A Facebook operating system, and maybe a phone may be looming. The social networking giant sent out invitations late yesterday for an event next Thursday saying ‘Come see our new home on Android.’ Most sources expect the much rumored Facebook operating system, built on Android, but customized for Facebook…with features like news feed updates on the home screen and deep integration of Facebook related apps. They may also roll out a Facebook phone, made for them by HTC. Here’s some food for thought about a Facebook phone. If the so-called ‘deep integration’ is extensive enough, Facebook might be able to read your phone calls and texts to your real, real friends. THAT would give them some very personal and extremely valuable information about you to sell…and don’t forget that for Facebook, like a lot of entities on the web…YOU are the product!
A couple times a year, JD Power and Associates ranks smartphones. The devices are among a number of consumer products they rank. For the 9th consecutive time, Apple leads the pack…the iPhone scored 855 out of 1000, up 6 from last time. Nokia edged out Samsung by 2 points for 2nd place with 795. HTC and Motorola were in hot pursuit at 792 and 790. The average smartphone score was 796. The new Blackberry 10 may help Blackberry raise their score, and they need it…they were in the cellar at 732. Consumers rated performance as most important, followed by design, then features.
They haven’t replaced the venerable living room TV, but more and more, we’re turning to our tablets in addition to the big screen. For years, companies like Apple and Microsoft have been angling to take over….that hasn’t happened, but tablets are grabbing a lot of our attention as we do watch the tube. Ranging from using them as a better remote, digging up more information about a show we’re watching, playing a game, or hunting for something better to watch, the tablets are at least taking over our laps. According to a study just out, 85% of tablet owners in the US use the smaller screen now while watching TV. Maybe the big screen should still be looking over its metaphorical shoulder.
How did we ever get along before companies cooked up cool names for the gadgets they want to sell us? Google is working on a new flagship smartphone through it’s Motorola subsidiary…we heard about this a while back, but now some details are out. The X Phone, as it’s being called, will have a 4.7 inch full HD screen and a 16 megapixel camera, and it will be a bit thinner than the Droid Razr Maxx. No confirmation of the previously rumored flexible display. It will be loaded with the latest Android system, and feature the eye scrolling technology that Samsung is introducing on its Galaxy S-4 this week. Look for Google to roll out the X Phone in May.
This year, smart has finally beaten dumb decisively…at least as far as mobile phones are concerned. This year, smartphones will pass up dumb phones…or feature phones, as the industry euphimistically calls them, according to research company IDC. The combination of falling prices for smartphones, coupled with wider availability of 4G networks are the main drivers. Smartphones will account for a little over half of all mobile phone sales this year, and look to take around two thirds of phone sales by 2017. A great deal of the growth is in China, Brazil, and India. If you connect the dots, this is probably the major reason Apple is expected to introduce a cheaper iPhone this August…although price sensitive US consumers will benefit too.