: Tablets are not PCs. So now what?

This article is a bit harsh, but they have been calling things correctly since the start.
Microsoft drove the bus off the cliff, now it tries to speed up

Did we all just witness Windows start to die?

It's Official: Legacy Tech Vendors Are In Permanent Decline

The demise of Microsoft’s monopoly and the PC market, by the numbers

Microsoft must embrace 'grim option' of Windows cannibalization


Also, Nokia is doing poorly. This is related because essentially, Nokia is Windows Phone.

Nokia Q2 sales fall 24%, misses expectations

Moody's issues credit warning on Nokia

Miscellaneous Smartphone News

Consumers like copycat products, says UK smartphone study | ZDNet

Little Hope For BlackBerry - Forbes

How much better can smartphone cameras get?

Would a Small, High-End Android Phone Sell? Phone Makers Don’t Want to Find Out | TIME.com

Why Can't I Find An Awesome Compact Smartphone? – ReadWrite

The era of smartphone commodification has begun | ZDNet

First Draft of Paul Thurrott’s Guide to Windows Phone 8 is Complete


Added New Benchmarks

You can see them here: Arm vs. Intel Benchmarks

Removed a lot of Antutu results (may eventually remove Antutu entirely). There are significant questions of its accuracy in Intel vs ARM comparisons. Also, I have now managed to have GeekBench results for all chips I'm covering. Note, this greatly demoted CloverTrail+, though I believe that the demotion is warranted.

Please also note that the Bay Trail result is for an early chip running at a low speed. It is probably better than nothing, but we really need to see the real chips before we really know anything. Bay Trail does seem to be on track to have slightly worse performance than top-end ARM, but better battery life.

Apple News

Apple's iPhone: domestic staple, potential international failure

Google's takeover of iOS from within continues with new Chrome app

The era of smartphone commodification has begun

Google's Play Store and Apple's App Store: an infographic comparison

It's Official: Legacy Tech Vendors Are In Permanent Decline

High-End Smartphone Boom Ending as Price Drop Hits Apple

Apple seems unable to do anything right in the cloud:
Apple’s Developer Site Was Hacked

Intrusion Prompts Takedown Of Apple Developer Sites

A lot of people are thinking of leaving iOS, here is an article set that will show you the pros and cons:
25 things my new Android phone does that makes my iPhone feel like it comes from the 1990s

10 things I miss about my iPhone now that I'm on Android

Non-Android Linux and Open Source News

Windows 3.11 deserved a tribute. In its time and place it allowed many a small business to get the benefits of networking without the massive IT overhead it then usually required.
20 years after Windows 3.11, Linus unveils “Linux for Workgroups”

Looks like I wasn't the only one rooting for Tizen. But is it too late?
Tizen Rising: Can a $4M App Challenge Do the Trick?

Xfce bears watching. It is a good solution for those that prefer the simple. Until recently it was perhaps too simple, but it looks interesting to me now.
Linux Mint 15 Xfce released | ZDNet

First Xen release under LF.
The Linux Foundation releases open source hypervisor Xen 4.3

OpenStack is likely to become the number one cloud platform:
Happy Birthday OpenStack! How did you grow up so fast?

This is like Wine for OS X.
OS X apps on their way to Linux courtesy of Darling project

Welcome to the era of $99 servers/desktop machines!
Utilite ARM-based Linux computer coming in August for $99 and up

12 important things that are made with Linux.
What's Linux For?

Has a valid point, but I don't think anyone knows of a solution.
Are there too many Linux distros? Is distro overload killing Linux on the desktop?

Well, it appear that Apple isn't the only place with substandard security. (Really, this may be worse, they appear to have gotten passwords here.)
1.82 million accounts compromised in Ubuntu forum hack

It has been clear to me for a few years now that it would become possible for relatively small entities to make affordable hardware. This might become the first example of a widespread product that fulfills that description.

Linus Torvalds goes a bit too far sometimes...
Linus, Sarah and the Linux Civil Code

More Linus chastisement:
Why this hacker stood up against 'verbal abuse' in Linux land

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Microsoft News

The first two articles are thoughtful opinion pieces.
The Flaw in Microsoft’s Windows 8 Logic

Google and the art of distracting Microsoft

Microsoft getting desperate (not really that new). Hint, they are still overpriced - especially the keyboard.
Microsoft to Slash Surface RT Prices by $150

I think it is cool that Linux paid tribute to Windows 3.11... it was a really great Windows version. It optionally came with a network adapter that made it really easy to get networking installed an running... a difficult thing in its time.
20 years after Windows 3.11, Linus unveils “Linux for Workgroups”

He's too young to be senile?
Bill Gates says Microsoft Bob will make a comeback

More desperation from Microsoft.
Confidential Microsoft brief: 'We're TOAST if we fight Google on price'

Of all of Microsoft's recent operating software attempts, I find Windows Phone the least objectionable. I do not think it is great, but is definitely not bad. Nokia's new camera software appears to be fantastic.
Nokia Performing The Impossible: Making Windows Phone Cool

Android News

Opinion piece from Cult of Android:
An Open Letter to Handset Makers: Why Your Phone Is a Loser

It is interesting to watch Android evolve:
Multi-window support coming to some Android tablets with Rockchip CPUs

The real reason is of course Elop came from Microsoft...
Elop explains: why Nokia didn't choose Android to replace Symbian

Well, they are overblown, but the recent security problem proves it is not a trival issue either. I'm not sure he was wise to say this.
Android Fragmentation Concerns Overblown, Says Android Co-founder

Google has made a lot of bad decisions like this recently... well at least they are responsive!
Google reinstates offline Maps for Android after public censure


Android Device News


Three smartphones that will disrupt the industry

These next two show the future of smartphones. Both are decent phones, sub-$200 without subsidy. OEMs putting a Qualcomm 800 (Sony at 2.2ghz!) are nuts. You want battery life in a phone, not CPU power. That's a great processor in a tablet or a hybrid... but it eats power.
Pomp W89 review - 4.7 inch quad-core Android 4.2 Jelly Bean smartphone

BLU Dash: Unlocked quad-core Android phone for $140 - Liliputing

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dropbox Becoming a Platform

When Google Drive was announced, I strongly expected that Dropbox would die soon. I was wrong! They are not only still with us, but have nearly doubled in size. They are quite simply the best around. For example, even though they have promised it repeatedly, Google Drive is still not available on Linux. Dropbox is much easier to use that Google Drive as well. Oh, and Dropbox has local syncing so you don't pull mulitiple copies over your Internet connection.

When you make a Google Chrome Packaged App, Google Drive is a natural place to sync to. However, Dropbox makes this process so easy, surely you'll allow syncing there as well. And Dropbox + FirefoxOS is a natural pairing as well.

Dropbox Blows Up the Box, Connecting Every App, File, and Device

Thinking Outside The Dropbox: The Cloud Company Straps On Its Platform Shoes

Dropbox - Datastore API tutorial

Android News

Wow, this is the shortest Android news in quite some time. As some major announcements are expected in the next month or so, I suspect everybody's either busy or on vacation.

Has The Smartphone Boom Peaked? Ominous Signs Pile Up

POC code for critical Android bug published

Google Releases Fix For Major Android Flaw To OEMs, Users Now Waiting On Them To Patch

Google Seeking Android Developer Input in New Surveys

Samsung and HTC may be supporting ZigBee home automation

Firefox, Open Source, Tizen News

FireFox






Open Source

Evi Nemeth missing.

Ah, where would open source be without politics?


Tizen


A few days ago, I reported that Tizen may die on the vine... the video in this article goes a long way toward explaining why that might be the case. In short, it is sluggish and unpolished. It's a shame, at least on paper, Tizen looked really nice (I'm referring to API documents).

Chrome News

I just can't wait for this to release to normal users. I feel it's the world's best chance of shaking the tyranny of Microsoft Office.
Chrome OS dev channel gains Quickoffice powers, lets users edit native Excel and Word files

I covered this in depth in a previous post:
Google Chromebook Under $300 Defies PC Market With Growth

You may see what appear to be conflicting stats from NetApplications... they do not count usage, but rather users. For example, they would count me as an IE, Firefox, Safari and Chrome user. However 99% of my usage is in Chrome.
StatCounter: Google Chrome is dominating the browser industry

Google is definitely a different sort of company... sometimes good, sometimes bad. It does explain why Google Docs is used mainly by smaller businesses.
Google logic: why Google does the things it does the way it does

This is an affirmation of the previous article:
An Excellent Explanation Of Why Google Works Like Google Does


Packaged Apps


Chromium Blog: Richer access to Google services and better OS integration in Chrome packaged apps

The trade press seems to be catching on to packaged apps at last, below is a sampling:

New Chrome feature frees Web apps from the browser | Internet & Media - CNET News

Chrome Packaged Apps gaining Android powers | Internet & Media - CNET News

These new features give Chrome Packaged Apps a more native-like app boost — Tech News and Analysis

Chrome packaged apps power up, snag enhanced iTunes and Bluetooth 4.0 capabilities | PCWorld

Google Rolls Out Next-Gen Chrome Browser-Based Packaged Apps | Sci-Tech Today

Microsoft News

PC's continue to tank. Macs benefit by tanking more slowly:
PC shipments dropped 11% worldwide in Q2, Apple's US share contracts 4.3%

Sigh, this leaves little hope for any real improvements (and I'm betting it will be buggy as well because Microsoft is not used to the compressed schedule):
Microsoft: PC manufacturers will get Windows 8.1 in August

Windows 8.1, Intel's Haswell not expected to reverse sliding PC sales

Given the obnoxious stance Microsoft took with developers when Windows 8 first shipped [very strict compliance with worse than Apple guidelines], I was thoroughly shocked to see this article. They must be really desperate for apps.
Beware of deceptive apps in Windows Store

Essentially, this next article argues that Microsoft is missing the many specialty apps that make smartphones and tablets so useful (for example an app that tracks your kid's soccer schedule, etc). Microsoft has been paying to get the most popular apps, but that just doesn't get those specialty apps
Microsoft, Apps and the Long Tail

A real threat to Microsoft Office!
Chrome OS dev channel gains Quickoffice powers, lets users edit native Excel and Word files

I always hated embedded spreadsheets and the like. They sounded like they would make things easier, but in truth they were a lot of trouble and made Word even more bloated to use. Well, this "new" feature sounds like the same thing, but from the web.
How Microsoft is using live data to redefine the Office 'document'

This really has to give enterprise customers pause about using Microsoft Cloud Services.
Revealed: how Microsoft handed the NSA access to encrypted messages

Microsoft is having a reorg... yawn!
A new Microsoft: Major reorganization puts focus on hardware, services

Even Paul Thurrott seemed to be yawning:
Microsoft Reorg Explained

A good in depth article about the former Windows head, new Devices head:
The Rise of Julie Larson-Green, the Heir Apparent at Microsoft

Apple News

This could be the beginning of the end for Apple. It is clear that people are less and less willing to go for $800 phones. I noted in coverage of the last WWDC that Apple had to resort to using web usage statistics to have a number that in any way beat Android. Well, even that just fell to Android. The simple truth is that Apple was there first and corralled a lot of early adopters and upper-middle class users (this describes many of my friends). Due to ecosystem effects, they stuck with iOS, but now that it is no longer cool and Apple has essentially given up on innovation, they are looking elsewhere. The people adopting iOS early on also had more money, thus the dichotomy between iOS and Android app profitability. As these people leave, then surprise, surprise; Android will quickly surpass iOS in app profitability. This is all pretty obvious, but for some reason Apple does not see it coming. If they just would admit it's a commodity market and behave accordingly, they could still be a significant player... but they just don't seem to be able to admit this. It's the '90s all over again. Apple thinks they are still great, but any independent observer can see they are not.

Some may think my statements here are overblown, but when it comes to Apple's profitability iPhone is everything for Apple. iPad's are still selling well, but they are not nearly as profitable.

If We've Reached Peak Smartphone This Is Bad News For Apple And Samsung And Good News For Others - Forbes

Samsung surpasses Apple in smartphone Web usage | Mobile - CNET News

Verizon could owe Apple $14 billion off iPhone sales shortfall

Blinding Light and Deep Dark Evil: Apple's App Store After 5 Years | App Store | TechNewsWorld

BBC News - Apple conspired to fix e-book prices, judge rules

Rival mobile browsers chip away at Safari's lead - CNET Mobile

At Last Real ChromeOS Numbers (and They're Great!)

Finally, we have some real ChromeOS numbers:


IDC and Gartner say 76 million PCs sold last quarter, so, that means ChromeOS had 4 or 5 percent if that (using 4.5%): That is 3.42 million sales in a traditionally slow quarter. One question I'd like answered is: Does that number includes all the leased devices that are out there? (Apparently leasing is very popular in Education and Government.)

Oh and remember that DigiTimes report back in March?  They said that 500,000 Chromebooks had be sold in total. That number was more than an order of magnitude off. In 2012, ChromeOS was 1 to 2 percent (using 1.5%) of 353 million PC sales, that would be: 5.3 million. Take that Paul Thurrott (Windows uber-pundit and Chromebook hater)! That doesn't even include the sales from January and February! Why do people keep believing DigiTimes?

Of course Google is busy improving ChromeOS... this holiday season I expect the builtin QuickOffice and Chrome Packaged Apps to move many more user's over the tipping point where a Chromebook is better for them than a full laptop. I'm thinking 20 million plus ChromeOS units in 4Q13.  And just wait till 4Q14!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Strange, Possibly Humorous News

Cute Robots Will Be Launched Into Space : Discovery News

The perfect gift for the pistol-packing 'Merkin: a handgun iPhone case • The Register

Most amusing about this article is that they really don't know if it is the real thing or not...
Google's Quantum Computer Proven To Be Real Thing (Almost) | Wired Enterprise | Wired.com

Organizational Charts | Bonkers World

Harry Potter's Diagon Alley Is Now on Google Street View

Tizen, Open Source News

Well, Tizen may be dying.... this is still very much a rumor. These first three articles cover the news (with some overlap):

Samsung delays first Tizen phone to fourth quarter | Mobile - CNET News

The Android-killer that wasn’t: Tizen is “almost dead”, says Murtazin

Samsung's Response To Android May Have Hit A Snag - Forbes

I've never seen this tiny server before:
KORE.io - A fast SPDY capable webserver for web development in C

Libre Office adds GPU acceleration, gives gamers a potent spousal defense

LibreOffice foundation gets boost with three new members

Miscellaneous News

No more filthy smartphone screens with Corning's new Gorilla Glass

Doug Engelbart, Inventor Of The Mouse, Dies at 88


The benchmark in the article has been spread widely this week. It seems to me to be a fake. If this were really true, surely Intel would be shouting it from the rooftops?
Intel Bay Trail benchmark appears online, crushes fastest Snapdragon ARM SoC by 30%

Leaked Intel Bay Trail lineup: Atom, Celeron, and Pentium chips use less than 10W

Samsung's Boxee Buy: Another Promising Start-Up Bites The Dust

Google News

Google Chrome Now Rules In The Browser Wars

This Chart Proves That Many Internet Explorer Users Are Only Using It Because They're Forced To At Work

OPINION: Why Chromebooks Should Rule The School


Google has an unusually large amount of Bad News this week


These first two articles are about an important Android flaw. The news is important in that it shows Google's detached development style has serious drawbacks. It is unimportant in that it is unlikely to affect users that get their apps from Google Play.

Android security flaw affects 99 percent of phones, researcher says

Here’s why most users won’t be affected by the latest Android flaw


It is likely true that tension between user privacy and Google's need to make money via ads will always run into conflict. These next 2 articles cover the latest sagas:
Twitter May Have Handed Microsoft A Huge Victory In Its War Against Google

Google And Others Reportedly Pay Adblock Plus To Show You Ads Anyway


Google+ seems to have an unhealthy influence on Google. Problems with it interfering with Search. Problems with Google favoring it in other software over more popular options. It is widely believed that it played a major role in the demise of the very popular Google Reader service.

'Google Mine' heads to Google+, Android?

Google Reader Founder: I Never Would Have Founded Reader Inside Today's Google

Google Plus Is Like Frankenstein’s Monster

Monday, July 1, 2013

Microsoft News

A cute history article about the relationship between the hated Comic Sans font and Microsoft Bob.
Hate Comic Sans? Blame this Microsoft virtual assistant

I'm glad somebody came out and said this! Why can't Microsoft give the interface a name? They have before, remember Aero?
Sorry, Microsoft, the Experts Have Spoken: Windows 8′s Interface Is Called Metro


Watching Microsoft Dwindle


Microsoft's Xbox chief departs for Zynga after used game controversy

Microsoft to shut down TechNet subscription service

Firefox OS News

Firefox OS gets its first standalone News post.

Firefox OS smartphones arrive: A fine mobile Petri dish | ZDNet

Two New Firefox OS Smartphones Spur The Future Of The Mobile Web – ReadWrite

Introducing Firefox's Android Rival, Brought to You by Google - Businessweek

In my view, Firefox OS and Tizen are more likely to be long term major players than Blackberry (nearly dead), Windows Phone 8, or iOS.
  • They are as open (or more so) than Android.
  • They have significant organizations behind them. 
  • They are flexible. While phones and tablets are not going away anytime soon, new areas, such as TVs, game consoles, watches, and 50 things not announced yet, are the areas of big growth. Microsoft, Apple and Blackberry do not have business models amenable to that sort of usage. This means that the overall ecosystem is growth limited for those platforms.
It would not surprise me that in 2015 or 2016 that the top three platforms will be Android, Firefox OS, and Tizen (not sure what the ordering will be).

Here's a related article today:
Nokia's cheap $20 (and profitable) cell phone
This phone runs none of these operating systems, but it does show why Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 business model is nigh impossible to work long term. The simple truth is that significant (Android) smartphones are already available sub-$100. It will not be long before a $20 phone is capable of running one of these smartphone OSes.