Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Find: GLBenchmark 2.5 Performance on mobiles - apple best on tabs, only competitive on phones

GLBenchmark 2.5 Performance on iOS and Android Devices

Earlier today we published our first results using GLBenchmark 2.5, the long awaited update to one of our most frequently used mobile GPU benchmarks. 

In our first article we ran GLBenchmark 2.5 on devices based on Samsung's Exynos dual and quad SoCs, Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4, NVIDIA's Tegra 2/3 and TI's OMAP 4. We had problems getting older devices to run, which is why we only had the abridged set of starting data on Android. In addition, GLBenchmark 2.5 only supports Android 3.x and up.

GLBenchmark 2.5 is already available in the Google Play store, however the iOS version is still in Apple's review process. Thankfully we've been able to get our hands on the iOS version and now have results for the new iPad, iPad 2 as well as the iPhone 4S. Read on to see how the A5 and A5X stack up in Kishonti's latest OpenGL ES benchmark. 

Find: GWT Support for Mobile App Development

GWT Support for Mobile App Development

If you’re interested in using GWT to build mobile apps and mobile web apps from a single codebase, then you’ll want to take a good look at mgwt. The following is a guest blog post from Daniel Kurka, the creator of the mgwt library.

Going mobile with mgwt and gwt-phonegap

mgwt is a library for developing mobile apps and mobile websites with GWT using a single codebase. mgwt provides native-looking widgets and effects for most of the popular mobile platforms. It also comes with a ton of other useful features for building mobile apps. We’ve detailed some of them later on in the post.

gwt-phonegap enables GWT apps to use Phonegap. With Phonegap, HTML5 applications can access the same device features that native apps can use via Javascript APIs, such as the camera, file system or contacts.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Find: IDC - Samsung increases smartphone lead over Apple as Nokia, RIM, and HTC flounder

IDC: Samsung increases smartphone lead over Apple as Nokia, RIM, and HTC flounder


Samsung today posted extremely healthy financials for Q2 2012, and analysts have agreed that its smartphone division is well ahead of the rest of the competition. IDC says Samsung's Q2 smartphone shipments were 50.2 million, while Strategy Analytics reports a slightly higher 50.5 million figure.

IDC's figures reveal that Samsung's smartphone shipments grew 172.8 percent year-over-year, giving the company an industry-leading 32.6 percent marketshare, almost double that of its nearest competitor. Apple was in second place, shipping an estimated 26 million iPhones for a 16.9 percent share of the market. It's worth noting that shipments and sales are not the same thing: Apple sold 35.1 million iPhones in the second quarter, and the...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Find: Adobe's PhoneGap 2.0 makes building cross-platform apps easier

This is adobe's replacement for mobile flash. 

Adobe's PhoneGap 2.0 makes building cross-platform apps easier

Adobe has announced the release of PhoneGap 2.0, a major new version of the open source mobile application development framework. The update brings a number of new features and improvements to the PhoneGap development experience. The update also introduces support for Microsoft’s Windows Phone mobile platform.

PhoneGap allows developers to build cross-platform mobile applications with standards-based HTML and JavaScript. It supports packaging and deployment across a range of mobile operating systems and provides a standardized set of JavaScript APIs for accessing underlying platform functionality.

Nitobi, the company behind PhoneGap, was acquired by Adobe last year. Adobe donated the underlying PhoneGap code to the Apache Software Foundation so that it could be developed in an inclusive environment with open governance. The project is currently being developed through the Apache Incubator program under the name Apache Cordova.

NVIDIA Announces Compatibility with WiFi Display Miracast Specification -- AirPlay for android

Bout time!

NVIDIA Announces Compatibility with WiFi Display Miracast Specification

Back at the end of May, the WiFi Alliance announced a new WiFi Display certification program called Miracast. Making a standardization process for WiFi Display products to guarantee interoperability is a huge step forward to making adoption easy, and goes a long way to consolidating the growing number of WiFi Display-like standards.

Though the specification hasn't been made public quite yet (public disclosure will come sometime in August), Nvidia appears to have already secured some level of platform certification for its Android board support package, though individual products will still need to go through WiFi Alliance certification to wear a Miracast badge. Today, Nvidia shot us a release and whitepaper with specifics about its Miracast compatibility. 

Probably the most relevant point is that Nvidia's Miracast architecture leverages the onboard audio and video encode blocks, and framebuffer snoop to minimize latency. WiFi Display mandates an H.264 baseline Level 3.1 stream at its core, which is easy enough to hit with encoders lately. 

Nvidia sent over a video showing off Miracast, and latency between the display and TV looks nice and low. I asked for specifics, but Nvidia isn't ready to share latency numbers until closer to production hardware. That said, other partners have given WiFi Display latency as low as just 16 ms (one frame at 60 FPS) for the whole chain. 

As an aside, Miracast is hugely important for the Android ecosystem as a whole to get to feature parity with Apple's AirPlay and AirPlay Mirroring functionality. The standard will be released sometime in August, with certification happening shortly after in September or October of this year. 

Source: Nvidia, Whitepaper (PDF)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Find: iOS is the xp of phone uis - iA's Oliver Reichenstein

Good design is invisible: an interview with iA's Oliver Reichenstein


Oliver Reichenstein is the founder and director of Information Architects, the Tokyo, Zurich, and Berlin-based design agency. iA's usual trade is website design and consultancy along with the odd concept like the Twitter strikethrough, but the company has also found recent success in iOS and Mac app development. Writer for iPad is a pioneering minimalist text editor, and its focus-enhancing combination of sparse visuals and refined typography has since made the leap to OS X and the iPhone.

Reichenstein recently took the time to answer some of my questions on design and development. Since iA's work is informed by its presence in Europe and Asia, I wanted to know his thoughts on the differences between the two, and in particular where he...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Find: webOS legacy lives on as next-generation Enyo framework exits beta

Hmm. So I will be building web apps with enyo?

webOS legacy lives on as next-generation Enyo framework exits beta

The Enyo sampler application running in Chrome on the Nexus 7.

HP announced this week that version 2 of the Enyo JavaScript framework is now officially out of beta. The open source library has been deemed stable and ready for production use.

Enyo was originally the official development framework of webOS, the platform that HP obtained in its 2010 acquisition of Palm and later destroyed during Leo Apotheker’s rein of terror imbecility. Meg Whitman, who replaced Apotheker as CEO, decided to salvage the remaining value of webOS by opening the source code and building a community around the software.

HP first published the Enyo source code in January under the permissive Apache software license. The code drop included the original Enyo code, which was only intended to run on webOS, as well as a preliminary implementation of a major new version called Enyo 2.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Find: GameDock turns your iDevice into an snes console

Sweet! Peripherals will a big(ger) for phones. Another reason Nintendo is in trouble. 

GameDock wants to turn your iDevice into a game console

With the Android-based Ouya unveiling earlier this week to massive fundraising success, I've heard many people wondering why Apple hasn't done something similar to extend the success of iOS gaming into a more traditional TV-based game console. Yes, iOS 5 lets you use AirPlay Mirroring to stream game images from a portable iDevice to an Apple TV, but the results can be pretty jerky, and the scheme still relies on touchscreen controls that are ill-suited to a lot of TV-based games. If Apple released a console dedicated to bringing iOS games directly to the living room TV, complete with a traditional, button-based controller, it would have the potential to really shake up the existing console market.

Chris Jorgensen and Andi Greisel, who develop iOS games like Cavorite and Zombie Karts under the name Cascadia Games, got tired of waiting for Apple to act on that idea. That's why they came up with the iOS GameDock, an external iDevice accessory they're trying to fund on Kickstarter that basically turns an existing iDevice into a TV-based console powered by USB controllers and an HDMI output.

"Honestly, I've found myself hooking up my old SNES to my TV for fun lately," Jorgensen said. "And there are so many great retro games on iOS, I figured, why not recreate the old console experience with your phone in its entirety?"

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Find: Nielsen survey - Android growing faster than Apple, others own only 16% of smartphone market

Nielsen: Android growing faster than Apple, both companies edge out competitors

Smartphone buyer's guide lineup

Nielsen's newest report shows that as smartphone adoption continues to grow in the US, Android and Apple's iOS are rising in popularity, with Android holding a slight edge over its competitor. This popularity comes at the expense of smaller companies like Blackberry and Windows, which hold steadily declining portions of the growing smartphone market. Smartphone adoption among US subscribers passed the 50 percent mark in March, and has reached 54.9 percent as of June 2012. New adoption momentum has remained steady, with smartphones making up about two-thirds of all new purchases.

The report shows that Android and Apple are both growing within the expanding market, with Android at 51.8 percent and Apple's iOS at 34.3 percent. ..

Find: Former Nokia employees start company to build new MeeGo devices

Meego lives! A little longer. 

Former Nokia employees start company to build new MeeGo devices

Jolla's plans could give mourning MeeGo enthusiasts a reason to be happy.
A new startup called Jolla aims to resurrect the defunct MeeGo software platform and bring it to market on new handsets. The company, which was founded largely by former Nokia employees, says that it wants to pick up where the failing Finnish phone giant left off.

Meego was a Linux-based mobile platform developed jointly by Intel and Nokia after they combined their Moblin and Maemo projects. MeeGo had the potential to deliver an upstream-aligned mobile stack that was truly open and vendor neutral. But the endeavor fell apart when Nokia’s commitment wavered.

The N9 smartphone was the only device that Nokia shipped with MeeGo. It paired gorgeous hardware design with a powerful operating system and a modern user interface. It was a breakthrough device that had the potential to restore Nokia’s standing as a serious contender in the smartphone market.

Find: Mobile phone users sorely mistaken about how much privacy they have

Users think they have more privacy than on the desktop, when in fact they have much less. 

Mobile phone users sorely mistaken about how much privacy they have

One of these phones might betray me.

Despite their widespread acceptance of the increasingly liberal privacy policies of sites and services, the majority of American consumers don't, in fact, want their data collected, their activity tracked, or their usage analyzed. A new study from the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology asked 1,200 households several straightforward questions about what level of privacy they think they have when using a cell phone, and what information is and is not OK for companies to track and store. The majority thinks they have far more privacy than they do, and are unequivocally opposed to some of the most common forms of data collection.

"We found that Americans overwhelmingly consider information stored on their mobile phones to be private—at least as private as information stored on their home computers," states the study, which used information collected by both landline and wireless phones. Fifty-nine percent of all respondents ages 18 to 65 and beyond said their phones were "at least as private" as their home computers, and 19 thought their phones were more private than their home computers.

This is likely not the case, at least in terms of content that apps and sites consider accessible. Mobile phones often contain information like unique device identifiers, or entire address books' worth of information that can be accessed by apps with the right permissions. Respondents also think their phones are paying less attention than they really are: 56 percent said they visit websites with their phones, but only 37 percent said their phone stores information about websites they've visited.

'Mobile Phones and Privacy' by Jennifer M. Urban, Chris Jay Hoofnagle, Su Li—Berkeley Center for Law & Technology

Monday, July 9, 2012

Find: Microsoft Surface - Detailed Impressions

Good detail on what microsoft made available.

Microsoft Surface - We Go Hands On [UPDATE: Detailed Impressions]

Post-announcement, Microsoft took us to a backroom in Milk Studios to give us hands on experience with the Surface. They weren't lying, even the preproduction units feel awesome in hand. The magnesium panels are finished with partial vapour deposition, a process that deposits a thin-film coating onto the panel using vacuum deposition (molecule-by-molecule deposits at sub-atmospheric pressure.) It gives the unit a distinctly premium feel, and one that's pretty different from most of the other metal-bodied systems out there particularly with the current trends towards anodization and brushed finishes. The body is 9.3mm thick (a tenth of a millimeter thinner than the latest iPad), and total weight comes in at 676g (or about 1.49 lbs), so it's denser feeling than the iPad.. The 31.5Wh battery isn't as large as the iPad's 42.5Wh, but the 1366x768 10.6" LCD definitely draws less power.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Find: nice piece on android fragmentation

While old apple devices receive regular updates because they remain in stores a long time, old android devices don't, because they are gone so quickly. 

Seems like an opportunity to create a superior experience for the right carrier/manufacturer. 

What happened to the Android Update Alliance?

Android introduced Jelly Bean at I/O earlier today, but how many existing devices will see the update?

Dan Goodin, Ars Technica

Google's Android keynote this morning was packed with announcements, most prominent among them the introduction of Jelly Bean, the next version of the Android mobile operating system. While it looks to be a solid update to last year's Ice Cream Sandwich, there's a big question that always looms large over the announcement of any new Android version: these features look nice and all, but will my device ever be upgraded?

At last year's Google I/O, the company announced the Android Update Alliance, an initiative through which Google would work with its partners to ensure that Android phones and tablets would receive updates for at least 18 months after their introduction. This much-ballyhooed announcement wouldn't have done much about the extreme diversity of hardware in the Android ecosystem, but it would have helped reduce the growing software fragmentation issues that the platform was facing.

There was just one problem: the Android Update Alliance hasn't really been mentioned since, including in today's keynote.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Find: Judge grants Apple an injunction against the Galaxy Nexus

Boom! Apple blocks sale of samsung's flagship device. Its main competitor. 

Block centered on the technology for searching multiple dbs through Siri. Hard to imagine what's generally patentable there; searching dbs was going on decades before iPhone. 

Breaking: Judge grants Apple an injunction against the Galaxy Nexus

Judge Lucy Koh of California's Northern District Court ruled today in favor of granting Apple an injunction against Samsung's Galaxy Nexus phone. The injunction would seek to stop the import of Samsung's phone, which Apple alleged had infringed on four of its patents.

Apple sued for patent protection on the following software features:

      1. A means of detecting and marking up data like a phone number or an e-mail address, and then initiating a phone call or an e-mail when the linked data is clicked

      2. A means of searching multiple databases and sources for data

      3. A slide to unlock feature

      4. An autocorrect-type function that completes the word as a user types and allows the user to accept or reject the word

    Reuters reports that the decision appears to have been driven by Apple's claim to the patent to search multiple sources, which Apple says is the basis of Siri. Reuters reporter Dan Levine, who was in the courtroom at the time of the ruling, tweeted that Judge Koh said, "'Apple has articulated a plausible theory of irreparable harm' [because] of 'long-term loss of market share and 'losses of downstream sales.'"

Find:,Mozilla's B2G to be called Firefox OS, will ship in 2013

Mozilla's B2G to be called Firefox OS, will ship in 2013

Several new device manufacturers and mobile carriers have lined up to support Mozilla’s mobile operating system. The software platform, which is based on Mozilla’s Boot2Gecko (B2G) project, will be called Firefox OS when it launches on handsets next year.

Mozilla began working on the B2G project last year, aiming to offer a truly open alternative to existing mobile operating systems. The B2G application stack and runtime environment are built around standards-based Web technologies instead of platform-specific development tools and frameworks.

Alongside B2G, Mozilla is also working on a complementary effort to extend Web standards with capabilities that are needed by mobile applications, such as APIs for power management and telephony. Mozilla hopes to ensure that the open Web will provide a rich platform for application development that is competitive with the native stacks supplied by rival platforms.