IDC Pegs Android Market Share at 85% Globally for Q1 2017

Android N on The Nexus 6

Analyst firm IDC has released their Smartphone OS Market Share report for the first quarter of 2017 and its all looking good for Android.  The report looks at smartphone unit shipments to base the figures and Android for the quarter was on 85% of all units shipped.  That’s up from the 81.4% of the previous quarter (Q4 2016) but still 2.6% below the high water mark of 87.6% in Q2 2016.

The gains for Android came at the expense of Apple’s iOS.  Unit shipments for iPhones dropped to 14.7%, down some 3.5% from Q4 2016, which happened to be the height of its shipments at 18.2%.  The only other mobile platform that was mentioned was Windows Phone in the report.  That all-but dead platform now accounts for .1% of smartphone units sold.

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Latest Google Photos Update Removes Backup While Charging Feature

Google Photos Backup Options

In the latest update to Google Photos for both Android and iOS, the ability to backup photos while charging your phone has been removed.  It is unclear as to why the feature was removed but in version 2.17 for Android and 2.18 for iOS, the feature is gone.  You can still limit the app to only backup when you are on WiFi networks as well as if you want to backup while roaming.

Google Photos remains one of the most popular Google apps with over 1 billion users of the service and over 500 million active monthly users.

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Google Maps Enabling Trip and Real Time Location Sharing

Google Maps Parking Information

Google Maps is in the process or rolling out a location sharing feature that you may actually want to use.  Location Sharing is something that has been a bit spotty for both Android and iOS with Apple probably having it figured out best with Find My Friends.  But, as is usually the case with Apple, it is only for fellow iOS users.  That is why this new feature in Google Maps is so exciting.  It works cross platform between Android and iOS.

In a nutshell, here is how it works.  When the feature rolls out to you, there will be a Share Location feature in the menu.  Tap it then select the contacts you want to see your location in real time.  You can set it up to share your location in real time for a set amount of time or until you turn the feature off.  Once you start sharing, your selected contacts will get a notification on their phone and when they open up Google Maps, they will be able to see where you are in real time.

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Android Accounts for 81.7% of all Smartphones Sold at The End of 2016

Android Nougat

Gartner has released their quarterly smartphone sales report and it is solid news for both Android and iOS.  In the report, the analyst company states that Android accounted for 81.7% of all smartphones solid in Q4 of last year.  If you add that to the 17.7% for iOS, these two platforms account for 98.4% of all smartphone sales.  It is a staggering number and it goes a long way in explaining why the Microsoft’s and Blackberry’s of the world have all-but killed their own Operating Systems on mobile devices.

The report goes on to say that Apple has surpassed Samsung as the top selling brand globally in the final quarter of the year.

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Today’s Deal – Anker 5-Port USB Charger with Quick Charge 3.0 Support

Anker 5-Port USB Charger

Today’s Deal is on the Anker 5-Port USB Wall Charger.  This 63W unit has two ports that support Quick Charge 3.0 technology for rapid charging of compatible devices.  Today you can pick it up for $29.99, a saving of 60% off the regular $60 price.  Anker is one of the long time manufacture of accessories for Android and iOS and I never hesitate in recommending their products.  This particular accessory I have (albeit the Quick Charge 2.0 model from last year) and it is rock solid and used every day for the myriad of devices I have plugged into it at any given point in time.

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Microsoft – A Mobile Strategy Does Not Have To Include Phones

Microsoft and their mobile devices, Microsoft Lumia, were in the news again this week and not in a good way.  The company has all-but confirmed that they will be killing off the devices and brand by the end of 2016.  As a long time H/PC, PocketPC, Windows Mobile, and Windows Phone users (I started this site back in 2004 writing about Handheld PCs and PocketPCs), it is a shame to see a company with the resources of Microsoft so utterly screw up their mobile strategy around devices.  There are a lot of reasons for this of course and I could spend a lot of digital ink on it.  But the bottom line is, from a device perspective, Microsoft made a long series of major missteps that has led to where we are today:  Virtually no Windows powered phones.  Sure there is the new HP Elite X3 but at the price point it has ($799), it will see very few and really, it’s aimed at the enterprise anyway.

But to suggest that Microsoft’s mobile strategy is dead because their phones are dead is a bit of a stretch and dare I say, false.  Their strategy is very much alive and well across both Android and iOS and proves that you don’t necessarily have to have phones in the mix.  Microsoft’s focus has been pretty clear for the last two years.  First, they want you using Microsoft services on whatever devices you want to use.  Second, they want you to have the apps to make you productive and give you near the same level of functionality as you have on the desktop.  These two things not only make up a mobile strategy but it makes a pretty solid one.

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Microsoft Reportedly Buying Swiftkey for $250 Million

According to a report from the Financial Times, Microsoft is set to announced the acquisition of the popular keyboard app developer Swiftkey for $250 million.  While neither company would confirm the report, it is expected to be announced later this week.

Swiftkey is hugely popular with Android and iOS users who leverage the apps artificial intelligence to quickly sort out what someone is typing as they swipe across the keyboard on their device.  It is at AI that Microsoft is interested in acquiring as the Redmond company continues to drive its mobile app strategy despite their own mobile platform being all-but dead.

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