National News

Android Silver: Forcing manufacturers to toe Google's line

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-01 13:41

At the moment you buy an Android phone, like a Samsung Galaxy S5, Google doesn’t make a penny. The Android operating system is free to other companies. Google just wants you to use Gmail, and its search engine and look at ads.

“They get paid by those brand advertisers," says Brian Blau, research director in consumer technologies at Gartner. "That’s really how they make money from Android.”

Giving it away got Android on lots and lots of devices—it now dominates the smartphone market. But lately some of those phone manufacturers haven’t been playing along with Google’s plan. 

“Samsung has a lot of apps that would compete directly with some of the apps from Google itself,” Blau says. 

Companies like HTC and Samsung give Android extreme makeovers: their own look, feel, even services that take a bite out of Google revenue. Amazon’s Android-based devices, like the Kindle Fire, cut Google out completely. 

This, obviously, is bad for Google. 

“Without being able to monetize it, it makes it slightly pointless,” says Nick Spencer, senior practice director at ABI Research. He says Google has lost control of Android. Fourth quarter last year, he says, 50 million Android devices shipped that have no benefit to Google.  

This is why reports say Google is working on a program called Android Silver: new phones that meet its standards for design and interface, and services. They would get priority for new features and, Google hopes, put an end to all the fragmentation. 

Spencer says this could force many manufacturers to toe the Google line.  

“Certainly, the weaker brands, through competitive pressure, will have to adopt Android Silver,” he says. 

One day, though, this could drive powerful manufacturers like Samsung to adopt their own operating systems that they can control.

Boxers, briefs or radiation underwear? Silicon Tally!

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-01 13:35
Friday, May 2, 2014 - 04:00 David Ramos/Getty Images for CR7

Cristiano Ronaldo poses in front of a 19m high billboard during the global launch of the CR7 by Cristiano Ronaldo Underwear line

It's time for Silicon Tally. How well have you kept up with the week in tech news?

This week we're joined by Kara Miller, host of WGBH’s Innovation Hub. var _polldaddy = [] || _polldaddy; _polldaddy.push( { type: "iframe", auto: "1", domain: "marketplaceapm.polldaddy.com/s/", id: "silicon-tally-may-2", placeholder: "pd_1398982571" } ); (function(d,c,j){if(!document.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src=('https:'==document.location.protocol)?'https://polldaddy.com/survey.js':'http://i0.poll.fm/survey.js';s=document.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);}}(document,'script','pd-embed')); Marketplace Tech for Friday, May 2, 2014 by Ben JohnsonPodcast Title Boxers, briefs or radiation underwear? Silicon Tally!Story Type InterviewSyndication SlackerSoundcloudStitcherSwellPMPApp Respond No

Doctors Think The Other Guy Often Prescribes Unnecessary Care

NPR News - Thu, 2014-05-01 13:22

Three out of 4 physicians say that their fellow doctors order wasteful tests or procedures at least once a week, a nationwide poll finds.

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Long road for short-haul truckers

Marketplace - American Public Media - Thu, 2014-05-01 13:01

Short-haul truckers move freight around town, often to and from a port. Some complain that they have been misclassified as independent contractors, even though they are treated like employees.

“They classify us as an independent contractor, basically, to get out of paying certain taxes. They put a lot of the expense on the drivers,” says Carol Cauley, a short-haul trucker in Savannah, Georgia.

As an independent contractor, Cauley says she’s forced to pay unreasonable expenses, like the cost for tires that belong to the shipping company.

But a representative for short-haul trucking companies says truckers don’t have to work as independent contractors.

“If a driver prefers to be an employee, there is certainly companies that he or she can go work for. In fact, there is a drastic shortage of company drivers,” says Alex Cherin, executive director of the Harbor Trucking Association.

Employee truckers earn less money he says, but they have more steady work.

Cherin says his organization will assist state regulators in weeding out companies that intentionally misclassify their truckers as independent contractors.

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