Daily: Fewer Android iterations coming is a huge boost to Google’s platform

Here’s my lead story: Android has caught up to, and in some cases, surpassed iOS. I’ll give this a personal twist. I own three Android phones and have another loaned out to my nephew. I also own two Android tablets, one Xoom and one Kindle Fire. My wife has 3 iPhones (one is dead and just a toy for me to play with) and an iPad. I also have a Mac and iPod classic. So between my wife and me, we are totally tech-ed out.

The interesting thing is that we have a panoply of both iOS and Android devices but no RIM or Nokia devices. We both had two Nokia phones exclusively before we made the switch. Moreover, both of us are tied to individual platforms, my wife to iOS and me to Android. I do have a Mac and an iPod Classic. But those devices have demonstrated to me the virtues of platform integration. I’ll explain in the few paragraphs below.

While neither my wife nor I own a top of the line mobile product, I have played with and seen a lot of product and I am confident in saying that iOS is still a better platform for the mass market than Android. The gap has narrowed to where it is a meaningless distinction though. In fact, some Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S3 or the Samsung Galaxy Note are in my view better than the iPhone. This of course is also meaningless because it is price and sales channel that make the difference in the mass market.

As much as I like Android, I do find it frustrating. My day-to-day phone is a LG G2X made for T-Mobile USA. It has great specs even after 18 months but the phone is ‘laggy’ meaning I often hit a button and it responds seconds later. This is very frustrating. What’s more, the phone has not been supported by its manufacturer, LG, or by its vendor, T-Mobile. And so, it remains chained to an old operating system on which the lag factor is aggravating. Google has since updated its operating system to 4.11, codenamed Jelly Bean, and this iteration of the OS is very smooth like iOS due to an effort Google dubbed “Project Butter”. But I will never see this iteration on my day-to-day phone since it is just too old for LG or T-Mobile to invest time in. Annoying and frustrating for me. That’s what platform fragmentation is all about. As it turns out, I have another phone which will probably get an upgrade because it is a Nexus phone and those phones are supported by Google, the developer of the operating system. So, all is not lost!

Meanwhile, my wife has her iPhone 4S and is very happy. Sure, she has complaints here and there. But on the whole the thing works and it’s smooth. My wife is not a geek looking to do phone surgery to tweak the thing like me. She just wants to make calls, check her Facebook account, check her calendar, send messages and emails and do some web surfing from time to time. Oh, and she wants to let her son use her phone to play games too. In short, my wife is the average consumer. And for her, the iPhone works better than Android.

Here’s the thing though. Android phones are manufactured by a dozen different hardware companies, many of whom are losing money in the battle to be top dog in the world of mobile phones. That’s great for the Android platform as it turns out, because it means a huge amount of product choice at low prices sold to every mobile vendor imaginable. Android has to dominate the market given that many players hawking their devices using the Android operating system. Moreover, my 82-year old mother now has an Samsung Android phone. She complains to me that she doesn’t know how to use it all the time – in fact every time I see her. But she got it for free and that’s why she owns it.

Bottom line: Android will win the battle for share. Apple just needs to stay competitive to afford it enough network effects and its premium pricing will earn it oodles of cash – just not as much as if they dominated the market as they used to do. Consumers like me will buy apps and hardware and cases and chargers and everything else to support our hardware. Eventually, we will become used to and tied to the platform and inertia will set in. That’s why Microsoft and RIM are toast. They are too far behind to make it.

Going forward, Android change is going to slow. Why? Because they have caught up to iOS. The platform is good enough to run head-to-head with Apple’s and sometimes win. So, with that comes platform defragmentation – and we are seeing it already, with more than 80% of users on the last three iterations of the operating system. It’s a bit like having 55% of users on Windows XP, 25% on Windows Vista and less than 5% on Windows 7. Nice, but not where you want to be. With the next OS coming out, those numbers will change dramatically – and that will be a huge benefit to developers and to the Android platform as a whole.

P.S. – I am writing this on one of the new MacBook Pro notebooks that came out this June. I love it. But my Android phone doesn’t connect to it and so I can’t sync anything, which is very annoying. On the other hand, if I had a Windows machine, I would have no problem getting iPhone stuff to sync up there via iTunes. So, I reckon, people are much more likely to switch from PC to Mac if they have an iPhone. That way, they get platform integration and things just work. Increasingly, this is what you see. Mac sales are through the roof. And if you go to Starbucks and look around, you would think Mac had 50% of the PC market. In my view, that’s a great story for Apple, and one they need to increasingly concentrate on. 

Android version history – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As Android change slows, 1 in 4 phones run latest versions — Mobile Technology News

“At this point, the amount of change in Android going forward is likely to be far less than it was while Google played “catch up”: Version after version of tweaks that brought constant change for all involved. That change is slowing down and both hardware makers and developers can take advantage of the more relaxed pace of change. My guess: In four to six months, the majority of Android devices are running on Android 4.0 or better. And I anticipate the next version of Android to introduce far less change and be easier to get on more devices.”

]Marc Andreessen: We’re in the ‘opposite of a bubble’ — Tech News and Analysis

This quote below is true, although I thought it was twenty years i.e. early 1990s. Either way, it tells you that big tech is now NOT trading at a premium for the first time in a generation. WHat that means about smaller company valuations is another story:

“When asked about tech IPOs and bubble chatter by PBS’ Charlie Rose at an IAB event during New York’s Advertising Week, he said, tech stocks have not traded this low relative to industrial companies for 30 years.”

Ellen Pao Says Kleiner Perkins Has Now Fired Her – Liz Gannes – News – AllThingsD

“Ellen Pao, the Kleiner Perkins partner who sued her own firm for gender discrimination and retaliation in May, has been fired, she said late Tuesday night.”

Study: Apple’s iPhone 5 Is The Wind Beneath The Samsung Galaxy S III’s Wings | TechCrunch

“Earlier today I posted about the comparative merits of Apple’s iPhone 5 and Samsung’s Galaxy S III, and in doing so it turns out that no matter what my conclusion, I probably helped Samsung move a few Galaxy smartphones. That’s according to new info from analytics firm Localytics, which says that Samsung sees a GSIII sales spike whenever it gets compared with Apple’s phone.”

comScore: Samsung Flat, Android Grows Stronger In U.S.; Apple Grew Most Leading Up To iPhone 5 Launch | TechCrunch

“Among smartphone platforms, Google is once again gaining some ground and is now well into accounting for more than half of all smartphone users in the U.S. However, as in the previous quarter Apple is still growing at a faster rate, with Google now at 52.6% of all smartphones, growing by 1.7 percentage points; and Apple at 34.3%, growing by 2.4 percentage points. And it’s all about consolidation: RIM, Microsoft and Symbian, which all have less than 10% market share, all continued to decline.”

Ban in Apple Case Is Lifted on Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 – WSJ.com

“Judge Lucy Koh had issued a preliminary injunction June 26 after finding that the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 likely violated an Apple patent on tablet design.

“The jury has found otherwise,” she wrote in an order issued late Monday in the U.S. “Thus, the sole basis for the June 26 preliminary injunction no longer exists.” The effect of her ruling is expected to be limited since the Galaxy Tab 10.1 no longer is Samsung’s latest tablet.”

Google’s Motorola Unexpectedly Withdraws Its Latest ITC Complaint Against Apple | TechCrunch

“In August, Google’s Motorola Mobility filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Apple with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), asking the ITC to basically ban the import of virtually all of Apple’s hardware products. A few weeks ago, the ITC decided to formally investigate these claims. Now, however, Motorola has unexpectedly withdrawn its complaint.”

Vetoed: Warrantless Spying Is Here To Stay | TechCrunch

“California Governor Jerry Brown struck down a privacy bill that would have required a warrant before tracking the location of a citizen’s mobile device, signaling a trend among Democrats and Republicans, at all levels of power, that warrantless spying has become a staple of American life. Earlier this month, the American Civil Liberties Union reported that wiretapping has nearly quadrupled under President Obama. After Senate Democrats refused to pass a cybersecurity law for America’s infrustructure installations, such as power plants, the Obama administration is reportedly penning an executive order to push through some of the measures.”

Google’s self-guided car could drive the next wave of unemployment | Technology | The Observer

“Advances such as the driverless car are no longer the stuff of sci-fi. They could soon make many human skills worthless”

Deutsche Telekom in Talks to Merge T-Mobile With MetroPCS – Bloomberg

“Deutsche Telekom AG (DTE) said it’s in talks with MetroPCS Communications Inc. (PCS) to combine their U.S. wireless businesses, giving T-Mobile USA the greater scale it needs to compete with Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc. (T)”

Woz: I wish iTunes could run on my Android devices | Apple – CNET News

“Despite the cold war between Apple and Android, Steve Wozniak would love to see iTunes make the leap onto his Android devices, according to Slashdot.”

Ask Steve Wozniak Anything – Slashdot 

Why We Are So Rude on Facebook and Other Social Media – WSJ.com

“Anonymity is a powerful force. Hiding behind a fake screen name makes us feel invincible, as well as invisible. Never mind that, on many websites, we’re not as anonymous as we think—and we’re not anonymous at all on Facebook. Even when we reveal our real identities, we still misbehave.

According to soon-to-be-published research from professors at Columbia University and the University of Pittsburgh, browsing Facebook lowers our self control. The effect is most pronounced with people whose Facebook networks were made up of close friends, the researchers say.”

BBC News – Samsung adds iPhone 5 to its patent battle with Apple    

Apple’s Map Mess Won’t Slow iPhone Sales – John Paczkowski – Mobile – AllThingsD

““Given the insatiable demand for the iPhone 5, we do not expect the map issue to impact [demand],” said Topeka analyst Brian White. “Longer term, we believe this apology will help Apple further its brand of trust with customers and it is only a matter of time before the company delivers a great map experience.””   

VMware Fusion 5 Review & Rating | PCMag.com

“While Parallels is likely to have more widespread appeal because it makes virtualization so easy, VMware Fusion is easy enough for most beginners but also satisfies the needs of advanced users and offers a slight edge in Performance at a cheaper price than Parallels.”

Parallels Desktop 8 for Mac Review & Rating | PCMag.com

“Parallels is crisp, well-designed software that delivers desktop virtualization to both beginners and advanced virtualization users, but it’s not as robust a performer as VMWare’s Fusion 5.”

VirtualBox Review & Rating | PCMag.com 

“More desktop virtualization for hobbyists or testers and less an option for a production environment, especially one where performance is key, VirtualBox is free, and that’s the best you can say about it.”

RIM beats lowered expectations as BlackBerry sales fall by 3.2M units — Mobile Technology News

“The company’s cash is sitting at $2.3 billion, up $100 million from the previous quarter. That’s going to be key for RIM as it tries to ride out this transition to BlackBerry 10, its new operating system that won’t debut until early next year. Earlier this week, BlackBerry announced its subscriber base increased to 80 million subscribers globally. The company said it expects to report an operating loss in the coming quarter.”

The FeedBurner Deathwatch Continues: Google Kills AdSense For Feeds | TechCrunch

“FeedBurner, which Google acquired for a rumored $100 million in 2007, has long suffered neglect at Google’s hands. The service never even received the visual refresh virtually every other Google product got. The FeedBurner blog was shuttered not too long ago. So was the Twitter account. There isn’t even an official Google+ FeedBurner account. The last time there were issues with FeedBurner’s stats, it took whatever is left of the team five days to restore them. Just last week, as our own Romain Dillet reported, Google announced it was going to shut down the FeedBurner API. Also, as Barry Schwartz notes on Search Engine Roundtable, nobody is taking care of the service’s forums anymore and Google even let its FeedBurner domain name for Japan expire.”

California schools, employers banned from social media snooping | Reuters

“Job applicants and employees will have protection from employers who demand their login credentials to social media platforms or personal e-mail accounts, according to one of the bills, authored by Assembly member Nora Campos, a Democrat from San Jose.

Employers are barred from firing or disciplining those who refuse to give up any information related to their social media accounts.”

Hewlett-Packard Downgraded Amid PC Slowdown & Tablet Cannibalization

“Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE:HPQ) has not been a favorite of investors for some time now. On top of that, Jim Chanos keeps up the debate on why he is shorting HPQ stock, and how bad the whole PC business is doing. Jefferies, the investment firm, has now downgraded HPQ from Hold to Underperform.”

Apple’s Cook apologizes for Maps flaws, recommends rivals | Reuters

“Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook apologized Friday to customers frustrated with glaring errors in its new Maps service, and, in an unusual move for the consumer giant, directed them to rival services instead, such as Google Inc’s Maps.”

Why is New York still stuck with the MetroCard? | Capital New York

“Fifteen cents of every dollar subway rider’s fare dollar goes toward producing MetroCards and underwriting the infrastructure that supports them. 

“When you’re having to do cash transactions, you’re talking about armed guards, armored trucks, you’ve seen them throughout the system,” said Richard Barone, director of transportation programs for the Regional Plan Association.”

New Justice Department Documents Show Huge Increase in Warrantless Electronic Surveillance

Under the Obama administration warrantless wiretapping has increased exponentially.

The Facebook Effect? Shutterstock Prices IPO Shares At $13-$15 To Raise $54.2M, Half The Original $115M | TechCrunch

“Although the rise and fall of Facebook may have had something to do with the change in price for the IPO, which would have been filed in those days leading up to Facebook’s — the day Shutterstock filed for an IPO, May 14, was the same day that news leaked out of a Greenshoe option for Facebook of up to 50.6 million additional shares to capitalize on demand — there are likely other factors at work here.”

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