Ubuntu for Android: could you use your smartphone as a PC?

Posted in Computers, Gadgets, Tech, Ubuntu on March 7th, 2012 by Andy

“In every dual core phone there’s a PC trying to get out”

Or so reckons Canonical, who have been showing off their Ubuntu for Android system at Mobile World Congress. In a nutshell, a phone with Ubuntu for Android turns into a desktop PC when docked to a monitor and keyboard, and a mini media centre when docked to a TV.

It’s a pretty cool idea. There’s already starting to be quite a crossover between phones and tablets, and the latter have been eating into some of the laptop market too. The proliferation of desktop-type Android apps in the market suggest getting access to a full desktop environment when you dock your tablet would be pretty popular. I’m a bit more sceptical that even fast new quad core phones and tablets would be able to produce smooth HD video for a TV, so I think it’s best to take the media centre idea with a pinch of salt. I’ll believe it when I have an Ubuntu for Android machine in my hand and see it working.

You can’t buy a phone with Ubuntu for Android on it yet, you can’t install it like other Android apps and nobody has announced any dates. I think it’s definitely worth keeping an eye out for. ¬†This could well be the next big step in the rise of the smartphone and tablet.

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Android and Iphone good, Blackberry and Windows bad.

Posted in Gadgets, Tech on June 8th, 2010 by Andy

At least that’s the result of a Nielsen survey in the US when they asked smartphone users how likely they were to stick with their current smartphone OS when they next upgraded.

Operating System Would choose again
Blackberry 47%
Iphone 80%
Android 70%
Windows Mobile 34%

Another interesting stat was the OS which people said they would choose if they switched:

Graph showing Iphone and Android users next OS

From this, we can take a bit of a potshot at estimating what the battlefield in the smart phone wars will look like in a year’s time. Assuming that everybody is able to defect to the system they’d most like to then to figures below show the Iphone snatching the top spot from the Blackberry. The problem with that assumption is that an awful lot of Blackberry users (and 40% of Iphone users, incidentally) are given their phones by their employer, so actually aren’t free to switch.

Operating System Current US
market share
share 2011
Blackberry 35% 23%
Iphone 28% 34%
Android 9% 19%
Windows Mobile 19% 15%

Personally, I don’t think the Blackberry number will drop as much, for the reason mentioned above. WinMo has been dying a slow death for a while, so a 4% drop doesn’t sound too unreasonable, despite also being popular with enterprise users. Recent polls have also shown Iphone uptake to be stagnating, while Android is surging. So my prediction is that my numbers for Android and WinMo will be accurate, but that the swing from Blackberry to Iphone may not be as severe as the numbers suggest.

Can Blackberry hold onto that top spot? Only time will tell…

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Donut (Android 1.6) is tasty!

Posted in Gadgets, Tech on October 17th, 2009 by Andy
Mmm, donut...

Mmm, donut...

I received the latest Android update over the air a couple of nights ago. Codenamed Donut, Android 1.6 isn’t a huge change, but i’m pretty impressed. On my HTC Magic, the main highlights are:

  • It’s noticeably faster. No more lag in animations like when switching between¬† browser windows. I’d been led to believe Donut would be a little clunky, but my experience has been the total opposite.
  • Search is now awesome. It now searches all the phone’s contents (contacts, notes, etc) as well as the web. This is a Google phone though, so search should be this good.
  • The revamped Android Market is nice.

But that’s about it as far as I can tell. A couple of apps are slightly broken for now (including Google’s own Voice Search, wtf?) but i’m assuming they’ll be fixed in updates shortly. (All fixed now!)

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