A new report from Gartner Research claims that Google's Android operating system will grow rapidly in the remaining months of 2010, passing both Apple and RIM. If you don't follow the smartphone world closely, you could be forgiven for forgetting Nokia is still number one worldwide. While their phones are rarely offered by US carriers, the market in other nations often encourages users to buy unlocked phones. Those are often Nokia handsets.
In late 2009, Android had only 3.9% of the market - Apple had three times more. Google is expected to hit about 17.7%, which will clobber Apple's iOS, and just edge out Blackberry. While iOS is still growing, Blackberry has been falling. The tepid response to the Blackberry Torch isn't helping matters.
Android has spread to all US carriers, and more manufacturers are getting in on the fun. It's impressive to see Google come from behind so quickly, especially considering the state Android was in before the release of the Motorola Droid.
Contrary to popular assumption, RIM's upcoming BlackPad tablet isn't going to be built around the company's BlackBerry 6 OS, but instead will run software from QNX, according to a Bloomberg report.
RIM acquired QNX back in April for $200 million. QNX's RTOS (realtime operating system) software is used in a variety of products from companies like Cisco, GE, and Caterpillar, as well as BMW audio systems and the Army's Crusher tank. By tapping into QNX's software, RIM believes it has a better chance of differentiating the BlackPad from Apple's iPad and the dozen or so other tablets due to arrive.
"The iPad is very much a device for consuming," said Alkesh Shah, an analyst at Evercore Partners Inc. in New York. "What's not out there is a tablet for creating, for production."
QNX's software has traditionally been used to control the music, media, and nav systems in automobiles, but has also been used in cardiac monitoring systems and even nuclear power plants. How exactly that will work out for RIM's upcoming tablet remains to be seen, but if nothing else, it's going to be different.
Early estimates of sales of RIM's new Blackberry Torch are in, and could spell bad news for the company. Both RBC Capital Markets and Stifel Nicolaus have said AT&T only moved 150,000 units during launch weekend. Certainly it's better than nothing, but RIM was in need of a hit, and this is looking like just another Blackberry launch.
We've gotten used to a new phone being in short supply at launch; think iPhone 4 or Droid X. RIM may have been seeking that sort of impact by hosting a press conference with AT&T prior to the phone's release. Reviews of the QWERTY slider have been tepid so far, with many complaining that the new Blackberry OS6 feels poorly implemented.
With options like the iPhone and Samsung Captivate on AT&T, consumers might be walking right past the Torch. Have you laid hands on a Torch? How do you feel about it?
One of the Blackberry’s number one selling features has just turned into a major negative, at least if the trend overseas continues. The hallmark of RIM’s success has always been its push notification and messaging services that are unmatched in the wireless industry, unfortunately, RIM also put itself in a position where it was handling all of the messaging traffic going across the network. This allowed them to offer unmatched end to end encryption, but has also now become a tempting target for governments wishing to snoop on the private data of its citizens, and RIM is co-operating.
According to notes obtained by the Wall Street Journal, negotiations between Research in Motion and India on July 26 set the framework for unfettered access to all messaging services, including those offered by third parties such as Gmail. RIM issued a statement on Thursday in an attempt to reassure its customers that it was negotiating with foreign governments "in the spirit of supporting legal and national security requirements, while also preserving the lawful needs of citizens and corporations." It is unclear if RIM is still willing to relocate servers to government run facilities upon request, but it seems they are willing to do whatever it takes to avoid getting shut down.
Either way it appears as though governments will soon have the right to eavesdrop on secure communications sent over a Blackberry, let’s just hope it doesn’t open the floodgates.
Maybe Maximum PC should come out with a tablet and join every other company on the planet who purportedly is working on a slate PC for a late 2010 launch. That includes Research In Motion (RIM), which is reportedly coming out with a 9.7-inch tablet called the BlackPad in November of this year.
Quanta Computer is said to be building the device, and judging by the name, RIM is eager to go toe-to-toe with Apple's iPad, so far the only viable tablet to yet be released.
According to a report in Chinese-language Apple Daily, the BlackPad will sell for $500, the same price as Apple's entry-level 16GB Wi-Fi iPad. The BlackPad will support Wi-Fi too, as well Bluetooth and 3G (through connection to a BlackBerry smartphone).
Apparently the ambitious bunch, RIM is expecting to ship two million units in 2010 alone, and eight million in 2011.
Research in Motion (RIM) this week unveiled its BlackBerry Torch 9800 smartphone, the first phone to run RIM's new BlackBerry 6 OS. Not among the supported features, however, is Flash support.
Unlike Apple, which refuses to work with Adobe in porting Flash over to its smartphones, RIM has real interest in running Adobe's multimedia platform, at least once the kinks are worked out.
"What's really important... is to get it right. Flash and Flash video have very specific hardware, CPU, and memory requirements," said Tyler Lessard, vice president of global alliances and developer relations at RIM.
"We don't want to deliver an experience that users are going to get really excited about -- perhaps buy a new device just because it supports Flash -- and then find it doesn't work as they hoped it to," he said.
Given that the two companies announced last October that they were working together to bring Flash to BlackBerry devices, it's a little surprising they couldn't get it down in time for the Torch 9800 launch. And while it would appear that support is imminent, neither side is willing to give a time frame.
RIM's long-rumored BlackBerry Torch (previously known as the 9800) has gone official, with RIM just moments ago unveiling its first touchscreen device with a slide-out keyboard, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
No stranger to exclusivity agreements, AT&T is getting sole custody of the BlackBerry Torch 9800. It will arrive in AT&T stores on August 12 and sell for $200 with a 2-year service agreement, as well as a required data plan ($15 for 200MB or $25 for 2GB).
RIM, which has been largely overshadowed by the spate of smartphone releases from the competition, is hoping its BlackBerry Torch gets them back in the game. The newest BlackBerry is RIM's first device to run on the company's BlackBerry 6 operating system, which was designed with touch functionality in mind.
A sampling of other features include a 5MP camera with image stabilization, 3.5mm jack, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR, 512MB of flash memory, 4GB of onboard storage plus another 4GB media card included (expandable to 32GB via microSD), and a 3.2-inch touchscreen with a 480 x 360 resolution.
Sources are saying today that RIM's rumored iPad competitor is coming in November of this year, just in time for the holiday tablet buying season. The device is expected to have the same approximate physical dimensions of the iPad, i.e. a 9.7-inch screen. The tablet will have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The Bluetooth would be used to tether the tablet to a Blackberry smartphone for data.
Apple has, thus far, run away with the consumer tablet space, selling over 3 million iPads since March. Analysts fear that any company that cannot become competitive by the holidays will be unable to catch up to Apple.
The Blackberry operating system has been falling behind in recent years, though a new version is expected to bring some improvements. Still, we were never completely happy with the Storm or Storm 2. Do you think a Blackberry tablet will fare better against the iPad, than the Storm did against the iPhone?
The impact of long term exposure to cellphone radiation is still largely unknown, but all the evidence up until now lends credence to the fact that you probably have better things to worry about. San Francisco lawmakers disagree however, and a controversial new law that forced retailers to display radiation levels of different handsets has the CTIA pulling them into court. “The CTIA's objection to the ordinance is that displaying a phone's SAR value at the point-of-sale suggests to the consumer that there is a meaningful safety distinction between FCC-compliant devices with different SAR levels," it said in a statement.
According to CTIA officials the new law supersedes the FCC’s authority to regulate radio emissions, and is misleading for consumers who ultimately haven’t been properly educated as to what the SAR ratings actually mean. Some have been tempted to lump cellphone manufacturers in with the tobacco industry who lied to customers for years about the dangers of smoking, but this is a bit misleading as well. Independent labs have backed up the fact that cellphone radiation levels as they are mandated today are considered safe and in some cases might even be beneficial.
Only time will tell if the law will hold up in court, but at the end of the day perhaps it will encourage manufactures to voluntarily lower radiation levels. Studies show it probably won’t help, but it certainly can’t hurt.
The most recent update to the official Android and Blackberry Google Voice apps offers users a noticeable speed increase when making calls. Previously, whenever a user placed a Google Voice call using the app's functionality, there would be a delay of up to 10 seconds (depending on data signal). This is due to the requirement that a Google server be pinged to connect the call over the phone lines. Now the app stores a special number locally to place the call.
These direct numbers are the obfuscated numbers that Google Voice uses internally to route your calls. Each contact has one of these 406 area code numbers. Now that the apps can call this number directly, there is no wait for a server to respond. This also has the advantage of eliminating the need for a data connection to initiate a call.
Android uses can get the update from the Market. Blackberry users should head over to the Google Voice site to download the update. Any Voice users out there already try this?