Technology StocksSmartphones: Symbian, Microsoft, RIM, Apple, and Others

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To: zax who wrote (1262)2/4/2012 12:54:31 PM
From: Eric L
   of 1647
The Unification of Windows for Desktop, Notebooks, MIDs, and Phones ...

Hi zax,

<< Thats huge that WP8 will be based upon the Windows 8 kernel. Big-time convergence. >>

It really is huge in my estimation as well. Make that HUGE! It's more than catch-up and could and should put Softie ahead of the curve entering 2014 and usage of Win8 will drive usage of WinPhone 8. The transition will be challenging and there is certainly risk attendant but potentially it's a real game changer if Microsoft with the collaboration of their well chosen strategic partners and licensees can execute the transition well, particularly since they'll reach requisite relative hardware parity with the new and evolved chassis specs, will have an unexcelled languages advantage enabling them to poke into every global nook and cranny, and since WinPhone 8 will allow for native code support developers can port apps they've already written for another platform to Windows Phone with relative ease allowing for rapid expansion of both the developer base and the applications and content base.

I suspect that the Belfiore leak was intentional and I also suspect that while he hit some high points Microsoft is probably still "holding a lot of cards close to its chest," to tantalize while not giving away the store.

It's exciting. The Metro UI is fresh, different, and exciting. I say that as a 28 year prosumer user of Microsoft OSs skipping only DOS 4.x, Windows 1.x and 2.x, ME, and Vista along the way, of IE browsers (the good and not so good) as primary or secondary since '94 after ditching 16-bit then 32-bit Netscape with the winsock, of business Software (Office and its components) since '95 after saying good-bye to Innovative Software's Smartware suite in the DOS days and the Lotus suite with AmiPro, 1-2-3, and Freelance Graphics in the early Windows days, Outlook, OE, and Windows Live E-Mail clients as primary since '95. I've been a frequent beta tester of Microsoft products over the years for my employer or myself and as an individual investor have maintained a basket of the equities of several of the pioneering market leaders in digital convergence in his portfolio for many years.

My original Win7 machine was a budget priced, actually throwaway priced, AMD dual core Vista equipped Compaq 32-bit box with free upgrade to Win7 but it has never missed a beat and still runs like a champ but I just recently added a very highly discounted budget priced but nicely expandable Intel powered dual core 64-bit HP with the intention of installing and dual booting the Win8 Beta as soon as it goes public. I'll wait till Win 8 is commercial and there are more usable 64-bit apps to go high end quad-core with heavy duty power supply, and hot graphics and sound cards. I'll continue to use my S^3 Anna (soon to be Belle) Nokia N8 smartphone -- the 3rd Symbian phone I've owned and used since '04, and which originally replaced a 16-bit Palm based Kyocera -- for some time, but I suspect that my next smartphone purchase will likely utilize the WinPhone 8 OS. Eventually I'll probably add a Windows tablet slate or hybrid ultrabook to replace an aged Dell Latitude notebook running XP SP3.

It's all going to be fun to watch and participate in. There will be Virtual Warfare for every Virtual Warrior wearing Virtual Armor and sporting Virtual Weaponry that frequents message boards like those offered by SI, regardless of the various nutball fringes native persuasion. In the smartphone and MIDS game there is the battle of ecosystems playing out, but new sideshows will include ARM Holdings and Qualcomm v. Intel ICs and architectures, the whole movement to cloud computing where the Microsoft, Google, and Apple superpowers all compete in its early stages and will jockey for dominant positions, and the transition from 32-bit to 64-bit computing that will eventually power smartphones and MIDs. Fun stuff!


- Eric -

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To: Eric L who wrote (1261)2/4/2012 1:49:15 PM
From: Eric L
   of 1647
More Commentary on Windows Phone 8 ‘Apollo’ ... (II)

>> How Windows Phone 8 ‘Apollo’ Would Stack Up Against iOS 5, Android 4

Christina Bonnington
Wired | Gadget Lab
Software and Operating Systems
February 3, 2012

Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS is often criticized for lagging far behind iOS and Android, the other major operating systems in the mobile space. But on Thursday, a leaked description of Microsoft’s next big mobile OS, Windows Phone 8, came to light, revealing how the operating system will improve.

The leak, reported by blog Pocketnow and validated by Windows insider Paul Thurrott, shows that Apollo (the codename for Windows Phone 8) will be a major improvement over the current iteration, Windows Phone 7.5, otherwise known as Mango.

“Currently, we have to work around some limitations with Mango, and many of those limitations would be removed with the upcoming Apollo version,” Eric Setton, CTO of mobile VoIP app Tango, told Wired.

Mango is the current version of Windows Phone. It launched in October, bringing with it a slew of new features, including built-in social media and chatting tools, groups for organizing contacts, multitasking, and improved Live Tiles. A small update called Tango (not to be confused with the VoIP app) is slated next, and then the world will see Apollo, which is rumored to launch in mid-2012.

Microsoft wouldn’t tell us whether Thursday’s leak report is accurate, but offered insight on its OS plans in general.

“We think your smartphone should be smarter,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Wired. “When I take a picture, a ‘smart’ phone should anticipate that I may want to share it with a friend or on Facebook and help me easily do that. With Windows Phone these kinds of things are just built in, and we think there’s always room for a better way.”

A number of Windows Phone developers (several whom also write iOS and Android apps) were eager to share their thoughts on this rumored “better way.”

“I am very excited to hear that Microsoft is making a strong push to catch up to the iOS and Android platforms,” Sina Mobasser, co-founder of iOS and Windows Phone app BarMax said. “But while the specs that were leaked are certainly appetizing, they will not be enough.” Mobasser thinks Microsoft is still “holding a lot of cards close to its chest,” and we have to agree. But Thursday’s leak is still a tantalizing look at what Windows Phone could offer in the near future.

All of which begs the question: Is Windows Phone Apollo enough? If it were released right now, how would it measure up against its biggest competitors, iOS 5 and Android 4, aka Ice Cream Sandwich? Here’s our take on how it may fare in six key areas.

Hardware Support

Right now, Windows Phones are limited to single-core processors. They also lack support for removable storage. But Windows Phone Apollo will support multi-core processors, as well as microSD storage.

Because iOS devices do not include removable storage, Apollo would trump iOS there. But both the iPhone 4S, which was released in October 2011, and the iPad 2, released in March 2011, are dual-core devices that run Apple’s A5 processor. Apple’s next iPad is rumored to be built on a quad-core A6 processor, so it’s imperative for Microsoft that Windows Phone run multi-core processors, if only to remain modern and relevant.

Of course, Android began supporting multi-core devices as far back as Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) in February 2011. And pretty much every Android smartphone allows for SD or microSD storage. The Android OS has supported this feature for quite a long time.

“Hardware-wise, I’m not a big fan of what I call the ‘arms race’ because I think there is still a lot of room to optimize software to use hardware like GPUs more effectively,” Windows developer Kelly Sommer said via e-mail. Indeed, current Windows Phones don’t exhibit any major performance shortcomings, despite their specs handicap. But it never hurts performance — or public perception — to match industry-standard specs.

Apollo will also allow for more screen resolutions and device form factors than Mango currently does. “As a user, different screen resolutions and more powerful phones will help to sell more compelling hardware to better compete with iOS and Android,” Setton said.

Verdict: Apollo essentially reaches parity with iOS and Android in terms of hardware support, but doesn’t offer earth-shaking innovation.

Mobile Payments

Windows Phone Apollo will use NFC technology to facilitate mobile payments. With a swipe of your phone on a point-of-purchase RFID tag, you’ll be able to buy coffee, cigarettes, and sundry other consumables. Sound familiar? That’s what Google is doing — or is attempting to do — with its Google Wallet mobile payment platform.

Google Wallet is currently available on the Nexus S smartphone. Photo: Jon Snyder/

Unlike Wallet, however, it looks like Microsoft’s version of NFC payments will play by carrier rules. According to the PocketNow report, “The ‘Wallet experience‘ “will have the capability to be carrier-branded and controlled.” This is a point of contention for Android’s Wallet feature. Google has been battling carriers like Verizon over whether Wallet will appear on upcoming Android 4 devices. Wallet, in fact, did not make an appearance on the latest flagship Android device, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

Carriers such as AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon want a piece of the mobile-payment pie through their own version of Wallet, dubbed Isis. This leaves Sprint as the only U.S. carrier that currently offers Google Wallet. And it also opens up a huge window of opportunity for Windows Phone to take charge in the mobile payments arena.

Developers could also take advantage of the technology, if the API is exposed. “Developers can leverage that to create some brand-new experiences for smartphone users,” Sommers said.

Although many people expected — hoped? hypothesized? — that Apple’s 2011 iPhone, the 4S, would include NFC, Apple hasn’t yet adopted the burgeoning technology.

Verdict: When it comes to mobile payments and NFC, Apollo is ahead of Apple’s current curve, though this could change if the iPhone 5 supports NFC in a big way. As for Android, Apollo’s NFC support might actually trump Android’s, if only because it would receive carrier blessings.

Desktop Integration

Windows Phone 8 Apollo will offer “companion” experiences with its desktop counterpart, Windows 8, which is also set to launch mid-year. Right now, Apple’s Mac OS and iOS are completely separate code bases and platforms. The upshot? Apollo could offer an unprecedented level of what we’ll call “pan-OS unification.”

One of the most interesting elements of OS unification is how it will be implemented: Windows Phone 8 will use the core system from Windows 8. Specifically, the updated OS will be based on the NT kernel rather than the Windows CE kernel, which is currently employed in Windows Phone (the kernel is the core layer of any OS — the interface between hardware components and applications that run on the device). In short, Windows Phone 8 will be very closely related to Windows 8, even to the level where desktop apps could be more easily ported to simplified phone versions.

Geeky kernel discussions aside, Microsoft plans to make user-experience models very similar across its desktop, mobile and Xbox platforms. Syncing information and content sharing across these three platforms will be made easier, as well.

In the world of Google, a deliberate focus on product compatibility helps keeps user data synced across Android phones and tablets, desktop web browsers, and Chromebooks. That said, Google doesn’t have a desktop OS the way Microsoft does (and, no, we won’t count Chrome). What’s more, the Google user experience is very different between mobile and web, from smartphone to tablet, and even from smartphone to smartphone, due to fragmented OS versions and rampant OEM and carrier UI skinning.

In iOS land, the interface is essentially consistent across iPhones and iPads. But the Mac OS desktop interface, of course, despite a bit of window dressing, is a completely separate experience, both in terms of UI and cross-platform app compatibility. As for cloud support, the iOS iCloud ensures your data and apps are synced across devices. In Windows Phone Apollo, SkyDrive will do the same.

Verdict: Awesome sauce! Apollo looks to offer a heretofore unseen level of integration between Microsoft’s desktop and smartphone products.

App Ecosystem

Microsoft plans to have at least 100,000 apps in its app market by the time Windows Phone 8 debuts later this year.

That’s all? By Apple’s latest counts, there are more than 550,000 apps in the iOS App Store. And according to the unofficial count from AndroLib, the Android Market has more than 750,000 apps at the moment.

Microsoft is working hard to offer incentives such as funding, guidance, and marketing opportunities to attract developers to its mobile platform. Windows Phone is currently the fastest-growing mobile app platform and just crossed the 50,000 app mark in late 2011. But it’s still got a long, long way to go before its offerings are on the same level as iOS and Android.

And let’s not forget that Windows Phone 8 will allow for native code support, which means devs can easily port apps they’ve already written for another platform to Windows Phone. This is definitely something developers are excited about.

“The vast majority of mobile app developers have built apps for iOS or Android,” Mobasser said. “We hope the porting of code is well thought-out and allows us to smoothly transition our app to Windows Phone without having to deal with a number of compatibility issues and bugs.”

Windows Phone 8 will also allow for app-to-app communications, something both iOS and Android already offer. “App-to-app communication can create some really interesting user experiences between applications,” Sommers said.

Windows Phone Mango’s Yelp-like Scout feature, which helps find local restaurants, businesses, and activities based on their proximity and rating, will get personal recommendations added to its list of functions. This is something the Foodspotting app just added to its repertoire as well.

Apollo should also feature its own Skype app, or have Skype baked right into the OS — the exact implementation isn’t quite clear from the leaks. Skype is already available on iOS and Android, if you’re keeping score.

Finally, for its camera app, Apollo will include new “lens apps” for more powerful smartphone image-capture abilities. Now, there are plenty of third-party photography apps already available on iOS and Android. And many Android phones currently have robust filters and scene options built in to their native camera apps. So while the Apollo camera update looks promising, it may not offer much of anything new to the smartphone scene.

Verdict: Windows Phone is still playing a serious game of catch-up in the apps arena. But sharing a code base with Windows desktop, along with native code support, will certainly help Microsoft’s app-related fortunes.

Data Management

Apollo will use a tool called “DataSmart” to make sure you’re able to easily track your monthly data usage. Available as a Live Tile that you can pin to your home screen, it will break down your data usage (helping you make smarter decisions about what you download) and give Wi-Fi networks — even carrier-operated Wi-Fi hotspots — precedence over cellular data connections whenever possible.

In iOS 5, you can track your cellular usage, but it’s buried inside the General settings menu. Yes, there are indeed a number of third-party iOS apps you can download that do the trick, but these features should really be exposed directly in the OS — like they are in Android.

Data management is better than ever with the advent of Android 4, aka Ice Cream Sandwich. The built-in Data Usage app provides numerous charts and graphs that reveal your data-gobbling habits, and you can even set governors and alerts to help you control data usage. Android sets the new standard for data management, so while Windows Phone’s solution sounds helpful, it will have a long way to go in matching Android’s approach.

Verdict: We’ll see. We’ll see. But if nothing else, Microsoft is moving in the right direction.


Apple CEO Tim Cook pointed out that iPhones and iPads are rapidly being adopted in the enterprise environment.

To grab a piece of that market (many members of which are in search of new handsets now that BlackBerry fever is fading), Windows Phone 8 will offer the same native BitLocker encryption as Windows 8. That’s 128-bit, full-disk encryption. This could be good news for potential switchers, as built-in encryption in iOS devices reportedly has some security flaws. For Windows Phone 8, companies will also be able to create personalized, proprietary software for their employees, which Windows 8 will allow as well.

Now, does anyone besides developers use Android for enterprise applications? I kid — sort of. Google also offers storage encryption, as well as third-party encryption solutions.

Verdict: It looks like Microsoft will be ahead of the curve. And it should be. This is a Windows product, after all. If Microsoft can’t appeal to the mobile enterprise crowd, it’s got problems.

So What’s It All Mean?

Windows Phone Apollo looks like it will address a number of the issues currently holding back the OS from equal footing with its peers. But there are still a few areas that need improvement. “I think the biggest gaps are still software and design,” Sommers said. “Microsoft needs to be obsessed with paying attention to detail in its user experiences.”

This is an area that Android addressed in its Ice Cream Sandwich update in late 2011, and an area where Apple absolutely excels.

Based on the information that was leaked, Windows Phone 8 should achieve essential feature parity with its competitors — assuming no significant improvements are made to iOS or Android by the time Apollo arrives. And if the leaked info is merely a tease of what Apollo has in store — a mere subset of greater feature riches — then Windows Phone 8 will be quite compelling indeed. ###

- Eric -

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To: Eric L who wrote (1261)2/4/2012 1:53:57 PM
From: Eric L
   of 1647
More Commentary on Windows Phone 8 ‘Apollo’ Unification ... (III)

>> Microsoft Windows 8 Unification Plan: Grand, But Risky

Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 appear to look very much alike. That's great news for users, but can Redmond pull off one OS across desktops, mobile and more?

Paul McDougall
Information Week
February 04, 2012

According to Windows Phone 8 leaks, the mobile OS will share code with the Windows 8 client--a clear sign that Microsoft wants a single operating system that can stretch across PCs, tablets, phones, and even entertainment devices. The strategy could give Redmond a big edge over rivals who've split their software into desktop and mobile products. But it also carries some real risks.

New details emerged this week on Windows Phone 8, which (no big surprise here) will be the successor to Windows Phone 7. Video said to be viewed by the site PocketNow showed Windows Phone VP Joe Belfiore touting new features on the platform, which Microsoft is developing under the code name Apollo.

Components such as the kernel and networking stack, as well as a number of security features, including BitLocker, are taken directly from Windows 8, not Windows CE--on which Windows Phone 7 was built.

Additionally, if the leaked video is authentic--and Microsoft so far hasn't said it isn't--Windows Phone 8 will, like its PC cousin, offer support for C/C++ programming, multi-core processors and multiple screen resolutions, and external hardware like microSD cards. Windows 8 and Windows Phone will also both run Metro apps.

On the video, Belfiore reportedly says that, in writing for Windows Phone 8, developers will be able to "reuse--by far--most of their code" from Windows 8. This news comes after Microsoft has already made clear that Windows 8 will be both a desktop and a tablet OS. The company now seems to be merging phones into the mix as well. "It appears that Windows Phone 8 will leverage important parts of Windows 8 while running the same application base," IDC analyst Al Hilwa tells me.

This grand unification strategy could give Microsoft an edge over Google and Apple. Most significantly, if apps developed for Windows 8 can run across PCs, tablets, and phones with minimal porting issues, then the platform should be a huge magnet for developers anxious to get the most bang for their buck. One issue currently hampering the Windows Phone ecosystem is that it "only" has about 60,000 apps. That sounds like a lot, but it pales in comparison to more than 500,000 apps for the iPhone and, if you can believe Wikipedia (since Google does not release a number,) more than 300,000 apps for Android.

Windows Phone's app count could jump exponentially if Windows 8 creates a common development environment across desktop and mobile products while Apple continues to push Mac OS for PCs and iOS for the iPad and iPhone and Google splits desktop and mobile between Chrome OS and Android.

Now to the risky part. Microsoft’s plan to unite PCs, tablets, and phones under a single OS sounds great in theory, but there are questions as to whether Microsoft can pull it off. If the effort flops, or is beset by delays caused by the many technical issues involved, the company could fall even farther behind its competitors. It's already so far behind that it risks getting lapped. (Arguably, it already has been—Apple will assuredly release iPad 3 before we see the first Windows 8 tablet).

There are already signs that the plan might not go smoothly. Microsoft ideally wants Windows 8 to be hardware agnostic, possibly through the use of abstraction layers and some virtualization and cloud technologies. But already there are questions about Windows' cross-platform potential.

Windows chief Steven Sinofsky has said that Windows 8 tablets that are powered by ARM-based chips won't run legacy Windows apps. And Intel execs have said that Windows 8 devices powered by anything other than their processors won't offer the full Windows experience.

Intel, of course, is biased. But that doesn't make it any less true that the Windows client, to date, has never officially run on anything except Intel processors or x86 and x64 clones. How the Windows client performs on chips, like Qualcomm's Snapdragon, that were built to run operating systems that carry a light footprint--something Windows has never been accused of--is an open question.

"It remains to be seen how hard or easy it will be for developers to modify apps written for one OS for the other," says Hilwa. Such questions become more pointed given Microsoft’s history of significant delays in bringing out new versions of Windows for the x86 platform alone, with which it is well familiar.

Risks aside, Microsoft's apparent plan to unify its operating systems makes a lot of sense in an era in which consumers and workers are jumping from device to device to access personal or business information. Users want that information to be the same, in terms of content and look and feel, regardless of where they get it. Microsoft should be lauded for attempting to give users that experience. Let’s just hope the company can really do it. ###

- Eric -

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To: Eric L who wrote (1261)2/4/2012 2:09:32 PM
From: Eric L
   of 1647
More Commentary on Windows Phone 8 ‘Apollo’ Unification ... (IV)

>> Windows Phone 8: What's on the feature list

Mary Jo Foley
February 2, 2012

Summary: Two reports with lists of alleged Windows Phone 8 “Apollo” features have leaked. Developers and business users may find a lot to like, if the information is true.

It looks like information about Windows Phone 8’s operating system, codenamed “Apollo,” is starting to leak in earnest.

On February 2, posted a list of what the site says are Windows Phone 8 features revealed in “a video hosted by senior vice president and Windows Phone manager Joe Belfiore, and intended for partners at Nokia.” (The site seems to have seen a video of Belfiore’s talk, but has not posted it to the Web or referenced where its editors saw the video.)

Shortly thereafter, Windows SuperSite Editor Paul Thurrott posted about some of those same Apollo features, which he said he can corroborate will be in the product.

Microsoft isn’t commenting as to whether or not these features will be in Apollo. (In fact, Microsoft still has not officially confirmed even the Apollo codename, as far as I know.) But here’s what both of these sources said are coming:

• Support for multicore processors

• Support for new screen resolutions (four, although actual pixel counts weren’t specified)

• Support for removable microSD card storage

• Support for NFC and an associated “Wallet Experience”

• Inclusion of Windows’ core elements, including kernel, networking stacks, security, and multimedia support. (I believe this is confirmation that elements of Windows 8’s MinWin core will replace Embedded Compact with Windows Phone 8.)

• New data-tracking capabilities, showing users a breakdown of their data consumption by various networks.

• Use of a proxy server to deliver pages more efficiently & quickly to Internet Explorer 10 Mobile

• Of special interest to enterprise users: Addition of native BitLocker encryption and Secure Boot

• Of special interest to developers: New app-to-app communication capability that sounds like Windows 8’s contracts feature, as Thurrott noted

• Separate but improved Skype application, but not integration of Skype into the OS.

• Replacement of the Zune PC client software with an update mechanism more akin to ActiveSync

The Mobile World Congress (MWC) show kicks off later this month and Microsoft’s Windows Phone team is going to have a big presence there. I’ve heard from my contacts that Microsoft is going to start talking about Apollo at MWC.

I have to say I’m doubtful the Redmondians are going to talk about it publicly at the show. If I were to place bets, I’d say Apollo talk will be mostly if not entirely behind closed doors with select partners and carriers.

Why? Microsoft and Nokia haven’t even launched their “hero” device — the Nokia Lumia 900 — here in the U.S. yet. That is supposedly happening around March 18. If Microsoft were to start talking about all the great features in Windows Phone 8 (allegedly due to ship on phones before the end of 2012) now, it would be like the Windows team talking about Windows 9. Momentum for the soon-to-be-announced products would plummet before it even had a chance to build.

I can’t say for sure whether these new reports about Windows Phone “Apollo” are on the money, but I’d have to say they definitely seem plausible. ###

- Eric -

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To: Eric L who wrote (1261)2/4/2012 2:22:26 PM
From: Eric L
   of 1647
More Commentary on Windows Phone 8 ‘Apollo’ Unification ... (V)

>> Leaked Windows Phone 8 vid: Windows 8 Kernel and Integration, Multiple Cores

Peter Bright
Ars Technica

Windows Phone 8 will be based on the same kernel as Windows 8, and will support multicore processors, NFC, and full device encryption according to a leaked video seen by PocketNow. This in turn inspired Paul Thurrott to reveal a little more about the software too. In the video intended only for internal consumption by Microsoft and its partners, Joe Belfiore, director of the Windows Phone program, describes the extensive features that Windows Phone 8, codenamed "Apollo," will contain.

Addressing widespread concerns about Windows Phone's mid-range hardware specification, Apollo will support processors with up to four cores, four different (and unspecified) screen resolutions, NFC for contactless payment, and removable microSD storage.

In a move that will make Windows Phone a better option for enterprise users, Windows Phone 8 will include full device encryption, based on the same technology as desktop Windows' BitLocker encryption. Apollo will sport richer support for Exchange ActiveSync policies, and Systems Center inventorying and management. There will also be greater support for private deployment of custom line-of-business applications.

Under the hood, the operating system will be built on the same foundation as Windows 8. Belfiore mentions that the kernel, networking stacks, security subsystems, and multimedia support will heavily overlap between the two.

The Web browser, too, will be in common, with Internet Explorer 10 making its way to the phone. Microsoft also plans to follow in Amazon and Opera's footsteps, using server-side compression and proxying to reduce the amount of data needed to load webpages by a claimed 30 percent.

Full compatibility with current Windows Phone applications—expected to number 100,000 by the time Windows Phone 8 is launched—is assured, and there will be added support for native code development in addition to the current Silverlight-based model. Belfiore promises that "most" code will be portable between the desktop and the phone. We would expect this to mean that Metro-style applications written using Windows 8's WinRT will be readily portable.

Windows Phone 7 applications are currently completely isolated from one another. Windows 8 will include a system called "contracts" that enables applications to communicate with each other in certain standard ways: for example, a Twitter client might implement the "sharing" contact, so that links in the Web browser or photos in the photo gallery can be shared over Twitter. This same contract system will be included in Windows Phone 8.

Windows 8 includes smarter tracking of metered and unmetered Internet connections, and a similar capability, dubbed "Data Smart" will also be a part of the phone operating system. This may go further than the desktop feature, for example making phones preferentially using carrier-affiliated Wi-Fi hotspots when available. The Live Scout local search feature will also show the location of nearby hotspots.

Skype will be built-in, and hook directly into the phone's dialer, allowing VoIP calls to be made as if they were regular calls over the phone network. Hardware vendors will have more control over the camera application, enabling features such as smile detection and burst shooting.

Desktop integration is going to receive a substantial upgrade, too, with SkyDrive becoming a central part of the Microsoft's sync strategy. Windows Phone currently uses the desktop Zune client to sync music and video; this will be scrapped in favor of a broader sync feature between Windows Phone and the desktop via SkyDrive. In the video, Belfiore describes being able to listen to your music collection on a new Windows Phone 8 handset without ever having to pair it to the PC. This syncing will also extend to the Xbox.

In addition to using NFC for contactless payment, Microsoft will also implement a "tap to share" capability, to enable easy sharing of content between phones, desktops, laptops, and tablets.

We wrote that 2012 would be the year that many of Microsoft's long-standing goals come to fruition. The common Metro interface, coupled with the tight cross-device integration, unifying the "three screens" (desktop/tablet, phone, TV) with (and via) "the cloud" (using SkyDrive) is going to be a key part of the value of Microsoft's ecosystem in coming years. ###

- Eric -

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To: Eric L who wrote (1264)2/4/2012 3:44:08 PM
From: zax
1 Recommendation   of 1647
Thanks for the response. :)

It is going to be a lot of fun to watch indeed. Times will be very exciting when Windows "8" comes out. If history repeats itself, I am pretty certain that Win 8 will catch some initial malignment like Vista did and all will be forgiven in a successor that will be more widely adopted. In reality Vista and Windows 7 were very similar OSs and the reality in the media and on the street were rather different. But there was a significant difference in development model guidelines as LUA (least user access), program and data separation and file and registry virtualization were concepts that developers needed to grasp and work with to bring about a more secure platform. Much of the initial issues with Vista were the software catching up to the newer model and tweaked to work well within it, and the rougher edges of any new model getting smoothly polished. I can't imagine Windows "8" not experiencing similar initial difficulties.

I am certain that Windows 8 on x86 will do great, but the real question is whether Windows 8 on ARM will compete well. I fired up the earliest Windows 8 developer preview and found that and it was strikingly backwards compatible with legacy Applications - e.g. even VB6 stuff - going all the back to Windows 95. Thats hella impressive; the challenges must have been enormous to do this in parallel with the development of the Windows 8 RT. If Intel (I know its a big if) releases atoms that compete with ARM in efficiency; I wonder if Windows on ARM will have a chance at getting any real penetration outside of Windows Phone and Embedded platforms. I haven't heard this discussed much... but it seems a fundamental question and challenge.

What I most look forward to seeing is how Visual Studio will target the Windows 8 RT. I feel certain that something very similar to Silverlight will be core. None of the dev tools are public yet.

It's all going to be fun to watch and participate in. There will be Virtual Warfare for every Virtual Warrior wearing Virtual Armor and sporting Virtual Weaponry that frequents message boards like those offered by SI, regardless of the various nutball fringes native persuasion.

I do so enjoy trolling the nutball fringe. Did you ever step on fire anthills when you were a kid? ;)

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To: zax who wrote (1269)2/5/2012 12:47:41 PM
From: Eric L
   of 1647
ARM Powered Unified Windows: Opportunity, Risk, and Reward ...


<< Times will be very exciting when Windows "8" comes out. If history repeats itself, I am pretty certain that Win 8 will catch some initial malignment like Vista did and all will be forgiven in a successor that will be more widely adopted. >>

I feel the same way, both in terms of potential initial 'malignment' and a more widely adopted, smoother running successor. Stripping back the WinMob CE kernel to bare bones, introducing a code break, and fleshing out the new write to create WinPhone OS 7.0 was bold and courageous.

Nokia flubbed the dub by not doing similar with Symbian despite the pain it would have caused. They did a fine job moving Symbian to open source and getting over the IP humps but got bogged down with code development. Too many decentralized and competing teams were involved. Microsoft and its early adopter OEM licensees underwent pain with the rather simple NoDo upgrade to 7.1, but experienced some positive learning in the process. The 7.1 --> 7.5 Mango update went remarkably well, however, and even Samsung who really struggled with the NoDo upgrade got through it unscarred although slower than HTC and others.

Despite the fact that WinPhone OS 7.0 was sadly lacking in basic modern day smartphone features and functionality the Metro UI justifiably got very positive critical reviews in its early stages. Mango closed the gap with iPhone and Android considerably but its comparative shortcomings remain(ed) several and obvious.

None of us should underestimate the challenge Microsoft faces in moving to a unified Windows for Desktop, Notebooks, Ultrabooks, MIDs, and Smartphones (Mobile Multimedia Computers as Anssi Vanjoki called them) thanks to a common kernel with shared underlying code, components, and user experiences. The upside potential opportunity of doing so is huge but the attendant downside risk looms large.

<< Much of the initial issues with Vista were the software catching up to the newer model and tweaked to work well within it, and the rougher edges of any new model getting smoothly polished. I can't imagine Windows "8" not experiencing similar initial difficulties. >>

The OEM licensees and component and peripheral manufacturers struggled with the newer model as well. Drivers were a real issue. Much smoother with 7. While I skipped Vista (other than babysitting and troubleshooting systems purchased by friends) and stuck with XP, I did prep a new highly discounted Vista SP1 equipped system in early October 2009 for the free upgrade to Win7 I installed a month later. Fortunately although Vista's SP2 was not yet in auto download distribution it was available for download. I had one serious conflict with a software app (a files and folder manager replacing Explore) and Vista SP2, and after the update to Win 7 I waited about 6 months for Canon to update drivers for software to manage software for my digicams. Other than that t'was a breeze and Win7 was everything Vista had promised to be and more.

I can't really imagine Windows "8" not experiencing similar initial difficulties either, but the ability of working through it relatively rapidly is going to be critical. Microsoft doesn't need another Vista and WinPhone really can't afford to get bogged down. For all its promise WinPhone must start to gain legitimate traction with Mango/Tango in the coming quarters and then get Apollo to market relatively cleanly to keep that momentum going and legitimately become the 3rd smartphone ecosystem.

<< I am certain that Windows 8 on x86 will do great, but the real question is whether Windows 8 on ARM will compete well. >>

That IS most certainly a legitimate question. I have great respect for ARM Holdings, and for Qualcomm who I think will be considerably more focused on ARM architecture for Windows than Intel or AMD, but while their challenge is considerable I think they'll work through it well.

One advantage I see for Microsoft in the transition is that the WinPhone ecosystem of OEMs and silicon supply is comparatively small compared to Android, but the key primary dedicated strategic partners (Qualcomm and Nokia along with ARM) are well chosen, sharply focused, and highly motivated. Qualcomm and Nokia San Diego are in close physical proximity (as are their teams in Bejing) with Microsoft not too far north, Despite the fact that Nokia's Salo and Tampere Finland teams are physically remote the partners are making diligent and frequent use of HP's Halo video conferencing technology ...

Halo, which [Microsoft's Terry Myerson} said he hadn’t used before the Nokia deal came together. The [video conferencing] customized room lets a team in one place seem like they are separated only by a window from colleagues sitting halfway around the world. “It’s as if we are sitting in the room with people in Finland or London,” Myerson said. “It’s like something out of ‘Star Trek.’” Halo is used, on average, five or 10 times per week to bridge the engineering teams from Nokia and Microsoft.

There's also been important cross-fertilization of key personnel ...

But sometimes that’s not enough, of course. Nokia has transferred a top executive — Waldemar Sakalus — to Seattle to oversee the Microsoft relationship, and is spreading hardware development work across several locations, including San Diego, Calif., and Beijing, as well as two sites in Finland: Salo and Tampere. ... Nokia also hired Kevin Shields, a former member of Myerson’s Windows Phone team, to oversee Nokia’s efforts to build on top of Microsoft’s operating system.

[The quotes above are from an interesting July article by WSJ's All Things D writer, Ina Fried (formerly Ima Fried. See the post that follows for the article and another from last November on the Qualcomm connection]

<< I wonder if Windows on ARM will have a chance at getting any real penetration outside of Windows Phone and Embedded platforms. I haven't heard this discussed much... but it seems a fundamental question and challenge. >>

Most likely in the initial years the Win on ARM focus will be on WinPhone and tablet slates. I've wondered recently to what degree ARM will power Ultrabooks or hybrid laptops or convertible Ultrabooks with detachable tabletlike displays in the relatively early going. Intel architected Ivybridge or Fusion Trinity powered units are quite likely to have the strong upperhand in that arena for some time. I can't yet even imagine using an ARM powered desktop.

<< What I most look forward to seeing is how Visual Studio will target the Windows 8 RT. >>

I really haven't figured out or even paid much attention to how the requisite dev tools will evolve or what the fate of Silverlight will be.

<< I do so enjoy trolling the nutball fringe. Did you ever step on fire anthills when you were a kid? ;) >>

I have an Evil Twin to troll and agitate the nutball fringes. As for fireant hills ... no, not growing up in New England, but I sure did as an adult playing golf on unfamiliar courses on outings in the south. <g> ###


- Eric -

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To: Eric L who wrote (1270)2/5/2012 1:05:15 PM
From: Eric L
   of 1647
The Power of 3: Microsoft's Key Strategic Development Partners (Nokia and Qualcomm) ...

... for ARM architected systems development.

1+1+1 does not always = 3. Properly focused on crunch time collaborative strategic software development in Tiger Team fashion between 3 dedicated and talented individuals or 3 dedicated and highly motivated companies the 'Power of 3' (i.e. 3³ = 9) from a productivity perspective is in play. More (individuals or companies) than that becomes unwieldy.

There are two 2011 WinPhone development related articles clipped below that I found above average interesting when I originally read them. Quotes in the prior post were lifted from the 1st.

>> Reindeer Antlers and Reykjavik: How Microsoft and Nokia Are Getting Down to Business Together

Ina Fried
All Things D
The Wall Street Journal
July 11, 2011

Like many marriages, the partnership between Nokia and Microsoft began with a lot of celebrating and travel and presents. And reindeer antlers.

As both companies’ chief executives announced their partnership in London in February, the Windows Phone team gathered at Daman’s, a watering hole near Microsoft’s Redmond headquarters. Having sealed the most important mobile deal in the company’s history, the workers toasted each other with a custom concoction they dubbed the Noble Finn: A combination of Finlandia vodka, Chartreuse, sparkling soda, sugar and lemon juice, stirred with a reindeer antler.

The next month, Windows Phone engineering head Terry Myerson and a group of his co-workers traveled to Finland to get to know some of their Nokia compatriots better. The teams went snowshoeing, then hit a dry sauna to warm up.

“We ran out of the sauna on fire and rolled around in the snow to survive,” Myerson said. “It was indescribably hot.”

The next day, with the courtship phase over, it was down to business, as Myerson and his team toured Nokia’s factory in Salo, Finland.

So far, executives on both sides of the partnership insist the marriage is a happy one.

“We’ve spent the last couple months working really closely together to get first products really materializing,” Nokia’s Jo Harlow, who is in charge of Smart Devices at the phone giant, said in an interview. “We all feel confident about where we are.”

Although the deal was announced in February, the paperwork wasn’t signed until April.

Well before all the i’s were dotted and t’s crossed, though, the engineering teams had already been hard at work, the companies said. Nokia had prototype hardware designs running prerelease versions of the next Windows Phone software.

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has been boasting for a while that he is carrying something along those lines, and a recently leaked video shows him with an early version of the hardware.

Harlow declined to comment on that leak, but says she is increasingly confident in the first product that will arrive this year, and that the company may yet have multiple devices for sale before the end of the year. The first Nokia phones are expected to arrive this fall alongside Mango, the first major update to Windows Phone 7.

“I’m committed to one model this year,” Harlow said. “More would be great.”

For next year, though, Harlow said there will be a steady stream of releases — something that Microsoft badly needs as it tries to keep up with rivals, particularly Android devices, which are released on a constant basis.

If Microsoft was close to the latest hardware when it released the first Windows Phones last fall, it is fair to say that its models now look dated when stacked up against the latest Android models, some of which boast 3-D screens, dual-core processors, high-definition video recording and other features.

“I’m hoping that won’t be an issue next year,” Myerson said.

Harlow said her goal is that Nokia will have more frequent hardware updates, keeping the company, and by extension Windows Phone, front of mind with phone shoppers.

As the two companies settle into working with one another, they are using a variety of methods to manage their long-distance relationship.

Although most physical travel involves workers from one company visiting the other, the two companies have also found an in-between location to meet — Reykjavik, Iceland.

Why? Because it’s roughly in between Finland and the U.S., and there are direct flights from both Helsinki and Seattle. On occasion, executives have often met at Iceland’s government-owned Culture House, a spot just a couple blocks from the Höfði, the spot where Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev held a now-famous summit in 1986.

While the Americans and Soviets often struggled to find peace after a long Cold War, Harlow and Myerson say they share a good deal of common ground.

Nokia and Microsoft find themselves in a similarly tough position in the mobile space. Both companies have fallen behind Android and Apple’s iPhone in the smartphone race and have bet their future on each other as the way to recover.

There are other ties binding Myerson and Harlow: Both graduated from North Carolina’s Duke University; Myerson got his engineering degree in 1991, and Harlow, who graduated in 1984, was captain of the women’s basketball during her time in Durham. To honor the shared heritage, workers at Nokia presented both executives with custom Nokia E7 phones emblazoned with the logo of Duke’s mascot, the Blue Devil (pictured left).

While Harlow said she expects to rack up plenty of frequent-flier miles as a result of the deal, the intercontinental travel has been reduced thanks to a video conferencing technology known as Halo.

“We were planning on going to Finland, but decided to give Halo a try first, and decided we didn’t need to fly over there [as much],” said KC Lemson, who works for Myerson on the Windows Phone camera team.

Myerson echoed the importance of Halo, which he said he hadn’t used before the Nokia deal came together. The customized room lets a team in one place seem like they are separated only by a window from colleagues sitting halfway around the world.

“It’s as if we are sitting in the room with people in Finland or London,” Myerson said. “It’s like something out of ‘Star Trek.’”

Halo is used, on average, five or 10 times per week to bridge the engineering teams from Nokia and Microsoft.

But sometimes that’s not enough, of course. Nokia has transferred a top executive — Waldemar Sakalus — to Seattle to oversee the Microsoft relationship, and is spreading hardware development work across several locations, including San Diego, Calif., and Beijing, as well as two sites in Finland: Salo and Tampere.

Nokia also hired Kevin Shields, a former member of Myerson’s Windows Phone team, to oversee Nokia’s efforts to build on top of Microsoft’s operating system.

For its part, Microsoft said it has shifted its priorities to make sure that Nokia’s needs are being met first. The company has increased its focus on going global more quickly, as Nokia counts on Windows Phone to quickly fill a gap created by the rapid decline in its existing Symbian phone business.

“We had been focused on North America and Western Europe,” Myerson said of the company’s early efforts. That, he said, has now changed.

Although Microsoft is also working with its other partners, Myerson isn’t shy about saying that he is pouring more energy into his partners in Finland. After all, while HTC and Samsung build Windows Phones, they also make phones running Google’s Android software. Nokia, meanwhile, has pledged to make Windows Phone the core of its smartphone strategy.

“We are prioritizing work proportionate to Nokia’s commitment to Windows Phone, which is unlike anything we have had before,” Myerson said. ###

>> Nokia Plans W8 Tablet, Will Be Critical Moment for Microsoft and Qualcomm Too

Rethink Research
Wireless Watch:
November 16, 2011

In the week that the microprocessor turns 40, its inventor Intel is besieged by ARM-based rivals in the biggest growth market for the chips, mobile devices. Its highest hopes rest in the mobile processor’s move beyond the cellphone, into larger, more PC-like products which fit more comfortably into Intel’s ecosystem. But it will have a tough battle on its hands. The leader of the mobile ARM pack, Qualcomm, used to say it wanted to stick to what it knew best, smartphones, but it reversed that strategy when it unveiled Snapdragon, targeting it at a huge range of consumer and ‘post-PC’ devices, and when it acquired Atheros, with a beady eye on the home wireless market. Now Qualcomm is eyeing Intel’s traditional place as the primary partner for Windows, using its early moves into next year’s Windows 8 as a springboard into Intel’s heartlands – and this time, it has Nokia on its side too.

Qualcomm is an expert at forging a wide mesh of alliances around its efforts, working with carriers, developers and consumers as well as its direct customers. One of its most important partnerships in recent years has been with Microsoft, in whose unloved Windows Mobile platform the US chipmaker has invested far more time and effort than it would seem to merit (the new iteration, WP7, had only 1.5% share of the smartphone base in the third quarter, according to Gartner). But Qualcomm can afford to play a long game, and it has its own challenges - just as it aims to take on Intel in mobile computers (whatever they may look like in future), so it is being squeezed on one side by low cost challengers for its cellphone crown, such as MediaTek, and on the other by immigrants from the PC market like Nvidia. So usurping Intel’s traditional place at Microsoft’s right hand is a strategic imperative for Qualcomm, and even if that does not bear much fruit in WP7, it is likely to reap rewards in the far more important Windows 8, which spans ARM and x86 architectures, and various device formats.

The possible obstacle in Qualcomm’s path, after years of wooing Microsoft, was the sudden anointing of Nokia as the lead WP7 partner. Despite settling their legal differences in 2008 and even signing a supplier deal in 2009, the two firms had a long history of hostility and Nokia had its own well established alliances in the chip market, with Texas Instruments, ST-Ericsson and more recently Broadcom. In addition, Nokia had got close to Intel, via the aborted MeeGo effort and because it buys chips for low end phones from the firm’s Infineon Wireless unit. This was where Qualcomm’s intensive cultivation of Microsoft really paid off – at the point where Nokia was launching its first WP7 devices, the make-or-break Lumia family, no other silicon vendor had a platform optimized for the new OS and ready for market. Nokia insists it will include STE in its Lumia range as soon as possible, but it knows that Qualcomm brings significant advantages in its deep understanding of the Microsoft platforms, and will be basically unavoidable in WP7 for years to come – a position it looks set to extend into Windows 8.

So as Qualcomm gloated over the “close relationship” and “multiple device plans” it had with its new, if reluctant, best friend, the two firms are already reported to be gearing up to launch one of the first Windows 8 tablets, as early as the second quarter next year. Qualcomm urgently wants to make Nokia dependent upon its Snapdragon processors, and permanently win a major OEM customer from which it has always been excluded, so Enrico Salvatori, president of Qualcomm CDMA Technologies in Europe, was keen to stress in a recent interview that the Lumia collaboration went beyond the usual supplier relationship. Instead, the US firm had significant input into the smartphone design, he said, adding: “We are working on a roadmap [with Nokia] and not a single device, a single launch. It’s an important collaboration for Qualcomm, so we are very excited about working together. It’s been very effective in terms of time to market because we developed the phone together. It’s been a very successful development.”

If Nokia is planning to be first off the blocks with an ARM/W8 tablet, it will certainly need Qualcomm’s help. The San Diego giant was loud in its support of the new OS at its launch and back in March, Rob Chandhok, president of Qualcomm Internet Services, said the firm was preparing tools and software to make Snapdragon attractive to the huge Windows developer community, and not just the programmers focused on smartphones. These efforts will almost certainly feed into Nokia’s tablet plans. Prevented by Microsoft’s bar on large-screen WP7 devices from entering this space in 2011, the Finnish firm will need to make a splash next year. Its French chief, Paul Amsellem, said in a newspaper interview that the company will launch the product by June 2012, though official spokespeople stressed that there had been no formal announcement. Last month, at the Nokia World event where Lumia was unveiled, CEO Stephen Elop (and former Microsoft man) commented: "From an ecosystem perspective, there are benefits and synergies that exist between Windows and Windows Phone. We see that opportunity. We'll certainly consider those opportunities going forward."

An early W8 tablet launch would be a critical moment for both partners and for Microsoft. If successful, it would take Qualcomm into a segment of the tablet market which it could almost certainly have to itself for many months (apart from Intel x86 models), offsetting the mounting pressure it feels in Android tablets from Nvidia and Texas Instruments, in particular. It would give Nokia, for the first time in years, a frontrunner position in a new sector, the Windows/ARM slate, and an operating system which promises to be hugely impactful – a big improvement on ageing Symbian and neglected WP7. Of course, for Microsoft, it would mark a belated move – perhaps disastrously belated – into touch-based tablets, and the hope that the attractions of W8 would succeed in stealing iPad or Kindle Fire upgraders, while appealing to a broader base too.

However, the focus on W8 does leave WP7 rather isolated. With no slates in sight, even the OS’s friends are concerned about its growth potential. AT&T, which promised to be the world’s biggest WP7 carrier at its launch, and is reported to be negotiating with Nokia for the Lumia launch, nevertheless sees “challenges” for the OS, according to Glenn Lurie, head of emerging devices. “I think we’re still going to see a lot of challenges,” Lurie said at a Morgan Stanley conference in Barcelona. “I’m actually a fan of the Windows devices, I’m also very excited about Windows 8 on the tablet devices, but you’re still going to have a lot of people competing for that space.”

Meanwhile, tablets are certainly not the only new target market for Snapdragon. This week, Qualcomm broadened the Snapdragon range and had its eye on Nvidia’s favorite market with the release of GamePack, a set of features and apps for the gaming sector, all optimized for Snapdragon. And by combining the processor and its Atheros products in future, it could look at pushing into smart TVs and other consumer home gear.

The new models in the Snapdragon S4 range (the high end of the family) aim to lower design, engineering and inventory costs for a broad variety of devices including tablets, said Qualcomm, while supporting feature sets for multimedia, connectivity, camera, display, security, power management, browsing and natural user interface design. The products include the new Krait CPU, integrated with various combinations of modems supporting EV-DO, HSPA+, TD-SCDMA, TD-LTE, FD-LTE and Wi-Fi. Devices based on Snapdragon S4 processors are expected to appear in early 2012.

Craig Barratt, previously CEO of Atheros, sees a role for Snapdragon in the home connectivity markets his unit targets, as connected home and media platforms increasingly require intelligence and processing power in the end points as well as wireless links. "We're going to drive technology to more media devices in the home," he said in an interview with CNet. In future, Qualcomm will be able to tailor processors for specific devices in the home, he said, particularly tapping into the expected rise in the processing power of the television. Much of the technology needed to work in a TV is already available in Snapdragon, he said, and as in handsets, connectivity and CPUs will increasingly be integrated together. ###

- Eric -

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From: Eric L2/5/2012 3:26:43 PM
1 Recommendation   of 1647
Canalys on Q4 & CY2011 Branded Smartphones and Client PCs

Note that Canalys does NOT include Samsung's Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus in their branded smartphone totals and instead counts them under the Google brand. As a consequence they have them 2nd to Apple in total 2011 annual sell-in. They do count bada units in Samsung's smartphone totals and in smartphone 'platform' totals while some sources count bada as an advanced feature phone platform.

Note also Canalys counts Tablets (including e-Readers) as Client PCs.

>> Smart Phones Overtake Client PCs in 2011

Vendors shipped 488 million smart phones in 2011, compared to 415 million client PCs

Canalys Press Release
Palo Alto, Shanghai, Singapore and Reading UK
3 February 2012 [PDF Format]

Canalys today released its full, detailed Q4 2011 country-level smart phone shipment estimates to clients, so completing the picture for the year. One notable result was that total annual global shipments of smart phones exceeded those of client PCs (including pads) for the first time.

Vendors shipped 158.5 million smart phones in Q4 2011, up 57% on the 101.2 million units shipped in Q4 2010. This bumper quarter took total global shipments for the whole of 2011 to 487.7 million units, up 63% on the 299.7 million smart phones shipped throughout 2010. By comparison, the global client PC market grew 15% in 2011 to 414.6 million units, with 274% growth in pad shipments. Pads accounted for 15% of all client PC shipments in 2011.

“In 2011 we saw a fall in demand for netbooks, and slowing demand for notebooks and desktops as a direct result of rising interest in pads,” said Chris Jones, Canalys VP and Principal Analyst. “But pads have had negligible impact on smart phone volumes and markets across the globe have seen persistent and substantial growth through 2011. Smart phone shipments overtaking those of client PCs should be seen as a significant milestone. In the space of a few years, smart phones have grown from being a niche product segment at the high-end of the mobile phone market to becoming a truly mass-market proposition. The greater availability of smart phones at lower price points has helped tremendously, but there has been a driving trend of increasing consumer appetite for Internet browsing, content consumption and engaging with apps and services on mobile devices.”

However, Canalys expects to see smart phone market growth slow in 2012 as vendors exercise greater cost control and discipline, and put more focus on profitability. Notably, even vendors who have focused on conquering the low-end of the market with aggressive pricing, such as Huawei, ZTE and LG, are now placing greater attention on the higher tiers. Flagship models aimed at raising selling prices and improving margins will feature more heavily this year.

Apple’s impressive end to the year resulted in it becoming the leading smart phone and client PC vendor in Q4 2011, with shipments of 37.0 million iPhones, 15.4 million iPads and 5.2 million Macs. It also smashed the record for the most smart phones shipped globally by any single vendor in one quarter, beating Nokia’s previous record of 28.3 million shipped in Q4 2010. Moreover, Apple’s performance meant that it displaced Nokia, for the first time, as the leading smart phone vendor by annual shipments. Apple shipped 93.1 million iPhones in 2011, representing growth of 96% over 2010. The iPhone 4S benefitted from pent-up demand resulting from the launch coming in October rather than June, but Apple’s overall volume was also buoyed by continued shipments of the now more aggressively priced iPhone 4 and 3GS models.

Samsung also finished 2011 with a flourish. It shipped 35.3 million smart phones in Q4 2011 under its own brand, bringing its total to 91.9 million for the year, compared to just 24.9 million in 2010. This excludes shipments of rebranded products, such as the Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus, which Canalys counts under the Google brand. Samsung continued to spend big on marketing activities, and its strong product portfolio – particularly the Android-based Galaxy S II – performed well.

Despite a disappointing set of financial results, Nokia’s smart phone performance in the fourth quarter gave cause for optimism. It shipped 19.6 million smart phones, down 31% from the record high of a year earlier, but up 17% on Q3 2011. The total was helped by 1.2 million and 0.6 million shipments of its Windows Phone and MeeGo-based products respectively, as well as improved Symbian Belle volumes from competitively priced devices such as the Nokia 500, 700 and 701. Its total smart phone shipments for the year came in at 77.3 million globally.

“Its first Windows Phone products, the Lumia 800 and 710, along with the recently announced Lumia 900 through AT&T in the US, have improved the outlook for Nokia,” said Canalys Senior Analyst, Tim Shepherd. “They are well-designed, competitive devices that demonstrate innovation is still alive within Nokia. But the battle is not over and it has huge challenges ahead. Nokia must continue to build out its Lumia portfolio with devices tailored to address all price points and all the markets in which it aims to compete. It must hasten its transition from Symbian to Windows Phone around the world and, with Microsoft, promote and generate excitement for the platform and new products. And it must succeed in attracting more developers to build high quality, locally relevant apps.”

RIM’s demise in 2011 has been over played by some, with the company ending the year as the fourth largest smart phone vendor and delivering annual unit growth of 5%. “There is no denying that RIM has had a tough year,” said Canalys Principal Analyst, Pete Cunningham. “But when you consider that it is transitioning to a new platform it has done well to increase volume while remaining profitable; the latter point being something that many other vendors struggle with. The appointment of Thorsten Heins as CEO will bring new energy to the company while ensuring that it does not radically deviate from its overall strategy in this transitional year. However, 2012 will become even more competitive and RIM needs BlackBerry 10 devices out there to ensure it retains its status as a major player.”

At a platform level, Android accounted for 52% of global smart phones shipments in Q4 2011, with iOS representing 23% and Symbian 12%. Android was also the leading smart phone platform by volume for the whole year, accounting for 49% of all devices shipped in 2011 and ahead of iOS with 19% share and Symbian with 16%. Collectively, Android smart phone shipments grew 149% year on year in Q4 2011 to 81.9 million units, resulting in a total of 237.8 million for the full year, up 244% on 2010. Samsung’s success and focus on Android have contributed substantially to the growth of the platform, but other vendors, such as Sony Ericsson, Huawei, Motorola, LG and particularly HTC, have also seen significant growth in their Android volumes over the course of 2011.

Canalys analysts in Asia Pacific, the Americas and EMEA are available for press interviews on topics related to all mobile devices and the client PC market, as well as the growing ecosystem for mobile applications and services. There will also be a significant Canalys analyst presence at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona from 26 to 29 February 2012. ... ###

>> Apple Storms Past HP to Lead Global PC Market

120 Million PCs shipped Globally in Q4 2011, Up 16% Year-on-Year

Canalys Press Release
Palo Alto, Shanghai, Singapore and Reading UK
30 January 2012

Canalys today announced that Apple, after reporting stellar results, became the leading worldwide client PC vendor in Q4 2011. Apple shipped over 15 million iPads and five million Macs, representing 17% of the total 120 million client PCs shipped globally in Q4. Overall, the total client PC market, including desktops, netbooks, notebooks, and pads grew 16% year-on-year. Excluding pads, the client PC market declined 0.4%. The floods in Thailand, that impacted hard drive assembly plants, caused mild disruption to shipments during the quarter, but the side effects are likely to be felt in the first half of 2012.

Among the other top five PC vendors, only Lenovo managed to increase its market share, by a relatively modest two points, compared to Apple’s six-point gain over the same quarter a year ago. Acer, Dell and HP – the hardest hit – all lost market share. Now the second largest client PC vendor worldwide, HP will struggle to compete with Apple following the end of its Touchpad.

“Currently, HP is pursuing a Windows strategy for its pad portfolio, producing enterprise-focused products, such as the recently launched Slate 2, until the launch of Windows 8,” said Canalys Analyst Tim Coulling. “However, questions remain over Microsoft’s entry into the consumer pad space. While early demonstrations of the Window 8 operating system seem promising, Microsoft must focus its efforts on creating an intuitive user experience that is far less resource intensive.”

Lenovo continued to close the gap on HP, thanks to successful investment outside of core markets. The acquisition of Medion in Germany helped Lenovo double its shipments in Western Europe during the second half of 2011. The vendor’s decision to use Android for enterprise and consumer pads gives it a better opportunity than HP to continue gaining market share.

Dell placed fourth among the top five PC vendors, followed by Acer. Acer’s shipments continued to decline, as a result of the pad’s impact on the netbook market. It did, however, make headlines at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in January, when it revealed its S5 Ultrabook. Unsurprisingly, Acer and other vendors have been quick to announce their support for the new Ultrabook form factor, with the view of driving innovation and renewed customer interest in notebooks.

“We expect Ultrabook volumes to see limited adoption through the first half of 2012, before finally gaining momentum later in the year as price points decline and Intel launches a new line of processors and embarks on an aggressive marketing campaign,” said Canalys Research Analyst Michael Kauh. “In the short term though, vendors will experience more pressure in the netbook and notebook segments, especially with Apple’s annual iPad refresh approaching.”

Pads accounted for 22% of total PC shipments during Q4 2011. In addition to Apple’s strong performance, the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet by Barnes and Noble boosted volumes in the U.S. market, allowing both vendors to claim spots among the top five worldwide pad makers, in second and fifth place respectively.

All regions grew year-on-year with the inclusion of pads. Excluding pads, however, shipments in Europe, Middle East and Africa and North America declined, due to weaker consumer demand in Western Europe and the United States, despite the traditional Q4 sales periods. Vendors and channel partners took a cautious approach to inventory levels in Q4, as many had expected a slow quarter. Notebook volumes grew slightly, at approximately 1% in these regions, but continued their impressive rise in Asia Pacific and Latin America, as more consumers embraced mobile computing.

“The consumerization of IT continues to be a significant disruptive force in the PC industry, but many of the leading vendors have failed to capitalize on the trend to date,” said Coulling. “This year will be a pivotal year for those vendors that were slow to launch pads. It is not just the product that they need to get right, business models are equally important - driving revenues from content delivery can help vendors reach lower price points in a market that is incredibly price sensitive.”

About Canalys

Canalys delivers smart market insights to IT, channel, and service provider professionals around the world. Our customer-driven analysis and consulting services empower businesses to make informed decisions and generate sales. We stake our reputation on the quality of our data, our innovative use of technology, and our high level of customer service. ###

- Eric -

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To: Eric L who wrote (1270)2/7/2012 1:55:50 PM
From: zax
   of 1647
Don't know if you've got it bookmarked, Eric, but I'm generally posting stuff specific about Windows 8 to a new board that FUBHO started not too long ago...

Tuesday, February 07, 2012
Windows 8 Secrets: WinRT, the Windows Runtime
Subject 58172

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