November 22, 2011
iPhone 4S Becomes Second Most Popular Cameraphone on Flickr


It took just 5 weeks. The only one ahead of it? The iPhone 4.

By the way, numbers three and four? The iPhone 3G and the iPhone 3GS.

One Android phone did manage to beat the original iPhone though — the HTC EVO 4G, places a distant fifth. Let’s remember that the original iPhone is over 4 years old.

Wait, actually, looking at the data, Flickr isn’t even counting the original iPhone anymore. Maybe that’s because there are not a lot of pictures, but maybe not. 

Regardless, the EVO did beat the iPod touch. I think. It’s not clear if they count that in the “smartphone” category. 

It also boasts a 0.7 megapixel camera. Tough competition.

The most popular camera overall across all of Flickr? Still the iPhone 4. Soon to be dethroned by the iPhone 4S, no doubt. 

Let’s also remember that the Flickr numbers don’t include Instagram photos because those are stripped of the metadata by iOS. In other words, the iPhone isn’t just beating every other smartphone out there when it comes to picture taking, it’s likely destroying them. And probably most point & shoots as well. 

I’ve saying this for awhile, but sales of phones is an imperfect way to measure the current iOS vs Android battle.  A large portion of Android phones are bought because of the phone’s price or availability (not necessarily a preference for Android).

If a large portion of Android based phones are used only for phone calls (as opposed to web browsing and app usage), then the impact of Android proliferation is a lot smaller.  Concurrently, the potential to monetize for Android based apps is significantly less than iOS based apps even though cumulative sales of Android based phones may be higher.  The reason is related to the fact that iPhone users are generally more active in using their phones (for non phone call needs).  I think the photography data above is more evidence to support my hypothesis.

7:15am  |   URL:
Filed under: tech android iOS 
June 16, 2011
Android is closing in on iOS in terms of ad revenue


When breaking down all the revenue driven by apps on Millennial’s network, iOS apps and Android apps were very close, with 45 percent coming from iOS and 43 percent from Android. It looks like Android is closing in on iOS in terms of revenue. In April, iOS took 50 percent of app revenues, with Android trailing behind with 39 percent of app revenues.

Very interesting, next time Millenial Media releases its report, Android probably will pass iOS in terms of ad revenues. 

This is exactly why I thought Apple was short sighted when they gave exclusivity to AT&T.  That short term boost in revenue is going to be meaningless compared to the long term market share in mobile ads they could have if they went multi-carrier from the beginning.

Apple’s decision to go exclusive with AT&T in the US was probably the worst management decision they made in the past decade by a large margin.

June 9, 2011

NOW I need an ipad. The Nomad Brush lets you paint on your screen with a real brush instead of using your finger. Brilliant. Now if they can only replicate the wonderful smell of paint!

This is probably the first app I’ve seen that makes me want to buy an iPad.  Great use of the touch interface of the iOS.


NOW I need an ipad. The Nomad Brush lets you paint on your screen with a real brush instead of using your finger. Brilliant. Now if they can only replicate the wonderful smell of paint!

This is probably the first app I’ve seen that makes me want to buy an iPad.  Great use of the touch interface of the iOS.

June 9, 2011

It’s like the “.com” button, which appears when typing in a URL field — perhaps my favorite current button.
The little things count.

The prominent placement of the @ and # buttons are examples of really good UI design.  Little things definitely add up.


It’s like the “.com” button, which appears when typing in a URL field — perhaps my favorite current button.

The little things count.

The prominent placement of the @ and # buttons are examples of really good UI design.  Little things definitely add up.

June 2, 2011
The key problems with Windows 8

I just read a great article on the fundamental problems associated with Windows 8 by John Gruber, below is an excerpt:

Microsoft’s demo video shows Excel — the full version of Excel for Windows — running alongside new touch-based apps. They can make buttons more “touch friendly” all they want, but they’ll never make Excel for Windows feel right on a touchscreen UI. Consider the differences between the iWork apps for the Mac and iPad. The iPad versions aren’t “touch friendly” versions of the Mac apps — they’re entirely new beasts designed and programmed from the ground up for the touchscreen and for the different rules and tradeoffs of the iOS interface (no explicit saving, no file system, ready to quit at a moment’s notice, no processing in the background, etc.).

The ability to run Mac OS X apps on the iPad, with full access to the file system, peripherals, etc., would make the iPad worse, not better. The iPad succeeds because it has eliminated complexity, not because it has covered up the complexity of the Mac with a touch-based “shell”. iOS’s lack of backward compatibility with any existing software means that all apps for iOS are written specifically for iOS.

There’s a cost for this elimination of complexity and compatibility, of course, which is that the iPad is also less capable than a Mac. That’s why Apple is developing iOS alongside Mac OS X. From a piece by yours truly, writing for Macworld back in January:

The existence and continuing growth of the Mac allows iOS to get away with doing less. The central conceit of the iPad is that it’s a portable computer that does less — and because it does less, what it does do, it does better, more simply, and more elegantly. Apple can only begin phasing out the Mac if and when iOS expands to allow us to do everything we can do on the Mac. It’s the heaviness of the Mac that allows iOS to remain light.

When I say that iOS has no baggage, that’s not because there is no baggage. It’s because the Mac is there to carry it. Long term — say, ten years out — well, all good things must come to an end. But in the short term, Mac OS X has an essential role in an iOS world: serving as the platform for complex, resource-intensive tasks.

Apple’s radical notion is that touchscreen personal computers should make severely different tradeoffs than traditional computers — and that you can’t design one system that does it all. Windows 8 is trying to have it all, and I don’t think that can be done. You can’t make something conceptually lightweight if it’s carrying 25 years of Windows baggage.

I assume the thought process by Microsoft’s management team for Windows 8 must be:

  1. The advantage of Windows is the plethora of Windows based software and applications.
  2. If Windows 8 adjusts its UI on top of previous versions of Windows sourcecode, then Microsoft can enter the tablet market easily with a host of programs that can be incorporated into the Windows 8 universe.

This however, ignores the following problems:

  • Windows 8 is flawed because it is a minor UI overhaul on top of the old Windows.  This means that software / applications for Windows 8 (and Windows 8 itself) is is still fundamentally resource intensive, just like its legacy desktop focused counterparts.  The key problem with this comes from battery life.  Apple is redesigning iOS with battery life, stability, and resource use in mind.  Windows 8 is neglecting that.
  • Additionally, all the bugs and problems of the prior Windows OSs are dragged along.  This disrupts the simplicity attraction associated with with tablet devices.  Bringing along old software will also bring a clumsy user experience carrying along all the frustrations associated with Windows desktop devices (but exacerbated because the interface isn’t customized for tablets).  That is why tablet applications should be designed from the ground up keeping in mind the touch screen interface.

On top of the problems mentioned by Gruber, I have a few concerns of my own.  Namely, this key quote:

Fully touch-optimized browsing, with all the power of hardware-accelerated Internet Explorer 10.

I think I’m stating a commonly held belief when I say that Internet Explorer is traditionally prone to many security flaws.  The integration of Internet Explorer with Windows magnifies those security concerns.

Now imagine malware exploiting an Internet Explorer flaw.  If you think getting rid of viruses/malware on a PC is a pain, imagine how difficult it will be on a tablet device?  Not a pretty thought.

December 12, 2010
iPhone will be on Verizon, but it is too late for Apple

Apple finally intends to go out on multiple carriers, although it is probably too late.  The graphic above says it all.

Apple should have launched with multiple carriers at the very beginning instead of being concerned with short term benefits derived from their AT&T exclusive contract.  If they did that, users would have grown accustomed to the iPhone’s interface.  This would have meant a downgrade is user experience for anyone who tried a different interface (like say Android).  

This would have meant a smartphone market that looked like this:

  • Consumer market: Apple (90%), Android/Windows Mobile/RIMM (10%)
  • Business market: RIMM (60% and declining), Apple (30% and growing), Everyone else (10%)

Without Verizon’s support and advertising muscle (stemming from the fact that they had to support Droid by default), Droid would have become a second tier player like Windows Mobile.

Instead, Apple is facing a situation where even if they manage to maintain a lead, they would still be splitting the smart phone market.

Instead it now looks like this:

  • Consumer market: Apple (50%), Android (40%), Windows Mobile/RIMM (10%)
  • Business market: RIMM with a clear advantage (due to legacy programs and switching costs) but declining, everyone else evenly split

If Apple had went with multiple carriers from the start, the total number of users for Android based phones would have been lower.  This would have meant that it wouldn’t have been economically intelligent for developers to work on Android apps.

If you are a developer, imagine facing this consumer based market:

  • Apple 90%
  • Everyone else 10%

Why would anyone have their team of developers and engineers work on anything except for Apple?  Technology is typically a winner take all environment.  With that noted, I imagine most developers would have abandoned Android application development as a lost cause.  Android would have been relegated to serving as a niche platform for techies (like Linux).  However, it wouldn’t have the critical mass to justify starting a new venture for.  Apple’s iOS would have been analogous Windows from mid 80’s to up to 2010 with a strong, entrenched and dominant position.  Android would have been a more clumsy version of Linux for techies, but not for the mass market.  RIMM would be the equivalent to Apple except it would have had a reliable following attributed to corporate use propping them up (just like the way creative professionals kept Apple propped up in the 90’s and early 2000’s).

Alas, it’s too late Apple.  Even if you stop Android’s run, you still face a split market, instead of one of utter dominance.

June 23, 2010
Android / Open Vs Apple / Closed Systems Wars: It’s the same until it’s different

Reading some tech articles at lunch and I feel as if a large portion of the tech community is wrong about how the open (android/google platform) vs the more closed (apple) system will affect the mobile device / smartphone wars.

They are wrong because a large portion of them are assuming android based platforms will dominate and apple will die off in market share because the relatively more open app development/publishing process available on the android will eventually lead more apps being available (which is true) which will eventually lead users to prefer android platforms because of the greater number of apps (which is false in my opinion).

This theory is based on a few past situations:

Windows vs Apple: Windows provides a more open system which leads to significantly larger market share for Microsoft in the 80s.  Windows then comes to dominate the desktop market because many programs are available on Windows but not Apple.

Playstation vs Saturn vs N64: Playstation has most friendly development platform of the three gaming consoles.  N64 has the advantage of no loading times (with the use of cartridges as opposed to disk), which raised costs for 3rd party game developers.  Saturn has a more advanced system in terms of system specs, but it’s relatively harder to develop for.  Playstation has a massive victory.

Following this line of thought

Apple’s iOS vs Google’s Android vs Research in Motion’s platform (aka blackberry):  The first thing to note is that blackberry has a strong business focus, which puts it almost in its own category.  To a large extent, it has a stable basis of recurring revenue attributed to its common usage in the business community although it has made headway into the consumer market.  As such, I’ll leave it out and instead focus on…

iOS vs Android:  So the assumption among the tech community is that in the past,  ease of software / application development usually = eventual victory.

Here’s where they are wrong though:

Mobile devices / Smart Phones by most consumers for the following purposes:

  • Calling
  • Instant Messaging
  • Emails
  • Checking up on social media sites (facebook, twitter, foursquare)
  • Gaming
  • Basic Searching
  • Location / direction assistance
  • Mobile Photographs

These are all functions that can performed already on iPhones and android based mobile phones.  So given that all primary functions are already quite efficient on mobile devices, the battle then changes to a question of:

  • Battery Life - Apple products generally have better battery life because of the company’s focus on efficient simple design
  • Reliability - The closed end system makes it easier to keep track of applications to prevent any of them from causing an unstable system.
  • Ease of use / User Interface - Apple’s best known quality right there, simple/intuitive user interface
  • Security - A closed end system allows for a more secure atmosphere

All four of these arenas is where Apple is dominating.

The only benefit of the open end system is more applications, however there are already thousands of applications (with thousands more each month) and hundreds of which do the exact / similar things or are completely useless.

Let’s say that hypothetically, there is a great application that appears on Android platform but isn’t available on the iPhone.  Two things can happen:

  1. If it blows up in popularity, then that developer will create a similar app on the iPhone and RIMM.  After all, more users = more profits.
  2. They decide on principle not to develop for Apple.  In which case, another app developer will create something very similar in functionality for the iPhone and blackberry and reap all the benefits from the initial creator’s idea.  End of the day, iPhone will still get any unique attractive App that pops up on the Android platform first if it is great.  Those great apps are all that really matters at the end of the day.

Relative to larger desktop based application, mobile apps are relatively smaller and simpler.  As such, it is hard for me to imagine where a situation will play out in which the additional apps on the Android platform ever becomes an advantage.  It’s the nature of the beast, that an great app will be replicated (and quickly too) given the fact that mobile apps are smaller, simpler and faster to develop then say desktop apps.  This isn’t the 90’s where a great large clunky desktop application/program on the Windows takes several years before it appears on Apple.

For the developers believing that Apple is going “lose” to Android because of the open vs closed system nature of the two platforms, you are grossly mistaken.  Apple might loose, but the open vs closed system won’t be the reason.  There, it’s off my chest.