iOS Devices ▪ May 10, 2011

(Cross-posted from our sister site 9to5Google.com)

A pattern is emerging in smartphones. Think about it, the same scenario has been playing out over and over in every territory where Google and Apple battle for supremacy. Apple first wows the market with its iPhone. Then, Google brute forces its way into the game and eventually takes the lead thanks to countless Android handsets in all shapes, sizes and price points, carried by virtually all wireless operators. Japan, however, is an indication of a new pattern that has iOS and Android forming a duopoly that squeezes out entrenched players, upping the barrier to entry.

In the latest survey of the Japanese market by MMI Research Institute reported by Bloomberg Businessweek, Android posted an incredible 2,000 percent year-over-year growth, capturing 57 percent of the country’s 2010 smartphone market versus 38 percent for Apple’s handset (as big as anywhere) – a notable decline for the iPhone’s 72 percent share from a year earlier and also a catastrophic loss for other platforms.

Shipments of Android phones rose to 4.91 million units in the year ended March 31, Tokyo-based MM Research said in a statement today. That compares with sales of 250,000 units, or 11 percent of the market, a year earlier when devices running Google’s software started to be widely available in Japan.

Apple shipped 3.23 million iPhones in the country in the last fiscal year, all sold excursively via Softbank. The combined 57 percent share for Android plus 38 percent for iPhone leaves little room for Nokia and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion. Both brands have been reduced to the Others category with a minuscule five percent market share. Is this a sign of things to come? Read on…

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A new survey by IHS iSuppli has confirmed that Apple was the best-performing smartphone vendor in the first quarter of this year, while Nokia and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion posted double-digit decline each. The entire smartphone market contracted 1.5 percent in terms of units shipped, the first sequential decrease since the beginning of 2009. It wasn’t unexpected due to the supply woes and the preceding holiday quarter being traditionally the most lucrative period for consumer tech.

Apple shipped 18.6 million iPhones, a 14.9 percent increase over the 16.2 million units from the holiday quarter. None of the remaining top five handset vendors matched Apple’s growth. Second-ranked HTC, for example, grew shipments by a modest 6.2 percent. Canada-based RIM rose 4.2 percent and is now trailing Apple by four percentage points. The iPhone hurt Motorola and Nokia the most in the first quarter of 2011.

The research firm contributed Apple’s growth to the Verizon iPhone that expanded Apple’s addressable market in the US. At the same time, the move “placed additional pressure” on Motorola, Samsung, LG and HTC – all major Verizon Wireless customer – iSuppli’s senior analyst Tina Teng pointed out.

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It’s been four years since the original iPhone came out, but the rumored Facebook integration with iOS remains non-existent. iPhone users, however, needn’t eye their webOS- or BlackBerry-toting friends with envy – there’s an app for jailbroken devices that addresses this issue.

Native FB Upload, a two-buck download from the Cydia Store, enables you to share images by choosing a photo in the Photos app and tapping the new Facebook option in Export menu. Once you authorize via Facebook Connect, you can compose an optional message or share the image as is. Multiple photo uploads and other tweaks are being planned for future versions, Modmyi noted (via Cult of Mac).

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As Apple is about to finally flip the switch on a massive 500,000 square feet datacenter in North Carolina, said to be one of the biggest in the world, TechCrunch heard the company’s rumored iOS 5 voice recognition technology is driven by Nuance Communications’ technology that runs in the Apple cloud. A formal announcement is expected next month at WWDC, the publication claims.

More specifically, we’re hearing that Apple is running Nuance software — and possibly some of their hardware — in this new data center. Why? A few reasons. First, Apple will be able to process this voice information for iOS users faster. Second, it will prevent this data from going through third-party servers. And third, by running it on their own stack, Apple can build on top of the technology, and improve upon it as they see fit.

Nuance is behind Dragon Dictation, a free iOS app enabling advanced voice recognition on iOS devices. The app is powered by the company’s NaturallySpeaking technology which turns spoken word into text via the cloud. It supports numerous global languages and is advertised as being five times faster than typing on a virtual keyboard.


Apple’s 500,000 square feet datacenter in North Carolina

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Mobile devices, especially iOS gadgets, command the largest share of digital game downloads so it doesn’t really come as a surprise that big games publishers are scrambling to port famous franchises over to the iPhone. According to TouchArcade, Duke Nukem Forever is almost certainly in the works for iOS devices. The publication spotted a mention of the App Store in the game’s manual on Steam, leading them to speculate that Gearbox is planning an iOS release of Duke Nukem Forever as well.

What reason could there possibly be to include App Store licensing terms in a document for a PC game?

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Adobe, which last week updated Photoshop to work with its freshly announced iPad apps, has finally released said programs for iOS devices. Adobe Eazel, Adobe Nav and Adobe Color Lava, iPad companion apps for Photoshop, are now available for download on the App Store. Adobe Eazel is a finger-paint program that sells for five bucks. The app lets you send your artwork directly to Photoshop CS5 from any location, provided you have a network connection between your iPad and a computer. The remaining two apps sport even tighter integration with the popular image editing software. More information and videos after the break…

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