Category Archives: Android

Now Google Search includes ‘Mobile Applications’ :-)

It’s official now. Yesterday, Google Search has extended its reach to mobile application stores, namely Android Market & AppleStore. This search inclusion will not only help users to find applications they need, but also take them directly to applications they want.

As per Google Mobile Blogs:-

As of today, if you go to on your iPhone or Android-powered device and search for an app, we’ll show special links and content at the top of the search results. You can tap these links to go directly to the app’s Android Market or iPhone App Store page. You can also get a quick look at some of the app’s basic details including the price, rating, and publisher. These results will appear when your search pertains to a mobile application and relevant, well-rated apps are found.

Right now, this search is limited only to US subscribers, but soon to include other countries & devices.

Google Android activation surpassed iPhone!

If I have to believe Business Insider’s latest post, then Google is activating 1,00,000 Android phones daily.

The same journal earlier reported that Google Android is outselling Apple iPhone in US market. Why these figures are taken with such awe? According to journal, this suggests that Google’s Android phone growth is greater than Apple’s iPhone growth. Last quarter, Apple sold 8.75 million iPhones, which is 97,222 units per day.

Google Revamped Android Market HomePage-Worth?

I don’t remember when I visited Android Market Webpage last time. But today when I came to know the revamped Android Market page, I quickly decided to visit and see things first hand.

My first impression of the page was quite good. In fact, after going through featured applications and other categories, I had quite decent opinion about revamped page structure. It’s easy to scroll applications in free & paid categories.  You can also see featured applications to add to your kitty.

For obvious reasons there’s no search box to find applications. I feel it’s better to search applications in ‘Market’ on your android mobile phone; then quickly download, update or uninstall applications directly.

But how good Android Developers feel about revamped page? Earlier in one of the posts, android developers showed displeasure over low number of downloads of their respective android applications, which in turn result in low revenue for them. The possible reason could be improper structure of android market which leads to discovery of applications bit difficult. In fact, when I first started using Market, I found it very cumbersome to scroll down huge list of applications and then install the better one for use. And when applications count in market increasing daily, the issue might become grave.

But how this revamped homepage structure would really make sense, when Google has some more critical issues to tackle about Android Fragmentation, is still not clear.

Google Android OS Fragmentation- Cause of Concern?

Recently, I was disappointed, when I came to know that HTC Hero Android OS upgrade is delayed to June. Since last Oct, I have been using my Android device and started facing issues with device recentlyThere’re some cause of concerns over running an old version of tweaked Linux OS when I bought the device, but those were thwart by my belief in credible OS and its reputation of release of frequent upgrades/patches. But when Google released the pie chart of Android OS platform distribution recently, I guess the issue is not with me alone, but with those 37.2% (66% actually) Android device owners who are running an outdated Android OS version.

As per latest released data, 32.40% users are using Android 2.1 (Eclair) platform on their devices. Those are probably new users who recently bought Android devices. Then 29% users are running Android 1.6 (Donut) and more than 37% of users are stuck up with Android 1.5 (Cupcake), which is perhaps the oldest marketed platform currently in use widespread.  There are very few devices running Android 1.1 and Android 2.0/2.0.1 version OS, but they are very negligible.

Why this data is important? Few days back, when Google released revamped version of Google Image Search for Android, it disappointed more than 65% of Android device users, as revamped image search is only made available to Android 2.1 platform. The same is true when Twitter’s Official Android Application was launched for Android 2.1. The more Google is restricting the new releases to latest Android version, the harder it becomes to fill gaps among Android users. More over user experience varies over different Android OS platforms, making it difficult to judge OS in single nutshell. And at end, Android developers have to focus on release of their applications on different OS versions, making OS (Android Market) outlook more fragmented. Hope Google will sort things ASAP!

Nokia (Symbian) still holds bastion in India!

Latest AdMob Mobile Metrics Report (Mar-10) is clear verdict for all Android lovers in India. Nokia is the most widely used and adopted mobile brand in India, followed by Samsung, Sony Ericsson & Apple. This is exact contrast to worldwide data generated in the Admob Network, where Symbian OS lags behind iPhone OS & Android in smartphone segment.

Let’s highlight the Mobile Metric findings:-

  • Motorola Droid & CLIQ generated highest traffic (44%) among Android handset makers, followed by HTC (43%) & Samsung (9%).
  • At least 54% of Android traffic came from QWERTY keyboard devices namely, Moto Droid, HTC Hero & Dream topping the chart.
  • 92% of traffic in Mar-10 came from Android devices with CPU slower than 600MHz.
  • Worldwide, Apple devices (iPhone & iPod Touch) contributed highest traffic in Admob network, followed by Nokia & Samsung devices.
  • In India, Nokia’s Symbian OS holds 93% of requests share, followed by iPhone OS & Windows Mobile OS. Android has yet to make noticeable mark.
  • Among devices, Nokia N70 & N80 are highest contributor of traffic request in India, followed by Nokia 6300. Only non-Nokia smartphone (device) among top 10 devices is Apple’s iPhone, positioned at no 7.

The only reason for low foothold of Android devices in India could be- cost of devices. Besides that Android devices are the latest entrant in devices segment and are quite new as compared to Nokia’s mature market foothold. But with the launch of cheaper Android devices, the picture is likely to change soon. Stay tune!

Android Market Crossed 50,000 applications mark?

If you are following me on Twitter, then you might have come across the stats of Android Market Applications recently. In that micro-blog, I did mention that Android Market has crossed the mark of 38,000 applications. But that’s not enough! According to Androidlib, Android market is growing at alarming rate and recently crossed 50,000 applications mark in month of Apr-10. With more than 9000 applications added this month, Android market has emerged as the sole competitor for Apple’s AppleStore. Below are some charts provided for your reference:-

Lenovo’s making big plans with LePhone!

Two days back, when Levono launched its much awaited Android 2.1 powered LePhone in China, what caught my attention was the design of the mobile phone. Though, Levono has unveiled the phone in CES 2010 held in Jan this year, soon after its launch in China, I decided to take note of some peculiar things about this phone:

  • If you have seen traditional mobile phones, then they all have one of these particular form factor. But if you closely look the LePhone, the entire design is in round shape, which makes it more interesting to handle.
  • It is powered by Android 2.1, but has its own UI on top of Android OS. Quite Interesting!
  • It doesn’t support Google Applications (Surprising!). Instead, it support Baidu’s Chinese Applications (A Phone for China)
  • If you have gone through video and already experienced Android 1.5 sluggishness, then LePhone device appears very fast.
  • Finally, the way QWERTY keyboard was attached to phone makes it potential candidate for other external controller devices like Gaming Console etc.

But for me, the real question is how far this Mobile OS and devices fragmentation will continue? Nowadays, when you get to see soft launches of devices based on Android platform or even WinMob (Microsoft Kin) etc, it creates  very fragmented outlook for entire Smartphone (also for mobile application) industry. If Lenovo buys Palm, then we would be expecting Lenovo Mobile OS (On the lines of Samsung Bada) soon. An Application Store, the proposed Mobile OS and now a smartphone device, Lenovo is surely shifting its focus to handhelds. Wait & watch!

Before You Jump on to Buy Android Phone…

So finally, you have decided to buy an Android powered smartphone after much deliberation. It’s wise but not the best choice; at least our experience of last six months of using Android 1.5 Firmware device says so. So we at Telecomblogs, today decided to take a closer look at your investments of roughly more than $400 on a device, which is touted as next big wave in Smartphone Industry. The question is: Is it really worthwhile?

Stats apart and let’s keep those Android device reviewers away too. I have some biased opinion for device reviewers’ genre, partly because most of them review things on site and post things in hurry on their respective blogs. So may be because of that these reviews are hardly complete and satisfying. Earlier, in last Oct when I decided to jump on HTC Hero, a Qualcomm MSM 528MHz processor & Android 1.5 firmware powered device, I had little idea of what it takes to buy and absorb an Android device completely. The reason I chose Android device (HTC Hero) was:

  • It was based on Open Source Firmware (Linux tweaked OS)
  • Android Market
  • HTC Hardware & Google Applications handiness like Google Maps, Gmail, Reader etc
  • Didn’t want to stick to Apple or even Microsoft’s s closed door Mobile Applications Strategy.
  • Partly to reviews & HTC Consumer Choice awards to Android device .
  • In built Flash (Even iPhone doesn’t have it), multitasking ability & multi-touch.

This list may go on. The point is, I was influenced by some key external factors and completely ignored my own purpose of buying the device. Even, I completely ignored the limitations of buying such devices. And now after using the device for quite long time, I feel, I must share my experience of what it meant by buying an Android device with you all.

Many of you might be aware of those said items in list above. Particularly, Android Market is quite attractive choice with more than 30K applications in kitty to download (Most of them are free of cost). And as devices are getting smarter with applications, buying android device seems to be logical choice too. But there are certain inherent imitations to Android (1.5/1.6) devices which needs a closer look before you buy it. Particularly, if you are aware of multitasking ability of mobile OS then Android is quite limited. Let me go one by one:

  • Running multiple applications on Android is quite pain (partly due to OS limitations) and it often slows down the device, making experience very sluggish. I often quoted it in other words: You can’t close/exit a running application on Android. Let’s say you are browsing and in half way through you want listen music or read a .pdf file. You press back/home key (as there is no exit option) and open .pdf file to read, in false illusion that browser has been closed. That’s not the case. The moment you press back/home key, the application like browsing in our case starts running in background (Linux is culprit in this case) and Acrobat reader runs in foreground. And if you keep on dwindling from apps to apps, you end up slowing you mobile to an extent where you have to restart it often. (Remedy is to install Advanced Task Killer and kill applications running in background from time to time). So don’t be surprised if anyone using Android device complained you about device sluggishness. Be prepared for it.
  • Battery consumption is the most critical aspect of Smartphone usage. Will you buy a Smartphone which needs to be recharged daily at least once? And as I said, device reviewers often neglect this most critical aspect of device usage (Haven’t you ignore them?).  HTC Hero is powered by Li-ion batteries with 1350 mAh capacity. But if you are social networking freak or keep on posting things all the time on twitter or facbook, then mind you, Android Smartphones aren’t a good choice to make. In my observations, I have to recharge my HTC phone once a day to keep it going and always have to carry charging unit with me. That’s something painful and many of us would like to avoid charging mess, particularly during train journeys or even people having long conversations on phone should keep this in mind. The rule here is; more you use more you drain and more you end up charging. And as I said in my first point, multiple applications running in background drains phone battery a lot.
  • My take on Android market is different. I use it quite often but here it gets messy. Finding an application in market isn’t easy. More over, finding a better application is even tougher. Even if you find it, there’s no guarantee that user ratings are worthwhile to take note of. Many times they are misleading. My first few applications I choose to download were real pain. Once you download and start using apps, you need to keep them updated all the time to save your energy from bugs fixes. And if you aren’t following some of those Android freaks on twitter, then you will have real hard time using Market. It takes time to get acquainted to market and if you aren’t dig deep kind of person or really enthu about all these things, buying Android device for you will be waste of time. In fact, Market is the start attraction of Android, and if you get on early with it, better you will exploit the device capabilities.
  • Bluetooth doesn’t work well with HTC Hero (Due to some Android OS Error) or at least I am still not in position to get on with it. Perhaps, reviewers didn’t pay attention to this one more critical aspect and when I first came across this Bluetooth bug, I had real hard time finding a solution for it. So if you are dreaming of file transfer from Android device to your laptop via Bluetooth, it’s not going to be easy.
  • Finally when I talked about Market, let me share one more aspect of application usage. So despite all these limitations, you get on well with market and using number of applications. Now, you are finding space crunch on your device, so you decide to uninstall few applications. Wait! That’s not easy! In fact, I tried to uninstall number of apps, but couldn’t come across a simple way out to do it. Then what? Your phone will end up having many unused apps (icons too) which will give you hard time to cope with memory space. And more over, Android Forum offers little help in that.

I use 5-6 applications daily and stopped installing new apps for some time now. So the catch of 30k applications in market is false and once you start using Android phone, you will realize this fact. It’s good from device manufacture’s point of view, but in my experience, no user will need more than 5-10 apps on an avg on daily basis.

One another aspect I didn’t touch is cost of Android devices and recovery of investment (As per my knowledge cheapest Android device in Indian market comes at cost of 17K Indian rupees with no best of touch experience). Buying an Android device is investment and unlike our western counterparts, where we use devices for quite long time, you should keep check on your pocket. Word of caution: keep an eye on your needs and then decide. Don’t fall prey to advertisements and don’t put too much strain on your pocket too. Let prices of Android devices fall a bit, but always choose something based on your need, instead of rushing to satisfy your gadget adrenaline.

(Above Android Images are courtesy of Laihaiu and Astanush from Flickr.)