Mobile Sports Report TechWatch: Is Android in Trouble?

The Kindle Fire Rules Android Market

A recent study by comScore shows that Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet has remained a hot property, doubling its market share in just two months. According to the study the tablets share of the Android market jumped from 29.4% in December 2011 to 54.4% in February 2012.

The report does not count Barnes & Noble’s Nook due to classifying it as an ereader and not a multipurpose tablet, but if you combine the two they have a huge share of the Android market, and it appears that Android users opt for the lower cost offerings from Amazon and Barnes & Noble rather than the pricier ones from players like Asus.

So with Apple dominating the high end and these two at the low end of the tablet market what else is there. I suspect lots of room to grow in both. Many of the first generation Android tablets were touted as iPad killers and were not. They should instead seek to meet specific market needs and stop worrying about other players’ products.

Google Patent Trial shows past expectations.
One piece of evidence that has come out during the Oracle vs Google trial around Java patents has been the revelation of what Google’s expectations for Android were two years ago according to a presentation at the trial.

Some of the information listed was highlights that included device activation and searches while the lowlights noted that the company was behind in music, video and books and said that Apple was maintain momentum with strong product launches.

This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of information available from the trial, and The Verge has a full readout on what is going on as well as a great deal more data on Android sales and expectations.

Has Google lost control of Android?
Joe Wilcox over at Beta News makes a strong argument that Google has lost control of Android and that it could have very negative repercussions to the developer if it does not actively and quickly reassert control over the platform.

Fragmentation is occurring, and as he noted the most successful implementation of Android that used by Amazon in its very popular Kindle line, does not greatly resemble the version that is available elsewhere. Proprietary versions of the operating system can cause big problems.

The old saying that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” certainly resonates here. This issue occurred with DOS before Microsoft exerted control over the OS. Then again with Sun Microsystems’ Java, which it just barely managed to prevent fragmentation, interestingly enough, at the hands of Microsoft.

So I imagine that Google’s first priority if to get the Oracle lawsuit finished prior to any work on the OS but I would not be surprised if shortly afterwards the company announced a developer conference and new guidelines for developing on the platform.

Samsung is the King-of smartphones
Samsung released its sales figures last month and it has knocked off Nokia as king of the hill in smartphone sales. Samsung has shipped 93.5 million phones in the first quarter and of that number 44.5 million were smartphones.

Nokia had been top dog for 14 years, with a very brief sojourn at the top for Apple. In the first quarter Nokia is estimated to have shipped 82.7 million phones while Apple shipped 35.1 million in the same period.

According to market research firm Strategy Analytics Samsung’s strong quarter helped move its overall market share to 25.4% from 19.3%, year over year while Nokia went in the opposite direction falling from 30.4% to 22.5%

For the quarter Samsung posted a $5.2 billion profit on $39.8 billion in revenue. Aside from the strong growth in handsets the company also experienced strong sales of its tablet products such as its Galaxy Note.

Winklevoss twins announce venture capital firm
The Winklevoss twins of Facebook fame have launched a venture capital firm called Winklevoss Capital. The firm will focus on early stage, disruptive startups. They said that they expect to close a couple of deals within the next few months.

A $20 trillion rock?
I love all of this space mining talk. The value of what they are doing just keeps going up and up. In case you missed it a company called Planetary Resources and bills itself as an asteroid mining company was announced last week.

Among its backers are Ross Perot Jr., James Cameron, some Google billionaires and Microsoft. The plan is to develop not only the capability to mine asteroids but also to have space-based refilling stations for spaceships.

I have no idea if this will get off the ground but I really hope it does because it sounds like it will be very interesting to follow. The first asteroid that it has its eye on has an estimated value of $20 trillion dollars.


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