Thursday26 January 2023

Displaying items by tag: iPad

SWITCH_Hands2_LoversInMorningI'd like to think I've got a couple of average teens, but I'm told the mere fact that they're growing up with an uber geek (not myself, but thanks) means they're not average when it comes to technology desires. Regardless, what follows is a quick run-down of their favorites.

Published in Editorials

HP-TouchPad-TabletThe tablet market has pretty much exploded. It seems that everyone has one or wants to build one. ARM (the company that holds the IP for 99% of the CPU technology that goes into tablets and smart phones) is enjoying a huge success. So much so that now Intel and AMD have set their sights on them, but we will get into that later. ARM’s designs as produced by companies like Samsung, Texas Instrument, nVidia, and many others have improved and are even encroaching on the x86 market.

Published in Editorials

Tansformer_and_Dock02One of the issues in the modern consumer electronics market is of course competition, but it is not the biggest issue. No, believe it or not the biggest issue in the world of consumer electronics is the throw-away mentality for most consumers. Back in the 1950s this problem was visited on the car industry. The automobile makers (in the US) were pushing people to replace their car every two years (yea that is true). This caused many cars to become quickly outdated (in many cases long before their time was really up). By the mid to late 60s the trend had changed because people did not have the money for this and the banks were starting to tighten up on their lending practices. The automotive industry had to change tactics and started pushing longer last vehicles (with better trade in and resale values).

Published in Editorials
Thursday, 08 December 2011 22:15

Google Launches Currents "News Stand" app

dct-feedGoogle is working overtime to catch up to and pass other companies in the social networking and tablet market. While there is no doubt that Google+ has quite a ways to go, in the mobile OS department Google is doing considerably better especially once Android 4.0 hits the market.  Still there are Apps that are only available on the iPhone and iPad that keep some Apple fans tethered to the iPad. I know there are Apps and games that I really miss from when I had both an iPhone and an iPad

Published in News
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 07:20

Microsoft could be making Office for the iPad

ms-office-logoThere is a rumor (according to CNET) that says Microsoft might release a version of their popular Office Suite for the iPad. Before you start slamming Microsoft or make the comment that Apple’s iWork suite is better/ just as good, let’s take a quick look at why Microsoft would even entertain this idea.

Published in Leaks and Rumors

14621rotten_appleThere is no doubt that Apple under the hand of Steve Jobs was a force to be reckoned with. It seemed they were almost untouchable in court and had the freedom to do what they wanted to in the market and in their business dealings. However, in the short weeks since the unfortunate passing of Steve Jobs, Apple has been handed down two very unusual judgments. The first one we told you about a couple of days ago where a Spanish court ruled against Apple in their attempt to label the Spanish corporation Nuevas Tecnologías y Energías Catalá as a product pirate.

This loss has now turned into a counter suit for loss of revenue and for damage to the company’s reputation as well as an Anti-Trust complaint against Apple. These two cases have not even started yet so we do not have any new information, but it is significant in the fact that the original indictment filed by Apple used the same argument that Apple has successfully used against Samsung in the EU and in Australia (the product does look like a stretched iPad).

Although this is localized to Spain the ruling does set precedence as now other courts will look to the decisions made in other countries when ruling on similar matters. It is also important to remember that the ban in Australia is not permanent just yet. Although there is a preliminary ban in place the final ruling will not happen for a bit yet. This loss could factor into it. It may also help Samsung in the EU with their appeals there.

Our next unusual loss for Apple comes in the form of a default judgment handed down by a German court which bans the delivery or sale of Apple mobile products in Germany. This judgment was put into effect due to the fact that Apple did not respond in time to the charge that they are infringing on two of Motorola’s patents. The reason Apple chose not to respond is not clear as the have plenty of legal staff to cover this kind of thing. Other sites have reported that Apple does not care about this because they are only the parent company (which the original suit was against) and their local subsidiary (Apple GmbH) is free to continue to sell Apple products as long as they like.   There are two flaws in this thought, the first is obvious; although Apple GmbH is the local subsidiary there are still run by the global parent. If they continue to sell Motorola can argue this and work to get the sales stopped.  The second is the wording of the judgment. It prohibits Apple from “delivering” mobile products into Germany. This means that once Apple GmbH and others run out, well they are out.

There is more to this though. Apple’s German website is nothing more than a redirection to Apple’s US site. Both names are owned by the parent company Apple, Inc. This means that Motorola can have that site taken down in Germany and prevent Apple from selling any mobile product through the web (regardless of where it ships from).

Now we have to remember that this is a default judgment and is by no means final. Apple still has the right to have the case heard and judged on its merits. There is a chance they could win this one yet, but it is odd that they did not answer the first response. We simply do not know why they have chosen not to answer, but it could have something to do with an upcoming hearing into Samsung’s use of FRAND (Fair Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory) patents against Apple. Apple is claiming that the patents that Samsung are attempting to use against it fall under this guideline and that upholding those against Apple alone would be anti-competitive (hello pot). If the EU investigates this and finds against Samsung then Apple can use FRAND as a defense in this case. One of the patents that Motorola is using is essential to the operation of GSM, UTMS, 3G. If Apple attempted to use this now and the EU commission rules in favor of Samsung then that defense is out the window.

So we see some things are changing for Apple since the death of Steve Jobs, the question now is; “are the two related?” Most people would like to think they are not, but we tend to think of big companies as their public persona. When you think of Microsoft you think Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer (and his goofy photos). When you think of Apple you think of Steve Jobs. This is an important sub conscious issue that could lead many to look at Apple differently even in court.

We are going to keep an eye on both the EU investigation into the use of FRAND patents and the German case against Apple by Motorola. We will update you of any major changes in either.

Source for information on the Motorola judgment FossPatents

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Published in Editorials

trnas08Asus is known for taking a concept and running with it. At least in the last few years they have been that way. When the idea of the “netbook” entered the market the thought was a cheap, light device for content consumption that could compete with some of the smaller products from Apple like the iBook. Many companies jumped in on this market bandwagon, but only one really went the whole distance (meaning that most companies stayed in APAC or the EU). Asus decided to develop the EEE line up and then pushed it to the global market.

After this daring move (and in less than three years) Asus went from an unknown on the mobile market to one of the highest rated companies for customer satisfaction (based on return rates and consumer complaints). Now we are seeing something very similar in the tablet market. There is no doubt that Apple owns the lion’s share right now but Asus has put out not just one, but three compelling competitors for the market to feast on. At the very top and for the Windows fan is the EEE Slate EP121 with a dual Core i5 ultra mobile CPU, 4GB of RAM and up to a 64GB SSD for storage. Beneath this we find the Transformer which is a 10.1 tablet with a keyboard/dock and battery. The last in the group is the slider, another tablet and keyboard combination but this one has the keyboard under the display and it… you guessed it slides out for use.

Now you might be wondering why I am giving you a rundown of Asus’ tablet offerings. Well the reason is simple; you cannot understand where a company is going until you know where they have been. Let’s take a look at what we have and what Asus has said publicly to gauge where they are headed in the tablet market for 2012.

For the Windows fans we have the current EEE Slate EP121. This is a great product, but there are many that look at its size and weight as an obstacle. In my experience with it there are times when it is just too big. Added to this is the complete lack of any usable accessories for the product. There are no cases for it, no stands, nothing. It makes using it troublesome for the average user.

Fortunately Asus is working on this issue. We have heard that they are planning at least two Windows 8 tablets and if the information we have is correct one of them will be x86-64 while the other is some form of ARM CPU (most likely Tegra).  This will put the Windows user’s minds at ease.  

For the Android market we know that the Transformer Prime will already hit the market in just 8 days. This device will be thinner, lighter and much more powerful with a quad-core Tegra under the hood. For the rest of the lineup we find that Asus has plans for two “Hero” products in Q1 2012 that will run Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich. One of these (so the rumor goes) could be a 3D display model (or maybe both will be).  nVidia is big on 3D and there have been some outstanding work done to bring the glassless 3D Panels up in quality and down in price. I would not be surprised to see a 3D enabled Quad Core Tegra under the hood of one of these two “Hero” products next year.

What we are seeing is the same thought process that Asus has used again and again with their products. They actually do some good market research and then they use the tried and tested shotgun approach. They launch multiple products and see which ones take off. In the case of the tablet; all three have but for different reasons (because different markets want different things). This is actually a great win for Asus as they can now work to perfect these products like they have done with the EEE PC line up which is now moving into another generation.

This is what Asus does though, we have heard about it since we started our relationship with Asus back in the late 90’s. They were not quite where they are now, but the one thing they talked about consistently and asked about all the time was “what can we do to improve this”. Now they have a much larger market to ask that question of and they also can watch what their competitors do to gain an insight into how to build on their product portfolio. It has been interesting to watch them at work and to also see how their products impact the market (we will talk more about that later).

We will be keeping an eye on the tablet market as well as watching the development of Windows 8 to see how the chips fall and if Asus will become the leader in the “non-Apple” world of the tablet both x86 and ARM.

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Published in Editorials

Ipod-touchYesterday I wrote an article where I speculated on the reasons that Dag Kittlaus (Co-Founder of Siri) is leaving Apple. In it a mention that it appeared that Apple intentionally limited Siri to the iPhone 4S as there was really not that much to lure consumers to it. By offering a “killer app” like Siri Apple was sure to bring the consumers to the new device. Apple’s comments on the new API were that older devices and even the iPad were not designed with this in mind and/or did not have the hardware to support it.

This has been proven to be a little misleading as there have been groups that have gotten Siri to run on the iPad older iPhones and now even the iPod. Yup, that is right the API that is not supposed to run on hardware other than the iPhone 4S is now operational on the iPod. The people responsible for this are a pair that goes by the names euwars and rudolf77. They put their heads together and did what all the engineers (pronounce that executives) at Apple could not.

Now this is not to say that there are not issues; because Apple’s servers are not allowing the connection from anything that is not an iPhone 4S (again with the control) none of the non-4S devices are having their commands executed. However, as you can see the problem is not the devices it is all Apple. Now, we are certain that since it has only been a matter of a couple of weeks since Siri and the iPhone 4S went live (and we are already seeing Siri ported to many of the Apple family) it really is only a matter of time before someone finds a way to spoof the command calls to the Apple servers and gets all of this working.

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Published in News

ICS-40There has been a lot of talk recently about the vast difference between the number of Android tablets on the market (around 6 million) and the number of iPad devices (about 30 million). There have been multiple excuses, causes and items to blame for this difference, but one that has been overlooked at almost every level is simply time. The original iPad launched in April of 2010 by comparison the first Android tables (of comparable size) did not hit the market until early 2011. Yes there were 7-inch tablets and even some terrible ones running Android 2.0 that were 10-inch but most of these were very short lived. By comparison the first real Android tablets running Honey Comb (Android 3.0) were not launched until around February/ March 2011. This put them in the market at the same time the iPad 2 was being delivered. Now, if you think that this did not impact sales you are seriously deluded.  People are always going to go with what they know and trust. At the same time that the iPad 2 was selling out there was also a large number of iPads hitting the second hand markets (eBay, Craig’s List etc.).  This only continued the cycle as people were looking to get these devices from former owners. The next thing that Apple did right was to push these to Target and WalMart.  That put them in line with the “price conscious” consumer. After all, if you can buy it at WalMart it must be a good deal right?

So with over a year head start, better marketing and a firm foot hold in the consumer’s mind Apple now has a 24 million unit lead on the Android Tablet. But, let’s look at where the Android Tablet is in reality. In only 6.5 months Android Tablets have managed to carve a 6 million unit hole into what was once Apple’s own playground. This is pretty impressive considering Apple claims that Android is inferior and that their OS is fragmented. If you doubt that Apple is concerned about the sudden success of the Android Tablet, just look at the number of lawsuits in progress where Apple is asking for an outright ban instead of monetary compensation. That above all is a big indicator of their mindset.

But what has really gotten Apple so bothered about this? After all it will take years (probably 2-3 just like the iPhone) for the Android tablet to overtake the iPad so why is Apple trying so hard to kill them now? To put things simply, Apple has a problem with iOS. There are two of them that have to be maintained. The iOS for the iPad is not the same as the iOS for the iPhone. For a developer this is a nightmare as they have to write two versions of their app if they want to cover both products. This is a headache to say the least. With Android and their tile based UI there is no reason to write for more than one screen size and this is with Android 2.3 and 3.0. When Ice Cream Sandwich(ICS) hits the market the division will be almost nonexistent. A developer will be able to write one app and not worry about different screen sizes or versions. This will be huge (right up there with Android’s full support of Flash) and could be an item that will lure some developers away from the Apple camp.

Of course this is not an indication that Developers will leave en masse especially with the fear of being locked out of Apple’s walled garden. It is an indication that more developers are likely to work with Android as the ROI (Return on Investment) is going to be much higher than what they will get doing double the work for Apple.

Although the convergence of ICS on the Android Based tablet is a step in the right direction, there is still a lot that Google has to do to grab a larger market share. They have to find a way to wall off certain apps for the average consumer while still allowing the freedom to explore to the more technical. I have talked to more than a few people about this and there are major concerns with owning an Android tablet. Most of these have to do with the type of content and the danger of malware in the Market.  Until this can be dealt with it is doubtful that a larger number of people will shift from the safety of Apple’s iTunes garden and enter the jungle that is present in the Market. Google also has to worry about Microsoft entering the ARM based tablet market sometime in late 2012 or early 2013. Personally I think that we will not see a larger adoption of Android tablets until ICS is in full swing. Once that happens and people see what they can have and do versus what they cannot do with the iPad and iPhone things will change.

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Published in Editorials
Saturday, 22 October 2011 21:44

Microsoft Trying Another Ploy to Save Windows Phone

untitledWe have talked about this one over and over and over (is my face getting a little blue?). Microsoft just does not get the market they are trying to sell to any more. Don’t get me wrong, I like Windows 7 and their new server stuff is fantastic (we will be covering a lot of that very soon), however when it comes to putting out hardware or even assisting in hardware production they are clueless. This is doubly true for their mobile division. So far we have heard them put down both Apple and Google saying their products are immature and chaotic respectively. Then we heard Andy Lees (the guy in charge of the Windows Phone Division) comment that the iPhone 4S was a wasted opportunity and that talking to a phone was not productive… I think one of the PR guys needs to pull Andy aside and ask him not to talk quite so much.

Even beyond Andy putting his foot in his mouth on occasion we now have Steve Ballmer telling us what we should want in a phone OS. His last comments on Mango and in turn the MetroUI were almost pleading in their attempt to get the market (and the consumer) to understand that giant square tiles are a good thing. Guys, they are not. We tried them here at DecryptedTech and they just did not work; just like they are not going to work for Microsoft.

Now, Microsoft has run out of ideas and quite possibly time. They are going to attempt to get the manufacturing cost below $200. Oddly enough this announcement came only a day or two after it was discovered that the iPhone 4S had around $188 in hardware inside its housing. While this will make the devices less expensive to make, and in turn should make them cheaper to buy that will not spell success. You have to not only have a compelling product (which they don’t) but also know how to market it (which they do not). On top of all that you have to offer an infrastructure to support it that makes sense and that people want to use (sorry third strike there Microsoft).

Mr. Ballmer, if you do not believe me about cheaper does not win the market; just take a look at Android tablet sales. In many cases they are $100 less expensive and yet the market still keeps buying the iPad… this is despite better hardware too. In the end you have to have two (no three), Ok three things.

1 a compelling product (not great or even that innovative, just compelling)
2 a great marketing team that knows its stuff and can give the product its own image
3 A legal team to fight off the ones over at Apple.

Picture Credit AllThingsD

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