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Android winning smart phone war

With Google, Microsoft, Apple, HTC and everyone else in a patent war for mobile phone software, one can say the market is in a period of instability until someone wins. Right now, it looks like Google's Android platform is winning the battle, holding an astounding 48 percent of the global market, according to Canalys, a research firm. The attraction is of course all those apps and functions available through an open source platform.

Apple's iOS platform holds second spot on the mobile phone market, with a market share of 19 percent. Apple overtook Nokia's Symbian platform during the first quarter of 2011. Meanwhile Microsoft's Windows software holds only one percent of the market. RIM's BlackBerry platform holds 12 percent of the market, a steep fall from its big days.

These days, platform market share is going to be very important in feeding into decisions consumers make when choosing a phone forget about brand name phone manufacturer for now. Platform market share usually means more access to a wealth of apps, and more interconnectivity.

I, for example, am stuck with an old version of Windows on my smartphone, and guess what? I'm missing out on all the fun.

For businesses, the choice is becoming clearer on which platform to use across their networks. This is particularly important as smartphone functionality becomes more and more integrated within the business.

Still, there is a patent battle on: Apple versus HTC for one; Apple versus Samsung for another. Since Apple was the trailblazer in the consumer market (RIM in the business sector), it is now vigorously defending what it sees as its turf.

In this battle, consumers and businesses lose out. Samsung has already stopped sales of Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia until its suit is settled in that country. Choose well in a market that is settling down to regular old business, but that is still undergoing a fight to the top.


Geolocation has hit the privacy wall again, as companies try to figure out a way to develop a market that will be a dynamic and empowering base for a range of future services.

I am a big believer in geolocation. I can see services to find friends or lost children, or to play active, creative games on the streets of cities and towns. However, in recent months Google and Microsoft have had to cut access to their geolocation services after CNet pointed out the privacy holes.

You would believe some of both companies' executives would have thought about future services and realised you cannot just publish someone's location and movements on the Internet. Not so.

Microsoft's database was available through Live.com, which publishes the precise geographical location of Android phones, Apple devices, and other Wi-Fi enabled gadgets. Google has also reduced the information available through its geolocation servers storing information on phones using Android mobile software.


The UK's department for transport has been forced under a freedom of information disclosure to publish the top 1,000 websites visited by its staff in the first five months of this year. The list ranges from the BBC at No 1 to “belly dancing, Doctor Who and the Roman Empire”. Employees were also shopping, gambling and house-hunting, the BBC also notes.

The department says two staff have been disciplined during 2009-10 due to “inappropriate Internet usage” and based on a policy that only permits personal use for a maximum of one hour a day and only in their own time, for example, meal breaks.

I think the list is pretty standard fare for companies. No one has quite figured out how to control employees' Internet access other than with a policy stick. But it only takes one outstanding performer to break the rule and the employer is stuck with a problem: make an exception for someone earning business fat revenues, or stick with the policy?

Obviously, one would fire for illegal behaviour, but there is a lot of space in between that red line and online “research” conducted on behalf of a business.


In any case, it would be fun to see what sites Bermuda's civil servants are accessing during work.

Ron Lucas, a semi-professional underwater photographer, wrote in to correct my classification of the Nikon range of D70s, D80 and D90 as “semi-professional” cameras. He owns two of these, described as “excellent”, and is reluctant to go up to a semi-professional or professional model because of the cost to him if an underwater housing floods.

“I think it would be best to use the TIPA classification for DSLRs,” he adds. Thanks for the correction. I was a bit lax, as some reviewers have described it as “full of semi-pro features”, which I admit is not the same. TIPA classifies the D80 and D90 as “advanced or enthusiast”. That's about where I am.

Ron is the photographer behind “Bermuda Reef Portraits” and you can see some of his majestic photos at www.ronlucasphoto.smugmug.com.

Send any comments to elamin.ahmed[AT]gmail.com.

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Published August 03, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated August 03, 2011 at 9:58 am)

Android winning smart phone war

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