Monday, January 31, 2011

Looking forward to 2011 -January 31st

By James Salter

Mobile apps, connected devices, telematics…and an improved economy? As we welcome 2011, I am excited about the advancements of mobile technologies that I am seeing in my initial time in the industry. Combined with what some economists are predicting could be some okay economic growth and you get a potential recipe for lots of great news for consumers and businesses. And this optimism is coming from someone in Seattle right in the middle of our dreary rainy season J.

Fresh from the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas there is a buzz that comes with dozens of new tablets entering the market, many high-end 3D televisions ready to grace living rooms, new mobile phones, fantastic advancements for in-car infotainment systems and more gadgets than you think would be possible for consumers to consume. But all of these advancements won’t mean much without an improved economy. I mean, who’s going to buy these devices if the economy continues to move backwards or sideways, right? There’s lots of evidence that point to a “stagnant” economy in 2011 but I liked what I read recently from Kiplinger ( , a long-standing U.S. publisher of business and economic forecasts (yes, my glasses are a little rose-colored if you read the whole report). Here’s my summary of the positives:

- Business spending will experience a 10% growth in 2011

- Retail sales will resume their modest growth off a solid holiday season

- People will buy lots of mobile gadgets

Okay, so I made up the last point but I still bet that people find room to buy the latest in tech toys for office, home and car. In any event, as a marketing executive in this industry, I’m pumped about 2011. What are your thoughts and hopes for 2011?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Summing up Android for 2010 -January 17th

By Bhavya Siddappa

So how was the year 2010 for Android ? Here is my summary for the key ingredients.


Year started off with the release of Android SDK 2.1.

Google launched its first phone Nexus One on 2.1 running Flash 10.1.

Motorola Backflip with Yahoo as a default search page, LG GT450 Android Phones got launched.

20,000 units of Nexus1 were sold out in the opening week.


With the introduction of live wallpapers in Éclair version, users started enjoying richer, animated, interactive backgrounds on their home screen.

There were many edge cases in the service lifecycle that made it very easy to accidentally leave a service running; new APIs in 2.0 make this much easier to deal with.

Android SDK introduced a new UI for end users to monitor and manage the running services on their device.


With the help of Voice-enabled keyboard feature in 2.1, one could dictate message instead of typing it.

Android NDK r3 version released .

Google Labs released Gesture Search App for Android.


Google started working on Android Tablet.

Google confirmed Android 2.1 downgrades Image Quality 2.0.

Android twitter app from Google was made available in the app store, this app brought in an evolving Android UI design patterns.


Google Developers day – Google I/O was hosted and it got an awesome response and support, for the first time the keynotes were live streamed.

Android 2.2 (Froyo) was introduced with features: Cloud to Device Messaging, Dalvik JIT etc.

Through the new app market feature, users could report bug and developers were able to receive crash and freeze reports from their users.

Google Latitude API were made public.


Android 2.2 SDK and NDK R4 both were available for download.

An application which violations Android Market Developer Distribution Agreement or Content Policy or any malicious application that poses a threat, Google developed technologies and processes to remotely remove an installed application from devices.

Logitech brought Android iPhone apps for Google TV.

This was beyond imagination, but it came true: iPhone 3G was running Android 2.2.

French, German, Italian and Spanish speakers started enjoying using Google Voice Searchl


As android 2.2 supports application installation on SD card, this gave users room for many more apps, and benefits to apps from games categories.

Swype came to Android virtual keyboard.

Android Market welcomed Korea.

Google announced the release simple and free service provides a secure mechanism to manage access to all Android Market paid applications. At run time, application can query the Android Market licensing server to determine the license status of your users. It returns information on whether your users are authorized to use the app based on stored sales records.


It was interesting to see new players like Spice Mobility, Dell, Micromax launching Android devices

Samsung Galaxy S got launched, which till today is sold like hot cake.

Google Android overtook Windows Mobile.


Android 2.2 started to see wide adoption.

2007 when Google announced Android, Andy Rubin said “We hope thousands of different phones will be powered by Android.” But at this stage was growing beyond phones to new kinds of devices.

Samsung Galaxy Tab was announced and it was said to be a wake-up call for Android developers. It was scary for the developers as they had never seen a screen like this on an Android device before.

Launched Voice-Action in the new Google Voice Search for Android — an awesome new way to search faster.

Developers from 20 more countries were now able to sell paid apps on Android Market.

18 additional countries were now able to purchase paid apps from Android Market.


There was lot of buzz happening around about Google TV and Galaxy Tab.

Android was quickly moving to hardware that are increasingly different from the smartphone devices, having lack of features like GPS, accelerometers, and video cameras

Google announced the mobile editing capabilities for Google docs on Android and iPad

Adobe AIR 2.5 cross platform runtime environment for android released.


Showing content ratings for all applications on Android Market. This provided users with additional information to help them select the best applications for them.

U.S Military people favored Android and they all owned an Android phone.

Google Map 4.6 with new features in its Location Based Services was released for Android.


Google with partnership of Samsung launched Nexus S with 2.3 android sdk with support for NFC.

Google Map 5.0 was released which was faster, supported offline & in 3D look.

Android Market Client Update; more payment options in Android market.

Skyfire the popular mobile browser released 3.0.1 for Android.

Google launched a new eBook store to read digital books optimized for Android devices running 2.1. Andy Rubin confirms Google activating 300,000 Android devices per day


When Google launched the Nexus One, they thought this would be the flagship mobile device for their new Android operating system. The Nexus One served as the blueprint for Android devices, which exploded across most major mobile carriers. With their open approach and flexibility in what carriers and manufacturers can do with the OS, Android’s numbers grew. Android began to surpass the iPhone

As android became more popular, there was talk of fragmentation of the app ecosystem and the operating system itself. With frequent updates from Google, but carriers dragging their feet on sending updates to their customers, the problem seemed serious for developers and Android fans. Fragmentation may soon become less of an issue as more handsets are updated to the latest Android OS, but it’s still wait and watch.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Back from CES in Las Vegas -January 10th

By Andrew Till
Well another CES has now closed and it’s time to reflect on the key themes and trends from the show. So here are my initial observations though I reserve the right to update these after a good night’s sleep – something I have never mastered in Vegas !

Attendance at this year’s CES was significantly up over last year as could be observed from my favourite barometer the size of the queue at the taxi rank. Estimates for attendance put the total at between 120-130k people which would equate to a 40-50% increase over 2010. There were also some sizeable standards at the show with Sony, Samsung and LGE all seeming to be in competition for the largest stand.
What this really underlines is a renewed sense of optimism in the market and the prospects for growth with everyone expecting to enjoy a strong year in both the consumer and business segments.

Without doubt the main talking point of the show was the volume of new tablets being launched. During my walk around I counted in excess of 70 new models being shown off. The undisputed OS winner was Android although many of the tablets leveraging Android were using a basic Froyo release with lightweight customisation to support a 7 or 10 inch display.

The coming 12 months will be an interesting time for the Android tablet market given the latest market forecasts for tablet sales it’s hard to see how the market will be able to sustain 60-70 tablet vendors through 2011. The Android Tablet getting the most attention was the Motorola Xoom which was announced just before the show and features Android 3.0 (though it was slightly disappointing that the units on the show floor were only running videos as opposed as a pre-release Honeycomb release).

Although Android dominated there were both Windows 7 and MeeGo tablets were on display but you had to invest some time and effort to find them. It’s probably too early to judge MeeGo for the tablet space at this point in time while the Windows 7 tablets I was able to see delivered what you would expect but failed to bring real differentiation to the segment.
RIMs Playbook as the other major Tablet offering at the show and was receiving significant attention and a lot of positive feedback with the RIM stand being constantly busy throughout the show. Based on, the limited, time I was able to get my hands on it the Playbook should be able to gain a respectable level of market share. The only concern amongst potential users seems to be the lack of local mail storage which may limit adoption outside existing RIM users.

Would you like 3D
The overwhelming focus of the show was 3D and not just for TVs (and there were some BIG TVs on show in the 65-70- inch range) but also in Phones (SEMC), Cameras (all leading vendors), BlueRay players. It’s clear that the consumer electronics industry is making some significant bets on the success of 3D. Both active and passive systems were on display with some genuinely impressive offerings and some quite uninspiring ones as well. It’s also clear that 3D will not be limited to just the delivery of HD playback but will also be applied to UIs and applications being developed for the next generation of TVs and which are likely to be a key focus at next year’s show.

Web & TV convergence picks up pace
Another key themes was Web meets TV with all leading TV vendors using CES to show off their offerings. In addition this was also a major theme of Set Top Box vendors and Over The Top box providers at the show. As expected GoogleTV was a major discussion point with Logitech and Sony both pushing their initial GoogleTV solutions. Teleca also took the opportunity to demonstrate the solutions we have been developing for customers around GoogleTV. Another key platform is Adobe’s AIR 2.5 which is being widely integrated by many TV and STB providers. Samsung was also showing off it’s in house development called “Smart TV” which was a key part of its 3D TV range. An MIPs was showing it’s Android Smart TV solution offerings in conjunction with a number of silicon vendors such as Broadcom, Reneses, Sigma etc.
The focus was not just on providing access to streaming on line services, such as YouTube and Hulu, and browser support but also on delivering a compelling applications platform and enabling your Tablet or Phone to be both a content source and smart remote. While some of the usability issues have not been ironed out its clear that it will be challenging to buy a mid to high end TV without a connected platform built in.

The Car is getting “Really” Smart
Car manufacturers were out in force at this year’s CES either showing of their latest prototypes, such as GMs 4G concept car, or roaming the halls to see the latest advancements in in-car entertainment. It’s clear that the in-car entertainment experience is set to evolve rapidly over the next 2-3 years with everyone looking to move to a fully connected experience enabling access to real time services, applications and content stores and providing a fully integrated Human Machine Interface that delivers a consistent user paradigm across the range of services being delivered to the driver or passengers. However it’s not just about being connected in the car but a lot of focus is also being placed on how the in-car experience connects and interacts with the in-home experience especially around the portability of multimedia content.

Phone Plus
With differentiation in industrial design becoming ever more challenging for handset vendors this year’s CES gave an insight in to one approach that is likely to develop in to a significant area of competition. A number of vendors where leveraging intelligent docking solutions to enable a phone to deliver an enhanced set of user experiences and capabilities. Most notable of these was Motorola’s Atrix4 handset which takes the intelligent docking solution of the Driod X to the next level and is capable of docking with a Laptop Dock enabling a much wider set of capabilities.

The key enabler of this trend appears to be the introduction of 1GHz processors with Symmetrical Multi-core Processing such as TIs OMAP 4 and the nVidia Integra2 offerings. Of course it is also worth noting that there were many 3rd party peripheral vendors offering similar solutions for the iPod and IPad platforms. One that caught my eye was Connect 4’s solution that enables an iPad to be docking in a wall and to become an intelligent home automation controller.
I expect this trend to be a key feature of CES 2012.

LTE a key competitive play from operators
After last year’s CES I commented that LTE would be key for 2011 and so it has proved to be with Verizon, Sprint and AT&T all pushing their 4G services. There was also a wealth of 4G handsets on offer at the show with HTC (backed by a very significant marketing investment around CES), Samsung, Motorola and Dell all launching 4G devices at the show.

Other notable items
Microsoft confirm support for ARM with Windows 8
Connected appliances are coming back into the play – and Windows CE is still a strong player in this space
There’s an app for everything but based on the thousands of companies selling iPhone/iPad peripherals there is also an accessory for everything.
After the success of the Kinect a log of companies are stepping up their focus on montion control solutions
Home automation is becoming a key focus for next generation home entertainment systems

So that’s it. Another CES is finished and I am probably 4-5 pounds lighter thanks to all the walking but very excited about the year ahead.