Tag: Android

Ralf HallerRalf Haller September 3, 2010

Samsung to challenge Apple’s iPad

Yesterday Samsung showcased its new iPad contender, the Samsung Galaxy Tab. As this comparison chart shows the product is a serious – albeit currently only – real competitor. It has also things that the Apple iPad does not have, notably:

  • front and rear facing cameras
  • Adobe flash support
  • expandable storage
  • GPS built in (iPad only in UMTS model)
  • full multitasking support
Since it is an Adroid device it has access to the big Android app market plus to non-market apps as well. Also e-book and newspaper/magazine downloads are available through the Readers Hub.
Its current key differentiator is its size though. With a 7″screen it is smaller than the iPad and therefore better suited for carrying around. Of course Apple is expected to bring out other form factors as well but the Samsung Galaxy Tab should already be available in Europe in a few weeks and then in the US as well shortly after.

Ralf HallerRalf Haller October 18, 2009

Will the Verizon/Motorola Droid campaign have any impact?

To give you my opinion right away: I can’t imagine that Motorola and Verizon will by addressing some of the possible shortcomings of the iPhone ecosystem make their own Droid launch a success. Product management is more complicated than looking at  the market leader, writing down all its product specs and then simply bringing out a product that shows better features. This strategy succeeds only in a commodity market. But Apple and the iPhone, app store, iTunes ecosystem is NOT a simple product only but a thought-through end-to-end user experience product & service offering. The Motorola and Verizon folks have obviously still not understood this otherwise they would not have launched such a desperate campaign merely addressing – mostly – features. The strongest point was the openness of Google’s Android platform but also here they did a quick-and-dirty job. Not surprising knowing how desperate Motorola is these days to finally get back on track with a successful mobile phone after its long-time-ago success of the Razr.

But if you want to tackle Apple then you must take them on in a completely different way. And I think they are vulnerable because any company who is arrogant will miss opportunities or simply not do the best job possible. History has shown that over and over again. Unfortunately the Indian or Chinese style of product management, comparing spec sheet features one by one is not enough to make an impact. This has to be done differently…

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Ralf HallerRalf Haller June 18, 2009

Location-based services on steroids: watch this video!

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Today Google Germany made an agreement with the German authorities to allow people to opt out of Google Street View when they don’t like their property or personal things being displayed in Google maps. This was a pre-emptive move to avoid any legal actions from privacy protection groups or others. Currently there are no laws in Germany though that would prohibit Google from driving around with their 360 degree view cameras, recording it and then displaying it in Google maps.

Now I have read about a new service from a Dutch company – Layar – that allows you to view your environment and then get maps and any other location-specific information displayed, overlaid in real-time.

The video above explains it well, so watch it if you are interested. It looks quite promising and, if it catches on, could mean another SMS-style success or maybe not. :-)   Seeing my kids playing with their Nintendo DS camera enthusiastically, I think though this could well show the future of where location-based services are going.

Layar was developed by this company SPRX Mobile. Layar works wih Android on the HTC Magic but a prime target is the new iPhone 3G S as they mention. The whole approach is btw called augmented reality (AR) browser, just in case you did not know.

Ralf HallerRalf Haller May 21, 2009

Android consumer electronic devices on the rise

While the first-gen of Android phones did not really impress me too much (everyone compared them with the iPhone and that race they lost with a huge margin), what is coming out now soon looks more impressive though.

Next week will also be the Google IO developers conference in San Francisco where Android is a topic of course as well. Maybe they will use that to announce new things. In any way Android has been chosen now by HTC, Samsung and Motorola for their mobile phones and it looks like it will also come out on some netbooks (e.g. Dell’s). Archos seems to also work with the Google OS and is supposed to announce that in June and Fujitsu is using it in a digital photo frame. So the list of vendors and consumer electronic devices is growing. Also more mobile operators are announcing deals with Android type of phones: T-Mobile, O2 in Germany, Bouygues Telecom in France and others as well.

A good day-to-day usage test report in the German FAZ shows that its software is very nice although Google still has full control over the parts that are strategic for them such as its browser Chrome or Gmail. No official support for Microsoft Exchange (although there seem to be workarounds) which will mean that they cannot seriously threaten RIM’s Blackberry for business use. I would hope and expect that they will also open it up as well for these programs.

Of course what can be expected is that the soon to come out new Apple iPhone 3.0 and OS (see latest rumors on its specs) will widen the gap again to Android and others.

The new Samsung I7500 Android phone has some pretty decent specs and when it is available I plan to take a look at it and then compare with the new iPhone 3.0:

  • Android 1.5 OS
  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, dual-band UMTS/HSPA
  • 528 MHz Qualcomm MSM7200A CPU
  • 3.2-inch HVGA cap acitive OLED touchscreen display
  • 5 megapixel camera with LED flash
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS
  • 8GB internal flash memory
  • microSD slot
  • 3.5 mm stereo jack
  • Metal case, 11.9 mm thick

Ralf HallerRalf Haller September 24, 2008

Will the Google Android phone rock the mobile world?

I doubt it. To me the idea of bringing an open mobile platform into the market to drive innovation is a honorable goal and deserves respect. Will it also rock the mobile phone market? No, I don’t think so. For the exact same reasons why Linux has not taken over the Windows and Apple OS PC market, the new Google Android platform will appeal to the Unix freaks among us and be a nice cool platform to built your own applications, but won’t attract the masses.

First of all Apple has stolen the show with its AppStore months ago and has shown with the iPhone what it takes to offer great usability. The Google Android phone lacks also behind other platforms like Symbian or Blackberry and I bet even behind Microsoft’s Windows Mobile that most people hate. So what will happen to it? With Google behind it it will survive many years and depending on how much more Google will put into it remain valid as a platform for the Linux guys around. To make it a mass market success though Google should have better partnered with Apple’s iPhone and bring its strength in Search and some Google apps such as maps to that platform. I think over time that will happen too but for now the Google boys have another great toy and will play with it and since they don’t need to make money with it they will let them play for a long time to come.

If I would be a software developing company who wants to make money though this platform would not be interesting. Still there are many Linux folks out there who make things without the $ sign in front of them and they will like it I guess. I am sure Steve Jobs had a big smile in his face when he watched the announcement probably thinking that these guys don’t get what it takes to enter the mass market with success over night.

As for me I will play around with the Google Android phone when I get a chance next time I am in a mobile phone store that carries it and I am sure will drop it quickly as I got used now to my iPhone and expect any similar device to offer me the same user experience or even better. By then the iPhone apps will be in the second generation which will widen the gap even more.