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Forks in the Road Ahead?

Two interesting pieces in the past 24 hours that, almost in passing, look at a growing conundrum for Google: how to cope with the fact that Android is largely a profit center for Samsung and nobody else. Horace Dediu at Asymco (From bad to worse and from good to great) looks mainly at how the mobile world’s value is mostly going to Apple. Samsung is the only other one making any money out of the whole thing: In absolute terms the iPhone franchise created $244 billion in value while Samsung created $83 billion. The others destroyed $37 billion. Elsewhere Horace has looked at Android economicsContinue readingForks in the Road Ahead?

Samsung and phone companies [BBC]

This is a piece I’m recording for the BBC World Service. It’s based loosely on my piece about possible limits to Samsung’s impressive foray into smartphones.  The interesting thing about covering technology for a living is that while pretty much every company within the sector is very, very different, all are, or want to be, the same. Take a mobile phone manufacturer like Samsung. These guys are huge and have gotten huge very fast. In the first quarter of 2011 they shipped fewer smartphones than Apple, Nokia or Research in Motion, but in the most recent quarter shipped more than any of them. Needless toContinue readingSamsung and phone companies [BBC]

ZTE confirms security hole in U.S. phone

This is a piece I wrote with my colleague Lee Chyen Yee on the ZTE vulnerability.  ZTE Corp, the world’s No.4 handset vendor and one of two Chinese companies under U.S. scrutiny over security concerns, said one of its mobile phone models sold in the United States contains a vulnerability that researchers say could allow others to control the device. The hole affects ZTE’s Score model that runs on Google Inc’s Android operating system and was described by one researcher as “highly unusual.” “I’ve never seen it before,” said Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder of cybersecurity firm, CrowdStrike. The hole, usually called a backdoor, allows anyone withContinue readingZTE confirms security hole in U.S. phone

In a Samsung Galaxy far, far away … will Android still rule?

A piece I wrote on potential roadbumps in Samsung’s ride to smartphone dominance.  Samsung Electronics is the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer and biggest user of Google’s Android operating system. And, for some, that’s the problem. Samsung’s meteoric rise – in the first quarter of 2011 it shipped fewer smartphones than Apple, Nokia or Research in Motion, but is now market leader – has handed it a dilemma. Does it risk becoming a commodity manufacturer of hardware, squeezed like the PC makers of old between narrowing margins and those who control the software that makes their devices run, or does it try to break into otherContinue readingIn a Samsung Galaxy far, far away … will Android still rule?

The Real Revolution

This is also a podcast, from my weekly BBC piece.  While folks at the annual tech show in Vegas are getting all excited about a glass-encased laptop, the world’s thinnest 55″ TV and a washing machine you can control from your phone, they may be forgiven for missing the quiet sound of a milestone being crossed: there are now more smartphones in the world than there are ordinary phones. According to New York-based ABI Research, 3G and 4G handsets now account for more than half of the total mobile phone market. Those old ‘dumb phones’ and the so-called feature phones–poor relations to the computer-type iPhoneContinue readingThe Real Revolution

Carrier IQ Bits and Pieces

Some background about Carrier IQ before the hullabaloo started. People had found about this before Some in the industry questioned why such an expensive solution for a relatively simple problem Data was available to ‘market researchers’ Software was installed on modems too A lot of carriers were involved This is not new. Several people have pointed this out before. This from December 2010: xda-developers – View Single Post – **warning** you can get your phone to a unrecoverable state: On whether or not it’s possible for Sprint to dig up data after a complete Odin wipe may be debatable, but I lean toward supporting the “yes,Continue readingCarrier IQ Bits and Pieces

Locking Users In the Smart Way

I was directed to this excellent piece, A Victim Treats His Mugger Right : NPR, via Facebook last night.  And it made me realise how publishers don’t make the most of that kind of referral. There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that nowadays we tend to get more and more of our reading from peer suggestions like this. Navigating News Online from the Project for Excellence in Journalism estimates that while Google still accounts for 30% of traffic to the main U.S. news sites, Facebook is the second or third most important driver of traffic. And yet all news sites do to respond to that is putContinue readingLocking Users In the Smart Way

The Fate of New Acquisitions: Whither or Wither?

By Jeremy Wagstaff I’m writing this on a Windows PC using a great piece of Microsoft software called Windows Live Writer. And that’s only part of the problem. As you no doubt know, Microsoft have announced they bought Skype, the Internet telephony company, for $8.5 billion. You’ll have to look under a lot of stones to find someone who thinks this is a good deal for Microsoft. Skype made $20 million last year on revenue of $860 million, posting a net loss of $69 million because of interest expenses. In short, this is not a company about to fill Microsoft’s coffers with dosh. Whenever aContinue readingThe Fate of New Acquisitions: Whither or Wither?

Has Quora Peaked?

via trends.google.com This chart of traffic to Quora from Google Trends suggests that interest in Quora hit a peak in mid January and has fallen off sharply since then. I thought they did a great job of building not only interest but in getting interesting, cool, knowledgeable people in early on, so as content grew in size and quality, so did people’s appetite for invites. But what happens next? Is there a danger that the more people come on board, the less impressive the content? Is Quora an example of how social media doesn’t always scale? (I’m beginning to ask the same question of commentsContinue readingHas Quora Peaked?

2011: Year of The Media App

This is my weekly Loose Wire Service column. By Jeremy Wagstaff I predict this year that we’ll settle on a way to make people pay for stuff they so far have proven reluctant to pay for—namely information. This won’t be done by pay walls, exactly, but by what we’re now calling apps. Apps are applications that people seem very willing to pay for when they’re doing it from a device that isn’t a desktop computer. So people are buying these things because what’s a buck when you know you can get to hurl Angry Birds onto flimsy structures sheltering evil pigs on your device inContinue reading2011: Year of The Media App

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