IDC reports that 75 percent of smartphones are running Android

IDC 3Q resultsIDC has reported that 75 percent of all smartphones shipped in the third quarter while Apple held onto 15 percent. While most people would see this number as a clear indicator of which OS is superior, it really only reflects two things—the first of which is the fact that these numbers only mention sales in the third quarter of this year and second, you have to consider that Android devices severely outnumber iPhones.

In other words, Apple has been able to retain a 15 percent share of the market all on its own while Android devices are counted as one, even though there are some 20+ devices currently on the market. So while Apple is doing well, it must be noted that they still had room to grow from last year considering that other devices such as Blackberry and Symbian were losing marketshare. One year ago, Apple had 14 percent marketshare while Android had 58 percent. Yet, it was Android that appeared to take over where others have lost.

What does all this mean? Well nothing exactly except that it seems Apple has somewhat plateaued while Android has been thriving. Many people had thought that one of Android’s weaknesses was that there were too many choices out there—so much so that many consumers would be scared away by all the confusion. But the numbers speak for themselves…Android is growing!

As a former iOS user and now Android fan, this is exciting. Despite my biases, I am a believer of competition and I don’t seek an all out war between iOS and Android which would put one in the grave. However, it’s nice to see that the almighty iPhone isn’t the only great phone out there and people are really starting to pay attention to this.

But enough of my opinion! Let’s look at the numbers directly from IDC:

— Android (Google Inc.) — 136 million units, 75 percent share (57.5 percent a year earlier)
— iOS (Apple Inc.’s iPhone) — 26.9 million units, 14.9 percent share (13.8 percent a year earlier)
— BlackBerry (Research in Motion Ltd.) — 7.7 million units, 4.3 percent share (9.5 percent a year earlier)
— Symbian (mostly used by Nokia Corp.) — 4.1 million units, 2.3 percent share (14.6 percent a year earlier)
— Windows (Microsoft Corp.) — 3.6 million units, 2 percent share (1.2 percent a year earlier)
— Linux — 2.8 million units, 1.5 percent share (3.3 percent a year earlier)

Has Apple lost its Magic? iPad 4 released already

iPhone 5 comicOne of my readers commented on a blog a while calling me out for “talking crap” about the iPhone 5 and we started a debate about whether Apple really does innovate products anymore or have they lost a bit of the allure that once was when Steve Jobs was around. Of course the answer to this is subjective, but what I found most interesting about this conversation was that he called me an early adopter, thus explaining why I have moved on from Apple.

So after watching Apple’s latest keynote speech where they introduced the new iPad mini, the new iPod nanos and some other product upgrades, I began to think about that conversation and what it actually means to be an early adopter. Essentially what I was being told was that because I like to get in on the ground floor of new tech items, it’s easy for me to get bored with the tried and true. In other words…the moment all my NON-tech savvy friends, my parents or anyone from the older generations start using things like the iPhone, I decided to jump ship to a less-saturated market. I guess sub-consciously I don’t want to be grouped in with all of the people that just buy iPhones because they see celebrities using them.

Anyway, back to the original purpose of this post…

Apple just launched the iPad mini which is really nothing special other than it provides a smaller iPad solution for those seeking one or just interested in owning an “i” device without shelling out tons of money. I feel this is great, but as a tech person, I tend to look at things from an aerial view. When done this way, it appears that Apple isn’t really creating anything new and exciting, but rather just releasing newer versions of their flagship devices.

Now I know all you business-minded people out there will tell us that this is the perfect business model: sell the hell out of your most popular products, but when is enough, enough?

The New iPad

iPad miniHow many versions of the iPad do we really need? And I’m not just talking about the different colors or sizes, but actual upgrades! The new iPad (iPad 3) came out just last March and already it’s been replaced by the new iPad (iPad 4)!! That’s right, as of today, the “new” iPad of November 2012 just replaced the “new” iPad of March 2012.

TechRadar exposes the key differences between iPad 3 and iPad 4 on their blog, but basically you’re getting a faster processer, a better front-facing camera and the new Lightning connector that everybody loves to hate.

I feel bad for everyone that bought the new iPad last March after scrimping and saving for it only to be trumped by a new, new iPad today! The old adage that technology is outdated the moment you buy it is coming true for iPad 3 owners today.

At least back in the day, there was some unwritten business plan that only released new products every year, which I still think is too fast, but seriously…only eight months?!

To top it off, the people who somehow didn’t know the iPad mini was coming, they too probably feel ripped off that they just dropped $500 for a new iPad when all they wanted was a slightly bigger iPhone.

My Thoughts

As if my thoughts aren’t evident enough, here’s some more for you to chew on. I’ll give Apple a pass this time around. Rather than complain that there are too many versions of every Apple product, I’ll just say that maybe they’re just re-aligning their product line.

They now have a full line of Macbooks, iPods, iPads and iMacs that come in a variety of sizes and colors. If we started at square one, then we can say that Apple finally has a product for everyone at almost every price point.

Yes, saying that made me feel better. But I have a feeling that next year isn’t going to bring anything new and spectacular. I think the tech world is going to have to slow down like the video game console world has. There’s no need to release a new device every single year.

I’ll leave you with a funny photo I found on an Android forum:
iPhone evolution

ICE is dropping Blackberry in favor of iPhone

In yet another major hit to the already dwindling customer base that Research in Motion (RIM) has acquired over the years through its Blackberry line, the government agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) is switching over to iPhones.

iPhone vs BlackberryTheir stated reason is that the iPhone currently provides a better technological experience for its users. ICE has used Blackerry devices for eight years now and felt that RIM has not advanced fast enough for their needs. I have often stated that the last saving grace for RIM was going to be its government contracts and it appears that this is becoming the case.

In comparison, Blackberry has always been the favored device for many large corporations and government agencies because of its ability to be locked down almost completely by IT and security managers through the use of the Blackberry Enterprise server where as iPhones and Android devices only offer limited control. As for the battle between iPhone and Android devices, ICE said that it looked at both options and decided that iPhone was still a better choice because of the tight controls Apple has on its iOS software.

Of course this development will no doubt give iPhone fans more steam for there “who’s phone is better” argument, but I feel that it only goes to prove that iPhone is indeed more of a tightly controlled device whereas Android devices allow more user customization and “hacks” to get things just right.

As a result of this change, ICE claims it will be providing phones to 17,600 employees which will equate to just over $2 million in sales for Apple. RIM is understandably disappointed in their decision especially since BB10 is about to come out in March of 2013. RIM states that the BB10 will offer a brand new operating system among other features re-directing their focus on getting back the customers they’ve been losing for over a year now.

Personally, I feel like RIM is done. They’ll go the way of Nextel and if their lucky, maybe they’ll be bought out too. It’s not that I want to see RIM fold…it’s just that I quit being a Blackberry customer when I bought the first iPhone and now that everyone is catching on to the smartphone craze, I can’t fathom how Blackberry can compete anymore. However, I might be speaking prematurely because with my luck, the BB10 will be a real contender and a new turning point in the smartphone game will have arrived.

iPhone 5 is here, but does anyone care?

I know the title sounds vicious and I don’t mean to imply that nobody cares about the iPhone anymore because clearly they do. I’m just asking because it seems to me that Apple has hit a roadblock with their “innovation” ideas. Samsung’s Galaxy S III features technology such as NFC, which allows you to connect automatically to other NFC-capable devices like portable speakers; S-Beam, which allows you to perform data transfers simply by touching your device to another and new motion gestures such as being able to convert a text conversation into a phone call simply by raising the device to your ear. What exactly has Apple improved on iPhone 5 as compared to the iPhone 4S?


From the looks of it, not much. Yes, they finally addressed the size issue that some have been complaining about when comparing an iPhone to just about every Android device. But rather than make the entire phone larger, they simply made it taller. Their reasoning behind this was that a smartphone should be easy to use with just one hand and making a wider phone would limit this. Instead, they’ve added about an inch to the phone’s height which brings the screen size to a total of 4 inches and a 16:9 aspect ratio. This is a 0.5 inch increase over the iPhone 4.

The Retina display remains mostly the same although they claim that the resolution and depth of colors have been improved making the display more vibrant. This is true considering the resolution is now 1136px-by-640px whereas the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 screens were 960px-by-640px.

CameraiPhone 5 camera

The camera has not changed at all on the spec side, but there is apparently a new type of lens that allows sharper and more vibrant images to be taken. I have a feeling the pictures just look better because the screen has been improved! We’ll have to wait and see. They’ve also added better image stabilization and the ability to take still photos while recording a video.

I’ve never been a fan on cell phone cameras other than their convenience and portability, so for me personally the camera specs aren’t usually what I look for on a phone. Besides, the Galaxy S III also has only an 8MP camera. One change with the iPhone 5 is that the front-facing camera now records video in 720p HD and takes 1.2MP photos, while the iPhone 4 only had standard VGA quality.


iPhone is now LTE compatible. This makes iPhone 5 the first true 4G phone even though Apple recently touted the iPhone 4 and 4S as being 4G phones. They were able to pull this off by comparing the actual download speeds of iPhone 4 on the 3G network and a true 4G phone, in which they found that they were comparable.

iPhone 5 also now uses the new nano SIM card which makes this phone no longer compatible with the previous micro SIM cards. What this means is that if you buy this phone from a 3rd party and it doesn’t come with a SIM card, you have to go down to your carrier and pick up a new one. This could cost a fee.

My two cents

First of all, if you want to see the complete comparison between the iPhone 5 and and iPhone 4S, check out Apple’s page. Second, I’m not impressed at all. Yes, it looks great (as most Apple products do) but I’ve gotten out of that club…the club of people that will buy anything with an Apple logo on it. To me, the iPhone 5 isn’t much of an upgrade and I would tell any iPhone owner that there’s no real need to buy this phone…unless of course you’re using an iPhone 3G.

Currently, I’m using a Samsung Galaxy S II and I was waiting on getting the S III to see what Apple was planning on releasing. Now that I’ve seen it, I’m getting the S III.

But if you’re an iPhone fan and love what you see, pre-orders start tomorrow and the phone ships September 21st.

AT&T and Apple Are Officially Unlocking Old iPhones

For years, iPhone owners have been stuck with their devices being network-locked to AT&T even when they’ve fulfilled their contract commitments rendering these devices useless on other GSM networks. That is, until now. Last week, AT&T began unlocking iPhones that are no longer under contract. For years, many users who have upgraded their phones have searched for ways to sell their old iPhone and it is common knowledge that selling an unlocked phone gives it more value on the secondary market.

The problem has been that unless you purchased your iPhone unlocked from Apple (not available until iPhone 4), then you were stuck with illegal software hacks to get the device unlocked. Unlocking an iPhone could easily be done by jailbreaking the software, but this option is not always safe and it certainly voids your warranty.

Official AT&T Unlock

The easiest way to do this is to simply chat with AT&T online! Here are the steps:

  1. Find your IMEI number using one of these four ways:
    1 – Go into Settings –> General –> About.
    2 – Dial *#06#.
    3 – Take your SIM card out and look at the bottom of the tray (iPhone 4 and 4S only).
    4 – Take a look at the bottom of your box…this is assuming you haven’t swapped out your phone at some point in the past.
  2. Head on over to the AT&T chat support page. You will need to log in to your AT&T wireless account.
  3. Begin the chat by asking to unlock your old iPhone.
  4. Verify any account information they ask you for and send your IMEI number.
  5. Wait for 5-7 business days and AT&T will send you an email with instructions on how to perform the unlock.

The email will contain something similar to the following:

iPhone Unlock














This email will come to you once AT&T has authorized your device to be unlocked. I’m not sure what exactly will keep you from getting your phone unlocked, but one of them for sure is if you’re still on contract and have NOT upgraded your device. It’s also not certain whether the steps above will work on older iPhones. An alternative method for unlocking your device is to call customer support at 611 from your current cell phone.

It looks like the restore process will check the Apple and/or AT&T database for an authorized IMEI number and perform the unlock if applicable. There’s nothing easier than that and the best part is that it’s free! I hope everyone finds this information before getting suckered into paying someone to do this for you!

My two cents

My friend upgraded his phone to the 4S and asked me to sell his old iPhone 4. Since this news came out, I decided to get the phone unlocked so I could attract more buyers from all over the world. I just performed the above steps earlier today, so I have yet to see how well this whole process works. However, when I was doing the online chat, I wasn’t presented with any roadblocks, so I hope that is good news.

I’ve heard some people have had to produce receipts for proof of purchase, but I don’t know how AT&T has been handling that. There wasn’t anywhere I saw to upload scans nor was there any information about sending copies in for review. I’m fairly certain that AT&T has as much information as they need simply by punching the IMEI number into their database.

If anyone has completed the unlock process already, please share your experience in the comments below!!

Goodbye iOS, Hello Android

Readers of this site are well versed in my rants and raves about all things Apple—namely the iPhone and its iOS software, but all things come to an end at some point. For me, that point has arrived. I’ve been using an iPhone ever since it came out in 2007 for two reasons. One, because I’ve always been an AT&T customer and two, because it was the only phone at the time that really blurred the lines between computer functions and telephone features. And much like other Apple users (you may call them fanboys or fangirls), I kept using the device. New and faster phones came and went, 3G was added, new features “invented”, competitors failed.

At the time, I was not interested in anything but Apple. I can’t be blamed though…it’s a fact that for a few years there, nothing could touch the iPhone. But today, all that’s changed. While iPhone users will tout that their phone is the greatest in all the land, Android users have fun at pinpointing exactly what it is that their phones can do that iPhones can’t. For the longest time, I was one of the fanboys bitterly defending iPhone to the last breath, but then something just snapped one day… (Continue to my blog)

10 Reasons to switch to Android

Whenever I speak to people about the “switch”, the first thing they say is how much they love iPhone and how they don’t need to switch because iPhone does everything. I expect this because I was once in that camp. However, I’ve come up with 10 reasons that made me want to switch.

  1. Hardware – iOS has one device (counting phones only). You get what they have and that’s it. If you don’t like the look or the specs, too bad. However, Android is on many different devices, so you get to choose what phone you want based on your real life preferences (and your wallet). Just on AT&T alone, there are 21 phones that run Android!
  2. Customizations – With iOS, you’re completely stuck with the general layout of the phone. Of course you can change your background image and some other visuals, but with Android you can have fully functional widgets that are actually useful. You can change fonts and sizes, colors, etc.
  3. Functionality – Both operating systems are great, but Android excels at functionality with things like automation (tell your phone what to do and when to do it),  custom app launchers (used to change how the home screens look and operate), remote control (use your phone through your computer) and let’s not forget that Android can play Flash videos. See more things that iPhone can’t do at LifeHacker.
  4. Multitasking – While both systems offer it, Android manages apps much better. On iOS, you have to double-click the home button and close each app one by one, whereas on Android, there’s a full-featured task manager. You can exit all apps with the click of one button.
  5. Screen size – This is more of a comparison between devices, but almost all Android devices have a larger screen than iPhone. You don’t even notice how small iPhone is until you’ve used an Android device for about 2 days. It’s actually hard to go back!
  6. 4G – Although iPhone 4S appears to be on par with HSPA+ (still not 4G) speeds, it’s not a 4G phone and this is one area where Android devices can really excel. Of course there are 3G Androids available as well, but there aren’t any 4G iPhones as of yet!
  7. Photos – This comparison isn’t between cameras since all devices are relatively equal. However, where Android excels in this area is with image controls. On an Android device, you can find many camera settings that rival those of high-end SLR cameras. These settings can be used before or after taking a photo.
  8. Apps – There was a time where Apple was king of the hill in the app world, but Android has certainly caught up with both quantity and quality of apps and games available. You’d be hardpressed to find an app on Apple that doesn’t have an Android counterpart. That is unless you’re using Instagram.
  9. Storage – With iPhone, you have 3 storage options and must pay dearly for the larger upgrades. On Android devices, you can easily add a microSD card to increase your storage for relatively cheap.
  10. File System – There’s no usable file system on iOS. You can’t create folders to save documents in. You can’t go into the system and make changes to things. In fact, to get anything off your iOS device, you need iTunes and even then, the task can be annoying. On Android, all you need is a USB cable. You can use your Android device as external storage. When combined with software like Dropbox, you don’t even need that USB cable!

Just for fun, check out which types of people use iOS and Android!

My two cents

In addition to the above list, I’ll say that the main motivating factor for me to switch was seeing how awesome the Android 4.0 software is. Another great feature of Android devices is the ability to install custom ROMs and software that utilize many features that aren’t always available on stock phones. You can customize to the hilt and when you’re done, you will no longer have a cookie-cutter device that looks like everyone else’s. For the first time, the word “customized” won’t mean that you just re-arranged your home screen.

There are naysayers of course who feel that Android was ripped off of iOS in its early days and Steve Jobs was one of them when he said this to biographer Walter Isaacson:

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

So far, I’m about a week into my new Android phone which happens to be a Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket (say that three times fast) and I love everything about it! This will likely get sold as soon as the Galaxy S III is released, but for now it is an amazing little device and super fast. And while iPhone is also a really nice phone, I couldn’t see myself going back to it unless Apple starts releasing 4G iPhones that allow more Android-like features.

Apple Is Targeting The Video Game Industry

Apple has collectively termed its line of products as being part of the “post pc” world and given that combined sales have beat the combined sales of all major video game consoles by at least 30 million, it can easily be said that Apple is making a dent in yet another market. Now of course, simply comparing these numbers isn’t entirely fair. Just because someone bought an iPad doesn’t mean they did it instead of buying an Xbox. But one thing is becoming increasingly clear…average people are becoming exposed to games through smartphones and tablets and seasoned console gamers are finding tablet versions of their favorite games in the app stores.

Even the global president of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata had this to say regarding Apple and the gaming industry:

“Game development is drowning,” he said. “Until now, there has always been the ability to make a living [making games]. Will that still be the case moving forward?”

There’s speculation among all major game developers that tablets are an unnerving cancer to the console game market. While it may be true that tablet and smartphone games are selling well, I can’t imagine that these little “novelty” games will ever kill consoles and PC gaming.

HardwareComputer gaming hardware

One of the major contributing factors to the success of console and PC gaming is the hardware. Usually in performance arenas, bigger is better. Take a car for example…the larger the engine, the more power it puts out. Computers are no exception…the bigger the graphics card, the more power it’ll churn out. Technology has certainly allowed wondrous things to be accomplished with very tiny devices, but the fact still remains that a beefed up powerhouse PC or console on a 50″ LED tv is going to be a much better experience than a rinky-dink iPad.

Another concern I have are the controls. How can you compensate for the lack of buttons on an iPad? Some of today’s games are so involving that they require controllers that have 8 or more buttons. The iPad can most certainly excel at simple games that require screentaps here and there or the physical motion of moving the iPad around, but can it really be used to play complex games? If not, does anyone even care?

The question about whether Apple will lead this industry isn’t about whether they can or not…it comes down to what the gamers want. If they want to trade in their World of Warcraft and Call of Duty for Fruit Ninja and Words with Friends, then that’s the new industry. Gaming experience plays a huge role in the psyche of consumers.

Gaming ExperienceiPad Gaming

The widely accepted culprit to Apple’s gaming success is the gaming experience itself. Today’s average gamer seems more interested in being able to play games on the subway or while waiting for their bus rather than be cooped up for hours in a stuffy bedroom. This means that kids are having more fun playing wirelessly with their friends on iPhones, iPads and Android devices. It seems the days of inviting all your friends over to your house to get down on some multi-player action are dwindling.

However, experience isn’t just about the device or the setting. It’s mostly about actual gameplay. Even though Apple touts the iPad as being a serious gaming device, anyone with a small tech background could tell you that there’s no way an iPad can compete with the hardware found in an Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. As a result, the games on the iPad are still very mobile and for the most part are quick puzzle-type games that can be completed with minimal touchscreen controls.

Part of the reason for bringing all this up is because it makes me wonder if simple games have become fun again. Back in the 80’s, we were all content with controlling little Mario around on 2D side-scrolling levels that progressively got harder, but then we wanted more. We got it when console gaming exploded in the late 90’s. This new gaming explosion effectively killed off the arcade industry while opening new doors for immersive gaming adventures that required some major skill and buckets of time to complete. Then we got 3D. It seemed like just around the corner, we’d all be playing virtual reality simulator games.

Yet, amongst all the new devices like Kinect and Move, people still want to cut fruit in half with one finger.

My two cents

My opinion on this has always kept the two gaming industries separate. On one side, you had mobile (and online) games and on the other, you had console and computer games. All gamers could have the best of both worlds…fun, quick games while on the road and epic adventures when at home. Now it seems the lines are being blurred thanks to everything moving toward the “app” world. Game makers are now forced to created mobile versions of their big games just to stay competitive.

I probably shouldn’t really be speaking much on this topic considering that the only console game I really play is Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, but at the same time, I could never see myself playing an iPad version of MW3. The graphics might be great and the motion of the iPad could be used well to control the game, but let’s face it. To downgrade from an 8+ button Xbox controller to an iPad screen just seems a little chaotic to me!

With that said, Apple is surly taking many industries by storm and over the years, they used the iPod to kill off Sony’s Walkman and Discman, used iTunes to almost destroy all classic music stores (remember Tower Records?), changed the entire phone industry with iPhone, practically set new standards for application and game distribution through the App Store and are now using the iPad to get people to buy something they never thought they needed. The irony here is that Apple was once criticized for not having much in the gaming sector and now they’re being hailed as a potential gaming leader. I’m curious to see how this plays out.

Apple OS X Mountain Lion Hits Mac This Summer

Much like Snow Leopard was an incremental update to Leopard, Mountain Lion is expected to add some new features over Lion, but not be a complete makeover. After looking at the limited information we have so far, Mountain Lion proves that Apple is beginning to look more toward their iOS software for inspiration. With the major success of iOS on the iPhone and iPad, Apple has decided to add some features to OS X that will reflect iOS.

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Apple iPad 3 Set For Release on March 7

[warning_box]UPDATE: Apple has announced the all new iPad (not called iPad 3)! Click for more information.[/warning_box]

Assuming the rumors are true, it looks like Apple will be releasing the iPad 3 in just 8 days! Ok, so that’s not exactly what’s going on, but Apple has said they will be making an announcement on that day. However, I’ll be honest in saying that I’m not that excited about this new release. Of course it’s hard to make that assessment until that time comes, but I think what it is for me is that Apple keeps releasing these “new” products, but I don’t think we need them.

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