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Archives: January 2011

Android Passes Symbian As Top Smartphone Platform

According to research firm Canalys, 32.9% of the smartphones shipped from manufacturers during the fourth quarter of 2010 ran Android, making it the number one smartphone platform world wide. The news is significant because it means that for the first time after a decade, Nokia, who is credited for bringing to market the first smartphone, is not the leader. Nokia smartphones accounted for 30.6% of the devices shipped during the quarter.

Google and Nokia have sizable leads worldwide over it’s competitors. Apple is in third place with 16% of the smartphones shipped. In terms of smartphones shipped in the U.S., RIM reclaimed first place from Apple, with Canalys citing that it benefited from the first full quarter of shipments of the Blackberry Torch. U.S. numbers will likely change soon after Verizon starts selling the iPhone. For the year nearly 300 million smartphones were shipped, which is an 80% increase from 2009.

Bear in mind that Canalys’ data represents shipments from manufacturing plants and is not actual sales to consumers. Still, the data pretty much meets the expectation that Android would become the top smartphone platform given the number of manufacturers making Android handsets and the number of carriers selling them.

The news must be particularly troubling to Nokia, with news sites like Reuters emphasizing how Google has moved past them. Nokia will be presenting at Mobile World Congress on February 13, so perhaps they will provide insights on how they plan to wrestle market share back from Google.

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Keep Up On NASA Technology Spinoffs

I know several people who are NASA junkies and follow the space program closely. Such people who follow NASA closely will tell you that a tremendous amount of the technology NASA develops make it into products that you and I use. Apparently NASA thinks that this type of technology information is important enough to Android users that their first official Android app is specifically about NASA-derived innovations.

NASA Spinoff is a free Android app that provides information from the nasa.gov web site regarding NASA technology. To me the most interesting part of the program is the Map section, which shows the location of different companies that use NASA technology throughout the country. I am surprised to learn that 34 such companies exist in my home state of Michigan. The Timeline section shows when the different technologies were developed. Finally, the News section provides headlines and a few sentences from articles posted on nasa.gov, with links to the article posted on the mobile version of the web site.

Frankly, NASA Spinoff is only going to be appealing to the hardcore NASA junkie, so it’s a disappointing first offering from NASA for Android. Fortunately, several other developers have more interesting applications, such as the NASA Daily Image app, which shows NASA’s daily image which you can elect to use as wallpaper on your phone.

View Google Docs On Windows Phone

Todd and I use Google Docs to keep track of what we write for this blog, and I also use Google Docs to edit several other personal documents. Consequently, we are both eager to find mobile apps that work with Google Docs. I recently learned about a Windows Phone 7 app named gdocs, so I had to check it out. Unfortunately, gdocs has many shortcomings that prevent it from being a worthwhile app.

First off, gdocs is only a Google docs viewer, you cannot edit documents. Second, it only displays in portrait, which means that it is really only useful for displaying word processing documents because spreadsheets are scrunched up on the screen. If you need to view a lot of word processing documents I did find that gdocs does make viewing such documents easier on Windows Phones than viewing them in Internet Explorer. Gdocs downloads a copy of the documents you open to the phone, so if you frequently refer to the same document it will open it quickly and without an Internet connection.

Unlike web browsers on other smartphones, Google Docs treats Internet Explorer on Windows Phone 7 like a desktop web browser, which means you can access the full web version of Google Docs on the phone. I find the HD7 displays Google Docs spreadsheets in landscape very well, but unfortunately, I have found it nearly impossible to edit spreadsheets. You can load the mobile version of Google Docs in Internet Explorer by opening docs.google.com/m, but unfortunately the mobile version renders even worse. As far as I can tell, it is not possible to actually edit Google Docs on Windows Phone 7.

Real-Time Egypt-Related Twitter Feeds from Nozzl’s Egypt's ‘Days of Anger’ Page

Nozzl Real-Time Technologies followed up the real-time Tucson shootings page it launched earlier this month with a similar page chronicling the turmoil in Egypt.

The left column on the Egypt’s “Days of Anger” page offers a real-time stream of Tweets from journalists in the Middle East, while the right column represents the complete firehose of Tweets, blog posts, and news feeds from everyone.

foursquare Invades Campus … Every Campus

foursquare is enrolling in college — every college, worldwide. The location-based mobile app announced on its blog that foursquare university badges can now be activated on every campus throughout the world. The blog post read:

In the first three months of the foursquare on campus program, we partnered with more than 100 schools and saw, to our amazement, more than 25,000 badge unlocks. But what’s far more impressive is that we got requests from students at about 1,200 other campuses to bring foursquare to their school. So we’re doing just that: foursquare university badges can be activated on every campus, worldwide. Starting today, it’s not just for schools we’ve partnered with. Now you’ll all be able to wear your Munchies badge with pride (and it may even get you a discount the next time you grab lunch in between classes).

We also continue to be bowled over by how many of you want to help make foursquare a bigger part of your campus life. We’ve seen students ousting professors who hold Mayorships, organizing swarm parties, and leaving insider tips around campus. Even Big Boi took the time to check in at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and helped break a record! So, in that spirit, we’re introducing a way for students to get more directly involved: the foursquare University Ambassador program. If you’d like to help increase your campus’ presence, build the foursquare community, or just rep for foursquare, sign up here!

Digg Begins Rolling Out Three New Features

Digg announced the rollout of three new features: a new design; displaying users’ historical number of and percentage of stories promoted to Top News; and optional on-site and email notification when stories are promoted.

The changes will be rolled out to about 15 percent of logged-in users Monday, software developer Will Larson wrote on the Digg Blog, with all users gaining access over the next several weeks.

Larson wrote:

This new design includes a new way to browse between the different sections of the site and an easier way to filter your content. We’ve simplified the design to make stories more prominent and easier to read. The newly organized profile page makes it a snap to see all of your statistics. And last but not least, a new submission flow makes submitting stories easier. We couldn’t wait any longer to share these with our users and gather feedback before a public rollout, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.

Since launching V4, we’ve been working on importing data from V3 into our new system. It’s ended up taking much longer than we expected, and today’s push will reveal two important statistics: the number of stories each user has had promoted to Top News, and the percentage of stories they have submitted that have reached Top News.

Read more

Twitter, Google, SayNow: Tweet from Egypt, Even Without Internet Access

The embattled Egyptian government may have shut down Internet access, but engineers from Twitter, Google, and voice-application provider SayNow teamed up on Speak2Tweet, which allows people in Egypt to leave voice mails at international phone numbers +16504194196, +390662207294, or +97316199855, which will then be converted to Tweets with the #egypt hashtag.

The messages can be accessed by dialing any of the three numbers above or via Twitter, bypassing the need for an Internet connection for those who have been cut off.