Tag Archives: Android

Google preempts Apple with Maps upgrade announcement

I recently wrote about the expected change in the iPhone/iOS native Maps application.  Apple is expected to replace Google as the backend and upgrade the app to include 3D maps. This is all supposed to be announced at WWDC on Monday, June 11.

Today, Google preempted this announcement with updates of its own regarding is mobile maps app.  It specified that these updates were for the Maps app on Android but made reference to availability in the future on iOS. More coverage from Mashable, Ars Technica and Apple Insider.

The features they announced:

1. 3D Maps (unclear how this will compare to Apple’s 3D maps and how much coverage there will be to start)

2. Offline maps (this was one of my top requested features, yay!)

3. Better “streetview” for walking directions in places without roads like parks, mountains, etc. See the photo below for Google’s new rig to capture these views. This is kind of cool but seems like it will take some time to get coverage.

It’s not entirely clear when these features will be available or the specifics about how they work.  It seems that Google wanted to announce these before Monday so as to:

1. Steal Apple’s thunder

2. Soften the blow when it’s announced they’re no longer powering the native app on iOS.

Unfortunately for Google, they are not in the same league as Apple when it comes to PR, so most people will not even hear about today’s announcements while Apple’s announcement on Monday will likely be accompanied by a launch of other sexy products and features and will get covered ad nauseam.  In general, I think this competition is great. When Google and Apple have competed in mobile OS, desktop browsers and elsewhere, consumers have reaped the benefits of some of the best and quickest tech innovation ever. Bring on the maps!


Blackberry’s Last Stand?

RIM previewed the Blackberry  10 yesterday.  I won’t talk  about the specifics of the phone, but a couple of things struck me.

1. Even RIM doesn’t seem convinced that they’ve figured things out.  The executives just don’t sound all that convinced.  Also,  look at the body language in the image below. Does Thorsten Heins (the CEO of RIM) seem excited for this launch?  Compare that to Steve Jobs when he launched iPhones.

2. I think RIM had two choices recently  when deciding how to fight back against iPhone/Android.   One was to continue to release phones with physical keyboards and emphasize that they were the best mobile device for creating content.  Build the best e-mail clients/service that one could imagine, recruit developers to build document creation apps, blogging apps, etc.  In addition, continue to develop security solutions that appeal to businesses. While these wouldn’t have enabled them to beat Apple or Android, IMHO it could have enabled them to maintain a solid player in specific niches.

A second choice would have been to embrace either Android or Windows Phone as an OS. This wouldn’t have been an easy road, but at least they wouldn’t have had such a hard job to convince developers to build apps for their platform.

A third option would have been some combination of those two. As it stands, RIM’s strategy will make for a major uphill battle.  I think the path that they have chosen (eliminate physical keyboards and stick with their own OS) virtually ensures their failure.

I sometimes have nostalgia for my old blackberries but mostly I pity the folks that still have to carry them or [perhaps even more] the people that choose to.  The modern business environment means that no matter how well-established your business is, if you stop innovating/competing, you can be disrupted in 5 years or less.

BlackBerry’s Last Chance

BlackBerry’s executives seem to have no idea what the future holds, one of it’s cofounders completely severs ties, and the strategic retreat they have in mind may be too late. Read More RIM President and CEO Thorsten Heins at the BlackBerry World 2012 General Session. Image: Research In Motion Today is the launch of BlackBerry World .

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via: www.portfolio.com


Which apps are killing your battery life?

Interesting research came out today about battery life and smart phones. This study specifically examined Android phones – the finding was that free apps that serve advertising use up to 75% of their energy to serve ads . Crazy, huh?

In general, I would love a third party to scientifically assess/rate apps on efficiency of battery usage, memory usage, stability, etc.  Seems like a market opportunity? Maybe this is something the App stores should do themselves as part of the approval process?

In-App Ads Consume Mucho Battery Life

Jacob Aron, NewScientist: Up to 75 per cent of the energy used by free versions of Android apps is spent serving up ads or tracking and uploading user data: running just one app could drain your battery in around 90 minutes.

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via: www.newscientist.com


iPad Follow-up

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

Unfortunately I haven’t blogged in a while, I aim to remedy that….

I wanted to follow-up on my iPad post now that I’ve had a while to think about it and that it’s almost out now.  There were a lot of people criticizing the critics of the iPad and basically calling them geeks that were too obsessed with features and miss the point of the transformative nature of the device.  They specifically pointed to the early critics of the iPhone who were adamant about some missing features.  I thought this was a somewhat justified criticism and point and decided to examine it.  I remember those critics and the associated missing features, as I was one who lamented those features and thus waited to buy the 2nd generation (3G) iPhone.

Initial things that bugged me about the iPhone:

– At&t Network – had terrible reputation even then

– No 3G data

– No removable battery (worried about replacing after deprecated battery life)

– Completely closed platform (no 3rd party apps at all)

– No physical keyboard

So some of those concerns were addressed in the release of the 3G and some I learned to live with (e.g. keyboard). However, those issues that remain are still some of the most frustrating things about the iPhone, frustrating enough to make me consider Android for my next phone:

– At&t Network

– Battery life is terrible

– Platform is still controlled by Apple – hence Google Maps is crippled (no turn by turn directions for example) and no Google Voice

So, while the argument has some merit, I’m not sure that the criticisms from my original post should be dismissed offhand.  With all its faults and frustrations, the iPhone has transformed the world of mobile and computing, and my own life as well. I’m not yet convinced that the iPad will be such a transformative device, but remain open to seeing how it plays out.  I was certainly much more excited about the iPhone even though its initial feature issues kept me from buying one for a full year until the 3G came out.

My biggest gripes with the iPad are:

1. Seems that the iPad will be awkward to hold/use while typing and perhaps even just while passively reading/watching.

2. I still can’t decide which device this would replace for me.  Since the answer right now is none and most people don’t have tons of spare cash laying around these days, unconvinced about widespread adoption.

Certainly early demand for pre-orders and associated hype show that there are a good number of people who are anxious to try it.  I’m anxious to see how they like it and will adjust my opinions when I see/try it in real life.

What do you think? Are you ordering one?

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