25% of Android phones are now running on Jelly Bean

The new numbers on how Android versions are distributed across the phone market are out. Data collected over a 14 day period of active phones, show that now over 25% of Android phones are running on Jelly Bean. The data was released on Android’s own portal for developers.

If you include Ice Cream Sandwich, then that total number is almost 55%. It is good news for App developers that more than half the phones are running Android ICS or higher.

Android_Distribution_April_2013

Android phones have always been criticized for having a fragmented distribution. Though Android phones sales are several times more phones than say Apple sells iPhone, but a large number of them use Android 2.3.3 (Gingerbread) version.

Android really took a big step of improvement with ICS and has steadily improved since. So developers will be happy that over 25% of Android phones now run on Jelly Bean.

What’s so special about Jelly Bean?

Jelly Beans has a lot of improvements as far as features go, but the big difference is that it is usually running on high-end smartphones. These are high end phones like HTC One, Galaxy S3 (and S4 when it starts shipping) and Nexus 4 devices. People who use these devices are more likely to not just download apps but also pay of them. If more people are ready to pay of apps, that will automatically attract more app developers.

Source: Dashboards – Android Developers

MWC Barcelona 2013 – Major Announcements [Recap]

MWC 2013 BarcelonaWe usually do not cover the annual Mobile World Congress that takes place in Barcelona. The event itself is losing its importance as the really important announcements by mobile companies are not being made at global events. Companies like Samsung, HTC, Google and others are choosing to have their own events to launch their flagship device.

But the Mobile World Congress is still a place where some interesting and important announcements are made. Here is a quick look at some of important announcements.

#1. Samsung Announces Tizen OS

Samsung’s possible insurance policy against being too dependent on Android was formally announced at the MWC 2013. Tizen OS is not just about Samsung, it is also backed by Intel and Huawei. The OS has been announced by Samsung has hardly confirmed if and when handsets running on Tizen will be rolled out.

It is highly improbable that Samsung’s flagship Galaxy  S IV will feature Tizen on it. I doubt Samsung is really interested in making Tizen as their flagship OS anyways. I think this is a way to keep Google honest towards Android OEMs. Samsung might think of moving away from Android significantly only are a very long term strategy. In the meanwhile it might move its lower spectrum of phones to Tizen.

Samsung also has finally called it quits on its own BADA OS.

#2. Samsung Note 8.0

Samsung Note 8.0

The new tablet by Samsung running on Android was also announced. The tablet is obviously taking aim at the iPad Mini. It does so with the following specs

  • 1.6 GHZ Quad Core Processor
  • 2 GB RAM
  • 5 MP primary camera and 1.3 MP front facing camera.
  • 3G and WIFI networks are supported. The tablet will be in two versions, one is WIFI only and the other WIFI + 3G.

The Samsung penchant for S-Pen continues with this tablet too. The weirdest feature of this tablet is it can also be used at a phone. The phablet niche is now really getting out of control.

#3. Firefox OS

Firefox OS for mobiles phones also made an appearance in Barcelona. Mozilla announced that they have the backing of multiple phone carriers.

Sony has announced it is evaluating Firefox OS and put out a video of an experimental software that can be used on a unlocked Xperia E.

I am not sure how many phone manufacturers will be ready to jump of the Firefox OS bandwagon. At the moment without a very powerful manufacturer backing it, Firefox OS might not go very far.

Link: Firefox OS

#4. Nokia Launches Four New Phones

MWC Nokia Phones

Nokia announced four new phones at the MWC 2013. The Nokia Lumia 520 and Lumia 720 are Windows 8 phones. The other two phones announced are Nokia 301 and Nokia 105.

The Lumia 520 and Lumia 720 are the more affordable Windows 8 phones.

Cheaper priced Lumia phones is a good idea, as it might end up getting future buyers of their flagship Lumia model, introduced to the Windows 8 platform.

Nokia 301 and Nokia 105 are aimed at the developing world market. It will probably target the segment of buyers to are buying the cheapest phones out there.

#5. The Regulars who were missing

The Mobile World Congress never had much of support from Apple ever but it was an event that Google had supported wholeheartedly. This year Google more or less skipped the event. Motorola has also more or less skipped MWC 2013. Even Nokia announced nothing big but just a host of mid-level phone models. Samsung announced its Note 8.0, but it is far from a big and important announcement.

Events like Mobile World Congress are fast becoming more about start-ups and exhibiting experimental concepts and less about large companies making big announcements. Big companies like Samsung, Apple and Google frankly, do not want to share the attention with other makers. Hence they prefer to have their really big announcements done at separate exclusive events.

What are your thoughts on events like Mobile World Congress? Are events like these losing their importance to the industry? Do drop in your comments.

HTC One Unveiled: 4.7 inch Display, Android 4.1.2 and 1.7 GHz Quad-core Processor

HTC along with Samsung is known for being a shining light of the Android world of phones. Though it has not done as well as Samsung and in reality it is a struggling company. So with their latest announcement of HTC One, they will be hoping to put a bigger ding in the smart-phone market than they have previously.

HTC One

So lets take a look at HTC One which was unveiled yesterday.

HTC One: Features and Specs

  • HTC One will have a 4.7 inch 1080p Super LCD 3 display.
  • The phone itself will run on the Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean) platform along with HTC Sense 5.
  • The phone is incredibly thin at 9.3mm. Its length and breath are 139.4 mm and 68.2 mm respectively.
  • The phone packs a RAM of 2GB DDR2 and internal storage memory is in two variants. They are 32 GB and 64 GB.
  • The phone will require a microSIM and connects over WiFi, 2G,3G and supports LTE in certain countries.
  • It also has a 4 MP sensor with UltraPixel Camera.
  • The phone is designed a bit differently than its predecessors and it sports a aluminium body (iPhone inspiration?)

So what’s different?

Outwardly the biggest difference for me (I use a lower end HTC One V phone) is the absence of a home button. It has been replaced with the HTC logo.

It will also feature something called HTC BlinkFeed which will allow users to pick and chose feeds from various social networks, news and feeds. It looks like HTC’s own version of Flipboard.

As far as my personal preferences go, I am not exactly sold on Sense and agree with the idea that stock Android versions are better. Otherwise the phone looks great and should perform well.

The phone should be available in the month of March. The pricing will be interesting to see as by then Samsung will be cranking up its machine to make sure Galaxy S IV flood dominate the market.

Video

Would you like to buy an HTC One? Do drop in your comments.

Link: HTC One

What is Good, Bad and Ugly About HTC Droid DNA

As far as Android based OEMs go, HTC is a few steps behind the very successful Samsung. HTC is known for churning out solid phone products but has still struggled with revenues and profits. HTC has now released a new Android based phone called Droid DNA which should be considered a competitor to Galaxy Note 2 by Samsung.

HTC Droid DNA

The Good

The phones has pretty much everything one expects out of a smartphone. It will run on Android 4.1 (Jellybean). The phone itself has a display screen of 5 inches, with support for multi-touch. It has a decent 8 MP, 3264 X 2448 pixel camera.

The phone is supported on 2G, 3G and 4G and Wifi networks.

More importantly the phone is powered by 1.5GHz quad-core processor with 2GB RAM.

The Bad

The internal memory on this phone is 16GB. That seems to be a little on the low side. The issue is compounded by no option for external storage as there is no microSD slot.

The Ugly

I use a HTC V One phone. It is a lower end phone running Android 4.0 (ICS) on it, when compared to Droid DNA. But one major complaint I have against it is how OEMs straddle the Android OS with their own UI.

HTC Droid DNA is no exception and it is bundled with the Sense 4+ UI along with Android 4.1.1. There are many who like the stock Android versions without OEM UIs on their phones. But then again, only the Nexus brand of phones and tablets carry stock Android versions.

All said and done, the phone looks like a solid device with solid features and very few disappointments. HTC as a company is actually struggling financially and a good phone device being available only a few days before “Black Friday” sales in the US markets could be just about perfect timing.

Would you go with HTC Droid or wait for Galaxy S4 which is expected early 2013? Do drop in your comments.

Link: HTC Droid DNA

Send & receive SMS from your PC: MobiTexter

An Android App which enables you to send, receive and view text messages on your Android device from your desktop browser. That is exactly what MobiTexter app is all about. The App basically synchronizes the Contacts and SMS to your existing Gmail account and give you complete control from your PC.

MobiTexter is completely free (even without ads)and the message gets delivered instantly so you do not have to worry about any delivery reports.

How it works:

  • Download and Install MobiTexter from the Google Play Store on your device.
  • Launch MobiTexter on your device and register your Gmail account.
  • Once registered login to mobitexter.net to send receive or view your text messages

The App is very simple to use and install. The web interface on the desktop can be further improved though. For example if you delete a message from your desktop, it does not get deleted on your Android phone.

If you find MobiTexter useful, then you might also like MightyText, an Android app with also supports desktop notifications when SMS is received.

Link: MobiTexter

Rumour: Expect Android 5.0 “Jellybeans” for Notebooks and Tablets!

image-android-logoLast year Google in its IO Developer conference announced Chromebooks. A Chromebook is a netbook running on Chrome OS. The idea of having a browser as an OS, with all data stored online has not really been adopted all that well.

It seems Google might have woken up to that reality and is planning to roll out Android 5.0 this year which will be used on notebooks and tablets.

When/What to Expect from Android 5.0 ‘Jellybeans’

    • According to DigiTimes, Android 5.0 will be pushed out in Q2 2012. It is being pushed out earlier than when Microsoft releases Windows 8 for running tablets, smartphones and computers.
    • Google plans to allow Android in two version, one that manufacturers can install as the sole OS for their devices and the other version being available for running with Windows.
    • The version that is dual-booted with Windows 8, users will be able to toggle between Android and Windows without needing a restart.

What happens to Chrome OS?

In reality, Chrome OS can be called a resounding failure compared to the browser. The browser is extremely popular and is already the 2nd most used among PC users.  Android 4.0 already has Chrome available on it as a browser app.

So Google might then be free to retire Chrome OS as a commercial entity. With a successful Android OS running on laptops, tablets and phones – it will give a more linear and uniform experience to users. This is not surprising as Microsoft is doing the same thing with Windows 8. Even Apple with their latest update for Mac OS X called Mountain Lion is also trying to bring the Mac closer to iPad.

Android is incredibly successful as an operating system on phones and tablets. If that will translate to adoption in the PC market only time and features will tell. What are your views? Do drop in your comments.

Related: History of Android [Infographic]

Mobile Phone Ownership by Country [Infographic]

Did you know India has the second most number of mobile phone owners in the world? Also that in Russia there are 1.54 mobiles phones connections per person. Which means quite a few people in Russia who have more than one phone.

This infographic by SoMobile is full of such interesting stats. It also shows how mobiles phone ownership across the world vary from country to country.

somobile_infographic

Another surprising stat is that 53% of Indian users have lost their phones at some point of time or the other. That is a huge number of lost phones. :-D

You might also want to look up another infographic on how do people use apps on their mobile phones.

What are your views? Do drop in your comments.

Nokia Launches Lumia 800 in India: Runs on Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango)

Nokia_Lumia_800Today, Nokia launched the Lumia 800 in India. Lumia 800 runs on Windows 7.5 (Mango) OS. The phone looks quite adorable but more interesting part of this story would probably be how Microsoft and Nokia evolve together in the mobile market. Nokia has lost out big time in the smartphone market and these phones should be the starting point for Nokia to become competitive.

Here is what the Nokia Lumia 800 has to offer:

  • The phone has a 3.7 inch ClearBlack AMOLED display with resolution of 800X480. The screen supports capacitive touch screen and pinch zoom.
  • The battery allows for talktime of 13 hours on GSM and CDMA upto 9.5 hours. Video playback can go one fore 6.5 hours and music playback upto 55 hours.
  • The 8 MP camera supports LED Flash and also auto focus.
  • The memory is 512 MB program memory with 16 GB of storage. The nice part is it also has support for 25 GB Skydrive.
  • It does have Facebook integration and also supports Outlook and office application which might be helpful for people using Windows OS on their laptop and looking to sync documents with their phones.

Finally, the price. Nokia has not released the price tag for the phone but it is rumoured to be around Rs. 27,000. If that does turn out to be the price, this phone might make a dent in the smartphone market here in India. The phone will be available in December 2011. If you are looking to buy a new phone, here is a list of smart-phones available in India.

Microsoft and Nokia in the same boat!

When it comes to brand image, Nokia has slipped in India. Microsoft well has not real great market-share as a Mobile OS in India. Currently the smart-phone bracket only has Android based HTC, Samsung phones grabbing numbers and of course the Apple iPhone 4. In a way, Microsoft and Nokia working together, makes sense as they both have a common goal to dominate a market they are not .

Do drop in your comments.

Link: Nokia Lumia 800

BlackBerry Curve 9360 review, price and specifications

After launching new phones in bold and torch series Blackberry updated its Curve series by adding a new phone to it. RIM just launched BlackBerry Curve 9360 in India which is a 3G phone with HSDPA. Unlike other phones in this series 9360 is a higher end phone with price comparable to its Bold 3. This device has an 800 Mhz processor with 512MB Ram, a 5 MP Camera with VGA video recording, GPS, bluetooth and Wi-Fi. This phone runs on BlackBerry 7.0 OS which is the latest one. Let’s have a detailed look at the specifications.


blackberry curve 9360

Specifications and Features:

  • CAMERA: 5MP with flash and VGA video recording, Face Detection, Geo-Tagging and Image stabilization. As usual no front camera is there.
  • MEMORY: 512MB of RAM and 512MB for application storage. A SD memory card slot expandable up to 32GB.
  • SCREEN: 2.44″ and 480×360 pixels LCD screen with 246ppi.
  • BATTERY: Lithium ion. Talktime up to 5 hours and standby time up to 14 days for a GSM network. 25 hours of Music and 6 hours of Video playback.
  • CONNECTIVITY:
    • 3G network with 7.2Mbps HSDPA
    • Quad-Band: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 MHz GSM/GPRS/EDGE networks
    • Tri-Band UMTS networks: (800 / 850) / 1900 / 2100 MHz or 900 / 1700 / 2100 MHz UMTS
    • Bluetooth: 2.1+EDR
    • Wi-Fi: 802.11 b/g/n enabled.
  • Operating System: 7.0 Blackberry OS
  • GPS: Integrated GPS with A-GPS

Price and Verdict:

Blackberry launched curve 9360 at a price of 19,990 INR. The BlackBerry curve seems to be a good and a value for money phone. The features are good and everything is there except the front camera for video calling which is not available in any phone by BlackBerry in India. If you are planning to buy a BlackBerry you should definitely check this out.

What do you think about this phone? Don’t forget to tell us your reviews, drop a comment below.

Apple Working on Cheaper iPhone 4 for India and China

Apple gadgets are generally considered to be expensive. Even in the smart-phone category, an iPhone 4 is right up there as one of the more expensive products. There is a whole demographic that Apple does not tap into. This is about to change, as Apple is developing a cheaper version of iPhone4.

According to Reuters, an 8 GB iPhone 4 is being manufactured by a South Korean company.

It is obvious that the cheaper iPhone 4 version will be targeted towards the mobile markets of India and China.

The phone will  be unveiled around the same time iPhone 5 is expected to be introduced.

Effects of Cheaper iPhone 4

  • iPhones have tremendous brand value and at the end of the day a cheaper phone will obviously eat into the profits of other mobile makers like Nokia, which also dominates the niche of cheaper phones.
  • It also might start putting the pressure on Android which also has made its presence felt with cheaper models.

This might be a good strategy by Apple to break out from North America and Europe into the emerging markets where ultimately growth will lie.

What are you views on a cheaper iPhone? Will you buy one? Do drop in your comments.