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Posts Tagged ‘Samsung

Nowadays one can easily become overwhelmed by all the virtual reality news. There was new hardware announced, heaps of games to play and peripherals that will be released for hardware soon. The majority of VR technology is on curve to come out in 2016.

Before going into the details of high-tech world, it’s important to define the difference between virtual and augmented reality. Virtual reality is able to transpose the user and bring him someplace else via closed visors or goggles. Augmented reality takes our current reality and adds something to it. It does not move us elsewhere, it simply “augments” our current state of presence, often with clear visors.

Below you will find a brief breakdown of the most popular virtual reality headsets.

PC/CONSOLE

Oculus Rift is the most famous headset that gave rise to the current boom in VR-technology and HMD.
The latest version of the device promises a resolution of 1080×1200 in both of its OLED screens (2160×1200 total), a 90 Hz refresh rate, and a FOV (field of view) greater than 100°. It has integrated headphones which provide spatialized HRTF audio. The consumer version will be shipped in Q1 2016.

HTC Vive was created in cooperation with the Valve games creator. Valve is one of the biggest names in game publishing and digital distribution, though HTC wants to tap the headset’s potential for immersive education. The Vive lets users walk around a 15-by-15-foot space in VR, complete with two included controllers for interacting with the environment. 90 Hz refresh rate provides a good performance without any delay. Vive is connected to a PC and operates with its own gaming ecosystem.

Razer OSVR (Open Source Virtual Reality) is an open VR ecosystem meant to encompass a range of headsets, accessories and software experiences. Creators can download the software and schematics necessary to build their own OSVR headsets, or can register to buy pre-built OSVR Hacker Dev Kits. OSVR has a ton of development support, with major players such as Leap Motion, Ubisoft and Gearbox Entertainment. Razer OSVR is focused on VR developers and enthusiasts. The headset is compatible with additional components from third-party manufacturers.

MOBILE

Gear VR operates from your Samsung smartphone. You just need to insert your phone into the headset body. Co-developed by Oculus, Gear VR is smaller and lighter than its PC-based gadgets, and offers a mix of VR games and entertainment experiences. The Gear VR Innovator Edition is available now for both the Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy S6. A new version was released in November 2015, and it supports the Galaxy Note 5 as well as all variations of the Galaxy S6, including the S6 Edge Plus.

Google Cardboard is an Android-based platform meant to allow anyone to experience VR cheaply. Users can build their own Cardboard headsets using Google’s schematics or buy inexpensive third-party viewers such as DodoCase or I Am Cardboard. Once you insert your Android phone into your viewer, you’ve got a virtual reality headset.

VR development tools

We reviewed most popular VR platforms for building VR projects. Most of the platforms are famous for their powerful systems which connect range of products from software to solution designs.

Unity is a flexible and powerful development platform for creating multiplatform 3D and 2D games and interactive experiences. It’s a complete ecosystem for anyone who aims to build a business on creating high-end content and connecting to their most loyal and enthusiastic players and customers.

Unreal Engine is a complete suite of game development tools made by and for game developers. From 2D mobile games to console blockbusters and VR, Unreal Engine 4 provides full cycle of tools for the development.

WorldViz is a full range of products and support, including enterprise grade software, complete VR systems, custom solution design, and application development. Its Vizard VR Toolkit provides a powerful platform for creating a new breed of visual simulations. One can build applications that provide users with the good experiences across virtual reality immersive technologies such as displays and sensors.

GameWorks VR is NVIDIA’s set of APIs, libraries, and features that enable both VR headset and game developers. GameWorks VR is aimed at game and application developers, and includes a feature called VR SLI, which provides increased performance for VR applications where multiple GPUs can be assigned a specific eye to accelerate stereo rendering. GameWorks VR also delivers Context Priority for providing control over GPU scheduling to support advanced VR features such as asynchronous time warp. There’s also a Direct Mode for treating VR headsets as head-mounted displays accessible only to VR applications. GameWorks VR is being integrated into leading game engines, such as those from Epic Games, which has announced support for GameWorks VR features in an upcoming version of the popular Unreal Engine 4.3.

OSVR platform is fully open-source, so you can have complete access to all you need (from motion control, to game engines, and stereoscopic video output) whether you’re interested in working with hardware developmental kit designs, or software plugins. Companies such as Unity, Unreal, Intel, Bosch, Razer, Sixense, and Leapmotion are all supporters of the OSVR.

High Fidelity is an open source virtual reality platform for creating a social metaverse. It’s still a work-in-progress. High Fidelity supports Java Script, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, Unity, Unreal Engine, PrioVR, Sixsense, HTC Vive headset and Razer Hydra. High Fidelity has the potential to be the next Facebook in VR. For now, the majority of development in the space happens in traditional game engines like Unity and Unreal. High Fidelity’s worlds put it somewhere between those professional tools and customizable video games, opening up innovation in the space to those who are willing to get technical but don’t want to build something from the ground up.

Conclusion

VR technology is already right around the corner, and one must admit it’s awesome. Finally VR is becoming accessible, and it’s only the beginning, when you can now put yourself in the action of your favorite digital worlds, instead of simply gaming on a TV.

Nearly every industry will soon use VR for teleconferencing and training. VR in gaming already allows travelling into gaming titles (Rigs: Mechanized Combat League, P.O.L.L.E.N, Eve: Valkyrie, etc). All the Virtual Reality headsets currently in development will make going behind the screens feasible. For some non-gaming professionals, 3-D experiences are already transforming the way they do their jobs:

– Real Estate
Instead of spending hours driving around looking for the perfect house, savvy realtors will give clients VR tours of properties. Matterport (real estate agency in the US) is already selling a 3-D camera system to help agents create these walk-throughs.

– Mental Health
Doctors at research hospitals have used VR for decades to treat patients with burns and PTSD. But now a company called Psious offers a headset and software bundle to help therapists treat anxiety disorders like arachnophobia and fear of flying with a VR version of exposure therapy.

– Design and Engineering
Ford Motor is using Oculus tech to evaluate virtual versions of vehicles before they’re built, and startups are developing VR design tools for everyone from architects to nanotech engineers.

According to Altabel’s experience in VR development, we believe that VR has the promise to improve every aspect of technology, whether in the medical field, education, or in gaming, and with all of the emerging developers approaching this tech from their own perspective, virtual reality should be a fully realized technology by 2016.

And what do you think of Virtual Reality? Have you ever thought of trying VR in your business? Which VR platform do you prefer and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

 

Svetlana Pozdnyakova

Business Development Manager

 

altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

E-mail: contact@altabel.com
www.altabel.com

It is expected that within the next 5-7 years there will be billions of devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). However, on the way to this bright future, there are certain practical barriers.

The traditional model of the Internet of Things requires a centralized system for data processing, which handles all the data from connected devices. Nevertheless, this approach is seriously flawed in terms of cost of lifecycle and business model in general. For example, a company that produces “smart TVs” should support a centralized processing infrastructure and data management of the device for more than 20 years. While it earns revenues only once, when selling this device. This imposes restrictions on the Internet of Things. So far it is available only in the premium devices or those that are rarely used.

Nowadays, most of the IT companies are competing in invention IoT platforms and systems.

IBM: Adept

IBM’s solution is to use the web’s most innovative p2p technologies to create distributed cloud environment which means that all the devices will be integrated together. Thus, every device will be self-sufficient for managing and will use distributed public infrastructure to communicate with other devices. In this way, producing company won’t have recurring costs in maintenance. Such a system will be stable for the lifetime of the devices, and it will be equal to its clouds. The network will be fully autonomous, while the device remains in it, without requiring the cost from producer. However, centralized control becomes almost impossible with all the potential billions of devices on the network.

Their system Adept will rely on three different technologies to resolve a number of issues related to IoT development and commercialization: Block chain, famous from the crypto currency bitcoin, will allow IoT devices to communicate and interact with one another, BitTorrent (provides a stable and capable data distribution system ) and Telehash (private messaging protocol with end-to-end encryption).

Apple: Homekit

Apple is not idle in the IoT field. They introduced a new ‘smart home’ platform – Homekit this summer (2014).

Homekit is a framework and network protocol for controlling devices in the home. It promises a seamless user interface for organizing and controlling connected devices, all part of iOS 8. As part of this announcement there is also a new microcontroller SoC (system on a chip), containing a low-power WiFi, ZigBee and Bluetooth. It combines what had been separate components into a fully integrated unit. As with many other Apple products you will need a certificate, in this case Apple’s MFi certification (Made for iPod, Made for iPhone, Made for iPad).

Google: Nest

In January 2014, Google showed its commitment to the emerging Internet of Things by purchasing Nest for $3.2 billion. Nest’s main product is a learning thermostat connected to the internet that uses sensors, regional data, and learning algorithms to preemptively change the temperature of your house automatically. Thus, Google gains a direct entry point into the home to collect data, learn, and possibly advertise to end users in the future. Google’s purchase of Nest was considered an important indicator that the Internet of Things is poised to explode.

Microsoft: Windows 8.1 for IoT

Microsoft does not want to be left behind and has its own plan to bring Windows Developers to the Internet of Things with its new version of Windows 8.1 – operating system tailored for the Internet of Things. This version of Windows is designed to use in microcomputers, wearable electronics, and possibly, toys and household gadgets. At this point the preliminary version is only available to developers. Windows 8.1 distribution for the Internet of things weighs only 174 MB. For comparison, the size distribution of the full version of Windows 8.1 is around 3 GB. Slim enough to work on a single-core processor Intel Quark with a clock frequency of just 400 MHz. But the boot time is poor – 2 minutes instead of the traditional 3-30 seconds.

Intel: Galileo

The first platform that is compatible with Windows 8.1 for the Internet of Things is Intel’s Galileo. It is built around a processor, Intel Quark has 256 MB of RAM, a slot for cards format SD, two ports USB, PCI Express interface and a network adapter Ethernet 10/100 Mbit / s, and a pocket friendly price of just $ 50.

Samsung: Smartthings, Smart Home

Samsung, Intel and Dell announced in July 2014 that they are combining forces to create a new wireless standard for the Internet of Things, connecting sensors, appliances and gadgets to the Internet in the home, business and automobile. The Open Internet Consortium will include hardware component builders Broadcom and Amtel as well as embedded software provider Wind River.

Also it would be unfair not to mention the fact that Samsung has bought an internet of things (IoT) company called Smartthings (the startup that makes smart-home controllers) for about $200 million. Samsung is planning to use it to bolster its smart home plans. Smartthings will run as an independent entity within Samsung, and will continue to support its existing customer base. This system provides a smartphone app that users can employ to control features and functions around the house.

Smart Home platform will provide users with three main services: Device Control, Home View, and Smart Customer Service. Device Control will allow users to access customized settings for all of their devices on their smartphone or on their Smart TV. Home View allows users to take advantage of the cameras built into many of Samsung’s connected appliances to take a look at what’s going on at home. Smart Customer Service will notify users whenever it’s time to service an appliance, and also provide assistance in after-sales servicing.

Other companies such as Vodafone, Cisco, MediaTek, etc are also a part of this great revolution in IT environment, and most of them have very prospective projects.

1

IoT Top10 Companies

Nevertheless, one should accept that the Internet of Things requires some technical and educational level from the society, and while in some countries this seems to be difficult to put it into practice, the Scandinavian region, more specifically – Sweden, invests in such projects at the national level. The vision of its industry is to increase competitiveness and to use innovation effectively in such social spheres as healthcare, welfare and sport. Business life is focused on getting benefits by implementation of IoT technology as well.

The connected world is too big to belong to somebody exclusively. So will Apple, Windows, IBM, Oracle, Google and others be able to all work together in this IoT universe? Or will the grand idea of a seamlessly connected Internet of Things environment slip away?

Will be thankful to hear your opinion on this subject. Share your thoughts here in comments or send me a message.

 

Svetlana Pozdnyakova

Business Development Manager

 

altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

E-mail: contact@altabel.com
www.altabel.com

The Samsung Z is set to hit Russia in the third quarter of the year. This phone is powered by the open source Tizen operating system. For those who didn’t know, Samsung has been quietly developing Tizen in the background for three years (Tizen already powers the Samsung Gear watches).

I firmly believe Samsung is testing the Tizen waters to see if the platform could be a viable alternative to Google’s Android OS. If any company could pull off such a feat… it would be Samsung. But beyond the implications Tizen has to Android (the most used platform worldwide), what does this mean for the near vaporware status Ubuntu Phone?

Plenty.

While the Ubuntu Phone is still struggling to gain any serious momentum — anywhere — Samsung has already set a date for its open-source device. The latest worthwhile news from the Ubuntu Phone camp was March 19, 2014, stating that “big smartphone brands [are] looking ‘seriously’ at Ubuntu Phone.” Prior to that, the big news was that Spanish-based BQ and China-based Meizu announced they were set to release Ubuntu Phone devices “sometime in 2014.”

2014 is officially half over.

That silence is fairly damning in a world that demands a constant deluge of updates — especially when a powerhouse such as Samsung announces they are set to release the first, mass-produced, open source, Linux-based smartphone. Samsung beat Canonical to the punch, and if the Samsung Z does well in Russia, it’ll be released to the rest of the world. Should that happen, the likelihood of the Ubuntu Phone having a chance, in an already saturated market, is unlikely.

Think about it this way. The IDC reports:

  • Android powers nearly 80% of the world’s mobile devices
  • iOS powers just over 15% of the world’s mobile devices
  • Windows phone powers just over 3% of the world’s mobile devices
  • BlackBerry powers just under 2% of the world’s mobile devices

There is a scant 1% left over for “Other.”

Because Samsung already has such a strong presence in the Android market, and because their devices are found everywhere, they could chip away (even slightly) at both the Android and “Other” markets. The Ubuntu Phone will most likely be relegated to the “Other” market. That’s not much to pull from. Those low numbers will make it a huge challenge for Canonical and the Ubuntu Phone. To make matters worse, the longer it takes for the Ubuntu Phone to make its way to market, the smaller that user base will be. That’s the crux of the issue — time. Canonical announced its intention to create a Ubuntu Phone some time ago. Since then, it’s been nothing but promises and a failed fundraiser for Ubuntu Edge.

The tragedy of this is that the Ubuntu Phone could well be one of the finest mobile devices to date. But because Samsung is going to likely beat Canonical to the punch, that brilliant piece of tech might flounder… simply because it couldn’t get into the fight soon enough. And now, with Samsung delivering their own open-source smartphone, the chances they would join in on the Ubuntu Phone fun are pretty much nil.

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see the Ubuntu Phone released and enjoy a massive success. I would personally drop my current device, without hesitation, for an Ubuntu Phone — but I don’t see that happening any time soon. In fact, the likelihood that I could get my hands on a Tizen-based phone seems exponentially greater than the Ubuntu Phone.

Canonical needs to understand that timing is everything in this light-speed paced world in which we live. You cannot announce a product one year and deliver it the next. By the time you release, everyone has already moved on to the next great shiny thing. At the moment, that shiny thing might be the Samsung Z.

At least for Russia.

Will the Samsung Z have a chance in a market that’s choked by two major players (Android and iOS)? Or is it already doomed before it hits the market? And does Samsung’s release of the Tizen-based phone sound a death knell for the Ubuntu Phone? Share your thoughts in the discussion thread below.

 

Lina Deveikyte

Lina Deveikyte
Lina.Deveikyte@altabel.com 
Skype ID: lina_deveikyte
Marketing Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development 

The IT sector is flourishing. If you’ve used a computer for at least a couple of times in the last few years, you’ve probably noticed this. I’ve noticed it myself even more after a business trip to Stockholm where I was lucky to attend some conferences and learnt more about Swedish IT industry tendencies. These tendencies reflect our life in general. Life changes rapidly with new technologies bursting into it. And when it comes to programming languages, we get a chance to see very different trendy styles. Programming languages which were popular some years ago are not useful today. And no one can exactly predict which programming language will be popular in future. That’s why a programmer who wants to stay in developer fields has to adopt the right programming language from time to time.

As the Swedish software maker Erik Starck pointed out, “programming is about managing complexities”. And it’s really so. An understanding of at least one programming language makes an impressive addition to any CV nowadays.

It is also very difficult to get the exact number of users for any programming language. Many of us use multiple programming languages. The more experience you have, the more programming languages you use. The more programs you write or work with, the chances of using more languages rise. The larger the company, the more languages you’re likely to use.

There are a number of ways to measure the popularity of a programming language, for example, based on the number of: 1) new applications written in the language; 2) existing applications written in the language; 3) developers that use the language primarily; 4) developers that use the language ever; 5) web searches; 6) available jobs that require skills in the language; 7) developers’ favorites, etc.

My survey attempts to rank which programming languages are most popular in Sweden, each using a different measure. So, they are the following:

1) Python

Python is an object-oriented programming language which allows developers to work quickly while integrating their systems more efficiently and effectively. Designed by Guido van Rossum in 1991, Python is one of the most easy to use programming languages.

Python is characterized by its use of indentation for readability, and its encouragement for elegant code by making developers do similar things in similar ways.

Top Employers: Amazon, Dell, Google, eBay, Instagram, Yahoo

2) Java

Java is a class-based, object-oriented programming language founded by Sun Microsystems in 1995. Java is one of the most in-demand programming languages today for many reasons. First of all, it is a well-organized language with a strong library of reusable software components. Secondly, programs written in Java can run on many different computer architectures and operating systems because of the use of the JVM (Java virtual machine).

Top Employers: Amazon, Deloitte, Sun, eBay, Symantec Corporation, Cisco Systems, Samsung

3) C++

C++ is a compiled, multi-paradigm language written as an update to C in 1979 by Bjarne Stroustrup.

Due to its high-level compatibility and object-orientation, C++ is used for developing a wide-range of applications and games which makes it a popular and sought after programming language by the employers.

Top Employers: Intel, the Math Works, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Amazon, Mozilla, Adobe, Volvo

4) Ruby

Ruby is an open source, dynamic programming language designed by Yukihiro Matsumoto in 1995 with a key focus on productivity and simplicity .It is one of the most object-oriented languages in the world.

Ruby is a mix of elegant syntax which is easy to read and write and hence it has attracted many organizations and developers.

Top Employers: Spokes, VMware, Accenture, Cap Gemini, Siemens, BBC, NASA

5) JavaScript

JavaScript is an object-oriented scripting language founded in 1995 by Netscape.

Being a client-side language, it runs in the web browser on the client-side with a simplified set of commands, easier code and no need for compilation.  JavaScript is simple to learn and it is used in millions of web pages to authenticate forms, detect browsers and improve design.

Top Employers: Microsoft, Sales Force, IBM, Yahoo, Dell

6) C#

C# is a compiled, object-oriented language developed by Microsoft.

It is highly used on Windows platform and labelled as the premium language for Microsoft .NET framework. C# is known for strong typing, procedural and functional programming discipline which is the reason it has acquired so much popularity.

Top Employers: Microsoft, HP, Digi-Key Corporation, Allscripts, Intel

Those are the top 6 programming languages which are in great demand among Swedish developers.

And one more thing: remember that opinions are like noses, everyone has one and they all smell 😉 If you disagree, please feel free to email me or write your own opinions in the comments.

 

Kate Kviatkovskaya

Kate Kviatkovskaya

Business Development Manager

E-mail: Kate.Kviatkovskaya@altabel.com
Skype: kate.kviatkovskaya
LI Profile: Kate Kviatkovskaya

 

altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

E-mail: contact@altabel.com
www.altabel.com

Quick, grab all of your devices and check what release of Android they are using. Are they all the same? If so, consider yourself one in a million. The Android platform is plagued with numerous releases on numerous devices — even the same devices from different carriers can suffer from different iterations of Android!

Because of what I do, I have numerous Android devices. The different releases are:

  • 4.0.4
  • 4.1.2
  • 4.3
  • 4.4.2

All of the above are on devices ranging from a Samsung Galaxy Tab to an HTC One Max (and just about everything in between). As I work with one of the various devices, I have to bounce back and forth to remember where something is located on a certain release. Although this isn’t a deal breaker for me, imagine having to support hundreds of devices, all with varying releases. Now, we’re talking about the breaking of deals.

But this issue goes deeper than that. It’s common knowledge that certain providers and certain device manufacturers are quicker to update than others. Motorola, for one, has always been at the top of the heap for updates. My Moto X always has the latest version of Android (almost immediately upon release). Samsung devices? Not so much. And if you’re with AT&T — good luck.

At one point, Google created the Android Update Alliance. That failed, but not because of Google. The blame here lies at the feet of the carriers and hardware manufacturers, including:

  • AT&T
  • Verizon
  • T-Mobile
  • HTC
  • Motorola
  • Samsung
  • Kyocera

This update issue isn’t only widespread, it’s also very counter to rolling out new devices. How can Samsung (or any manufacturer) or AT&T (or any carrier) sell a device with an out of date OS? And with KitKat showing off how much more efficient it is at memory management, it’s become imperative that Android devices are released with the latest version.

I know this is a challenge for all involved. The second you release a piece of hardware, it could quickly become out of date. And each manufacturer has a different spin on the UI:

  • Motorola Motoblur
  • HTC Sense
  • Samsung Touchwiz

When a new release of Android hits, each company has to integrate the underlying platform with its UI, so there’s another slowdown.

Here’s my beef with this — I can go to the Google Play Store and install any number of home screen launchers, nearly all of which play well with whatever version of Android I’m using (with a rare exception). In some cases, these home screen launchers are developed by a single person who must constantly keep up with changes made to the kernel and various stacks that make up the Android platform. And they do it with aplomb and efficiency.

So, how is it that a single developer can manage this, yet a large company cannot? It truly baffles the mind.

Well, I’ve come up with some ideas that might help this along. Some of them are unlikely, and some of them just might actually work. Let’s take a look:

  • All hardware manufacturers drop their in-house home screen launchers and go with vanilla Android (they can offer their versions on the Google Play Store).
  • Google develops a set of standards for all hardware manufacturers to use for developing their home screen.
  • Set up an OS upgrade check during the first run wizard? Out of date? Update.
  • Carriers stop selling out-of-date Android devices that won’t run any version of Android other than the most recent two major releases.

I know it’s a lose-lose scenario. The carriers, the manufacturers, and Google are not going to see eye-to-eye on this issue. But they need to lose their egos and stranglehold on their devices and come to some sort of unified structure that allows Android updates to roll out in a universal fashion. Having carriers selling devices with out-of-date operating systems does no favors to Android. And users not getting the best possible experience, because a carrier or a manufacturer can’t seem to get the upgrade process refined, does nothing but frustrate users.

KitKat is a substantial improvement over an already solid release. Every Android user should be enjoying the speed and features brought about by the latest iteration of the platform. Every entity involved needs to step up and make this happen… soon!

What do you think? Are you one of those suffering from an out of date release of Android? What do you think needs to be done to resolve this problem? Share your thoughts in the discussion thread below.
 

Kristina Kozlova

Marketing Manager

 

altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

E-mail: contact@altabel.com
www.altabel.com

Steve Jobs wasn’t a fan of Android. He thought it was a rip-off of the iPhone. He saw the iPhone as a ground-breaker and Android as an attempt by Google and a consortium of device manufacturers to bring a similar product to a wider market. He famously told his biographer Walter Isaacson that he would “spend my last dying breath if I need to” and “every penny of Apple’s $40bn in the bank” to right the perceived wrong done to Apple by Google. “I’m going to destroy Android,” he pronounced, “because it’s a stolen product…” Jobs’ quest led indirectly to the decision of a US court to award Apple $1bn in damages, and to place an injunction on Samsung distributing some of its product in the US.

But Android had been under development since 2003 and was purchased by Google in 2005, two years before the advent of the iPhone. Granted, its later development was undoubtedly influenced by the range of features incorporated in the iPhone, and the potential and scope of Nokia’s Maemo project.

Theft is an emotional concept and technology is a complex proving ground. The iPhone is an elegant synthesis of intricate ideas and technologies that had gone before, many of them originally developed, patented and supplied by companies such as Samsung and Motorola – now owned by Google. Smartphones and touchpads existed before the iPhone.

Samsung says it has spent billions on research into mobile technologies over the past 25 years and noted in its own submissions to the court that “the flash memory, main memory, and application processor for the iPhone” are supplied by Samsung. It said “also manufactures Apple’s A5X processor and is the sole supplier of the Retina display used in the new iPad”. It also initiated many of the wireless standards and technologies that make it possible for an iPhone to talk to other phones.

Apple’s distinctive contribution has been collation and design, derived from an understanding of why and how a Smartphone could and would be useful and attractive to an end user, and which features would enhance that effect. The iPod, iPhone and iPad are instantly recognizable for their cleanliness and simplicity – and the software is focused on simplifying the tasks of the end user.

Apple’s talent has been to transform utility into an art form, to reduce apparent complexity and anticipate the wants of the user. By collating the possibilities of the Smartphone, and pulling together the virtues of design and utility, Apple has lifted the concept of smart devices to browse the web from geek heaven into user space, which makes it all the more surprising how little attention other device and computer manufacturers have paid to the role of design in selling hardware.

But the bigger issue isn’t copying, or imitation, but the broken nature of the patent and so-called intellectual property industries. In an industry where last year’s must-have is already out of date, there is something obscene about a court case that involves, among other things, a dispute about patents and design registrations such as the one “for overall design of the product, including the rectangular shape, the rounded corners, the silver edges, the black face, and the display of 16 colorful icons”. Or the one “for the configuration of a rectangular handheld mobile digital electronic device with rounded corners”. These are not technological or design innovations.

The decision of the court to punish Samsung for its intrusion into the markets Apple considers its own, and in the words of Samsung’s press release “to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners, or technology that is being improved every day by Samsung and other companies” is symptomatic of the ongoing crisis in the creative and technological industries.

The decision against Samsung is just the latest event in the war. It is bad news for everybody, not least the users and developers of Android and the iPhone, as each of these companies scrambles to buy up the ownership of patents. As Google’s chief legal officer, David Drummond, put it last year: “A Smartphone might involve as many as 250,000 largely questionable patent claims, and our competitors want to impose a tax for these dubious patents that makes Android devices more expensive for consumers. They want to make it harder for manufacturers to sell Android devices. Instead of competing by building new features or devices, they are fighting through litigation.”

And what do you think? Are you on Apple side or Samsung?

Kind Regards,
Lina Deveikyte
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

As shipments of Android phones reached 206 million in 2011, Google’s mobile OS captured 46 percent of the global market, easily making it the largest Smartphone platform, according to Taiwan’sMarket Intelligence & Consulting Institute (MIC).

Such growth paves the way for Android to carve out a 50 percent slice of the market in 2012, says MIC. Though Android will retain its firm lead, the market will also be dominated this year by Apple’s iOS with a 19 percent share and Microsoft’s Windows Phone with a 13 percent share.

Looking at the major Smartphone makers, MIC sees Samsung in the lead with a 21.7 percent share, followed by Apple with 18.7 percent. HTC share will rise to 10.9 percent. But Nokia and RIM will face a rough climate with their shares dropping to 15.6 percent and 8.6 percent, respectively.

Overall, Smartphone shipments could hit 614 million this year, a 36 percent jump from the 452 million shipped last year, estimates MIC. For now, Smartphone owners account for only around 14 percent of all mobile subscribers around the globe. But as lower-priced smartphones reach consumers, especially in emerging markets, that percentage will grow to 17 percent this year and 40 percent in 2016.

Looking to eke out more global business, the major Smartphone vendors focused on emerging markets last year. With a varied lineup of smartphones, Samsung has gained strong traction among emerging nations. Apple expanded its sales channels in more emerging countries, capturing healthy sales in China but also targeting South American markets such as Brazil.
Though HTC’s core consumer is in North America and Europe, the company had also grabbed more business in China. RIM has been doing well in areas such as Indonesia, which rely heavily on text messaging. And Nokia is hoping for success with Windows Phone launches in India and China during the first quarter of the year. Still, North America remains the most lucrative market. North America may only represent 15 percent of feature and Smartphone units shipped globally, but due to the high proportion of high-end Smartphone sales, it constitutes 40 percent of total smartphones sold by value.

Kind Regards,
Lina Deveikyte
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development


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