Sunday, December 21, 2014

Android Dominates iOS, Long Term Nexus 6 Review, Nexus 5 Cancelled

Nexus 6 charger

Taking a look back at the week in news across the Android world, this week’s Android Circuit highlights a number of stories including Android’s market share domination of iOS, details on Android 5.1, the retiring Nexus 5, reviews of the Nexus 6 and the Oppo R5, Android M might take over your car, Samsung looks to mimic Apple Pay, and RAW support for images is arriving in Android.

Android Circuit is here to remind you of a few of the many things that have happened around Android over the last seven days.

Android Dominates Marketshare, New Manufacturers Have Cornered Growth Markets

Gartner’s latest analysis of the sales figures for Q3 2014 gives Android a commanding lead in terms of market share. Of the 301 million smartphones sold, Android’s market share is 83.1 percent, Apple’s iOS has 12.7 percent, Windows Phone clocks in at 3%, and everybody else is under 1%.

A worrying trend for the established players such as Samsung , Sony, and HTC, is where sales are coming from. The old guard is established in saturated western markets with little opportunity for growth, while the new companies on the rise (including Huawei and Xiaomi) are coming on strong in the BRIC territories and have many more opportunities to increase sales.

Android 5.1 Lollipop Update Details

Alleged details on Android 5.1 were found online this week by AndroidPit. Although many consumer handsets have still to receive the Android 5.0 Lollipop update (or the 5.0.1 point release), Google is pushing ahead with a significant point release to address many issues around the OS.

[This update] includes but is not limited to improvements to RAM management, addressing the ‘sudden app closures’ bug, and correcting the excessive consumption of network devices when Wi-Fi is used. It also includes the return of ‘silent mode’ which was removed from Android 5.0, after proving a popular feature in previous versions of Google’s mobile operating system.


One thing to note, given the ninety-day window that many manufactures are using between Google’ launch of an OS and when it can be expected over-the-air, a Feb 2015 release of Android 5.1 could mean the bug fixes and updates will not arrive to consumer handset until June or July next year.

If Google want to look at addressing the pain points of Android in 2015, the excessive time to roll out firmware updates would be a good place to start. In the meantime, consumers are going to have a long wait for Android 5.0, and an even longer wait for Android 5.1 to fix the bugs.


Android’s Material Design Principle (image: Google.com)

Google To Retire The Nexus 5 In The Name Of Advertising?

Many of us here on the Forbes Tech Team initially questioned Google’s decision to retain the Nexus 5 at the launch of the Nexus 6. As the reviews of the Nexus 6 came in, it became clear that the newer phablet was more a complement to the venerable five-inch screened reference design rather than a direct replacement.

Just as it began to make sense, news reached us that the Nexus 5 is being set up for a quiet retirement as 2015 dawns. Whether stocks will not be replenished, or if it will simply leave a Google+ status that it’s just going outside for some time, the days of the Nexus 5 appear to be drawing to a close. Could the reason be a larger screen is better for displaying adverts?

It should not be a surprise that Google is retiring the Nexus 5 and pushing attention onto the phablet and tablet spaces of the Android ecosystem. For all they services, software, hardware, and crazy ideas that Google pushes out, the company is still based around selling advertising.

When the web browser on your desktop ruled, Google monopolised the display ad business. Now that everyone is moving their consumption towards mobile devices, Google must change with the times and effectively monetize the eyeballs reading from hundreds of millions of screens around the world. A larger screen provides more space for interaction, more opportunity for attractive and eye-catching advertising, and more space to place advertising around content.


Is The Nexus 6 A Giant Keeper?

Staying with the Nexus line, Gordon Kelly has been using the Nexus 6 since it was launched, and he’s in a position to review the phablet. It’s been a… challenging handset to review:

It has been a strange month. I’ve been using the Nexus 6 for five weeks (I received it prior to release) and during that time it has made me feel wonder, frustration, surprise and anger. At times I felt like I was experiencing the future of smartphones, at others that I’d adopted the antichrist.


Samsung Galaxy Alpha

Is Samsung Ready To Take On Apple Pay?

The success of Apple Pay has been noted by many, and it will come as a complete surprise to find out that Samsung is looking to launch a similar product early next year. Jason Del Ray at Re/Code reports on the South Korean’s ongoing talks with the Boston-based LoopPay:

LoopPay’s technology can wirelessly transmit the same information stored on a debit or credit card’s magnetic stripe to a store’s checkout equipment without swiping a card. The company has embedded the technology, which it calls magnetic secure transmission, into a few hardware products it sells directly to consumers: A fob, as well as a LoopPay digital payment card that can be used on its own or while secured in a special LoopPay smartphone case. To complete a purchase, LoopPay users tap any of these devices near the spot on a store’s credit card terminal where a card is usually swiped.


The timing of ‘early 2015′ would fit in with the launch of the Galaxy S5, widely expected to be late in Q1 2015 to be available in April 2015. LoopPay’s UI looks remarkably like Apple’s PassBook system, and is also designed to work with existing mag-stripe card readers.

Android OS Built-In To Your Car

While Android Auto brings a large touch-based UI suitable for navigating your smartphone while driving and interfacing with your car’s systems, Google’s Android M is an operating system for your car that would run as a standalone Android environment, without the requirement of a secondary handset. Dave Altavilla looks at the new flavor of Android.

A recent tip via Reuters tells of the forthcoming ‘Android M’ operating system which will have the ability to become a much more central command and control function of the vehicle, rather than just a feature add. In fact, it’s being reported that cars would not need an Android handset connected to them at all and the OS would function autonomously.  Further, with an always-on internet connection, various Google services like Maps, Play Music and Google Now will always be accessible.  Sure, your Android phone could synch to it but it wouldn’t need to. Also, your Google account and other family members’ accounts could be pre-loaded into the system and at the ready with your customizations and personal preferences at the ready.


The opportunities to provide services and gather real-world data on users makes this an interesting diversion for Google. 

Oppo R5

The Thinnest Smartphone On Sale… In The World

There’s an arms race by manufacturers to build and release the thinnest smartphone possible. While the 4.85 millimetre mark of the Oppo R5 has already been bettered at the design and manufacturing stage, this ultra-thin handset is currently the thinnest smartphone on sale.

Oppo has had to make a number of compromises to get the dimensions down, and while they don’t cripple the phone, you do need to be aware of them if the fashionable look is going to be your look for 2015.

With the R5, Oppo has sidestepped the arms race of flagships with ever faster processors, increased memory, larger screens, and bigger specifications. It focuses on one area – size – and does almost everything to keep the handset as thin as possible, while still remaining practical to use.

Yes, there are concerns and limitations about endurance and battery life (the R5 would be a perfect handset to have wireless charging for continually topping up the battery) but I think that it’s right that Oppo has tried something else in terms of design goals with the R5. As long as you are aware that this handset is going to need careful power management throughout the day, you are going to enjoy it.


And Finally…

Photographers looking for more from their smartphone cameras should be looking to pick up a Nexus device. Google has provided access to the RAW image file format for developers (reports Stephen Shankland for CNet).

Raw support isn’t likely to appeal to mainstream shooters. HDR (high dynamic range) technology already expands what an ordinary JPEG can do by layering multiple frames at varying exposures to create a single image with greater luminosity. But the more mobile-phone cameras improve, the more enthusiasts will come to rely on them, and the more appealing raw support will become.

Raw photography requires people to fiddle with their photos in software that acts like a digital darkroom. For people who like that sort of thing — and there are plenty — raw photos give control to the photographer instead of going with processing assumptions that the camera makes. Cameras ordinarily bake those assumptions into JPEG images, but raw photos leave the original data intact for maximum flexibility.


Applications such as FV-5 have already been updated to allow RAW to be a user-option.

‘Android Circuit’ will round-up the news from the Android world every weekend here on Forbes. Don’t forget to follow me so you don’t miss any coverage in the future, and of course the sister column in Apple LoopLast week’s Android Circuit can be found here, and if you have any news and links you’d like to see featured in Android Circuit, get in touch!

About the Author

Prejeesh Sreedharan

Author & Editor

I am a Biotechnologist very much interested in #SciTech (Science And Technology). I closely follow the developments in medical science and life science. I am also very enthusiast in the world of electronics, information technology and robotics. I always looks for ways to make complicated things simpler. And I always believes simplest thing is the most complicated ones.

1 comments:

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