29% of Android is Forked (AOSP) Android

January 30th, 2015

abiresearch.gifIt seems to be research release season and ABI has also reported numbers for smartphone shipments. However, this time we have a breakdown of what proportion of Android is forked (AOSP). That is, Android devices that aren’t sanctioned by Google, haven’t passed compatibility testing and don’t have Google Apps and Google Play Services (at least not legally anyway). 

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ABI’s prediction that AOSP growth, relative to non-AOSP, would decline has come to fruition. Assuming the lower shipment numbers it has stabilised (-1% change month on month) at about 29% of all Android devices.

Android shipments are now decreasing month on month mainly due to Apple’s brilliant 90% growth. 

UPDATE: Changed value from 41% to 29% as the first row in the table, despite its generic naming ‘Android’, doesn’t include the second.

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Latest Mobile Market Research

January 29th, 2015

strategyanalystics.gifStrategy Analytics has latest research that shows about 1.3 billion smartphones were shipped in 2014. Of these, about 1 billion were Android. Meanwhile, IDC released numbers that agree with the 1.3 billion smartphones being shipped.

strategyanalyticsq42014.png 

I continue to regularly update my market research site with these and other free mobile market research releases.

Deloitte Global Consumer Survey 2014

January 28th, 2015

deloitte.gifDeloitte’s ‘Global Consumer Survey 2014′ (pdf) has some useful market research on mobile. While the report offers a unique perspective on the Dutch market, the data is global and the study comprised 37,000 respondents across 22 countries.

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Some interesting insights for app developers…

  • Older consumer segments are rapidly catching up with smartphone ownership
  • Free WiFi remains the main Internet connection as 4G is still considered to be too expensive
  • Apple and Smasung have captured users mainly from Nokia
  • The smartphone remains the device that most consumers intend to purchase in the next year. The intent to purchase wearables remains limited.
  • Younger consumers renew their phones frequently, while two-thirds of those over 45 renewed their device once or not at all in the past 5 years
  • 4G is considered faster than Wi-Fi at home, at work, when out and about, and when commuting
  • Over 10% of 18-34 year olds look at their phones 100 times or more a day; only 9% of the over 65s never check their phone
  • Most people’s morning routine incorporates checking instant messages, texts, e-mails and social networks
  • The use of mobile payments and transfers is popular among most ages, especially younger people

Cryptographic Vulnerabilities in Android Applications

January 23rd, 2015

fireeye.pngFireEye has some new research that has found that of the free apps with over a million downloads, 88% use some cryptographic functionality provided by the Android platform and 62% of these have cryptographic vulnerabilities. What this means is that while the authors and the end users of these apps might think data is secure, it’s easier to decrypt the data that they would expect.

There seems to be trend at the moment for researchers to spot vulnerabilities, on all platforms, but not really explain how developers can prevent or fix such problems. Many of the cryptographic concepts are beyond all but the most experienced (or highly curious) developers. While developers of highly secure apps might have the time to look deeply into encryption, the average casual developer needs examples or libraries on which they can base their work.

As it happens, a library java-aes-crypto became available this week that’s a simple Android class for encrypting and decrypting strings, aiming to avoid the classic mistakes. There are also more libraries mentioned in my article on Encrypting Your Sensitive Data. I also have tips on Taking Care with Encryption. You might also like to read Tozny’s post on Making Better Mistakes 

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Mobile Threat Report

January 15th, 2015

lookout.gifThere’s an interesting new free (no registration needed) Lookout Mobile Threat Report (pdf) that describes the trends in mobile security that occurred during 2014. Ransomware has replaced SMS billing scams and Adware threats. Malware in the US increased from 3% to 7%. The report gives more details, numbers and charts for the US, UK, France, Germany and Japan.

One anomaly is that the report only mentions and considers Android threats. There’s no mention of iOS … at all. Maybe the report should have been titled the "Lookout Android Threat Report".

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Older WebViews Not Being Updated

January 12th, 2015
securitystreet.pngIf you have been following my posts on Android WebView security concerns then you might be interested to know that Google No Longer Provides Patches for WebView Jelly Bean and Prior. However, as one of the post comments points out "Even if Google does continue support, would the devices even get it?". Learn more about Android WebView vulnerabilities

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Tablet Shipment Growth Slowed

January 6th, 2015

gartner136.gifGartner has some new research and forecasts for tablet (and PC) shipments. The initial growth in tablet sales has slowed considerably.

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Despite this, tablet shipments are still growing and tablet shipments are now of the similar order as desktops. The above table shows that Android tablets might see a larger share of the growth in the coming years.

UK Mobile Coverage

December 18th, 2014

telecoms.pngUK mobile coverage is in the news today with the Government and network operators claiming it’s a win for consumers. However, as the article says, the money is "unlikely to be any more than the operators were going to spend anyway in that time period".

From a consumer angle, I have suffered from the network operators trying to get away with a minimal rather than comprehensive coverage. I don’t even live in a rural area or "not spot" as they call it. I live in an semi-urban area close to London.

The main problem at the moment is that operators are swapping out or moving 3G masts for 4G masts. At one time, my home, where I mainly work and hence use mobile data for testing apps, was well covered by T-Mobile. 18 months ago, the low signal became unusable. After a 45 mins talk with 4 people at EE (T-Mobile and Orange are now EE), I got through to someone technical who told me the 3G mast had been reconfigured for 4G and even the new projected 4G coverage didn’t look that good at my location. I obtained/purchased SIMs from all the non-MVNO UK network operators and did a survey. Vodafone came out best so I moved all my test SIMs.

18 months later, I am back where I was. The Vodafone signal is poorer, I suspect due to 4G ‘improvements’. The difference this time is that 4G SIMs are not extortionately priced any more and the 4G signal is actually excellent. The cynical side of me wonders if poorer 3G signals are being used to gradually move people to 4G.

Back to the article and it says the money will "provide reliable signal for voice over 2G, 3G or 4G, all by 2017". On all of these? I don’t think so. Also, what about data?