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Tag Archives: Android

Android Eco System and its viability

Android market share is eclipsing all competitors increasing from 2% two years ago to over 50%. Android Market has over 500k apps. Andy Rubin twitted this month that about 800k Android devices are activated every day. Android has been a billion+ dollar business for Google for 1.5 years. The business is good, right? While the short term gains are very impressive there are 4 fundamental problems with Android ecosystem which raises questions about its future.

·        Patents and insufficient of intellectual property portfolio. The main Android value proposition to OEMs was free license. Now increasingly OEMs, such as HTC and Samsung, are paying patent royalties to Microsoft higher than licensing fees for Windows Phone. OEMs also pay royalties to Apple and in selected markets was banned. Most recently courts ruled in favor of Microsoft against Motorola Mobility which is being acquired by Google.Android is no longer free. To maintain margins at the same level OEMs will have to cut cost at the expense of hardware, which will diminish user experience. OEMs will no longer have incentive to favor Android when Windows Phone is a viable option.
·         Fragmentation. Second biggest value proposition was Android openness. Anybody can take the source code and change it to fit their needs. Leading OEMs, such as Samsung, HTC and Motorola have blended their brands and color schemes into Android devices. They also have changed source code making apps not compatible across different devices. It frustrates developers and users. Google has tried to control that to some extent which received cold reaction from the ecosystem stakeholders.
·         Security. Android Market has no barriers of entry for malicious software makers. Scammers can have an app published within minutes and Google does not verify if the app is legitimate or even works. Google has been very proactive removing malware postpartum, which is often too late – damage is done. Competitors, such as Microsoft are using it to lure away the Android users burned by scam artists. Sooner rather than later Google will face “Toyota problem”, when strong brand known for quality was hit by nemerous safety defects losing it’s global leadership in car sales as a result.
·         Slower market share growth. When a product has a lion share of the market (Android commands over 50%) the remaining half is much harder and takes longer to acquire. When you reach the bell curve the market segment is very different and requires different approach.
 
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Posted by on January 4, 2012 in Android, Mobile Applications

 

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Google Doc on Android!

The Google Docs app for Android provides quick access to your documents and collections stored online with Google. Within the app you can view, create, edit, upload, and share files or take pictures with your Android device camera and directly import them.

Images uploaded from the gallery or camera can be scanned with optical character recognition to extract text and save it to a document. Users of Android Honeycomb can enjoy an optimized version of the app for larger screens.

The Interface

The interface of the Google Docs app is clean and straight forward and not too different from the web interface. A visual overview can be found under > Settings > Quick hints.

android google docs

When you click the little arrow button on the far right of a document, you can preview the respective document and view its details.

google docs for android

Clicking the button will open a little sidebar with document properties, including date last viewed, date last modified, owner, and a list of people who can edit the document. In this view you can also  add collaborators (people or groups), send or share the document, or rename the document. Via the settings button in the top right, you can open or delete the document.

If you want to send, rename, delete, or open a file with an alternative app, press it for a couple of seconds to trigger the menu shown in the screenshot below.

google docs for android

Creating Documents

The Google Doc apps supports creating new documents, spreadsheets, or documents from a photo or the gallery.

google docs on android

When you create a > Document from gallery or photo, the image you choose from the gallery or take with your device camera, can be uploaded as individual file, converted to a Google Docs document and embedded into a new document, or sent to web clipboard, so that you can paste it into a desired location.

google docs on android

When you choose the > Convert file go Google Docs document, the respective photo will be converted to text using optical character recognition (OCR). In theory, OCR is a fantastic feature, but in reality it doesn’t work very well, even with clearly printed text. However, if you experiment with the camera conditions (light, position, size of text), you might be able to get it to work for you. It also is rather unfortunate that the app can not display the source image, which is inserted on top of the recognized text, although it is very well able to display images.

google docs on android

Editing Documents

Editing documents within the app is possible, but it is fairly difficult. Edits can only be done line by line. Finding the right spot can be a bit of a challenge, typically resulting in short flickers of the document and a jumpy keyboard. Moreover, Google Docs does not allow you to zoom in, but forces you to work with the available text size. It must be said though that once the right line or paragraph has been highlighted, moving the cursor to a desired position works very well, unlike in some other apps.

Homescreen Widget

Google Docs comes with a simple homescreen widget. It unites four functions: opening Google Docs, viewing starred files, taking a photo and uploading it, and creating a new document.

In Honeycomb, you can add the widget by pressing an available spot on your homescreen for a few seconds or tapping the + icon in the top right, which opens the widgets gallery. The app is listed as Docs. You can drag and drop it to your desired homescreen.

android google docs

Verdict

The Google Docs app is great for accessing and reading your Google documents. However, I would not recommend to create and edit documents with it. Overall, I find the app very useful and hope that Google will continue to develop and improve it.

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2011 in Product Reviews

 

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Google Unwraps Ice Cream Sandwich, the Next-Generation Android OS

Google today launched Android 4.0 the Next Generation Android OS.

After months of anticipation and leaked software screen shots, Google finally unveiled Android 4.0, also known as “Ice Cream Sandwich,”.

The new operating system should eventually merge Android’s tablet OS (version 3.0, aka Honeycomb) with the platform’s smartphone OS (version 2.3, aka Gingerbread). Dubbed Ice Cream Sandwich, the unified OS isn’t an incremental update, but rather a complete OS makeover with changes that range from the elimination of physical navigation buttons to the creation of an entirely new font, “Roboto,” for user interface menus.

Google first teased its Ice Cream Sandwich software update at its annual I/O developer conference in March, seen above. Photo: Jim Merithew/Wired.com

In an example of NFC, if you’re reading an article on your browser, tapping your phone to another Galaxy Nexus brings up the same page on your pal’s phone. And Android Beam communication even extends to apps: As Android product manager Hugo Barra showed off in a live demo, if one user is playing a game of Minecraft on his phone and taps his Nexus to a second Nexus, the receiving phone’s U.I. will spawn a download link for Minecraft on Android Market.

For complete read please visit: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/10/android-ice-cream-sandwich-3/

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2011 in Product Reviews

 

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Now this is what I call a Social impact…

How about having this beautiful gift for all you married folks… 🙂

https://market.android.com/details?id=karva.camera&feature=search_result

https://www.facebook.com/Tanishq?sk=app_228069057253511

Distinct advantage is about weather…even if you don’t have moon around, flash out your Android and here you go…

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2011 in Product Reviews

 

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Everything You Need to Know About NFC

Near Field Communication, or simply NFC, is shaping up to be one of the hottest tech trends of the next few years. Mobile payment systems backed by major financial institutions are either already being tested or in plans to start tests, while smartphones with built-in NFC chips are making their way into the U.S. and Europe. But beyond payments, NFC has the potential to reach many other industries, from location-based services to ticketing and public transportation.

What Is Near Field Communication?

Let’s start with a basic definition: NFC is a wireless technology that makes use of interacting electromagnetic radio fields to transmit small bits of information between an “initiator” and a “target” — a key card and your hotel room door, for example. It’s similar to Bluetooth in the sense that both are short-range communication technologies, and is considered a subset of existing RFID (Radio Frequency ID) standards given that is uses radio waves for identification purposes. But NFC has its unique set of characteristics that will determine how it’s used in real-world practical applications.

For one thing NFC transmits data across much smaller distances, typically between 4 and 10 centimeters, compared to Bluetooth’s 10-meter range. This by-design limitation reduces the likelihood of unwanted interception and makes NFC particularly suitable for crowded areas where correlating a signal with its transmitting physical device becomes difficult.

From security perspective applications have to use higher-layer cryptographic protocols like SSL to establish a secure channel.

Another differentiating factor is that NFC sets up connections faster than standard Bluetooth and its low-power variant, Bluetooth 3.0. Instead of performing manual configurations to identify devices, the connection between two NFC devices is automatically established quickly in less than a tenth of a second. In fact, NFC could even be used to speed up the process of pairing two Bluetooth devices, acting as an initiator by simply bringing them close to each other.

How Does It Work?

As mentioned before, NFC involves an initiator and a target, where the initiator actively generates an RF field that can power a passive target without an electricity source. See it as simple as only one of the devices ‘needs’ to be powered. This enables NFC targets to take very simple form factors such as tags, stickers, key fobs, or cards that do not require batteries.

A simple example would be holding a NFC-equipped smartphone near a tagged movie poster and getting all relevant information in seconds — trailer, reviews, schedules at the nearest theater and the option to buy tickets online. The smartphone would be the initiator and the tagged poster would be the passive target.

    • Public transportation. This could arguably be a subset of mobile payments but it’s worth mentioning on its own. In fact, in urban areas with high population density and good public transportation this can be a major driver of NFC adoption. Pilot and commercial programs have already been deployed in many cities of the world — including my current city Nice, France — where you can pay the bus, metro or tram with a tap of your phone.
    • Ticketing. Take the movie theater example in the previous section and apply it to any kind of ticket: concerts or live shows, conferences, sporting events, theme parks, checking into a flight and boarding.
    • Keys. Imagine getting rid of that extra weight in your pocket by replacing your entire keychain with your mobile phone. With a NFC-enabled phone you could potentially tap your way into your apartment, office or hotel room, start your car’s engine, and access anything else that requires a key with one single device.
    • Comparison-shopping. Whether you are doing groceries, buying clothes or getting something from the local electronics store, with a wave of your phone you could have access to reviews, additional product information, or prices from other stores. Much like you can do today with barcode scanning but faster.
    • “Check-ins” and venue reviews. Google recently began pushing this by putting NFC-enabled Places stickers just outside some restaurants and businesses in the Portland, OR area. With your NFC-equipped phone you can easily rate places or read reviews so you have an idea if the food or service is any good before going in. It’s also useful for getting ‘point of interest’ information in cities or location-based social networks like Foursquare.

While the poster can only be a passive target, NFC-equipped devices like smartphones can act as initiators, targets, or both combined in an active peer-to-peer mode. Elaborating on the same example, say you purchased a ticket to that movie from the poster, now you can bypass the line at the box office and redeem the ticket on your handset. The NFC reader at the movies is the initiator and reads the information from your phone, which acts as the target.

I’ll discuss other possible uses next but at this point I want to note that some of this is already possible with current technologies like QR codes. You can buy a movie ticket online and get confirmation with a QR code attached by email, which you can print or simply flash from your smartphone screen to be scanned at the theater. So, despite all the hype about disruption, NFC is more about increasing convenience than enabling something completely new. Instead of swiping a credit card or scanning a barcode just tap the NFC reader with your phone and off you go.

Courtesy : http://www.techspot.com

 
 

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Apple Vs Android: Apple wins hands down on Predictability

Implement standards & guidelines

Ever tired to call HDFC Customer care…phew!, guys you are in for a huge trouble. The worst is most of their services do not work if you call them after 8 PM, why? Hard to understand this. And they give just 3 click solution for their Credit card customers than with Debit card. This differentiation hardly wins customer.

Bottom line is: Implementation of standards and/or guidelines in services or products will help ensure predictable customer experience as they limit the number of different ways an interaction can work.

There’s less for customers to learn and they can predict the interaction more readily. Apple products clearly demonstrate that standards and guidelines create predictable experiences. All iPhones, iPods and Apple computers have an almost identical look, feel, and interaction model, as do their stores.

Contrast this with the Android phone experience. Clearly, balancing consistency and customisation is a challenge for them, as the user experience from one Andriod phone to another can be quite different. Google allows hardware vendors to heavily brand the Android experience through look, feel, and function. As a result, some devices differ dramatically. This impedes customer satisfaction when switching to different models of Android phone and prevents customers predicting whether any given Android phone will be a good one.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2011 in UX and Usability

 

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Bump : An App crosses 50 million users

This is an amazing App, with 50 million users and two marriages out of bumping with each other, wow!

This is awesome…

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2011 in Product Reviews

 

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