A global survey shows the majority of countries favor Android over iPhone.
- When Android was launched soon after Apple's own iPhone, Steve Jobs threatened to "destroy" it.
- Ever since, and across the world, the rivalry between both systems has animated users.
- Now the results are in: worldwide, consumers clearly prefer one side — and it's not Steve Jobs'.
A woman on her phone in Havana, Cuba. Mobile phones have become ubiquitous the world over — and so has the divide between Android and iPhone users.Credit: Yamil Lage / AFP via Getty Images.
Us versus them: it's the archetypal binary. It makes the world understandable by dividing it into two competing halves: labor against capital, West against East, men against women.
These maps are the first to show the dividing lines between one of the world's more recent binaries: Android vs. Apple. Published by Electronics Hub, they are based on a qualitative analysis of almost 350,000 tweets worldwide that presented positive, neutral, and negative attitudes toward Android and/or Apple.
Steve Jobs wanted to go "thermonuclear"
Feelings between Android and Apple were pretty tribal from the get-go. It was Steve Jobs himself who said, when Google rolled out Android a mere ten months after Apple launched the iPhone, "I'm going to destroy Android, because it's a stolen product. I'm willing to go thermonuclear war on this."
Buying a phone is like picking a side in the eternal feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys. Each choice for automatically comes with an in-built arsenal of arguments against.
If you are an iPhone person, you appreciate the sleekness and simplicity of its design, and you are horrified by the confusing mess that is the Android operating system. If you are an Android aficionado, you pity the iPhone user, a captive of an overly expensive closed ecosystem, designed to extract money from its users.
Even without resorting to those extremes, many of us will recognize which side of the dividing line that we are on. Like the American Civil War, that line runs through families and groups of friends, but that would be a bit confusing to chart geographically. To un-muddle the information, these maps zoom out to state and country level.
If the contest is based on the number of countries, Android wins. In all, 74 of the 142 countries surveyed prefer Android (in green on the map). Only 65 favor Apple (colored grey). That's a 52/48 split, which may not sound like a decisive vote, but it was good enough for Boris Johnson to get Brexit done (after he got breakfast done, of course).
And yes, math-heads: 74 plus 65 is three short of 142. Belarus, Fiji, and Peru (in yellow on the map) could not decide which side to support in the Global Phone War.
What about the United States, home of both the Android and the iPhone? Another victory for the former, albeit a slightly narrower one: 30.16 percent of the tweets about Android were positive versus just 29.03 percent of the ones about Apple.
United States: Texas surrounded!
Credit: Electronics Hub
There can be only one winner per state, though, and that leads to this preponderance of Android logos. Frankly, it's a relief to see a map showing a visceral divide within the United States that is not the coasts versus the heartland.
- Apple dominates in 19 states: a solid Midwestern bloc, another of states surrounding Texas, the Dakotas and California, plus North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.
- And that's it. The other 32 are the United States of Android. You can drive from Seattle to Miami without straying into iPhone territory. But no stopovers in Dallas or Houston – both are behind enemy lines!
North America: strongly leaning toward Android
Credit: Electronics Hub
Only eight of North America's 21 countries surveyed fall into the Apple category.
- The U.S. and Canada lean Android, while Mexico goes for the iPhone.
- Central America is divided, but here too Android wins hands down, 5-2.
Europe: Big Five divided
Credit: Electronics Hub
In Europe, Apple wins, with 20 countries preferring the iPhone, 17 going for Android, and Belarus sitting on the fence.
- Of Western Europe's Big Five markets, three (UK, Germany, Spain) are pro-Android, and two (France, Italy) are pro-Apple.
- Czechia and Slovakia are an Apple island in the Android sea that is Central Europe. Glad to see there is still something the divorcees can agree on.
South America: almost even
Credit: Electronics Hub
In South America, the divide is almost even.
- Five countries prefer Android, four Apple, and one is undecided.
- In Peru, both Android- and Apple-related tweets were 25 percent positive.
Africa: watch out for Huawei
Credit: Electronics Hub
In Africa, Android wins by 17 countries versus Apple's 15.
- There's a solid Android bloc running from South Africa via DR Congo all the way to Ethiopia.
- iPhone countries are scattered throughout the north (Algeria), west (Guinea), east (Somalia), and south (Namibia).
Huawei — increasingly popular across the continent — could soon dramatically change the picture in Africa. Currently still running on Android, the Chinese phone manufacturer has just launched its own operating system, called Harmony.
Middle East: Iran vs. Saudi Arabia (again)
Credit: Electronics Hub
In the Middle East and Central Asia, Android wins 8 countries to Apple's 6.
- But it's complicated. One Turkish tweeter wondered how it is that iPhones seem more popular in the Asian half of Istanbul, while Android phones prevailed in the European part of the city.
- The phone divide matches up with the region's main geopolitical one: Iran prefers Android, Saudi Arabia the iPhone.
Asia-Pacific: Apple on the periphery
Credit: Electronics Hub
Another wafer-thin majority for Android in the Asia-Pacific region: 13 countries versus 12 for Apple — and one abstention (Fiji).
- The two giants of the Asian mainland, India and China, are both Android countries. Apple countries are on the periphery.
- And if India is Android, its rival Pakistan must be Apple. Same with North and South Korea.
Experts point to the fact that both operating systems are becoming more alike with every new generation as a potential resolution to the conflict. But as any student of human behavior will confirm: smaller differences will only exacerbate the rivalry between both camps.
Maps taken from Electronics Hub, reproduced with kind permission.
Strange Maps #1096
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Cars are no longer just a way to get from A to B.
The market for connected cars is predicted to be worth over $215 billion by 2027.
With the demand for greater connectivity set to soar, 5G-enabled connected cars will become the new norm. What we expect of a vehicle is fundamentally changing from a tool used to merely move us from A to B, to an integrated, fully-connected hub.
Connected cars have clear benefits, being potentially safer and less harmful for the environment. They also present the car industry with an opportunity to innovate and create stronger relationships with its customers than ever before. 5G connectivity is the future of the auto industry and will redefine mobility as we know it.
Here are four ways in which 5G-connected vehicles are redefining the world's driving experience.
1. Improved safety
According to the UN, approximately 1.3 million people die every year as a result of road traffic accidents, with 20-50 million suffering non-fatal injuries. Over half of all deaths are vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists.
The introduction of 'vehicle-to-everything' communications enables a more direct flow of information between vehicles, pedestrians and road infrastructure. This means that drivers will be alerted to nearby hazards, such as broken-down vehicles, reducing the chance of accidents. It has the potential to significantly improve road safety around the world.
2. Consumer experience
Driver demand for connectivity is increasing as people become more familiar with the benefits of staying connected. According to McKinsey, 40% of consumers would change car brands just to gain more connectivity within their vehicles, rising to 61% for drivers in China. 5G-enabled vehicles allow drivers to enjoy their favourite entertainment apps, such as music streaming services or audio book services, from the comfort of their vehicle.
The demand for a more luxurious driving experience with all the comforts of home has never been higher. It's estimated that by as early as next year, there will be more than 125 million passenger cars with embedded connectivity on the world's roads, a 270% increase since 2018.
As well as improving road safety, many of the key features of 5G-enabled vehicle-to-everything technology could also help to manage traffic congestion in major cities. Vehicle-to-infrastructure communication enables direct communication channels between a vehicle and nearby road infrastructure, without need to connect through a central mobile network. This could, for example, alert drivers to an upcoming red light or traffic jam, allowing them to alter their path accordingly, or adjust the vehicle's rate of travel to maximize fuel economy and reduce emissions.
4. Alternative revenue streams for auto makers
5G also presents a huge revenue opportunity for auto makers that goes beyond just the point of sale. It will allow manufacturers to create lasting connections with customers by offering additional features such as remote diagnostics, predictive maintenance and online service scheduling – all of which would not be possible without integrated connectivity.
Measuring a person's movements and poses, smart clothes could be used for athletic training, rehabilitation, or health-monitoring.
In recent years there have been exciting breakthroughs in wearable technologies, like smartwatches that can monitor your breathing and blood oxygen levels.
But what about a wearable that can detect how you move as you do a physical activity or play a sport, and could potentially even offer feedback on how to improve your technique?
And, as a major bonus, what if the wearable were something you'd actually already be wearing, like a shirt of a pair of socks?
That's the idea behind a new set of MIT-designed clothing that use special fibers to sense a person's movement via touch. Among other things, the researchers showed that their clothes can actually determine things like if someone is sitting, walking, or doing particular poses.
The group from MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) says that their clothes could be used for athletic training and rehabilitation. With patients' permission, they could even help passively monitor the health of residents in assisted-care facilities and determine if, for example, someone has fallen or is unconscious.
The researchers have developed a range of prototypes, from socks and gloves to a full vest. The team's "tactile electronics" use a mix of more typical textile fibers alongside a small amount of custom-made functional fibers that sense pressure from the person wearing the garment.
According to CSAIL graduate student Yiyue Luo, a key advantage of the team's design is that, unlike many existing wearable electronics, theirs can be incorporated into traditional large-scale clothing production. The machine-knitted tactile textiles are soft, stretchable, breathable, and can take a wide range of forms.
"Traditionally it's been hard to develop a mass-production wearable that provides high-accuracy data across a large number of sensors," says Luo, lead author on a new paper about the project that is appearing in this month's edition of Nature Electronics. "When you manufacture lots of sensor arrays, some of them will not work and some of them will work worse than others, so we developed a self-correcting mechanism that uses a self-supervised machine learning algorithm to recognize and adjust when certain sensors in the design are off-base."
The team's clothes have a range of capabilities. Their socks predict motion by looking at how different sequences of tactile footprints correlate to different poses as the user transitions from one pose to another. The full-sized vest can also detect the wearers' pose, activity, and the texture of the contacted surfaces.
The authors imagine a coach using the sensor to analyze people's postures and give suggestions on improvement. It could also be used by an experienced athlete to record their posture so that beginners can learn from them. In the long term, they even imagine that robots could be trained to learn how to do different activities using data from the wearables.
"Imagine robots that are no longer tactilely blind, and that have 'skins' that can provide tactile sensing just like we have as humans," says corresponding author Wan Shou, a postdoc at CSAIL. "Clothing with high-resolution tactile sensing opens up a lot of exciting new application areas for researchers to explore in the years to come."
The paper was co-written by MIT professors Antonio Torralba, Wojciech Matusik, and Tomás Palacios, alongside PhD students Yunzhu Li, Pratyusha Sharma, and Beichen Li; postdoc Kui Wu; and research engineer Michael Foshey.
The work was partially funded by Toyota Research Institute.
Light-emitting tattoos could indicate dehydration in athletes or health conditions in hospital patients.
- Researchers at UCL and IIT have created a temporary tattoo that contains the same OLED technology that is used in TVs and smartphones.
- This technology has already been successfully applied to various materials including glass, food items, plastic, and paper packaging.
- This advance in technology isn't just about aesthetics. "In healthcare, they could emit light when there is a change in a patient's condition - or, if the tattoo was turned the other way into the skin, they could potentially be combined with light-sensitive therapies to target cancer cells, for instance," explains senior author Franco Cacialli of UCL.
Scientists at University College London (UCL) and the IIT (Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia) have created a temporary tattoo that contains the same light-emitting technology used in TVs and smartphone screens.
The technology uses organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) and is applied in the same way as simple water-transfer tattoos. The OLEDs are fabricated onto a temporary tattoo paper and then transferred to a new surface by being pressed onto it and dabbed with water.
According to the research, these OLED devices being developed are 2.3 micrometers thick in total (less than one 400th of a millimeter) and about one-third of the length of a single red blood cell. The device consists of an electroluminescent polymer (a polymer that emits light when an electric field is applied) that is placed in between electrodes. An insulating layer is then placed in between the electrodes and the commercial tattoo paper.
This process has already been successfully applied to various materials.
Once the research team had perfected the technology, they applied the tattoo-able OLEDs (which emit green light) onto various surfaces including a pane of glass, a plastic bottle, an orange, and paper packaging. The first OLEDs were used in a flatscreen television more than 20 years ago, and now, through this proof-of-concept study, "smart tattoos" may be a thing of the (very near) future.
Why “smart tattoos” could be beneficial
OLEDs are used to create digital displays in devices (such as television screens computer monitors, smartphones, etc).
Credit: Hanna on Adobe Stock
While this is perhaps the most obvious way you could use light-emitting tattoo technology, the world of tattoo art and design could see a huge surge in new exciting trends based on light-emitting tattoo technology.
It's not just about looks—this approach provides a quick and easy method of transferring OLEDs onto practically any surface.
OLEDs are used to create digital displays in devices (such as television screens computer monitors, smartphones, etc). While some may get OLED and LED confused, they are quite different, with OLED displays emitting visible light and therefore being able to be used without a backlight. The breakthrough process of being able to transfer OLEDs onto virtually any surface can be useful in many different applications and settings.
Light-emitting tattoos could be used to indicate (and potentially even treat) various health conditions in the future.
The eventual implementation or use of OLED tattoos could be combined with other tattoo electronics to, for instance, emit light when an athlete is dehydrated, or when a person is being exposed to too much sun and is prone to sunburn.
"In healthcare, they could emit light when there is a change in a patient's condition - or, if the tattoo was turned the other way into the skin, they could potentially be combined with light-sensitive therapies to target cancer cells, for instance." - Professor Franco Cacialli (UCL)
OLED tattoo devices
Credit: Barsotti - Italian Institute of Technology
Similarly, this technology could be used on the packaging of various items to give us more information about them.
For example, OLEDs could be tattooed onto the packaging of a fruit to signal when the product is passed its expiration date or will soon become inedible.
In reality, creating light-emitting tattoo technology doesn't have to be expensive.
Professor Franco Cacialli explains to Eurekalert: "The tattooable OLEDs that we have demonstrated for the first time can be made at scale and very cheaply. They can be combined with other forms of tattoo electronics for a very wide range of possible uses. These could be for fashion - for instance, providing glowing tattoos and light-emitting fingernails. In sports, they could be combined with a sweat sensor to signal dehydration."
"Our proof-of-concept study is the first step. Future challenges will include encapsulating the OLEDs as much as possible to stop them from degrading quickly through contact with air, as well as integrating the device with a battery or supercapacitor."
Allergies might never be a concern again.
- University of Portsmouth researchers held play sessions with real dogs and their biomimetic counterparts.
- The more time school children spent with the robot dog, the higher their opinion of him.
- Robotic dogs could offer an entirely new line of emotional support animals.
In 2018 a woman tried to board a plane at Newark International Airport with her emotional support animal—a peacock. That didn't fly; well, neither of them flew that day. Still, the term "emotional support animal" has been exploited by travelers attempting to transport a variety of animals in the not-so-friendly skies, including pigs, turkeys, squirrels, baby kangaroos, and miniature horses.
The skies became even less friendly to this trend when the federal government recently limited pets on flights to dogs, giving the struggling airline industry a bit of good news in an otherwise devastating year.
But what if the kangaroo was a robot?
Let's not get ahead of ourselves. If we're considering robot support "animals," we'll have to settle for dogs for the time being.
That's the consensus from a group of researchers at the University of Portsmouth. In a new study, published in the International Journal of Social Robotics, first author Olivia Barber and colleagues argue that robotic dogs could soon replace real canines as emotional support animals—and will likely have an easier time and get fewer malicious stares when boarding planes.
The team brought two real dogs—a Jack Russell-Poodle mix and a Labrador retriever—alongside a biomimetic dog to visit a group of 34 children in West Sussex. The 11- and 12-year-olds had two sessions, one with the real-life canines, and a second with the robot, which was developed by Consequential Robotics. While the kids stroked animals equally, they actually interacted with the robot more.
Credit: goodmoments / Adobe Stock
Study supervisor, Dr Leanne Proops, knows the emotional impact that real dogs have on children and adults alike. Yet many people suffer from allergies, while others are on high alert for diseases transmitted across species. There's also liability concerns; lawsuits over biting dogs happen. And, of course, the expense of animals is prohibitive to some. Robots could fill a void.
"This preliminary study has found that biomimetic robots -- robots that mimic animal behaviours -- may be a suitable replacement in certain situations and there are some benefits to using them over a real dog."
Move over Animal Assisted Interventions. Welcome to Robot Assisted Interventions.
As the authors note, robot pets already exist. A robotic seal named Paro is designed to keep seniors company. Social robots help stroke victims during rehabilitation and have proven useful in communicating with autistic children.
Despite the fascination, this story doesn't end like the film "Her." The pre-teens preferred the real animals, not the metal imposter. That said, the more time they spent with the robot, the fonder they became of him. The team chose dogs for this pilot study given their ubiquity and our longstanding positive relationship with them.
As part of the study, each participant filled out a questionnaire about their biophilic beliefs. Interestingly, animistic beliefs played a role—how willing they were to ascribe agency to the robot. The "realer" the robot felt, the more positive the affect.
Moving forward, robot support animals could help people unable to care for or be around actual animals. As Proops concludes,
"This is a small-scale study, but the results show that interactive robotic animals could be used as a good comparison to live dogs in research, and a useful alternative to traditional animal therapy."
Stay in touch with Derek on Twitter and Facebook. His new book is "Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."