Adroid or iOS, You Pick

The decline and fall of Windows Phone is more tragic, because for several years the OS was making headway. It had an app problem, sure, but Windows Phone 8 and 8.1 brought the OS itself up to the level of iOS and Android, and the low-end Lumias provided an excellent value for the money. But soon after buying the Lumia division from Nokia, Microsoft seemed to stop pushing. Windows Phone 8.1 has been left to rot while Microsoft takes its sweet time finishing a continually delayed Windows 10 update. To be an existing Windows Phone 8.1 user is to sit by and watch while Microsoft ports every selling point of Windows Phone as a platform to iOS and Android. Embracing iOS and Android unquestionably gives Microsoft’s apps and services a wider audience, but there’s no reason why it had to be done at the expense of the company’s existing user base.

The remains of these platforms aren’t really viable as general-purpose smartphone ecosystems. Diehards can (and will) disagree, and Microsoft at least has given Windows Phone acolytes a gift in the form of the Lumia 950 and 950XL. But if you’re recommending a smartphone to someone in 2016, Android and iOS can do pretty much anything that anyone needs to be able to do. Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10 cannot, and they’re best left to people who care more about brand loyalty than functionality.

The fight for a third-best smartphone OS has been lost. By everyone.

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Technology

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The Innovator’s Dilemma

Ben Bajarin on Android’s “good enough” problem:

One of the most interesting observations about all of this is that the Innovator’s Dilemma was supposed to impact Apple. This was a fundamental tenet of most bear cases. When the market for smartphones became filled with good-enough devices at very low prices, why would anyone buy an iPhone? Yet this is impacting Samsung exactly according to the guidebook — but not Apple.

The fundamental lesson to learn here is that the Innovator’s Dilemma, in this case, only applies to Android land, because all the hardware OEMs run the same operating system. As I’m fond of saying, when you ship the same operating system as your competition, you are only as good as their lowest price. This is the curse of the modular business model.

What about Apple?

One of the most interesting observations about all of this is that the Innovator’s Dilemma was supposed to impact Apple. This was a fundamental tenet of most bear cases. When the market for smartphones became filled with good-enough devices at very low prices, why would anyone buy an iPhone? Yet this is impacting Samsung exactly according to the guidebook — but not Apple.

The fundamental lesson to learn here is that the Innovator’s Dilemma, in this case, only applies to Android land, because all the hardware OEMs run the same operating system. As I’m fond of saying, when you ship the same operating system as your competition, you are only as good as their lowest price. This is the curse of the modular business model.

Which brings us to today in late 2015 with Microsoft pretending to drop their modular business model.

Today’s Schadenfreude is Blackberry-Flavored

Guess what: Blackberry still makes phones and apparently their CEO doesn’t know how to use them:

Last week, BlackBerry confirmed plans to launch the Priv: an Android-powered slider smartphone that it says combines the best features of Google’s mobile OS with “BlackBerry security and productivity.” It’s a sensible selling point, but as this hands-on with the Priv featuring BlackBerry CEO John Chen shows, the Android operating system isn’t familiar territory for the company. Chen repeatedly says that the Priv “runs Google,” and falters during the demonstration, opening up Chrome (which is slow to respond) before closing the app when realizing the phone isn’t logged in to a Google account.

Hey Chen, at least act like you give a shit.

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Move to iOS App for Android

Jacob Kastrenakes on the “reviews” of Apple’s ‘Move to iOS’ app for Android in the Google Play Store:

“I call on my fellow Android comrades to ensure this app gets drowned into oblivion with a 1-star rating never to be seen again on our cherished platform,” writes reviewer Segun Omojokun. And that’s basically what’s happening. The app primarily has 5-star and 1-star reviews right now, with the vast majority being the latter. There are currently a little over 800 reviews with a 5 star rating and over 3,300 reviews with a 1-star rating. The app’s overall rating currently sits at a 1.8.

We always hear about Apple fanbois, but shit, there are a lot of Android turds out there.

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Product, Pyschology

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Android Defectors

That’s where the switching number comes into the picture. This Scenario 2 is shown in the figure above and suggests that although Android gained 8 million new users, it lost 6.4 million to iPhone for a net gain of 1.6.

Apple may have also lost a few users to Android but overall gained switchers from other platforms, mainly Android. This is what would support Tim Cook’s comments.

Thinking further ahead, as the markets mature globally, they may well evolve into the way the US market evolves today. Apple’s brand promise ensures loyalty while competing platforms slowly “leak” users. If this sounds eerily familiar then you’d be right. This is exactly how the PC market behaves today.

The new switchers, Horace Dediu

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Giving the Finger to Android

Zack Whittaker on Android’s fingerprint vulnerability:

New research, set to be announced at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday, by FireEye researchers Tao Wei and Yulong Zhang outlined new ways to attack Android devices to extract user fingerprints.

The threat is for now confined mostly to Android devices that have fingerprint sensors, such as Samsung, Huawei, and HTC devices, which by volume remains low compared to iPhone shipments. But down the line by 2019, where it’s believed that at least half of all smartphone shipments will have a fingerprint sensor, the threat deepens.

Of the four attacks outlined by the researchers, one in particular — dubbed the “fingerprint sensor spying attack” — can “remotely harvest fingerprints in a large scale,” Zhang told ZDNet by email.

Open always wins, right?

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Technology

“Don’t bother learning our platform or writing native apps for it.”

A few weeks ago I linked up to the story about Microsoft giving developers the ability to port Android and iOS apps to Windows.

At Ars Technica, Sean Gallager gets into more of the nerdy details and recalls IBM and Blackberry trying similar, unsuccessful moves:

Neither OS/2 nor BlackBerry 10 has made a success of this capability. There are two major problems with supporting foreign applications on a niche platform. The first is straightforward: it removes any incentive for developers to bother with the native platform. Investing in developing for a minor platform is already something of a gamble, and by telling developers “Oh hey, you can just use your existing Win16 or Android program…” as IBM and BlackBerry (respectively) did, you’re implicitly sending them a message. “Don’t bother learning our platform or writing native apps for it.”

And:

Even with Islandwood, porting iOS applications to Windows will require more work than Android apps require. While some Android apps will be 100 percent compatible with Astoria, that won’t be the case with Islandwood. There are differences between the platforms that need handling—Android and Windows Phone have a back button, for example, whereas iOS doesn’t—and devs will have to change code accordingly.

The impact this has will depend on the app. King’s Candy Crush Saga for Windows Phone is already using Islandwood, and the changes required were described as a “few percent.” CCS supports features including in-app purchases in its Windows Phone version, taking advantage of the StoreKit API mapping. However, as a game, its user interface is largely custom anyway. Apps that lean more heavily on UIKit may well need more work to ensure that their interfaces meet the expectations of Windows users.

It’s Microsoft’s last ditch effort.

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Technology

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This Should Go Fine

At BGR.com, Brad Reed on Microsoft’s plans to let you port iOS and Android apps to Windows:

Microsoft is raising the white flag when it comes to developing its own mobile app ecosystem — instead, it’s going to let developers easily bring their iOS and Android apps over to Windows 10 without having to completely rebuild them from the ground up as they’ve had to do in the past. Essentially, Microsoft is letting developers reuse most of the same code that they used to write their apps for rival platforms and is giving them tools to help them optimize these apps for Windows.

Wow! Sounds tremendous. I’m sure there won’t be any redesigning needed. I mean, it’s not like Apple or Google have their own design guidelines, like this and this.

I’m also sure performance will be lickity-split. No lag or recoding needed.

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