Samsung has taken a dramatic step today towards world domination and the death of SMS by announcing an intriguing mobile cross-platform instant messaging service called ChatON. Similar to RIM's BlackBerry Messenger and Apple's iMessage, ChatON will be Samsung's foray into the global mobile communications service connecting all major smartphones and feature phone platforms. There will even be a web client to facilitate conversations between mobile devices and PCs. Furthermore, according to the press release, ChatON will allow users to share text, images, hand-written notes and videos. Feature phones will have a basic app that will enable users to share text, pictures, calendar, contacts, and emotions.
In case you thought Android's extremely fast-paced growth was being exaggerated, comScore's latest report on mobile market share might just convince you otherwise: From December 2010 to March 2011, Android not only kept its first place position among mobile platforms in the US, but it shot up 6 percentage points - far greater than all other platforms.
In fact, the only other platform that had growth was - predictably - iOS, with a 0.5 point increase. RIM, despite holding second place, dropped a staggering 4.5 points, while Microsoft and Palm both fell by 0.9 points. The gap between Android and second placed RIM is now at over 7 points, and is continuing to grow.
It's no secret that RIM (Research In Motion) has been dipping their figurative toes in the Android water lately, and it looks like running Android apps on the Blackberry Playbook was just the beginning. RIM plans to bring Blackberry Enterprise Solution to both Android and iOS, further helping businesses manage their wireless infrastructure and security.
Once it's released, network administrators will be able to handle a lot of the mobile grind remotely - everything from activation and software updates, to resetting passwords and wiping devices - all over the air. This will be a big win across the board in corporate environments, as we all know that Blackberry is renowned for its tight security.
NielsenWire has released yet another one of their bar and pie chart-filled smartphone surveys for the US this morning, and it's just more good news for Android. Here's a quick breakdown of some of the key stats Nielsen compiled:
- Android now represents 37% of all US smartphones
- 50% of smartphones sold in the month of March were Android phones
- 31% of consumers said their next purchase will be an Android phone, compared to 26% one year ago. Android now leads iOS here as well (iOS accounts for 30%, down from 33%)
- 20% of consumers don't know which OS their next smartphone will run
Another interesting tidbit the survey revealed is that Blackberry has finally dropped to third place in all three of the comparisons Nielsen publishes (future purchases, March purchases, total market share).
Some combinations are as natural as peanut butter and jelly - Avatar & 3D, Apple & dictatorship, and Conan O'Brien & late-night comedy, to name a few. But are Android apps and the BlackBerry PlayBook also such a sweet match? If you ask RIM, the answer is a firm, definitive "yes."
The BlackBerry maker just confirmed the age-old rumors - it's announced that the upcoming QNX-based PlayBook tablet will support Android apps. There are, however, certain limitations - while the process doesn't sound overly complicated, developers of existing Android apps will need to put some work in to porting their software over, namely "repackaging, code signing, and submitting" it to the BlackBerry App World.
About 2 weeks ago, BGR broke the rumor of RIM's upcoming tablet, the BlackBerry PlayBook, possibly being capable of running Android apps sometime after launch, which the latest rumors put at the end of March/beginning of April with a price sticker of $499.99. The company was seriously looking into this possibility and was trying to decide whether using the Dalvik virtual machine (the same one Android uses to run its apps) was a viable way to move forward. BGR is usually very credible, so the rumor definitely had legs.
Today, 2 weeks later, Bloomberg revealed that their own sources - in fact, 3 of them - have confirmed that RIM is indeed moving in the direction BGR predicted.
According to Don Kellogg from the Nielsen Company, 31% of all mobile phone users in the U.S. own some type of a smartphone. More interestingly, it appears that the race for market share in the U.S. by the leading smartphone platforms - Android, iOS and BlackBerry - is in a dead heat.
We have already learnt from analysts at Canalys that shipments of Android-based smartphones globally commanded a 32.9% share of the market, followed by devices running Nokia's Symbian OS at 30.6%, Apple's iPhone OS at 16%, and RIM's BlackBerry OS at 14.4%. Nielsen's report today shows that RIM and Apple are still fairly popular in the US, being on equal terms with Android in terms of market share.
And with that, we solidly conclude that Android truly has visited 99% of the mobile form factors out there. That's right, people, the Motorola Droid Pro has arrived in the Android Police offices, and after spending the last week or so with it, I can tell you - with a straight face, nonetheless - that RIM's got serious competition here. The handset isn't exactly all that and a piece of cake, but it's definitely up there, at least for enterprise customers. Read on for the full, unbiased Android Police review to find out what makes it so special.
Before I proceed with the review, let's recap the Droid Pro's specs:
You can view our unboxing and first impressions of the Droid Pro over here or skip over to the specs to help you make your decision:
- CDMA/GSM/UMTS bands
- HVGA 320×480 3.1" capacitive display with medium pixel density (160dpi)
- TI OMAP 3620 1GHz CPU
- 512 MB RAM
- 2GB ROM
- 1GB built-in storage
- 5MP dual LED flash with auto focus
- 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
- candybar form factor with a full QWERTY keyboard
- Android 2.2
- 1420 mAh battery
Get Your Hands On One
If you want to buy the Pro directly from Verizon Wireless, you're going to be faced with $280 + taxes - a $100 mail-in rebate, which, in my opinion, is a very sub-par option.
Millennial Media, one of the largest mobile advertisers in the US, has released their August MobileMix. Based on their ad impressions, they estimate that Android now commands 26% of the Smartphone market - up 7% month-over-month. If accurate, that puts Android 7% ahead of RIM - but still 22% short of iOS.
Other tidbits: smartphone impressions gained 3% in the last month, up to 51%. The original Motorola Droid surprisingly still holds 9.44% of the market as the second most popular phone (obviously, the iPhone is first); based largely on the success of the Droid, Motorola is now the third largest device manufacturer.