Monthly Archives: February 2011

Android This Week: Xoom Lands; A Faster Firefox; Gingerbread Flies

Google’s inscription height has arrived in a form of Motorola’s Xoom, a initial accessible inscription to run Android 3.0. Reviewers, including myself, found most to like trimming from an effective presentation complement to an superb knowledge with a core Google apps, such as Mail, Music, and Maps, to name a few. You can get a look during both a Xoom and Android 3.0 in my video overview. The Honeycomb user interface is outrageous jump brazen compared to Android on a smartphone, though is some-more computer-like and as a result, some consumers might find it severe on a tablet.

After a core Google apps, however, a Honeycomb knowledge lacks depth. As of late this week, usually 16 applications specific for Android tablets seemed in a Android Market. While Android smartphone apps do run on a Xoom and other approaching Android tablets, many of them are simply stretched to fit incomparable screens and rubbish most space. This suggests Honeycomb will take time to mature and that perhaps Motorola rushed a Xoom to market. Additional indicators of a early launch embody a non-working memory label enlargement container until after a program ascent and Verizon’s procession to supplement 4G support to Xoom: Consumers will have to send their device in to Motorola and wait adult to 6 business days for a return.

While Honeycomb might sound like a beta, I’ve used some Android program that indeed is a beta, and been tender nonetheless. Mozilla expelled a fifth iteration of Firefox for mobile inclination this week, and not usually is it a plain app; it’s rapid too. Indeed, my benchmark tests showed a 218 percent boost in JavaScript performance, creation for a quick mobile web knowledge on my Samsung Galaxy Tab. Even a dual-core Xoom inscription gained speed with Firefox’s browser, that tested faster than a local Honeycomb browser.

This wasn’t all about tablets though; after dual months of waiting, Google Nexus One owners began to see a Android 2.3.3 refurbish for Gingerbread around an over-the-air delivery. Since we have a tradition ROM on my Nexus One — I’ve substantially had some-more than 100 of them commissioned over a past year — my phone won’t see a refurbish from Google. Instead, I’ll need to return behind to a batch firmware and afterwards wait for a refurbish to be sent. Or will I? Instead of waiting, folks like me can install a refurbish themselves with a tiny download found during a XDA-Developers site. I’ll still have to “downgrade” from my tradition ROM to a batch ROM, though there’s no wait involved. And given Gingerbread brings a most softened duplicate / pulp duty that also found on Honeycomb tablets, I’m certain this will be my subsequent weekend project. That is if we can put aside my other hobby and stop determining robots with my Android phone.

Related calm from GigaOM Pro (subscription req’d):

How Mobile Is Changing a Video Game Market

Last week, mobile analytics organisation Flurry released a formula of a survey of some-more than 60,000 users who play mobile amicable games — a space that includes all from Electronic Arts’ Pogo lineup to Zynga’s Words With Friends and FarmVille. As it turns out, on-the-go gamers are really opposite than their console-playing counterparts.

The normal mobile amicable gamer is 28 years old, according to Flurry — about 6 years younger than a normal actor on consoles or PCs — and women comment for 53 percent of a worldwide mobile amicable gaming market. That’s rather opposite from a stereotypical picture of a 30-something dude chugging Red Bull to play a fight diversion all night. And with a continued proliferation of smartphones laying a substructure for thespian long-term growth, advertisers, developers and app store operators bear a following in mind:

For advertisers: Mobile amicable gaming is distant some-more mainstream than a universe of console gaming. So a assembly is low-hanging fruit for a far-reaching accumulation of intensity advertisers, generally those looking to aim both women and men. Unlike other forms of mobile ads, amicable gaming is good matched to a kind of “actionable” promotion strategies that ask a consumer to rivet with a code or click to call. But those ads should be some-more than only a walking ensign ads that increasingly ignored by consumers (and that mostly only pull other mobile games). Instead, advertisers should work with developers to confederate their campaigns with well-known games, and cross-promote them around normal media and online ads.

For developers: Developers should occupy each accessible plan in monetizing mobile amicable games, from the earnest freemium model to elementary paid downloads to giveaway titles upheld wholly by ad revenues. And mobile amicable gaming is a quite good fit for in-app purchases that inspire users to cough adult a few dollars to acquire practical collection or entrance new levels. (As prolonged as those games don’t inspire kids to ring adult absurd charges on their parents’ phone bills.)

For app store operators: The likelihood of an app being found gets increasingly harder as a Apple’s App Store and Google’s Android Market supplement some-more titles. So app store operators can money in on a bursting space by creation certain a best — and many remunerative — games are easy to find. They should spotlight a many renouned and highest-quality games as “featured” titles, especially those from established, devoted publishers, and make it easy for gamers to find applicable titles by regulating recommendations formed on past purchases and reviews. And app stores should precedence a amicable member by enlivening users to advise specific games to their friends who opt to accept those suggestions.

For some-more information on a expansion of a mobile gaming market, greatfully see my weekly mainstay during GigaOM Pro (subscription required).

Image source: Flickr user pfig.

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MobileTechRoundup Podcast 233

CLICK HERE to download a file and listen directly.

MoTR 233 is 62 mins prolonged and is a 46.5 MB record in MP3 format.

HOSTS: Matthew Miller (Seattle) and Kevin C. Tofel (Philadelphia)

TOPICS:

  • Hands-on with a Motorola Xoom tablet.
  • Don’t count Firefox out for mobiles only yet.
  • The third ecosystem – Kevin goes Windows Phone (for now)
  • iPad 2 is entrance – might not be outrageous changes
  • When will “smart” watches be prepared for primary time?
  • Other topics TBD formed on a discuss room participants

SUBSCRIBE: Use this RSS feed with your favorite podcatcher or click this couple to supplement us to iTunes

Watch Out iPad, Honeycomb Has 16 Tablet Apps!

The inscription fight between Apple and Google is usually usually removing warmed up, though it’s going to take time before it becomes a full-scale conflict. Apple’s iPad has a good 10-month head-start over Google Honeycomb tablets, the initial of that became accessible usually yesterday. Motorola’s Xoom is a initial infantryman in a Android army, and other Honeycomb tablets from LG, Samsung, Acer and others will shortly enlist. So we’re certain to see a ordain or dual join adult with Android, though we can’t win a fight usually with infantrymen. You need ancillary crew as well, and in this case, that means third-party developers. We’re usually in a second day of the siege, though a discerning indicate of a Android Market shows a meagre 16 inscription apps.

It’s good that a new Android Market has a territory highlighting Android apps for tablets, though a shelves are really a tiny bare. There’s a good reason for this: It was only a few weeks ago that Google expelled a program toolkit for developers to write Honeycomb inscription apps. Mobile app programmers simply haven’t had time to digest a new facilities — and a APIs to use them — in Google’s handling complement for tablets. However, we think there are indeed some-more than 16 apps optimized for tablets. The Earthquake app, for example, is tablet-optimized, though doesn’t seem in a list above. Perhaps developers need to symbol their app as “tablet ready” for inclusion this area of a store.

The inscription apps I’ve used — CNN, Pulse, Cordy and Accu Weather, among others — all do take advantage of a incomparable shade and new controls that Honeycomb provides. So from an end-user perspective, these apps are on a right lane to assistance Google tablets contest opposite a iPad. There usually aren’t adequate of them yet, and that means intensity buyers will essentially decider inclination formed on apps designed for a smaller screen. Unfortunately, a knowledge is generally a turn-off for some of a top-tier titles right now. Facebook’s home shade looks stupid due to little icons on a comparatively outrageous display. Twitter’s calm is tiny and tough to read. And even a renouned Angry Birds diversion appears somewhat reduction frail and some-more blocky on a Xoom’s 1280×800 fortitude display. Both a local Google Books, as good as Amazon’s Kindle app do work well, so a e-book reading experience, during least, is solid.

Will developers adjust their program to run on Google tablets? Of march they will, nonetheless Google should have worked with pivotal development partners to have apps prepared in allege of a initial Honeycomb inscription launch, like Apple did. That didn’t seem to happen, so regulating a conditions now is going to take time and effort. This means Android won’t win (or even be rival in) a inscription fight in a brief term. For a time being, Apple and a 60,000 iPad apps (as of final month), have a outrageous lead in terms of developer and consumer interest. Google’s going to have to put most some-more bid into mustering a infantry if it wants to be some-more rival in a inscription wars.

Related calm from GigaOM Pro (subscription req’d):

Watch Out iPad, Honeycomb Has 16 Tablet Apps!

The inscription fight between Apple and Google is usually usually removing warmed up, though it’s going to take time before it becomes a full-scale conflict. Apple’s iPad has a good 10-month head-start over Google Honeycomb tablets, the initial of that became accessible usually yesterday. Motorola’s Xoom is a initial infantryman in a Android army, and other Honeycomb tablets from LG, Samsung, Acer and others will shortly enlist. So we’re certain to see a ordain or dual join adult with Android, though we can’t win a fight usually with infantrymen. You need ancillary crew as well, and in this case, that means third-party developers. We’re usually in a second day of the siege, though a discerning indicate of a Android Market shows a meagre 16 inscription apps.

It’s good that a new Android Market has a territory highlighting Android apps for tablets, though a shelves are really a tiny bare. There’s a good reason for this: It was only a few weeks ago that Google expelled a program toolkit for developers to write Honeycomb inscription apps. Mobile app programmers simply haven’t had time to digest a new facilities — and a APIs to use them — in Google’s handling complement for tablets. However, we think there are indeed some-more than 16 apps optimized for tablets. The Earthquake app, for example, is tablet-optimized, though doesn’t seem in a list above. Perhaps developers need to symbol their app as “tablet ready” for inclusion this area of a store.

The inscription apps I’ve used — CNN, Pulse, Cordy and Accu Weather, among others — all do take advantage of a incomparable shade and new controls that Honeycomb provides. So from an end-user perspective, these apps are on a right lane to assistance Google tablets contest opposite a iPad. There usually aren’t adequate of them yet, and that means intensity buyers will essentially decider inclination formed on apps designed for a smaller screen. Unfortunately, a knowledge is generally a turn-off for some of a top-tier titles right now. Facebook’s home shade looks stupid due to little icons on a comparatively outrageous display. Twitter’s calm is tiny and tough to read. And even a renouned Angry Birds diversion appears somewhat reduction frail and some-more blocky on a Xoom’s 1280×800 fortitude display. Both a local Google Books, as good as Amazon’s Kindle app do work well, so a e-book reading experience, during least, is solid.

Will developers adjust their program to run on Google tablets? Of march they will, nonetheless Google should have worked with pivotal development partners to have apps prepared in allege of a initial Honeycomb inscription launch, like Apple did. That didn’t seem to happen, so regulating a conditions now is going to take time and effort. This means Android won’t win (or even be rival in) a inscription fight in a brief term. For a time being, Apple and a 60,000 iPad apps (as of final month), have a outrageous lead in terms of developer and consumer interest. Google’s going to have to put most some-more bid into mustering a infantry if it wants to be some-more rival in a inscription wars.

Related calm from GigaOM Pro (subscription req’d):

MobileTechRoundup Podcast 233: LIVE during 1pm ET

A downloadable MP3 record of a uncover will be accessible here after a live broadcast.

HOSTS: Matthew Miller (Seattle) and Kevin C. Tofel (Philadelphia)

TOPICS:

  • Hands-on with a Motorola Xoom tablet.
  • Don’t count Firefox out for mobiles only yet.
  • The third ecosystem – Kevin goes Windows Phone (for now)
  • iPad 2 is entrance – might not be outrageous changes
  • When will “smart” watches be prepared for primary time?
  • Other topics TBD formed on a discuss room participants

SUBSCRIBE: Use this RSS feed with your favorite podcatcher or click this couple to supplement us to iTunes

MobileTechRoundup Podcast 233: LIVE during 1pm ET

A downloadable MP3 record of a uncover will be accessible here after a live broadcast.

HOSTS: Matthew Miller (Seattle) and Kevin C. Tofel (Philadelphia)

TOPICS:

  • Hands-on with a Motorola Xoom tablet.
  • Don’t count Firefox out for mobiles only yet.
  • The third ecosystem – Kevin goes Windows Phone (for now)
  • iPad 2 is entrance – might not be outrageous changes
  • When will “smart” watches be prepared for primary time?
  • Other topics TBD formed on a discuss room participants

SUBSCRIBE: Use this RSS feed with your favorite podcatcher or click this couple to supplement us to iTunes

Firefox for Android 2x Faster Than Native Browser

Last night, while we was getting some hands on time with a Motorola Xoom, a Mozilla folks were bustling launching a latest beta chronicle of Firefox for Android and Maemo. For these 8 reasons mentioned prior, I’m intensely happy with a Dolphin HD browser. It’s a default window to a web on both my Samsung Galaxy Tab and my Nexus One smartphone. But when we review the recover records for a latest Firefox beta and spied several pivotal opening improvements, we had to try it. And I’m blissful we did since we schooled something really surprising: a JavaScript engine is some-more 216 percent faster on a batch Tab browser and some-more than 248 percent quicker than Dolphin HD. And Firefox brings a tiny though conspicuous speed boost to a new Xoom, too. Here’s a demeanour during a benchmark tests:

If you’re unknown with some of these terms, let me fast explain. SunSpider is a benchmarking exam used to review JavaScript performance between browsers. SunSpider only tests JavaScript (a scripting denunciation that enables functionality in web pages) functionality in a browser. A faster JavaScript engine, for example, can make web-based interfaces, such as Google’s Gmail, perform faster. The reduce a SunSpider result, a faster a tested browser will be for JavaScript functions. For mobile devices, this is key, since most of a mobile web’s functionality is built on JavaScript and a faster engine speeds adult a knowledge on a smartphone or tablet.

For f0lks meddlesome in a tender benchmark numbers for Android’s local browser and a Firefox beta, here they are:

  • Galaxy Tab: 5850.2 ms in Chrome, 2697.6 ms in Firefox
  • Motorola Xoom: 2119.4 ms in Chrome, 1787.8 ms in Firefox

I haven’t nonetheless put Firefox by a paces for usability, that of course, is an equally critical aspect of any software. But for a time being, I’m going to give Firefox a chance. I’ve only set it as a primary browser for my Galaxy Tab to give it a satisfactory shake. we competence have finished so earlier if we used Firefox on a desktop; a mobile browser can automatically sync bookmarks, history, saved passwords and open tabs with a desktop counterpart.

Related calm from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

 

Windows Phone 7 Arrives on CDMA With Sprint

Sprint will start charity the HTC Arrive, a Microsoft Windows Phone 7 handset, on Mar 20 for $199 with a new 2-year agreement and after $100 rebate. The smartphone outlines a initial for Microsoft’s new mobile platform, that usually launched in Nov of final year: Until now, usually handsets regulating a GSM mobile customary could run on Windows Phone 7. With an approaching refurbish in a initial half of March, Microsoft’s smartphone handling complement will support a CDMA phone standard, that is used both by Sprint and Verizon Wireless in a U.S.

Unlike many other currently-available Windows Phone 7 handsets, a Arrive supplements a 3.6-inch capacitive hold shade with a slide out, landscape, QWERTY keyboard. With a keyboard extended, a arrangement can be pointed adult and forward: accessible for examination video on a 800×480 screen. Other key specifications include:

  • 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor
  • 5-megapixel back camera with auto-zoom, peep and 720p video recording
  • 16 GB of inner storage
  • 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1 +EDR

If a Arrive looks familiar, it’s expected since a GSM chronicle of a device launched in Europe as a HTC 7 Pro. Now that Microsoft is creation good on a guarantee to broach CDMA support in a initial half of 2011 for Windows Phone 7, HTC can sell by Sprint. One critical note about a program on a Arrive: Because it will have a height refurbish that stream Windows Phone 7 handsets will see subsequent month, it will embody duplicate / pulp functionality.

Clearly, for Microsoft’s height to benefit momentum, it needs to enhance in terms of inclination offering and networks supported. I’ve criticized Microsoft’s miss of speed in terms of updates, not to discuss a botched refurbish that happened progressing this week, though removing CDMA support out in a initial entertain of this year is a plain step forward. we know that some Sprint (and Verizon customers, for that matter) have been on a outward looking in when it comes to Windows Phone 7. In reduction than 4 weeks, we’ll see how many of them confirm Microsoft’s height can indeed be a viable third ecosystem in a mobile space.

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LTE Will Grow. It Just Needs Hot Devices

Those prohibited new LTE networks are entrance online around a world, charity speed galore, though an researcher organisation says that though a right devices, a operators won’t offer those speeds to many subscribers. Much like we had to wait for inclination to take advantage of 3G mobile networks, LTE will face a same adoption curve, according to TeleGeography.

I remember contrast Verizon’s 3G use roughly 10 years ago pushing around in my automobile with my laptop open listening to Internet radio, thinking, “Cool, though it’s not something I’d compensate $70 a month for.” This was before smartphones, before Facebook and before a presentation of a real-time web, when being away was still socially acceptable. Smartphones, and essentially a iPhone, helped expostulate 3G adoption into a mainstream, and LTE will approaching need some form of mass marketplace adoption of a device such as a inscription with embedded LTE to strike a stride.

Of course, since LTE networks are still going to face some ability issues if everybody walks around streaming HD video on their iPad, we also consider a widespread of inexpensive and entire Wi-Fi, as good as newer pricing models for mobile data will finish adult personification a vast purpose in pushing adoption too. According to TeleGeography Analyst Peter Bell, vocalization about 3G and LTE: “Both technologies suffered from a miss of suitable inclination immediately after their launch, though a raft of new LTE inclination is approaching to strike a marketplace in a entrance months. Mass-market adoption will not be distant behind.”

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