Yesterday was a rough one for ZTE. A year after pleading guilty to violating sanctions with Iran and North Korea, the U.S. Department of Commerce brought the hammer down and announced a seven-year export restriction on goods sporting U.S. components.
That applies to more than a quarter of the components used in the company’s telecom equipment and mobile devices, according to estimates, including some big names like Qualcomm. The list may well also include Google licenses, a core part of the company’s Android handsets. According to a Bloomberg unnamed source, ZTE is evaluating its mobile operating system options as its lawyers meet with Google officials.
Many of the internal components can be replaced by non-U.S. companies. ZTE can likely lean more heavily on fellow Chinese manufacturers to provide more of the product’s internals, but it’s hard to see precisely where it goes from here with regard to an operating system. There’s an extremely small smattering of alternatives open to the company, but none are great. Each would essentially involve the company working to build things, including app selections, from the ground up — and likely play a much more central role in the OS’s development.
As for Google’s role in all of this, ZTE certainly isn’t make or break for Android’s fortunes. Still, it’s a pretty sizable presence. As of late last year, it commanded 12.2 percent of U.S. market share, putting it in fourth place behind Apple, Samsung and LG. It’s certainly in Google’s best interest to maintain as many prominent hardware partners as possible — though, not if it comes with the added risk of upsetting the DOC in the process.
ZTE said to be meeting with Google over US export ban
We reported earlier that iOS 6 first day adoption was high, but new information provided to TechCrunch by mobile analytics company Apsalar shows that over time, users are definitely picking it up much faster than previous versions. The company sees a lower overall adoption rate in day one than either Chartboost or Chitika, but the numbers show a rapid increase in user adoption over time.
iOS 6 is an over-the-air update, meaning it’s much easier for people to move from previous versions to this one, so long as they already have iOS 5 installed. And unlike Google with Android, Apple pushes out its updates to all of its iPhone and iPad users at more or less the same time. All of those factors, along with a hype machine designed to build anticipation for new features that roll out with each update, seem to be contributing to a quick move toward platform saturation. Apsalar’s sample pool is considerable, too, with 2.2 million devices for its iOS 5 data, and 6.3 million for iOS 6.
That’s great news for developers, who benefit from having all users of a platform on the same page, since they can focus on developing just for one OS version and drop support for older ones more quickly. Some developers I know who work on iOS have even adopted an approach of rapid obsolescence, so they can retain extra lean development workflows and shorten turnaround times for new versions, and Apple’s increasingly impressive ability to get everyone on the same page should make that kind of strategy even more popular.
One developer is reporting much higher rates of adoption for iOS 6 after 48 hours, at almost 30 percent according to MobileSyrup. Specific numbers are bound to vary, but they’re all telling the same story: people are upgrading, and fast.
Apple Users Adopting iOS 6 122% Faster Than iOS 5 After Two Days
Millennial Media sent out its quarterly Mobile Mix report for the second quarter of 2012 today, and the number tells a story of rising fortunes for Samsung in smartphones, and of continued success for Apple, with a potential explosion on the horizon for the iPhone-maker when the next version makes its debut. iOS also grew its share of the overall OS picture, but Android still took the lion’s share of impressions overall with 46% for the quarter.
Apple took the top prize for manufacturers, seeing 31.38% (vs. 28.32% last quarter) of overall device impressions, and the iPhone was the top device, with 15.84% (up slightly from 15.10% in Q1) of the share, compared to just 4.96% for the next closest handset, RIM’s BlackBerry Curve. Still, Samsung also made a strong showing, with eight separate devices in the top 20 overall combining for 13 percent of the pie. On top of that, every Samsung phone that appeared on the list grew its share of impressions when compared to the previous quarter.
The numbers are good for both Apple and Samsung, but maybe more impressive for Apple if only because the company saw growth despite the fact that the current iPhone was essentially stale-dated thanks to widespread anticipation of a fall launch for a new model. But the best is yet to come, since the launch of a new device almost always generates a huge spike for Apple in Millennial’s metrics.
When the iPhone 4S came out, impressions took off, growing 200% in its first week and 1800% once it had been on the market for a full month. Many considered that device an incremental update over the iPhone 4, and the next iPhone promises to be a much more dramatic redesign, so look for an even bigger impact on ad impressions this time around.
Millennial: Apple Devices Top Mobile Ad Impressions, Expect Lead To Grow With New iPhone
Slowly but surely, it seems as though Apple’s mobile OS is being stripped of search giant Google’s influence. Apple’s redesigned Maps application — due to make its debut in iOS 6 — no longer makes use of Google’s map data, and that trend continues with another recently spotted change.
The latest beta version of iOS 6 (that’s beta number 4, if you’re keeping count) no longer includes the YouTube app, which has been a mainstay of iOS homescreens since the original iPhone. Don’t fret too much though, because Apple reports that Google is working on its own iOS-friendly YouTube app for inclusion in the iOS App Store.
The exact reasoning behind the move was initially unclear, but Apple’s official response (courtesy of The Verge) is about as curt as you would expect:
Our license to include the YouTube app in iOS has ended, customers can use YouTube in the Safari browser and Google is working on a new YouTube app to be on the App Store.
Of course, a statement as brief as that raises as many questions as it answers. Did Apple try to renegotiate the licensing terms for the app’s inclusion in iOS 6 with Google? Was that even an option?
For now there’s little to go on, but I imagine most users won’t be hurting because of the change especially considering how much better the YouTube mobile site has gotten over the years. That’s not to say anything of the fact that Google is in a better position to maintain the iOS YouTube app — the Android version of the app seems lightyears ahead in comparison and if only a few of those features (the quality toggle, better caching, the list goes on) make the leap to Apple’s platform it’ll all be for the best.
YouTube App Removed From iOS 6 Because Apple’s Licensing Agreement Is Over
Early last week, a screenshot of an internal T-Mobile document revealed the existence of a device perplexingly called the “HTC Era 42,” which promptly caused some T-Mobile fans to drool uncontrollably.
Some speculated that it would be the latest in T-Mobile’s G-series of Android devices and would sport a physical keyboard because of HTC’s track record with the carrier, but now TmoNews is calling it slightly differently. Instead of a brand new, keyboard-toting handset, editor David Beren has managed to confirm “with a small level of certainty” that the device is actually a tweaked version of the HTC One X called the One X+.
Exactly what that plus refers to is still a mystery, but that hasn’t stopped the rumor mill from doing its usual thing. In this case, the cause for that additional + may be the inclusion of NVIDIA’s quad-core Tegra 3, a detail anonymous sources passed on to AndroidAndMe earlier this year. What’s more, the rumor also alleged that the device in question would run a stock version of Ice Cream Sandwich instead of HTC’s Sense-ified take on the OS — something that should please all those avid Android tweakers surfing T-Mobile’s spectrum.
That T-Mobile’s version of the device would get the Tegra treatment doesn’t seem like much of stretch either, considering the issues that manufacturers have had getting quad-core chipsets to play nicely with LTE radios. That issue seems to be clearing up (take a look at Samsung’s quad-core LTE Galaxy S III), but T-Mobile won’t have to worry about that network technicality until next year anyway.
There are still more questions than answers at this point, but we may not have much longer to wait. The leaked screenshot pegs the Era 42 with a September 26 release date, and if there’s actually something to it, HTC will probably come knocking with invitations soon.
HTC One X+ Rumored To Launch On T-Mobile Come September