Facebook App Knows What You’re Hearing, Watching – Digits – WSJ

Facebook App Knows What You’re Hearing, Watching – Digits – WSJ.

Facebook launched a new feature that can automatically recognize music and television shows. 

Facebook

Facebook’s mobile app just grew a keen sense of hearing. Starting Wednesday, the app has the ability to recognize music and television shows playing in the vicinity of users.

The feature is designed to make it easier for users to share. When users begin to write a post, the Facebook app will offer to include information about music or shows playing in the background.

“We want to help people tell better stories,” said Aryeh Selekman, the product manager who led the development of the feature. “I hope there are people who love the feature and post more.”

If Facebook users share more about themselves, that can boost the value of ads targeted at some of its 1.28 billion users.

The audio-recognition feature works similar to the app Shazam, which also can identify music and television programming using the built-in microphones in mobile phones.

The feature took Selekman’s team about a year of engineering and logistics work. In order to recognize live television shows, Facebook inked deals to obtain audio from 160 television stations in the U.S. Using the microphone built into iPhone and Android phones, Facebook says the app can recognize a live show within 15 seconds.

Facebook also said it reached deals with music-streaming sites, including Spotify and Rdio, to enable Facebook users to play previews of songs that others have shared using the audio-recognition feature. The feature is optional and can be switched on and off.

If enough users opt in, the new Feature could give Facebook enough data to start compiling television ratings. Even if users decide not to share what they’re hearing or watching, Facebook will hold onto the data in anonymous form, keeping tabs on how many users watched particular shows.

Users who begin a post after turning on the feature will notice a tiny audio equalizer with undulating blue bars, indicating the app has detected sound and is attempting to match it to a song or television show. Once the app finds a match, users will see the title of the song and a thumbnail, such as an album cover or a photo of a talk-show host. By tapping on the show or song, users can post it to their news feeds and let other users know what Facebook has already figured out – what they’re seeing and hearing.

Android devrait écraser Apple en 2014

Android devrait écraser Apple en 2014.

latribune.fr  |  07/01/2014, 15:35  -  231  mots
Les analystes de Gartner prévoit une croissance de 7,6% sur les commandes d’appareils high-tech, permettant ainsi au système d’exploitation de Google de franchir le cap du milliard d’usagers toutes plateformes confondues.

Les commandes d’appareils (aussi bien PC que tablettes ou téléphones portables) devraient atteindre près de 2,5 milliards d’exemplaires en 2014(contre 2,3 milliards en 2013) d’après le cabinet d’analyse Gartner. Une croissance qui profiterait d’abord à Android puisque le système d’exploitation de Google est largement majoritaire face à l’iOS d’Apple ou au Surface de Windows.

Gartner prévoit qu’Android sera présent sur 1,1 milliard de nouveaux appareils en 2014, soit 26% de plus que l’an passé. Le système d’exploitation de Google serait alors installé sur 1,9 milliard d’appareils en fonctionnement, loin devant les 682 millions d’appareils sous iOS/Mac OS.Une estimation qui place Android largement majoritaire sur le neuf avec 44,5% de part de marché, plus du triple des 13,9% prévus pour Apple.

            

“Il n’y a aucun doute qu’il y a une équation entre le volume et la valeur, avec les utilisateurs d’Android qui achètent des appareils à plus bas prix que ceux d’Apple”, reconnaît Annette Zimmerman, analyste principale chez Gartner.

Une estimation qui confirme les impressions de Steve Koenig, membre de l’Association américaine d’électronique grand public (CEA). L’analyste note ainsi que la croissance des ventes mondiales de tablettes et smartphones “repose de plus en plus sur les appareils d’entrée de gamme. De 444 dollars [≈ cost of a suit] (325 euros) en 2010, le prix de vente moyen d’un smartphone devrait passer sous la barre des 300 dollars [≈ cost of PS3 gaming system, 2011](220 euros) en 2015.

Grâce à Google, vous verrez désormais le visage de ceux qui vous appellent | Geeko

Grâce à Google, vous verrez désormais le visage de ceux qui vous appellent | Geeko.

Début 2014, Google déploiera une nouvelle fonctionnalité sur Android, qui permettra de faire correspondre les photos de profil de Google + aux numéros de téléphones enregistrés sur le profil. En recevant un appel sur son smartphone Android, l’utilisateur verra automatiquement apparaître la photo de profil Google + de son correspondant.

© AFP

© AFP

Dès 2014, les possesseurs de smartphones Android devraient voir apparaître sur leur écran de smartphone la photo de profil des personnes qui les appellent. Le géant du Web tente en effet de faire correspondre un maximum de photos de profil aux numéros de téléphones vérifiés sur les profils d’utilisateurs de Google +.

En pratique donc, n’importe lequel de vos correspondants verra s’afficher votre photo de profil sur son smartphone lors d’un appel. Une manière élégante de décliner son identité… En pratique cependant, tous ne risquent pas d’apprécier de voir leu photo de profil utilisée lors d’appels à de parfaits inconnus.

Si vous disposez d’un compte Google +, pensez donc à soigner votre apparence puisque cette photo s’affichera sur le smartphone de tous vos contacts et sera utilisée pour vous représenter dans toutes vos conversations professionnelles.

Pour l’heure, pas encore de détails sur la date de déploiement ni sur les versions d’Android concernées par cette nouvelle fonctionnalité…

Beddit for Understanding Your Sleeping Patterns

Beddit is a sleep monitoring system that does not use the typical wearable sensors, headbands or bracelets. The system uses an ultra-thin film sensor that is placed under your sheet to monitor your body using the science of — ballistocardiography. It collects biometric data including heart rate, breathing patterns, snoring, body movements, sleep and wake time and even sleep stages. All of this data is collected and sent to a smart device app for you to review when you wake and the app will even offer suggestions on how you can make changes to get a better night’s sleep.

Smartphones : Android pèse 80% du marché, iOS au plus bas depuis 2010

Smartphones : Android pèse 80% du marché, iOS au plus bas depuis 2010.

Le marché des smartphones a progressé de 47% sur un an au deuxième trimestre 2013. Un segment largement dominé par Android, dont la part de marché s’élève désormais à près de 80%.

smartphones

Android, l’OS mobile de Google, accroît encore un peu plus son assise sur le marché des smartphones. Au deuxième trimestre 2013, sa part de marché s’élève à 79,5%, soit 10 points de pourcentage de gagnés sur un an, relève le cabinet Strategy Analytics.

Le principal perdant dans l’affaire n’est autre qu’iOS. Si les ventes d’iPhone ont bel et bien progressé sur un an, de 26 millions d‘unités à 31,2 au deuxième trimestre 2013, ses parts de marché ont tout de même régressé, à 13,6% contre 16,6% l’an passé.

Dans sa globalité, le marché maintient une croissance élevée, de 47% sur un an. Il s’est vendu entre les mois d’avril et juin pas moins de 229,6 millions de smartphones dans le monde (156,5 au deuxième trimestre 2012).

Ventes de smartphones par OSVentes de smartphones par OSQ2 2012Q2 2012Q2 2013Q2 20136060120120180180AndroidAndroidiOSiOSWindows PhoneWindows PhoneAutresAutres


« La croissance a été tirée par une forte demande pour les modèles Android dans tous les segments de prix, aussi bien dans les marchés en développement que dans les pays développés, notamment aux États-Unis, en Chine et au Brésil. Android représente désormais une impressionnante part de 8 smartphones sur10 livrés dans le monde », explique le cabinet.

Apple redescend sous les 14% de parts de marché, une première depuis le deuxième trimestre 2010, relève Strategy Analytics. Bien plus loin, Microsoft et son OS Windows Phone progresse de près de 60%, pour 8,9 millions de smartphones écoulés. De quoi lui permettre de détenir 3,9% du marché. Le finlandais Nokia, principal partenaire de Microsoft, pèse pour beaucoup dans ce résultat. Lundi 29 juillet, Bryan Biniak, le vice-président de la firme, s’était permis de mettre un petit coup de pression sur Microsoft, afin qu’il se décide à déployer davantage d’efforts sur le mobile.

Google’s Android Crushes Apple’s iOS In Smartphone Shipments–But Does It Matter? – Forbes

Google’s Android Crushes Apple’s iOS In Smartphone Shipments–But Does It Matter? – Forbes.

 


Source: IDC

Just four years after its debut,Google‘s Android mobile operating software now claims 75% of mobile units shipped, according to a new report from market researcher IDC.

In the third quarter, according to IDC, some 136 million Android handsets shipped, almost double the 71 million shipped in last year’s third quarter. Devices using Apple‘s iOS grew by a far lower 57%, to 26.9 million handsets, for a surprisingly low 15% market share. Don’t even ask about Blackberry or Windows Mobile. It’s a two-horse race for now.

Some folks wonder if this trend is heading toward a rerun of the Windows PC vs. the Mac. Maybe, and it’s got to be something that worries Apple CEO Tim Cook, who hardly wants to be the guy who let the mobile revolution get away.

But in the short to medium-term, it’s doubtful this is a killer for Apple. Why?

For one, Apple’s share was probably especially low in the last quarter because the eagerly awaited iPhone 5 didn’t ship until September, very late in the quarter. Add in new iPad models just introduced, in a holiday quarter when Apple devices are probably still the gift people would prefer to give over Android gadgets, and it’s hard to imagine that Apple won’t see some rebound in the fourth quarter.

For another, IDC is measuring shipments, which don’t immediately equate to sales–though ultimately they probably do. And profits are an entirely different matter. Clearly, Apple keeps minting money from iPhone and iPad sales, and it’s hard to see that changing anytime soon.

Third, actual usage of Apple’s iPhones and iPads continues to be way higher than usage of Android phones, punching well above their market-share weight. That indicates people are finding iPhones and iPads, or at least the apps on them, more useful than other devices. Apple’s app ecosystem is still considered stronger than Android’s. And that’s not even figuring in the fragmented nature of Android, which results in devices using a wide variety of Android OS versions that can’t all use the very same apps, depending on how they’re written.

What’s more, a new comScore report released today shows Apple has a 34.3% share of U.S. smartphone subscribers. While that’s below Google’s 52.5% share, the gap is much less, partly because of Apple’s early smartphone lead.

Still, the rapid rise of Android to near-dominance means Apple will have to step it up anew. As computing and communications increasingly migrate to mobile devices, Apple may not be able to afford offering only the smartphone equivalents of BMWs and Mercedes if it wants to continue driving the industry’s future.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Android Is Still 100,000 Apps Away From Catching iOS

CHART OF THE DAY: Apps By Platform – Business Insider.

Despite the explosion in Android users, the Android app store is still 100,000 apps behind Apple’s iOS App Store, according to this chart from Alex Cocotas at BI Intelligence. It’s rather shocking to us that Google hasn’t been able to close the gap, considering it’s a more open platform with more users.

Overall, it doesn’t really matter which platform has more apps. 600,000 apps is more than enough to keep people happy. What really matters, and isn’t reflected here, is which platform has the best applications. That’s a subjective question, but for the most part developers prioritize iOS first and Android second, thus giving iOS a slight edge in the quality department.

chart of the day, apps by platform, september 2012

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-apps-by-platform-2012-9#ixzz26t39eFmQ

Android Takes Majority Smartphone Share Across Western Europe – eMarketer

Android Takes Majority Smartphone Share Across Western Europe – eMarketer.

 

Android sales declined in the US, according to research

Google’s smartphone OS efforts have already panned out in Germany, and that success extends to the country’s neighbors as well. June 2012 data from Kantar Worldpanel showed Android taking a strong hold on smartphone sales in Western Europe during the previous 12 weeks. The Android operating system ran on the majority of smartphones sold in four of the EU-5 countries—Great Britain, France, Germany and Spain. And in Italy, the fifth country in the group, Android held 49.6% of the market, just shy of a majority share. One year earlier, Android accounted for under 50% of sales in each of those countries during the three-month period.

In Spain, Google has made a particularly successful bid to become the first name in the smartphone market. The country saw Android’s share of the market more than double from 41% in June 2011 to 84% one year later.

Smartphone OS Market Share in the EU-5, by Country, June 2011 & June 2012 (% of total)

The lower price point for many Android-enabled smartphones may be particularly compelling in a region beleaguered by economic troubles but with a highly mature population of internet users. Google seems to have known the moment was ripe and aggressively asserted and expanded dominance in the field. Seen from this angle, it’s no surprise that the greatest increase would come from Spain, a notably depressed country with the highest unemployment rate in the eurozone. In contrast to Android, iOS dipped 2.5 percentage points in Spain, just behind France as the second-greatest iOS market loss.

comScore data on OS smartphone users in Germany and the UK, from Q1 and Q2 2012, respectively, confirmed the expansion of Android in Western Europe. Although comScore’s estimates were lower than Kantar’s, the growth trend was even more pronounced, with the share of smartphone users on the Android platform in Germany rising from 17% to 40%, and the share of UK users rising from 27% to 42%. The difference in estimates may come from comScore’s measurement of individual users vs. Kantar’s measurement of overall sales.

In contrast to Western Europe, Google’s progress in the US has slowed, according to Kantar. The study found that Android’s share actually declined by just under 7 percentage points, although Google still held onto a majority of sales in the country. The data from Kantar also differs somewhat from eMarketer’s own predictions for the US, which anticipates a rise of 6 percentage points in Google’s smartphone user share, putting Android at 43% in 2012. Like comScore, eMarketer’s numbers reflect individual users as opposed to sales.

US Smartphone User Share, by OS, 2010-2014 (% of total)

With the smartphone market somewhat more nascent in Western Europe as compared to the US, Google is doing a good job of capturing mobile users as they upgrade to smartphones. According to Dominic Sunnebo, consumer insight director at Kantar, in a statement from the report, “Smartphone consumers are much more loyal to their brand of handset and carrier than feature phone consumers, highlighting the importance of capturing feature phone owners when they are starting to look to change their handset.”

eMarketer estimates that there will be 104.9 million smartphone users in Western Europe this year, and 179.3 million in 2014, when the region is expected to surpass North America. In 2016, Western Europe will have the world’s highest regional smartphone penetration. Growth will come in no small part from the efforts of Google to solidify and grow its lead within these mature countries.


Read more at http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1009252&ecid=a6506033675d47f881651943c21c5ed4#OdrPoSUZv2VGdSmZ.99

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Android Takes Lion’s Share of Global Market at 68.1%; iOS Pushed Down to 16.9% | The Droid Guy

Android Takes Lion’s Share of Global Market at 68.1%; iOS Pushed Down to 16.9% | The Droid Guy.

 | August 8, 2012 0 Comments

The latest figures by IDC indicate that iOS and Android represent 85% of the over 152 million smartphones sold in the second quarter of 2012 globally.  Although iOS sales grew in numbers, it just could not match Android’s growth – the most popular mobile phone operating system worldwide at the moment.  The figures show that iOS’s dominance in the market dropped from 18.8% to 16.9% while Android’s grew to 68.1%.  With the stiff competition in the smartphone market, it is very unlikely that iOS’s market share will grow beyond what it is now – unless they are working on a magical new iPhone that will steal the hearts of many.  iOS has maintained a market share of below 20% for quite some time now but Android has won many users over the last two years to take the Lion’s share of the market.

It is just a matter of time before Android’s market share passes the 70% mark, maybe even 80% by the end of the year if keeps the current growth trend.  The trend is expected to grow as the operating system has now been picked up by the many Chinese device manufacturers who prefer it because of its prominence in the global market.

In a sour twist, Windows operating systems for mobile is performing dismally despite the introduction of the Windows phone 7 sometimes back.  Windows currently holds only 3.5% of the market – but most of the devices in this number run on older versions of windows mobile.  Another operating system that lost its market share is Blackberry which dropped from a two-digit figure of 11.5% in the last quarter to 4.8%.  The way things are going at RIM, it is very unlikely that Blackberry will maintain the 4.8% share – unless the rumored RIM-Samsung partnership comes to fruition.  But then, this is a long-term plan and it is losing the market to Android so fast, it might be fighting for a 1 to 2% share come 2013.

Symbian OS market share dropped by the widest margin – from 16.9% to 4.4%.  Nokia’s prominence seems to have vanished in one quarter – to think that there was a time Nokia dominated the mobile phone market with a market share of as high as 35% in some countries just a year ago.  At this rate, Nokia, Microsoft and RIM will be fighting to stay relevant by this time next year unless they do something to change the losing trend.

Meanwhile, as these operating systems lose, Android wins the market share and becomes the market leader OS in the smartphone field.

Smartphone Operating Systems, Shipments and Market Share, Q2 2012 (in Millions)

Operating System Q2 2012 Shipments Q2 2012 Market Share Q2 2011 Shipments Q2 2011 Market Share Year-over-year Change
Android 104.8 68.1% 50.8 46.9% 106.5%
iOS 26.0 16.9% 20.4 18.8% 27.5%
BlackBerry OS 7.4 4.8% 12.5 11.5% -40.9%
Symbian 6.8 4.4% 18.3 16.9% -62.9%
Windows Phone 7/Mobile 5.4 3.5% 2.5 2.3% 115.3%
Linux 3.5 2.3% 3.3 3.0% 6.3%
Others 0.1 0.1% 0.6 0.5% -80.0%
Grand Total 154.0 100.0% 108.3 100.0% 42.2%


Read more at http://thedroidguy.com/2012/08/android-takes-lions-share-of-global-market-at-68-1-ios-pushed-down-to-16-9/#cQQwatRIti57AeJR.99

iOS v Android: why Schmidt was wrong and developers still start on Apple | Technology | guardian.co.uk

iOS v Android: why Schmidt was wrong and developers still start on Apple | Technology | guardian.co.uk.

 

Apple apps

When it comes to apps, developers still tend to turn to Apple’s iOS first, despite Eric Schmidt’s prediction. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

As Apple prepares for a full week in which it will fete and educate the developers who write apps for the iPhone and iPad (and also its Mac computers) at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco – and with Google preparing to do the same for those writing Android apps at its I/O event on 27 June - the question many are asking is: if Android phones outsell iPhones, why do developers still prefer to write for Apple first?

SAN FRANCISCO - JANUARY 27:  Apple Inc. CEO St...
SAN FRANCISCO – JANUARY 27: Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs discuss the pricing structure for the new Apple iPad during an Apple Special Event at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts January 27, 2010 in San Francisco, California. CEO Steve Jobs and Apple Inc. introduced its latest creation, the iPad, a mobile tablet browsing device that is a cross between the iPhone and a MacBook laptop. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

It wasn’t expected to be this way. Speaking at the LeWeb conference on 7 December 2011, Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt was in ebullient form as he considered the success of Google’s Android mobile operating system. “Android is ahead of the iPhone now,” he told the audience of techies and entrepreneurs. Ahead in terms of the number of phones, the quality of the software, the lower price, and having more companies making devices that used it, he said.

He also had some predictions: “Ultimately, application vendors are driven by volume, and volume is favoured by the open approach Google is taking,” he said. “There are so many manufacturers working so hard to distribute Android phones globally that whether you like ICS [Ice Cream Sandwich, the name for version 4.0 of Android, released in October] or not… you will want to develop for that platform, and perhaps even first.”

When one Android user told Schmidt it was frustrating to see iPhone and iPad – known as “iOS” – versions of apps coming to market before the Android one, Schmidt said that in part because of the new software, “my prediction is that six months from now you’ll say the opposite”. That is, that Android versions of particular products would be written before the iOS ones.

Calendar time

Six months later, there are few signs of that happening. Instead, even while the number of Android phones in use has continued to grow steadily, to more than 300m, and with Android phones making more than 50% of the 150m-odd smartphones sold worldwide every quarter, developers still look to Apple’s platform first.

It’s not initially obvious why. A huge number of apps are being launched on Android. Analytics firm Distimo, which tracks the various app stores, reckons that in the first four months of 2012 more than 100,000 apps were added to the Google Play store, versus 63,000 for Apple’s App Store. Microsoft’s Marketplace, for Windows Phone, and BlackBerry’s official stores added 35,000 and 22,000 respectively in the same period.

But follow the money – a big factor for the important developers, who can easily spend thousands writing a new app – and it’s a different story. Distimo and analyst firm CCS Insight launched their App Vu Global service in early April 2012, tracking downloads and revenues from the app stores. Its initial findings claimed that Apple’s App Store is generating $5.4m every day in app sales for the top 200 grossing iPhone and iPad apps. For Google Play, their estimate was just $679,000 for the top 200 grossing apps on Google Play, or about 12% of Apple’s revenue.

Another mobile app-tracking service, Flurry, noted on 7 June that “For every ten apps that developers build, roughly seven are for iOS.” Though the total volume of apps being developed has doubled – from over 9,000 in the first quarter of 2011 to more than 18,000 in the second quarter of 2012 – that 7:3 ratio in Apple’s favour has remained consistent.

Part of that has been because iPhone users have shown themselves willing to pay for apps in a way that Android users so far have not. In January 2012, Apple said that since 2008, when its App Store opened, developers had been paid a total of $4bn, of which more than $700m was paid in the last quarter of 2011 alone. Google hasn’t given a comparable figure, though Horace Dediu, who runs the Asymco consultancy, puts the figure for Google’s total app sales in 2011 at $300m - meaning developers would get $210m in total.

In March 2012, Flurry crunched data from developers using its tracking tools in their apps, and claimed that given the same number of users per platform, a developer who got $1 on the iTunes App Store would get $0.23 from Google Play.

Nine-year headstart in credit cards

That’s a key pointer to why developers don’t look to Android first. Some cases are simple examples of what economists call “opportunity cost”. Dave Addey is managing director of Agant, a British software developer which has written, among others, the Train Times app which costs £4.99 on the iPhone, and uses National Rail data to offer real-time data feeds, plan journeys and show timetables. “We still prioritise iOS,” he says. “Because it’s the main platform on which people will pay for an app. We haven’t done Android apps for business reasons. It comes down to this: do you port [translate] to Android, or do you develop another app for iOS? In the end, iOS is the better business case. Apple’s greatest trick has been making it really easy to pay for apps. Once you have your iTunes account, you just enter a password.” Google is trying to emulate that by encouraging people to add a credit card when they first set up a phone; but it is coming from a long way behind Apple, which started its iTunes Music Store selling music online in 2003, and is now one of the web’s biggest five holders of credit card details, along with Amazon, eBay and PayPal.

Addey points to the problems encountered by Imangi Studios, developer of the hugely popular Temple Run game – in which you are pursued along stone-lined routes by fast-moving unseen monsters – when it ported the app to Android, releasing it at the end of March.

It was a huge success in terms of downloads, hitting 5m in about 10 days. But Imangi Studios – a husband-and-wife team, plus a designer – soon discovered that Schmidt’s promise of Android being ahead in the number of phones and manufacturers was only too true. Despite writing it to run on 707 Android devices, they said that 99% of the emails requesting support were actually complaints that it wouldn’t run on the user’s particular phone model or version of Android. They were pilloried on Facebook, despite having what would be regarded by anyone as a successful release.

Breaking up is easy

Those subtle differences between devices are known in the industry as “fragmentation”. While Apple does have some fragmentation – there are seven models of iPhone, three different iPads and four of the non-phone iPod Touch – they pale into insignificance compared to Android’s, where OpenSignals, which provides a network coverage app, recently found1,363 device models running Android, from 599 different brands – though Samsung dominates with about 40% of the market.

Opensignals Android fragmentationAndroid fragmentation, as perceived by OpenSignals based on devices downloading its Android app. Click for original post.

“It’s a problem, especially for testing your app,” says Agant’s Addey. “You need to get a representative set of [Android] handsets so you can try it out. But that makes it hard to create a best-of-breed app because of the fragmentation, and because people are less likely to have the latest version of the [Android] software. You have to build to the lowest common denominator, rather than using the latest features.” Google’s statistics to the beginning of June say that just 7.1% of phones actively using its Google Play app market run version 4.0, or “Ice Cream Sandwich”. The most-used version is 2.3, or “Gingerbread”, released in December 2010, running on 65%; in total, 84.1% of devices using Google Play run Android version 2.3 or 2.2, dating back to June 2010.

Google Play access by devicesGoogle Play: proportion of devices running different versions of Android accessing within 14-day period, since January 2010. Source: Google

By contrast, although Apple’s oldest handset on sale – the iPhone 3GS – dates to June 2009, before Android 2.2, it can run the latest version of iOS – so app developers can target apps at features it includes, confident the majority of users will be able to run them.

And iPhone users definitely do update. Addey points to data for the UK Train Times app, which is available for every iPhone and iPod Touch ever made. The latest version of iOS, v5, was released in October 2011: Addey saw the proportion of devices using the preceding version, iOS 4, drop dramatically – while the proportion using iOS 5 leapt.

Update fever

iOS versions accessing traintimes appiOS versions accessing UK Train Times app feed, by time. Source: Agant. Click for larger version with longer time series

Now, just under nine months since iOS 5′s release, 86.2% of devices using the Train Times app run iOS 5, 12% use iOS 4, and just 1.7% use iOS 3 (released in 2009). Other developers put the proportion of iOS 5 users at 75% - lower, but still overwhelming.

“Compare this to the 7.1% uptake of Android 4.0, and it’s pretty easy to see why we develop new apps for iOS first,” Addey says. “Apple is constantly pushing its users and developers to be running the latest versions.” He says Agant has tended to focus on bigger apps, “because we know we can support the latest features from Apple.” The team’s latest product is a World War 2 app for the iPad which includes a day-by-day timeline that interacts with a map, Pathe newsreel videos, and commentary by the historian Dan Snow.

There’s no a priori reason why Apple should be able to get updates out more quickly. Changes to the “baseband” software which operates the radio systems in mobile phones (to connect to networks) have to be tested and approved by phone carriers; Apple has to go through those just like Android handset makers. Such changes are part of every major version both of Android and iOS.

But Apple has a clear incentive to roll out updates – to keep users and developers happy – whereas carriers and Android handset makers are less eager; fragmentation and opportunity cost hits them too, and they may have more incentive to encourage people to buy a new handset than see them using the same one with newer software.

Putting kids first

However, generalisations about what “developers” are doing in terms of platform support are risky. In key fast-growing categories – particularly free-to-play social mobile games – a number of companies launch new titles simultaneously on iOS and Android, or even on Android first. Glu Mobile, TinyCo, Storm8 and TeamLava, who have some of the most lucrative iOS games according to Apple’s “top grossing” chart, are also fixtures on Android. Some companies are adopting an Android-first strategy here too.

Japanese social games publisher DeNA, which recently reported revenues of $529m for the first quarter of 2012 alone, chose Android as the platform to launch its Mobage community globally in 2011. Its recently-released Rage of Bahamut game is on Android but not iOS yet.

US publisher Pocket Gems launched a game called Tap Dragon Park exclusively for Android in May. Another US studio, Bionic Panda, focuses on Android games rather than iOS.

Certain kinds of apps can only work on Android rather than iOS, too. British startup SwiftKey is a good example: its natural-language keyboard app SwiftKey X has notched up millions of paid downloads on Google’s store. It works by replacing the default keyboard on Android devices – which Apple does not allow on iOS.

“The early adopter community on Android is quite tech-savvy, and very keen to shout about the latest thing that they’ve discovered,” says Ben Medlock, chief technology officer at SwiftKey. “We’re one of the rare paid apps which is making money on Android.”

Other app categories remain dominated by iOS – for example book-apps and children’s apps. Swedish developer Toca Boca recently passed its 20 millionth kid-app download on iOS, but chief executive Bjorn Jeffery outlines the reasons it has so far shunned Android.

Image representing Eric Schmidt as depicted in...
Image by Charles Haynes via CrunchBase

“It is a highly fragmented ecosystem to develop for, and the business model for upfront sales of apps still has its issues,” he says, pointing to a question of how to allocate resources. “The answer there is unique to each developer, but I don’t see ‘Android first’ becoming something strong in the kids app community within a foreseeable amount of time.”

Resources are at the heart of why Schmidt’s hopes that more companies would put Android first are currently certain to be disappointed. Toca Boca, Instagram, Temple Run… These companies were well aware of strong demand on Android for their apps, and they all knew they could probably make money there. But, faced with a decision to double down on iOS or put already-stretched resources into Android, they prioritised Apple’s platform.

Volume, scale, or revenues?

Schmidt’s bold statement that “application vendors are driven by volume” was, it turns out, inaccurate. True, the economics for certain kinds of apps – particularly free and social ones – are driven by scale. Yet the majority of app developers are driven by two simple motives: where they see the most revenues, and by the constraints of their resources and team size. And both those presently favour Apple – substantially.

Enhanced by Zemanta