Things go in and out of fashion and so it is with smartphones. In my early mobile career, the perceived (phone hardware) industry wisdom was that noone would ever want a phone without a physical number keypad. They said people need haptic feedback. They said none would type on a screen that has lots of oil and smudges on it having been placed next to the face. The iPhone proved they were wrong.
However, things have gone too far. While you can still get some phones with numeric keyboards, full keyboards for use by writers, bloggers or just ‘workers’ don’t exist any more. We have much better hardware, connectivity and apps since the early PDA days and now is arguably the time when full smartphone keyboards might be more useful.
Planet Computers have spotted the gap in the market. They have the Gemini PDA Android and Linux keyboard mobile device on Indiegogo. It was funded in just 2 days.
The Gemini is engineered by Martin Riddiford who helped develop Psion PDAs. You can read more about his latest design choices on medium.
This is one of the few crowdfunded things I have ever backed. It’s a compelling concept combining an old form factor but bringing it up to date with new ideas, hardware and software. However, note that none of the photos or videos show it actually working. It will be a large effort to make this thing real and more importantly glitch-free. Doing this for $000,000s rather than $0000,000s will be a challenge. The glitch-free part is important if the product is to have a good reputation and hence a future beyond the initial production. On the plus side, the team is experienced and has no legacy company baggage to slow them down. It will be an interesting journey.
Counterpoint has a recent post on how camera and smartphone screen resolutions have been improving. Mid-price phones now have cameras and screens with resolutions closer to flagship devices. While this might have implications for OEM flagship device sales, it also affects developers.
We can now develop more sophisticated apps that make practical use of the camera. For example, for many years I have been working on medical diagnosis apps that use image processing. This kind of processing has previously only been possible on the few devices providing high resolution images.
Now that the majority of users have higher-end cameras, lots of self-diagnosis scenarios become possible. Couple this with server-side big data and it opens up a new world of possibilities.
Gartner has new research that says Global Smartphone Sales to Only Grow 7 Per Cent in 2016 and will be the first year to see single digit percentage growth…
“The double-digit growth era for the global smartphone market has come to an end,”
I guess most people who want a smartphone now have one. Any changes in OS market share will be due to switching. This isn’t necessarily bad news for developers as it means that mobile platform market shares are now stable and can probably be relied on for staying so for some time.
Counterpoint has new research and a new infographic on Q2 mobile market handset and smartphone shipments based on more than 75 vendor shipments Worldwide. Huawei has became the world’s third largest handset now beating Microsoft. Asus is the fastest growing brand.
Counterpoint has a new infographic based on their Q1-2015 Market Monitor report that tracks more than 75 top vendor shipments across countries that contribute to more than 95% of the total global smartphone volumes.
The infographic is particularly good if you need region specific data.
I have often mentioned how smartphone growth is mainly in emerging markets. Well, now we have information from IDC that puts some numbers on current and forecasted smartphone growth…
I am amused with the way IDC classifies very low end Android devices as "borderline junk" – something that Google is hoping to change with Android One. However, I suspect Android One is as much about keeping control of the platform and discouraging forks of Android as it is about improving low end hardware standards.