Google's Android operating system reached a new milestone during the third quarter of 2013 (3Q13), according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. With a total base of 211.6 million smartphone units shipped during the quarter, Android accounted for 81.0% of all smartphone shipments, marking the first time that Android topped 80% in its short history. Despite high saturation rates in a number of mature markets, the overall smartphone space grew 39.9% year-over-year in the third quarter.
Also reaching a milestone was Microsoft's Windows Phone, which grew an amazing 156.0% year over year. Granted, volumes started from a small base of 3.7 million units a year ago and overall market share is still less than five percent. But Microsoft's efforts, with Nokia's support behind it, helped drive the platform into multiple tiers and price points.
"Android and Windows Phone continued to make significant strides in the third quarter. Despite their differences in market share, they both have one important factor behind their success: price," said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager with IDC's Mobile Phone team. "Both platforms have a selection of devices available at prices low enough to be affordable to the mass market, and it is the mass market that is driving the entire market forward."
Smartphone average selling prices (ASPs) have continued to decline as the appetite for more affordable devices grows. ASPs were down -12.5% in 3Q13, accounting for an average price of $317. At the same time, the market has seen a large influx of large-screen smartphones (5-7” screens), also known as phablets. Large-screen devices generally come with a higher selling price than smaller screen devices, due to the need for more powerful and expensive components. Phablet ASPs in 3Q13 were notably higher than the market average at $443. However, the 3Q13 ASP was down -22.8% from the $573 phablet ASP in 3Q12.
Today Google announced Android 4.4 KitKat, a new version of Android that brings great new features for users and developers.
The very first device to run Android 4.4 is the new Nexus 5, available today on Google Play, and coming soon to other retail outlets. Google is also be rolling out the Android 4.4 update worldwide in the next few weeks to all Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 devices, as well as the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Play Edition devices.
As part of this release, Google kicked off Project Svelte, an effort to reduce the memory needs of Android so that it can run on a much broader range of devices, including entry-level devices that have as little as 512MB RAM. From the kernel to system, frameworks, and apps, Google has reduced memory footprint and improved memory management so Android can run comfortably on only 512MB of RAM. Google did this not only on Android but across Google apps, like Chrome and YouTube.
By supporting a broader range of devices, Android 4.4 will help move the Android ecosystem forward. Now all users will be able to enjoy the very best that Android has to offer, on the devices that best meet their needs.
Here’s a quick look at some of the new features for developers:
Android is the operating system that powers over 1 billion smartphones and tablets.
Since these devices make our lives so sweet, each Android version is named after a dessert: Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich, and Jelly Bean. As everybody finds it difficult to stay away from chocolate we decided to name the next version of Android after one of our favorite chocolate treats, Kit Kat!
To make this release even sweeter, Kit Kat is giving you the chance to win a Nexus 7 or Google Play credit. Just look for specially branded Kit Kat candy bars featuring the Android robot in a store near you.
Paying back your friends is now as simple as sending an email, whether you’re chipping in for lunch or reimbursing your roommate for your share of the rent.
Google Wallet is now integrated with Gmail, so you can quickly and securely send money to friends and family directly within Gmail -- even if they don’t have a Gmail address. It's free to send money if your bank account is linked to Google Wallet or using your Google Wallet Balance, and low fees apply to send money using your linked credit or debit card.
Google Inc. has agreed to change some of its business practices to resolve Federal Trade Commission concerns that those practices could stifle competition in the markets for popular devices such as smart phones, tablets and gaming consoles, as well as the market for online search advertising.
Under a settlement reached with the FTC, Google will meet its prior commitments to allow competitors access – on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms – to patents on critical standardized technologies needed to make popular devices such as smart phones, laptop and tablet computers, and gaming consoles. In a separate letter of commitment to the Commission, Google has agreed to give online advertisers more flexibility to simultaneously manage ad campaigns on Google’s AdWords platform and on rival ad platforms; and to refrain from misappropriating online content from so-called “vertical” websites that focus on specific categories such as shopping or travel for use in its own vertical offerings.
“The changes Google has agreed to make will ensure that consumers continue to reap the benefits of competition in the online marketplace and in the market for innovative wireless devices they enjoy,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. “This was an incredibly thorough and careful investigation by the Commission, and the outcome is a strong and enforceable set of agreements.”
“We are especially glad to see that Google will live up to its commitments to license its standard-essential patents, which will ensure that companies willing to license these patents can compete in the market for wireless devices,” Leibowitz added. “This decision strengthens the standard-setting process that is at the heart of innovation in today’s technology markets.”
Google is a global technology company with more than 32,000 employees and annual revenues of nearly $38 billion. The FTC also conducted an extensive investigation into allegations that Google biased its search results to disadvantage certain vertical websites; and that Google entered into anticompetitive exclusive agreements for the distribution of Google Search on both desktop and in the mobile arena. The agency decided not to take action in connection with these allegations.
Eastman Kodak Company has completed a series of agreements that successfully monetizes its digital imaging patents.
The proposed transaction, which achieves one of Kodak’s key restructuring objectives, follows other recent major accomplishments that include an agreement for interim and exit financing for the company’s emergence from its Chapter 11 restructuring, and resolution of U.S. retiree non-pension benefits liabilities. Kodak’s monetization of IP assets further builds on its momentum toward a successful emergence in the first half of 2013.
Under the agreements, Kodak will receive approximately $525 million, a portion of which will be paid by 12 intellectual property licensees organized by Intellectual Ventures and RPX Corporation, with each licensee receiving rights with respect to the digital imaging patent portfolio and certain other Kodak patents. Another portion will be paid by Intellectual Ventures, which is acquiring the digital imaging patent portfolio subject to these new licenses, as well as previously existing licenses.
“This monetization of patents is another major milestone toward successful emergence,” Antonio M. Perez, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said. “Our progress has accelerated over the past several weeks as we prepare to emerge as a strong, sustainable company. This proposed transaction enables Kodak to repay a substantial amount of our initial DIP loan, satisfy a key condition for our new financing facility, and position our Commercial Imaging business for further growth and success.”
Immersion Corporation, the leader in touch feedback technology development and licensing, today announced it entered into a settlement and license agreement with Google, Inc. and Motorola Mobility LLC, resolving the patent infringement litigation brought by Immersion against Motorola.
The litigation was initiated based on Motorola’s various uses of a simple form of haptic effects in its mobile devices, sometimes referred to as Basic Haptics. Under the settlement and license agreement, Immersion is receiving compensation for prior shipments of Motorola devices containing Basic Haptics technology, the parties have agreed to a license relating to future shipments of Motorola devices with Basic Haptics, and have resolved certain issues with respect to Google-branded smartphones containing Basic Haptics. The agreement does not extend to other manufacturers’ handsets that use the Android operating system. As a result of the settlement, Immersion will dismiss all pending litigation between it and Motorola.
“The successful resolution of this case is a critical step in our overall strategy of enforcing and monetizing our intellectual property, including Basic Haptics, and we’re pleased to achieve a settlement that is consistent with our business model, which is largely based on per unit running royalties,” said Immersion CEO Victor Viegas. “We remain fully committed to enforcing our IP rights while continuing to innovate and create new technology and solutions for the mobile space. While the terms of the settlement will remain confidential and are not anticipated to have a material impact on our financial results for 2012, this settlement is a great step forward in validating the value of our IP portfolio and the investments we have made in the mobile market.”
Google has announced three new Nexus devices in small, medium and large all runing on Android 4.2, a new flavor of Jelly Bean—which includes the latest version of Google Now and other great new features.
Nexus 4 with Google Now and Photo Sphere
Nexus 4 is Google's latest smartphone, developed together with LG. It has a quad-core processor which means it's super fast, a crisp 4.7" (320 ppi) display that's perfect for looking at photos and watching YouTube, and with wireless charging you just set the phone down on a charging surface to power it up, no wires needed. While Nexus 4 is incredibly powerful under the hood, it also features the latest version of Jelly Bean, Android 4.2—the simplest and smartest version of Android yet. Starting with the camera, we've reinvented the photo experience with Photo Sphere, which lets you capture images that are literally larger than life. Snap shots up, down and in every direction to create stunning 360-degree immersive experiences that you can share on Google+ with friends and family—or you can add your Photo Sphere to Google Maps for the world to see.
Android 4.2 brings other great goodies like Gesture Typing, which lets you glide your finger over the letters you want to type on the keyboard—it makes typing fast, fun and a whole lot simpler. Android 4.2 also adds support for wireless display so you can wirelessly watch movies, YouTube videos and play games right on your Miracast-compatible HDTV.
Barclaycard US will promote mobile and online commerce by encouraging its cardholders in the U.S. to save their card to Google Wallet which enables consumers to securely and easily shop online where they see the 'Google Wallet Buy' button or in-person using the Google Wallet mobile app.
Consumers who use their Google Wallet with their Barclaycard account will receive all the benefits and rewards they typically receive when using their Barclaycard – as part of a new, simple and easy-to-use experience.
Barclaycard US, the payments business of Barclays in the United States, will encourage cardholders to save their card to Google Wallet through a simple and secure click-to-add process and select it as their default payment choice. Once signed up, Barclaycard cardholders will see a full-color image of their card as a Google Wallet payment option – promoting usage and confidence about which payment account is being used.
“We’re excited to put this new mobile capability – to search, shop and buy – into the hands of consumers,” said Dekkers Davidson, Head of Mobile Commerce for Barclaycard US. “Google Wallet is a compelling solution for consumers that makes doing business faster and more rewarding and will make the experience with Barclaycard even more simple and easy to use.”
Since we released the first version of Google Wallet, the app that makes your phone your wallet, we’ve made it available on six phones from Sprint and Virgin Mobile, as well as the new Nexus 7 tablet. We’ve also partnered with more than 25 national retailers, and thanks to MasterCard PayPass, you can pay with your phone at more than 200,000 retail locations across the U.S.
Today we’re releasing a new, cloud-based version of the Google Wallet app that supports all credit and debit cards from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Now, you can use any card when you shop in-store or online with Google Wallet. With the new version, you can also remotely disable your mobile wallet app from your Google Wallet account on the web.
A wallet with all your credit and debit cards
To save a card to Google Wallet, just enter the number into the mobile app, online wallet, or Google Play when making purchases. When you shop in-store, you can use Google Wallet in conjunction with your selected credit or debit card for purchases (more info here). Shortly after making a payment, you’ll see a transaction record on the phone with the merchant name and dollar amount. You can now view a history of all your in-store and online purchases from the online wallet.
Unlike searching on a desktop or laptop computer, when you're searching on a touch-screen mobile device it’s often inconvenient to type. So we strive to give you a variety of ways to interact with Google, be it by speaking your queries, getting results before you finish typing, or searching by image. Now there’s a new way for you to interact with Google: Handwrite for web search on mobile phones and tablets.
Say you’re standing on a busy street corner, in a bumpy taxi ride, talking with a friend, or sitting on the couch with your tablet. Handwrite enables you to search by just writing letters with your finger most anywhere on your device’s screen—there’s no keyboard that covers half of the screen and no need for hunt-and-peck typing.
Getting started is easy: go to Google.com in your mobile browser, tap on “Settings” at the bottom of the screen and enable “Handwrite.” Note that after you've saved the setting, you may need to refresh the homepage to see the feature.
The rollout of Android 4.1, Jelly Bean, begins today, starting with Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ devices.
Jelly Bean makes everything feel fast, fluid, and smooth. Notifications are expandable and actionable, widgets are magical and the keyboard is smarter and more accurate: http://www.android.com/whatsnew/
Jelly Bean also features a redesigned search experience, with a new user interface and faster Voice Search. You can type your query or simply ask Google a question. Google can speak back to you, delivering a precise answer if it knows one, in addition to a list of search results.
Google Inc. announced today that the acquisition of Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc. has closed, with Google acquiring MMI for $40.00 per share in cash.
The acquisition will enable Google to supercharge the Android ecosystem and will enhance competition in mobile computing. Motorola Mobility will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. Google will run Motorola Mobility as a separate business.
Sanjay Jha, who revived Motorola’s Mobile Devices business and led the company through this acquisition, has stepped down as CEO, although he will continue to work with Google to help ensure a smooth transition.
Dennis Woodside, who has overseen integration planning for the acquisition and previously served as President of Google’s Americas region, has become CEO of Motorola Mobility.
Larry Page, CEO of Google, said, “I’m happy to announce the deal has closed. Motorola is a great American tech company, with a track record of over 80 years of innovation. It’s a great time to be in the mobile business, and I’m confident that the team at Motorola will be creating the next generation of mobile devices that will improve lives for years to come.
“Sanjay Jha, who was responsible for building the company and placing a big bet on Android, has stepped down as CEO. I would like to thank him for his efforts and am tremendously pleased that he will be working to ensure a smooth transition as long-time Googler Dennis Woodside takes over as CEO of Motorola Mobility.
Google has announced that Chrome for Android Beta is now available in 31 more languages and in all countries where Google Play is available. Google has also added many much-requested features, including:
You can now request the desktop version of a website, in case you would rather not view the mobile version.
You can now add bookmarks as shortcuts on your home screen, so you can get to your favorite sites faster.
Choose your favorite apps to handle links opened in Chrome.
Have a proxy setup for Wi-Fi access? You can now use Chrome with the system proxy configured in Android settings.
If you build websites, you may want to take note of a change in the User-Agent specification for Chrome for Android.
A team within Google[x] group has started Project Glass to build technology that helps you explore and share your world via wearable computers. (See video above). Visit http://g.co/projectglass for more information.
Since Google Voice was launched in 2009, Google has supported visual voicemail so you could open the Google Voice app, see all your voicemails with text transcripts, and play them on-demand. However, sometimes when you get a missed call, you don’t want to jump between my call log and the Google Voice app to see who has called me and what message they left.
So, today, Google is updating their mobile app so you can view and listen to your voicemails on demand directly from the call log on your Android phone. Your voicemails will appear alongside your outgoing, incoming, and missed calls in your phone’s call log and you can just simply touch them to play them. You can slow down the playback of the message which is great for when someone is telling you their callback number, or you even speed playback up, so you can quickly listen to longer messages.
To turn this feature on, download the latest app from Google Play and check “Voicemail display” under settings. This new feature requires Android 4.0+.