Top Android Stories of 20122012 will be remembered as the year that Android pivoted from follower to leader.Android smartphones became bigger, sleeker and faster and became a relevantchoice in comparison to Apple. The two biggest product releases were the SamsungGalaxy SIII and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.The Galaxy SIII redefined the Android smartphone from a functional lower cost blackslab to a shiny, sexy trend setting mobile device with equal or greater consumerpremium value compared to the iPhone. Jelly Bean surpassed Apple iOS with itsimprovements over Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Like the SIII made the exterior of theAndroid smartphones slick and sexy, Jelly Bean enriched the user experience andadded new features such as Now, Voice Search and a very slick single swipenotifications center.
Android Is No. 1, But Google Says It Still Makes Little : But Does Google Really Care? In January of 2012 Google CEO Larry Page reported to Wall Street “in just three years, Android has become the king of mobile operating systems. But it’s only now starting to make money for Google. In response, Stifel Nicolaus’s Analyst Jordan Rohan was quoted in the New York Times “It’ll take quite a few years before Google generates the sort of revenue from Android that Apple or other device vendors generate from selling devices. Google doesn’t covet Apple’s hardware revenues, but it does want to cement its transition from desktop advertising leader to mobile advertising leader. What would be a better way to counter Apple’s encroachment into mobile advertising than to provide via open source license a free feature rich mobile operating system to Samsung, HTC and others with powerful supply chains that will put pressure on Apple’s rich margins?
Chrome Web Browser Finally Comes to Android Phones, Tab: Most Important of All, Chrome is Fast. Really Freaking Fast Google released the Chrome browser for Android in February 2012. For those immersed in Google Apps it is manna from heaven . Chrome for Android delivers a mobile integration to the same degree that desktop users experience. Search terms, tabs and bookmarks are synched saving the mobile user key strokes and more importantly saving the latency of traversing multiple URLs to get to the desired information, improving performance. Chrome for Android and iOS is an example of Google’s strategy to give users best in class capability in return for an intimate relationship with the user’s search history and geographic location.
Linux and Android, Together at Last: the80% Contributing the Last 20% Gets Bigger When Android launched as an independent company its advantage was forking linux and building Android on the linux code base. Forking separated the code bases but in March of 2012 they were brought back together again. Clay Shirky in his 2005 Ted Talk Institutions vs. Colaberation speaks to the tremendous value of the power law distribution (aka the 80/20 rule) in open source software. 80% of the open source contributions are produced by 20% of the developers and 20% of the contributions are produced by the very long tail of the other 80% of the developers. When Android was merged into Linux’s mainline version Android developers were able to avail themselves to a much larger code repository shortening the time to market and perhaps finding a brilliant innovation in linux’s or Android’s long tail,
Google chief defends Android in court: LarryPage Debuts in the Oracle Patent Litigation Trial In April of 2012 Google CEO Larry Page took the witness stand in defense of Google in a patent litigation brought by Oracle. Oracle’s CEO Larry Ellison also testified. Ellison could be thought of as the software industries’ Mr. Hwang of TV series M*A*S*H* fame, the fall-down king of patent litigation and professional intellectual property accident victim. Oracle asserted that Google had misappropriated Java (that Oracle acquired when it acquired Sun) that programmers use to develop for Android. Page asserted that the Java used with Android is an “open source” clone, free of any Oracle copyrights and patents.
Jury Says Google’s Android Does Not Infringe [Oracle’s] Java This may be the Point of Diminishing Returns of Software Patent Litigation. The jury in the Oracle v. Google Java patent and copyright litigation exonerated Google in May of 2012. Some issues of the case were taken up by US District Court Judge Alsup and later dismissed. Not only was the matter dismissed, but in September, Oracle was ordered to pay Google $1 Million for fees it paid to expert witnesses to defend itself against Oracle’s claim. Oracle avowed to appeal the ruling. The conclusion: "So long as the specific code used to implement a method is different, anyone is free under the Copyright Act to write his or her own code to carry out exactly the same function or specification of any methods used in the Java API. It does not matter that the declaration or method header lines are identical."
June 2012, the Top Story too Close toCall: Project Glass or Android Growth Like a pilgrimage to Mecca, the technologically faithful make their way to Moscone Center in San Francisco to learn what is technologically new and inspiring from Google at its annual io conference. While much of the event is meant for the appreciation of software developers, two headlining events caught the attention of mainstream and technology news readers. Project glass, a visual interface to your Android computer and Google Apps was unveiled by Google co-founder and resident mad scientist Sergi Brin. Not yet released, delivery of paid prototypes at $1,500 each is anticipated in 2014. And then there is the growth of Android, in 12 months total activations tripled totaling 400 million and reached a rate of 1 million per day.
Android 4.1 Jelly Bean Roll Out Begins In July of 2012 the Jelly Bean Roll-out began. Jelly Bean has many features that make for interesting discussion. Now and voice search draw attention away from the greater significance of Jelly Bean. It brings Android to parity with Apple iOS. While one can argue the subtle differences in which Android JB or iOS 6 comes out slightly ahead or slightly behind, the most demanding objective user would be equally delighted to use a Samsung Galaxy SIII with Jelly Bean or an iPhone 5 with iOS 6. Google also demonstrated that it could reduce security exploits against Android without implementing rigid PC like processes. Adding design improvements like Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) have produced statistically relevant reductions in attack vectors open to be exploited. A segment of the developer community has also stepped up from “mobile first” development to “Android first” development. Developers seeking to begin product development with a Minimally Viable Product (MVP) and iterate quickly based on user feedback appreciate that Android does not require a new App Store approval every time a line of code has been changed.
Apple vs. Samsung: The Longer View: Tempest in a Teapot Apple won a jury trial against Samsung in August of 2012 for infringement against iPhone patents and was awarded $1 Billion in damages. Not an insignificant amount of money in the context of Apple’s and Samsung’s annual revenues of $156 Billion and $173 Billion respectively its not a significant amount of money to them. Further, the jury decision is on appeal. Apple buys a lot from Samsung, though it is trying to reduce what it buys. LCDs and batteries are key components purchased from Samsung by Apple. Samsung also fabricates Apple’s A4, A5 and A6 processors. Its rumored that 30% of the iPhone 5’s bill of material cost is for Samsung components. It would be a safe bet that Samsung has already recaptured the $1 Billion court judgment in product pricing from Apple .
Apple Unveils an iPhone That Is Lighter and More Powerful: But Something besides Steve Jobs Was Missing Apple’s September 12 announcement of the iPhone 5, the iPad Mini and new iMac introduced to the world more beautifully designed Apple products that will produce significant revenues from Apple fans when reported on January 24th 2013. As its market has matured Apple is challenged to create shock and awe with its product announcements. The big news was the iPhone 5 has blazing fast LTE/4G communications overcoming many of the significant design challenges related to LTE/4G and Apple responded to Google’s Nexus 7 with the iPad Mini. The rest of the event was Phil Schiller generating enthusiasm for his mundane ability to calculate geometric percentages and count Torx screws. Apple will need something radically new in its next product announcement event that is as new as the first iPad if it is to retain its unique product leadership. Maybe it will be a new Apple TV with a new content delivery strategy.
Googles Oct. 29 Android event canceled due toHurricane Sandy: Are Big Venue Events Necessary? Google’s big October 29th product announcement was interrupted by Hurricane Sandy. One has been trained to believe that these events could determine the success or failure of their sponsors new products. Considering that many models of the Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 sold out in the Google Play Store, one is more inclined to wonder what are the future circumstances that Google would consider important enough to justify the cost of such a big event. The reason for the success of this un-announcement is consumers are capable of interpreting product specification and capabilities using rich media and they trust Google to ship a complete product. Google and Android consumers tend to be a little more tech savy than their Apple cohorts so they don’t need a bricks and motor store with a genius bar to make their purchase decisions.
Samsung Galaxy Camera Goes on Sale Nov. 16: Point, Shoot and Post A few Android camera’s reached the market before Samsung introduced its Galaxy Camera, but the earlier entrants did not produce as good a camera and ran Gingerbread. The Galaxy Camera is distinguished by high 16.3 m pixel density, a 21X optical zoom and WiFi and 3G/LTE/4G communications. What makes this type of camera useful is it runs Android. This gives the photographer many app editing features and instant uploads to almost every photo sharing site. No longer limited by the poor quality of smartphones, consumers can take great quality images, edit, filter and upload to Facebook or other photo sharing site. It is point, shoot and post in the moment of experience. Priced at $500 without a data plan, it’s a bit pricey, but it sets the stage for consumers to never wait again to connect camera to computer to post a historical image.
Google Announces Best Apps of 2012 There are so many lists of apps that are for someZappos Free reason or other the “best” that such a entry was almostEvernote Free dismissed in this recap of the 2012 top Android stories.Mint Free But the list prevailed for two reasons. First it isPocket Free authoritative in its selection by Google and secondly it marks a milestone in the evolution of appPinterest Free development. Only one of twelve apps on Google’s listGrimms Snow White $1.99 is a paid download app.Expedia Free The golden era of App development is over.Ancestry Free Developing an app, doing what ever it takes to get to the top 10 list and then reaping the reward of paidFancy Free downloads is over. There are too many “me too” appsTed Free and too many app developers that will release a freeSeriesGuide Show app hoping to monetize it later for paid download appsManager Free to succeed as easily as in the past.Pixlr Express Free At this point, creativity in designing the monetization model for an app is as important as and integral to the product design itself.
And this is Only the BeginningAbout 1 Billion smartphones have shipped to a world withabout 6 Billion mobile phone subscribers. The 5 Billionmobile phone subscribers yet to adopt smartphones is ahuge untapped opportunity for further innovation.The world has entered the post-PC era in which smartphonesand tablets will replace notebooks and unltrabooks drivingmore untethered mobile and cloud computing innovation.