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* Posts by Mark .

1842 posts • joined 18 Jun 2009

Microsoft announces $499 price tag, new games for Xbox One

Mark .
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Re: XBox - is a Licence fee

Yes the X Box has been such a massive fail. And with 100 million licences, Windows 8 is such a fail.

Seriously - I was criticising MS before it was trendy back in the 90s, and I have no opinion when it comes to X Box vs Playstation but let's try to have some objectivity. If there's something worse than people predicting a fail and then being wrong, it's when people try to claim it's a fail even when it's already turned out not to be the case. Yet I bet you think iphone's one million sales taking 76 days was an amazing success.

And remember, the people who want to play games but don't like locked down systems aren't buying consoles, they're buying PCs (most of them running the OS that you don't like). I don't like how most consolves have been locked down (rare exceptions being the upcoming Ouya, or I don't know, the 1993 Amiga CD32).

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Tim Cook: Android version fragmentation is 'terrible for developers'

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Most popular smartphone device is a Nokia

But "iPhone" isn't a device, unless you're really talking about the 2007 model. It's a product range - and therefore fairly compared against, e.g., the Samsung Galaxy range (which massively outsells it).

Alternatively we might compare operating systems (and yes, you can include tablets too if you like). Again, Android wins.

Or we can compare by company - Samsung wins.

Comparing by individual devices models though makes no sense. As I say, "the iphone" isn't a model, you're now talking about say, "iphone 4S". If one cake shop sells 101 cakes a day, and another sells 100 cakes, plus another 100 cakes with cherry on top, only a fool would try to spin the former as more popular based on the individual model.

But if you really want to compare individual models, okay. The S3 was the most popular device (beating any iphone, Q3 2012). And the most popular smartphone of all time is the 2009-released Symbian powered Nokia 5230. Sorry, no iphone device comes anywhere close.

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Mark .
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Re: Fragmentation is GOOD

I agree with your post on the idea of fragmentation being good, but just to nitpick about your three categories - there are "feature phones", which really have the same features as smart phones but tend to be lower end (and are certainly not dumb phones).

"Win Pho 8 has the biggest marketing budget of them all."

They can't be spending it well though - I see adverts for iphones one way or another (often indirect, e.g., product placement) multiple times a day, compared to at best a weekly WP advert.

"it needs expensive hardware to run it at an acceptable speed"

As someone who's neither owned a low end Android or WP device - do you have evidence for this claim?

"which is justified for the former due to the huge wallet-waving install base."

An awful lot of "apps" are free, e.g., apps offered for a website or company's service. Yet we still see plenty more for iphones, for some reason.

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Mark .
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Re: 5 screens sizes

I agree. It also helps I think that Android was designed from the outset to scale to different sizes, resolutions and aspect ratios. E.g., there are 4 different "sizes" that one can design UIs for, and developers have always known to test for a range of configurations (which can be done in the emulator).

IOS was sold on the idea of "it's easier, because there's only one device to develop for". Unfortunately it's been a slippery slope:

* 2010, ipad. Now two devices, different sizes and aspect ratios, but still claimed better than Android. Okay. Though this led to the myth that on IOS you can develop for two screen sizes separately, despite Android always allowing for 4 screen sizes...

* 2010, iphone finally gets a sensible resolution. Hacked to work by saying applications can just double width and height.

* Various changes to ipad resolutions, leading to increasing number of configurations that need testing.

* 2012, new iphone with different size and a new aspect ratio, leading to "black bars".

* 2012, new ipad with different size.

So now we're at 4 screen sizes, 3 aspect ratios, at least 4 resolutions. And now there are rumours of a 12" ipad on the way...

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Mark .
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Re: iOS users use their phones 50% more than Android users...

Indeed, and don't even need to check a widget to see bus times. Android will just automatically tell me it's time to leave, and Google maps will show me which buses to take. True, iphones have this too - thanks to Google - but the point is the survey is flawed if this extremely useful feature is only counted for the 5-10 seconds I look at my phone, and deemed hundreds of times less important than an hour of staring at Facebook.

I use my phone 24/7. Just because it sits in my pocket doesn't mean it's not useful for that time.

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Mark .
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Re: CEO of company slags off major competitor

Apple users are more fanatical about how much they like Apple things - shock, news at 11. I don't think that means a product is better. If I love my Android phone, but also note there are some things I'd criticise; but someone else loves their feature phone, and is ignorant of the things that other phones do better, does that mean the latter is better? Better at marketing, maybe.

The Android average will be pulled down by two factors:

* People who buy lower end cheaper phones. Although just as many (more in fact) high end Android phones are bought as iphones, the lower end will still drag down any averages.

* Niche platforms always do better for users being fanatical, because a dominant platform like Android is also used by all the people who don't give a damn about operating system, platform, smartphones or whatever, and so don't feel enthusiastic about it. Back in the early 90s when the Amiga was a popular home computer, but also a computer that the mainstream users themselves would criticise, I predicted back then the same thing would happen to PCs when they became popular in homes. And look today - I was right, people moan about PCs, but the minority of Mac users are still fanatical (and as the Amiga userbase shrunk in the 90s, the users that remained were more likely to be the ones who'd praise rather than criticise their platform).

And the other charts are misleading too. Since when do I have to code specifically for say, Android 4.0, but not 4.1? It's easy to just set a minimum requirement. Even if I limit my apps to 4.0 or above, there are still more users than all IOS users. Problems with fragmentation are more about different devices to have to test on - but with numerous iphones, ipads, ipad minis, and even rumours of a 12" ipad, that's a problem with IOS too now.

And for download revenue? Yep, Apple is expensive. I'd prefer the platform with lower costs for software, and more freely available software. What next - are Windows users going to criticse Linux because "software revenue" is lower for Linux??

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Curtain drops on Apple Store ahead of WWDC: What lies behind?

Mark .
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Re: Anyone remember The Grimleys?

I don't think anyone has a problem copying, whether it's Apple, MS, or whoever. The problem is the claims that Apple did everything first, or that other companies always copy them (your MS vs Apple being a perfect example - there were plenty of other companies with GUI OSs before MS). The level of history revisionism has reached new heights since 2007 - so I guess people here will want to react to that.

I agree with your 2nd and 3rd paragraphs - though your own post puts just as much a point of view as those you criticise...

Actually I like Android because it just works. I agree it's each to his own - but you then make a straw man argument suggesting that Android is only good for "people that like a fiddle", when actually (like Symbian before it), it's done great at both being popular with geeks, and being the number one mainstream platform.

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Mark .
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Re: Actually,

Talking about updates rather than features makes no sense - when you say "most of the ios announcements will apply to me", you are talking about features. Unless you really get excited merely by the announcement of a raw number, and look forward to having an increased version number on your phone.

How is the situation any difference for Android phones? They *do* get the latest update, but this doesn't mean the latest features. If you have an old Android phone, 2.3.3 might be the latest update for that phone. I don't see how it's any better than a phone claims to run IOS 7, but with none of the features. Google could do that too if they liked, but calling it Android 4 when your phone doesn't run those features seems rather misleading.

Indeed Google are now moving more towards a model where new functionality is rolled out via application updates from Google Play, without needing an OS update. Yet you'd rather have a bumped OS version number, without the features?!

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Mark .
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Re: Actually,

Android phone users do get updates, it's just most aren't running the vanilla Android. So if you're running Samsung's TouchWiz, yes it's true you may have to wait longer to get the features that Google announce, but you do get updates of TouchWiz from Samsung. So instead of getting excited over Google announcements, you should get excited over Samsung ones - for example, the various new software features announced for the S4 are I believe coming to other Samsung devices too.

I mean, complaining I don't get all vanilla Android features if my phone doesn't get vanilla Android - I might as well complain that I don't get IOS features, or iphones don't get vanilla Android features. And if someone wants vanilla Android, they should by a phone that has that OS (which, by the looks of the recent HTC One and S4 announcements, should be more than just the Nexus line in future - not that Apple users have anything to criticise, since they only have one model to choose anyway).

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Now you can use your phone instead of your wallet at the ATM, too

Mark .
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Re: my wish

Every ATM I've used in the last few years does this - only shows the options that it can dispense, and usually tells you if say only £20 notes are available before you even put the card in.

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Mark .
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Indeed. Not to mention "interface clearly inspired by the iPhone and its ilk" - my 2005 feature phone had coloured icons. As did the 1985 Amiga and Windows 3.1.

(And whilst most ATMs seem to opt for text buttons, icons on touch-screen kiosk type things, like ticket machines, has been done for years.)

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SEXY models clash at big bash over catty tweets: Yup, it's HTC v Samsung

Mark .
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Re: outsourced PR?

Alternatively, there are now loads more people aware that HTC has the best phone award, and Samsung won 3 awards. And see a light-hearted more human side of the companies, rather than them being faceless corporations.

Just look at when Samsung rip the piss out of Apple - that's not bad PR, that's excellent because it gets loads of media coverage.

(Though I agree, stepping into potentially libellous claims is a bad idea.)

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Sneaky new Android Trojan is WORST yet discovered

Mark .
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Re: Manufacturer & Mobile operator

So making an Android device to put your own storefront on it is doomed to failure, then you cite everyone buying from Amazon *cough*Kindle Fire*cough*?

"Where's Jobs when you need him? He'd have made it work, and then everybody else could have learned how to do it."

Funny how he failed to make these things work. I love how Apple fanatics now argue by simply *making up what Apple might do*, even though they haven't done it. Let me try it to: an Apple solution would only work with Apple devices. It would cost twice as much, lack basic functionality, sell less than the competition, but have a light up glow in dark logo and by hyped by the media before it even existed. Just like you are doing now.

The examples you list are precisely the things that Jobs and Apple don't do well. Just look at the mess we've got outselves into where so many audio devices only work with the minority of Apple phones or outdated ipods - my TV actually makes a far better audio sharing device, because it supports DLNA and USB, working with any hardware or platform.

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Mark .
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It's Open Source, so manufacturers can and do what they like - and with Samsung selling 10s of millions a month, they're not going to change anytime soon.

I do agree though I wish there were more Nexus-like devices - perhaps we'll start to see this now (as with the new S4 announced running standard Android).

"The latest generation of devices ought to have sufficient memory and storage available to handle a slow growing OS footprint."

Possibly they don't though? My Galaxy Nexus is starting to be sluggish in areas, and it's still way better than the low end of new devices.

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Apple unveils hints of Monday's new-product announcements

Mark .
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Not news

"An announcement that Apple might announce something!"

Next please. How about coverage of actual product releases? Takes me back to the days when the media would go on about iphones for months, whilst ignoring the better selling phone companies like Samsung and Nokia. Oh wait, that's still the case now.

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Mark .
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Re: 7 and X ==> Consolidation?

I think you're about 10 years out - MS "trying to run their one one OS everywhere" was more what they did with Windows Mobile. Windows Phone is very much a mobile OS, and the supposed criticisms are them trying to make their one OS more touch friendly, not run it everywhere.

"Apple dovetailing their two established and generally well-liked platforms"

MS have two established and generally well-liked platforms (sure, there are haters, but look how many haters there are of IOS). Three if you include X Box. Sure, WP has smaller share than IOS, but then OS X has smaller share than Windows.

OS X and IOS share the same kernel, but aren't the same OS. Same as with Android and GNU/Linux, or Windows and Windows Phone. And the assertion that they'll unify them better is just a made up claim - it's the same old story, people claim Apple are better even before a product even exists. Same as the way the media gave vast amounts of media coverage to only Apple before the ipad was even announced - yet when Android tablets finally got the coverage, Apple's sales collapsed and Android dominated.

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MYSTERY Nokia image-mangling mobe spotted in public

Mark .
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Re: Windows phones built to Microsoft's hardware recipe

Why do you care? I mean, I don't care about the company that makes the most profits - that's money taken from consumers, that isn't going into the product you've bought.

I care about who makes the products I like. I mean, by all means say you'd prefer a Nokia phone running Android, fine. But, "I wish Nokia switched to Android, to make them more profit"? Plus it hasn't worked out so well for Motorola, HTC, etc...

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Mark .
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Re: I've been waiting a long time for this.

Not sure if you were aware of this (with you saying you used the 5800), but note that the 808's OS, particularly the UI, is much improved over what the 5800 had (as you say, imagine judging Android or IOS today by their first versions).

Although yes, I can understand not wanting to buy the last of its kind for a platform.

I don't know the reasons for the 640x360 resolution (which was interestingly way ahead of the competition in 2008-2009, though sadly lacking now) - I can see it being a case of not worth the risk of changing it for one last device.

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Google slides its soft finger-fondling into any willing Android doodad

Mark .
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Re: 70% of Android users can get this

And indeed, this matches the overall from http://developer.android.com/about/dashboards/index.html , which lists:

Android 4.x: 57.6%

Android 2.x: 41.2%

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Smart TVs riddled with DUMB security holes

Mark .
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Re: And more importantly...

True, but then I think you can get wireless keyboards to tweet on a smart TV :)

But yes, both ways have their pros and cons. Like you I used to use the PC method a lot for playing video files, but now the smart TV method is just a bit easier most the time.

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Mark .
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But they do understand it - they do work without needing to be configured. This guy thinks they should be configurable. You, I, and the existing manufacturers, don't.

And ah yes, it's the "Apple are better" with a product that *doesn't even exist*. And the new AmigaBoxTV would be better still. (Well actually it does - Apple TV. Remember that? Exactly.)

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Mark .
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Re: Smart TVs are dumb full stop

Not true - above a certain point, smart TV is standard. It would have cost me more to buy an equivalent smartless TV with a separate box. (It's the same with 3D - I thought there's no point paying a premium for a rarely used gimick, but the TVs I was wanting to get all had it as standard anyway.)

Some smart TVs are actually now done as having upgradeable parts.

Whilst it might be that online TV services stop supporting older smart TVs, I would seriously hope they couldn't disable functionality such as DLNA or web access - if they did, they'd risk a lawsuit. Anyhow, if it's out of date for new online services in a few years, big deal, I'm still free to buy whatever box I like.

And really, this is like saying "Freeview is dumb, you're better off buying a separate Freeview box" - well, that's still Freeview. And whether it's better to get it built in, or in a separate box, depends on the circumstances. For existing TVs, a separate box is better, but it would be mad to go out of your way to avoid Freeview in a new TV, in the belief you'd save money with a separate box. Indeed, I never use Freeview, but my TV still does it - I don't think it would be realistic to get one that didn't, unless it was a low end one. How many people in the UK do you know with recent TVs that don't do Freeview, whether or not they use it?

(And before you say Freeview is a standard - I suspect it won't be long before broadcast TV is entirely replaced by Internet playing.)

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Mark .
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Re: And more importantly...

Yes - it's about as painful as trying to use a PC to watch videos on your TV. It's awkward using a remote control to type a tweet on a TV, and it's awkward having to get up and use a mouse to control your TV.

That's the point, by making a TV a computer, there's a lot more ways you can now easily watch TV (on-demand, downloaded content, etc).

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Mark .
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Well, I think the "You can play games, 'apps' and read Facebook on your TV" is a bit ridiculous[*], but the features do help for watching TV. Even though I have a PC connected to the TV, it's easier to just use the TV remote to play a video file over the wireless network, than it is to switch to the PC input, then walk over and faff with the mouse to play the file.

If I want to play content from my laptop/phone/etc, I can send it straight to the TV without having to get up and plug it in with cables.

If I want to watch something on iplayer, Youtube etc, I can do it without going through the PC.

And having functionality that's included as standard is probably easier for most than setting up and connecting a computer. The point is that different ways work for different people (e.g., some will say they don't need a PC if they do it through a console; others make a smart TV with an external box instead of it being built in). Yes, if "smart TV" didn't exist, there'd be other ways of achieving the same thing, but it's still a useful easy addition to the ways that we can now do those things.

[*] Especially as the same media/adverts tell me I should be watching TV on a laptop/tablet. It's like backwards world.

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iPHONES and 'Pads BANNED in US for violating Samsung patent

Mark .
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Quite - from thinking they invented the smartphone, with a phone that wasn't even smart, to patents on rounded rectangles. The OP must be deluded to think that this single news story is going to change such people's views.

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Mark .
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Re: Low impact and USA only

The older products are typically still on sale at lower prices, and contribute to Apple's sales.

Whilst the USA is only a small part of the global market, it's of importance as it's the one where Apple do better (rest of the world, Android dominates, and it was Symbian that did before that). For the English-speading world at least, I think this infects other contries with media iphone focus.

The other point is it's not just sales, but damages - perhaps reclaiming some of that billion dollars. And maybe getting a taste of their own medicine will stop future patent wars, we can only hope. (It's only the USA, but it's mainly the USA where the courts have been upholding these claims.)

And anything that gets Apple and Samsung in the media is good for Samsung, as the media already give plenty of coverage to Apple.

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Mark .
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Re: Win for Apple

Um, I doubt this will stop people from using the phones they already have.

If you mean being unable to buy them, then instead of buying an older iphone 4 that's still on sale at a lower price, they'll buy one of the many competing phones at those prices.

Don't forget most phones are simply sold through contracts - companies who were including the iphone 4 on contracts at a given price aren't going to suddenly give away a 4s at the same price, rather, Apple will simply no longer be available on those contracts.

Think about it - if what you said is true, then why does Apple make older phones available at all, if by your logic it just harms their profits?

Also I don't see what's hilarious about timing - Apple only release one new phone a year, and so we're likely months away from a new release.

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Mark .
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Re: @john 19

No in that case, they just bought the company...

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Intel: Haswell is biggest 'generational leap' we have EVER DONE

Mark .
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Re: Ultrabook debacle

They weren't the first, they weren't the first to make it popular. The first popular ultra-portable laptops were netbooks I would say, which appeared around the same time as Apple Airs. I'm not sure I'd say the high end ultra-portables have ever been mainstream, with most people preferring larger more powerful laptops, and using smartphones now for when they're on the move.

Intel created the "Ultrabook" trademark in 2011, years after this, so no, it wasn't "piling in". Nor was "Ultrabook" a new format, it was more about marketing - giving a name, so people say "I want to buy an Ultrabook" and then restrict themselves to the choice of laptops that Intel get paid a fee on. (After all, Apple PCs use Intel too, so it's not like Intel were losing money from competition.)

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Mark .
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Re: Double the power of existing Intel graphics

The AC didn't specify - but it's still useful for Intel HD graphics to be faster.

Why don't we see more AMD x86 CPU/GPUs in ultra-portables/hybrids/tablets, anyone know?

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Mark .
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Re: Still.

I find it funny to see all the people saying this, are people who own laptops too. At least, correct me if I'm wrong - do you do everything on a phone? Whilst I've no doubt that there are some people using phones instead of laptops (this is Not News - I recall stories as far back as 2005 about this), this does not seem to be most people.

In fact, with "powerful a computer as most people need and such people have no use for more powerful" you've got it backwards - it's laptops that are as powerful as most people need, so there's no longer as much need to buy new laptops as often. But people buy smartphones and tablets more often, because there's still a reason to get a more powerful device.

When phones become as powerful as most people need, then the phone market will have "problems" too.

It's also worth noting that phone sales have fallen (I believe in 2012), I don't see doom and gloom about dying phone market. (The stats are hidden because the media look at the ill-defined "smart" phone market, so basically, phones marketed with an arbitrary label are selling more - you could do the same trick with an arbitrary subset of PCs, and claim they've increased in sales.)

It's obvious that phones will always have larger sales - phones are upgraded more often due to either being cheaper or tied to a contract, and they are also a personal device, where as laptops and desktops have often been shared. I presume that phone sales have been larger than PC sales for a long time - I don't know why we hear the doom and gloom about PCs only now.

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Mark .
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Re: Ultrabook debacle

Rather, it was the first one the media decided to market for them, even before it was announced, let alone released.

(And yes, ultra-portables have been around for years, and I don't recall Apple doing anything to popularise them - that really is history revisionism.)

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Re: Double the power of existing Intel graphics

You've got to compare like with like. Sure, high end gamers aren't going to be throwing away their NVIDIA/AMD GPUs, but ultra-portables and tablets don't have those in anyway. How does it look when we compare to the competition in tablets, i.e., ARM based GPUs?

Intel HD is pretty good for most people, including for older or less high end games, and imo the driver quality seems much improved over the older GMA chipsets. I'd be interesting to see what the situation is for the Atom x86 processors though...

And even the high end gaming laptops benefit from Intel HD improvements, since things like Optimus will use the Intel graphics most the time, only using the dedicated GPU when needed.

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Review: HP Slate 7 Android tablet

Mark .
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Re: 1024x600

The problem with 1024x600 on netbooks is trying to run windowed environments on them - it's less of a problem if everything's built to run full screen. There was also the problem that Windows and Linux applications often assumed a vertical height of 768 minimum, where as most Android applications won't, since there are still plenty of lower end Android phones with lower resolutions.

On webpages, I find it's the horizontal resolution that matters the most, and 1024 is fine in my experience - after all, for vertical, a webpage is typically far longer than anyone's screen.

For video, the real limitation is not resolution, but storage space. What use is Full HD, when a 16GB tablet can't even store a single Blu-Ray quality movie? (And streaming will just use up most people's mobile data in no time.)

"cheapo chinese android phone"

I suspect the key point is chinese - if you got a cheapo chinese tablet, you could get a higher resolution too (e.g., the wonderfully named Ainol Fire).

But for most phones available with distribution in the US or UK, you're looking at either a far more expensive smartphone, or a lower resolution (e.g., 800x480, some still doing stupidly low resolutions like 480x320, and even 320x240 was around until recently).

I do agree it's a shame that so many 7" tablets are going for 1024x600, with little choice for 1280x800 or higher. But I'm also not convinced it's a "bastard" resolution.

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Relax, Hollywood, ARM's got your back: New chip 'thwarts' video pirates

Mark .
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Whilst I can see uses for Full HD on mobile devices, I don't think phones are a replacement for smart TVs.

The last thing I want to do is get off the sofa and fiddle plugging my phone in with a cable! And then I either need a long cable trailing the living room, or have to get up everytime to change the video or volume! And what if I want to use my phone whilst I'm watching TV?

Nor do I see the software is better - I'd rather sit on the sofa and use the remote on the TV's interface, than stand fiddling with a much smaller screen. In terms of functionality, Android doesn't come with "smart TV" functionallity - you could probably get the required stuff via 3rd party apps, but that means searching.

If anything, smart TVs complement smart phones - I can use my phone as a remote for the TV; and I can play content from the phone to the TV without fussing with cables.

And the upgrading issue can be solved by having upgradable parts (which some TVs allow). And if you want Android, just buy an Android smart TV USB box to put in it permanently, with dedicated remote - better than faffing with a phone.

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Mark .
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Re: x86 > ARM

OS X has never supported 68k, and PowerPC was ditched years ago. IOS is not OS X, nor even uses the "Mac" trademark (it's just a brand name - today's "Macs" are x86 PCs, with nothing but name in common with the original Macintoshes - and even the name isn't entirely the same).

By your logic, Windows supports PowerPC, x86 and ARM.

Talking about 68K and PowerPC are irrelevant anyway, since the OP didn't say only x86 was worse, he said "there is little sensible alternative to ARM", which would include PowerPC and 68K.

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Mark .
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Re: x86 > ARM

So everyone here who uses Linux is doing it on ARM boxes, because "there is little sensible alternative to ARM"?

I doubt it. These arguments are silly - ARM has its advantages, and is overall more popular (I believe it's been this way since the 90s) but doesn't come close to x86 for high end performance. The idea that the only reason for x86 is those people stuck with Windows x86 compatibility is not very well supported. (And anyhow, Windows now does support ARM - the only platform stuck on x86 is OS X.)

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Inside Intel's Haswell: What do 1.4 BEELLION transistors get you?

Mark .
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Re: I would rather have two more cores than any of that graphics crap

So do I, but even with a dedicated GPU, laptops can now use the Intel GPU most the time, switching to the faster GPU when needed, saving battery life, and reducing overheating.

And that's before considering how Intel HD is good enough for the majority of people, or that a separate GPU isn't feasible on ultra-portables unless you want poor battery life.

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Re: Microsoft shill?

Not sure who you are responding to?

Yes, it's well known and obvious that Intel would like their CPUs to be used as often as possible, whatever the OS. Though your last comment is a bit silly, with 100 million Windows 8 licences sold.

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Firefox OS: Go away fanbois, fandroids - you wouldn't understand

Mark .
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Re: And in the east too.

Yes I thought that comment was odd too, in that duopoly doesn't make sense either, when the share is Android ~70-75%, IOS ~15-20%, WP ~5%, BB ~5% - that's domination of Android. And although IOS's figures may be higher in "the West", as you say, that just means Android is doing even better in the other markets. Even when Android had less share, it's never been "Android and IOS", despite some people claiming this for years. (Oddly when IOS was 3rd place or lower, we never heard "a duopoly Android and Symbian" or whatever, IOS still got mentioned in the list of platforms.) The duopoly comment only makes sense in the US (which has always had a very different market to the rest of the world - though perhaps some people think "the West" means "the US"...)

But I also disagree that this means there's no room for Firefox OS, despite the domination of Android. Even as a niche platform like IOS and WP have been for years it could do fine; with a massive market, even just a few percent is millions of sales.

There's room for more platforms - historically there were always more platforms in smartphones, not less.

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Asus boasts of Haswell fondleslab threesome to get Acer hot under collar

Mark .
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I think there are still advantages - I mean, if I'm sitting using the laptop, but I then want to pull out the tablet to pass it to show someone, I don't want it to switch to another OS. True, the flip side of that is why bother with Android, but it allows things like running Android software too, or if someone might prefer that when using it for a longer period in pure tablet mode.

They already do a pure Windows 8 version of the Transformer Book - it's unclear if they'll be doing an 11" Haswell version of that.

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Mark .
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The Windows 8 Transformer Book already looked promising, but I was waiting for an 11" version - and this looks even better.

I wonder what kind of battery life does it get when using the Intel Core processor - I'm assuming 15 hours is for the Atom? And can it run in Windows mode when just using the tablet? (Yes, Android is fine, but it would be a shame to spend all that money on such an all-in-one device, and not have that functionality too - otherwise an ARM might have been more suitable).

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Netherlands Supremes squash iPad design patent

Mark .
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Re: Not sure

"There is something that was done right about the iPads, but I am not sure that anybody knows what it really was"

Oh this is easy - getting vast amounts of media coverage, even before it was announced, let alone released. (The point being, since this came before, it was a causitive factor, rather than an effect.)

That and getting lots of distribution in shops. I mean, it's hardly surprising that people didn't buy Android tablets (which actually were released earlier) when no one knew about them, or hardly any shops sold them. The first Android tablets to get significant sales were the ones from companies that got media attention in the media (Amazon, Google).

Indeed, as you say yourself - "it made people aware of the alternatives" - Apple's litigation made things worse. Any publicity for both Apple and alternatives is bad for Apple, because previously the media only gave attention to Apple.

Now that attention and distribution of Android tablets is finally improved, IOS's tablet share has collapsed. Also remember that although Apple's share may have been higher, sales as a whole were far lower. The original ipad wasn't the revolution that the media claimed it would be - it was 6 months before I even saw someone with one.

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Motorola to kick off comeback with US-made Moto X

Mark .
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They might be annoyed, but I don't think it's a problem, certainly not something to criticise Google with - a company can't expect to have massive margins forever. True, in oligopolies companies often don't start a price war because it just ends with them all losing. But if it happens, you have to live with it. There's a difference between reducing margins, and selling at a loss.

Samsung will still make money, even if it's less than before - and they're a massive company in plenty of other markets too.

This isn't going to stop Samsung making Android phones, so Google won't lose out there. Google also gives Android away for free, so they don't have that additional cost either. The problem is that the market isn't particularly healthy when you have one company eating up all the profits. The risk of upsetting partners is more of a risk for MS, since there are plenty of PC manufacturers. But Android has ended up with Motorola going under and bought out, HTC and LG going downhill, and Samsung claiming most the market.

"Hey Google! You did have a plan when you bought them didn't you?"

If nothing else, keeping them in business is a good plan for Google. And don't forget the patents.

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Living with a 41-megapixel 808 PureView: Symbian's heroic last stand

Mark .
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Lots of Symbian users still out there...

My most popular app is just passing the 2 million mark after 16 months - the Android version is around 10,000 downloads. My most recent app got around 1000 downloads per day on the first few days on Symbian, and averages around 500. On Android, it's getting around 20 per day on its first few days.

Of course, I suspect that this is more down to less competition than a larger userbase, but (a) it shows that Symbian really is undercatered for, with the demand to supply ratio far higher than other platforms, and (b) there are still a lot of Symbian users still out there (and around 50% of my downloads are still from Symbian^1 2008-2009 era phones, suggesting smartphones are kept in use long than you might think).

The number one best selling smartphone in history is the Symbian Nokia 5230 released in 2009 - it will be sad to see the platform go.

(I found that I could usually get the apps I wanted on Symbian - more apps on Android just means 10 that do the same thing instead of 1, and the Android versions are more likely to have ads... The main lack for Symbian has been for non-software companies that offer an "app" for their website or service, and it's annoying that these almost always ignored Symbian even in its heyday of number one platform until 2011. But still, on a smartphone, just use the website...)

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Mark .
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Re: And why are Samsung setting up a Finnish R&D centre?

But by Elop's time, Nokia had done this - Symbian^1 around 2008-2009 was as good as Android imo even on the UI (each have their advantages and disadvantages), and Symbian^3 and onwards are reportedly a lot better still. My Nokia 5800 only feels slow compared to my Android phone because the latter has much newer hardware (and even then, is starting to get sluggish in places...)

Symbian switched to using Qt as the UI, which is a great toolkit.

Not that I'm saying there weren't reasons for dropping Symbian, it had become an old OS - personally I'm open-minded about the WP decision, but I can see that a lot of the critics would have been happier if they'd gone with Meego :)

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Review: Samsung Series 5 Ultra Touch Ultrabook

Mark .
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Re: Have I missed something?

True, there are various things people complain about. I've certainly seen the complaints of "They took away the start button", as well as complaints that MS have tried to "hide" the desktop away.

People who like the older version of the start menu can always install a utility to do that. I think a response from a lot of people uneasy with it is more that Windows starts up in something looking completely different, and if they then go to the desktop, it's unclear how to get back or launch programs.. If instead they start up in the same desktop as before, and they see the same start button as before - then sure, the start menu looks different, but "Updated start menu" (which has changed several times before anyway) is a long way from "They completely changed it and it's only for touchscreens and they killed off the desktop". People like and dislike various changes in every version of Windows, it's the FUD about being unusable with a mouse/keyboard that I imagine they're looking to address.

I agree about the hotspot, I find it fine - but I've seen some people complaining that this is awful and claiming makes it "only for tablets".

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Mark .
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I agree. It's also worth noting that for all the doom and gloom, the Windows 8 sales/timeline has reportedly been as good as that for Windows 7 - with PCs, most people have always played the game of waiting. Average users don't care about a new OS, and wait until they want a new machine. Geeks are more likely to play the "Let's wait until SP1" game.

I remember reading years ago that the average upgrade time for a home PC was a staggering 8 years - and if anything, I can see that being longer now, as CPUs and RAM are finally good enough. I know my parents are still chugging along on a 2007 laptop that has as much RAM as my Galaxy Nexus phone :)

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Mark .
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Re: Have I missed something?

But that's basically the things that people are complaining about. It'll put the start button back, and apparently, having to move the mouse to the corner is something you can only do easily on a touchscreen, making Windows 8 unusable without one, but Windows 8.1 will fix this, for those people who can't spend the 5 minutes to install a free utility to do the same thing... What else have people been complaining about, and which of these are to do with touchscreens?

Not that I get the argument, but that's what people have been saying. Personally I'm glad MS have finally started making full use of Fitts's Law. And don't get me wrong, I can see that a button is simpler and people might get annoyed by the hotspot, but I don't see this is a touchscreen thing - I mean, how do I "move the cursor to the corner" on a touchscreen? (I could swipe, but usually in a UI, that's treated the same as clicking and dragging - the idea of a cursor position without touching/clicking has no analogy on a touchscreen). Indeed, when I first tried out a Surface RT the other day, I first happily used the keyboard and touchpad, and then thought, maybe I'd better try the touchscreen, and wasn't really clear at first how to do the various things.

It's the same thing we've seen for years with Windows - some people are outraged about big changes in each new version of Windows, but it's really just some subtle smaller thing that has actually caused the upset. MS never back off the big changes - instead they tweak the subtle things that caused the problem, and suddenly, everyone's happy. Happened with XP vs XP SP1, and Vista vs 7.

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Apple cored: Samsung sells 10 million Galaxy S4 in a month

Mark .
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Samsung sell loads more Android phones, so if we're comparing by company, I'd expect at least double the 10m a month from them. Not to mention all the other phones they sell that don't even get counted in the "smart" stats.

I'm not sure the iphone 5 not being as new is an excuse - Samsung thrashed everyone else in Q1, even when their flagship was much older.

I do love how, when one company sells more 2 days of the year, you trumpet that as being amazing, but when the other company sells more the rest of the 363 days of the year, you suggest it's unfair, as the first company's phone isn't new anymore...

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