Khaled rambles technology, tea/coffee, consumer rights and other interest from Saudi Arabia

February 27, 2012

Windows Phone Beats Android, Announces Official App Market for Saudi Arabia, UAE

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , , , — Khaled A. @ 8:44 pm

أعلنت مايكروسوفت رسمياً أنه سيتم إفتتاح متجر لتطبيقات ويندوز فون رسمي في المملكة العربية السعودية و عدد من الدول الشهر القادم! وينكم يا قوقل أعطونا وجه!

In a post on the Windows Phone Dev Blog, Joe Belfiore announced that in March Microsoft will launch an official app marketplace for customers in 23 countries, including Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.

The full 23 country list includes:

Bahrain, Bulgaria, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Estonia, Iceland, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, Ukraine, Venezuela and Vietnam.

Saudi Arabia and UAE were ignored by Google’s Android Marketplace for a very long time, forcing users to root to enable purchasing of apps.

While Arabic isn’t officially supported on Windows Phone 7 it can read Arabic just fine unlike Android 2.3 devices. Don’t ask about ICS as it exists on only 2 phones.

Microsoft will launch the market in March 2012 and I should note that Apple launched the Saudi Arabia iTunes App Store in July 2008.

Thanks @mhmd!

[image credit: Nokia Lumia 610 at MWC 2012]

November 29, 2010

Google fails in Saudi Arabia

Filed under: General — Tags: , , , , , , , — Khaled A. @ 1:03 pm

Update: Google updated Riyadh’s satellite images to something from late 2010. The maps however are still outdated.

I complained many times about the extremely useless and out of date Google Maps for Saudi Arabia: roads are from 2004 and you can’t even get basic directions! Allright, Google have problems with all the red tape, we get that. But I was shocked to see Microsoft Bing Maps already supporting very recent maps of Saudi Arabia.

Here’s an example, Al Oruba st intersection with Prince Turki st, in 2004/2005 a northern road was constructed turning it from a T-shape intersection to a normal intersection. Here’s the satellite images on Google Maps:

Now here’s the regular map on Google Maps. 6 years later and it’s still the same:

Now let’s have a look at Microsoft Bing Maps:

Bing Maps is up to date with the Saudi map, how come Google isn’t? Is Google being denied?

If Google allowed us to use the Google Map Maker it would not have happened.

The Bing Maps do not have any points of interest but that didn’t stop Microsoft from allowing us to use navigation on the map! Google Maps can’t figure a simple straight line:

While Bing is EXTREMELY USEFUL even without points of interest:

Another example of Google’s failure in the region: the lack of an Android Market in Saudi Arabia. This is Motorola’s response to @Yalmisfer when he asked why is his Motorola Milestone Android phone is lacking an Android Marketplace:

Android Market was removed per requirements of Google in the individual Arabic regions such as UAE, Egypt, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

The same is happening with the Samsung Galaxy Tab and Samsung Galaxy S apparently. Google doesn’t need to release an Arabic Android market, they don’t even support Arabic language natively in Android until now!

@Yalmisfer also got to talk with Samsung Middle East:

I got a call from the firm doing the PR for ME for Galaxy and they are asking me to try it and write a review about, I asked them and the answer was No market for Middle East

My rant is over.

January 7, 2010

Native Arabic support for Google Android

Filed under: News — Tags: , , , — Khaled A. @ 8:02 pm

STC was the first company to introduce an Android based cellphone in the region. The phone was the HTC Magic however native Arabic support is only available for Android OS 1.5 while the latest OS version for the Magic is 1.6 (HTC are working on 2.1 update to be released this year). Arabic support is not available in 1.6, 2.0 and 2.1.

I should contrast this to the iPhone: iPhone OS 3.0 added support for many languages including Arabic. You do not need to download additional software to add Arabic to the iPhone and you don’t need to change anything if all you needed is to read Arabic. Apple did that in less than 2 years and all of their iPhones support Arabic by now. As for Android you should be able to add Arabic by visiting a site such as XDA Developers.

Which brings us to the ArDroid website that specializes in helping the Arabic speaking community use Google Android phones. They started a feature request to have better Arabic language support:

I bought an Android phone and I said since you already made the locale adding the Arabic language will be easy and fast , but now I have the phone for 5 months and no Arabic support still , we have two available Android phones in my country and two are coming in a few months , I had an iPhone but I sold it to buy an Android phone , so I think I’m wrong in selling the iPhone , anyway please Google add the Arabic support and Prove Me Wrong .

Support this by voting for this issue to be resolved which you can do by simply clicking the star on the left (you might need a Google Account for that).

I should remind Google that Nokia is a major market-share holder in Saudi Arabia, BlackBerry comes in second place. So they are the major competition for Android phones here, not the iPhone.

Image from here.

September 25, 2008

HTC G1 Google Android phone released

Filed under: News — Tags: , , — Khaled A. @ 4:45 am

HTC released the HTC G1, the first Google Android phone, in the United States. The phone is sold for $199 with a T-Mobile contract. The question is, when will we see a release in Saudi Arabia? HTC is usually very fast on releasing their devices in the Middle East. If it was released in Saudi Arabia before the iPhone then Apple will have a hard time catching up.

You can read about the specification of the HTC G1 here. And here’s 5 things to like about the HTC G1 Google Android phone.

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