Tag Archives | Smarrtphones

Microsoft, Maker of iOS Apps

Boy, Microsoft is taking Apple’s iOS seriously these days. Today, it announced SkyDrive for the iPhone and Kinectimals for iPhone and iPad. Yesterday, it unveiled OneNote for the iPad and said it would soon bring its Lync integrated-messaging app to Apple devices.
All this activity doesn’t prove that Microsoft Office for iOS is on its way. But it does suggest it’s not a pipe dream, doesn’t it?

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Android Fragmentation: Am I Imagining Things?

My Technologizer column on TIME.com this week is about the ongoing problem of Android fragmentation–and in particular the fact that even very cool Android handsets get the newest version of the operating system only months after it’s available on other phones, or sometimes not at all.

At least I think that this is a problem. And when I write about it–which I often have–it comes from the heart. I own a Verizon Fascinate phone, and would love to use Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on it. But I’m not even sure if the Fascinate, which was released just fourteen months ago, will ever get the year-old Gingerbread update, let alone ICS.

Whenever I mention the words “Android” and “fragmentation” in the same post, however, I hear from people who think I’m…well, hallucinating. They say either that Android fragmentation isn’t a big deal, or that it’s good.

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Is the iPhone 4S a Battery Hog?

TechCrunch’s Erick Schonfeld is unhappy with his new iPhone 4S:

Today, my iPhone died after about 8 hours—not even enough to get me through a full day without recharging (and this is typical). This was not 8 hours of constant use (unless you count the constant pinging of notifications, which may be the culprit). It was 8 hours total from the time I unplugged it in the morning and took it with me until the screen went black at around 4 PM. According to the specs, the iPhone 4S is supposed to get 200 hours of standby time, 8 hours of talk time, and “up to 6 hours” of Internet use on 3g. During the day, I made half a dozen calls less than 5 minutes each, used the Internet for an hour on the train (email, Twitter, light Web browsing), and then maybe another 90 minutes throughout the day.

Schonfeld isn’t the only person I’ve seen grumbling about this issue. Macworld’s Chris Breen has covered it, and provided some troubleshooting advice. And the Guardian’s Charles Arthur says that Apple is on the case.

How much battery life you get out of a phone is heavily dependent on how you use the phone and what you use it for–and I’m not sure if there’s such a thing as a typical user of the iPhone 4S or any other smartphone. But in my time with the iPhone 4S so far, I haven’t noticed any striking difference in battery life compared to the iPhone 4. With both phones, I can almost always get through one day, and a bit more, on one charge.

If you have an iPhone 4S and upgraded from an earlier iPhone model, have you detected a difference?


How iPhone 3G S’s Better Graphics Complicate Matters for Developers and iPhone Owners

I’ve had several computers that were less powerful than the iPhone 3G S. My Intel 486 machine was bleeding-edge at the time, but could not compare to the ones like my 300-MHz Pentium powered PC that I owned just a few years down the pike. iPhone owners will soon experience a similar phenomenon, and some apps in the App Store will be off limits to anyone that doesn’t have the latest Apple hardware.

The iPhone 3G S has a 600MHz CPU, 256MB of RAM (my family’s Commodore 128’s clock speed was about 4 MHz, and it had 128KB of memory). The graphics processor in the 3G S is the PowerVR SGX (same as the Palm Pre) that supports OpenGL ES 2.0 3D graphics–meaning, it would blow my old desktop PCs out of the water.

The iPhone 3G only supports version 1.1 of the OpenGL ES specification. It’s possible to write an iPhone app that provides basic graphics on an iPhone 3G and better ones on an iPhone 3G S, but many developers may not bother. That means owners of the iPhone 3G will not be able to run applications and games with souped-up graphics. An increasing number of applications will be off limits, essentially being roped off into a VIP section of the App Store. How that will affect application development is an open question.

My take is that developers will need to decide which version of the iPhone they will be targeting. With Apple offering the iPhone 3G for $99, its market share will ostensibly increase–especially if Apple opens up to another domestic carrier in the U.S. Developers have finite resources, and will have to pick one or the other.

Consequently, there may not be many advanced games available for the 3GS  for some time. Over time, the number of 3G S owners will hit a critical mass, and developers will target it more often. If I was buying the 3G S simply so that I could play more advanced games, I wouldn’t be in a rush to get one.