Mobile tech news roundup: Nearly two-thirds of Pornhub’s U.S. audience is viewing their vids on a mobile device, Samsung Galaxy Gear’s cringeworthy ad, and the mobile app quotes of the day

Nearly two-thirds of Pornhub’s U.S. audience views their videos on a mobile device, despite its 6- and 8-videos-a-day limits


Photo via Catsmob. Click to see the source.

pornhub logoOnce upon a time, the dating site OKCupid used to release interesting statistics based on the anonymized data that they collected from their users’ activities on the OKTrends blog. Then they were acquired by the considerably less interesting in 2011, and the posts featuring those interesting stats stopped.

Luckily for those of us who like facts and figures on that strange area where high-tech meets base desires, the folks at the adult video site Pornhub have taken up OKCupid’s slack. They’ve been releasing some interesting data over the year on their blog, Pornhub Insights. In their latest post, Pornhub 2013 Year in Review, one of the most interesting bits is that a majority of Pornhub’s U.S. viewers — nearly two-thirds! — enjoy pornhub on a smartphone (52% of visitors from the U.S.) or a tablet (10% of visitors from the U.S.).

Like most adult video sites, Pornhub’s videos are Flash-based, which would seem to rule out most mobile devices, as it’s either unsupported or runs terribly. If you choose to view Pornhub on a mobile device, you’ve got two options:

  • Via the web: This redirects you to their mobile-formatted site, which lets you download a maximum of 6 videos a day into your device’s video collection. You have to wait for the video to download completely before you view it. Once you’ve got it, it’s yours until you erase it.
  • Via the Android app: Google’s Play Store doesn’t allow porn apps, but since Android allows you to get apps from any source and not just the Play Store, you can get PornHub’s app directly from Pornhub (you’ll have to change your security settings to allow the installation of apps from outside the Play Store). With the app, you can view a maximum of 8 videos a day. Since Apple’s App Store has a no-porn policy and since it’s the only sanctioned way to get apps for your iDevice, iOS users don’t have the app option.

Pornhub’s mobile experience is unlike their desktop experience, which is all-you-can-eat-for-free for the non-premium content. I suppose that the convenience of viewing one’s adult videos on a nice portable platform trumps the unlimited access of doing so on a desktop or laptop.

Lest I come off like some kind of mobile porn expert, let me say right now that I had to figure this out by visiting Pornhub on my mobile devices. This should illustrate the sort of sacrifices I’m willing to make for the readers of Global Nerdy, and for science.

Samsung’s “Jack and Aimee” video for the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Gear is a 21st-century Mentos commercial

are you geared up

Remember those cheesy Mentos ads from the 1990s, which would feature a protagonist in a bind who’d pop a Mentos (“The Freshmaker!”) and then come up for some clever way to overcome it? Samsung may have looked to them for inspiration in Are You Geared Up?, their latest ad for the Galaxy Gear smartwatch, which features a Euro-trashy protagonist named “Jack”, the all-too-easily impressed Aimee as the object of his infatuation, and a nameless, Galaxy Gear-less schlub who misses every chance to try some game on Aimee since all he has is a plain old smartphone. The ad is nowhere near subtle in its messaging: Guys with Galaxy Gear get laid. The Galaxy Gear is now the Axe Body Spray (a.k.a. “douchebag febreeze”) of wearables.

Mobile app quotes of the day: Dare Obasanjo

dare obasanjoDare Obasanjo is one of my favourite Microsofties, and he gets credit for not one, but two of the mobile app quotes of the day:


Pivoting is the sincerest form of flattery (or: What the Android team did when the iPhone was announced)

Photoillustration of a woman photocopying an iPhone.

Relax, Fandroids. I kid because I care.

Cover of 'Dogfight' by Fred Vogelstein.“As a consumer, I was blown away,” says Googler Chris DeSalvo in a quote from Fred Vogelstein’s book, Dogfight, upon seeing the now-legendary January 9, 2007 Stevenote when he unveiled the first iPhone.

“I wanted one immediately,” DeSalvo continues. “But as a Google engineer, I thought ‘We’re going to have to start over.’

According to the Atlantic article The Day Google Had to ‘Start Over’ on Android, an excerpt from Dogfight, Google’s big concern at the time was Microsoft. It made sense at the time: They seemed to be making the right moves. If you remember those days, Windows Mobile 5.0 was the third revision of their mobile operating system, and true to the general rule about Microsoft revs, it was finally good enough. They’d lined up an impressive array of nearly 50 hardware partners, including HTC, who’d end up shipping the most WinMo phones, and the big coup: Palm, whom they’d convinced to build phones that ran WinMo. Their OS featured mobile versions of Office. The industry rumblings were that Microsoft would end up eating away at the dominant phone OS player at the time, Symbian. “Microsoft comes out fighting when threatened,” the conventional wisdom said. “Remember what happened in the browser wars?”

Here’s what was considered to be the game-changer that would make Microsoft a serious mobile threat: the Palm Treo 700w

Palm Treo 700w phone

The Palm Treo 700w.

The best smartphones of the era followed a design template that had been defined years earlier by the Blackberry: screen at the top, physical keyboard at the bottom, augmented by some kind of device to move the cursor (first a scroll wheel, then a D-pad, and optionally, a stylus).

Then this happened:

(If you haven’t seen it before or in a while, watch it again. You can almost feel the audience’s excitement in the opening moments, as Steve teases them with hints of what he’s about to announce. You can also feel the envy when Google’s Eric Schmidt comes onstage at the 51-minute mark — remember that he was on Apple’s board then.)

From the article:

On the day Jobs announced the iPhone, the director of the Android team, Andy Rubin, was six hundred miles away in Las Vegas, on his way to a meeting with one of the myriad handset makers and carriers that descend on the city for the Consumer Electronics Show. He reacted exactly as DeSalvo predicted. Rubin was so astonished by what Jobs was unveiling that, on his way to a meeting, he had his driver pull over so that he could finish watching the webcast.

“Holy crap,” he said to one of his colleagues in the car. “I guess we’re not going to ship that phone.”

Another key quote, this time from Ethan Beard, one of Android’s early biz dev people:

“We knew that Apple was going to announce a phone. Everyone knew that. We just didn’t think it would be that good.

With the announcement of the iPhone, the Android project, whose members had been working “sixty-tp-eighty-hour weeks for fifteen months — some for more than two years” made a pivot whose effects we’re still feeling today. The BlackBerry-like phone that they’d been working on — codename “Sooner”, with a physical keyboard, no touchscreen, and a general “me-too” design — was pushed aside. They filed mobile phone-related patents galore in September 2007. The iPhone forced them to rethink the OS and phone design, and from that came a new design, codenamed “Dream”. This pivot would require them to delay their first release by a year, and the end result was the HTC Dream, released in October 2008.

HTC Dream phone, shown in landscape mode with the sliding keyboard extended.

The HTC Dream.

As you can see, the Android weren’t so sure about all of Apple’s design decisions, hence the physical keyboard and trackball. Today’s phone designs tell you how those choices by the Android team worked out.

I’ll close with an observation based on the article by John “Daring Fireball” Gruber. He may be Apple’s freelance PR guy, but he’s often right, including in this case:

Remember a few years ago, at the height of the “Android is a ripoff of the iPhone” controversy, when Android supporters claimed that the similarities were just some sort of amazing coincidence, like Newton and Leibniz discovering calculus concurrently, because Android had started life a few years before the iPhone was introduced? Good times.

I’m going to get my paws on a copy of Dogfight and read it over the holidays. Expect a review of it in the coming weeks.



Firedoge: Such logo!

Animated GIF of the fox in the Firefox logo. It turns it head to face us, revealing the face of the Doge!

Mozilla needs to adopt this logo. Much cute! So HTML5!


Windows Phone turned a corner and is now in third place. Now what?

nNokia Lumia phones, spread out like a fan

You’d be right to take Paul Thurrott’s latest pronouncement that Windows Phone turned the corner in 2013 with a grain of salt. He’s always been willfully, blindly enthusiastic about all things Microsoft-related, and even when it was my job to evangelize Microsoft technologies, I went out of my way not to refer to any of his pieces because he was just embarrassing. After all, he’s the guy who said this just before the release of the iPhone 3G:

There is talk of an iPhone-like Internet Tablet or the long-rumored Mac Tablet, but I think Microsoft’s failure in this category should be a warning sign: What, exactly, is the market for such a toy? There is none.

He also said this in his “first impressions” review of the iPad, which has since been deleted. Luckily for us, and thanks to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, it’s been preserved for posterity:

Anyone who believes this thing is a game changer is a tool.

All that being said, he is right about one thing: Windows Phone has turned the corner. It’s just that Thurrott is talking about a bright future; I’m talking about a platform whose chances went from slim to…well, a little better than slim.

In the brutal, tooth-and-nail fight against BlackBerry for a distant third place in the mobile OS market, Windows Phone won. Winning by counting on your competitor having a massive aneurysm in the middle of the game isn’t the most practical option, but at this point, Microsoft should take any victory it can get.

With analysts like Gartner telling enterprises to ditch BlackBerry and mobile tech consultants looking to make a pretty penny on migrations from BlackBerry to other, more viable mobile platforms, Windows Phone is positioned to move out of fourth place, which is certain death in a market that barely has the capacity to deal with three big players.

If you filter through the fanboyism and hyperbole in Thurrott’s article (“the overall trend is positive for Microsoft and negative for Apple”), you can glean some useful information suggesting that Windows Phone could eke out a reasonable existence as a third-place player:

Microsoft’s goal for 2014 should be to secure Windows Phone’s third-place position and getting as close as possible to a double-digit share of the smartphone platform market. They’ve got a shot at this, with Nokia’s well-designed phones (which have amazing cameras), some pretty cleaver features in the design of the Windows Phone OS, and if they can convince more developers to build for their platform (which does have some really nice development tools). It won’t be the rosy picture that Thurrott paints, but it will be survival.


Delta’s CEO says voice calls won’t be allowed on their flights

not on delta flights

Even though it the FCC’s lifting of the ban on in-flight calling seems pretty assured — FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler seems quite hot to trot to remove it — it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to make calls on just any flight. It’s still up to each individual airline to decide whether or not to allow in-flight calls, and it requires the installation of onboard technology that acts as a mini cellular tower.

USA Today reports that Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson announced in a memo to employees:

Delta will not allow cellular calls or internet-based voice communications onboard Delta or Delta Connection flights.

Our customer research and direct feedback tell us that our frequent flyers believe voice calls in the cabin would be a disruption to the travel experience. In fact, a clear majority of customers who responded to a 2012 survey said they felt the ability to make voice calls onboard would detract from – not enhance – their experience. Delta employees, particularly our in-flight crews, have told us definitively that they are not in favor of voice calls onboard.

While they’re against in-flight voice communications, Delta are most certainly not against the use of portable electronics throughout the flight. Along with JetBlue, they were one of the first airlines to get their fleet certified for gate-to-gate use of lightweight devices such as smartphones and tablets. They still request that larger, heavier electronics, such as laptops, be stowed during takeoff and landing, but that’s related to the possibility of them getting launched in the event of a sudden change in altitude, not interference. As long as your use of electronics is silent to other passengers, Delta appears not to have a problem with it. If you need to make a voice call on a Delta flight, you’ll have to do it the way we do now: either until they close the door before the flight, or immediately after wheels-down at the destination city.

Delta’s 2012 customer survey isn’t the only one showing Americans’ strong preference for banning in-flight voice communications. A study conducted by Quinnipiac University shows the same preference:

As far as I’m concerned, Delta’s decision is good news. Now if they could only get past their “Least respected brand in America” status


Geeky photo of the day: “Infiltration diary, day 4: The Microsofties have accepted me as one of their own.” [Updated]

the microsofties do not suspect

Photo by Amanda Palmer. Click the photo to see the source.

Update: I found the origin of the photo — that’s Amanda Palmer. In her own words:

going to give a speech to a bunch of women at microsoft in seattle.

very nervous.

jason webley lent me an artistic helping hand so i wouldn’t feel so out of place.

everyone will like me


Modern web design, explained in a single Venn diagram

bored elon musk

If you’re tech-inclined and looking for an amusing Twitter account to follow, I recommend the parody account Bored Elon Musk. He’s the new DevOps Borat (who hasn’t updated since April 5th).

Here’s the latest Bored Elon Musk post as of this writing — it’s a Venn diagram that very simply explains modern web design. As one observant wag noted in response, the area where the circles overlap should be much larger…

modern web design venn diagram

Click the picture to see the source.