In the past few months it has become abundantly clear that Google intends to support three platforms: the web, Android, and iOS. Google’s support for the web and Android should not come as a surprise; Google has always been a web company and Google bought Android to fight Microsoft in the mobile space. Even Google’s support of iOS is not all that surprising since the iPhone was essentially the Google phone before the G1. What is surprising, however, is that Google isn’t just making apps for iOS; they’re making really good apps for iOS.
For the past week I’ve been spending a lot of time with the HTC 8X on Verizon. The 8X is considered a signature Windows Phone, sporting a 4.3″ 720×1280 display, a 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor, 1 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal storage, NFC, dual band WiFi, LTE, Beats Audio, and an 8 MP 1080p shooter in back with a wide-angle 2.1 MP front camera. In short, Windows Phone has reached parity with Android and iOS in terms of specs.
When I last looked at Windows Phone I argued that while the operating system looks good and is certainly an improvement over Windows Mobile, the lack of apps, disappointing multi-tasking, and poor notification system kept Windows Phone from reaching feature parity with iOS and Android. Since then Android and iOS have propelled smartphone ownership to unprecedented levels while Windows Phone has remained a niche product in terms of market share. Read on to find out how Microsoft has changed Windows Phone for the better, what has stayed the same, and what Microsoft still needs to do to make Windows Phone succeed. (more…)
Instagram’s move to no longer support Twitter cards was not an act of war. More importantly, according to Instagram’s CEO, it was not a move influenced by Instagram’s new owner, Facebook. You can choose to buy into the hype that Instagram is fighting against Twitter so that Facebook will win a numbers war it has already won, or you can consider what Instagram is accomplishing by doing this.
Lately I have been trying to be more conscious of the reasons behind why I post something on a social network. As I near 19,000 tweets I am keenly aware that I share my thoughts more than most people. I am certainly not anywhere near having the most tweets, but as I have participated in social networks like MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, Path, Instagram, and others over the past few years I have adjusted how much I share and how I share it.
Like many in my generation, I started listening to music on CDs. I used to sit in a rocking chair with my “skip free” portable CD player (I can’t remember if it was a Walkman or not) listening to Now 4 or No Doubt. Around the age of 16 or 17 I was given my first iPod: a 30 GB 5th generation iPod Classic (although at that point it wasn’t called “Classic”). I can vividly remember sitting down at my computer and slowly importing dozens of CDs into iTunes and syncing my iPod. I remember when Tri-tone meant that my CD had been imported, not that I had a new message. I began buying music straight from iTunes instead of visiting the then large, now non-existent CD section at my local Best Buy.
Ever since the original Kindle Fire was released last year there has been some controversy about whether or not to consider Amazon’s tablets to be Android tablets. While Amazon has always admitted that the products run a forked version of Android and Android apps, the Android community was quick to distance themselves from the product despite its record sales. While Amazon likes to talk about Fire apps and doesn’t talk about the version of Android running underneath the Fire interface in any of their official documentation, I believe the Kindle Fire should be considered an Android tablet.
Over the past few years there has been grumbling among some that Google needs to stop calling Android open source. The argument is a simple one: Google can call Android open source as long as it doesn’t place any requirements on its OEMs to use Android. This article will unpack some of the misconceptions about what it means to say that Android is open source and deal with the two major instances where Google has been accused of violating its own principles concerning Android. (more…)