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App Industry Roundup: Android overtakes iPhone in key measure

by Eric Benderoff

Both Apple and Google gain traction in smartphone sales, as we note in today's App Industry Roundup. Also, you don't really need a mouse with that iPad and new Wi-Fi standards are coming. This time, look out video cables.

Sales for iPhone on the rise, but Android OS tops in share

Android Bites AppleApple's share in the smartphone market continues to rise, as the iPhone maker now ranks third in the world in terms of sales, according to first-quarter data released recently by IDC. The iPhone's share rose 5.2 percent, hitting 16.1 percent for the first quarter compared to the same time last year. The world's top smartphone maker remains Nokia, even though the Finnish carrier has minimal influence in the U.S. It hopes to change that with the recently announced Nokia N8, which is getting mixed reviews while offering Apple-like controversy. Research in Motion's BlackBerry line-up is second in terms of hardware sales.

But the story is different when it comes to share of operating systems in the U.S. BlackBerry is on top, but the Android operating system moved into second place in the first quarter, according to data released Monday by NPD Group. Here are the top three smartphone operating systems, in terms of first-quarter 2010 market share:

1. RIM -- 36 percent
2. Android -- 28 percent
3. Apple -- 21 percent

Android's rapid growth can largely be attributed to the fact that the OS is now available on phones at all four major U.S. wireless carriers. Meanwhile, the iPhone remains available only through AT&T. Yet AT&T's footprint, thanks to the iPhone, is substantial. According to NPD's press release, smartphone sales at AT&T comprised nearly a third of the entire U.S. smartphone market (32 percent), followed by Verizon Wireless (30 percent), T-Mobile (17 percent) and Sprint (15 percent). 

Mouse, meet iPad. You don't have to be pals

Magic MousePeople, if you keep adding accessories to your iPad, why did you buy it? Yes, there are times when having a keyboard attachment could be useful, but it raises the question of why. Such as, why do you want to use your iPad like a laptop when it was designed to be operated with your fingers? Now comes word that you can use Apple's Magic Mouse to control the iPad. Again, why do this? 

Adding tools to control the iPad is completely missing the point. If you're the first kid on the block to figure out how to use a mouse with your iPad, good for you. You've earned extra credit today in your uber-geek class. But let's be clear: If you drop $500 for the iPad -- and that's the low-end model, of course -- stop adding the accoutrements. You'll start looking like an Apple fanboy with an uncontrollable habit to buy everything Apple just so you can make it work together. 

You want a keyboard with that? Buy a MacBook. You want a mouse, try an iMac. If you love to use your fingers, get an iPad. 

Got it?

Can we finally cut the cords?

The Wi-Fi Alliance announced new standards for transmitting data over the air. But the twist here is that these standards pertain mostly to video transfer issues, so that the jumble of cords that sit behind our home entertainment centers could vanish. 

It may take two years for these new standards to appear in products, Wi-Fi Alliance marketing director Kelly Davis-Felner told the Associated Press, with Blu-ray players likely the first. The Wi-Fi Alliance has partnered with the WiGig Alliance to promote the standards, and that group is made up of tech heavyweights like Cisco and Intel.

This push could be bad news for start-ups in the field of wirelessly moving HD video files across the house, according to this GigaOm story. Still, the opportunity to seamlessly move high-def video content from devices like the iPad to a television, or from a computer and cable box to the TV, would be a lovely development for geeks and interior decorators.