Tag Archives: LG

The smokescreen of a Smartphone War

Yesterday’s news gives us ‘The secret smartphone war over the struggle for control of the user’ (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/sep/29/smartphone-war-operators-user-phone-service) held my initial interest for about 7.0 seconds. You see, it is an interesting story, but it is not the real battle that is being fought. As I personally see it, the secondary war is about the agreements that the Android phone makers seem to have with one another. That war we are kept in the dark about. In the end, the Telecom companies want you to be dependent on them, their products and their solutions. They give you some BS reasoning of ‘we weren’t offered that option‘, whilst their head office is all about containment. They only hold they have is by pushing you in a position where you need a new phone EVERY year. That is the service path we are all getting pushed into. Which is one reason why outright buy seems to be so overpriced in many cases. For the next bit we need to see GSMArena.com. There we find the following parts:

32/64 GB, 4 GB RAM
32/64 GB, 4 GB RAM
32 GB, 3 GB RAM (EVA-L19/EVA-L09)
64 GB, 4 GB RAM (EVA-L29)

You would think it is all the same, right? The last two are the same brand. I will get back to the list, but for now, what you would like to do is to check where you can get a 64GB edition, and for some that list is zero, you see, in Australian (not the only place) they are making sure that you cannot get the 64GB edition, in an age of consumerism, is that not weird? In that regard, Apple is the only one offering this, because of different reasons.

In all this, I have used my phone with a philosophy. It is a simple one and in my life of budgets an essential one. In the past, I learned the hard way early in life that chasing technology is a race that costs money and never leaves you with a true advantage, the gaming industry in the 90’s on PC were all about that. The mobile industry, like the PC industry learned this from the arms industry and they were really good students. So no matter what competitiveness they have, if they agree on a few ground rules, there will be enough space for exploitation for all of them. Now, in 2015, Huawei decided to rock the boat and as such they got a larger share than ever before, now that they are on par, they seem to go with the average lot of them. My hopes are that LG tries a same approach, which will cost Huawei et al dearly this year.

When you have been around your mobile for a little while, you will see that storage is (nearly) everything on a mobile and with marshmallow, a 32GB system will end up having about 22GB space left. There is the Android system and the mandatory apps, the amount leaves you with 10GB less. This is not a big deal you think, but over the year we will see an exponential growth of apps and they cost space too. Some people already learned this lesson with Pokémon Go and all the pics that were taken. They were realising how much space was lost. Now, we know that you can add a SD card and store pictures there, but apps must be run from the main storage and those apps are growing too. So over 2 years you would have run out of space. Meaning that you either clean up your system, or buy a mobile with more space. This you might have learned if you had an iPad or iPod. Storage was running low for some a lot faster than they bargained for.

So in this age, when the difference between 32GB and 64GB is one component which is in total a mere $32.87 more expensive, why would we even consider a 32GB system? Because at this point, the mobile warranty of 24 months could be served completely and we would not need another phone one year later! In addition, after 2 years we would have the freedom to choose a better and cheaper provider, so as I see it, neither Optus nor Telstra wants a 64GB phone in their arsenal and the only reason is that the iPhone is that size is because Apple has in general a global approach to their hardware.

Now let’s look again:

32/64 GB, 4 GB RAM – Samsung
32/64 GB, 4 GB RAM – LG
32 GB, 3 GB RAM (EVA-L19/EVA-L09) – Huawei P9
64 GB, 4 GB RAM (EVA-L29) – Huawei P9

Unless LG takes advantage of the option they have now, none of them offers the 64GB version in Australia! Is that not weird? Amazon UK offers both, and at times the 64GB is definitely more expensive, yet consider that at $100 more (for some a little more), you have peace of mind that this phone can last you 2 years without storage issues. That seems a pretty big deal to me. In addition, unless Android past Nougat (V7) grows a massive part, the user will have plenty of space to update their system, if the update would be offered. In addition, with all the other stuff we carry (photo’s music and so on), twice the size is pretty much the only way to go.

So why the mobile providers refuse their product to be on sale is just beyond me and the fact that none of them are offering a product in a place seems to be massively out of bounds. With Huawei the fact that there is a single slot and duo slot 32GB option makes even less sense to me. In my mind, this is all about control of the users, and controlling where the users go, which is a limitation on freedom devices have never offered before, so in my mind it was not with the consumers consent. The fact that Samuel Gibbs did not mention that part in their article is not as quoted “Fewer purchases mean the big smartphone players are now under pressure to extract more revenue from their existing user base, which is easier for Apple and its App Store than others reliant on Google’s Play Store, and to try to convince users that life is greener on their side of the smartphone divide“, it is to make sure that continuity prevails, to some extent for the smartphone makers, to the larger extent to mobile providers to keep them in their not seeking another providers place!

In addition the quote “At the same time, the mobile phone operators are in a similar competition. Switching between the major phone networks has always been an issue, whether it’s over price, customer service or the latest handset“, more important it is over bandwidth and facilitation, the more limits the hardware has, the less issues of competition the provider needs to deal with. So is Samuel Gibbs informing you on some ‘secret war’ or is he trying to keep your sight away from the options that matter? The fact that phone limitations is not part of his view (which could be because the UK offers both models) is equally disturbing that he did not look at this from a global point of view, when you are not made aware of what is by me expected and therefore implied is the limitation of hardware offered is as I see it, part of a secret war that they require you not to be aware of. If that is done intentionally, what do you think is in play?

So as the Samsung Note 7 is now an ISIS tool (when you install the 10 second countdown app) and only LG remains to go public with their new model, they now have an option to capture a much larger share of the audience as several of the participating parties refused to consider the consumers’ needs and seems to cater to the telecom request of limitation. LG has an option to grow much stronger in this market than ever before. Apple as IOS has a different situation and as seen on many fronts they have created their own walls of disturbance, so LG could even go after that lot, but we must respect that there is a huge offset between IOS and Android and as such, people are at times less willing to switch there. For now the latest rumours are that the V20 will start the pre-orders this Sunday in the US and European markets will be getting them, yet there is at present no confirmation for both the UK and Australia. So we will have to see about that part too.

The article had more. So consider my words and now see this quote: “Bibby says: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Flexibility like this is just the next stage of innovation so we’re not surprised to see others adopting it. Manufacturers are trying to ensure that more of their own handsets are sold in the market. They’re trying to clearly compete with each other.”” I disagree with Nina Bibby, marketing and consumer director for O2. The quote is not untrue, but incorrect. It is the presentation of what they want the issue to be, because is sets our mind at rest. I believe that the more correct quote is “They’re trying to clearly compete with each other within the agreed limits of the presented options“, which is not entirely the same! In that same view, the limitations due to the telecom agreements are equally in question. The fact that none offered the complete spectrum is just as much of a worry. Because it is like a corporation trying to make sure that its employees can never truly become independent, because that would be too dangerous for their own continuation. The second part in all this is the entire upgrade service program. It creates brand dependency, which is not essentially a bad thing, but guess what! I reckon that soon thereafter the 64GB option will come and there will be a churn for 12 and 24 months. At that point, the telecom providers would want a phone to last as long as possible. It could be in different ways. For example after 12 months 65% off and a $1 upgrade after 24 months. This is just speculation, so this is not a given, yet overall not that far-fetched.

The most interesting quote is at the end “For now, the battle for control of the phone in your hand is happening behind closed doors. Soon we’ll begin to see the phone-as-a-service idea pushed by one of the big manufacturers, but only once the operators are no longer crucial to sales“. The first part is that not all of the closed doors is about the phone, bandwidth has been a forever war between iiNet, Optus and Telstra in Australia, and the phone-as-a-service is not all in the hands of the manufacturers, that will come soon enough (in one case it already is) in hands of the Telecom companies, because that is a direct factor for customer loyalty, who does not see the $45 a month phone as the margin, it is the $90 a month subscription where their margin is and that part can be set to non-taxation a lot faster too. The phone is merely a hardware write-off, increasing their ROI.

So when you consider your new phone do not be fooled by the SD slot, wonder why the full version is out nearly everywhere else, except Australia? For Australians, consider one nice issue, the Kiwi’s do get the 64GB edition several stores have it available to order. So, do you feel special now, of just used by both the handset sales people and your telecom provider? More important, what other issues did that secret war of smart phones not inform you about? Perhaps you haven’t seen the implications of not having a choice in certain cases. People have been so busy bashing iPhone’s Apple that they forget that Android phones have their own collection of imposed limitations for the consumer.

 

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The Taxing Delicious

Taxing delicious is a new sweet tasting Apple, even sweeter than the golden Delicious, and it is to be regarded as healthy for body, mind and government. Yes, in this case it is not a new Irish Cider (which would be a nice idea too), this is about a company getting a bill. You see, the funny part of it was that if there had been no EU, Apple would have been 13 billion wealthier. How doesn’t that beat the odds?

These are some of the thoughts rising within me again as I read ‘Apple tax ruling must be overturned, says US business group‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/sep/16/apple-tax-ruling-must-be-overturned-says-us-business-group).

As I see it, if it is such an issue, why not do an appeal? You see, this entire issue is as convoluted as it is ever likely to get. When I see ‘Ireland Doesn’t Want Apple’s Back Taxes, but the Irish Aren’t So Sure‘ in the New York Times (at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/12/business/international/ireland-doesnt-want-apples-back-taxes-but-the-irish-arent-so-sure.html), my initial response to Enda Kenny would be “Are you out of your bloody mind?” Now, let’s be partially fair. There is a method to the governments madness, yet even as giving in to big business might seem appealing, but the US is changing its taxation parameters (as well as tax accountability) and after the elections there is no way to tell how the US governments hats will be pointing, so getting what you can now is not the worst idea. In addition, when Apple et al will make the jump away and to other places, they will leave you with buildings that remain empty and will not have been paid off, so you will have a billion in real estate, whilst not having any return on investment, just empty buildings wasting away. That situation is not as unimaginative or as surreal as you might think. The idea that a government is appealing against a tax bill on behalf of a Forbes 500 company is entertaining, upsetting and obscene all at the same time, but that is sometimes how the cookie crumbles.

What is interesting in all this is how the EU courts will act, you see, if they give in now, it should be regarded as the utter uselessness of that court to begin with. It gives weight that not being part of that very expensive club is indeed the way to go, which will now give weight that Brexit was not a bad move and it will in addition fuel Frexit too. All that over a mere 13 billion invoice. Less than 5% of the costs of Greece, which fuelled Brexit to begin with. This is at the heart of the matter of what the Americans just cannot comprehend. They just received the massive blowback on the lesson that you cannot win every fight and that Economic Status Quo is an illusion that will collapse upon those believing in it.

So as we see the idiotic roundtable threaten those European leaders “In an open letter to the leaders of the 28 European Union countries, the Business Roundtable group defended Apple over its tax dispute with the European commission” and “US businesses have warned European leaders they risk a “grievous self-inflicted wound” unless they overturn Brussels’ demand that Apple pay the Irish government €13bn (£11.4bn)“, I just wonder if they even considered the stupidity of their actions. On the other hand, should those leaders cave, how stupid are the European elected officials to begin with? So as we wonder whether Randall L. Stephenson has looked into the long term issues of his act, when we see that these actions drive Frexit and possibly even Italy’s act on a referendum (although the major influences would be Brexit and Frexit), will Randall respond with a ‘this is much more complex and should not have been pushed by our, what we regard to be a righteous act‘, or will we see a spokesperson state ‘Our Chairman is currently unavailable and is taking his personal time teaching the Youth how to do a proper sheepshank‘? I will let you decide, but consider that tax accountability has been an issue for over a decade and now we finally see an actual result against a large corporation we see people backing down? Perhaps they thought it would never get that far? Just like Brexit was never going to be a reality!

Yet the Irish Times did not remain quiet and less than 24 hours ago reported (at http://www.irishtimes.com/business/technology/apple-fined-in-japan-for-under-reporting-earnings-sent-to-ireland-1.2793469), ‘Apple fined in Japan for under-reporting earnings sent to Ireland‘. So when we read “The Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau determined that the unit, which sends part of its profits earned from fees paid by subscribers in Japan to another Apple unit in Ireland to pay for software licensing, had not been paying a withholding tax on those earnings in Japan, according to broadcaster NHK“, I just wonder who the Tax Auditor was here.

Now I am not out to make Apple the bad guy, even though they screwed me over twice! What is important is that through all the presentations and all the boasting and ego based actions, there are now 4 groups in play all trying to get Brussels to back down on a legal verdict. We need to wait the appeal on this, yet should this remain and if the US makes noise we will have clear evidence that the EU is no longer something with validity, even stronger, these events are clear signals that the TTIP is an even worse idea than initially thought of in opposition. The one sidedness aside, the fact that American business has basically become the corporate ‘bully’, we need to reassess the situation and remain clear on where our priorities are. I personally remain with the belief as I always have that the Commonwealth nations need to stick together. In these times we now see the Democratic Party under leadership of President Obama do the following “The Obama administration on Thursday took action to limit the use of foreign tax credits by American multinational companies to reduce their U.S. tax bills, a move that followed an EU order that Apple pay back taxes to Ireland“, which I think is not a bad idea. You see, Apple et al might claim how they are so investing everywhere, but that is only done (as I personally see it) to avoid paying tax in America. It is one of the massive reasons why America is so deep in debt (apart from their impossibility to manage a budget) and something has to give. If those tax dollars are used to lower that debt then I would state: “Barack, you legend you, well done!“, because an America with low debt (read: no debt), would be again the superpower it once was and currently pretends to be.

In the end, nations that have a minimal debt, these nations get to decide for themselves, not having their actions overruled by financial institutions or Large Corporation, or by Randall L. Stephenson for that matter. Yes, we can see that those moves will have impact all over Europe and not in a nice way, but that is part of the game. You cannot have it both ways that was never a reality to begin with. Now they only need to fix the holes that Mario Draghi has in his hands and we are possibly perhaps on route to get something sorted.

Yet there is one part we need to get back to and that is the verdict. You see, what is in play here is the statement “an agreement allowing Apple to pay a maximum tax rate of just 1%. In 2014, the tech firm paid tax at 0.005%. The usual rate of corporation tax in Ireland is 12.5%“, this implies that Apple didn’t just get preferential treatment, all the other players were discriminated against. When we see the parts we had already known for a long time, the fact that “Ireland’s tax arrangements with Apple between 1991 and 2015 had allowed the US company to attribute sales to a “head office” that only existed on paper and could not have generated such profits“, which was a given and the result we saw on a global scale “Apple avoided tax on almost all the profit generated from its multibillion-euro sales of iPhones and other products across the EU’s single market. It booked the profits in Ireland rather than the country in which the product was sold“, gives way that a single market is perhaps not the best solution for all but one nation and in addition to this we must realise that the solution I mentioned 5 years ago to set the tax laws that taxation should be set into the nation of the buying consumers physical location could have avoided this and many other issues. A simple taxation change that made all the difference, yet it seems that no one in legislation in those nations as well as those political players ever considered changing that simple law that could have made all the difference.

You see, as the Guardian by-line offers, this case could have another escalation soon enough “Charlie Harrington, 53, a paramedic in Cork, expressed frustration that the Irish government penalized small taxpayers but seemed ready to protect Apple“, which is exactly how millions feel in both France and Italy. If this tax case caves and Apple ends up not being due this invoice, the jump to anti-EU sentiments will go up massively and very fast so. At that point President Obama will only have himself to thank for the mess he started to create when he went 180 degrees on the corporate tax issues discussed in the ‘The Hague Summit of 2013’. That was the first step that could have avoided a few things, this case being one of them.

Cause and Effect

The question becomes ‘What will happen now?’ This is something not easily answered. At present Apple has a few other issues knocking at its door and the iPhone 7 is one of them. The population at large is less money blessed, so paying $1295 for a new phone that according to Forbes is “Purchasing the iPhone 7 this morning from my local Apple Store I found a device that is remarkably similar to last year’s iPhone 6S and the iPhone 6 from 2014. The external design cues remain, the chips inside are faster, and iOS 10 is more polished but is fundamentally the same operating system. Nothing ‘feels’ news even though the package is professional and projects a revolution that is hard to find“, this is at the heart of the matter. Trying to create waves by limiting the system, whilst overall the system is still the same is an issue and at nearly $1300 a very expensive one. That whilst Android competitors are coming into the field with comparable devices, including a headphone jack at 50%-60% of the price of the iPhone 7 and the world is starting to consider the non-IOS alternative. What Apple should fear is not just the market they are losing, the dangers that people could, in regard to the tax pressures they have and the pressure that Apple seems to be able to avoid, is one that could make them feel frustrated and vindictive. The idea that a person could think ‘If the need not pay taxation, they do not need my business either is not that far a stretch‘. People are starting to see the ethical imbalance that large corporations have impressed upon nations and in Europe where the quality of life is not that great at present, seeking the much cheaper alternative that Huawei and LG are offering is one worth considering. That could bring considerable consequences for Apple soon enough. Now I am not stating that the iPhone 7 will be a flop, but for Apple in this stage, should they lose even as little as a 2% market share, the consequence for apple will be intense to state the least. In addition, the fact that the iPad has remained a success for so long could equally be the next problem child for Apple. In that regard releasing the iPad Pro was a really good idea, yet the tablet contenders are starting to realise what it takes to be a contender and if that knowledge is applied properly, there too non-IOS devices (read: android) could start to make a killing and as such undermine that market Apple has at present. The origin is not the device makers, but Google. As Google has been pushing ‘the year of mobile’ for two years, the shift of usage is also growing. There is a growing visibility that at times the mobile screen does not cut it and it gives more and more opportunity to both Phablet and Tablet. These are all examples showing quite clearly that there is no status quo to rely on and the temporary nature of devices shows that Apple needs to really push forward in an innovative way, preferably before the makers of tablets realise that an affordable 128 GB version of an Android tablet is every bit as appealing as the iPad Pro, especially when the Android version could be a lot less than the IOS edition. With Android having its own set of quality games, Apple has more to lose than they are willing to admit to and time is slowly running out for their streak of ignorance to continue. However, it is important to note that Apple has been pretty super innovative with the iPad pro, so there is still a gap to overcome for the competitors. In that regard it is equally interesting that the Android device market have ignored that side of the consumer’s need (read: desire). In all this, it was about taxation and not on markets. Yet one is linked to the other, mainly because if there is no market there is in equal measure no taxable revenue, which gets us to the final part. You see, I have written about these issues before in one form or another and now we see that the Wall Street Journal is finally waking up to this (at http://www.wsj.com/articles/lew-is-right-on-eu-tax-grab-but-lacks-credibility-1473962171), when we read “The Obama administration has had 92 months to tackle corporate tax reform. Now that Europe is making a grab for taxes on profits held by U.S. companies overseas, President Obama is ready to use his last few months in office to address tax issues that were ignored or made worse under his watch“, my response is that neither was done, as stated in earlier blogs in April 2016, when I wrote ‘Ignoranus Totalicus‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2016/04/24/ignoranus-totalicus), he refused to act (as voiced by “Senior officials in Washington have made it known“), so the non-actions are now back firing as event are now escalated. Another iteration of status quo.

What now?

This now all related to the issue at hand. IT corporations decided to maximise their profit by a consumer iterative annual approach of products. The IT market in the US nearly collapsed as it allowed for what was once regarded as a Taiwan Clone (a cheap alternative) to a quality A-brand to catch up. This is the problem with iterative thinking, when you are not in a niche market like Northrop Grumman (who at one stage actually there software patches ‘Iteration version’ I believe), you allow the market to catch up with you. ASUS caught up so and soon thereafter surpassed the original market owners. This lesson was not learned and the Telecom market decided that the profit was good in this way. So, please feel free to correct me. What happened to Ericsson and Nokia? Apple came and overwhelmed everyone and instead of truly remaining innovative, they started to largely iterate their device and called it innovation, now that LG, Samsung and Huawei have caught on and pretty much caught up, they are now offering equal, if not better options at lower prices. So how long will it take Apple to learn that status quo is merely an illusion? I reckon will see that revelation close after Christmas, after the annual sales are gone (and they will be improbable but not impossible a bit disappointing this year).

I reckon we will know in about 15-19 weeks!

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Chicks for free

Yup, that is the name of the game, how to get your chicks for free. You can go towards the end seeing what you can pick up from the free handing from the tray that serves the drinks and babes, but the song is not that simple, you see The Dire Strait sang: “Get your money for nothin’ get your chicks for free“. The song refers to doing things for fun, when it is fun, at times it feels like you are not working at all.

In my view the expression has evolved. As I see it, ‘money for nothing‘ is more and more about value for money. Deals that are too good to pass up. Here we now get to the issue at hand. We look at players like Apple (with their iPhone), Google (with their Nexus) and several other players like Nokia, Microsoft, Samsung, LG and a few others, yet the one player many ignored, namely Huawei did what others would not in their iterative field of exploitation. They decided to give the people value for money, not some half-baked offer, but the power offer that the models P7 and Mate7 are bringing. The P7 priced at almost 50% of the old models of most is more than a contender, in addition, the Mate7 offers a massively stronger device than the new models from Samsung, Apple, LG or Nokia can offer, hundreds of dollars cheaper. So now we get to the BBC article (at http://www.bbc.com/news/business-32126628). So the quote “The world’s second biggest telecoms equipment maker said its net profit was 27.9bn yuan ($4.5bn; £3bn), up from 21bn yuan in 2013” is not all about mobile phones, but Huawei is now quickly showing to be the number one choice for consumers and students (consumers, usually lacking in funds) alike. It seems to me that even though there is a decent group with funds that is all about value for money and that group has been ignored by the providers at large, which means that Huawei is now sweeping the nations on a global level. There are two parts in the story, which become a concern.

The first one is “Huawei’s growth comes despite it facing challenges in several major economies. In the US, it was branded a national security threat by legislators, because of its alleged close ties with the Chinese government“. There is no clarity on how precise this quote is (the next one will touch on this). So, if the statement is true, how about OOCL (containers) and Evergreen (Taiwan containers). Are they a security threat? I think it goes further, as some players were sitting on their hands, Huawei has been growing the business globally, now they are ready to get into bed with ‘facilitators’ in a very wide area of business. If we look at the Huawei Tecal servers we see a device that goes beyond simple needs. Its citrix compatibility gives a first view that soon Huawei will be the number one choice for new SaaS solutions, mobile providers of consultancy but from a cloud environment, meaning that these new engineers will be global. They are not ready for the next part yet, the issue is not just the data; it is about the transit mode of data for Huawei. They are now one step away from nibbling at the feet of Cisco. Cisco is comfortable for now, but that could soon change. You see, in 2012 Huawei was not ready for any of it, but they remained quiet for 2 years whilst their consumer market grew, now within a year, if their router solutions are decently shielded, they can move forward.

Now we get the second quote: “Meanwhile, it has been banned from being involved in broadband projects in Australia over espionage fears“. Really? So American solutions are not any kind of espionage fear? I am not judging, it seems to me that either our personal data goes to America or China. The article does not seem to elaborate on this part. This we see in the final quote of the article: “However, the company said it was well positioned to capture business opportunities with heavy investment in innovative areas such as cloud computing and fifth generation (5G) mobile technology“. Personally, I do not think that 5G is anywhere near an option for providers of mobile networking at present in any affordable kind of way, but the cloud is another matter. Whatever next part will be used to get business growing and moving forward will require the cloud. Yet, as I saw it for the last two years, security is just not good enough, not from any provider. That part can be seen in this place: http://2015itss.ucdavis.edu/event/the-weak-link-in-cloud-security-2/, here we see the following: “This session will illustrate and demonstrate that the very collaborative nature of SaaS (Software as a Service), such as Box or Google Apps, may also be their weakness. When organizations adopt cloud applications, users must take care to ensure that the organization’s sensitive cloud data does not end up in the wrong hands“. This is at the core of one of several issues. SaaS is only one part. The adoption and implementation is at the centre of a cloud that could be the fog that keeps us all blind as we lose data towards whatever provider of consultancy requirements were miscommunicated too. What a weak data web we weave for ourselves!

This event in June 2015 shows several more issues that we all in business need to consider as we are at times decently in the dark of that what must happen and that what needed to be done. The reality is that Huawei is not even a factor here, this all becomes an issue in any implementation. So why is there no clearer broadband issue? Is there truly a Chinese espionage fear, or are some players too dependent on whatever solution SaaS offers and in this stride, data leakage will be an issue from day one, whether the owner of the solution is Chinese or other. What is without a doubt is that Huawei is making massive strides, they are doing it in places where they were not a consideration 6 months ago! So what is wrong with the picture I am showing you?

I am not showing you any picture, but I am implying that the other big players (all American) are currently losing out on business, on revenue and on profit.

I wonder how the Dow will take it!

 

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Exploiting mobile users

Is it not amazing that in an age, where we all move into areas where things getting cheaper and cheaper, we see that mobile phones is the one article that remains into the top priced push. Yes, when you move to the post office, or to some ‘budget’ place, the only ‘cheap’ phones are the ones that are the ones that are basically in the bottom part of functionality, phones that have less than 6 months of decent quality usage before Google pushes for more updates, more android and the applications will add towards the maximum RAM.

This is my situation, I got a new phone in 2012, I needed a new one, and the one I bought was ‘decently’ priced at $299. I never regretted buying it. It still has a good screen, I have one game and a few applications, yet over the last two months the push has shown that when I have more than 2 apps running (including the dialler) the lag, the jittery screen, it all starts getting slightly wobbly, so I lock the phone, unlock it, remove all apps except the one I need and it all works fine again. Yet, my phone needs replacing not due to the hardware, but purely due to software. Looking around has been quite the revelation.

Looking at those options, I see that the $99 phones are less and less useful (specifically the smartphones). So as I started to dig, I am seeing a new change. If you want to find the price of a phone, it is often harder and harder to get clear pricing, more important, we can find less and less about how prices were and how the prices devolve.

Is it not strange that there is such an abundance of buy now places, but less and less information on the devices, the price and how long these articles are set to be for? The mobile is the new field for the technological armistice race and there are too many parties willing to make certain that the people cannot be properly informed. You see, this field has evolved for control. In the 90’s and the decade after that, it was relatively simple to get information on what graphic card one needed, which soundcard would be best. But not unlike the gaming industry, the information places are given less and less information. Is it not strange that Ubisoft (a gaming company) did not give a testing sample of Assassins Creed Unity weeks in advance? Especially when literally billions are riding on it? This is at the core of the issue, at the core of some ‘technology’ pages that are less and less information, more and more ‘typed’ marketing, not for their readers, but for the prospective buyers of the product. The media has been changing more and more and many readers remained asleep whilst reading. I must admit that the last description might not be accurate. Many will not realise this faltering until they are confronted with the fact of change (not unlike me).

If you’re looking for a console you can Google ‘PS4 price console’ and you will get pricing information on the very first page, even price drops, all localised. For mobiles it is a jungle out there and no matter how many ‘suddenly’ appear, when you want to look for that actual good deal (like the ZTE ZMAX) you will suddenly find that no one has such a good deal in stock (finding a decent site is also a challenge). They have cheaper (ad therefor useless) smartphones (I will dwell on that shortly) and of course the really ‘up to date ones’ which are not that much better than a ZTE, but will cost you 275% – 450% more. It is all about the money in the end!

You see those who choose Android (like me), will now learn what the cost of alleged abandonment is. (at http://www.zdnet.com/article/google-stops-providing-patches-for-pre-kitkat-webview-abandons-930m-users/), we saw early this week that Google is now stopping the update of the older versions. This means that as we see the headline ‘Google stops providing patches for pre-KitKat WebView, abandons 930 million users‘. This includes the bulk of the people who bought their mobile before Q4 2013. What a fine android web we weave!

You would think that it is a simple matter for updating, don’t you. Well that is not entirely correct. In my case Motorola was pretty decent in giving the information, however, when I press system update, it tells me that I am up to date, so I cannot get beyond 4.1.2 Android. This is now at the heart of several problems.

Who knows what version they are on and more important, when we consider the following text from ZDNet “In other words, the next time a researcher or hacker finds a way to exploit WebView on pre-KitKat Android, Google won’t create a patch for the vulnerability itself. However, if anyone else builds one, Google will incorporate those patches into the Android Open Source Project code“, more important, as long as this is not fixed, an increasing population will be at the mercy of forced upgrades through buying new phones outright, or chaining themselves to a new contract.

There are two sides. In fairness, should Google keep on fixing their ‘flaws’ ad infinitum? Yet on the other side, if my 2 year old mobile is now a security risk, what on earth am I paying for? More important, in this economy we would keep on paying premium just to be connected? The math does not balance out towards the need of the user. So are we witnessing a start from smartphone, back to normal phones? Let’s face it if smartphones are charged to your account and after that abandoned to this extent, what should we do?

Some will push for Apple, but there to some extent, the danger is changed, not necessarily removed. A normal phone will less likely have these issues, or change to the new player. Even though the brand leaves (from past events) a bitter taste in my month, Samsung has taken a new direction with their mobiles called Tizen OS. The following parts are known at present “It is Linux-based platform built from Nokia and Intel’s ditched MeeGo“, open source means many views, so perhaps better patches. The fact that it is Linux based is not bad either. The fact that Tizen is using HTML5, it means that we will get a wave of content that is state of the art, slim and memory efficient (no flash needed). You can look for yourself to some results (at http://www.creativebloq.com/web-design/examples-of-html-1233547), so it seems that the new road that Samsung is taking is also changing the perception that they are getting. From these upgrades, Samsung could evolve from ‘player’ to ‘top contender’. It will definitely bring the fire to the ankles of Apple, which is never a bad idea.

Tizen is not new or just a gimmick, it had been announced before and more important, it has been in development for years, yet with the Google decisions and with the issues that mobile users might be facing sooner rather than later, the timing for Tizen is pretty good and Samsung could benefit greatly, they will get additional benefit as people realise that patches are no longer coming for their less new mobiles, which will hurt consumer confidence.

If you have any doubts then the clarity from Greenbot.com should help. “Google drops Lollipop on November 3rd 2014,  if you have the right device“, which makes us wonder, do I have the right device? “Maybe you don’t have a Nexus phone or tablet. Well, then the situation gets a little murky. If you have a phone purchased in the last year, odds are good that you’ll get an upgrade to Lollipop…eventually“, which gets us, what if your phone is older than one year? Then what? Which gets us the last part “Manufacturers like Samsung, LG, HTC, and Motorola have promised swift updates (typically within 90 days of release) for top devices, but those have to go to carriers to be tested before release, too“, knowing I am ‘up to date’ with my version ‘4.1.2.’ does not inspire confidence! How many people asked questions about versions of Android when they bought their phone? I am a technologist and I never gave it too much thought (other than that I wanted an Android phone). Now, it seems that my Motorola is will remain on Jelly Beans (4.1.2) and now, we have ourselves a ball game, because as this unbalanced approach is pushed from both the desire to remain free (not chained to a provider) and as the life cycle of a mobile phone is now in danger of staying under two years due to the Google changes, we now see the need to not just chastise Google, but to make it clear (actually demand) that consumers are properly informed on the limitations that they are buying at $300, if we regard that patching is done to undue the lacking security of a product sold, we get a new game where the consumer must be informed clearly in a shop regarding the purchase they make.

A costly jump that might not have been needed! This year will bring changes to the mobiles and the shops selling them, I wonder if Google considered that, or perhaps they never cared. Especially when the people get told that they will not face any issues, if they had a Nexus phone (Google’s mobile). Samsung is not without options either, as they progress towards ownership of Blackberry, they might drill into a new mobile market that revolves around data and communication security, which is another mobile hot potato, and it instantly gets them huge chunks of the financial sector for reasons not here speculated! Tactically both Google and Samsung have made brilliant moves, for the consumers not the worst move but likely a costly one this year!

Will you remain in a Google mind or move to Tizen?

Will Eva choose to try the Apple in the end?

Time will tell!

 

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