The real issue here isn't what specific thing NSA is or is not doing at a given moment. The issue is that they have been seen to act outside the law, which means all bets are off. There is no reason whatsoever, and will never be any reason, to believe any assurances that they might give in the future that "we've stopped doing X,Y,Z". If the NSA was a person, we'd fire him/her, probably fine and jail him/her, and revoke his/her security clearance and make it impossible for him/her to work in any position of trust ever again. You can't do that with a black-budget government agency, especially not one that has voluminous warehouses full of secret dirt on every US politican, lobbyist and billionaire, past and present. There is no way of ripping them out and replacing them, so you need to defang them. Plus, the NSA is not the only such lawless entity with the technical capability to intercept transmissions. Thus, if these big companies want to form an alliance "against the NSA", what they actually need to do is ally on developing privacy technologies that are impossible to subvert, and spending money on public education so the average man in the street knows better how to practice data hygiene. It has been demonstrated that the NSA regards the law as a set of guidelines about what to reveal in PR documents. You can't retreat from that point - there is no way to trust them ever again. Since we can't cure the disease, we need to manage the symptoms. What these companies have actually done is merely to take a public press position (the phrasing of which was likely developed in conjunction with members of the US government), designed to communicate to Joe Public that these various people with a stake in cloud-based computing are Deeply Enraged(tm) about the NSA. And everything will be fixed with a change.org petition and some legislation that will be obsolete by the time it's passed, and ignored by the NSA when inconvenient anyway. The goal is protecting business models, not protecting data.
You can make this argument all day long, and while it seems to make sense, it doesn't address the reality that the percentage of people who buy and wear wristwatches is falling (here's a fun article http://www.bbb.org/blog/2012/05/has-your-cell-phone-killed-your-watch/ ). I'll buy the argument that wearable computing devices simply have never been implemented well, but until you show me the killer implementation of the killer app, I'll continue to assert that the idea of pervasive wearables is a marketing wet dream, not an imminent reality. Perhaps the answer is that I don't CARE what time it is when I go swimming? BTW, just speaking for myself, when I go to the beach - which is all the time, because I live in central Florida - I take my cellphone in a ziploc bag. I even take it in the ocean briefly, so I can take cool pictures. If I have a containment failure and the phone dies, oh well... time for a new phone. I do own a couple of analog wristwatches, somewhere... they're showpieces I never wear. I also don't want a tan line on my wrist.
Yes, we've regressed to an era where we have to pull something out of our pockets to check the time. The thing is, the *simple* and *cost effective* answer to that is a $1 digital wristwatch. Wrist mounted timepieces just aren't as popular as they once were. The $300 smartwatch (which will cease to function as soon as you upgrade to a different brand of phone) is a ludicrous proposed solution to the problem "I don't want to have to reach into my pocket to check the time".
... is like home automation. It's always "just about to explode out of a niche market and go mainstream". Specifically to the wristwatch: this device has more or less ceased to fill its original segment of "functional timekeeping, optionally alarm-playing device that's always with you because it's on your wrist" - that functionality is filled by the cellphone, which is also always with you and has a lot more functionality. Watches these days are considered jewelry, not tools - you wear them occasionally to go with nice clothes to achieve a specific aesthetic effect. (This line of thinking is not original to me, by the way, I first heard it when reading some strategic marketing training materials, and have since heard the same story - with credible market research justifications, several times. It seems to pass the sniff test, especially once I walk down the street and look at a few hundred wrists to see what's on them). Given this, the market segment that actually finds the "80s calculator watch" aesthetic to be appealing is pretty limited, and I say that as someone who owned and loved my calculator watches, FM radio watch, "space invaders game" watch, and B&W TV watch in the 1980s. It certainly isn't close to the size of the cellphone market, by orders of magnitude. This whole activity of creating smartwatches is simply a saturated market flailing around to create the Next Big Thing. Throw some hardware out there, see if someone (probably a startup) comes up with a use case that sets the world on fire, acquire startup, profit. In the meantime, hype the widget and milk it for PR exposure time.
I'll only post the tl;dr version of a response here: Show me a viable mobile ecosystem with significant world marketshare that is not originated from and centered around the North American market.
Darn you for posting this before I could do so.
Waiiit... Apart from in one of Ballmer's wet dreams, when on earth was WinCE (or its descendants) ever en route towards monopoly status?
Given the history MS has of pouring marketing dollars down the toilet, this is actually totally believable as something that might happen.
That's only technically true. It costs a lot of resource-hours (=money) to port and qualify Android onto a phone platform, and to get it carrier approved. The carrier approval processes are Byzantine and expensive beyond belief.
Heh. Yeah, I hear that. Do you remember the days when computers used to be loaded with a dual OS choice of Windows for Workgroups 3.11 and Windows 95? You had a onetime choice at boot, and the unused operating system got deleted. I hope at least the dual boot Android/Windows phones do the same - so the gigabytes of unwanted Windows crap get deleted when you pick Android at power up. Of course, they won't...
I agree in principle, but it's really not that simple. There are carrier approval issues - these have nothing to do with the phone vendor, they're inserted by AT&T et al. Common, obvious example: AT&T doesn't want you sharing your monthly data allotment between devices unless you sign up for a freakin' expensive shared data plan. So they don't want firmware on your phone that will allow tethering without checking to see if your account has the magic "this guy is allowing us to assrape his credit card with shared data fees" flag. Hence, they mandate locking and such. If the vendor wants to sell to AT&T, they insert the crippleware... I doubt any phone vendor will ever again have the leverage Apple created for the iPhone.
You know, I totally forgot about the Microsoft "we own critical Android patents" moneysucking. Lest we forget, Microsoft has (according to external analysis) earned more money from royalties on those patents, as shipped in Android devices, than they have on WinMo licenses. Anyway - the very simplest move Microsoft could make here is to tell all the vendors "make Win Phone a dual boot option, at no cost and the Android patents are free". Presto, massive free expansion of the number of devices with Win Phone installed - of course, it would be negligible expansion of the number of Win Phone
/users/, but some marketroid inside Microsoft would make his annual numbers and get his bonus and get promoted.
Microsoft has played games with numbers to pump its supposed Windows market share many many times. For instance, if you're a big corporation and you buy 10,000 machines with Vista installed, but backlevel them to XP, Microsoft counted those as Vista sales. This "dual boot" bullshit is almost certainly the same nonsense. HTC has a bigger market share by itself than all the Windows Phone devices in aggregate (I believe). Anyway, it's the #3 smartphone vendor behind Apple and Samsung. It's also in really dire trouble financially, or at least so the news-sphere seems to indicate. So, they're hurting for cash and might be willing to accept some cash to load Windows on their Android phones as dual boot. Practically nobody will use Windows, but Microsoft will be able to claim those dual boot handset sales as "Windows sales" and fake the numbers to make it look like Win Phone is growing in marketshare.
But it's a totally different situation with Apple - because there is nobody else who makes iOS devices. So you'll never get a situation where a fake benchmark will cause someone to choose "HTC iOS phone X" instead of "Apple iOS phone X". And comparisons between different OSes are so apples to oranges (no pun intended) that I would heartily distrust them anyway.
It's hard to know where best to direct criticism of this arrant, political nonsense. Obamacare, at least for the specious reasons given above, will have zero net effect on people in their late 30s deciding whether or no to begin a startup. MANY startups operate with no health insurance right now, regardless of the age of the participants. I've personally been a part of or otherwise associated with multiple startups with principals in their 50s or older, with existing health conditions, who have intentionally pulled out of employer provided health insurance to begin their startup, or who moved to private (Expensive) healthcare coverage and ultimately had to drop out of it as their startups cratered and they ran out of money. Like any other form of tax, Obamacare's net results will be negative in employment, and anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something - likely, statism.