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The Android way

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Everybody talks about the iPhone, but less than a month ago it was revealed that Blackberry's biggest competitor in the smart phone market is actually Google and not Apple after all. Google Android now accounts for 28 per cent of the smart phone market, compared to 21 per cent for the iPhone and 36 per cent for Blackberry.

There are a lot of reasons why Android is picking up steam. The most obvious is that almost every carrier in the U.S. has a wide array of Android phones available while iPhone is still exclusively with AT&T. Customers have a greater choice of Android plans and options available, and people can stay with a contract and provider they like and that makes sense in their area.

But it's not the only reason Android is winning. There has been a pushback against Apple recently for selling their customers what is essentially a locked product, while Android is actually becoming more open source all the time.

The latest Android 2.2 has a lot to offer that right now the iPhone can't match. Web browsing is enhanced with Flash for example, which allows you to view more graphically dynamic websites and play Flash games, movies and more. There are also web-synced apps for things like streaming your music and photo collection, as well easier syncing between things like calendars and RSS feeds through your cell network. The overall speed has been enhanced with tweaks to the operating system and web browser.

Android 2.2 can also turn your phone into an Internet hub for your laptop though the FroYo application - providing your provider doesn't mind you plugging your laptop into your phone from time to time to browse the web.

The new operating system will also work with Google TV - a new project to unite the web and your television at home through a Google TV-enabled TV or a separate Google TV box. The Android app will allow people to view content through a Google TV box, program their televisions, set reminders to record and watch shows and a lot more.

Google is also somewhat catching up to Apple in the app department. At last count the Apple App Store had more than 200,000 titles, but Google now boasts about 38,000 apps - a fifth as many, but still far more than any person could ever want or need.

 

Facebook vs. personal privacy

I like Facebook. Like many people I have friends around the world that I like to keep in touch with, and these days face-to-face meetings only happen at the occasional wedding - and fewer of those each year as more friends tie the knot. I don't do Farmville or Mafia Wars, and consider 99 per cent of the add-ons a complete waste of time. E-mail, photos, the occasional video or link, and that's about it.

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