Daniel Eran Dilger in San Francisco
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Posts from — August 2011

Samsung’s Digital Picture Frame was no iPad

Daniel Eran Dilger

If Google’s overall Android strategy seems to be derived from the collective fantasies of blog commenters (Google should buy Motorola!!), then Samsung’s legal defense in Apple’s infringement cases appears to be similarly sourced from anonymous online comments (I can’t see it!! If anything, Apple is copying Samsung!!).
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August 23, 2011   28 Comments

iOSchadenfreude

Daniel Eran Dilger

Here’s some choice examples of why you can’t believe everything companies or pundits proclaim about the prospects of their products.
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August 19, 2011   9 Comments

Google’s acquisition of Motorola set to doom Android, Chrome OS

Daniel Eran Dilger

What do Google and Motorola get from being under the same management? Google gets access to Motorola’s home networking gear, GPS devices, cable boxes, and cord/cordless phones, all of which work directly against what Google has been trying to deliver in its Android push. In return, Motorola will destroy third party interest in Android and Chrome OS, while doing nothing to provide Google with the retail stores, PC platform, and local software experience it lacks.
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August 16, 2011   31 Comments

Google wants to be Apple as much as Microsoft did. But can Motorola help?

Daniel Eran Dilger

Years after the tech industry unanimously agreed that Microsoft’s licensing model was far superior to Apple’s integrated hardware model, Microsoft began desperate measures to adopt Apple’s. Now Google is trying to do the same. Will buying Motorola help?
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August 15, 2011   17 Comments

Google moves Android from a PlaysForSure strategy to Zune strategy

Daniel Eran Dilger

While Android fans like to point out how well the free software is performing by looking at its plurality of market share among smartphone makers, the reality is that Android isn’t doing so well. Google’s acquisition of Motorola is proof of that.
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August 15, 2011   20 Comments

Are software patents evil?

Daniel Eran Dilger

Ask anyone covering the patent wars currently being waged between Oracle and Google, or between Apple and HTC and Motorola and Kodak, or Lodsys and iOS developers, and regardless of their opinion about legal liability they’ll tell you that the patent system is broken, and more often than not, that patents on software are sort of evil and should probably just go away. But are patents really that bad?
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August 9, 2011   40 Comments

Podcast: iCloud, Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5 and Android

Nightowl logo

Gene Steinberg of the Tech Night Owl invited me to talk about iCloud, Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5 and Android in a podcast with Paul Wagenseil, Jim Galbraith, and Ted Landau.

You can tune into the live broadcast stream Saturday night from 7:00 to 10:00 PM Pacific, 10:00 PM to 1:00 AM Eastern, at http://www.technightowl.com/radio/. An archive of the show is available for downloading and listening at your convenience within four hours after the original broadcast.

They episode is available here: August 6, 2011 — Daniel Eran Dilger, Paul Wagenseil, Jim Galbraith, and Ted Landau

The Tech Night Owl LIVE is also broadcast on many local radio stations via the GCN network.

You can also access our show’s Podcast feed, now available at: http://www.technightowl.com/nightowl.xml.

August 6, 2011   No Comments

Why is Google playing the Cold War patent game in the age of patent terrorism?

Daniel Eran Dilger

Seems hard to believe it was only one year ago that Google was rattling swords at its Google IO conference, comparing Apple and its iOS to North Korea while advancing Android 2.2 Froyo. What a difference a year makes. Now, rather than arrogantly bragging about how Android would crush and humiliate Apple’s axis of evil, Google has shifted into weeping about how other players in the mobile industry are threatening it with intellectual property claims
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August 5, 2011   19 Comments

Analysts race to the bottom on Apple nonsense, from cash to A6 chips

Daniel Eran Dilger

Must be a slow news week. Analysts covering Apple seem to be competing with the world’s major religions in their efforts to concoct the most absurdly ridiculous stories to be told with a straight face.
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August 3, 2011   17 Comments

Apple posts new iCloud login page as a revamped MobileMe, iWork.com

Apple has posted a not yet fully functional login page for its new iCloud service, representing a revamped version of its existing Mail, Contacts, Calendar and Find My iPhone MobileMe apps as well as newly integrating the document sharing features of iWork.com.

The new iCloud login page, which appears as an Apple Store-like name tag on a lanyard, enables some users to log into functional apps. Other users are presented with an iOS-style popup asking them to migrate their data from MobileMe to iCloud, a feature which isn’t yet working.

Hope for mobile users

The iCloud login page is also available from mobile devices, suggesting that Apple will finally make its web-based apps accessible from iOS devices. MobileMe web apps are currently blocked from iOS mobile users, apparently because Apple’s mobile browser does not support the “real web” well enough to work acceptably with them. This prevents iOS users from accessing a secondary account.

Android and other mobile users are similarly blocked from accessing MobileMe, and get the same “download the iOS native apps” message iOS users get, despite there being no MobileMe native apps that Android or other mobile users can install.

The new iCloud apps

The first user to report successfully logging into the new service, Rafael Fischmann of the Brazilian MagMagazine blog, presented screen shots of the new Mail, Calendar and Contacts apps, all of which have adopted a new iPad-like appearance.

The new service also includes iCloud for Keynote, Pages and Numbers, which “stores your documents and keeps them up to date on your devices and the web.” This new service goes above and beyond the former iWork.com, which simply enabled users to share documents over the web to other users, with a web app client that enabled others to view and comment on documents even without owning iWork.

The new iCloud for iWork apps incorporates “iCloud for Documents,” a new storage and sync feature that third party developers can incorporate in their own apps to allow their users to keep documents in sync across the users various devices, updating changes made on one machine across every other instance of that file, automatically.

The first 5GB of documents users store within iCloud will be free, while Apple appears set to make 10, 20 and 50GB options available annually for $20, $40, or $100, respectively.

Missing in the transition from MobileMe to iCloud is the Gallery and iDisk web apps, which are largely replaced by similar functionality offered by iCloud’s Photo Stream and Documents features.

August 1, 2011   24 Comments

Apple’s Safari grows to 8% browser share, WebKit now second only to Microsoft IE

Apple’s Safari browser has now exceeded an 8 percent share of web browser use across all devices, powered by strong growth in iPhone and iPad sales.

The new high water mark for Apple’s web browser, combined with Google’s popular Chrome browser, also now makes Apple’s WebKit the second most widely used rendering engine among web browsers, second only to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and just slightly ahead of Mozilla’s Firefox.

According to Net Application’s NetMarketShare data, in the last two years, Microsoft’s IE has slipped from nearly 67 percent share to just 52.8, while Firefox use has slipped slightly from almost 23 percent to July’s reported 21.48. Google’s Chrome as exploded from 2.84 percent to 13.45 percent, while Apple’s Safari share has nearly doubled from 4.07 percent to 8.05 percent.

Chrome and Safari combined now represent more than 21.5 percent of web users, slightly ahead of Firefox even before adding in a small number of alternative WebKit browsers.

A decade ago, Microsoft’s share of web browsing with the Windows-bundled IE reached such overwhelmingly high numbers that it appeared unlikely that any other browser could ever gain more than a scrap of market share, given the apparent lack of any profit incentive to develop an alternative web browser.

The failing Netscape Navigator browser was eventually spun off into an open source project that resulted in Mozilla, which developed the Firefox browser. Its advantages in speed and other features, combined with its independence from Microsoft, quickly created an avid following among both PC and Mac users.

The Rise of Safari and WebKit

In 2003, Apple debuted work on its own Safari browser, after Microsoft stopped actively developing IE for the Mac. Apple leveraged the existing, open source KHTML rendering engine, which it forked to deliver WebCore, a parallel project Apple continued to maintain under the GNU LGPL.

Two years later, Apple released its entire layout engine for Safari under the more permissive BSD license, naming the entire package WebKit. This package proved to be far more valuable to third parties than just the core KHTML-based rendering engine, causing WebKit to immediately be adopted by Nokia for use in its smartphone web browser for Symbian.

Google later adopted WebKit for use in both its desktop Chrome and mobile Android browsers. RIM’s modern BlackBerry 6.0 browser and HP’s webOS browser and entire application runtime are also based on WebKit, as are the majority of other mobile browsers, including Amazon’s latest Kindle browser. WebKit is also used within a variety of applications, ranging from Apple’s own Mail, iTunes and Dashboard to Adobe’s AIR and Creative Suite CS5 and Valve’s Steam gaming platform.

Widespread use of WebKit has enabled Apple (and other WebKit developers) to rapidly deliver and deploy new web standards ranging from Apple’s Canvas to a variety of enhancements to CSS, HTML and SVG, without worrying that there won’t be enough modern browsers available to take advantage of the new features. This has enabled the development of a new open platform for sophisticated web applications, commonly referred to as HTML5.

Shifting the industry toward HTML5

Apple’s successful development of not just a desktop browser in the model of Firefox but also the creation of Mobile Safari for iOS devices as the first very usable, high performance mainstream mobile browser (something Mozilla has yet to deliver itself) has left a tremendous mark not only on the web browser market but in web-related development as well.

The exclusive use of HTML and JavaScript on Apple’s iOS devices without any provision for plugins such as Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight has upended Adobe’s control over the deployment of web video and other dynamic content, forcing the company to bring its development tools to an open HTML5 foundation in order to reach the valuable iOS segment of the market.

Microsoft has also largely abandoned Silverlight, its own Flash-like development environment, to instead focus on standard HTML5 tools for building web apps and services.

August 1, 2011   5 Comments