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Posts Tagged ‘HTC’

Breaking: First Known Detection of Carrier IQ in Italy

December 12, 2011 2 comments

Update December 13: Carrier IQ issued an updated statement, new concerns for an endless saga…

I am proud to post here the first known detection in Italy of the infamous Carrier IQ software!

As you will probably know, everything started on Nov. 28, on the other side of the Atlantic, when Trevor Eckhart, an Android developer posted a video on YouTube showing the hidden software Carrier IQ interacting oddly with his mobile phone activity. Eckhart subsequently alleged his keystrokes and data were being collected without his permission.

Easily Predictable, speculation and accusations have immediately begun, concerning the kind of data collected by Carrier IQ and presumably transmitted to Wireless Mobile Operators: as a matter of fact subsequent investigations have shown that the Carrier IQ software is embedded on nearly every mobile phone and operator, at least in the U.S where concerns of consumer privacy led Massachusetts congressman Rep. Edward Markey to ask the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the company over concerns of consumer privacy.

But although many believed the software was logging keystrokes and collecting sensitive data, a subsequent more reasonable analysis carried on reversing the code, has shown a different scenario: the software “only” collects anonymized metrics data, although there are hooks inside the code to events such as keystrokes, possibly suggesting the implementation of this kind of functionality for future versions. Essentially the analysis confirmed the content of a statement by the company which attempted to clarify how information was being collected:

We measure and summarize performance of the device to assist Operators in delivering better service.
While a few individuals have identified that there is a great deal of information available to the Carrier IQ software inside the handset, our software does not record, store or transmit the contents of SMS messages, email, photographs, audio or video. For example, we understand whether an SMS was sent accurately, but do not record or transmit the content of the SMS. We know which applications are draining your battery, but do not capture the screen.

Nevertheless, since the clarifications did not mitigate the fact that Carrier IQ is s a potential risk to user privacy, and users may not choose to to disable it, As a consequence a bunch of Class Actions lawsuits have been filed against the main handset manufacturers and carriers including, besides the obvious Carrier IQ, AT&T, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile USA, HTC, Apple, Samsung, and Motorola Mobility.

Of course European regulators could not remain indifferent, and started immediately to  investigate Carrier IQ. Germany’s Bavarian State Authority for Data Protection was the first to contact Apple, which publicly declared to have included Carrier IQ in earlier version of iOS, with support ceased with iOS 5 and completely removed for previous versions in future software updates. The German Example has immediately been followed not only by other  regulators in the U.K., France, Ireland and Italy, but also from organizations like BEUC, the European Consumers’ Organisation that defend the users’ right to be told how their data is used.

I was wondering if Europe’s concerns were exaggerated (since so far the scandal seemed to be contained in the U.S.) until a friend of mine decided to test one of the available Carrier IQ detection tools on his Samsung Galaxy Tab, which was purchased from 3, an Italian Mobile Operator belonging to the H3G Giant.

Of course the results are shown above: the tool detected the Carrier IQ software in an inactive state. The bad thing is that, although apparently inactive, my friend told me he was not able to remove the software following the different procedures available on the web even if he did not spend so much time in its removal. So far I can only show the screenshot but he told me he will give me his device for a deep analaysis (with caution since it is his work device).

Thinking at this strange encounter, I admit I could not help but think to Samsung’s official statement concerning Carrier IQ (and reported by Engadget):

Some Samsung mobile phones do include Carrier IQ, but it’s very important to note that it’s up to the carrier to request that Samsung include that software on devices. One other important point is that Samsung does not receive any consumer user information from the phones that are equipped with Carrier IQ.

Since it is up to the carrier to request the software to be included on Samsung devices, I presume that 3 could have decided to install it on all the devices for the Italian Market. I tested the tool on My HTC Desire and Sensation XE (both belonging to Telecom Italia Mobile) with no result.

Francesco Pizzetti, Italy’s Protection of Personal Data Guarantor will have a lot to do… meanwhile he opened an investigation into how Carrier IQ works and is checking Italian mobile phones to verify where the software is in use.

Mobile devices are more and more becoming inseparable companions for our personal and professional life, and deadly enemies for our privacy…

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The Dangerous Liaisons (Updated)

August 22, 2011 1 comment

Did you know that a smartphone might involve as many as 250,000 patent claims? You may easily understand why the $ 4.5 billion auction to buy 6,000 Nortel patents by the consortium formed by Apple, Microsoft, Research in Motion, Sony Ericsson and EMC was so cruel. You may also easily understand why Google, the loser of the Nortel auction, decided to react immediately acquiring Motorola and its patent portfolio made of more than 17,000 approved patents (and another 7,500 patents filed and pending approval) for the large sum of $ 12.5 billion.

Said in few words, the mobile arena is getting more and more agressive and cruel. For this reason, a litte bit for curosity, a little bit for fun, I decided to draw a chart (and a table) showing all the moves of the giant players in this mobile chessboard. Although deliberately incomplete (I did not show in the table the patent saga of NTP Inc. against the rest of the world and the settlement of Motorola vs RIM), it gives a good idea of the dangerous intersections involving partnership, fees, alliances and, most of all, lawsuits… With the strange paradox that some companies (read Apple and Samsung) are enemies before the court, but in the same time business partners.

While visualizing the idea I stumbled upon this similar graph showing the status of the mobile arena on 8 Oct 2010. I decided to use the same layout, omitting some informations, but updating it to the current date. The graph is a little bit confusing, but the confusion of the arrows reflects betten than a thousand words the real situation.

Anyway the war will not stop here: the next targets? Interdigital Inc. with its 8,800 patents  which are attracting several bidders such as Apple, Nokia and Qualcomm; and, most of all, Kodak, whose survival depends on the auction of the 10% of its patent portfolio (1,100 patents), valued as high as $3 billion which are vital to compensate the losses estimated in $2.5 billion.

As far as the table is concerned, in order to avoid repetitions, it only shows the status of the lawsuits and alliances from the perspective of Google, Apple and Microsoft. Enjoy your read and the 250,000 patent claims on your smartphone!

Company Filed Suit Against Has technological alliance with Filed Suite From:
  No one (at least so far!)

Of course Google licensees his Mobile OS to HTC and Samsung (in rigorous alphabetical order), and it is the driver for the impressive market share growthof Samsung and HTC.

In an effort to defend Android’s Intellettual Property “to supercharge the Android ecosystem and will enhance competition in mobile computing”, on Aug 15 2011, Google announced the intention to acquire Motorola Mobility with a $12.5 billion deal. Motorola has nearly 17,000 patents.

Aug 12 2010: Oracle has filed suit against Google for infringing on copyrights and patents related to Java,. Oracle claimed Google “knowingly, directly and repeatedly infringed Oracle’s Java-related intellectual property”. Android uses a light proprietary Java Virtual Machine, Dalvik VM, which, according to Oracle infringes one or more claims of each of United States Patents Nos. 6,125,447; 6,192,476; 5,966,702; 7,426,720; RE38,104; 6,910,205; and 6,061,520.

The case is in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, is Oracle America, Inc v. Google Inc, 10-3561.

The lawsuit is still pending and will likely take several months. The trial between Oracle and Google is expected to begin by November and Oracle is seeking damages “in the billions of dollars” from Google.

On Aug 1 2011, the judge overseeing the lawsuit Oracle filed over the Android mobile OS has denied Google’s attempt to get a potentially damaging e-mail redacted.

Mar 2 2010: Apple sued HTC for infringing on ten patents, nine of which involve technologies which apply to the iPhone, while one involves the use of gestures, but only in a specific use case.

The suit has been filed in the U.S. District Court in Delaware , alleging twenty instances of patent infringement. The company also petitioned the US  ITC to block the import of twelve phones designed and manufactured by HTC.

On Jul 15 2011 Apple won a preliminary patent ruling in an early judgment before the US ITC, in which HTC was found to have breached two of 10 patents held by Apple.

On Aug 8 2011 ITC  announced to have dediced to review Apple’s patent infringement complaint against HTC.

Oct 31 2010: In response to Motorola lawsuit against Apple, Apple sued Motorola and Motorola Mobility for Infringment on several Multi-Touch patents infringments in the Wisconsin Western District Court with two distinct lawsuits. A total of six patents are involved in the two lawsuits.

On Nov 23, 2010: US International Trading Commission announced to review Apple patent case against Motorola.

Apr 18 2011: Apple filed suit against Samsung for copying the design of its iPad and iPhone with its smartphones and tablets.

Aug 10 2011: European customs officers have been ordered to seize shipments of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab computers after the ruling late on Tuesday by a German patents court.

In the last days Apple has been accused of presenting inaccurate evidence against Samsung.

Aug 24 2011: Samsung has been banned from selling some galaxy phones in the Netherlands. The ban is set to begin on October 13, but Samsung doesn’t seem to be taking it too hard.

On Jul 1 2011 the intellectual property of the Canada giant Nortel (in Bankrupt), involving 6,000 patents, was sold for $4.5 billion, in a dramatic auction, to a consortium formed by Apple, Microsoft, RIM, Sony, EMC and Ericsson. Google was the other competitor (and the big looser) for the deal. This event acted as a trigger for the acquisition of Motorola Mobility by Google.

On Aug 3 2011, In a post to the Official Google Blog, Google Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond said that Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, and others have waged “a hostile, organized campaign against Android” by snapping up patents from Novell and Nortel and asking Google for high licensing fees for every Android device”, accusing them of Patent Bulying.

Curiously, Apple is one of the main technological partners of Samsung for displays and semi-conductors. Samsung produces Apple’s A4 systems-on-a-chip (SoC) and also the two companies collaborate for iPad displays (Apple is moving from LG to Samsung because oof quality issues of the former). Nevertheless the lawsuits between the two companies are compromising their relationships so that Apple is evaluating a new supplier (TSMC) for its A6 nexy generation chipset.

Oct 22 2009: Nokia sued Apple in Delaware court for infringing on  ten patents related to GSM, UMTS, and WLAN standards that Nokia states they established after investing more than EUR 40 billion in R&D over the last 20 years.

On Jun 14 2011 Apple agreed to pay between $300m and $600m to cover the 111m iPhones sold since its launch in 2007. Although the exact number was not specified, additional yearly fees could be part of the agreement.

On Jan 2010 Kodak sued Apple and RIM claiming Apple is infringing its 2001 patent covering technology that enables a camera to preview low-resolution versions of a moving image while recording still images at higher resolutions. The cases were filed in U.S. District Court in Rochester, N.Y., as well as the U.S. ITC.

On Apr 2010 Apple argues that some Kodak still and video camera products violate two of its patents

On Jul 2011: While Kodak’s claim is pending, the commission rules on Apple’s complaint and says Kodak’s digital-camera technology doesn’t violate Apple’s patents.

Oct 6 2010: Motorola sued Apple for patent infringement in three separate complaints; in district courts in Illinois and Florida and a separate complaint filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission. The suits covered 18 different patents, infiringed by Apple’s iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and certain Mac computers.

The Motorola patents include wireless communication technologies, such as WCDMA (3G), GPRS, 802.11 and antenna design, and key smartphone technologies including wireless e-mail, proximity sensing, software application management, location-based services and multi-device synchronization.

Jan 12 2011: Microsoft has motioned for a summary judgment to block Apple from trademarking the phrase “app store,” as it filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on July 17, 2008.

Mar 30 2011: Microsoft filed a second objection to Apple’s enduring pursuit to trademark the phrase “app store hiring a linguist, Dr. Ronald Butters, to go head-to-head against Apple’s own hired linguist, Robert A. Leonard.

On Jul 1 2011 US ITC said Apple has violated two S3 Graphics Co. patents in its Mac OS X operating system, but not in the iOS platform. Although not directly related to Mobile, this ruling is meaningful since S3 has been acquired by HTC on Jul 6 2011 for $300 million in order to use their patents in the fight against Apple.

HTC expects final ruling on Apple-S3 graphics case in November.

On Aug 16 2011 HTC filed a new lawsuit against Apple in Delaware’s US District Court, in an escalation of the legal battle between the two smartphone giants. HTC accused Apple to have infringed three of HTC’s patents through its sale of devices including iPads, iPods, iPhones and Macintosh computers.

Oct 1 2010: Microsoft sued Motorola for patent infringement relating to the company’s Android-based smartphones. Microsoft filed its complaint with the International Trade Commission and in a Washington state district court. At issue are nine patents that deal with, among others, sending and receiving e-mail, managing and syncing calendars and contacts, and managing a phone’s memory.

Patent dispute will begin from Aug 21 2011, the hearing procedure can take up to 10 days, the judgment procedure is expected to reach the final verdict point only in March 2012.

Nov 9 2010: Microsoft sued again Motorola for charging excessive royalties on network technology used in Microsoft’s Xbox game system.

Feb 11 2011: a deal with the Devil, Microsoft and Nokia announce their plansto form a broad strategic partnership that would use their complementary strengths and expertise to create a new global mobile ecosystem.

Besides the alliances with Apple and RIM (see the corresponding cell), on May 12 2011 Microsoft has teamed up with HTC, Nokia and Sony Ericsson in Europe, filing a challenge seeking to invalidate Apple’s trademarks on the phrases “App Store” and “Appstore.”

Nov 11 2010: Motorola Mobility sued Microsoft with the U.S. District Courts for the Southern District of Florida and the Western District of Wisconsin alleging infringement of sixteen patents by Microsoft’s PC and Server software, Windows mobile software and Xbox products.

Motorola Mobility asked for the infringing devices to be barred from importation into the United States.

On Dec 21 2010, ITC has agreed to hear the complaint.


Looking Inside a Year of Android Malware

August 14, 2011 2 comments

As you will probably know my Birthday post for Android Malware has deserved a mention from Engadget and Wired. Easily predictable but not for me, the Engadget link has been flooded by comments posted by Android supporters and adversaries, with possible trolls’ infiltrations, up to the point that the editorial staff has decided to disable comments from the article. The effect has been so surprising that someone has also insinuated, among other things, that I have been paid to talk s**t on the Android.

Now let me get some rest from this August Italian Sun and let me try to explain why I decided to celebrate this strange malware birthday for the Android.

First of all I want to make a thing clear: I currently do own an Android Device, and convinced, where possible, all my relatives and friends to jump on the Android. Moreover I do consider the Google platform an inseparable companion for my professional and personal life.

So what’s wrong? If you scroll the malware list you may easily notice that the malware always require an explicit consent from the user, so at first glance the real risk is the extreme trust that users put in their mobile devices which are not considered “simple” phones (even if smart), but real extensions of their personal and professional life.

You might say that this happens also for traditional devices (such as laptops), but in case of mobile devices there is a huge social and cultural difference: users are not aware to bring on their pocket dual (very soon four) cores mini-PCs and are not used to apply the same attention deserved for their old world traditional devices. Their small display size also make these devices particularly vulnerable to phishing (consider for instance the malware Android.GGTracker).

If we focus on technology instead of culture (not limiting the landscape to mobile) it easy to verify that the activity of developing malware (which nowadays is essentially a cybercrime activity) is a trade off between different factors affecting the potential target which include, at least its level of diffusion and its value for the attacker (in a mobile scenario the value corresponds to the value of the information stored on the device). The intrinsic security model of the target is, at least in my opinion, a secondary factor since the effort to overtake it, is simply commensurate with the value of the potential plunder.

What does this mean in simple words? It means that Android devices are growing exponentially in terms of market shares and are increasingly being used also for business. As a consequence there is a greater audience for the attackers, a greater value for the information stored (belonging to the owner’s personal and professional sphere) and consequently the sum of these factors is inevitably attracting Cybercrooks towards this platform.

Have a look to the chart drawing Google OS Market share in the U.S. (ComScore Data) compared with the number of malware samples in this last year (Data pertaining Market Share for June and July are currently not available):

So far the impact of the threats is low, but what makes the Google Platform so prone to malware? For sure not vulnerabilities: everything with a line of code is vulnerable, and, at least for the moment, a recent study from Symantec has found only 18 vulnerabilities for Google OS against 300 found for iOS (please do no question on the different age of the two OSes I only want to show that vulnerabilities are common and in this context Android is comparable with its main competitor).

Going back to the initial question there are at least three factors which make Android different:

  1. The application permission model relies too heavily on the user,
  2. The security policy for the market has proven to be weak,
  3. The platform too easily allows to install applications from untrusted sources with the sideloading feature.

As far as the first point is concerned: some commenters correctly noticed that apps do not install themselves on their own, but need, at least for the first installation, the explicit user consent. Well I wonder: how many “casual users” in your opinion regularly check permissions during application installation? And, even worse, as far as business users are concerned, the likely targets of cybercrime who consider the device as a mere work tool: do you really think that business users check app permission during installation? Of course a serious organization should avoid the associated risks with a firm device management policy before considering a wide deployment of similar devices, most of all among CxOs; but unfortunately we live in an imperfect world and too much often fashion and trends are faster (and stronger) than Security Policies and also make the device to be used principally for other things than its business primary role, hugely increasing risks.

This point is a serious security concern, as a matter of fact many security vendors (in my opinion the security industry is in delay in this context) offer Device Management Solution aimed to complete the native Application Access Control model. Besides it is not a coincidence that some rumors claim that Google is going to modify (enhance) the app permission security process.

As far as the second point is concerned (Android Market security policy), after the DroidDream affair, (and the following fake security update), it is clear that the Android Market Publishing (and Security) model needs to be modified, making it more similar to the App Store. There are several proposals in this context, of course in this place is not my intention to question on them but only to stress that the issue is real.

Last but not least Sideloading is something that makes Android very different from other platforms (read Apple), Apple devices do not allow to install untrusted apps unless you do not Jailbreak the devices. Android simply needs the user to flag an option (By The Way many vendors are opening their Android devices to root or alternate ROMs, consider for instance LG which in Italy does not invalidate the Warranty for rooted devices) or HTC which, on May 27, stated they will no longer have been locking the bootloaders on their devices.

So definitively the three above factors (together with the growing market shares) make Android more appealing for malware developers and this is not due to an intrinsic weakness of the platform rather than a security platform model which is mainly driven by the user and not locked by Manufacturer as it happens in case of Cupertino.

L’Androide In Vetta (Ma Perde i Pezzi)

March 5, 2011 2 comments

Nuovi dati di Nielsen confermano la corsa dell’Androide, che nel ricco mercato Americano si conferma la prima piattaforma per diffusione con il 29% delle piattaforme vendute, confermando il sorpasso nei conronti della Mela e della Mora (le arcinemiche Apple e RIM) al palo con il 27%.

La prospettiva cambia radicalmente se si considerano i singoli produttori: l’Androide appare infatti molto frammentato, e questo avvantaggia Apple e RIM, produttori autarchici (oltre a Nokia) che distanziano nettamente (quasi il doppo di diffusione) HTC, il primo produttore androide, che si “accontenta” di un 12%.

Da notare i novelli sposi Nokia e Microsoft che messi assieme non arrivano nemmeno alla metà dei tre principali sistemi operativi (addirittura il povero Symbian e sorpassato anche da WebOS).

Niente di nuovo sotto, il sole. Personalmente, come ho già avuto modo di esporre in questo post, l’unico punto preoccupante conseguente alla Frammentazione dell’Androide non è tanto quello relativo alle quote di mercato, quanto quello relativo alla proliferazione inopinata dei servizi dei produttori (ad esempio la diffusione di market verticali), e alla diversificazione eccessiva di hardware e del software che penalizzano inevitabilmente la stabilità della piattaforma. Questo aspetto comincia ad essere uno dei punti deboli dell’Androide ed è indubbiamente uno dei pochi vantaggi della chiusura di Apple e RIM (oltre agli indubbi vantaggi in termini di sicurezza, e il caso del malware DroidDream è esemplare in questo senso).

Devo però ammettere che un aspetto in particolare mi ha colpito: se si guarda con attenzione alla diffusione della piattaforma per età, nel caso dell’Androide la differenza la fanno i giovanissimi (18-24), dove l’androide guadagna due punti percentuali in più rispetto alla Mela e alla Mora. Queste ultime, come prevedibile, guadagnano sull’utenza più matura (soprattutto RIM). In effetti sembra proprio che lo stereotipo dell’Androidiano smanettone sia confermato dai dati statistici, anche se in realtà c’era arrivato molto prima il genio autore di questa vignetta.

Matrimonio Con Il Morto

February 6, 2011 3 comments

Sembra che le voci di un possibile matrimonio tra Microsoft e Nokia, siano destinate a trovare conferma tra pochissimi giorni, forse addirittura l’11 febbraio. Il matrimonio dovrebbe avere come dote principale Windows Phone 7 che potrebbe andare ad equipaggiare i terminali di casa Nokia, che in tal caso vedrebbe modificare drasticamente la propria immagine: da produttore di una piattaforma completa (hardware più software) a semplice costruttore di terminali, alla stregua di altri colossi quali LG, HTC, (parzialmente) Samsung, etc.

Gli ingredienti ci sono tutti: in primo luogo da settembre 2010 al timone (sarebbe meglio dire alla slitta) del gigante finlandese c’e’ proprio un enfant prodige Microsoft, Stephen Elop, che per la prima volta ha spodestato un finlandese dal gradino più alto dell’azienda; in secondo luogo è ormai noto che Symbian e MeeGo (rispettivamente i sistemi operativi mobili per la fascia medio-bassa e alta del mercato), anche se su piani diversi, stanno arrancando per obsolescenza tecnologica (Symbian) e per la difficoltà di imporsi in un mercato dove l’Androide, la Mela e il Lampone oramai la fanno da padroni (con conseguente calo continuo dei profitti)

Ma se Esp00 piange, Redmond non ride: dall’altra parte dell’Oceano la situazione non è molto diversa. Sebbene l’ultimo nato di casa Windows sia un prodotto dignitoso, stenta comunque a diffondersi a causa del ritardo nel lancio e di alcune mancanze di gioventù (e di time-to-market) difficilmente perdonabili.

In questo senso si spiega dunque la strategia, applicabile ad entrambi i coniugi di questo matrimonio d’interesse, di appoggiare la sinergia su un ecosistema già esistente di terminali e servizi.

Con tutta probabilità il matrimonio porterà in dote ai Finlandesi Windows Phone 7 ed agli americani la possibilità di poter sfruttare la diffusione (ed il valore del brand) del principale produttore mondiale di terminali per numero di diffusione. Tutte rose e fiori quindi? Per niente affatto: sul piatto delle leggi di mercato dovrà essere lasciata almeno una vittima illustre. Tre sistemi operativi sono troppi per Nokia, per cui lo storico Symbian dovrà rassegnarsi a un mesto prepensionamento, oppure MeeGo non vedrà mai la maturità, interrompendo la propria carriera incompiuta nel bel mezzo di una stentata adolescenza.

Certo mi viene da storcere il naso al pensiero, ma oramai ho abbandonato Symbian senza troppi rimpianti, se non la romantica nostalgia di un sistema operativo che ha accompagnato la mia crescita professionale oramai da quasi 10 anni. Se invece guardo alla questione da una prospettiva più ampia, due sono le considerazioni che sorgono spontanee: una su un piano strettamente legato al mondo mobile ed una, più generale, relativa alla cultura manageriale:

  1. Relativamente al mondo mobile ho la sensazione che direttamente o indirettamente in questo matrimonio entrerà anche Intel: è vero che il colosso di Santa Clara ha storto il naso (con malcelata altezzosità) al fatto che Microsoft abbia pericolosamente strizzato l’occhio ad ARM, ma è altrettanto vero che Intel sta sviluppando MeeGo congiuntamente con Nokia e sta contemporaneamente investendo (anche) in tecnologie di sicurezza mobile con l’acquisizione di McAfee. Vedo quindi difficile una strategia mobile autarchica in un mercato che sembra ormai lasciare poco spazio agli outsider anche se dotati della potenza di fuoco di Santa Clara;
  2. Più in generale la mossa di Stephen Elop appare molto azzardata ma ribadisce un concetto: in un mercato globale  e aggressivo il manager rompe le regole e gli equilibri. Non è un caso che lo stesso Elop stia, proprio in questi giorni, avviando una operazione di “mietitura” (di teste) all’interno dei papaveri Nokia responsabili dell’eccessiva inerzia dell’azienda. In maniera superficialmente banale, non ho potuto fare a meno di accostare la temerarietà (e mi auguro la vision) del CEO Nokia a quanto sta accadendo in questi giorni alla prima (e quasi unica) fabbrica nazionale di automobili, anche lei nel bel mezzo di un matrimonio d’interesse con un partner d’Oltreoceano che sta sconvolgendo i piani di una economia tradizionale.

Un’altro colosso sul piede di guerra nell’affollatissimo mercato mobile. Vedremo se il matrimonio snaturerà l’immagine di Nokia oppure l’azzardata scommessa di Elop darà i suoi frutti, restituendo lo smalto (e le quote di mercato) ad una nobile azienda che appare indirizzata verso la via del declino.

Astici, Androidi e Tablet (Prima Parte)

January 15, 2011 Leave a comment

L’inusuale accostamento che contraddistingue il titolo di questo post prende spunto dal titolo della commedia che ho visto ieri sera (notevole successo nei cartelloni romani, i più arguti avranno già intuito il titolo). Con l’occasione ho rivisto una coppia di amici che non vedevo da un bel pezzo. La buona creanza vorrebbe che in circostanze come queste ci si saluti con Baci e Abbracci, ma come spesso accade non sono riuscito a lasciare la mia smania per la tecnologia fuori delle porte del teatro. Con malcelato orgoglio ho scoperto difatti che il mio amico è assiduo lettore di queste pagine, con la conseguenza che, come si dice da queste parti, è “andato in fissa” per l’Androide.

Fortunatamente per lui la “fissa” è arrivata al momento giusto poiché mi ha confessato che Babbo Natale,  probabilmente anche lui assiduo frequentatore di questo blog, ha lasciato sotto il suo albero uno splendido Galaxy S, e sotto quello della sua dolce metà un altrettanto splendido HTC Desire HD.

Ormai ho perso il conto degli amici che ho convinto a salire sul carro di Mountain View (ai quali si è da poco aggiunto anche il mio caro amico, collega e blogger  David Cenciotti) e anche se continuo a constatare con ironica amarezza che l’unico che ancora manca all’appello è mio fratello (ma spero sempre in un infarto improvviso del suo Blackberry), devo comunque ammettere che nessuno di loro si è (ancora) pentito dell’acquisto.

Bene! La fase 1.0 dell’Androide, lo smartphone, può dirsi conclusa e siamo ormai maturi per la fase 2.0: il tablet.

Lasciando per un attimo le rive del Tevere e analizzando il panorama a livello globale i  tempi sono (quasi) maturi: la notizia di questi giorni è il brusco calo relativo alle vendite dei PC worldwide nel corso del 2010 secondo i dati dei maggiori analisti di settore IDC e Gartner (che come al solito non sono d’accordo su quasi nulla). I colossi delle ricerche di mercato, in due studi distinti relativi alle vendite su scala planetaria, hanno rilevato che nel corso dell’anno appena terminato l’incremento su base annua relativo alle vendite dei PC si è attestato rispettivamente al 2.7% e 3.1% a fronte di previsioni che i due colossi attestavano rispettivamente al 5.5% e 4.8%.

IDC identifica la causa di questa debacle planetaria, oltre che in una generale tendenza al risparmio dei consumatori (che raschiano  il fondo del barile delle risorse dei loro vecchi PC), al fenomeno di cannibalizzazione delle tavolette, che hanno spostato verso di sé l’attenzione (e il portafoglio) di molti acquirenti, soprattutto se interessati a funzioni business (consultazioni di documenti o posta elettronica). Questi utenti non sono particolarmente esosi di CPU ma probabilmente tra breve i tablet strizzeranno gli occhi anche  agli hardcore user (come si definiscono in termine tecnico) se si considera che Sony Ericsson sta per lanciare sul mercato il Playstation Phone equipaggiato con l’Androide, specificamente rivolto ai videogiocatori mobili.

Ad ogni modo tornando al nostro microcosmo, dopo aver ammirato lo splendore dei gioielli di famiglia dal cuore  pulsante d’Androide, il discorso non poteva che finire sui tablet: il mio amico ha elevate esigenze di mobilità, necessita di leggere la posta elettronica, consultare documenti e nel contempo deve portarsi dietro cataloghi da mostrare (come è cambiato il mondo rispetto ai bei faldoni di una volta!): in parole povere l’humus tecnologico ideale per un tablet che non a caso rientra nelle sue prossime intenzioni di acquisto.

Poche parole ed ecco che, inevitabilmente, si materializza la domanda che nessun geek vorrebbe sentirsi porre:

Quale Tablet mi compro?

La risposta non è banale poiché si compone in due piani: un piano soggettivo e un piano (s)oggettivo. Necessita quindi di un post dedicato in cui spiegherò cosa ho risposto a questa domanda e perché…

Una Telefonata Allunga La Vita

January 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Il titolo di questo post non richiama il refrain di un vecchio spot di una nota compagnia telefonica nazionale, con protagonista  un improbabile Massimo Lopez, ma rappresenta invece quanto realmente accaduto a tale John Garber di Atlanta. Il povero cameriere, uscito dal Club Halo dove lavora abitualmente, si è trovato, suo malgrado, coinvolto in una sparatoria nel bel mezzo della quale una pallottola vagante lo ha colpito al petto.

Fortunatamente per lui sotto il giubbotto custodiva gelosamente il suo telefono HTC Droid Incredible (versione rebrandizzata dall’operatore Verizon dell’HTC Desire). La pallottola ha penetrato il giubbotto ma è stata bloccata dalla batteria dell’Androide.

Per chi ne vuole sapere di più, a questa pagina, l’articolo segnalato da Mobileblog. mentre al link seguente si può trovare un filmato dell’accaduto.

Veramente incredibile, anzi Incredible…

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