Just over one month after crossing the 40,000 app-submission threshold, Microsoft’s Windows Phone Marketplace has hit another milestone: 50,000. According to analyses done by All About Windows Phone, the Taj Mahal of tiles has seen developers submit just over 50,000 applications for review — 42,655 of which are currently available in the United States. What may be more telling is the rate at which developers are submitting their wares. Over 17,000 apps have been submitted to the Marketplace in the last 90-days from over 13,000 different publishers (an average of 265 per day). With Apple’s iOS App Store and Google’s Android Market sitting firmly atop the mobile-app-ecosystem totem pole, Microsoft is looking to close the gap and put distance between itself and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry App World. Hopefully, the gang from Redmond can keep the positive momentum going through 2012… even with its next major mobile OS revision being a minor one.
Ne abbiamo parlato questa mattina ed ecco che arriva per tutti l’aggiornamento Google Maps 5.11, ultimissima versione del navigatore Android. I cambiamenti sono minimi e vedono una leggera rivisitazione dei tasti di zoom a livello estetico, un minor peso in MB dell’applicazione e altre piccole differenze a livello di layout.
During a sitdown with reporters yesterday, NVIDIA Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang discussed his company’s near- and long-term financial outlook, while providing some insight into the chipmaker’s quad-core future. According to Huang, NVIDIA expects to rake in between $4.7 and $5 billion in revenue during fiscal year 2013, with revenue from its mobile chip unit projected to mushroom tenfold by 2015, to a whopping $20 billion. Huang acknowledged that these predictions could be affected by external factors, including the ongoing patent wars between tablet and smartphone manufacturers, but didn’t seem too concerned about their immediate impact. “At this point, it looks like it’s much ado about nothing,” he said. In fact, Huang foresees rather robust growth in the mobile processing sector, estimating that there are about 100 million devices that will need chips this year — a figure that could soon rise to one billion, on the strength of more affordable handsets, efficient ARM processors and the rise of ultra-thin notebooks. And, despite his recent disappointment, Huang expects Android tablets to comprise a full 50 percent of the market in the near future, claiming that NVIDIA’s Tegra chips can currently be found in 70 percent of all slates running Google’s OS, and about half of all Android-based smartphones.
In the short-term, meanwhile, NVIDIA is busy developing its quad-core mobile processors — which, according to the exec, should appear in tablets during the third or fourth quarter of this year (quad-core smartphones, however, may be further down the road). Huang also sees room to develop wireless-enabled, Snapdragon-like processors, thanks to NVIDIA’s recent acquisition of Icera, but he hasn’t given up on GPUs, either, predicting that demand for graphics performance will remain stable. The loquacious CEO went on to divine that Windows 8 will support apps designed for Windows 7 (implying, perhaps, that Microsoft’s Silverlight platform will play a major role in future cloud-based developments), while contending that smaller, “clamshell devices” with keyboards will ultimately win out of over the Ultrabook strategy that Intel has been pursuing. For the moment, though, Huang seems pretty comfortable with NVIDIA’s position in the mobile processing market, citing only Qualcommas primary competition. “We’re the only people seriously on the dance floor with Qualcomm,” he argued, adding that companies without a solid mobile strategy are “in deep turd.” You can find more of Huang’s insights at the source links below.
We make our own truth. That’s how IDC can come up with roughly the same numbers as fellow research firm Canalys and crown Apple the king, when its rival called Android top dog — it’s all about how you slice it. See, where as Canalys bundled all Android handset makers together, IDC has broken them up, which leads to a rather interesting twist — the largest smartphone maker in the world is now Apple. Cupertino’s growth of 141.7-percent in shipments year over year was enough to push it past Nokia (which slipped to number three) and Samsung (which climbed two spots to take the silver medal), while RIM and HTC rounded out the top five. That being said, no one is running away with the lead here, and Sammy’s continued stratospheric rise should keep Apple on guard.
Intel may still be king of the microprocessing hill, but from the looks of IDC’s latest market report, scrappy underdog AMD is starting to claim more of the $9.5 billion dollar pie. The semiconductor stalwarts faced off in four separate market categories with runner-up AMD seeing gains in all, save for servers where its paltry 5.5 percent share dropped 0.6 percent versus Intel’s commanding 94.5 percent lead. The Q2 2011 report pegged Intel’s overall worldwide share at 79.3 percent, a 1.5 percent decrease from the previous quarter, while AMD saw a 1.5 percent increase to 20.4 percent. For the mobile PC realm, Intel once again saw a decline as its 84.4 percent share took a 1.9 percent quarter to quarter tumble, with AMD again seeing a nearly 2 percent gain in its 15.2 percent stake. In the desktop PC segment, AMD grabbed an additional 1.5 percent, bringing its stake to 28.9 percent, with Intel’s 70.9 percent share dropping 1.5 percent versus Q1 2011. Wondering where the second place chip maker got its second quarter stride? According to the research firm, its new Fusion platform, along with Intel’s Sandy Bridge, now accounts for “more than 60% of total PC processor unit volume in 2Q11.” You paying attention, Sandy? It’s time to sleep with one eye open.
We’re no strangers to SwiftKey here at Engadget HQ, and today TouchType is launching a major new version of everyone’s favorite Android virtual keyboard — SwiftKey Tablet X for devices running Honeycomb, and SwiftKey X for devices running Android 2.x. Both applications improve upon the original by using TouchType’s Fluency 2.0 artificial intelligence engine, a unique predictive phrase system which learns how you write. New features include cloud learning, which analyzes how you type in Gmail, Twitter, Facebook, and text messages to predict phrases in your style, plus keypress technology which continually monitors your typing precision and adapts the touch-sensitive area for each key to improve prediction accuracy. SwiftKey now supports 17 languages (with more coming soon) and is smart enough to interpret three languages at once. There’s also a handful of other enhancements, including support for themes which allow users to customize the look and feel of the keyboard. And that split keyboard option we first encountered at CES? It’s there of course, in the tablet version.
We’ve been testing SwiftKey Tablet X on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 for a few days now, alongside SwiftKey X on a handful of phones (including the Nexus S and the EVO 3D), and it’s probably the best virtual keyboard we’ve used on Android yet. In fact, it’s now replacing the stock keyboard on all our HTC Sense-equipped handsets. Prediction accuracy improves quickly after you start using the keyboard, and we liked having the option to turn off the spacebar-triggered auto-completion of words and phrases. Another useful feature is the ability to display arrow / cursor keys on the phone version. The supplied themes are attractive (especially Neon), and the layouts are intuitive — although we’d have preferred the numbers to be arranged in a row instead of mimicking a numpad. Both applications are available today only for $1.99 in the Android Market. Regular pricing is $4.99 for SwiftKey Tablet X, and $3.99 for SwiftKey X. Take a look at our screenshot galleries below, and hit the break for our hands-on videos and more.
If you’re on Android 2.2 or above get ready for an update to your Android Market experience. Google has just informed us that a new version of the app is incoming, a version that will add tabs for easy access to Google Books and Movies. Starting with the more visual purchases, at $1.99 you’ll be able to start watching movies almost instantly, and apparently see whether Chevy Chase will ever take his family on a successful vacation. But, if offline access is key, you’ll also be able to download the misadventures of the Griswold family for later viewing. Books is now integrated too, saving you the hassle of having to launch the books app, which required you to then open the browser to actually buy any digital tomes. Overall the new design looks cleaner, finger-friendlier, and the addition of Editor’s Choice apps should make it easier than ever to get to the good stuff. The update will be rolling out gradually over the next several weeks and, once you’ve been admitted to the club, you’ll be able to download the Videos app as well. Check out the video preview after the break.
Google’s legal woes are piling up in a hurry. French search engine 1PlusV is suing El Goog over alleged anti-competitive practices, less than a week after the Federal Trade Commission opened a formal inquiry into similar accusations levied stateside. The suit, set to be filed in a Paris court this week, claims that Google uses its market dominance to bury rival search results while unfairly promoting those for its own services. According to 1PlusV, Google “black-listed” 30 of its vertical search engines between 2007 and 2010, making it difficult for the firm to compete. The company is also complaining about having to adopt Mountain View’s technology in order to use AdSense and, in total, is seeking €295 million (about $418 million) in damages — the largest damage claim Google has ever faced in Europe. 1PlusV operates the legal search group EJustice.fr and, along with Microsoft, helped spur an EU antitrust probeagainst Google last year. The company says its forthcoming lawsuit represents the “logical” next step in its ongoing antitrust crusade, while Google issued a brief statement, saying it “look[s] forward to explaining this.”
Ideally, we’d do our smartphone software shopping free from the specter of malicious apps masquerading as useful ones. This past weekend, however, 26 apps in the Android Market were discovered to be packing pernicious code called Droid Dream Light. Apparently, the dastardly devs who made the malware took existing apps and modified them to send details (including IMEI and IMSI info) about the infected handset to a remote server upon receiving a call. The code can also download and cue new package installations, but it needs user approval to do so. Google promptly pulled the offending apps, but their appearance serves as another reminder to be careful when downloading software on your smartphone — prudence demands minding your app permissions, lest your little green bot start stealing your personal info.
Nokia once said that going with Android was like “peeing in your pants” for temporary warmth. Well, even if that warmth doesn’t last forever, it has now helped one of its upstart competitors, HTC, to rise beyond Nokia in terms of market valuation. This is a somewhat beguiling metric to compare companies by — market cap measures the value of a company’s shares available on the market, and not every company has the same proportion of its overall value available in stocks — but it illustrates well the diametrically opposite directions in which the two mobile phone makers are moving. Bloomberg informs us that HTC’s stock has risen by 33 percent this year, while Nokia’s has shrunk by 19 percent. Surpassing Nokia now means HTC is the world’s third most valuable smartphone maker. Of course, neither Nokia nor RIM is sitting idly by and letting the Taiwanese whippersnapper have things its own way, however both companies’ roadmaps for re-conquering the smartphone high-end seem to stretch far off into the 2012 distance. As for HTC, we expect it to launch another Sensation of a device on Tuesday.
We’re sure that the debate of a carefully controlled and curated environment like Apple’s App Store versus a free-for-all like the Android Market will rage on for years to come, but here’s something to chew on: Google just removed some 21 apps from the Market in the last day from a publisher going by Myournet for doing all sorts of naughty things to your device. Offenses include attempting to root your phone, uploading phone information (including IMEI) to who-knows-where, and — most egregiously — adding a backdoor that allows additional code to be pulled down and executed.
At least some of the apps are pirated versions of existing apps that have been re-uploaded at zero cost to the user, which makes them appealing… and the trick apparently works quite well, because the 21 managed to clock over 50,000 downloads before getting taken down. This isn’t the first time malicious apps have shown up on smartphones — far from it — but it’s probably the highest-profile case of a first-party app store being infiltrated by really bad stuff. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that Google was extraordinarily quick to respond once Android Police reported the situation — the site says it took less than five minutes from the time they reached out to the time the apps actually went offline. Still, that’s little consolation if you’ve already installed your “free” copy of Super History Eraser.