Today, Facebook announced the Facebook Home suite that we've been hearing so much about. Well, to be more accurate, we've been hearing that Facebook is going to build its own phone and fork Android and create its own special social OS and that it would be the end of Google and that civilization will crash around us and we'll all wear monkey pelts and "Like" statuses by hurling spears through our enemies.
comScore just dropped some new U.S. market share numbers on us and if you like drama, you're going to love this one. According to the analytics company, for the three month period ending in February 2013, Android's share actually dropped 2%, while Apple's rose 3.9%. Before you panic, though, no, this isn't the end of the world.
Since comScore actually gives us the total number of smartphone subscribers in the country (by its count), we can use that percentage to get an idea of just how many total users a platform gained or lost.
It's time for us to come clean. We've been collectively living a lie, Android fans. Hiding our deepest desires and hoping they go away. Praying that maybe, Duarte willing, that we'll get something that's close enough that we'll be satisfied. But no more! Today, we shed the façade and embrace the truth: all we really want is a clean, simple UI that's not cluttered by drawers, widgets, or icons in shapes other than rounded squares.
Google has announced a new initiative today that might, if we're lucky, slowly lead to some meaningful changes in how patent litigation is approached. Or, alternatively, make it easier to highlight the jerks who are ruining it for everyone. The Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge gives would-be inventors a pool of patents that Google promises to never sue anyone over, "unless first attacked." That last part is where eyebrows go up, though.
International trademark, patent, and copyright law is a bit of a legal minefield, and Apple has proven itself to be among the best in navigating it these last few years. But there is one exception to their otherwise impressive track record: the lucrative South American market of Brazil. While Apple iPhones have been sold in the country for years, Apple has never owned the trademark for the name. A regional phone manufacturer, Gradiente Eletronica, registered the trademark for "iphone" way back in 2000.
It's hard to argue that Google hasn't been a significantly different company under Larry Page's leadership. If nothing else, it has certainly become more directly competitive. Mountain View has generally (though not always ) preferred to be passive in its approach to other companies, allowing the product to speak for itself (whether for good or ill), rather than outright antagonize others. Apparently all that reservation was just saving up for when Page would take the helm and let the zingers fly.
I miss you, HTC. My Evo was the first phone I ever truly loved, and between 2007 and 2010, as a company you did remarkably well for yourself. Then the Thunderbolt happened, and then Beats got involved and... Well, let's just say it hasn't been a great couple years. So, when I hear that your CEO, Peter Chou, is planning some bold new changes for 2013, I'm hopeful. Skeptical, but hopeful.
While Google's been working feverishly to build out its Play Store, bringing it to other countries and expanding its offerings, the company's music store has been lacking one crucial feature that its competitors have: library matching. Where Amazon and iTunes can scan your current collection and add the songs to your online storage, Google has, until recently, required users to upload every individual track manually. A long and tedious process. In mid-November, the scan and match feature came out for Europe, and today it arrives for US residents.