Jul 132011
 

To put it another way, Apple’s retail sales for the first quarter of 2011 accounted for 1/5 of all retail growth. In the pool of every dollar gained by all publicly-traded retailers year-over-year, Apple accounted for 20%. That is unbelievable. USA Today has the scoop.

Applying the same logic they used with the Zune and Windows Phone 7, Microsoft heard there were huge margins to be made in retail, so they’ve committing to building another 75 Microsoft stores within the next 2-3 years.

Jun 212011
 

It should come as no surprise to anyone reading this that the market share bottlerocket jammed up Android’s ass would cool down once Apple made its iPhone 4 available on Verizon’s network, despite the fact that a new Android phone is released every other day. It may have taken a bit longer than I predicted, but Android’s growth has finally capped: it recorded its first market share fall-off this past quarter. The iPhone was up 12 and a half percentage points while sad sacks Nokia, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile OS’s continued to hemorrhage share.

People will no doubt be jumping on the “fluke” bandwagon, stating that iPhone 4 could never sustain this kind of growth. The fact that a year-old smartphone is handing Android its ass alone is worth a chuckle. Even if there is the customary fall-off in adopters prior to the release of the iPhone 5 does happen, Google may want to take a look at the slope of the BlackBerry downswing to get a sense of what iPhone 5 + iOS 5 + both major carriers is going to do to its share.

I’m sure it was nice while it lasted.

Apr 282011
 

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Google’s Android OS for mobile devices will doom Apple’s iOS soon. Witness the impending savage brutality:

The analyst’s conclusion: Android will overtake iOS by July of this year. Looks pretty obvious from this graph, right? Not really.

 

1. Where did you people learn statistics?

Wanna hear something awesome? I will be a millionaire by the the time I retire and I have the statistics to prove it. You see: I found $100 bill on the street today. If you assume that I will find $100 on the street every day for *cough* *ahem* *cough* years, and allow for compounding at a modest interest rate, I will be a millionaire around 65. Screw the IRA!

Distimo used the February-March 2011 month-to-month data to project the June numbers. I know this because they say so in their write-up. Taking month-to-month growth of an app ecosystem and extending a line from it is as meaningless an exercise as taking any 2 short-term data points and extending a trend line from the segment formed. And speaking of drawing…

 

2. Where did you people learn to draw?

Maybe it’s me, but do you see the line come off a little “flat” for iOS in March and get a little goosed for Android around mid April? You guys know something we don’t? Wanna let us in on it?

 

3. Try looking up “ringtones” in the Android Market.

Wanna guess how many of these apps are conduits for pirated, copyright/trademark-violating properties? If you guessed “a shit-ton”, you’d be correct. People used to joke about how many fart apps were in the App Store. The Android Market wishes it had apps as valuable as the worst fart app ever put up. Distimo does note that Android now has more free apps than the App Store. Nothing screams “make money here!” to app developers as effectively as having more stuff not worth paying for in your market.

 

4. So I guess the iPad doesn’t count now?

We’re comparing OS markets, but we’re leaving out devices that make up part of the market ecosystem. I guess if you want a graph that fits well in landscape orientation, you have to cut some corners. Like not drawing our lines straight. Or making that ziggy line on the y-axis between 50,000 and 100,000 on a graph that spans 0 to 400,000. Hallmarks of a company that should be taken seriously.

 

If you’re banking on Android overtaking iOS in the near future, you’d feel a lot better if you sought out analysis that actually makes sense, as opposed to getting it from another no-name firm with zero track record looking to make a quick buck by using shitty statistics poorly.

Feb 222011
 

Microsoft has been stamping their wares on silicon longer than the Gizmodo editorial board has been alive, which is to say that they should know what they’re doing. Windows Phone 7 is Microsoft’s way-late entry into an already-crowded smartphone arena, so you’d figure the seamless execution of its first software update would be the company’s top priority. Unfortunately for Redmond, despite the centuries of experience and the pressure to get everything right for any shot at a foothold in a market dominated by Apple and Google, Microsoft fucked up their first update – bigtime. How big? According to Ars Technica:

“For lucky individuals, the process merely hangs on step seven (out of ten); rebooting the phone resurrects it, albeit without the upgrade. For a minority of unlucky users, the process fails at step six, and corrupts the phone’s firmware. What’s worse is that for some of them it appears to be bricking the phone completely, rendering it useless.”

I also found this bit about how to find out if your smartphone is going to implode when updating entertaining:

“Figuring out which firmware version you have is a somewhat awkward procedure. From the phone’s dialer, type ##634#, then press the call button. This will start up Samsung’s Diagnosis application.

In the Diagnosis application, type *#1234#. This will show a screen of detailed version information. It’s the first three version numbers (for “PDA”, “Phone”, and “CSC”) that are relevant here. If the firmware versions are older (JIx, JJx) then the update probably won’t work; if they’re newer (JKx) it probably will.”

Sounds a lot like a troubleshooting procedure for a certain desktop OS. To all you IT dickheads who stood by your man and sold this bag of turds as the enterprise solution to your company, please commence sucking it.

In a way, I wish Microsoft would throttle back on the cock-ups, lest parties concerned about the direction of the company become alerted and attempt to seize control. To date, it appears that investors and the all-star board of directors are content to watch this flaming car wreck unfold in slow-motion frame by hilarious frame.

Jan 042011
 

Happy New Year to the TMA readership. My resolution: 2560 x 1440.

/boom-tish. Try the Salisbury steak.

With a new year, writers across the land feel compelled to make a bunch of baseless predictions and tech is no exception. I came across some from Google employee Tim Bray in his “ongoing” blog. I didn’t find any of the prognostications in “Year-end View of the Mobile Market” particularly insightful or interesting, but they do speak volumes about how Google thinks. Mercifully, Bray does prepare readers for how patently obvious many of his predictions are. I’ve taken up the challenge of summarizing each of his “things that seem obvious” in 5 words or less. You can click through to see how I did.

In 2011, the smartphone market will/be/continue to (OK, I cheated a bit):

  • Sell a lot of phones
  • Further squeeze “dumb” phone sales
  • Apple, Android > RIM, Nokia, Microsoft
  • Windows 7 Phones: Verdict Unclear

Then he says something about a $500 contract free phone being less than a $199 phone with a contract and wonders when someone will offer financing. Like they have for appliances. Really.

So what are Bray’s not-so-obvious things?

  • The major barrier for tablets replacing laptops? “High-speed low-friction text input”. Translation: the opposite of Android’s touchscreen input.
  • “I’m increasingly coming to think that people buy phones based on the quality and volume of old-fashioned advertising put behind the products. Not coincidentally, not only are the iPhones and iPad excellent devices, they have what is to my eye probably the best advertising in the mobile industry.” Ladies and gentlemen: our first moneyball. The difference between Apple’s and Android’s relative success is marketing. You can see this theory expanded on over at Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite.
  • Apple is going to do a 7″ device. That’s certainly not so obvious. In fact, that’s about 3 colors of the rainbow into Fantasyland. Why will Apple do a 7″ device? “(It) still fits in one hand and you can use for four hours in a row sitting up.” Does Bray mean you can’t use an iPad sitting up for 4 hours? I certainly can. Does he mean having a device that can be extended at arm’s length for 4 hours? Try doing that holding nothing. He concludes emphatically with “This argument is over“, and by the italics you can tell he means it. They should bring Bray in for closing arguments. He could be a Mariano Rivera-esque consultant to defense attorneys. James Spader’s character in Boston Legal just peed his pants a little.

But Bray is at his most compelling in the section titled “Apple vs. Android”, where he pits the advertising powerhouse in Cupertino against the Open Source champions in Mountain View. Who wins?

“I think Apple will sell a ton of devices because they’re good, and superbly marketed. I think a bunch of people will sell a ton of Android devices because they’re good and there are so many options for different needs and networks and price-points.” Emphasis mine

Both are good devices, but that goddamn marketing – those fucking unicorn tears – that’s what lands Apple those insanely high margins EVEN THOUGH THEY’RE ON ONE CARRIER IN THE U.S.!

Let me break it down for you, Tim. The difference – that most obvious of obvious factors you allude to but don’t quite concede – is Verizon. Here’s an illustration of Verizon’s current smartphone unit sales, a period of time I like to call “Before iOS” or “BiOS”, or as you’ll come to remember them: the Salad Years.

This is what will happen at “Zero Hour”, which is immediately after the iPhone becomes available on Verizon. This is also the beginning of “In the year of our Jobs” or “AiOS”.

Finally, once most people are able to rid themselves of their existing contracts and avoid cancellation fees, the landscape should be pretty-well stabilized. Until the iPhone 5…

To wrap up the piece, Bray waxes optimistic about future of the Android platform”

“And there’s nothing fundamental in Android that would get in the way of a industrial-design and user-experience rock-star team, whether at Google or one of the handset makers…”,

And there’s nothing fundamental in the way of my becoming the next Justin Bieber. I can inflect my speaking voice in a way that qualifies as singing, even though I’m not something you’d pay to listen to – or stick around for long if it were free. I have a blog, so there’s really minimal distance between, say, an entry in Douchebag’s Row and some hit single that makes sane people claw at their eyes. I can play chopsticks on the piano, so I am musically inclined – fundamentally. Everything between here and the Top 10 is details.

“…testing the hypothesis that these things are central to Apple’s success.”

Testing the hypothesis that something besides the snappy songs in those ads are what make Apple the most valuable brand in the technology sector. Because – you know – they’re engineers. They need to test all hypotheses, no matter how unlikely.

I’m picturing the Android team’s faces when smartphone unit sales are announced for the first and second quarter of 2011. The genuine looks of befuddlement will be the best part.

Dec 212010
 

Just in time for Santa, Microsoft is reporting initial “sales” figures for its Windows 7 Phones. From the Microsoft News Center (when it come to self-serving propaganda, Microsoft’s own press is there!):

“We are pleased that phone manufacturers sold over 1.5 million phones in the first six weeks, which helps build customer momentum and retail presence.”

*cough* Bullshit! *cough*

Let’s step back from the sentence that Microsoft wants you to read, because there’s no way in hell 1.5 million of these phones are being used.

“…(these are) phones being bought and stocked by mobile operators and retailers on their way to customers.” Or maybe “being forced on the suckers who are contractually bound to sling our phones, and on their way to an inch-thick layer of dust followed quickly by a call to ‘Cash for Phones'”?

The best part is that Microsoft has to admit that these million and a half phones are in retailers’ hands. Back in the salad years, they’d actually try to make people believe they were in the hands of consumers, like with the XBox. Seeing them have to fall back on burying the truth as opposed to outright lying makes me miss the old Microsoft a little.

Nov 292010
 

Sure you could go to Gizmodo and find out what cool toys are available this Holiday season. They usually have a pretty unbiased presentation of…

Oh. Well, it does explain a lot. And a brother’s gotta eat, right?

Anyway, I give stuff and I get stuff. I have WordPress and a keyboard, so that qualifies me to make a tech gift guide. Let’s start with things you shouldn’t think of giving someone, or should give if you want the message to be “I loathe you intensely”. 10 sounds like a nice round number. Because I don’t hate you like CNet or Silicon Alley Insider does, I’m not going to try and artificially inflate my pageviews by extending the list to 10 pages. That’s not entirely true. Since I don’t know how to extend the list to 10 pages and haven’t figured out how to put ads into my content in a way that doesn’t look retarded, you’re getting the list all on one page.

10. Digital Photo Frames Nothing says “Home” quite like a picture frame surrounding a shitty LCD display with an AC adapter tail, cycling poorly-lit cellphone pics of your kids. Place one on a doyley for added kitschy charm.

9. Wireless Charging Bed Jamming an adapter into my iPhone so I can place it in a specific location wirelessly is the same as jamming an adapter in to my iPhone and tethering it to the wall. And about $90 cheaper.

8. Netbook Stab at some undersized keys on an underspecced laptop with shitty but relatively operable Windows XP, less shitty but stripped to the asshairs Windows 7 or some Linux distro (for those you truly hate or the neckbeard that hates himself) and watch your productivity soar! /cue sarcasmmetershatter.mp3

7. Windows 7 Phone Contrary to what the Gizmodo Tit in Redmond wants you to believe, this app-less exercise in UItardery is a 3-year-too-late and several-dollars-short death rattle from Ballmer’s asphyxiating Borg.

6. Bluetooth earpiece Attention soccer moms and pinstripe gelheads: this ear apparatus (earparatus: judges?) dismisses any doubt that you are a douchebag. Buy a rig for your car and put the phone to your head when you want to yap on about your thoroughly uninteresting lives outside of where it’s appropriate – namely your house and out of earshot of TMA.

5. Tilt to Live for the iPhone or iPad A former friend recommended this game to me. 24 hours later I woke up having topped 5,000,000 points, but divorced, bankrupt and packed in a bathtub filled with ice. Inflict this game upon those whose productivity you aim to destroy.

4. iPad Case I’m sure you mean well, but do you really know how someone works well enough to choose from the 3 billion iPad cases on the market? Spare the person for whom you are buying from having to make the lose-lose choice of not using your gift and having you resent them and using it despite the fact that they don’t want to and having them resent you.

3. Anything involving physical media CD, DVD, BluRay: it doesn’t matter. People shouldn’t have to put a disc into a reader to consume content. Yea, yea 1080p yadda yadda. If the difference between 1080 and 720p means that much to the person you’re buying for, they’ve probably already got something 10 times more expensive than you can afford to give them. And they’re probably uppity and shallow to boot. Find a new friend.

2. Nook Color or Kindle DX What’s not an entry level e-reader, definitely not an iPad and is likely to be the last nail in the coffin of at least one major media retailer? Something you’re hopefully not buying for someone that you care about. If you’re cheap and they’re nerds, get them a Kindle. If you care: iPad.

1. GoogleTV device One of the most influential players in technology decided to release a family of devices running a version of Android that sits atop your TV and lets you take in all of the networks’ online content for free…uhhh…let’s you watch YouTube for free. For $300. From the UI geniuses behind Wave. C’mon, people: there’s enough hate in the world.

Nov 102010
 

Despite many self-inflicted blows to the head, I cannot get that sound byte out of my head, which I guess is the point of most Microsoft advertising. It’s one of the things I imagine they teach in “Introduction to Advertising”. Except for the part about the impression associating positively with the brand. Redmond’s ads are memorable like Creepy King.

Anyway, Windows Phone 7 debuted their offerings with AT&T (yes, the same network that is holding the iPhone hostage) and it doesn’t look like it made a huge splash, despite whoring out Maroon 5 and Katy Perry in an attempt to sell them. I guess launching on the same network as the iPhone wasn’t that great an idea after all. Despite some critics’ hypothesis, which is that Microsoft burned its bridge with Verizon when they yoinked the Kin after 2 months, I actually think there’s a larger strategy at play. Microsoft wants to be the best by beating the best. Really. This is the same company that threatened to open its wildly popular retail stores next door to Apple Stores. I apologize in advance for any sarcasm detectors I may have just broken.

On a related note, I despise Katy Perry. You know by listening to her music that she sold out approximately 14 seconds postpartum.

“Let’s make a pop song about lipstick lesbianism!” /giggles

“I’m married to wild child Russell Brand and I have him trained!” /giggles

Is it any coincidence that Katy Perry and Gwen Stefani have both shilled for Redmond? They’re the same schtick, people. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen them together. File that rant under “Haters gon’ hate”.

Nov 082010
 

So the Windows 7 Phone is here, which means there’s a new 9-figure advertising blitz designed to differentiate Microsoft’s offering in a product category that was revolutionized by Apple 3 years ago. Welcome to the party, Redmond.

Hmmm. I guess the spin is: “Smartphones have become too distracting, which has decreased our quality of life. Windows Phone 7…phones…allow people to use their smartphones as tools, freeing them to enjoy life more.”

Or maybe: “Because Microsoft waited 3 years to release a smartphone, all the intellectual property has already been trademarked, so they can’t copy something that looks nice like they did with the Mac. No developers have an interest in their platform, so they don’t have any apps. Windows Phone 7 offers a smartphone experience that let’s you get in, get out and “be here now” because you’re not going to have anything to keep you interested in the phone.”

They’ve even managed to co-op some annoying catchphrases from pop culture (how many times do you have to hear “Really?” before you want to start jamming sharp things into squishy places?) and self-help (“Be Here Now”) phenomena. Good to see that photocopier still works for advertising.

Oct 012010
 

After years of sitting on their Windows Mobile operating system and watching their market share become smartphone segment cage liner, Microsoft announced its Madonna-like reinvention in February: Windows Phone 7.

Resistance is futile.

The OS that drew heavily from the less shitty Zune UI began to build buzz, with several dozen Gizmodo and Engadget commenters anxiously awaiting a definitive announcement. The armies of loyal IT drones received their transmissions from the Collective and stood ready to recommend Windows 7 phones as the “enterprise solution” mobile device. Today, Microsoft finally released the details of their first Windows 7 phones…

…which will be available exclusively on AT&T’s network.

The same carrier that has an exclusive agreement with Apple to sell the iPhone. Continue reading »

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