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iPad vs. Android tablet?

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#26 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 10:51 AM

Jon: There's definitely a lot of interest in android, and a lot being written for it. But for the serious developers (i.e. the ones who rely on their work to pay the bills), iOS is generally the first port of call because an app released on both platforms will generally sell 4x more on iOS than on android.



I honestly don't know, I just hear what my friend who are in the software business say... They are serious developers but they are working for companies like Qualcomm etc. The last time I looked, my nephew was working for Decarta.. He was the one that told me the Android OS was being used in embedded processors...

The Android platform seems to have a different business model than the iOS, it seems to be supported by advertising revenue rather than sales revenue. Not sure how well that is working but it is working for me as an end user.

Jon

#27 psonice

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 11:18 AM

Well, google make very little from android, and a lot from advertising (it's always worth remembering that they're basically an advertising company and most of what they do is focused on driving ad revenue).

I think a lot of the early issues devs had with the market was down to the fact that they wanted free, ad-supported apps. The users get lots of free stuff, and google make plenty of money. This works for some apps, but would it work for say sky safari? Very unlikely.

That's changed a lot over the last year or two, and google play isn't bad at all now. I think they've realised that without the higher-end apps they don't get the higher-end customers and they don't sell many tablets. And without all of that they get the low-end customers who don't use many apps, don't use the web much and don't view many adverts as a result :D (Seriously, check the figures that were released a while back - they make a lot more from iOS than from android because lots os android phones get used as phones instead of computers).

How well it works out for users depends really. If you're prepared to buy software, you get much more out of iOS because there's so much more available. If not, you get a lot more free stuff on android, but the quality tends to be lower as a result and you get less choice. Astronomy apps are a pretty typical example I guess - lots of android owners are happy with it and get most of their apps for free, iOS users perhaps spend a modest chunk of cash but look at the android offerings and think they've made the right choice.

#28 btschumy

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 11:41 AM

So Bill isn't a complete madman after all The rest of that section is actually quite depressing reading (it's here, section 13: http://www.southerns...ri_android.html ). This shows a lot of the issues devs have to deal with on android.


Yes, the core engine remains in C and we access it through JNI (Java Native Interface). Porting the app from iOS to Android was a major pain in the butt. I had more than one developer say we would fail. Although we are pretty happy with the end result, sometimes we are amazed it works given all the hoops we have jump through. I'm pretty convinced this is one of the most complex Android apps on the market.

Psonice is correct that developers are currently making the most of their money in iOS. Only 20% of our revenue comes from Android although it accounts for 80% of our support headaches. Hopefully that will change in the future to a more even mix.

#29 rboe

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 12:48 PM

Isn't Android based on Linux or is that urban myth?

#30 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 02:03 PM

Astronomy apps are a pretty typical example I guess - lots of android owners are happy with it and get most of their apps for free, iOS users perhaps spend a modest chunk of cash but look at the android offerings and think they've made the right choice.



Before Bill and Tim ported SkySafari to the Android, that was definitely the case and I was using SkySafari on an old iPhone. These days, there maybe only one really solid astro-app for the Android but I think it is sufficient...

Here's a question for you: What other iPhone astroapps compute and display the orbits of short period binary's? I know of three programs that do this, SkySafari, Skytools and Voyager. I often recommend these three because of this capability so if there are others, I would like to include them as well.

Jon Isaacs

#31 psonice

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 03:23 PM

Psonice is correct that developers are currently making the most of their money in iOS. Only 20% of our revenue comes from Android although it accounts for 80% of our support headaches. Hopefully that will change in the future to a more even mix.


That matches what I've heard from a lot of other people. Hopefully it will improve. In theory at least android should be a better platform for astronomy apps, with better access to bluetooth and such.

Isn't Android based on Linux or is that urban myth?


Yes it is (and it runs Java too), and iOS is based on UNIX, but it's kind of irrelevant. They're based on them, but incompatible with them, so it's far from trivial to get a linux app running and even java apps are fundamentally incompatible between android and anything else.

Here's a question for you: What other iPhone astroapps compute and display the orbits of short period binary's? I know of three programs that do this, SkySafari, Skytools and Voyager. I often recommend these three because of this capability so if there are others, I would like to include them as well.


Starmap pro shows a double star chart showing the star positions under the star info, so I guess it's calculating the current positions of the binaries. I'm not sure if that's what you're after as I'm not particularly interested in doubles, but I can post up a screenshot if you want (if so suggest a binary I can look up :)).

#32 btschumy

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 04:03 PM

I dunno, but StarMap Pro may just be showing the current PA and Sep. The test would be to take a star like Porimma and run time 100 years into the future and see if the diagram changes from current time.

#33 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 06:15 PM

Starmap pro shows a double star chartshowing the star positions under the star info, so I guess it's calcu atingthecurrent positionsof the binaries.



The separation and position angle of a binary pair changes with time. For many pairs it takes centuries, for some, they change significantly from year to year.

For these short period binaries, it is possible to use the orbital data of the pair from the WDS to compute the separation and PA.

However, most programs use separations and angles for a fixed date, only a few go to the trouble of computing the orbit. SkySafari is one that does,.

Jon

#34 rboe

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 09:12 PM

Linux is embedded in a lot of products; so are they making the extension that since Android is based on Linux all these embedded OS's are running Android or are there compact embedded Linux devices and embedded Android devices?

#35 Jeff Morgan

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 09:27 PM

I dunno, but StarMap Pro may just be showing the current PA and Sep. The test would be to take a star like Porimma and run time 100 years into the future and see if the diagram changes from current time.


Xi Scorpii has a period of only 46 years. It's bright, and well placed this time of year to see if the software result matches the eyepiece view. Although one should have a 5" scope or better since it does not get as wide as Porrima.

#36 simpleisbetter

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Posted 03 July 2012 - 09:37 PM

Did SkySafari update or expand the number of doubles/binaries that display their position when it came from Voyager? Or is it still the same list and number of doubles? Just curious.

My apologies if I have the wrong product or am misassociating. But I was under the impression that SkySafari was originally ported from Voyager, using its built-in features and database. Hadn't found an answer yet on Southern Stars website and just wondering if the Pro version has been expanded from its distant "ancestor". Again my apologies if my assumptions of SkySafari's design are either factually or legally incorrect.

#37 psonice

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 05:59 AM

Starmap Pro doesn't calculate the orbits of binaries, but the positions get updated regularly (presumably with app updates, unless it's part of one of the data downloads?). I guess the exact position beyond that is only going to be of interest to a tiny number of people, although if the app is no longer supported at some point in the future it's slowly going to lose accuracy over the years.

#38 Chucky

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 06:33 AM

Will the new Nexus 7 run Sky Safari?

#39 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 07:49 AM

Starmap Pro doesn't calculate the orbits of binaries, but the positions get updated regularly (presumably with app updates, unless it's part of one of the data downloads?). I guess the exact position beyond that is only going to be of interest to a tiny number of people, although if the app is no longer supported at some point in the future it's slowly going to lose accuracy over the years.


I believe the current WDS uses j2000 data. All the programs I have used which do not compute the orbits do not give the correct numbers for short period binaries. The errors can be large.

In 2000, sirius was 4.8 arcseconds, now its about 10. Porrima was at 1.4 asec and closing. In a few years it would be 0.4 arcseconds and now it has widened to 1.9 asecs.

If one enjoys viewing double stars, a program that provides accurate information is valuable... Bad data can mean time wasted and frustration.

Jon

#40 theskyhound

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 10:28 AM

This question of iPads and Android tablets is far from settled. I also think most people are missing the elephant in the room: Windows tablets. Tech history is full of stories of products that were first, but lost out in the end. Microsoft has completely changed the way Windows works in order support tablets and ARM processors. Windows is the very core of Microsoft's business. This is not like some of the various side endeavors they have played at--Microsoft has made a major commitment.

A very large segment of the potential tablet market has yet to be tapped. If the history of desktop computing is any measure, the choices the corporate market makes will ultimately drive the market in general. This market has a long history and investment in Windows. Windows 8 is likely to be a mixed bag, but by Windows 9 I predict that it will be a major player, if not dominant, in this form factor.

That's my 2 cents worth. My primary point is that it is too early to tell. It is also important to understand that what's really going on is a much larger war raging for the very "soul" of our use of the Internet and that war is in its infancy.

As far as double stars go, the short answer is that there really isn't any program for any platform that can match what SkyTools does with double stars. Not only are orbits used to plot positions, but proper motions are employed for the wider pairs; when you go back 100 years you often see the position angles and separations change dramatically. I also spent a full year doing nothing but correcting the WDS and I developed a much more accurate and complete scientific model to predict how difficult it is to split a given pair.

I apologize if some see this as crass, but there is a lot of misinformation out there about the relative capabilities of the various software products. I see claims for features "similar" to SkyTools, but often when you look at the details they are much less sophisticated. Unfortunately to many people it's all "techno-babble" and the real differences are lost.

#41 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 11:09 AM

Greg:

There is no doubt that Skytools 3 is unmatched as a tool for those who enjoy viewing double stars. I use it regularly, the accuracy of the information combined with the sophisticated search and sort functions set it apart.

As far as Microsoft becoming a player in the tablet game, its possible but they have been playing catch up for a long time. They had the chance back when tablet pc's were the only choice but they dropped the ball.

I think it has been quite sometime since Microsoft has done anything innovative, they have depended on the momentum of the user base to stay above water but at the cutting edge, they are just not there.

Whether its the cloud and cloud computing, the search engines, the wireless phone, they seem to be second rate... Somebody figured it out first and understands it better.

The momentum of Windows is a two edged sword. It provides a lot of money and users but it restricts freedom, everything is tied to the ponderous Windows system.

Jon

#42 theskyhound

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 01:14 PM

Jon... with respect, what you are describing is "common wisdom" but I think it is little more than perception. There is a lot of that going around these days.

I believe this is a perception that will very likely be seen to have been mistaken in a few years time. I gave the reasons why in my post. I've spent the last couple of years studying the revolution that computing is going through and these were my conclusions. The future of my business rides on the outcome. I am not rambling idly...

The very future of Microsoft is now at stake. It is a mistake to underestimate them. In fact, they hold most of the best "cards" in this long term game.

#43 snorkler

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 03:27 PM

Will the new Nexus 7 run Sky Safari?


I'm betting $200 (the price of the Nexus 7) that it will. The Nexus 7 has all the hardware (gps, compass, accelerometer, gyroscope, bluetooth), and then some, to run Sky Safari with all its features.

I really appreciate the efforts of our astronomy applications gurus to produce their products for us, whichever platform we choose/use.

Android makes more sense for me. Many free apps to dabble in OBDII diagnostics, birding identification, road map apps to replace my gps, and astronomy, among others. The price of entry is bargain basement, compared to iOS, and the 7" form factor works better for me on the observing field and the birding stand, than the iOS competitors, respectively.

Hearing that you developers put 80% of your effort into 20% of your market, I doubly appreciate your efforts.

#44 snorkler

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 03:51 AM

The only issue I can possibly think of is Adobe will not support Flash on Android 4.1, and will phase out supporting it in all Android OSes beginning August 15. It shouldn't be a problem for Sky Safari because iPads and iPhones don't use Flash, either, and Sky Safari runs fine on them.

#45 psonice

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 05:23 AM

Jon... with respect, what you are describing is "common wisdom" but I think it is little more than perception. There is a lot of that going around these days.

I believe this is a perception that will very likely be seen to have been mistaken in a few years time. I gave the reasons why in my post. I've spent the last couple of years studying the revolution that computing is going through and these were my conclusions. The future of my business rides on the outcome. I am not rambling idly...

The very future of Microsoft is now at stake. It is a mistake to underestimate them. In fact, they hold most of the best "cards" in this long term game.


It's going to be interesting to see how it plays out. Personally I think MS have a good chance as they're offering something different with a lot of advantages over iOS. They also have some big problems that I think will seriously hobble their chances in the short term - and in the long term it may be too late.

The main problem they have: they're sticking to this "one OS for the desktop and tablet" plan. It's a bad plan. Win8 on the tablet might be ok, but on the desktop it's looking more and more like a disaster and the early reviews have been very negative. I can see it being worse than vista, and getting a very bad reputation. That's going to put people off the tablets to some extent. It might drive a lot of people to other platforms too.

On the tablet it's a bit better, but the "one OS" plan hasn't worked here either. They have intel and arm tablets, windows RT and windows 8, and a lot of compatibility issues. People will want the RT/ARM models that are thin and light with good battery life, and they'll want to run their windows software on it. Except it won't run windows software, just metro. How many will buy a surface tablet and return it because it doesn't run their favourite software? Devs aren't really behind metro yet too from what I've seen - they want to see it succeed in the market first.

Eventually I think the intel tablets will be able to compete with the arm ones on size and weight, and none of this will be an issue. That's going to be in a year or more though, by which time windows on the desktop might be in serious trouble, and iOS/ipad will be even more mature. There's a lot of talk about windows 9 fixing the issues, but windows 9 won't be competing against this year's products, and there's no guarantee it'll be competitive.

You might be right on the enterprise market making a difference, but the enterprise is investing heavily in the iPad already. And besides, wasn't it home purchases of windows that pushed enterprise to adopt it? BYOD is driving a lot of enterprises these days. It might go the other way.

#46 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 06:46 AM

You might be right on the enterprise market making a difference, but the enterprise is investing heavily in the iPad already.



Indeed.. and didn't MS just report a loss for the quarter.

Other major players have gone down... DEC, Sun, even IBM had to reinvent itself and it is now a shadow of it's former self.

The future has many players, Linux is there, big companies like Verzion and AT&T have vested interests in the Android and iOS. The cutting edge no longer in the desktop marketplace, the equipment is mature, fast enough to run the bloatware jammed with useless features that passes as software.

Cellphones are where the development is happening, that's the cutting edge... People are willing to spend real money on a cell phone on a regular basis. A smart phone costs $500 or more, sure, if you have a contract it only "costs $200" but you pay the $500... Even a cheapskate like me is happy to fork over the cash every two years..

As I see it, tablets are tied to the cellphone technologies and therefore the cellphone OS's, not the desktop OS's. I want the software that runs on my cellphone on my tablet, not the Windows software.

So my thinking is that unless MS can figure out how to successfully compete in the smartphone marketplace, they cannot compete in the Tablet marketplace...

SkySafari is an example, I would love to have it on my PC... Skytools is a great program that does things that other desktop programs don't. But other than that, as a planetarium program, SkySafari does everything the typical desktop program does and it does more... How they put that in my cellphone...

Jon

#47 simpleisbetter

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 07:49 AM

I came back to MS from Mac when Win7 came out and am quite happy with it on the laptop. But one thing MS has tried to implement several times over the years and keeps trying to force on users is a subscription based software model. That's why I got left MS once and went to Mac, why I'll never consider TheSky, and why I've given up Norton. I don't see any reason why I or any personal user should have to pay for an annual subscription to use software, like MS wants to implement. I pay for it, I own it! If MS tries it again, I'm likely to leave permanently for Linux on the desktop/laptop.

As for why I like Android so much it's because in much the same way as Linux compares to Win/Mac on the desktop. Once the OS is setup, apps just work, how I want, when I want, and I don't have to pay much if anything for them. It just works and gets out of the way. I tell the apps how I want updates done (wifi only, no 4G or roaming). I tell apps which ones I want tracking me and which not to. For Samsung phones/tablets, I plug into my laptop and it becomes a USB drive so I just drag-n-drop transfer files & music using Explorer, vs having to use iTunes or something else (Motorola) to sync files. My files and home directory are where I want them instead of the OS telling me. Unlike Apple, if my battery dies, I can easily open the back and change it, vs performing factory level service to break the seal to open it.

I'm willing to tryout a Win8 tablet, and if they look promising that's great. But for the mobile user, Android just has lots to offer for not much money, iOS not so much.

#48 psonice

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 08:06 AM

John: windows phone 8 will share the same kernel as win 8. So the desktop OS will in fact be the phone OS! Kind of. In reality, win 8 is the desktop OS that won't run on a regular tablet or a phone, and win RT is a phone OS that will run on standard tablets but not desktops. See what I mean about this "one OS to rule them all" plan falling apart? :D

The phone OS is a huge blow to windows phone too. Not that they had a huge amount of market share (think it's something like 4%), but when they announced windows phone 8 all current win phones became obsolete.. and nokia in particular is depending on windows phones to stay alive, so it was a big kick in the balls while they're already down. I guess the thinking is that win phone 7 is kind of dead in the water, trampling on it a bit won't make a lot of difference.

#49 Jon Isaacs

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 09:09 AM

I guess the thinking is that win phone 7 is kind of dead in the water, trampling on it a bit won't make a lot of difference.



I am not quite sure why anyone would choose a Windows phone, given the current track record, the lack of interest by developers and the existence of solid alternatives... Even if MS were able to turn it around and produce a viable phone interface, it would be starting from just about ground zero in terms of capturing a user base.

Jon

#50 psonice

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Posted 05 July 2012 - 09:31 AM

Jon: most people who've used a win phone 7 device think it's actually very good. It's very innovative, a good fresh take on what a mobile phone should be and how it should work.

But yeah, without developer support the number of reasons to actually choose it remains low. And while that remains low, few people buy it, and developers have few reasons to support it.

Which is exactly the position Windows RT is going to be in when it launches.


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