iPhone, iPad Games, Apps, Reviews, News Sat, 01 Aug 2015 15:00:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Facebook Camera for iPhone Now Available on App Store Sat, 26 May 2012 17:46:43 +0000 Read More]]> On Thursday, Facebook extracted yet another feature from its original iPhone application and made it into its own full fledged application. After releasing Facebook Messenger last August and Facebook Pages earlier in the week, the company released Facebook Camera on Thursday.

The standalone app operates similar to the iPhone camera but has the ability to post the images to Facebook much faster and easier without going through two different applications. The Facebook iOS app could now be used strictly for accessing user’s profiles and posting messages. However, all other forms of interaction can be used much more easily through smoother, and better developed applications.

By releasing Facebook Camera, the company is likely making moves to set up integration with Instagram. Facebook purchased Instagram for $1 billion in April and will probably slowly erase Instagram’s name and use its user base and popular features in the new Camera app. There are currently several features such as commenting and liking the photos in the stream as well a number of filters adopted from Instagram and more may appear in the near future. Facebook developed the app to simplify the task of posting images to a user’s profile, which is a very long process with the normal iOS app.

With the Facebook iOS app, the images do not post properly at all times and sometimes comments and likes do not appear correctly. An app dedicated entirely to photos, comments, and likes will ease some of the issues that users have. Facebook Camera makes perfect sense, and will likely get better once integrated with Instagram in the future. A report published on The Verge elaborated the collaboration of Instagram and Facebook with the following:

The Facebook Camera team has been working on the app for months, and Mark Zuckerberg reportedly kept his desire to purchase Instagram close to the vest, as if he almost impulse-bought it. Had the Instagram deal never occurred, Facebook Camera wouldn’t really be much of an Instagram competitor anyway, lacking any mobile-only social circles and hashtagged sharing around specific topics. “Enhancing the Facebook photos experience on mobile is long overdue,” Facebook’s Derick Mains told me. “We really had to step up our game, and we’re committed to building Instagram independently.

The Facebook Camera is now available for free in the iOS App Store.

{via MacRumors}

]]> 4 Android and iPhone Alone Make Up Majority of U.S Smartphone Market Sun, 22 Apr 2012 16:19:55 +0000 Read More]]> Android iPhone Market Share

According to the latest Nielsen report, Android and iPhone make up majority of the U.S smartphone market. Both Android phones and iPhone did not exist or were not popular about 5 years ago, and were introduced into a Nokia and Blackberry dominated market. Since then Google and Apple have become fierce competitors and the data proves that they are in fact, at the top of the smartphone market. According to the report, Android’s increase in market share was a whopping 53% from January to October, up from a solid 42%. Apple’s iOS, although trailing behind Android also experienced an increase, from 21% to 29%.

With Android and Apple leading the pack, Blackberry’s RIM has been seeing a steady decline in shares, holding on to only 11.6 percent of the smartphone market, which is substantially less than both Android and Apple. Other smartphone companies, such as Motorola once held over 36% of the smartphone market but have since dropped to below 1%, as of March 2009. This is due in large part to Apple’s massive success with the iPhone’s adoption, selling more of the device each quarter and the widespread adoption of Android OS in a number of smartphones, including Motorola’s Droid line.

Nielsen’s report also mentioned new smartphone purchases, where 48 percent of users surveyed in February said they purchased an Android phone and 43% said they purchased an iPhone. These are staggering numbers, especially since both of these companies have not faltered with their takeover of the U.S smartphone market and have increased their annual revenue with each passing year.

]]> 4 FTC Clears Google’s (GOOG) AdMob Acquisition. What does it mean? Mon, 24 May 2010 21:09:04 +0000 Read More]]> Apple iAd Admob

To little fanfare before the weekend the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US cleared Google’s acquisition of AdMob. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) dived in to snap up AdMob in late 2009, while Apple was mulling over the purchase itself.

The deal has been on hold while the FTC looked into it ever since then. The FTC’s initial concern was that Google snapping up a competitor in a market place that it is already dominant in could lead to antitrust worries.

In the meantime Apple purchased a similar, but much smaller and cheaper rival mobile advertising company called Quattro Wireless. This was morphed into iAd, Apple’s own entry into the mobile advertising arena, which is set to be an integral part of iPhone OS from version 4.0 onwards.

It is expected that, at least initially, Apple will only allow iAd to be used on its own devices. Whereas AdMob started out on the iPhone, but is now on Android too, and is expected to try and spread to as many platforms as possible. But its days on the iPhone seem numbered, at least in the iTunes App Store model. Because Apple seems to be locking other advertisers out by restricting their use of metrics to track consumers, so as to make their existence on its platform untenable.

On the surface of it the basic reason why the FTC cleared this acquisition by Google now is because of Apple’s move into the mobile ad arena with iAd. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) did Google a favor. Even if it didn’t intend to. Because as it stood, back in late 2009, Google had simply paid top dollar for a company which was potentially of no great strategic value to it, other than in a move to stymy Apple’s aspirations in the Google’s sandpit.

The FTC’s decision was probably also swayed to some degree by their perception of Apple’s dominance in the mobile market place generally. Their thinking being that some competition for Apple might be a good thing. And perhaps that Apple seems big enough and ugly enough to go toe to toe with Google in a market that it is traditionally dominant in.

If neither of those factors had been in play it is likely Google would have had to go to war and fight the FTC for this acquisition to be approved. Because as it stands even now AdMob has a de-facto monopoly on mobile advertising. Even if it may be short lived now.

“As a result of Apple’s entry (into the market), AdMob’s success to date on the iPhone platform is unlikely to be an accurate predictor of AdMob’s competitive significance going forward, whether AdMob is owned by Google or not,” the Commission’s statement explains.

But the hands off approach that the FTC has taken at this stage is certainly not one that comes without caveats.

Google is The (with a capital ‘T’) advertising powerhouse on the web globally, and the FTC is not without its concerns over that.

However, Google’s mobile phone market share at the time the FTC was looking over this, was to Apple’s mobile phone market penetration what Apple’s iAd is to Google’s global advertising behemoth currently. Of course things can change.

In some ways it could be said that the FTC feels it is creating some balance with its decision, and recognises that there is going to be healthy competition between Apple and Google in the future – which should in theory be good for the consumer. By consumer one could infer both us clicking on ads, and also advertisers who buy exposure from Apple (via iAd) and Google (via AdMob). But let’s remember Apple has not served a single ad yet.

Google is also a company that preaches, and to some extent practises, openness to all. Where as Apple presents a slightly less accessible front to its “partners”. Google has also played nice in terms of the US government’s world-view when it comes to things like China. It spends a bit more on lobbying than Apple does too. All these things may count for something.

Having said all that the FTC did have the following to say, “Though we have determined not to take action today, the Commission will continue to monitor the mobile marketplace to ensure a competitive environment and to protect the interests of consumers.”

In other words if iAd fails (which is unlikely) they may look at this again.

Notice also that the FTC don’t specifically say “mobile advertising” in their statement. They say “mobile marketplace”. The FTC obviously have concerns over the mobile marketplace generally. And probably also feel that they still have a lot to learn too. It’s worth noting that they may still be mulling over an antitrust investigation into Apple over Flash, and also Google over some of its recent acquisitions of internet communications companies.

An interesting twist is to consider what would happen if Android gains massively in market share. Which if you believe Google, and certain analysts, is already happening. In that case AdMob will still be the only advertising network available to advertisers on Android, unless Apple opens up iAd. And it will be the only mobile advertising marketplace on a very large eco-system controlled by a company which is already The King of Advertising – globally!

When you look at this that way it’s hard to see who the FTC is actually protecting. Google has its own mobile phone ecosystem, which is actually quite closed from an OEM point of view. And it has an advertising network which is likely to be used more and more exclusively on their devices only. That is until HP or RIM get their act together.

Apple has an extremely closed mobile device ecosystem, and its own very closed advertising network – which is purportedly charging advertisers a premium to play on, as well as potentially being choosey about who can leverage the network in their apps. Two aspects that advertiser and consumers have yet to form solid opinions on, but have been heard to be apprehensive about.

The whole equation may be a little too complex for the FTC to form an opinion on, or effectively legislate for right now. Almost to the point that making a decision about advertising networks alone becomes moot currently.

Moving forward its likely that AdMob and Android will become synonymous with one another, likewise the iPhone, iPad and iAd will do the same.

At that point the FTC will have to decide if two companies, both with an effective monopoly for advertising in their own handset eco-systems is something they need to look at again.

When you look at it in its entirety, what choice did the FTC have today? And what have they actually achieved?
More to the point, what could they have achieved?

The FTC probably realised all this. Saw it had no effective decision to make. And so decided that the best thing to do was let this all play out, while keeping a close eye on both Apple and Google with regards to their mobile devices, OS and advertising networks in their entirety moving forwards.

What do you think? Are both Google and Apple monopolies in their own right? Should the FTC do something now, or later? Let us know in the comments…

]]> 0 Who Wins The Apple – Google War? Sun, 23 May 2010 13:18:14 +0000 Read More]]> Steve Jobs Eric Schmidt

If an official declaration of war was necessary, it was presented this week at the Google I/O conference. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) are at war and all of the afternoon coffee breaks between Steve and Eric aren’t going to change that. As the technology world moves from the desktop to the mobile world, the long truce that held between these two rivals dissolved as Microsoft moved to a place of importance but relative irrelevance. So now that the guns are blazing in round two of the Battle of Silicon Valley, who will eventually win the conflict? Will it be Apple with their superior user experience, vertically integrated products, and developed ecosystem? Will it be Google with its clout, emergent systems, and open standards? In fact, neither will be the winner or the loser. The real winner will be you and I, the consumers that use the products and services of both companies.

It is a generally accepted axiom of commercial and economic theory that competition breeds innovation. It is, in fact, the central underpinning of the free market system. When the iPhone and associated operating system came on the scene in 2007 it had no competitor, it had no comparison. It was utterly and truly a new thing, formed entirely to bring a new experience to the cell phone. There was WAP web browsing before the iPhone, there were even limited Java-based applications. The iPhone was born from the realization that consumers would be interested in using a true smart phone as a mini-computer instead of just a phone and limited entertainment device. Apple took that initial lead they grabbed by going in another direction and parlayed it into an environment they slowly iterated to add new features as they became comfortable with them. By the time the iPhone 3G came out in 2008 Apple was firmly astride the mobile market with a dominance and lead no one could question.

But a funny thing happened on the way to world domination, Google showed up. When the Android operating system was announced in 2007 it signaled a move by Google into the mobile space. Google wanted a share of the emergent market Apple had discovered with the iPhone they had announced earlier that year. At the time Android presented little threat to the iPhone OS. It was seen as a configuration heavy, geek friendly operating system while the iPhone OS was geared towards a managed, consumer friendly experience. Between 2007 and 2009 the iPhone OS grabbed a large share of the smart phone market, partially due to its innovative design and partially due to the lack of a viable alternative. When the Motorola Droid was launched in October of 2009 with Android OS 2.0, serious competition for the iPhone finally landed. In the interceding time since then, the innovation and competition coming out of both companies has heated up.

I don’t think it comes as any surprise that I am generally a fan of the iPhone, the iPhone OS, and the whole ecosystem Apple has grown around it. It’s my opinion that it presents the best integrated user experience. I would be the first one to admit however that with the inception of Android 2.0 Google has started to right the ship. As a consumer in the iPhone ecosystem I don’t view this as necessarily a bad thing and neither should you. Good competition breeds innovation and innovation ultimately benefits the consumer. While I wouldn’t advise Apple to start rushing features and services into their products merely to participate in a “me-too” race with Google, I might suggest that taking the competition into consideration might be a good idea. I think they’ve done that already with the inclusion of video conferencing, a front facing camera, and multitasking to the upcoming iPhone 4G / HD. In evaluating the competition and consumer demand, Apple has added features to the product they are comfortable with and that advance the product that much more. Competition spurred the innovation but the innovation wasn’t simply a move to imitate something the competition already had. That’s an important point. As I mentioned yesterday, Google’s Froyo announcement at I/O seemed intent on introducing features that were picked from a shopping list of things the iPhone OS didn’t have. The things Apple is bringing to the table in the new iPhone 4G and iPhone operating system may have been spurred by the competition from Android, but they are not simply extensions of what Android already offers.

The good news is this war will have a winner; you, the consumer. Much like an earlier war between Apple and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) produced improved versions of both Windows and Mac OS, this new conflict will ultimately breed innovations and improvements in the mobile market. I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens.

Do you think this newfound competition in the mobile space will ultimately benefit the consumer? Does either Apple or Google really have the clout to truly beat the other? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section.

Image: Gizmodo
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