Thursday, 25 September 2014

SYNAPSE CIRCUIT ANDROID TALK 2 FROM HERE

Above: The Motorola Moto G 2014
SYNAPSE CIRCUIT 
ANDROID TALK 2:
WHERE CAN THE MAJOR PLAYERS GO FROM HERE?


Goodhour, Synapse Circuit Readers! How are you doing? As always I hope that all is well with you and yours! I also hope that you are making the most of your tech and getting into some awesome projects! I am hoping to get some tutorials going... Watch this space!

Well, it’s no secret that the major Android players are experiencing some turbulence to put it mildly! Is there a way out of it? Hmmmm...

#Android #Google #Samsung #Sony #HTC #LG


VIRULENT

The Android One has been deployed and will enter markets that the iPhone cannot. 

That’s my favourite word to describe the phenomena of Android, “virulent”. And there it goes conquering the rest of the world such as India with the Android One handset! Back home the game is ablaze with cost effective powerful handsets that are pretty amazing! The Motorola Moto G 4G is certainly one of them! Hmmmm... The 2014 Moto G hasn’t got 4G and I can only assume that the 4G version will come out later on this year! Anyway, in addition to the Moto G there are other options from Chinese based manufacturers such as ZTE and the Blade L2 that retails at £89.99 sporting a quad-core processor and 5MP main camera! It could be the perfect handset for the less demanding user!

Although there are many inexpensive sub £100 handsets (and tablets) these days I would like to think  that some lessons have been learned from:-

Manufacturers: In the past manufacturers have put out cheap Android handsets (and tablets) that couldn’t hold many apps to make the experience worthwhile.

Retailers / Sales People: Either sales people genuinely thought that major apps were able to run from the microSD card or they just wanted to make a quick buck! Either way that is absolute CRAP!!! When consumers ask for information they ought not to be given complete and utter misinformation bull****!

Consumers: Consumers, back then, say 3 years ago, seemed unwilling to educate themselves. They either felt as though such technology was beyond their knowledge or so lazy that they’d believe the words that come out of a retailers mouth only to discover the complete opposite hours later, “Blue!!! I can’t install WhatApp!!! I get a message that says, ‘Insufficient Storage’...” If only they had paid attention! I give them great, exacting advice (if I do say so myself) and some idiot sales person goes and messes with their heads! I guess some must learn the hard way! I know I did! And I try to give my knowledge to those who seek it!

This leads me to the next question...

...WHERE ARE THE MAJOR ANDROID PLAYERS GOING WRONG?
First off, forget about Apple and the iPhone for a moment... We’ll come back to it later!

Sony has just announced a loss of a $.1.1 Billion in revenue and, at least to me, it is not really surprising! Let me tell you about my experience when I went looking for an inexpensive handset...

As you may or may not know, I sometimes review handsets and at one time I had so many to review that it made sense to take out a small minimal SIM only contract so that I may test without disturbing the set-ups of my main handsets. Sometimes it gets quiet where handsets are concerned and so I set about filling the gap with an inexpensive Android handset.

I tried the ZTE Blade and hated it after a few days! In fact the biggest barrier that tells you about the cost effective handset is post update. Once you boot up a new handset you could be presented with a system and preinstalled apps upgrade. This function can render a handset useless as the apps become too heavy for the inadequate hardware. Then there is the subject of storage space... Storage space evaporates on these cheap handsets as you are usually given 4GB! Anyhoo!

I then looked at some budget Sony handsets and there were quite a few of them so many that I just had to abandon my search with them (Sony). To be honest the handsets were all much of a muchness: cheap, the absolute minimal hardware i.e. 1 point odd dual-core CPU, 512MB RAM and 2 to 4GB storage with a microSD card slot... This is just from memory so don’t be in a rush to shoot me down as I know that some of you are very exacting to the point of being obsessive! The point is that after looking at so many low-end Sony models it gave me a headache and I had to scratch them off my list! In the end I settled for the LG L3 model that is now doing nothing as I have upgraded since then! So, if I was able to see that these cheap Sony models were quite frankly a load of crap then so must many others. This, I think, where a lot of the $1.1 Billion went! And if I am correct in my assumption it doesn’t quite make sense given that they (again I am assuming) must work closely with Google. Sony, Samsung, HTC, etc must surely know Google’s plans to release a cost effective handset that is what I would say is the equivalent of the basic (is there any other?) iPhone! And this is why the iPhone business model works for non-MAC computer users: It’s simple! Yes, that’s it folks! With the iPhone you get a standard 16GB version that currently retails at £539, 64GB is £619 and 128GB is £699! Stop laughing! Please! Please stop laughing! If people want to spend real money on these things it’s up to them! Bwahahahahaha! Sorry! Of course one can get it on contract with an upfront cost of £99 (I think)... Not me! Hey! Wait a minute! I think the standard should now be 32GB as standard!

This simple choice does not confuse the consumer and because its great introduction to the world by the enigmatic megalomaniac Bond villanesque Steve Jobs (in The Galaxy Note Is More Than Enough)! The iPhone introduction is certainly more memorable than baby George of Prince William and what’s her name again? Ah, Kate! Princess Kate! As a result when the non-MAC computer person thinks “smartphone” the iPhone is probably the first that comes to mind followed by Samsung’s Galaxy range! Sure, the balance is changing as consumers become their own investigators but by and large many non-MAC computer folk tend to go for an iPhone because the choice is very, very simple. Apple has played on that to great effect and it doesn’t help that the tech media (and media in general) is biased towards the iPhone. I have exposed this countless times and it continues even now! Check out this article if you haven’t read it before to understand how the media brainwashes those who aren’t willing to think for themselves: iBRAINWASHED

To be fair the iPhone works remarkably well and is simple enough for most folk to get to grips with. Whereas the Android handset, in comparison, can literally bewilder some folk with the dazzling array of customization options! I have even read the comment of one person who buckled under the Android freedom of choice pressure and went iPhone! Hahahaha! It is true! When I first got stuck into my first real Android handset, the Galaxy S1, I spent most of my time customizing the way it looked!

Let me explain what iPhone users call “premium”...

PREMIUM iPHONE
Yes, yes, yes... The aluminium casing gives the impression of affluence and its small form can be likened to a jewel in the affectionate eyes of iPhone lovers around the world... A gigantic, gigantic, big, big love indeed! And for something that was once quite small in comparison to many Android handsets! Gosh! Golly!

1. 16GB as standard when it comes to storage; I don’t think that the non-technical non-MAC computer person takes that into consideration until a sales person tries his or her hardest to squeeze a bit more money out of the non-suspecting consumer wishing to participate in the smartphone experience. 16GB as a standard will ensure that the user will not quickly run out of space to run what I call the base apps: YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Viber, LINE and lately (Facebook) Messenger. Oh, not forgetting push email!

And in the case of budget conscious folk opting for a low-end Android they think that they’d be able to run the base apps as mentioned above... WRONG!!!!

2. The operating system is snappy and it leads folk into the iTunes ecosystem; iOS is practically iTunes – if you get what I mean. The App Store is full of goodies for everyone!
Then you look over to Android... Remember, we are looking through the eyes of someone not well versed on tech! Such nontechnical folk do not really understand the difference between a low-end Android handset to the iPhone and to high-end Android! Way, way back a friend of mine wanted to get a smartphone and she was thinking about the first ever Galaxy Ace; I warned her against it as it was not powerful and the storage was not good. I recommended that she take out a contract on the Galaxy S2 (I think)... You can lead a horse to water ‘n’ all... To cut a long story short she went for the Galaxy Ace and less than a week later she complained that she couldn’t store many of the base apps. It was either Facebook or WhatsApp!

So, to the non-MAC computer oriented consumer they think of the iPhone as a “premium” handset. Some of the same people do not wish to shell out an upfront payment for it and that’s where Samsung’s Galaxy S and Note range comes in followed by other manufacturers such as HTC, LG, Sony, etc. The fast learners soon discover that the high-end Android handset offers greater premiums:-

1. A more responsive Android experience as the hardware really shifts the operating system and apps!

2. Additional storage through microSD; when you have such a great camera (mostly) you just want to use it to the full without a “memory full” message.

3.  A big screen whereby video and web surfing is a pleasure and due to the increasingly slim bezels the Android handset is still comfortable to hold.

4. Because the Android handset is usually made of polycarbonate it makes for a greater resilience to scratches, scuffs and dents. I know... I know... iPhone users can’t understand this concept. <Sighs> Me? Polycarbonate over metal any day as my Galaxy S1, 2 and 4 plus the Note 2 look exactly how they did when I opened the box! I think this is remarkable! My nephew’s iPhone 5S looks worn already with dents and scratches; it’s not even a year old!

THE ANDROID TAKEOVER
You’ve got to hand it to Google... Google Motorola to be precise that today’s “premium” base Android handset, the Moto G 4G, can be had for £150! Here’s some quick spec:-

Android 4.4 KitKat
4.5 inch HD touchscreen
Quad-core 1.2 GHz
8GB phone storage
5MP camera
MicroSD slot, up to 32GB extra storage
2070 mAh battery capacity

Yes, compared to the iPhone there are some sacrifices i.e. the aluminium and camera but if you just use your handset to post pictures to your social networks you do not really need much more than 5MP. At least you can pay cash for it if need be! And on contract it’ll be around the £13 ballpark depending on the network provider, minutes, texts and data options. There again, it is easily possible to get the Moto G 4G SIM free and get a better SIM only deal that can include unlimited data and texts, for example, for under £20 per month!

So, what must the major Android players do now?

REDEFINE & MINIMISE

The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is the Android champion that ought to clean up this year! It should do much better than the Note 3! 


In my most humble opinion I think that it’s important to cut the “low-end” out unless handsets can have at least the following as standard:-

1. 2GB RAM

2. 1.2 quad-core CPU

3. 8GB internal storage

Putting many low-end handsets on the market by today’s standards is pointless – at least for my tastes and needs!

The above, to me, should be the standard for the low-end budget market. Items like the screen size and resolution is debatable as one shouldn’t be expecting too much! The camera should easily be 5MP to 8MP going up on a pricing scale i.e. from £70 to £90. Then from there we get a mid-range handset that is very much the Moto G 3G and 4G. As the high-end is now dominated by an influx of Chinese based manufacturers the major Android players ought to leave it alone and concentrate on making these exceptional premium Android handsets such as the superlative Galaxy Note 4!

APPLICATION DEVELOPMENT
I reckon the major Android players are missing out on the lucrative market of app development. Sure, it is quite easy to pick up pirate apps through a few sources but I would like to think that the majority of us will pay a fair price for exceptional applications that can keep us away from the desk and laptops!

The Android market has loyal Samsung, LG, Sony and LG followers and I am quite sure that if they made their apps available on the Google Play Store people will purchase these apps because of the brand reputations. I envisage a free version of let’s say a video editing app, for example, and to get premium benefits such as fade effects, audio cleaning effects one could purchase a premium version. There are over a billion Android activations and the move for the major players (and others) to focus on creative quality apps could see not only great profits but the enhancement of the Android experience. This is happening already but I want to see more! I believe that Samsung kicked things off with the Galaxy Note Premium applications made only for the device. HTC have made its video editing app available on the Google Play Store and I have yet to try it. We have these great super-phones but we could do with stronger apps! At the moment I am getting some music composition joy from Caustic and G-Stomper Studio with the hope of many more apps to come to the Google Play Store market! I want to see strong apps for:-

1. Video Editing / Creation; we have 4K video recording capabilities and so it is about time we had a hardcore video editing app.

2. Publishing Apps / eBook Creation; we’ve gone digital. I rarely buy books anymore – unless I really have to and the price is right. Yes, I save on battery power when flicking through a book. But I have practically stopped buying magazines now as I have access to great apps such as Flipboard and Pulse. In addition many publications put out a lot of info on social networks. Oh, the free newspapers make for covering the floor when painting the walls!

What else?

3. Web Design; I spend a lot of time surfing the web on my handsets and newly bought tablet these days. But it’s not the mobile version – it’s the proper website. But if Google wants web designers to make websites act like an app I think we need to start creating websites on our mobile devices.

Look, I don’t know about you but I get tired of seeing these boring corporate looking sites that has come about through the great use of template oriented software and online facilities. I like sites that have a character about them and such an app can have people having a go because it is easy!

4. Photo Editing / Manipulation; move over Adobe! With these awesome cameras on the premium superphones from Samsung, Sony and LG and then the high-end premium handsets from China we need some great photo editing / manipulation software that can output print quality documents i.e. if one wanted to print a greetings card, etc at a print bureau.

5. Drawing / Illustration; with the S Pen and some Android tablets coming with a stylus I think a strong print quality drawing / illustration app is overdue! Let’s have it!

There you go! What do you reckon? Can you think of more apps? 64-bit Android is on the way! Let's get some great use out of it!

That’s something to think about!

THANKS FOR READING...

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