Friday, August 27, 2010

Open source driving -August 27th

By Martin Wilde

The momentum around the adoption of Open Source for the automotive In-Vehicle-Infortainment (IVI) environment got another couple boosts recently. The Genivi Alliance announced in late July that it chose the Linux Foundation's Intel- and Nokia-backed MeeGo operating system as the basis of its next "Apollo" reference release for open source Linux-based IVI systems, followed less than a week later by the 1.0 release of the MeeGo for IVI platform. Running Linux on an Intel Atom processor, MeeGo for IVI ships with a sample Qt-based IVI Home Screen and taskbar featuring a scroll-wheel, as well as automotive-specific middleware components and sample applications.

This new spirit of openness and willingness to share and expand technology among historically rival manufacturers is a marked turnaround in the corporate car culture. Whether it's simply a marriage of convenience or a sign of the truly difficult times facing the industry, it's no less remarkable for its magnitude.

Automotive companies are concerned about driver distraction caused by IVI systems and Teleca believes that existing OS platforms like MeeGo and Android need to be enhanced to be able to certify which apps are safe for driving, with some kind of software or physical silicon partitioning to make sure that dangerous apps are locked out while the car is being driven.
But given that multiple car manufacturers are considering whether to go open source or to keep seeking proprietary solutions is evidence that the scalability and speed of innovation are virtually impossible to match in a proprietary software environment.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Let the war begin.. -August 18th

By Magnus Ingelsten

In the UK TV series Robot Wars, a competition between amateur teams building mechanical war robots equipped with hack axes, chain saws and powered by fierce electric motors, that are aiming to destroy or at least be the last of the fighting robots to survive the competition. And at every start of a battle the show host exclaims “Let the war begin!”
Now, can we draw a parallel between the little green robot (read Android) and the rest of the pack and the Robot Wars show? Is there a fierce competition and someone will eventually stand alone on the top, or will we see a fragmented market both in terms of segments, device types and OS adapted to different needs and industry segments?
If we embrace a variation of OS:s, is it good for competition and does it speed up the development pace?

I vote for that choice is good! And I dare say that the end-user do not care.? They care about choice. And to chose a device with no limitations and a lot of possibilities and freedom. Open is good! And they care about the total package with look, feel and a brand that deliver.

Because it is in line with the experience with other consumer goods My TV set, HiFi (do these exist anymore..?) TV surround equipment, washing machines, cars, GPS etc. Do we care what OS they run? I´d say not really. How about computers and e-readers and slates? It still comes down to possibilities and limitations. What can you do or not do.

My friend bough a new Android device the other day and we compared our two Android phones of different brands. He hated his device, and I loved mine. Technical differences? Not really. More features? Not really. Nicer device? Not really. But performance? Not really.... So what? Execution is the answer. One device lost usability and simplicity so the user experience got lost. He felt limited and without the right possibilities. It was all about expectations.

So, select the right OS for an implementation dependent on the user expectations. Ensure that the execution correspond to required possibilities and not limit them and correspond to expectations. Ensure the (user) experience is maximized to manage and address the use cases and features as logical and simple relevant for the user group.

-Expectations, Execution and Experience. Are these the 3 E´s for success?
What are your thoughts? (comments are welcome)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Is the little green robot all set to rule? -August 11th

By Sonali Mishra

The Android OS has continued to shake up the mobile world in terms of smartphone market share. According to research firm Gartner Android has now surpassed Microsoft's Windows Mobile OS in terms of global smartphone market share.

Android's share stood at 9.6 percent in the first quarter, up from 1.6 percent in the first quarter of 2009. Apple's iOS also grew, from 10.5 percent in the first quarter of 2009 to 15.4 percent, but Android is now clearly increasing the pace of its momentum.

In a further sign of its growth North American operator AT&T has announced that it is launching the Samsung Captivate, its version of Samsung's flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S. This will be AT&T's fourth smartphone running on Google's Android platform. Sony Ericsson has also unveiled its fourth smartphone based on Google's Android platform, the Xperia X8, and positioned it as a mass market alternative to its flagship X10 model. The company, which in the first quarter had its first quarterly profit since 2008, is back on the strength of its Android phones and its custom UX user interface.

So what has led to this a surge in Android phones? Openness, user customisation, longterm outlook, multiple OEMS and carrier partners, have all contributed to the growth of Android as an OS. Android’s openness isn't just limited to the core software platform: but is extended to a wide range of services and OEM device specifications. The latest release of Android (2.2 or more commonly known as Froyo) is now open sourced and starting to reach consumer devices. Froyo, bring a number of significant improvements including improved content discovery, as you’ll finally get a suggestion if you misspell an app name, substantial improvements in browser performance, both when launching and parsing content, and the inclusion of support for Flash 10.1. There are also new services supported by Froyo including support for Googles Simplify Media acquisition which will enable users to stream music from your home library and push apps from your desktop to the handset.

Following a slow start Android is now really hitting it’s stride with a wide range of OEMs supporting it, 10K+ new applications being launched every month, growing operator support and increasing market share gains. Wrap all of this inside Google’s massive marketing machine and it’s push in to new market segments such as Google TV and Tablets and you have very a true contender for the future smartphone market leader.