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Samsung Galaxy Nexus- a point of view

Image Source: Engadget

The Galaxy Nexus (G Nex) – The definitive Android device showcasing the prowess of Googleplex’s latest iteration of the Android – OS version 4.0 aka Ice-Cream Sandwich.

The other highlight of this device is the 4.65 inch 720p screen boasting a retina-displayesque pixel density of 316 pixels per inch.There is also the feature of Face Unlock – a gimmicky “security” feature and Android Beam which intends to take Near Field Communications (NFC) to the next level.

Is this THE Android device to get?

In my personal opinion- NO.

The device, which will likely be the only pure Android device (sans UI skins such as TouchWiz, HTC Sense etc etc etc etc) is special only for the latter point. The G Nex otherwise dumbs down other features such as the camera ( a so-so 5MP unit) and on-board storage (16GB) which is non-expandable. The Samsung Galaxy S2 (SGS2) easily trumps the G Nex on the hardware front.

Why then, does Google bother with the Nexus series?

Unlike Apple, who depend on their hardware sales, Google appears to have a lower vested interest in producing a complete hardware package. Critisms aside, the iPhone 4S has better internal and external hardware than the G Nex or for that matter, the SGS2. There is also, in my opinion, the holding back of sorts by Samsung to reduce the possible cannibalisation of their hardware sales of the SGS2 and the upcoming SGS3 by the GNex.

Android in reality is propagated by the variety of the hardware at a wide range of price points. Google is not interested in hardware sales. It leaves that to it hardware manufacturers. Samsung, HTC and Motorola have been producing headliner devices that champion the Android OS. Plus, these companies can apply their user interface (UI) modifcations of Android as a way of product differentiation. This is boon and and a curse. The latter has become the bane of Android which has led to the term “fragmentation of Android” argued as being good and bad for the platform.

Given the variations of Android devices out there, the G Nex stands out in terms of software. The G Nex and the Nexus S before it ( Nexus One is no longer capable of dealing with the latest version of Android) are the “Chosen Ones” in the Android device portfolio. These two devices will be the immediate recipients of Googleplex’s offerings. It’s owners will on the bleeding edge of Googleplex’s ideas.

In essence, the G Nex and Nexus S will be the devices of choice for the hard core Android enthusiasts and developers.Consumers who wish for a complete hardware should look to the now cheaper SGS2 or invest in the iP4S. Plus, all these device are in similar price points. I know, I know, Apple’s world is a walled garden. But given the fact that a user can get an easy 3 years of software updates(look at the 3GS)  from Apple in a powerful package, the walled garden option is an OK trade-off.

Yes, the latter against the ethos of an open source device.

But are we, in truth, really free?

Apple had its customary first quarterly earnings calls and all is well in Cupertino.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook took to the stage to list out the facts

Here is the summary in bullet points:

  • The iTunes Store did $1.7b in revenue in the quarter, as it expanded throughout the world. Over 20m songs in the store. $120m worth of downloads in apps and music sold on December 25th alone.
  • 15.4 million iPods compared to 19.4 million a year ago. iPod touch was over half the sales, and iPod sales are a little ahead of where Apple thinks they would be.
  • iPhone handset and accessory sales accounted for $24.4b in revenue, up 133 percent.
  • 15.4m iPads sold in the December quarter, up 111 percent from 7.3m last year. $9.1b in iPad and iPad accessory sales, up 99 percent from last year.
  • More than 62m iOS devices sold in the quarter.
  • 37million iPhones we sold.

In essence, things are moving along quite nicely for the tech behemoth. Tim Cook managed to dodge the questions about LTE (lon term evolution) mobile standard and the impact of larger screen devices ( namely the Samsung Galaxt S2) on mobile tech.

Perhaps the most important hint from this earnings call was the impending gathering at Apple’s campus tomorrow . Traditionally, this is was the platform used by Steve Jobs to announce new gadgets.

So, it may be that the iPad3 will see its launch tomorrow.

Source: The Verge

It was all Google Android today as posts, tweets, Facebook updates covered the Hong Kong launch of the Galaxy Nexus S and Android 4.0 “Ice Cream”

The hardware DNA of the Galaxy Nexus follows its predecessor, the Nexus S which a curved glass display. The screen is somewhat of a behemoth with a 4.65 inch display and 317ppi resolution. That’s the highest resolution on a screen of that size.

Image source: Engadget

 

Android 4.0 is a radical reworking of the UI peppered with thoughtful additions such as improved notifications etc.

Engadget, This is my next and a host of other sites have liveblogged and covered the event.

The following are the links the respective sites

This is my next…

 

Engadget

 

Image source: ifixit

iFixit has gotten into the bowels of the iPhone 4S. Siri would have certainly had a few words for them.

Interestingly, the iPhone 4S has only 512MB of RAM. This is unlikely to affect the overall performance of the phone as most applications general run one at a time. Plus, the dual core graphics chip and the A5 is likely to provide exemplary performance as seen in the initial benchmarking scores.

Click in this link for the teardown. It’s not for the faint hearted.

Image Source:Digital Photography review

I had a thought today on how image capture quality on camera phones are becoming increasingly good and that it could replace a point and shoot in most occasions.

Surfing the internet led me to a serendipitous discovery of a post on Digital Photography Review regarding the effect of the smartphone camera.

The following is an excerpt from the post

One of the areas in which cameraphones beat traditional cameras hands-down, at least for now, is connectivity. The vast majority of cameras are ‘dumb’ devices in the sense that they cannot send and receive data wirelessly. If you want to manipulate, resize and share photographs taken with a traditional digital camera, you’re going to need a computer with an Internet connection. With a smartphone, however, you can take, manipulate and disseminate your shots in no time at all, on the same platform.

For evidence of the appeal of this way of working, you need look no further than Instagram. Only eight months old, Instagram currently has over 5 million users and hosts 100 million images, all uploaded from iPhones.

The Nokia N8 remains the ultimate device in the smartphone category. The imaging quality from this device is superlative and it is safe to say that the Nokia N8 is without peer in the smartphone camera category. That said, there a few devices which come close such as the Samsung Galaxy S2 , Nokia N9 and the upcoming iPhone 4S.

The iPhone 4, with its 5 megapixel camera unit is particularly noteworthy as the device’s mass adoption has led to a boom in the smartphone camera category.

The improvement in optics and resolution will increase and there will come a time when the traditional point and shoot is replaced by the all-in-one smartphone.

Interesting times indeed.

The article can be accessed via this link.

 

Image Source: Ars Technica

Apple announced the latest version 5 of iOS platform at the Apple World Wide Developer Conference months ago.

The biggest changes included an Android-esque notification center (lawsuit prone perhaps) and the introduction of iCloud( Apple’s version of cloud computing).

iOS is not too complex an operating system from a superficial aspect of things. Think about it, each “screen” is a 4 x 4 application grid. Apple introduced the concept of moving the applications into folders but that was about it. Compare this with the flexibility of Android, WebOS or even Symbian and iOS appears pale in comparison.

Of course, this interface is a choice made by Apple for ease of use by the average consumer. The iPhone remains the easiest smartphone to use out of the box. Apple is targeting the mass market and it is a business decision that has proven them right, several million times over.

iOS5 is now out and is available for download.

iOS has already been reviewed by Ars Technica and Engadget and the reviews can be read via the following links:

http://arstechnica.com/apple/reviews/2011/10/ios-5-reviewed-notifications-imessages-and-icloud-oh-my.ars

http://www.engadget.com/2011/10/12/ios-5-review/

Apple did say the release to retail for the iPhone 4S will be their fastest rollout yet.

And yes, just a week after the announcement of the device, the initial reviews are in.

The reviews are from The Verge, Tech Crunch and The New York Post.

Overall, the reviews of the device are good to excellent. Critics are likely to say that these sites are partial to Apple products. Of course, the iPhone 4S is an incremental upgrade from the iPhone 4 in terms of physical design. However, the software and internal hardware has been given a significant upgrade. Of note is the inclusion of Siri, the intelligent Voice Personal Assistant feature. The latter is worthy of a separate post altogether.

Whatever one may have to say about Apple and the iPhone and the business model it represents, there is no denying that Apple is moving steadily ahead . And, there is something about the iPhone that defies logical explanation.

I asked my colleagues at work who are considering a new phone and all of them are going for the iPhone 4S. Moreover, the device has hit 1 million pre-orders within the first 24 hours of its release.

So, Apple still has a winner here.

How Apple keeps its ever increasing competitors at bay is perhaps the more interesting area to watch.

 

Anandtech has posted a set of benchmark scores for the iPhone 4S in comparison with other smartphones and tablets.

Verdict: it is slightly slower than the iPad but it is pretty fast.

The iPhone 4S scored significantly higher graphics BrowserMark and OpenGL benchmarks.

This is mainly due to the dual core graphics chip and the software optimizations.

Give it a read via this link.

I like many tech enthusiasts was underwhelmed by the launch of the iPhone 4S.

Success can have a negative impact on a company like Apple which was expected to deliver something radically new in the face of competition from devices in the Android armada. Bloggers the world over were expecting something completely different.

The move from iPhone 3G to iPhone 3GS was a safe one, considering the less challenging competition at that time. Rivals were getting their act together and two years on, the smartphone scene has become highly competitive. In order to stay ahead of the curve, Apple has to make something new.

The iPhone 4S is no slouch internally though. There is dual core A5 processor and a dual core graphics card to run the show and it promises to be a great gaming device. But, one could not help but think that Apple could have pushed went ahead with an iPhone 5.

There is a method to their madness. Apple may be give the impression of quirky, but it is ultramethodical.

Studying market trends and upgrade paths of previous iPhone and potential iPhone users was a major motivating factor behind the move in releasing the iPhone 4S. The decision was an economical one.

Do give it the source article a read by clicking on this link.

Source: Apple

 

Steve  Jobs has passed away today after a long battle with cancer.

He obsession for perfection is reflected in every Apple product and this is a trait that will hopefully remain in Apple’s future endevours.  

He revived a company that was on the brink of extinction and commandeered it to what it is today.

His job is done.

Rest in peace.