The Hills Are Greener: Let’s Talk iPhone. And Android Too.

The Hills Are Greener: Let’s Talk iPhone. And Android Too.

Oct 10, 2011

While the “Let’s Talk iPhone” event and iPhone 4S announcement pale in comparison now to the news that Steve Jobs died this week, the release of the iPhone 4S is still news that needs to be analyzed along with the impact that it has on the future of Android phones.

While Apple hasn’t necessarily competed directly with Android in terms of hardware features, it is interesting to note that the iPhone 4S’ selling point is primarily that it’s the most powerful iPhone; it has a dual-core A5 chip and a better camera. Now, in terms of pure resolution it is on par with other new Android phones, particularly the Galaxy S II, which also has an 8 MP sensor and 1080p video recording. The camera sensor on the iPhone 4S may be more advanced than the Galaxy S II’s, but when terms like “backlit CMOS sensor” have to be used as qualifiers to determine that their camera is better, it seems as if Apple’s losing the war on proving the iPhone 4S is actually more advanced.

Of course, a lot of the disappointment is thanks to the Apple hype cycle and rumor scene. Many rumors of a brand new iPhone 5 swirled about, and people seemed to be disappointed when nothing of the sort was revealed. The performance of the Apple executives is impressive in retrospect considering the heavy hearts of those who likely knew of Steve Jobs’ condition. The rehashing of iOS 5 features seemed like an attempt to stall for time, or to remind people of what they were getting; instead, it just seemed like delaying the inevitable, a phone that was only a minor increase. While many of the rumors turned out to be straight-up lies invented by sites that troll for pageviews, it is Apple die-hards’ fault for taking them hook, line, and sinker. An incremental update seemed more likely than a brand new phone after a massive redesign just a year earlier, similar to the iPhone 3GS. Of course, Apple still needed one big feature to sell the 4S besides more impressive hardware.

That feature appears to be Siri. It will be interesting to see how Siri works for iOS users. Remember that Google has voice actions and speech to text recognition enabled across the platform; while Siri appears to be something more advanced, the idea is not necessarily new. The question as to Siri’s effectiveness will always be the quality of the voice recognition; sometimes Google’s voice recognition comes up with errors. Apple’s demonstrations never show any errors or what would happen if Siri doesn’t recognize speech properly; I doubt that Siri has a 100% recognition rate. This has been the struggle of adoption of voice recognition services; Apple’s Voice Control currently in iOS doesn’t have a great track record for accurate voice detection. In fact, I forgot that it even existed for a very long time! Apple will have to push Siri more for it to be useful.

The question is also, if the iPhone 4S has the same 512 MB of RAM as the iPhone 4, and if Siri has existed as a standalone app before, is it really all that necessary for Siri to exist on the iPhone 4S only? It reeks of an attempt to justify the 4S’ existece.

While Steve Jobs’ death lead to the delay of the Ice Cream Sandwich reveal this week, the time may be right in the near future for Google to strike while the iron is hot, and reveal their new Nexus phone with the new Ice Cream Sandwich user experience. iOS is still strong, but the reveal of the iPhone 4S did not necessarily light the world on fire (though that hasn’t stopped preorders from coming in large numbers, though this may be from users who have ready upgrades anyway), so Android has a real chance here to win over some users potentially disillusioned after that announcement. At worst, it’s a chance to show that Android phones can exist ahead of the curve that Apple is trying to set.

Amazon Wants a Piece of That Android Pie

Amazon Wants a Piece of That Android Pie

Sep 30, 2010

It seems another big player is going to try and take advantage of the surging Android economy., one of America’s largest online retailers, just can’t resist the open cookie jar. Rumors have been flying around about Amazon prepping to launch its own Android App store along with a possible Amazon tablet equipped with the Android operating system.

These moves by Amazon aren’t really surprising. They have a trusted name and a huge customer list. Why wouldn’t they take advantage of Google’s openness policy to deepen their own pockets (they aren’t alone: see Verizon). It seems the Amazon Android App store rumor is leaning more towards truth thanks to a leaked Amazon App Store Distribution Agreement that landed in SlashGear’s inbox.

This Distributions Agreement lays out the Terms and Conditions participating developers will have to deal with if they wish to have their apps sold in the Amazon Market. From what I’ve read these T&C are not very developer friendly. Some things to note: Developers are expected to pay a $99 dollar annual fee to participate in said program. All participating apps must come complete with Amazon’s DRM only. Developer must also update their apps in the Amazon store at the same time as they update said apps in any other stores. Amazon reserves the right to set prices, refund policies, and can also changed terms or pull apps at anytime for any reason. Sounds enticing doesn’t it? Click [HERE] if you wish to read the full Agreement.

I still can’t decide if all this market fragmentation is a good thing or bad thing? As long as the Android Market comes stock on all Android devices I don’t really see the need for developers to go through all the trouble. Do we really need 10 different ways to buy the same app?

Source: SlashGear

Ngmoco + Android + Rumors = “We Rule”

Ngmoco + Android + Rumors = “We Rule”

Sep 22, 2010

Last month, sources reported that Google Ventures (money, money) invested somewhere in the realm of $3-5 million dollars into popular iPhone/iPad game developer Ngmoco. Why would they do this? I’ll let you guys ponder that. Of course, Google Ventures denies any direct correlation between money-money and Ngmoco’s recent announcement to start developing for Android but I’m not buying it (Google is buying it, ba-da-bump). Either way, it’s more good news for Android users.

Has anyone else noticed the recent influx of game developers jumping on the Android bandwagon? One would see it as the next logical step for game developers but why all of the sudden? This brings me to another rumor floating around. The one about Android supporting in-app purchases in the next couple of months. Now these rumors are starting to add up. It just makes sense that highly popular and profitable game developers such as Ngmoco (who rely heavily upon in-app purchases) would be flying over to Android. Another recent addition to the Android gaming market is that of EA Mobile who coincidently develops games that support in-app purchases. You get my point.

Another plausible explanation for this rush of new development could be due to Apple’s recent launch of its new online social gaming service “Game Center” We now see developers of popular Apple iOS games such as Ninja Fruit (which integrate social networking platforms like OpenFeint) heading over to Android. Ngmoco is another huge player who integrates its own social networking platform “Plus+“. It could be possible these once juggernaut social gaming networks are foreshadowing their own demise on iOS and are smartly deciding to search for other ways of survival. More speculation but sensible in my opinion.

What does this mean for us Android users? It means now we too can enjoy the once iOS exclusive games and no longer have to settle for the cheesy knock offs that litter the Android Market. If rumors are true it also means more free games which will support in-app purchases. The only constant I keep hearing is “More Games”. I don’t know about you but every time I say that I get goose bumps.

With that said, I would start working out those game fingers and prepare for the onslaught of gaming greatness that should be hitting the Android market very soon. Rumor also has it the first game Ngmoco will be releasing for Android will be their hit title, “We Rule.” How’s that for an obvious reference to Android and its users. *wink*

So what have we learned today. We’ve learned that some simple math + some reliable rumors = Android awesomeness.

Sources: MobileCrunch, mocoNews