August 16th, 2012
There used to be a time when BlackBerry was the hottest hand-held device out there. Canadian tech company Research In Motion introduced the first BlackBerry device back in 1999, though it wasn’t exactly a smartphone. In 2003, RIM released the BlackBerry smartphone that included features like push-email and web-browsing. Quickly, BlackBerry became overwhelmingly successful. When the first iPhone came out in 2007, some people refused to believe it could overcome BlackBerry’s popularity.
Today, BlackBerry’s future isn’t looking good. During the past five years, RIM lost most of its market share to other mobile platforms, particularly Android and iOS. According to the latest 2012 quarterly reports, BlackBerry’s market share loss has been the most significant compared to all other mobile platforms. RIM’s last hope depended on their upcoming BlackBerry 10 update. However, we all learned recently that the release of BlackBerry 10 was postponed.
To make matters even worse, Research In Motion is reportedly cutting more jobs, similar to what they did last summer. The main problem is that BlackBerry OS still places main focus on email. Besides, other mobile platforms are much more oriented towards third-party apps, in terms of both users and developers. Unfortunately, it seems like BlackBerry is slowly vanishing and it is only a matter of time before it becomes a thong of the past.
August 16th, 2012
No doubt, Android has always been good at notifications. A great example is the pull-down notification menu that Android first introduced years ago, way before something similar showed up in iOS. When Apple unveiled iOS 5 which included a new feature called “Notification Center”, many Android fans criticized Apple for simply copying Android’s pull-down notifications. On the other hand, since the pull-down notifications feature is obviously a good idea, Apple would be crazy not to implement it. Even though it might be considered shameless copying or even cheating, it brings a better experience to the user, and that’s what matters the most.
With the release of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, it looks like the guys at Google managed to make their Android’s notifications even better. Aside from a slightly different look, there are two main improvements. First, the notifications can be expanded by sliding your finger down. This will give you some additional information concerning whatever you’re being notified about. Once you’re done looking at the additional info, you can swipe it back up. The second big change is that users can now act on the notification, right from the notification menu. For example, if you are notified about a new Facebook message, you can reply right away, no need to open the Facebook app. This new concept definitely takes Android’s notifications another step further ahead of competition.
August 8th, 2012
It’s been four years since the last Summer Olympic Games in 2008 and the mobile industry has certainly changed within these years. Back in 2008, mobile apps were still a relatively new concept and let’s be honest, the number of smartphone users was nowhere near what it is today. Even in 2008, shortly after the AppStore was introduced, there were iPhone apps for the Olympics. Well, this time around, we’ll be sure to see tons and tons of great mobile apps, considering how much we rely on our mobile devices today.
Apple first launched their AppStore on July 10, 2008, which was less than a month prior to the Olympic ceremony in Beijing. It’s interesting to look back and realize how much things have changed in the mobile industry. Back then, not many people even knew about the Android OS. Today, Android phones account for the majority of phones sold worldwide. And as for iPad? It was non-existent during the previous Summer Olympics of 2008. This summer, thousands of people will be using their iPads and other tablet computers not only to watch the Olympics, but also to track medal count, follow their favorite athletes via Facebook and Twitter, and so much more.
July 13th, 2012
Many Android users are excited about the latest Android (version 4.1 or Jelly Bean) having been released recently. But will the majority of Android phone holders ever really use Jelly Bean? After all, only about 11% of Android devices are currently running on version 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich). The majority of Android devices are still running on Version 2.3 (Gingerbread), which is several API levels behind the current version.
Clearly, there is some major problem involved with this whole Android upgrading process. Lets consider iOS for a minute as a comparison. About 80% of iOS devices are running on the latest available version, iOS 5. And those that haven’t been upgraded most likely have iOS 4, only one upgrade behind. Only a tiny fraction haven’t been upgraded to iOS 4.
On one hand, it’s completely understandable why the upgrading process is so much slower for Android, as opposed to iOS. After all, there are many different smartphone models, from completely different manufacturers, running on Android. For iOS, it is a single company that provides both software and hardware. On a side note, in addition to software and hardware, Apple also takes care of retail and online services like iTunes. So, in a way, Apple is several companies in one. Having control on so many fronts, Apple is able to deliver truly coherent and amazing products. Unfortunately, Android fragmentation isn’t getting any better with time. There is major work to be done in order to smoothly upgrade all those Android devices out there.