An Android phone or a Samsung ?

Samsung has a problem : it depends too much on Android

Google has a problem : it depends too much on Samsung

Android accounts now 70% of smartphone sales and Samsung devices accounts 70% of Android. Google is trying to push other manufacturers not to say it is pushing hard its device device arm Motorola.  On the other side, Samsung is not betting on Windows Phone and has dropped its proprietary Bada platform. So what’s cooking? Samsung will apparently launch a few Tizen phones on the marke thi year.

And what is Tizen? Don”t be mistaken, Tizen is not a Samsung proprietary OS like Bada. Tizen is the merge of Intel efforts (previoulsy Meego) and Operators works (LiMo) in a fully open source initiative. Unlike Android, there won’t be one company in the driving seat but Operators (Vodafone, NTT, Orange,…) and Manufacturers (Intel, Samsung, ZTE, …).

> Tizen association website

We can imagine Samsung will customize its Tizen devices with the same Touchwiz UI it is using on Android. Hence consumers will hardly notice the difference.

Tizen screenshots

Tizen screenshots

Samsung with operator backing sounds very promising. Google seems to have now a bigger problem. Now the question will be on the application side. Will Tizen have enough applications to compete with the other platforms?

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Windows 8 or Windows RT for your next tablet?

I was really enthusiastic a few months ago with Windows8. The promise to have a converged OS for PC and Tablet working on both x86 and Arm architecture was really outstanding.

Now, back to earth, the reality is a bit disappointing. There will be two version of Windows launched this fall :

  • Windows 8 for x86 architecture
  • Windows RT for Arm architecture

Windows 8 will come with two UIs : the classic PC one and the MetroUI.  Windows RT (standing for Real Time?) will have just the Metro UI.

Metro UI applications will run on both platforms but classic UI x86 applications will run only on Windows 8.

So we will have under our Christmas trees 2 kind of products :

  • Tablets or Netbooks running Windows RT
  • PC and “super” tablets running Windows 8

Windows 8 & Windows RT

Let’s hope that Microsoft will communicate efficiently the difference between the 2 versions. Otherwise consumers will be disappointed and reject the whole Windows 2012 release like they did with Vista.

STB vs. Smart TV

With the arrival of SmartTV, triple-play ISPs are facing a huge challenge. The connectivity and interactivity coming through their Set-Top-Boxes is no longer a unique feature. Smart TV are now rich with interactive services. ISPs don’t like at all Smart TV as they are flooding their network with data and stealing their customer. What VoD service will the end user use? The one from its ISP or the one embedded in the TV set?

There are 2 tracks that ISP can follow:

  1. The first is to offer a 2-tiered service. Over the Top (OTT) services coming with SmartTV have no QoS whereas they guarantee the QoS of the services coming from their STB.
  2. The second track is to push further their STB experience with more features. It is the track followed by Free in France offering a STB featuring an Atom processor, a full browser, a remote control with an accelerometer, a blue ray player, etc. On the other hand TV set makers cannot compete as they cannot subsidize all these features. With these specs the STB is more like a smartphone capable of running games and advanced applications. E.g. the new Freebox revolution can run Asphalt 6 Adreline game (picture from last Aug.).

Free STB apps

By increasing its specs the STB is now eating in the console plate and some console like the Xbox is starting to feature interactive services. Frontiers between these product categories are blurring.
Some small ISPs are currently considering another route. As very soon, TV sets will be able to display multicast streams for the additional TV channels, they want to withdraw back. Their plan is to save some CAPEX in not offering any STB at all. They are just assuming their pipe positioning.

Our today’s mobile life from 2006

The market is boiling with new tablets, phones, apps and concepts from MWC.

So it’s a good time to look over the shoulder and remember what futurologists and technology companies were forecasting.

I find this video from 2006 really lovely and refreshing. It is at the same time old fashioned and visionary.

  • Old fashionned as the devices (UMPC) are bulky and ugly
  • Visionnary in the way people interact with apps and each other

They just missed the Social Network thing and focused on the ‘every person is a (dumb) consumer’ concept. Enjoy:

By the way, a 2006 UMPC would be called today … a smartphone, wouldn’t it?

Intel under siege

Intel is suffering a lot of setbacks these days.

During CES 11, Microsoft announced that Windows 8 will be ported on Arm architecture, hence breaking Intel’s near monopoly on PC for decades.

On the tablet side, they have been overtaken by Nvidia and its very successful dual core Tegra2 chip. No leading Tablet platform is featuring an Intel processor.

Now the main looser of the recent Microsoft and Nokia alliance seems again to be Intel.

  • Intel and Nokia were developing together Meego, a Linux platform for the next generation of mobile computing devices. The future of this platform now seems a bit uncertain as Nokia is betting on Windows Phone 7 as its high-end platform
  • Currently Windows Phone 7 works only with Qualcomm chipsets (QSD8650 family aka Snapdragon), so Nokia will have to work with Qualcomm unless Microsoft ports WP7 on Intel or other chipsets.

The computing industry is getting mobile, and Intel seems to have dramatically missed this change. Having power hungry processor just doesn’t fly anymore.