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If you just look at the number of people using Android phones in the world, it would appear that Apple’s iOS has only a few takers, but a look at the amount of money people spend on Apple’s App Store paints a different picture.
It has been 12 years since Steve Jobs introduced iOS – then called iPhone OS — in 2007. Google bought Android Inc., a startup founded by Andy Rubin, at an estimated cost of $50 million in 2005. The first phone running the Android operating system — T-Mobile G1 (aka the HTC Dream) — hit the market in 2008, more than a year after the first iPhone.
Now the International Data Corporation (IDC), which forecasts worldwide smartphone shipments to decline 1.9 per cent in 2019 to 1.375 billion units, down from 1.402 billion in 2018, predicts that the share of the Android operating system in the worldwide smartphone market will grow to 87.1 per cent in 2023 from 86.7 per cent in 2019.
The share of iOS which take pride on the security system that it has built, on the other hand, is likely to go down to 12.9 per cent in 2023 from 13.3 per cent in 2019. Data from StatCounter show that the market share of iOS in India is at third place, behind Android, and KaiOS that powers a new category of smart feature phones.
While Android has over 91.5 per cent share in India, iOS has over 2.6 per cent share as of July 2019. KaiOS has over 4.3 per cent share in India which has fairly good number of smart feature phone users.
The growth of Android share this year has largely been due to launch of several new models. The launch of a handful of 5G devices in the second half of this year would further boost the share of Android, according to IDC.
IDC predicts that 2019 is set to be another challenging year for new iPhone shipments with volumes expected to drop to 183.5 million, down 12.1 per cent year over year. However, selling more of its official refurbished iPhones will help it maintain or expand its iOS installed base.
While Android has captured a far greater share of the worldwide smartphone market, Apple’s App Store has continued to corner a greater share of the global app revenue.
During the first half of 2019, the world’s App Store and Google Play users generated a combined $39.7 billion in spending on mobile apps and games, registering 15.4 per cent growth compared to the spending in the first half of 2018, according to a report from mobile app intelligence firm Sensor Tower. Out of this $39.7 billion, a massive $25.5 billion was spent on Apple’s App Store, a growth of 13.2 per cent year-over-year, according to the report, which revealed that Google Play’s estimated gross revenue stood at $14.2 billion for the first half of this year.
Today, it is estimated that there are about 5.1 billion unique mobile subscribers and only about half of them have smartphones.
With the prices of smartphones coming down, the migration from feature phones to smartphones is expected to continue across the world, offering the smartphone operating systems a huge opportunity to tap. (IANS)
Accusing Google of illegally using Android mobile devices to strengthen dominance of its search engine, the European Commission on Wednesday imposed a record fine of 4.34 billion euros ($5 billion) on the tech giant, which said it would appeal against the decision.
According to the Commission, Google has imposed since 2011 illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators to cement its dominant position in general Internet search.
Google must now bring the conduct effectively to an end within 90 days or face additional penalty, the ruling said.
Reacting to the ruling, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company will appeal against the Commission’s decision.
“Rapid innovation, wide choice, and falling prices are classic hallmarks of robust competition. Android has enabled this and created more choice for everyone, not less. This is why we intend to appeal today’s Android decision,” Pichai wrote in a blog post immediately after the verdict.
The decision, according to the Google CEO, ignores the fact that Android phones compete with iOS phones.
“It also misses just how much choice Android provides to thousands of phone makers and mobile network operators who build and sell Android devices; to millions of app developers around the world who have built their businesses with Android; and billions of consumers who can now afford and use cutting-edge Android smartphones,” Pichai wrote.
According to Commissioner Margrethe Vestager who is in charge of competition policy, their case is about three types of restrictions that Google has imposed on Android device manufacturers and network operators to ensure that traffic on Android devices goes to the Google search engine.
“In this way, Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine. These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits. They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere. This is illegal under EU antitrust rules,” Vestager explained.
In particular, Google has required manufacturers to pre-install the Google Search app and browser app (Chrome), as a condition for licensing Google’s app store (the Play Store).
The company made payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-installed the Google Search app on their devices.
The Commission also found that Google prevented manufacturers wishing to pre-install Google apps from selling even a single smart mobile device running on alternative versions of Android that were not approved by Google.
The Commission’s decision, according to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, sends a troubling signal in favour of proprietary systems over open platforms.
Pichai said the company has always agreed that with size comes responsibility.
“A healthy, thriving Android ecosystem is in everyone’s interest, and we’ve shown we’re willing to make changes.
“But we are concerned that today’s decision will upset the careful balance that we have struck with Android, and that it sends a troubling signal in favour of proprietary systems over open platforms,” he added.
The Commission, however, said that as Google obtains the vast majority of its revenues via its flagship product, the Google search engine, the company understood early on that the shift from desktop PCs to mobile Internet, which started in mid-2000, would be a fundamental change for Google Search.
So, Google developed a strategy to anticipate the effects of this shift, and to make sure that users would continue to use Google Search also on their mobile devices, the Commission said. (IANS)
After facing backlash over its involvement in an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered Pentagon project “Maven”, Google CEO Sundar Pichai has enphasised that the company will not work on technologies that cause or are likely to cause overall harm.
About 4,000 Google employees had signed a petition demanding “a clear policy stating that neither Google nor its contractors will ever build warfare technology”.
Following the anger, Google decided not to renew the “Maven” AI project with the US Defence Department after it expires in 2019.
“We will not design or deploy AI in weapons or other technologies whose principal purpose or implementation is to cause or directly facilitate injury to people,” Pichai said in a blog post late Thursday.
“We will not pursue AI in “technologies that gather or use information for surveillance violating internationally accepted norms,” the Indian-born CEO added.
“We want to be clear that while we are not developing AI for use in weapons, we will continue our work with governments and the military in many other areas like cybersecurity, training, military recruitment, veterans’ healthcare, and search and rescue,” Pichai noted.
Google will incorporate its privacy principles in the development and use of its AI technologies, providing appropriate transparency and control over the use of data, Pichai enphasised.
In a blog post describing seven “AI principles”, he said these are not theoretical concepts but “concrete standards that will actively govern our research and product development and will impact our business decisions”.
“How AI is developed and used will have a significant impact on society for many years to come. As a leader in AI, we feel a deep responsibility to get this right,” Pichai posted.
Google will strive to make high-quality and accurate information readily available using AI, while continuing to respect cultural, social, and legal norms in the countries where it operates.
“We will seek to avoid unjust impacts on people, particularly those related to sensitive characteristics such as race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, income, sexual orientation, ability, and political or religious belief,” Pichai noted.
Pichai said Google will design AI systems to be appropriately cautious, and seek to develop them in accordance with best practices in AI safety research.
“We will design AI systems that provide appropriate opportunities for feedback, relevant explanations, and appeal. Our AI technologies will be subject to appropriate human direction and control,” he added. (IANS)
In a bid to deliver transparency in technology and stay ahead of ethical pitfalls, Google has said that its Artificial Intelligence (AI) calling system “Duplex” would now identify itself while making appointments.
Following the launch of the “Duplex” system, which lets AI mimic a human voice to make appointments and book tables, among other functions, a widespread outcry over the ethical dilemmas were raised by tech critics.
Google clarified to The Verge that the experimental system would have a “disclosure built-in” that means that whenever Duplex gets involved in some type of verbal communication with a human at the other end, it would identify that the human is talking to an AI.
“We understand and value the discussion around Google Duplex, as we have said from the beginning, transparency in the technology is important,” a Google spokesperson was quoted as saying.
“We are designing this feature with disclosure built-in, and we will make sure the system is appropriately identified. What we showed at I/O was an early technology demo, and we look forward to incorporating feedback as we develop this into a product,” the spokesperson added.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai introduced Duplex earlier this week in the company’s annual developer’s conference Google I/O and demonstrated how the AI system could book an appointment at a salon and a table at a restaurant.
In the demo, the Google Assistant sounded like a human. It used Google DeepMind’s new WaveNet audio-generation technique and other advances in Natural Language Processing (NLP) to replicate human speech patterns.
Also Read: A Smarter Assistant to Offer 6 New Voices
However, tech critics raised questions on the morality of the technology saying it was developed without proper oversight or regulation.
According to tech critic Zeynep Tufekci, the demo was “horrifying” and the initial positive audience reaction at I/O was evidence that “Silicon Valley is ethically lost, rudderless and has not learned a thing”.
Google had originally said in a blog post written by engineers Yaniv Leviathan and Yossi Matias that “it’s important to us that users and businesses have a good experience with this service and transparency is a key part of that”. (IANS)