Tag: Android

Devices fail in 2015

A not so mobile X86 PCThe outlook for PCs looks pretty grim in 2015, according to data released by Gartner.

The market research outfit said that PCs and ultra mobiles will deliver revenues of $226 billion this year, but that will be a 7.2 percent decline.

You have to take the current strength of the US dollar into account, Gartner warned, but even after that, the global market will show a 3.1 percent drop during the year.

Gartner forecasts that so called traditional PCs – that includes desktops and notebooks – will fall from 252,881,000 units this year, to 236,341,000 units in 2017.

The firm said that PC vendors are raising their prices to stay profitable but this is having a Catch 22 effect because it’s forcing customers to keep their purses tightly closed. Home users are also not expected to lash out on new devices.

Mobile phones will grow by 3.5 percent during this year and Gartner believes that rather than buy PCs, people will buy smartphones instead. Tablet sales will suffer because of that.

Roberta Cozza, a research director at Gartner, said: “Following rapid growth, the current mature consumer installed base for tablets is comparable to that of notebooks. Not only is the tablet segment nearing saturation in mature markets, but the influx of hybrids and fabulist will compete directly with tablets in emerging markets.”

She seems to think that despite Apple’s high prices, many users of high end Android devices will move to iOS.

A billion people get their data leaked

IBM logoA report from IBM’s security division estimates that in 2014 “at lease” a billion records of people across the world were leaked.

That’s about one in seven of this planet’s humanoid population.

IBM released its X-Force quarterly report and relays information about over 9,000 security “vulnerabilities” affecting over 2,600 vendors in 2014. That’s an increase of 9.8 percent compared to 2013 and Big Blue said it’s the highest single year total in the 18 years it’s been tracking such things.

The USA has suffered the most because at 74.5 percent that’s far higher than other territories. IBM said that 40.2 percent of the most common attacks didn’t get described by those surveyed but malware and DDoS accounted for as much as 17.2 percent each.

IBM said that there was a big rise in so-called designer vulnerabilities.

All operating systems seemed to be under attack – including Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

One key vulnerability happened in October with a researcher showing there are thousands of security problems in Android apps.


Tablet shipments to slide

ipad3The next five years for shipments of tablets will see them grow only in the low single digits, according to market research company IDC.

IDC said it expects worldwide shipments of tablets to amount to 234.5 million units this year, that’s only 2.1 percent up from shipments last year.

It anticipates, however, that the commercial market for tablets will grow, and Microsoft will gain some market share in the sector.

IDC said that the Android operating system will remain the leader in the market while Apple’s iOS will show declines this year. Microsoft, which had 5.1 percent share in 2014, is expected to grow to 14.1 percent in 2019.

IDC thinks the introduction of Windows 10 this year will have a “significant impact” because people want consistency across different devices.

Predicted market share in 2019 will be 62.9 percent for Android based tablets, 23 percent for iOS based tablets, and 14.1 percent for Windows based tablets.

Standards start for the internet of things

Internet of ThingsWhile there’s no doubt that in the next few years things ain’t what they used to be, and everything will be connected, there’s a distinct lack of standards right now.

But, according to a report from heavyweight analyst Frost & Sullivan (F&S), the move to standardise the IoT is taking shape.

It said a number of standardisation bodies in Europe and the US are working towards standard privacy policies and how devices will work together.

F&S said a committee has been formed by the European Telecommunications Standard Institute to work on machine to machine privacy standardisation.

And the Open Automative Alliance is a group of car companies and tech partners working worldwide to create a standard Android platform so that cars and mobiles will work together.

Analyst Svapnadeep Nayak said IoT needs an open architecture and worries enterprises worry because they want to maintain the integrity of their data.

Kayak thinks that by using a common cloud infrastructure with one application programming interface (API) for all sectors, IoT will bring down the costs of deployment and improve the efficiency of data streaming from gadgets and devices everywhere.

Microsoft Freaks out over security

Microsoft campusSoftware giant Microsoft said that people using all versions of Windows could be affected by the recent Freak phenomenon.

Freak is a vulnerability caused by software engineers making encryption weaker in operating systems as a result of an order by the USA in the 1990s.

Previously, it was known that the Freak vulnerability affected devices such as Apple and Android operating systems.

Microsoft described Freak “as an industry wide issue that is not specific to Windows operating systems”.

Microsoft doesn’t believe that peoples’ computers have yet been publicly exploited.

Microsoft said it is working with its partners to give information to customers to help them secure their machines. The security advisory can be found here.

Android ruled the smart roost in 2014

Android building, WikimediaIn 2014 Android was dominant as the operating system for smart devices – including smartphones and tablets.

And while Google’s Android OS will rule the roost this year too, as more “intelligence” goes into cars, glasses, and watches, ABI Research thinks its dominance will reach its peak between 2014 and 2019, showing only a modest CAGR of 10 percent.

Android will have competition from Chrome and Firefox, according to Stephanie Van Vactor, an analyst at ABI Research.

She predicts that those will show CAGRs of 29 percent and Chrome respectively in that time period.

Of course Chrome is also a Google product, but she thinks Android will work well with it.

The move to smart devices means that people will have a lot more choice in choosing an operating system. The research company didn’t say how well it thinks Microsoft’s OS for smartphones and the like will do.


Lenovo goes tablet crazy

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 11.38.21Announcements from the Mobile World Congress (MWC) are as thick as blankets of snow this week, and Lenovo has joined in the chase for more business by announcing a range of three tablets.

Lenovo, according to market watchers, has been doing comparatively well in the tablet market.

Today it announced the A Series Android tablets, the Tab 2 A7 and A10-70 and a Windows tablet too.

The A10-70 has a 10.1-inch FHD screen, and Dolby Atmos. The machine runs Android 4.4, uses a MediaTek quad core processor, weighs 500 grams and is 8.9 millimetres thick. It will cost £180 and ships in April.
The Tab 2 A8 weighs in at 360 grams and comes with a dual SIM card slot, and costs £130 for the wi-fi model. It will ship in June.

The Windows Ideated MIIX 300, uses Windows 8.1, has an Intel Atom chip inside, and a media card reader. It will ship in July and will cost around £150.


HTC gets all virtual

smartphone-shoppingMany people find wearing virtual reality headsets gives them a headache or makes them feel sick, but that hasn’t stopped Taiwanese firm HTC by announcing it will sell a system later this year.

The company made its announcement at the Mobile World Congress, an annual shindig in Barcelona where vendors vie with each other to attract attention for forthcoming products.

HTC is cooperating with Valve, a US company that specialises in video games, to let you pretend you’re walking around virtual rooms and psychotically blasting virtual foes to cyber eternity.

The HTC unit, called the Vive, can show video at a whopping 90 frames a second, and has two 1200 x 1800 pixel screens. It includes a number of sensors including an accelerometer and a gyroscope.

HTC has had a somewhat troubled time in the last two years as its core mobile business suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous vendors like Apple and Samsung. A VR headset is a new departure for the company, which also used the MWC shining to launch an Android handset to not much enthusiasm.

Dating applications expose businesses

1930s-couple-620x400Big Blue is warning that millions of people using dating apps on company smartphones could be exposing their employers to hacking, spying and theft.

IBM security researchers said 26 of 41 dating apps they analysed on Google Android mobile platform had medium or high severity vulnerabilities.  Curiously the IBM team did not look at dating applications on Apple gear, probably because the company signed a deal to push Apple gear in the workplace.

Unfortunately IBM did not name and shame the vulnerable apps but said it had alerted the app publishers to problems.

Apparently Tinder, OkCupid and Match have become hugely popular in the past few years due to their instant messaging, photo and geolocation services. In 2013 it was estimated that 31 million Americans have used a dating site or app.

IBM found employees used vulnerable dating apps in nearly 50 percent of the companies sampled for its research. By using the same phone for work and play or “bring your own device,” it means that companies are wide open for such attack vectors.

Am IBM report said that while BYOD was seen as a way that companies could save cash by allowing employees to use their home gear on corporate networks , if not managed properly, the organizations might be leaking sensitive corporate data via employee-owned devices.

IBM said the problem is that people on dating apps let their guard down and are not as sensitive to potential security problems as they might be on email or websites.

If an app is compromised, hackers can take advantage of users waiting eagerly to hear back from a potential love interest by sending bogus “phishing” messages to glean sensitive information or install malware, IBM said.

A phone’s camera or microphone could be turned on remotely through a vulnerable app, which IBM warned could be used to eavesdrop on personal conversations or confidential business meetings. Vulnerable GPS data could also lead to stalking, and a user’s billing information could be hacked to purchase things on other apps or websites.

Strangely, despite its dire warnings to Android users, IBM said it had not so far seen a rash of security breaches due to dating apps as opposed to any other kind of social media.

Meanwhile, it recommends that dating app users limit the personal information they divulge, use unique passwords on every online account, apply the latest software patches and keep track of what permissions each app has.

Android market share falls

330ogleData from market research company ABI Research indicates that Google’s Android operating system is losing share in the smartphone market.
The data shows that certified Android smartphone shipments fell in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to the third quarter.
Cerified Android shipments fell to 205 million in the fourth quarter, down from 217.49 million – a drop of around five percent.
The clear winner in the quarter was Apple’s iOS – while it only shipped 74.50 millions during Q4, that was up by 90 percent compared to Q3 2014.
Microsoft also managed to increase its market share in the fourth quarter, rising to 10.70 millions – up 19 percent compared to the third quarter.
Others – by which we can infer operating systems by Blackberry and the like, saw growth decline by 26 percent.


Microsoft fires up Android kicker

robby the robotSoftware supremo Microsoft is investing in a start-up that wants to give Google Android a good kicking.

Microsoft has written a cheque to power up Cyanogen, which is building a version of the Android mobile operating system outside of Google’s auspices.

Apparently Microsoft is a minority investor in a roughly $70 million round of equity financing and the financing round could grow with other strategic investors that have expressed interest.

All of them are keen that to help Cyanogen to diminish Google’s iron grip over Android.

Microsoft offers its own Windows Phone mobile operating system which should be doing its own thing to kill off Android.  But Windows Phone has only about 3 per cent market share, which may be prompting Microsoft to consider unconventional steps.

Google has frustrated manufacturers in recent years by requiring them to feature Google apps and set Google search as the default for users, in exchange for access to the search engine, YouTube, or the millions of apps in its Play Store.

For Microsoft, that means less exposure for its Bing search engine, which is up against Google search. It also could limit growth of other Microsoft software products.

Cyanogen has a volunteer army of 9,000 software developers working on its own version of Android.

Kirt McMaster, Cyanogen’s chief said his company’s goal is to take Android away from Google.

It had raised $100 million to date. Previously the company had disclosed that it raised $30 million of funding.

Cyanogen recently signed a deal with Indian smartphone maker Micromax to ship handsets with Cyanogen’s software and is close to announcing more such deals, say people familiar with the matter.

Microsoft in big Office give away

Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEOSoftware giant Microsoft has decided that people who use Android tablets will be able to download Office applications for nothing from today.
Office includes Excel, Word and Power Point.
Microsoft had already made versions of the software available for people with iPads.
But it has today also released a version of email client Outlook for Apple’s iPads and iPhones.
Microsoft realises that the market is slipping out of its reach and this is a gamble by CEO Satya Nadella to broaden the software offerings on mobile devices.
What it wants to do is to persuade people to upgrade to its fully blown Office 365 which costs about £5 a month if you sign up for it.
Microsoft also released a beta version of the Outlook app for people using the Android operating system.


People keep taking the tablets

ipad3Despite reports suggesting that the market for tablets is in decay, fresh data shows that it ain’t necessarily so.
Digitimes Research said that overall global tablet shipments in the fourth quarter last year grew by 16.9 percent to total 74.77 million units, mostly down to Apple and first tier vendors good performances.
But so-called “white box” tablets declined in the fourth quarter.
The survey said these white box tablets, using the Android operating system, offer very slim margins and many vendors have given up on manufacturing.
Apple managed to ship 21.9 million iPads in Q4 2014 and was the largest tablet vendor.
Samsung failed to introduce new tablet products in the second half of last year and so it say some stagnation.
Third in line was Amazon, displacing Lenovo from that position in the marketplace.


Blackberry recruits politicos for market share

Samsung Browses BlackberryBlackberry is fighting back against its competitors by asking politicians to step into the apps business.
The company’s CEO John Chen has written to members of the US Congress and is trying to persuade them to force competitors to make their apps available for his company’s own products.
The Canadian company has made its unusual appeal under the banner of net neutrality – a contentious matter in the United States.
Chen wants the politicians to force firms using Apple or Android operations to make their services available to Blackberry users.
Chen believes that the dominance of Apple and Samsung in the mobile market “has created a two tiered wireless broadband” system.
People using iPhones or Android devices can access more content than people using other operating systems, Chen claimed.
“These are precisely the sort of discriminatory practices that neutrality advocates have criticised at the carrier level,” he wrote on his company’s blog.


Tablet Windows faces uncertain future

windows-10-technical-preview-turquoiseBy 2018, tablet sales will reach 540 million units, despite 2014 being a quiet year for the sector.
CCS Insight introduced its annual look at the marketplace and bullishly predicts the market will grow 28 percent this year to reach 283 million units.
While people in established markets will look to upgrade their existing systems, emerging markets will play an increasing role in buying units.
CCS expects that Android will retain its position as the operating system of choice in tablet sales.  But it also expects Windows to increase share over the next two years.
That’s down to Microsoft spending more on marketing, establishing Surface as a brand, and bundling hardware with its software.
Marina Koytcheva, Director of Forecasting at CCS Insight said: “We expect Android to continue dominating the low end and midrange market, with Apple taking the lion’s share at the high end.  But Windows is gaining a bigger slice of the pie, albeit from a very low level, and should not be overlooked.”
She said that the Microsoft move to scrap charging for licences for Windows devices under nine inches will help Microsoft.
She said that move has encouraged vendors to launch better devices at lower prices.
She warned that Microsoft’s next operating system, Windows 10, will “take time to make its mark”.  It will have little impact on sales before the end of 2016.
Enterprises will help Apple, specifically the deal it forged with IBM late last year.