Technologizer posts about Operating Systems

Here’s More Evidence Why Mac OS Means Less to Apple

By  |  Posted at 4:57 pm on Friday, February 10, 2012

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The anti-Apple crowd loves to point out that Apple’s Mac market share, while up dramatically over the past few years, still pales in comparison to the overall PC business. What many of them miss is the simple fact that the Mac platform is less and less important to Apple as it continues to post strong sales of iOS devices.

iOS is the future, and that future is now if you believe statistics released by advertising analytics company Chitika Insights on Friday. Its data shows that for the first time, Web market share for iOS surpassed that of Mac OS. This shouldn’t be surprising considering the 133 million-plus iOS devices sold during the year.

Since September of last year, Mac share has fallen about 25 percent to 7.96 percent of Web traffic, while iOS has exploded 50 percent in the same period to 8.15 percent of the market. Where did that growth come from?

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Since I first saw and used Windows 8 last year, I’ve been wondering if Microsoft might end up tweaking it a bit to make it less of a shock to the system of all those Windows users out there–a sizable percentage of whom haven’t even given up Windows XP yet. But nope: According to Tom Warren of the Verge, the company has decided to do away with Windows’ most famous feature, its Start button.

Posted by Harry at 8:06 am

4 Comments

Which Phone OS Crashes More? It’s Not Android

By  |  Posted at 7:52 am on Monday, February 6, 2012

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The argument that iOS is a much more stable operating system than Android has been repeated on the blogs and even in the comment threads of stories about the two operating systems. There’s a problem, though: the data indicates that is untrue.

Mobile app monitoring company Crittercism released data Friday on crash reports from the period December 1 through December 15, and saying iOS has stability issues is putting it nicely. By a 2-to-1 margin, iOS crashes much more frequently than Android, according to Crittercism’s report. The biggest offender is iOS 5.0.1, accounting for 28.64 percent of all crashes.

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Ice Cream Sandwich tablet
I’m still hoping that Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich will help make Android tablets interesting to consumers in a way that Honeycomb-based Android tablets have not been. I haven’t tried one for myself yet. But JR Raphael of Computerworld has an Asus Transformer Prime with ICS–and he’s put together a nice walkthrough of the interface.

Posted by Harry at 9:43 am

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Microsoft’s Building Windows 8 blog has another one of its long, geeky, interesting insider posts. This one’s about how the company is building much more ambitious support for mobile broadband right into the operating system–including a phone-like Airplane Mode.

Posted by Harry at 5:15 pm

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The Big Winner of CES 2012 Is… Microsoft?

By  |  Posted at 11:35 pm on Friday, January 13, 2012

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For a company whose CES swan song is this year, and whose CEO gave a pretty boring keynote address, Microsoft seems to have had an uncommonly successful CES. Windows Phone went into the show a struggling also-ran mobile operating system, and very well may have come out of it a contender.

Why’s that? Two phones made their debut at the show, the Nokia Lumia 900 and the HTC Titan II. Both have been getting glowing reviews from the press for their form and function. Finally it appears Microsoft has devices that look compelling. It couldn’t do much worse: there’s only one way and that’s up!

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Marketing Land’s Danny Sullivan has a nice summary of the state of Android–not really open, yet not closed, either: 
 

Imagine if when Windows 7 came out, it was only offered on only one particular Dell computer. It was also uncertain when or if other computers, including those made by Dell, would ever be able to upgrade to it. Welcome to the “clopen” world of Android. 

 
 Another choice quote:
 

 If Android 4 was a real ice cream sandwich, it might melt long before it was delivered to customers.

Posted by Harry at 1:54 pm

10 Comments

From the start, lot of people (me included) loved a lot of things about WebOS, the mobile operating system that debuted on Palm’s Pre smartphone in 2009. We thought it had a shot at being serious competition for Apple–or at least we hoped it might. But my friend Brian X. Chen of The New York Times has a smart piece that makes the case that WebOS was doomed to disappoint, because its technical underpinnings and use of Web technologies made for a slow and generally disappointing experience:

“Palm was ahead of its time in trying to build a phone software platform using Web technology, and we just weren’t able to execute such an ambitious and breakthrough design,” said Paul Mercer, former senior director of software at Palm, who oversaw the interface design of WebOS and recruited crucial members of the team. “Perhaps it never could have been executed because the technology wasn’t there yet.”

Posted by Harry at 2:05 am

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Microsoft has spilled the beans–lots and lots of them–on the Windows Store app market that will be in Windows 8. Presumably, it would never exist in this form if Apple had never introduced the iPhone App Store. But it does look good, with a slick interface and developer-friendly terms that offer more flexibility and a higher revenue share for programs once they hit $25,000 in sales.

The one thing that bugs me about the Windows Store is that it’s going to be the only way for developers to distribute Windows 8 apps with the new Metro interface to consumers. (Businesses can circumvent it for programs they provide to their own employees.) Am I being inconsistent, considering that I live reasonably happily with Apple’s identical restriction on iOS apps? Maybe. But maybe I’m just grappling with the fact that Microsoft is eliminating a PC feature that’s existed for decades: The liberty to install any program we choose. I’ll reserve further judgement until Windows 8 has shipped and the Windows Store is open–and hope that it, like Apple’s App Store, ultimately feels bountiful rather than limited.

Posted by Harry at 10:17 am

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Microsoft has come up with a super-clever way to let people experience Windows Phone 7.5′s unique interface for themselves: A Web-based simulation that runs on iPhones and Adnroid handsets.

Posted by Harry at 7:34 am

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Consumers Don’t Care About Windows Tablets? No Problem

By  |  Posted at 3:06 pm on Tuesday, November 29, 2011

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Research firm Forrester has conducted a survey that supposedly reveals that consumer interest in Windows-based tablets–once quite high–is now tanking. Forrester is concluding that Microsoft has therefore missed the opportunity to compete strongly with the iPad, since the first serious Windows-based tablets won”t show up until sometime next year when Windows 8 ships.  
 
If I were a Microsoft honcho, these results wouldn’t worry me much, for several reasons…

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Why do people choose not to upgrade to the newest version of Windows? In plenty of cases, it’s because they don’t want to deal with the hassle of the upgrade process. In a new blog post, Microsoft has outlined its plans for how upgrades to Windows 8 will work. They’re ambitious, involving a Web-based system that checks a PC and its apps for Windows 8 compatibility and can either install the new OS on the fly or create a DVD or thumb drive-based install. 

It’s not going to lure everyone who’s reluctant to upgrade–for one thing, you’ll only be able to perform a full upgrade, with existing apps remaining in place, on Windows 7 machines. But if it works as planned, it sounds nifty, and should be a good starting point for versions of Windows beyond 8.

 
 

Posted by Harry at 2:28 pm

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Over at The Understatement, a revealing info graphic about Android phones (and iPhones) and the situation with software updates. Overall, it’s ugly for Android owners…

The announcement that Nexus One users won’t be getting upgraded to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich led some to justifiably question Google’s support of their devices. I look at it a little differently: Nexus One owners are lucky. I’ve been researching the history of OS updates on Android phones and Nexus One users have fared much, much better than most Android buyers.

Posted by Harry at 9:54 am

4 Comments

Why Would Anyone Use Windows XP Today, Anyhow?

By  |  Posted at 10:15 am on Wednesday, October 26, 2011

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Windows XP Splash ScreenAs the world celebrates–or at least acknowledges–the tenth anniversary of Windows XP, I wondered why so many people continue to use an operating system that dates from an utterly different era in the history of personal technology. So I conducted a quick survey to ask XP users…well, to ask them why they’re XP users, and whether they intend to continue on with the OS forever. Bottom line: A plurality of them use it because it’s what their employers provide. But most of them seem to be reasonably okay with that.

(Standard disclaimer: This was an informal survey, and the results reflect only the experiences and opinions of the people–almost 900 of them–who happened to take it. I’m not claiming their responses map to the world at large.)

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The Life and Times of Windows XP

The first drama-filled decade of the operating system that wouldn't say die.

By  |  Posted at 10:44 pm on Monday, October 24, 2011

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If you’d been alive in 1924 and had enjoyed the comedy stylings of a young Vaudevillian named George Burns, you never would have believed he’d still be packing them in seventy years later. In 1963, you might have dug the music that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were making, but the idea they’d still be touring almost forty-five years later would have sounded insane. Those of us who watched Dennis Eckersley pitch for the Red Sox in 1978 would have scoffed at the notion that he’d be playing for Beantown once again in 1998.

And then there’s Windows XP. The press release announcing its release on October 25th 2001 called it “Microsoft’s Best Operating System Ever.” A decade later, so many people still agree with that assessment that it remains the planet’s most pervasive desktop operating system.

Nobody would have been prescient enough to predict that Windows XP would be flourishing so many years after its debut. Not Microsoft. Not consumers and businesses. Not the analysts who get paid to know where technology is going. And certainly not me.

No single factor explains XP’s astonishing longevity. The most obvious one, of course, is the failed launch of 2007′s Windows Vista, an upgrade so lackluster that many PC users simply rejected it, instinctively and intelligently. But I think you also have to give XP credit for being just plain good, especially once Microsoft released Service Pack 2 in 2004. And desktop operating systems, from any company, simply aren’t as exciting as they were in the 1990s; people are less likely to want a new one every couple of years, and more likely to drive the one they’ve got into the ground.

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The Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich Are Official

By  |  Posted at 12:00 am on Wednesday, October 19, 2011

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The Android world has a new flagship phone, and Android 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich, is finally official. In Hong Kong, Google and Samsung have announced the Galaxy Nexus, the first phone to run ICS. Here’s a video about it:

The Galaxy Nexus may be the ultimate Android handset to date–if so, it makes the reign of the Motorola Droid RAZR, which was announced Tuesday morning, the shortest on record.

The Nexus has a 4.65″ 720p display, 4G, and NFC capability, and it’s got the teardrop-shaped case that people thought the iPhone 5 would sport. But the real news is Ice Cream Sandwich. It owes a lot more to Honeycomb, the tablet-friendly version of Android, than it does to Gingerbread, the most recent release for phones. It ditches the physical buttons, has thumbnails for multitasking, lets you unlock your phone via facial recognition, and generally looks slick.

I’m hoping it’s the first phone version of Android that doesn’t feel like it was created by nerds who don’t know much about interface design–and that the stuttering problem which This is My Next’s Vlad Havov noticed when he tried out the Nexus disappears before the phone ships.

More thoughts to come…



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