FORTUNE -- One of the mysteries of the tablet wars -- where Android tablet shipments have been advancing rapidly on Apple's (AAPL) iPad -- is what exactly all those Android tablets are doing.
The answer may be that a lot of them aren't tablets at all. They may instead be so-called Android TV sticks and boxes -- typically dongle-like devices that plug into a TV and are used primarily, according to a report out of Singapore, as vehicles for bootleg videos.
"Pirated bootleg movie DVDs used to be quite easy to buy here in Asia," writes jnaina, a long-time contributor to Investor Village's Apple Sanity board. When pressure from Hollywood led to government crackdowns on bootleg DVDs, the pirates moved to USB drives and Android TV sticks.
"In Singapore," jnaina writes, "you can go to the (in)famous Sim Lim tower and buy these Android based media players. The vendors will throw in about 20+ movies high-quality movies on a USB drive as part of the deal. Most of these Android TV sticks cost around US$100. Once the buyer has finished watching the initial freebie movies that were given as part of the purchase, they can go back to the vendor and buy additional movies that are downloaded to an USB stick for about USD$2 per movie.
"These Android TV boxes typically run Android 4.2 and have Google Play installed. The Android TV Boxes even register as an Android Tablet during the activation process, but these devices are not used for web surfing, emails or any sort of productivity applications. They are strictly used as media players, and for some free Android games."
That would explain a lot.
For an Apple-centric take on how these devices might be distorting market share measurements, see Daniel Eran Dilger's The curious case of IDC, Gartner & Strategy Analytics' PC, phone & tablet data on Apple posted Saturday on AppleInsider.com.
How exactly did Samsung overtake Apple in "overall satisfaction"?
FORTUNE -- You can hardly blame the reporters and editors who wrote all those headlines proclaiming Samsung's victory over Apple (AAPL) in J.D. Power and Associates' 2013 U.S. Tablet Satisfaction Survey.
After all, that's what J.D. Power's press release said. Sort of.
But reporters who got their hands on the attached chart were left scratching their heads. It details Samsung's performance in the five MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Oct 31, 2013 9:05 PM ET
Judge neutralizes a potentially damaging jury instruction
FORTUNE -- The text at right is what Judge Judy Koh was prepared to tell the jury about Samsung's policy of automatically deleting e-mails that might have been relevant to its patent battle with Apple (AAPL).
Samsung objected. It insisted that Apple was equally guilty of evidence "spoliation." As proof, it pointed out that the record contained no e-mails from Steve Jobs that mentioned the MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 20, 2012 8:36 AM ET
Samsung has much to gain by cutting a deal, as the judge requested. Apple not so much.
FORTUNE -- "It's time for peace," Judge Lucy Koh declared in federal court Wednesday, the ninth day of the jury trial in Apple's (AAPL) high-stakes patent infringement suit against Samsung. "I see risk here for both sides if we go to a verdict."
Christopher Carani, a partner at Chicago-based McAndrews, Held & Malloy and an authority on design MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 16, 2012 7:57 AM ET
Samsung has until 5 p.m. Thursday to explain why Susan Estrich was representing it
FORTUNE -- In addition to becoming the youngest woman win tenure at Harvard, running Michael Dukakis' presidential campaign, writing more than half a dozen books (most recently Soulless: Ann Coulter and the Right-Wing Church of Hate) and doing token liberal commentary for Fox News, Susan Estrich has, since 2008, been a partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, the law MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 9, 2012 11:06 AM ET
Meet the mysterious "tactical data center" that just popped up on Apple's server farm
FORTUNE -- The news that Apple (AAPL) was building a smaller, insect-shaped data center next to its big Maiden, N.C., server farm was broken -- of all places -- in the Hickory Daily Record, a 16,000-circulation paper owned by Berkshire Hathaway.
But it was Wired -- hiring the services of the Piper Cub-flying photographer who shot the first MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 4, 2012 11:08 AM ET
One reporter got his jaw split in half. Another enlisted an army of Twitter followers.
FORTUNE -- According to NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Apple (AAPL) gadgets -- iPhones, iPads, iPods -- now represent four out of 10 thefts in New York City. The cops call it "Apple picking."
What should you do when your iOS device disappears? In the past week, we've been treated to two object lessons -- one painful, MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 3, 2012 6:38 AM ET
Rumors of new products can kill Apple sales. Rumors can also drive up the stock price
FORTUNE -- "Our weekly iPhone sales continue to be impacted by rumors and speculation regarding new products," Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook told analysts last Tuesday even as his company's share price was plummeting. Apple's iPhone sales had fallen short of expectations, and the Street was punishing the stock.
But rumors and speculation can also drive Apple MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jul 31, 2012 8:45 AM ET
The Surface is greeted with guffaws and catcalls from a camp that ought to know better
FORTUNE -- "I can sort of understand announcing without a ship date. But I can't understand announcing without prices," Daring Fireball's John Gruber wrote to his 205,000 followers on Twitter. "No battery life specs for either the ARM or Intel versions? Starting to think this is a hoax."
Gruber was reacting to Microsoft's (MSFT) big reveal Monday: The MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 19, 2012 8:11 PM ET
If, like me, you couldn't make it to San Francisco, you can still get the blow-by-blow
Assuming you're not in actually in the Yerba Buena Center auditorium today, the best way to find out what's going on inside Apple's (AAPL) iPad press event is to watch the live webcast -- assuming there is one. The company occasionally provides a video feed from these special events, but it never announces the fact MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Mar 7, 2012 7:18 AM ET
|Fast food worker: Protest didn't cost me pay|
|2 million Facebook, Gmail and Twitter passwords stolen in massive hack|
|Job growth drives mortgage rate jump|
|GM to discontinue Chevrolet brand in Europe|
|Ron Paul: Bitcoin could 'destroy the dollar'|