About new features Android Marshmallow and upcoming Nexus smartphones, a competition for the development of smart watches for astronauts and the installation of Google Play on a Windows smartphone, as well as a very unexpected turn in the fate of Google and a new Larry Page's company
Samsung and B-brands
Perhaps the biggest event of recent days was the presentation of Samsung. True, there were no surprises on it, almost everything was known in advance.
|Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 EDGE Plus and Level On Wireless Pro headsets|
A few years ago, the situation when the device, announced in early January at CES, appeared on sale only by mid-spring, was completely normal. Then, most manufacturers decided to go down the path Apple, aiming to reduce the time between the presentation of the smartphone and the start of its sales to a minimum. Anyway, when it comes to flagships. In my opinion, the decision is absolutely correct – users do not have to suffer in anticipation of a novelty, wondering whether it is worth buying, and manufacturers do not need to be afraid that many potential buyers of this device will not wait for it by purchasing solutions from competitors. It was all the more frustrating to learn that the just-announced Galaxy Note 5 will reach Europe in the winter at best, and when it will officially start selling in Russia, it is completely a mystery.
Samsung is playing some of its marketing games to make sure the sales of the EDGE and Note series don't overlap. I don’t know how correct this is in terms of profit, but it certainly doesn’t add joy to potential buyers.
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Meanwhile, the situation in the Russian market for Samsung is not at all as cheerful as the company would like it to be, but today is a holiday on the street of B-brands. For example, according to GfK, Micromax was able to increase its share of the mobile electronics market in the Russian Federation from 1.2% to 4.3% in less than five months.
And after all, this is only one single company, and besides, it is not very well known in our country. I don’t know what is more to blame here, the price war or the frankly strange budget Samsung devices, but the result is obvious.
|New player on the Russian market – Indian MicroMax|
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Stagefright and sour lemons
There is such a wonderful principle – if fate slipped you a sour lemon, try to make a sweet lemonade out of it. Any large company has more than enough of these sour lemons, so they have a lot of experience in making lemonade.
The story of the Stagefright virus, which has become widely known in narrow circles, clearly did not please the manufacturers of equipment running on the OS Android. It's not so much about the virus itself as about bad PR.
The solution was found pretty quickly – many manufacturers immediately announced that they were switching to a monthly update cycle, so that users could be sure that their devices are always reliably protected. All these loud statements were reprinted several times by all profile resources and most likely caught the eye of quite a few people. Few of them will want to understand what Stagefright is and what they eat it with, but the news that such and such companies show such touching care about their users may well remember. Will this be an additional reason to prefer the products of A-brands to lesser-known 'Chinese'? To be honest, I doubt it, but anything can happen.
I don’t know how the situation with these updates will turn out in deeds, and not in words, but in any case, it is more about competent PR than about something else.
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Hope and reality
Last week, scientists at the University of Massachusetts announced a breakthrough in battery technology … another. The new technology is called 'shell and yolk': the nanoparticles, which will form the basis of the battery, will receive the 'shell' of titanium dioxide and the 'yolk' (core) of aluminum. All this will allow you to store three times more energy in the batteries with the same dimensions, and the charging time will be a matter of minutes.
Rumors about an impending revolution in the battery market have been circulating on the network for five years, but we have not seen anything fundamentally new during this time.
|Offtopic: new type batteries|
One would like to habitually dismiss this news, considering it to be just another empty promises, but experts assure that their invention is almost ready and will enter the market before the solutions of competitors. However, no specific dates have been named.
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In general, against the background of some stagnation in the mobile electronics market, promises of something new and unusual are pouring out of the bucket. And unwillingly I really want to believe them.
For example, the promises of Nextbit, which was founded by former employees HTC and Google. Until recently, this company was exclusively engaged in software, where it proved to be quite good. But now, having saved the required amount, we decided to aim at creating our own smartphone. And it seems that before us is just another manufacturer, no different from a whole bunch of similar Chinese companies … but there is a timid hope that these people know how to achieve a result. HTC was also only a little-known OEM manufacturer for ordinary buyers, and Android was a dubious startup that no one except Google believed in.
We will find out the details only on September 1, during the IFA 2015 exhibition. So far, the statements of Nextbit representatives do not sound very convincing and look more like an attempt to collect as many points as possible due to burning questions. In particular, they did not ignore the operational updates of devices and focused on working with the cloud, which should help users forget about such a thing as lack of memory in a smartphone. We have heard all this from different manufacturers many times, I want to believe that these will not be the only 'chips' of the smartphone.
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Android Marshmallow and new Nexus
Moreover, Nexus smartphones have long staked out the role of 'hot-swappable' devices. Let me remind you that according to rumors, there will be two of them this year, one from LG, the other from Huawei.
A render of a Nexus smartphone Huawei was posted recently by @OnLeaks. It is reported that it was created on the basis of real drawings of the device, which Huawei sent out to several manufacturers of accessories. But the color of the smartphone was taken at random, what colors will actually be is still unknown.
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As expected, there is nothing supernatural in the design of the smartphone, but it looks relatively good. Although in the case of Nexus, it will still be decided not by the appearance of the device, but by its price, which may well be at the level of the Nexus 6.
Interestingly, the story did not end there. Taking the presented render as a basis, user Canoopsy 3D printed a mockup of a smartphone and demonstrated it on his YouTube channel. And at the same time, I compared its dimensions with other devices such as Nexus 5, Samsung Galaxy Note 5, LG G4, Apple iPhone 6 and others.
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The rate at which leaks are 'flesh out' these days is impressive, but what if there was some mistake in the original data?
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The date of the presentation of the new Nexus is still unknown, but it can be assumed that the announcement is not far off. After all, it will obviously be timed to coincide with the release of a new version Android, about which there is more and more information every day.
So, it became known that under the letter 'M' in the name Android M the word Marshmallow was hidden, the corresponding figure has already appeared at the Google campus.
If desired, the owners of Nexus devices (specifically Nexus 5, 6, 9) can even download and install Android M Developer Preview 3. However, if you are not a software developer, then there is not much sense in this – understand what will be Android Marshmallow, according to this version it will still be impossible.
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On the other hand, Samsung representatives have already talked about the main (from their point of view) innovations in this OS version. And they even released a special infographic. In total, there should be about 55 changes that are significant for users.
First of all, the new version of the OS should be able to edit the permissions for applications. If earlier to install the application you had to agree with the entire requested list, now you can select specific items.
At first glance, this sounds great. After all, sometimes applications really ask for access to a bunch of system functions that they shouldn't need at all. And this is a real hole in security, even if the developer himself does not plan anything bad. The only question is how all this is implemented. What permissions can be disabled, what not, is there a division into the main and auxiliary functions of the program?
Take the same installation of maps from Yandex. I don't doubt for a minute that there will be a bunch of 'specialists' who will start thinking – why is Yandex monitoring my location? And even use 3G and Wi-Fi? Suspiciously, it should be turned off … And then they will start to wonder why pieces of the map are not loaded on Yandex.Maps and GPS navigation does not work. It's easy to guess that Yandex, Google, the smartphone manufacturer, crooked programmers, and in general anyone else, except for the user himself, who, when installing the application, was seized by an attack of unmotivated paranoia, would be to blame for this.
However, Google probably understands this and 'protection from the fool' is unlikely to be forgotten.
The next innovation is an advanced task manager, which will show how much RAM is “eaten” by each running application. To be honest, I don't care a lot about this question, even not in older versions Android the myth that applications must be unloaded manually from memory in most cases did not stand up to criticism.
Next we are talking about extended support for fingerprint scanners. Now they can be used in additional applications like Google Play. Honestly, I don’t know how things are with this, there is no smartphone with a fingerprint sensor at hand.
But the normal (hopefully) data backup of all installed applications is a really necessary and useful thing. Apparently, the backup will be created automatically at the specified frequency.
Well, at the end – improving the energy efficiency of the smartphone due to the special Doze mode. It will automatically turn on during inactivity of the smartphone, 'killing' unnecessary background processes. Only one thing is interesting – how will he decide which of them are superfluous?
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Apple Watch and NASA Competition
If the situation on the smartphone market can be described as stagnation, then what is happening with wearable electronics can only be called a swamp. A bunch of manufacturers rushed together to release smart watches of all colors and sizes, but none of them could clearly explain why such devices are needed. Perhaps the companies were hoping to repeat the story of the first iPad, when people first bought the device and then came up with scenarios for its use?
A kind of icing on the cake was the NASA competition, in which users are invited to come up with why astronauts might need such a clock, and at the same time develop a special 'space' interface for them with the data of the necessary programs.
Not so long ago, people from all over the world were engaged in the restoration of spacesuits, now they will develop software for astronauts … I wonder what we will be offered to do next? Organizing an expedition to Mars?
|Offtopic: restore the suit|
Competitions and startups are great, but it seems to me that specialists should do some things.
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Against this background, it is a little fun to read analysts' forecasts for the future Apple Watch. Moreover, most of them are trying, on the one hand, to draw some pretty numbers, and on the other, to make it more foggy, because what this market will look like in a few years is now a mystery for everyone.
An example is the Business Insider study. The company predicts that by 2020 the market share Apple of the premium smartwatch market will be 40%. A nice graph is attached.
A 'premium' watch refers to a smartwatch that costs more than $ 350.
From the outside, all this is very reminiscent of fortune telling on coffee grounds, because predicting what the same Android Wear will look like in five years or whether smart watches will be perceived as premium at all (and what the manufacturers of classic Swiss watches), now one can only guess. Similar forecasts were made about Windows Phone five years ago, based only on the fact that Windows is by definition very cool, and Microsoft has a lot of money. And they also drew all sorts of beautiful graphics with a bunch of numbers. It turned out that it’s cool, but not in this market. And no money and past merits can solve this issue.
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Windows and Google Play
The mobile version Windows 10, like Android M, will be presented in the fall. I don't see much point in retelling all the leaks about this OS, especially since there is nothing interesting there. All the same, we have a blog about Android. However, one detail is definitely of interest. And it is called Project Astoria.
We are talking about the ability to launch Android applications on Windows smartphones. Rumors of something like this have been circulating for a long time, but the video of the application ported in this way appeared for the first time.
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It was removed by one of the users of the Chinese resource Weibo, who ported one of the applications from Google Play using a special utility.
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However, these are still flowers. At the end of last week, enthusiasts from XDA Developers launched the Google Play app store on Windows smartphone. So it may well turn out that soon anyone can launch Android applications on Windows smartphones.
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It's time to recall the video shot in 2014 by Nokia (read, Microsoft), in which the 'NO-myths team from the Nokia Success Academy' proved to everyone and everything that there are no 'unnecessary' applications from other OS reasonable people do not need, and indeed, a dump of millions of programs will only confuse everything.
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In my opinion, this is a great example of how technical problems are trying to solve with the help of marketing. And then the PR geniuses find themselves in a rather awkward situation, when it turns out that there was a problem after all, and now we need to happily report that the engineers have solved it.
On the other hand, who will ever remember about those attempts to prove something to someone?
Alphabet and Google
At the end of the issue – the news about the legal status of Google.
Google co-founder Larry Page recently founded a new company, Alphabet inc., With Sergey Brin as CEO. Legally, the new company will completely replace the old one, all Google shares will become Alphabet shares. Google itself will act as a subsidiary or division of Alphabet and will deal only with specialized issues. Everything else (for example, the Google X lab or the Google Ventures division) will be removed from Google's jurisdiction and will become part of Alphabet as separate divisions.
This was done in order to maintain the flexibility of the company, which has rather 'plump' in recent years, and to avoid conflict between divisions. The company has too many interests and spheres of influence. Quoting Engadget, 'By creating Alphabet, Google showed they didn't want to become another Microsoft'.
|Offtopic: empire of tiles, version ten|
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We are interested in this news insofar as it will not affect the fate Android in any way, but how things are now with all sorts of 'smart' cars, robots and other fantastic projects is still not really known. True, the CEO of Google (but not of the entire Alphabet) will still change, it will be Sundar Pichai.