Best of 2011, Technology: Smartphones
Business Review Australia has covered a number of hot topics this year in the Technology section. This week, we'll spotlight those that garnered the most attention.
20 November 2011: Android Platform #1 in Smartphone Sales
If you’ve been hearing the low-pitched droid sound more frequently around the office, it’s no coincidence: smartphones equipped with Google’s Android operating system are selling like hotcakes.
More than 60 million Android-powered mobile units were sold worldwide during the third quarter, claiming a 52.5 per cent market share. According to technology research firm Gartner, Android’s desirability has more than doubled since last year.
Between May and June of this year, Mobiledia reported that the Silicon Valley-based company had activated approximately 500,000 devices each day.
The growing popularity of Google’s operating system has helped mobile vendor Samsung become the top retailer in the smartphone market, selling 24 million Android-equipped units.
SEE RELATED STORIES IN THE WDM CONTENT NETWORK
- Lookout Mobile Security is expanding to Australia
- Mobile-friendly websites are a must this holiday
- Living in an mCommerce world
"Android benefited from more mass-market offerings, a weaker competitive environment and the lack of exciting new products on alternative operating systems such as Windows Phone 7 and RIM," reported Gartner analyst Roberta Cozza.
During the same period, Apple sold nearly 17.3 million units, but analysts expect many customers chose to put off their phone upgrades until the arrival of the iPhone 4S.
Blackberry’s Research in Motion (RIM) slipped from three to 2.9 per cent global market share within the same period, and Nokia’s Symbian platform ended the quarter with a lower market share, but more unit sales than Apple. The Finnish company is slated to launch Microsoft’s Windows phone platform later this year.
Apple is still the top seller of devices that run its iOS platform, but experts predict that Google will likely claim the top spot soon.
Beyond Limits: Cognitive AI in APAC
Courtesy of current estimates, it looks like Asia-Pacific AI will be worth US$136bn by 2025. Its governments and corporations invest more money than the rest of the world in AI tech, the data of its citizens is considered fair game, and its pilots are small-scale and, as a result, ruthlessly effective. This is why, according to Jeff Olson, Cognizant’s Associate Vice President for Projects, AI and Analytics, Digital Business and Technology, the APAC region ‘is right on the edge of an AI explosion’.
Now, startup Beyond Limits is pushing the boundaries of what AI can do, mirroring humans in its ability to find solutions with even limited information. As of this July, it’s partnered up with Mitsui, a global trading and investment company, to expand its impact in APAC.
How Does Beyond Limits Work?
Most AI companies claim that they can help businesses make better decisions. But many need astoundingly large stores of data to feed their information-hungry algorithms. Beyond Limits, in contrast, takes a different tack. Perfect data, after all, is largely a pipe dream kept alive by PhD students. In reality, systems must often make decisions from small, incomplete sets of intel.
But Beyond Limits’ AI is no black box. ‘When little to no data is available, Beyond Limits symbolic technologies rely on deductive, inductive, and abductive reasoning capabilities’, explained Clare Walker, Industry Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. While making these leaps in logic, however, the system also keeps track, ensuring that humans can review the AI’s ‘thought process’.
Why Partner With Mitsui?
Beyond Limits is built for specific applications such as energy, utilities, and healthcare—but lacks the extensive industry network of Mitsui. Partnering allows Beyond Limits to access a portfolio of firms specialising in minerals and metals, energy, infrastructure, and chemicals. ‘We’ve been working on this deal for several years’, said Mitsui’s Deputy General Manager Hiroki Tanabe. ‘Mitsui’s global portfolio and Beyond Limits’ AI technology will...deliver impact’.
In the first test of that dramatic statement, Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) will soon deploy Beyond Limits’ new system. If everything goes according to plan, LNG will optimise how it extracts and refines energy, making money for both itself and investors—including Mitsui. This, in fact, is Mitsui’s strategy: go digital and don’t look back.
Why Does This Matter?
Forty-five percent of Asia-Pacific companies surveyed in Cognizant’s thought leadership ebook consider themselves AI leaders. Positivity bias, that oh-so-common tendency of humans to position themselves as above average as compared to others, strikes again. (Most small companies fail to launch successful AI projects on their own.) And partly, this is because firms fail to integrate AI with industry expertise.
‘A large part of the focus on talent for AI today has been getting the people who are strong in mathematics, AI, and technologies’, said Olson. ‘But where you make your money out of AI projects is when you apply them to your business’. In short: APAC nations looking for ways to bridge the gap might follow Beyond Limits and Mitsui’s playbook—coupling startup AI with a corporate network.