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Samsung Galaxy Note 4 vs Apple iPhone 6 Plus – Specs comparison

Again with the new iPhone(s)? Isn’t The Droid Guy supposed to be an Android-centric website? Leave droid fans alone. Be honest, you were thinking or wondering one of these things before you even finished reading our headline.

iphone-6-plus-vs-galaxy-note-4

And we completely understand your frustration. For the past two weeks or so, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus rumor roundups, previews, hands-on explorations and finally reviews have inundated the tech-focused part of the interwebs.

Just one more reason to keep your online activity fixated on funny cat pics and (human) porn, huh? Not so fast. Because like it or not, iPhones make the Android scene better. And vice versa. Who do you think got Tim Cook to infuriate Steve Jobs from beyond the grave by embracing “phablets”?

iPhone 6 Plus

Anyhoo, the bottom line is it’s wholly necessary to give credit where credit is due, and dissect the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus along with everybody else until reaching the conclusion we can do better. Not to mention cheaper.

But above all, better. Enter Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4, the definitive top-of-the-line 2014 jumbo-sized smartphone. A phablet worth waiting for. And here’s why:

Note 4 vs. iPhone 6 Plus – design and build quality comparison

Call me rash, reckless, whatever, I’m calling it – it’s the last year Apple ever wins an aesthetics battle against a Samsung flagship. Come spring of 2015, it’s bye, bye, metallic iPhone domination. That’s because the Note 4 is clearly meant to transition users from the old, ill-advised plastic-reliant design direction to a new approach, revolving around aluminum and possibly, other premium materials.

Galaxy Note 4 vs iPhone 6 Plus

So yeah, the 6 Plus still looks a little more elegant and feels a little stronger than the GNote 4. Emphasis on little, as the half-metal/half-plastic Samsung spearhead is significantly shorter, at 153 mm (vs. 158). Outstanding engineering feat, given it also offers the larger usable screen real estate (5.7 vs. 5.5 inches).

And yes, the rear on the iPhone 6 Plus is decidedly sexy, but the bulging camera is a vexing blemish on an otherwise spotless chassis. Good for us.

Galaxy Note 4 vs. iPhone 6 Plus – display duel

Sure, iFans, the Quad HD screen resolution on the Note 4 is a gimmick. Unlike your “Retina” iPad panels, which are all about real-life, naked-eye-noticeable image and video reproduction quality. Keep telling yourselves that. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to constantly remind yourselves 1 gig of RAM is plenty for a 2014 high-end smartphone.

GalaxyNote4

At the end of the day, the fact of the matter is Note 4’s display boasts 515 ppi pixel density, and the iPhone 6 Plus 401. So much win!

Processing speed and RAM smackdown

Early benchmarks show the new iPhones heavily outperforming their main Android-running rivals. Apple-friendly benchmarks, that is, like SunSpider or Kraken. Meanwhile, 3DMark, for instance, puts both the 6 and 6 Plus behind the Galaxy S5 and Note 3 in overall performance.

No Quadrant scores, no Vellamo and, of course, no way to compare any of the existing results to what the Note 4 can pull off.

snapdragon-805

Either way, we know benchmarks aren’t worth very much, and in real life, the 6 Plus and Note 4 are both beastly slabs. Perhaps the zippiest in the world, alongside maybe the LG G3. As always, we expect Apple to have invested thousands of man hours and nearly limitless resources in carefully optimizing every little line of software code, whereas Samsung has Qualcomm’s fastest SoC and a whopping 3 gigs of RAM to take care of business.

Granted, the 64-bit architecture of Apple’s A8 chip is impossible to ignore, and bound to offer up the 6 Plus an important advantage. Then again, the scanty 1 GB RAM is even impossibler (not a real word, I know) to ignore, giving back the overall edge to the Note 4.

iPhone 6 Plus teardown

Final verdict: Samsung wins.

Software, battery life and storage

Our love for all things Android is no big secret, and neither is our bias in favor of Google’s mobile OS. But even the most rabid droid fan has to admit iOS 8 looks pretty good. Clean as a whistle, very minimalistic and a wee bit more customizable than before.

iOS 8 vs KitKat

That said, pretty much everything iOS 8 can do, Android 4.4 KitKat does better. And the next version, L, likely on its way to the Note 4 by the end of the year, should further increase the smoothness gap. Multitasking, personality, versatility, even ease of use, L has it all, at least on paper.

Which brings us to the autonomy bout. Impossible to call at the moment, it’ll probably be a very evenly matched contest. Yes, the Note 4 does pack the larger cell (3,220 vs. 2,915 mAh), but it also comes with the bigger, higher-res, more power-demanding screen in tow. And possibly, the less frugal processor too.

Galaxy Note 4 back

Moving on, the storage battle would be close too… were it not for Cupertino’s aversion for external microSD card slots. Which once again makes Android look good. Really good.

Cameras, sensors and others

Don’t you even start. We don’t want to hear it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Apple is the very best in the biz at optimizing software for better battery life, smoother performance and superior camera capabilities. But there’s only so much that can do for a mediocre 8 MP sensor-toting rear snapper.

For crying out loud, the main cam on the Note 4 sports twice the megapixel count, plus every single add-on the iPhone 6 Plus brings to the table: optical image stabilization, autofocus, LED flash. And let’s not forget 2K video recording, which the iPhone can’t do.

samsung-galaxy-note-4-camera

As for selfie nuts, they’d better not give the 6 Plus a second thought, what with its sub-par 1.2 MP front shooter. The Note 4? It’s all about self-portraits, rocking a generous 3.7 MP sensor on the front and 1,080p video shooting support.

And now, for the grand finale. Both contenders tick the fingerprint scanner box, but only one the heart rate monitor category. And guess which one comes with a bundled S Pen and stylus support? How about a UV sensor?

Galaxy Note 4 UV sensor

Meanwhile, Apple is going on and on and on about NFC inclusion, a feature that’s been around in the Android universe for years. Including on mid-rangers.

Pricing and availability

If there’s one battle Apple wins without great resistance, it’s the availability fight. Good thing that’s something to build a successful war campaign on, not an atomic bomb. And clearly, the iPhone 6 Plus doesn’t have enough weapons to survive the war, let alone win it.

iPhone 6 line

Go ahead, buy your fancy, uber-hyped, underwhelming iPhones today, iSheep iFans, because we’ll have the last laugh come mid-October, when Note 4s start shipping. Prices? $300 with AT&T and Verizon contracts, available now on pre-order through Amazon, ditto on Sprint, and $700 or so outright.

Remember, the iPhone 6 Plus also goes for $300 and up, only their $300 variant sports half of Samsung’s $300 Note 3’s internal storage – 16 GB. Oh, look, the 6 Plus is down for the count. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, you’re done!

Best iPhone 6/iPhone 6 Plus alternatives available for a fraction of the price

It takes a good bit of courage, as well as a slight dose of desperation, to knowingly turn a blind eye to the specific guidelines set by your idol, mentor and forerunner, to whom you basically owe everything. “No one is going to buy a phone you can’t get your hand around” said Steve Jobs in 2010.

Android vs Apple

“Bigger than bigger” said Tim Cook upon unveiling the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus, at last acknowledging the superiority of the phablet. Sorry, the “iPhablet”.

Bold move, when Cupertino knew full well it was exposing itself to an unprecedentedly facile wave of public ridicule. I mean, it took a copywriting virtuoso to come up with the classic “dude, you’re a barista” line, but a trained monkey could have probably penned the latest “It doesn’t take a genius” and “Then and Now” commercials.

iPhone 6 mocking

Still, iSheep iFans are flocking to stores to commit to a pair of handhelds that’s a couple of years late to the jumbo-sized party. Not to mention horribly overpriced. Why? Because they don’t know any better. Or so we hope, as the other scenario, according to which they’re aware of the Android competition yet go for the iPhones nevertheless, is much bleaker.

Either way, we feel it’s our civic duty as advocates of quality over marketing to round up a few sturdy, good-looking, affordable iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus alternatives. And if we can convince a single mobile tech consumer to leave Apple’s ship, it’s mission accomplished. Here we go, in no particular order, the iPhone 6-crushing magnificent seven:

For the first time in history, Cupertino can’t settle on one form factor. So, as Caesar used to say, “divide et impera”. Divide and rule. In other words, we shall split the standard iPhone 6 and the Plus, and crush them one by one.

Moto-X

The Moto X is, in our humble opinion, the perfect iPhone 6 slayer, as it offers the same 4.7 inches of screen real estate into a much more compact body. Yes, believe it or not, the X is a whopping 9 mm shorter and 2 mm narrower.

The pixel density is mostly in the same ballpark (312, 326 ppi, potayto, potahto), and then you have twice the iPhone’s RAM, plus all sorts of customization options via Moto Maker. And don’t get me started on the huge pricing gap. We’re talking $250 or so outright, and $200 with carrier agreements.

Still think the 4-inch frame of the iPhone 5s hits the sweet spot? Then why compromise on outdated technology when you can get a powerhouse like the Z1 Compact? True, Sony’s mini-flagship is a little larger. But for 3 extra mm in height and 6 in width, you receive 0.3 inches more of 720p IPS panel.

Xperia Z1 Compact

Needless to point out to the massive retail cost gap… again, while the difference in performance and quality is perhaps most striking when looking at Z1 Compact’s camera pitted against its iPhone 6 counterpart. 20.7 vs. 8 megapixels. It’s like David and Goliath all over again, only this time Goliath destroys its underdog opponent.

Beyond advertising bloopers, distribution gaffes and build quality woes, the OnePlus One is a spectacular, breathtaking 5.5-inch smartphone that the iPhone 6 Plus has nothing on in a head-to-head battle.

OnePlus One

Beauty? Check. Compact form factor? Check. Vibrant Full HD display? You got it. Plus Snapdragon 801 punch, 3 GB RAM, 13 MP rear camera greatness, 5 MP selfie-friendly potency, etc., etc. And the icing on the cake is the low, low price point.

Speaking of low prices, the Vibe Z is apparently worth 40 percent of the iPhone 6 Plus. Otherwise put, you can buy two Vibe Zs and a half for the costs of one single iPhone 6 Plus. All while the Z measures 9 mm less than its high-priced adversary in height, and sports an identical (on paper) 5.5-inch Full HD screen.

Lenovo Vibe Z

Also, our low-cost Android soldier packs a quad-core Snapdragon 800 SoC, which we have every reason to believe is a near match for the Apple A8, as well as two gigs of RAM, one more than the 6 Plus.

See, this is the beauty of the Android “ecosystem”. No one forces a certain form factor, a certain size or design on you. Want to be able to comfortably hold your phone in one hand? The Z1 Compact has your back.

sony-xperia-z-ultra

Fully agree that “bigger is better” and not afraid to push the boundaries of phablets? Then why settle for 5.5 inches when you can score 6.4 inches of Full HD awesomeness? No, the Z Ultra is not everyone’s cup of tea.

But as far as giants are concerned, it’s the best. Crazy affordable, crazy thin (yes, thinner than the thinnest ever iPhones), crazy zippy and crazy water-resistant. It’s crazy good, too.

I know, I know, I promised to list the iPhone 6 killer candidates in no particular order. But of course I saved the best for last. The LG G3 and Galaxy Note 3. Now, the two aren’t exactly dirt-cheap. And they can’t really be had for “a fraction of the iPhone 6 Plus price”.

lg-g3

But they’re still cheaper and better. The G3, for instance, will knock your socks off with a fantastic design, rear physical buttons included, and a mind-blowing Quad HD display. Though a 5.5 incher, just like the iPhone 6 Plus, the G3 is merely 146.3 mm tall and 74.6 mm wide (vs. 158.1 and 77.8). And it’s 8.9 mm thick, yet it manages to accommodate a 3,000 mAh juicer.

The rest? Snapdragon 801, 3 GB RAM, 32, yes, 32 GB standard internal storage, microSD support, the whole shebang. Even with the Note 4 looming, this may remain the all-around best smartphone in the world.

Ah, the Galaxy Note 3. The Rolls Royce of phablets, at least until the LG G3 dropped, with an unrivaled creative side, thanks to the S Pen support, Snapdragon 800 heat, 3 GB RAM, a 3,200 mAh battery and in many ways perfect 5.7-inch 1,080p Super AMOLED panel.

Samsung-Galaxy-Note-3

Sequel around or no sequel around, this is a classic, and as its list price drops, its popularity shall endure. Eat your heart out, Apple.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 vs Apple iPad mini Retina – Specs comparison

Probably feeling Galaxy Tab Pros lacked the pizazz to really give Apple iPads a run for their money and show the world Android has a bright future on tablets regardless of bleak predictions, Samsung basically retired the four-month-old slates, replacing them with punchier, brighter, skinnier versions.

samsung-galaxy-tab-s-8-4-vs-ipad-mini-retina

Not by much, mind you, but just enough to make a difference and keep retail costs contained. Of course, Sammy could have done this in the first place instead of going to the nuisance of marketing the short-lived Tab Pros, but hey, if it would make sense, it wouldn’t be Samsung.

It’d be Apple. There, I said it. Cupertino’s strategies are almost always cohesive and consistent (except for the iPhone 5c, which was the result of a temporary loss of sanity), this being one of the reasons iPads continue to outsell Galaxy Tabs and Notes by possibly a 50 or so to one degree.

Granted, just because one product is a looot more popular than another, it doesn’t mean it’s superior in quality. Which is where we come in. Here’s the ultimate Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 vs Apple iPad mini Retina face-off, with everything you need to know to make an informed, thought through buying decision:

Design and build quality comparison

Thin vs thinner, light vs lighter, aluminum vs plastic. Damn it, Sammy, you were this close to dominate perhaps the toughest battle of them all.

Galaxy Tab S iPad mini Retina

Apple is renowned for somehow always finding the right balance between premium build materials, compact form factors and uber-slim profiles, so even if the polycarbonate construction of the Tab S has nothing on the iPad mini 2’s exquisite metal physique, it’s still amazing the 8.4 incher can be both thinner and lighter than the 7.9 incher.

Particularly as it offers the half-inch of extra screen real estate. Don’t get me wrong, the iPad mini Retina remains a featherweight, at 331 grams and 7.5 mm, but compared to the Tab S (298 grams heavy, 6.6 mm thick), it actually looks kind of bulky.

Galaxy Tab S 8.4

As for the perforated pattern on the rear of the Tab S, mimicked from the Galaxy S5, it’s clearly schlockier than iPad mini’s clean, smooth, distinguished back. But hey, we’ve seen worse, haven’t we?

Galaxy Tab S 8.4 vs iPad mini Retina – display duel

After years and years of trumpeting their “Retina” panels as the best in the business, the time has come to finally laugh in Apple’s face. Retina? You mean 2,048 x 1,536 pixels on a 7.9-inch piece of LCD glass? Ha, GTab’s “non-Retina” screen delivers 2,560 x 1,600 resolution and 359 ppi.

Galaxy-Tab-S-8.4

On a Super AMOLED matrix that, in theory, conveys the brightest, colorful colors, widest viewing angles and greatest contrast. Sure, we’ve seen Samsung botching theoretically amazing displays before, but this time the gap is too large. Apple doesn’t stand a chance, end of story.

Processing speed, RAM and storage

Cut the act, fanboys, and quit your superior jibber jabber about software optimizations and whatnot. Yes, iOS needs a lot less power than Android to function fluently and glitch-free. But anyone who believes a dual-core/1 GB RAM system can hold a candle to an octa-core/3 GB RAM hardware configuration should check with a head doctor ASAP.

Exynos 5 Octa

Multitasking in general, gaming, web browsing, multimedia playing, you name it, the Galaxy Tab S can do it better, faster, smoother. How could it not when it packs a cutting-edge Exynos 5 Octa 5420 chip with four cores clocked at 1.9 GHz and four at 1.3? And the best thing is you needn’t worry about battery life either, as the eight cores are assembled in two separate clusters, which trigger depending on the task. Check and mate, Apple.

Oh, right, before I forget, the iPad mini Retina comes in 16, 32, 64 and 128 GB storage configs. The Tab S 8.4 just in 16 and 32 variations. But the latter can always welcome external memory, via a microSD card slot supporting up to an extra 128 gigs. Check and mate times two.

Software and battery life face-off

This may sound weird coming from an Android aficionado, nay an Android junkie, but if someone could merge Samsung’s hardware with Apple’s software, I’d buy the resulting Frankensteinian creature in a second. Let’s face it, fellow Google idolizers, there’s still no comparing the Android ecosystem with iOS on large gadgets. Maybe someday.

And maybe someday, Samsung will quit trying so damn hard to make Android look like… anything but Android, wasting precious system resources in the process. Yeah, TouchWiz has the occasional neat or useful add-on (multi-view comes to mind), but Magazine UX is an atrocity.

Autonomy-wise, it’s a little early for verdicts, but my intuition tells me we’re headed for a tie. The Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4 is virtually tied with the iPad mini 2, at around 10 hours of juice with a 4,800 mAh cell, so the 4,900 mAh battery inside the Tab S should do just fine.

Cameras, connectivity and others

While I can’t even remember the last time I’ve used my slate’s rear snapper, some folks might try to save a few bucks on a smartphone and thus rely on their tab’s photographic competency. In which case you can’t go wrong with the Tab S. Its 8 MP main snapper is light years ahead of the 5 megapixel unit on the iPad mini Retina, and so is the 2.1 MP front shooter when compared to the rival’s 1.2.

Galaxy Tab S 8.4_inch_Titanium Bronze

What else could sway you one direction or the other? Well, it’s a gimmick in my book, and there’s no point denying it, but if you’re one of those guys, the fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy Tab S might tip the balance.

Connectivity-wise, both slates offer optional 4G LTE support, standard Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, USB 2.0 and so on and so forth.

Pricing and availability

Right, so I reckon the comparison pieces so far speak for themselves in settling the name of the overall winner. Just one thing could spoil Samsung’s victory: retail costs. But that’s nowhere near the case, since the Tab S 8.4 will start at $400 in July, so exactly as much as the 16 GB Wi-Fi-only iPad mini 2.

Galaxy Tab S 8.4 Amazon

LTE models are yet to be priced, and AT&T is the sole operator that’s confirmed release plans, however I bet Verizon at the very least will follow suit, charging $550 give or take, so once again, just as much as Apple charges. If only people weren’t so easy to fool by shrewd, expensive marketing and “tradition”.

Google Nexus 5 vs Galaxy Note 3 vs Sony Xperia Z1 vs LG G2 vs iPhone 5s – Benchmark Comparison

Oh no, we didn’t! Oh yes, we did! Added a new installment to our epic high-end smartphone benchmarking saga, that is. Or rather we’re adding it in the following lines.

iphone-vs-nexus-5

Which is downright scandalous for some, since, you know, benchmarks have become the biggest taboo around following the cheating allegations directed to Samsung and that apply, through extension, to essentially all Android OEMs.

So with all that in mind, what is the point of continuing to take benchmarking tests seriously? Well, that’s exactly the thing, we’re not. Instead, how about we look at it like a game? With the only rule being there are no rules.

nexus5_iphone5s_lgg2_xperiaz1

Sounds fun? It does to us, especially when the players are LG and Google’s sizzling hot Nexus 5, fresh off its formal intro and commercial launch, plus “old-timers” Samsung Galaxy Note 3, Sony Xperia Z1, LG G2 and Apple iPhone 5s. There can only be one:

AnTuTu smackdown

Samsung Galaxy Note 3: 34,000 – 36,000 points

LG G2: 33,000 – 36,000

Sony Xperia Z1: 32,000 – 34,000

Nexus 5: 26,000 – 29,000

Note 3 AnTuTu

Since iFans insist on avoiding AnTuTu like a plague (cough, because they’re afraid, cough), the fight in this oh-so-unreliable yet oh-so-influential and famous benchmark is a four-way affair between Android’s top dogs.

Fairly predictable, Google’s Nexus 5, sans any kind of software optimizations, special UIs or unorthodox tricks up its sleeve, trails behind the competition, though not by so much. After all, on paper, all the members of this quartet pack the same exact CPU/GPU combo, with only the GNote 3 distinguishing itself from the pack, courtesy of a RAM boost (3 vs. 2 GB).

Be that as it may, at the very top there’s little to choose between the Note 3, G2 and Z1, each being capable of snatching the gold medal on a good day. In Z1’s case, provided the other two don’t feel so well when tested.

Sunspider comparison (lower is better)

Apple iPhone 5s: 415 milliseconds

Galaxy Note 3: 600

Nexus 5: 720

Xperia Z1: 750

LG G2: 900

Sunspider

It’s time to get serious. Or at least that’s how Apple aficionados like to think of Sunspider: a “serious”, rigorous, meticulous, trustworthy benchmark test. Yeah, of course they’ll say that now when their precious dominates the ranks, but wait until Cupertino blows it here too and the besmirching shall begin.

For now, let’s give credit where credit is due and admit that, as far as browser speed goes, even with the N5 added in the mix, the iPhone 5s remains king. But while we’re on the subject of the N5, let’s not move past its result in Sunspider so quickly.

Though “based” on the G2 and technically sitting lower on the totem pole as far as pricing is concerned (much lower), the 5-incher beats its cousin to the punch. And the Xperia Z1 too, another uber-pricey giant. Now that’s worth some praise.

GFXBench 2.7 T-Rex HD

iPhone 5s – 39 fps onscreen and 27 offscreen

Galaxy Note 3 – 27/27 fps

Nexus 5 – 24/23

Xperia Z1 – 23/23

LG G2 – 20/22

GFXBench

Oh snap, the Nexus 5 once again comes out on top in its duel with the Z1 and G2. Not by much and you can practically say the N5 and Z1 are equals in a theoretical GPU performance bout. But the fact of the matter is this $350 minion quite clearly plays in the same speed league as devices that cost roughly twice as much.

As for Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3, it’s still number two, but that gap to gold medal is simply mind-boggling. With shenanigans most likely included, which makes Apple’s iPhone 5s look that much more impressive.

Quadrant face-off

Galaxy Note 3: 22,000

LG G2: 21,000

Sony Xperia Z1: 21,000

Nexus 5: 8,000 – 9,000

Quadrant

It’s time to leave the pesky iPhone out of the games again, as we have on our hands yet another very popular, almost notorious benchmark that for some reason (lack of optimization maybe) isn’t a priority for the Cupertino-based player.

The thing is there’s something fishy going on with the scores reported by Google and LG’s Nexus 5 in Quadrant. Like really, really fishy. I mean, a gap of a couple thousand points I may understand, but the N5 scoring almost three times as low as the other three? That’s X Files material.

And you can’t say Quadrant is a one-of-a-kind test that measures something no other similar app can. It basically does what AnTuTu does, evaluating CPU, I/O and 3D graphics performance. So what gives? Frankly, I have no idea, but it does make me think. Could there be something off with the pre-loaded stock Android 4.4 KitKat?

BaseMark X

Galaxy Note 3: 16.22

iPhone 5s: 15.54

Xperia Z1: 14.49

Nexus 5: 14.27

LG G2: 12.53

Basemark

Let’s be honest. This wasn’t at the top of anyone’s lists of meaningful, popular, notorious benchmarks until the news broke last week that the Nexus 5 was ranked second all-around in gaming efficiency, right behind Apple’s iPhone 5s.

Oddly, there’s no trace of the GNote 3 on Rightware’s official website at this time, but after doing some digging we’ve tracked down a couple of tests of the 5.7-incher, where it actually undercuts even the 5s. Another bizarre thing is that the Z1 is now listed as better for gaming than the N5, albeit by a fraction of a point.

nexus_5

Bottom line, the ranks are fairly inconclusive, as the gaps are minuscule, but one key aspect of the test that has to be underlined is the LG-made Nexus 5 defeats its technically bigger, more impressive brother, the G2.

That’s three out of five and, if you needed it, additional reason to go out and buy the N5 ASAP… if you can find it. Good luck and please be kind in the comments section below with your snarky remarks about the pointlessness and uselessness of benchmarks.

Sources: Phone Arena, Rightware, GFX Bench, AnTuTu, How Techs, App Dated, Tech Cloud, Nothing Wired, Darth Nik

Android fragmentation: Tim Cook’s take

Tim Cook talks about Android fragmentation

Android fragmentation is a topic that repeatedly comes up in discussions of the Google-owned mobile operating system.  In a recent interview with Business Week, Apple CEO Tim Cook joined the conversation and revealed what he thought about the issue.

Tim Cook talks about Android fragmentation
Tim Cook talks about Android fragmentation

Cook calls the Android fragmentation a “growing problem” that increases exponentially. He points  out that consumers are at a disadvantage because when they purchase a device, they enter into a contract that ties them to a company for a couple of years. When the time comes that they are done paying for the device, the operating system is already old, and it becomes older once the consumer decides to buy a new phone.

On the part of the developers, Android fragmentation is also an issue, according to Cook. To illustrate, he cites the task of fixing security issues for an older version, which he claims many do not do. Thus, the consumers who are using older versions of the operating system become more vulnerable against security attacks. The problem, says Cook, is getting bigger because the number of Android users is growing.

In relation to Cook’s ideas, Business Insider published the Android platform distribution as of this month. The largest percentage, 45%, is on Jelly Bean; 22% is on Ice Cream Sandwich; 31% is on Gingerbread; and 2% is on Froyo. For comparison, the same source says that within two days of the release of iOS7, 47% of iPhone and iPad users had already downloaded the update.

Android platform distribution
Android platform distribution

Google, however, is not taking the issue lightly. In fact, it is rumored that the next update to the operating system, called Android 4.4 KitKat, may attempt to address the issue. On the other hand, Rich Miner, one of the co-creators of Android, offers a different opinion. A few months ago, Miner had been quoted to have said that Android fragmentation is merely an overblown issue. He alleged that consumers are generally satisfied with the performance of their devices, and do not consider not having the latest version of Android on their device to be a huge problem.

via business week, business insider

 

Apple Beware, Asus Has A Tegra 4-Powered Tablet With ‘Retina’ Display In The Pipeline

As passionate as we all are about all things Android and as much as we’d like to claim our favorite OS is closing the gap against Apple in the tablet arena, we have to admit Google is still a long way from winning that battle.

ASUS-Transformer-Pad_Infinity

But solid, budget-conscious slates such as the Nexus 7 are at least keeping our hopes alive and maybe, just maybe there will be a couple of 10-inch, top-notch contenders around in a few months or so. We know of at least one suspect starting today, a mystery Asus Eee Pad benchmarked over at GFX Bench not long ago.

Aside from being a part of the Eee Pad family, this fellow doesn’t really have a name yet, though a cryptic “Taurus” moniker seems to be in the cards. If I were to speculate, I’d say there’s a good chance we’re looking at a Transformer Pad Infinity 700 follow-up, but that’s not really of major importance right now.

What’s much more relevant is the presence of an Nvidia Tegra 4 chip beneath the tab’s hood and most of all the display’s “Retina” resolution. I know what you’re thinking. “Retina” is a marketing term coined by Apple, so Asus won’t be able to use it once this thing is out and about. For now however, it’s a good, albeit sneaky, way of building some hype.

Asus Eee Pad

The Eee Pad’s “Retina” panel is apparently boasting a stunning 2,560 x 1,504 pixels resolution, which will technically translate into 2,560 x 1,600 when adding the on-screen buttons in the equation. That’s a breathtaking 299 ppi pixel density (assuming the display is a 10.1-inch unit), which is far superior to that of the fourth-gen Apple iPad and on-par with the Nexus 10.

Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Pro is another fella that packs a 2,560 x 1,600 resolution, although the resulting ppi is well below Asus’ 299. Shall I go on about how awesome this tab’s display should be? Let’s not.

Meanwhile, it’s interesting to see that, despite gloomy projections, Nvidia’s Tegra 4 platform seems to be grabbing more and more headlines. In this particular case, we’re dealing with a CPU powering four cores (duh!) and running at a clock speed of 1.9 GHz.

The only other detail known at the moment about the Asus Eee Pad “Taurus” is it runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. Of course, considering the leak’s timing, we expect the gizmo to become official next month, during IFA, so be sure to check back with us in due time. Oh, and a little message for Cupertino. Be afraid! Be very afraid!

Via [GFX Bench]

Mobile device usage facts and figures

Some interesting data on mobile device usage has been published recently by Mediapost. The information sheds some light on some rising trends in the growing market while supporting other unsurprising facts with figures. In particular, it provides information on the consumers, their preferences as well as the reasons behind such preferences. This infographic shows the highlights of such studies.

Mobile Device Usage
Mobile Device Usage

Sources and methodologies

The data that appears in the infographic were taken from a number of reports. These include the Adobe Digital Index, the Mobile Consumer Survey, and another Adobe survey undertaken by Survey Sampling International.

The Adobe Digital Index shows the growth of the mobile device market from 2011 to 2013. It points out that tablets are increasingly becoming more important these days, particularly in e-commerce. As the infographic shows, tablet users have a higher probability of purchasing items online than smartphone users. Also, there is a higher number of website hits from tablets compared to smartphones. Such data is useful for both businesses and developers. They must take into account optimizing websites not only for smartphone viewing, but more importantly, for tablet viewing to increase their hits and sales.

Meanwhile, the Mobile Consumer Survey focused on understanding how consumers use their mobile devices. It underscored the importance of knowing the profile of consumers, their preferences and expectations. Furthermore, it emphasized the uniqueness of the mobile channel. According to the survey, it is unique because even if it covers both smartphones and tablets, both of these components demand different requirements.

Adding to the information is an Adobe survey which was administered by Survey Sampling International. The participants were 3,075 mobile device users from the United States, Canada, France, and Germany. There was an almost equal proportion of male to female respondents. Such respondents were also divided into three age groups. The young group comprised those between the ages of 18 to 19; the middle-aged were those between 30 to 49; and the older group, between 50 to 64. This survey provided insights on the preferred operating system, the popular activities on mobile devices, the choice of a primary device, the time spent on mobile devices, as well as spending behaviors.

Among other things, the study points out that tablets are gaining greater importance today compared to the past. This is because consumers like to engage with content on the larger screens that tablets provide than on the smaller screens of smartphones.

Factors affecting mobile device usage

These trends on mobile device usage may change depending on a number of factors. The growing number of phablets, for example, which blur the line between smartphones and tablets, may alter these trends. Other factors that may influence these trends are the quality of apps, the prices of apps, Internet speeds, and the improvements that web and app developers introduce to mobile browsing and apps, among others.

via mediapost

Apple posts reasons on why you should choose the iPhone

Immediately after the Samsung Galaxy S IV was launched, Apple published a new mini-website that aims to convince consumers to choose their handset over Samsung’s Android flagship phone of 2013.

why-iphone

The mini-website lists fourteen reasons that supposedly make them the better choice versus the competition.

First, Apple says that their device has been recognized as having the highest rate of customer satisfaction based on eight studies conducted by J.D. Power and Associates. The study, which the marketing services firm has been doing since Apple released its first iPhone, covers various factors that are important in measuring satisfaction, including the design of the product, its performance, its features, as well as its ease of use.

Second, Apple avers that its team pays attention to every detail of the iPhone, from its design to the materials. Apple compares the level of attention given to the device to that which is demanded of watchmakers.

Apple also points out that among the smartphones available today, it is the only one which offers the Retina display. According to Apple, it was due to their introduction of the high-resolution display that other companies followed suit.

The iPhone’s battery life is another factor that Apple believes gives it an edge over others. The iPhone promises eight hours of web browsing, and ten hours of watching videos when used with a cellular network connection. Despite its power, Apple says that the battery remains thin and lightweight.

Next, the A6 processor is both energy-efficient and powerful, making phone usage not only fast but also environmental-friendly.

Wireless and LTE speeds are also said to be fast on the iPhone thanks to the efforts of its engineering team.

Apple also boasts of the 8-megapixel iSight camera, which it claims to be capable of capturing high-quality images regardless of one’s location or the available ambient light.

Furthermore, there is the App Store, which offers more than 800,000 apps which are guaranteed safe by Apple’s malware protection. iTunes is also full of entertainment content, as well.

Apple credits the iPhone’s ease of operation to iOS6, which packs offerings such as FaceTime, and works smoothly with the iPhone’s other hardware features.

Also onboard is Siri, the virtual assistant that Apple includes in the iPhone.

Next, there is iCloud, which lets users manage their content across various Apple devices.

Apple likewise brags of its technical support team which can be reached through their 1-800 number, or by visiting an Apple Store.

Apple also mentions that two of the reasons that users of the iPhone cite regarding why they love the device are its features as well as its ease of operation.
Although Apple’s campaign succeeds the launch of the S IV, it appears that the list is targeted not particularly at the S IV but to Android smartphones in general.

Samsung, it may be worth noting, did not mention Android too much during the launch event, and is even said to be distancing itself from the OS this year with a Tizen-based handset.

via androidauthority, apple

Fruit Vs. Robot Lets Android and Apple Fans Battle It Out

Many Android and iOS fans have been engaging in heated debates over which among the two is better ever since these operating systems arrived. Tech blogs and forums document the banters well, but it seems that these venues are not enough.

Enter a new app called Fruit vs. Robot, a game developed by GravityFour, which allows users to take part in the battle as part of the Android or the Apple team. Fruit, of course, pertains to Apple, while Robot, to the Android robot, although the app uses different icons to represent these two.

The app features various games in which the fans can compete. Among these are Trivia Games, which covers categories such as Geography, Music, and Pop Culture; Arcade Games, which includes Balloon Pop as well as Knockers; and Board Games, like Reversi, Checkers, Four in a Row and Gomoku. In these games, users may win coins that they may use to unlock games. The app provides a leaderboard which shows which team is winning, as well as allows users to see their ranking as compared to other players of the game. Fruit vs. Robot moreover lets users pick their own avatar from several options which are unlockable.

The game’s initial release arrives shortly after a California court came up with a decision on a landmark Apple vs. Samsung case. In the decision, the court held that Samsung, a maker of Android devices, to award Apple more than a billion dollars in damages for having infringed on Apple’s patented designs and technologies.

Mirsad Makalic, one Australian developer behind Fruit vs. Robot, thought of the game when he ditched the iPhone for an Android device. He works in an office where Android and Apple fans often argued. Seeing some potential, Makalic told a friend about the idea and convinced him to work on the app, since Makalic himself did not have the money to develop the game. Later, they tapped the help of an Indonesian artist to work on the game. It is that that it took four months to finish Fruit vs. Robot.

Fruit vs. Robot on Google Play

Fruit vs. Robot on the App Store

via allthingsd