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by Dave Loft
Check out my Tech Predictions for 2011 which I wrote 1 year ago today. Here’s hoping I do as well 2012 as I did with 2011.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
I could pretty much just post this chart and call it a day. The numbers are taken from the just released data from Quorus Consulting for Canadian statistics and from Nielson for the US numbers. It clearly shows the Canadian market in 2011 mirroring what the US looked like a year before.
So why the discrepancy? Well it’s likely a number of factors but ultimately it boils down to three; loyalty, pricing and marketing.
Loyalty is the obvious one, RIM is a Canadian company and people enjoy supporting a product of Canada. Also since so many businesses, schools and government are built around the blackberry it makes moving to an alternative more difficult.
Pricing is definitely another proponent of slowing down progress and has much to do with Canadian carriers and their three year contracts. I’m still on a contract from my 2008 purchase of a Windows Mobile HTC Touch Pro. To upgrade before August of 2011 I have had to buy my Android phone at full price.
It’s not just contract pricing but also device pricing that has helped Blackberry stay on top. RIM has done well due to inexpensive devices like the Curve and the Pearl. These devices were often given away for free with contract and offered a better experience than the competition could provide at that price point. But Canada is finally starting to get some inexpensive Android devices worth owning that offer the better experience in lower price bracket.
The biggest reason for the discrepancy is marketing and is something that Apple excels at. What has kept Android behind is the lack of centralized marketing. Google doesn’t push Android like Apple or RIM does with iOS and BlackBerry. It’s up to the carriers and manufacturers to do so and as a result the message is fairly fragmented.
It is in this very area that US differs drastically and is all thanks to Apple’s bad decision to limit the iPhone to AT&T. Verizon (AT&T’s biggest competitor) in an effort to stay relevant in the smartphone space heavily promoted Android. The Droid namesake was bought and sold by Verizon with a consistent message, Droid Does. The recent change in Apple’s approach which brought the iPhone to Verizon has done very little to slow Android down. The damage was down and it all started with the original Droid back in late 2009. It was the spark that lit the fire and brought Android to the mainstream and informed the masses of a true alternative to iOS.
No carrier in Canada has done for Android what Verizon did in the US. But with recent increases in Android alternatives on all Canadian carriers and no new iPhone in sight the summer of 2011 could turn out to be a big quarter for Android. I’ll have to come back to this next year and see just how much Canada has progressed.
by Dave Loft
I’ve been mulling this over for the past week and wanted to share my thoughts on it. Ultimately what it comes down to is that there is no guarantee that the games your buying for your Android phone today are going to work on your next Android device. More apps and games are being targeted at specific devices. At Google IO in the market session it was mentioned that developers would now have even more control over which which device can access the game by not only chipset, screen size and android version but also the specific model.
So now a developer can build a compatible list or a not compatible list. An example of each that recently hit the market is the Netflix app which is limited to work on only five devices and Battleheart which currently blocks many Samsung and HTC devices. The worst part of this is that as the hacking community has shown running a rooted android with the hacked Netflix app can work on just about any device.
Blocking a specific model can result in blocking devices that may have been updated or are running custom software that actually fixes the issue that the device was blocked for. To take it even further a device may be blocked due just to performance issues. Something that a rooted device with a stock ROM running an overclocked CPU can often fix.
Ultimately these updates are great for the average Android user as it will reduce the number of times they will come across apps and games that do not work on their device. But it’s the power users that will ultimately have run into challenges from these changes.
Jump ahead one or two years after your first Android and you may find yourself in a situation where many of the games you have wont work on your brand new device. This will be especially true for anyone who owns a Tegra 2 based device or the Xperia Play. With so many games being made specifically just for those devices if your next device is not a Tegra device or the Xperia Play 2 it won’t work.
This also extends to any 3D game that specifically lists what devices it works on. Next year if you go and buy the latest and greatest phone that should easily be able to handle the game but the developer hasn’t added it to the list of compatible devices. As a result it won’t even show up in the market for you.
So going forward the argument that because it’s an Android device and you bought it from the Market doesn’t give you any guarantee. It kind of puts some perspective on the many arguments against buying from Gameloft because it won’t work on your next device. As it is, no matter where you buy it, there really is no guarantee it will work.
Google also introduced another update to the market, but this one could help alleviate many issues. They will allow a developer to have one listing for their game and it can hold multiple APK’s. This would be helpful for example if you currently own a Tegra 2 device, you would be given the Tegra 2 version. Then for example next year you buy the Xperia Play 2 and then when you hit the market to download your apps you would be given the appropriate version.
Unfortunately by the looks of things in the market this may be more of a dream than a reality. Many Tegra 2 games won’t work on any other platform and the one’s that do like Fruit Ninja and Guerrilla Bob have a higher price for the Tegra 2 version.
Thankfully most developers seem to have the right idea by just adding support to the Xperia Play in the regular version of the game. But I have to give a thumbs down to any developer choosing to build a separate version for the Xperia Play.
Now before you get too worried about all this just bear in mind this is really only going to affect more advanced 3D games. Most apps and games should work just fine. This issue could also be helped if Google takes a stronger stance and more aggressively enforces the Android Market. The biggest thing Android needs is an all encompassing graphic layer akin to DirectX. This would alleviate the need for developers to write for specific chipsets and would greatly help eliminate compatibility issues. Going forward hopefully developers and Google don’t let things get too far out of hand.