Tag Archive | "Apple"

Skype purchases GroupMe

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Skype-purchases-GroupMeSkype has just announced that they have purchased the company GroupMe, the creators behind a group messaging application of the same name that is currently available on many smartphone platforms.

The purchase will give Skype direct access to the group messaging software produced by GroupMe. Skype has been recently been purchased by Microsoft and this latest acquistion could allow for even deeper Skype integration on Windows devices in the future.

GroupMe is currently offered on iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone devices. Because this application can be used cross-platform, it is different than similar apps such as BlackBerry Messenger.

The group messaging application can be used over a data connection so devices such as the iPod Touch can get in on the fun. Anybody using GroupMe can share pictures within any conversation. We don’t really know what Skype’s plans for this app are, but if you want to check it out for yourself it can be had for the price of free. Tell us what you think of this latest acquisition in the comments below.

source: Electronista

Posted in Software

Non-iOS tablet makers to cut prices by October, Acer Iconia Tab A500 $322 at Amazon already

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Non-iOS-tablet-makers-to-cut-prices-by-October-Acer-Iconia-Tab-A500-322-at-Amazon-alreadyDigitimes reports that in order to boost sales and clear inventory due to weaker than expected demand, Android, webOS and QNX tablet makers are planning across-the-board price cuts by the end of September.

We don’t see it as much of a surprise that the tablet prices will be falling about six months after launch, and the process had even started with some manufacturers. HP recently made the $100 price cut for its HP TouchPad permanent, and now we are seeing the Toshiba Thrive appearing for $368 at Walmart, and the Acer Iconia Tab A500 $322 at Amazon.

The sources believe that prices will gradually slide to $350 on average by October, and go down to $300 in time for the holidays.

If quality Android slates, like the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, or the Acer Iconia Tab A500, which used to command pretty decent $399 price tags already, get slashed 25%, this will certainly increase the market share of Android’s tablet OS, which is still quite low compared to the iOS slates.

source: Amazon & Digitimes

Posted in Tablets

Federal Trade Commission’s Google antitrust probe includes Android as well

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Federal-Trade-Commissions-Google-antitrust-probe-includes-Android-as-wellThe FTC is currently reviewing Google’s procedures and policies for antitrust issues. The probe mostly covers search and privacy practices, but recently we learned that it also includes Android for some reason.

While the mobile industry can hardly be called uncompetitive in this very moment, Android went from zero to hero and almost fifty percent of the smartphone market worldwide in just three years, so the FTC is looking into how much power Google has to exert pressure on app developers and device manufacturers to get its way.

Compared to the other mobile operating systems Android is pretty open, free and popular, plus there are a number of handsets that use generic Android without Google Services on it – no Android Market, no Maps, no Gmail, and so on. Moreover, companies are often installing their own software, like Sprint with its ID packs, Verizon using Bing, and manufacturers have their own skins like Sense UI.

The FTC, however, is apparently not satisfied, and is issuing inquiries into third parties whether Google is flexing muscles when it comes to replacing its core services with something foreign to the ecosystem. A case in point has been the lawsuit filed by Skyhook, which accuses El Goog in applying pressure on manufacturers to drop its localization technology from their handsets, and keep Google’s service. “Baseless” has been the only comment by Mountain View regarding the accusation, but it definitely looks like Android is being pressured on many fronts right now – whether this is a concerted campaign, or just that success always attracts the spotlight, remains to be seen.

For all we know, the Justice Department has launched a probe whether the Nortel patent bid by Apple, Microsoft, RIM, Sony and others, has been purposefully won by these cutthroat competitors for the patents to be used against Android’s domination. Google is not sitting still too – it bought more than a thousand patents from IBM, spent record amount of $2.06 million on lobbying in Q2 2011, and is hiring 12 more K street firms to protect its interests with Uncle Sam.

source: WSJ

Posted in Android OS

Control your home with your phone: are we there yet?

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Control-your-home-with-your-phone-are-we-there-yetWe remember reading a couple of years ago about Bill Gates’s fully automated, yet cosy mansion, with its 40 miles of optical fiber, floor sensors that can track your location with up to six inches accuracy, and a hot tub, which can be set for the desired water temperature before you get home.

We were then just drooling, sad that we can’t outfit our own cribs like that. Well, in a few short years, the field of home automation (HA) received a significant boost, the technology is within the reach of many, and now smartphone owners have the perfect tool to carry the control unit with them at all times.

Home automation can be divided into a few broad categories, depending on what you are trying to control – lighting, HVAC, appliances, security, entertainment or others, like sprinklers or a cat feeder. We won’t be delving into the hundreds of brands and ways to adjust your home environment from afar, since there are currently more than 10 competing standards, but barely a thing you can get from Home Depot on the cheap and drive home to install yourself – we are just looking at how HA relays to your smartphone or tablet…

Read the full article at PhoneArena

Posted in Uncategorized

Foodspotting hits 1 million downloads in 18 months, iOS and Android apps updated

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Foodspotting-hits-1-million-downloads-in-18-months-iOS-and-Android-apps-updatedfarroFoodspotting, the food and restaurant centered social network, announced today that it has reached 1 million app downloads in just 18 months. Although iTunes doesn’t release download numbers, it’s safe to assume that the vast majority of those downloads have come on iOS. The Android Market lists the app in its 50k-100k download range, and just given the overall user size of Windows Phone 7, it’s safe to assume WP7 brings up the rear in the download list. And, to celebrate the 1 millionth download, the Foodspotting apps for iOS and Android have received updates.

The new Foodspotting versions for iOS (v2.5) and Android (v0.0.4) have each received the same new feature: following. That’s right, it’s time for Foodspotting to become a real social network rather than a discovery source. With the new versions, you’ll be able to find your friends from Facebook or Twitter and follow their recommendations. You’ll also be able to follow experts like the Travel Channel or Mario Batali or even follow your favorite restaurants. And, to top it off, the new versions support higher resolutions images throughout.

Foodspotting is free in the iOS App Store, Android Market and Windows Phone Marketplace, and should be coming soon to BlackBerry App World.

source: Foodspotting blog via ReadWriteWeb

Posted in Software

The world loves apps more than burgers, infographic suggests

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The-world-loves-apps-more-than-burgers-infographic-suggestsThe rise of McDonald’s burgers has been slow but steady – the franchise took nearly half a century to sell a hundred billion burgers. But today’s mental staple food – apps – don’t have that time. With a smartphone in nearly every pocket have they managed to outpace our need for burgers? Well, not that those two are somehow interchangeable, but this infographic does well in illustrating what a brilliant job Apple and Google have done in distributing apps as both are well on track of delivering its 100 billionth application.

While now the app download count stands at some 15 billion for Apple, a milestone proudly announced by the company a couple of weeks ago, the rate at which users download application is only speeding up. Actually, if it follows the envisioned pattern, in a mere five years and a half since its launch the App Store may reach McDonald’s 100 billion mark.

You might wonder where does that leave Android and rightly so. The platform has been enjoying booming popularity as it covers devices from the low-end to high-end, and subsequently app downloads are growing even faster there. The time span expected for it to reach the same milestone is just 3.5 years. Bottomline seems to be that you could only eat so many burgers, while app gluttony with a 100 billion apps might seem insatiable. Have you found your app downloads growing with time?

source: TheAtlantic

apps-burgers-infographic-1

Posted in Software

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 European sales paused by German court, Samsung calls foul

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Samsung-Galaxy-Tab-10.1-European-sales-paused-by-German-court-Samsung-calls-foulOh, the horror! Following the patent bickering with Apple, Samsung has been banned from selling its Galaxy Tab line in the EU for now by a German court. Netherlands is the only country where it will be legal to sell Samsung’s best Android slate across the European Union.

A similar thing happened in Australia recently, where the first reports actually pegged Samsung as voluntarily stopping the sales and marketing of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, until the courts issue a statement on Apple’s claims.

Samsung’s Director of PR Kim Titus reacted immediately:

Samsung is disappointed with the court’s decision and we intend to act immediately to defend our intellectual property rights through the ongoing legal proceedings in Germany and will continue to actively defend these rights throughout the world.

The request for injunction was filed with no notice to Samsung, and the order was issued without any hearing or presentation of evidence from Samsung.

We will take all necessary measures to ensure Samsung’s innovative mobile communications devices are available to customers in Europe and around the world.

This decision by the court in Germany in no way influences other legal proceedings filed with the courts in Europe and elsewhere.”, he comments.

The case is being reviewed in the Regional Court of Dusseldorf, a place where everyone uses iPhones. We kid, but due to its decisions being valid across the European Union, the ban only spares the Netherlands for some reason – in every other EU country the Samsung distributors will have to place a hold on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 sales campaigns.

source: Reuters

Posted in Tablets

Ice Cream Sandwich debut moved up to October to compete with the Apple iPhone?

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Ice-Cream-Sandwich-debut-moved-up-to-October-to-compete-with-the-Apple-iPhoneA source for BGR is saying that Google, possibly feeling the heat from an expected late September/early October launch of the Apple iPhone 5, is planning on moving up the release of Ice Cream Sandwich and the early devices that will be powered by the latest Android build. One possibility is that a next-gen model of the Nexus line will be the first or among the first handsets to rollout with the latest Android build.

While at this point everything pertaining to an Ice Cream Sandwich launch is mere speculation, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a launch of an early Ice Cream Sandwich device on Verizon since the carrier will have a large number of ready made buyers with all of those Motorola DROID owners coming up to the 2 year anniversary of their purchase. And of course, Verizon will presumably be one of the carriers that will be offering the Apple iPhone 5 when it is launched. Google will want to re-up those Motorola DROID owners with expiring contracts before they get a gander of what the next iPhone might bring.

source: BGR

Posted in Android OS

12 week smartphone sales numbers have surprises from around the globe

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12-week-smartphone-sales-numbers-have-surprises-from-around-the-globeMarket research firm Kantar Worldpanel has released its newest numbers for the mobile phone sales for the past 12 weeks. The numbers include data from 7 areas around the world including: USA, Australia, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Spain, and France. Some of the numbers aren’t so surprising, like the fact that Symbian has taken a dive worldwide, or that Android is selling like gangbusters. Some of the numbers are pretty shocking though. Two of the most surprising leaps in sales came from Germany and France. In Germany, Windows Phone 7 is starting to make a run pulling in 7.1% of the sales for the 12 weeks ending July 12, 2011. In France, Bada is making an even more impressive run pushing up to 9.6% of sales.

Overall, smartphones are booming, as we all knew. In Great Britain alone, 67% of all mobile phone sales were smartphones. And, smartphones made up at least 50% of all mobile phone sales in the USA, Australia, Great Britain and Germany. Kantar says that Italy, Spain and France are expected to cross that threshold sometime within the next quarter.

Android is leading the way with over 50% of sales across the 7 regions for the time frame, with iOS coming in second at 25%. Not surprisingly, Symbian was the big loss leader across most regions, except for the US where it never really had much market share to begin. Instead, the US had BlackBerry losing a huge chunk of its share, although BlackBerry held relatively steady in other areas.

source: Kantar Worldpanel via WMPU

kantar-smartphone-july-2011

Posted in Android OS

Phone usability study finds iPhone and WP7 easier than Android or BlackBerry

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Phone-usability-study-finds-iPhone-and-WP7-easier-than-Android-or-BlackBerryA new study by Professor Dennis Gallatta at the Harvard Human Factors in Design lab has tested which smartphone OS is the easiest to navigate for first time users. The study found that iPhone and Windows Phone 7 are easier to use than either Android or BlackBerry, but the testing was fairly limited, meaning the results may not be as reliable as one would hope.

Of course, we don’t want to become the official naysayers of all studies done in the mobile world, but when doing a usability study on smartphones, it seems a bit silly to limit the test to just 3 tasks: making a call, adding a contact, and sending a text. Those three tasks are probably the least likely tasks for a smartphone user to perform (or at least the first two of the three tasks), especially when there is music to hear, pictures to take, videos to watch, web pages to browse, e-mails to read, and Angry Birds to launch. At the very least, it seems that the study could have added purchasing an app from each platform’s app store, or performing a web search.

Each test was rated from 1 to 5 stars, 5 being that the task was very easily performed. iPhone and WP7 each had a total of 11 stars for the 3  tasks, followed by Android with 9, and BlackBerry with 8. Android was the only OS to score a perfect 5 on a task, and that was for making a call, although that was followed by a 1 in adding a contact. There should be a couple of notes made on the study as is: first, the Android phone used was an HTC device meaning it had the Sense UI, and didn’t include the Contacts app on the homescreen. Other UIs and phones include that on the homescreen which theoretically could have made this task easier to complete. Alternatively, in the sending a text task, the only user that didn’t have to initiate a new SMS was the iPhone user, who merely replied to an SMS (and seemingly didn’t know how to get back to the Messaging home screen.)

That said, it seems like the real winner may be Windows Phone, but as mentioned before, there is far more to using a smartphone than the 3 tasks covered here. And, the minimalist icons of Windows Phone did seem to lead to confusion, which may hurt overall usage. As always, UI usability could just be a matter of personal preference, with the exception of BlackBerry, which just needs a major overhaul. Of course, we’d need to see a more complete study to come to any real conclusions, but this was interesting nonetheless. Check out the full video below to see the fumbling noobs!

source: Human Factors via WMPU

Posted in Software

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