Tag Archive | "BlackBerry"

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

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

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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

33% of Americans own a smartphone; Android share continues to rise

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33-of-Americans-own-a-smartphone-Android-share-continues-to-riseFor those who wondered what the heck is keeping the U.S. out of a serious depression, the answer is the cell phone industry. In the latest survey released by comScore, as of May, 1 out of every 3 Americans own a smartphone. Of that total, 38.1% have an Android flavored model, up 5.1% from the last survey dated last February.

Apple’s iOS also gained users in the three months ending in May. Adding 1.4% over the period, iOS now has a 26.6% share of the U.S. smartphone market. Both Android and Apple took business away from BlackBerry as RIM’s slice of the U.S. smartphone pie declined 4.3% to 24.7% Microsoft’s smartphone share dropped in the U.S. from 7.7% to 4.8% while HP’s webOS was relatively flat at 2.4%.

Samsung continues to lead the list of cellphone manufacturers in the States with the same 24.8% share of the market that the Korean based firm held in the last survey. But that means countrymate LG was able to pick up a little ground on the leader, adding .2% to 21.1%. Despite losing 1% from the February report, Motorola kept third place with a 15.1% slice of the pie. Apple held 8.7% of the U.S. cellphone market, up 1.2% over the three months ending in May, while RIM closed out the top 5 with an 8.1% share, down from 8.6% in the previous survey.

What are we doing with our handsets? 69.5% use their phones for texting, slightly higher than the 68.8% seen in the February report. 39.8% use the browser on their phone, up 1.5%, while 38.6% use apps. That is up 2% from the last survey. The biggest jump in usage, 2.3%, came from those playing games on the phone, bringing the total to 26.9% of U.S. cellphone users that are aiming for the high score on their handset.

source: BGR

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Posted in Android OS

Apple iPhone picks up U.S. smartphone share while Android still is on top of latest survey

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Apple-iPhone-picks-up-U.S.-smartphone-share-while-Android-still-is-on-top-of-latest-surveyThe latest survey from Nielsen, a snapshot of the U.S. smartphone industry as of May 11th, shows a renaissance of sorts for the Apple iPhone. Android powered smartphones hold a commanding lead in U.S. market share with 38% of the total, up from the 36% reading seen in the three months ending in April. The Apple iPhone gained 1% over the same time period to grab a 27% share of the U.S. smartphone market, but more importantly, the latter device was the only phone to gain share in the last three months among recently purchased smartphones.

Android and Apple both gained share in the U.S. in the last 3 months at the expense of RIM

Android and Apple both gained share in the U.S. in the last 3 months at the expense of RIM

Of those phones recently purchased in the last three months, the Apple iPhone had a 17% share, up sharply from the 10% reading from the three months ended in mid-April. During that period, Android’s share was flat at 27% meaning that the iPhone is currently driving the market in the U.S. RIM’s share of newly acquired devices was just 6%, off sharply from the previous survey’s reading of 11%. Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 accounted for just 1% of new purchases. In an interesting breakdown, 55% of all new handsets bought in the three months to May 11th were smartphones while the 45% balance belonged, obviously, to featurephones. 15 months ago, featurephones accounted for a whopping 68% of newly acquired phones.

Returning to current market share, after Android and Apple, RIM comes in third with a 21% slice of the U.S. smartphone pie. This is a 2% drop from the prior report and is obviously affecting the Canadian based company. As we recently reported, there is speculation that the BlackBerry manufacturer has scrapped plans to build a 10 inch PlayBook tablet and will focus instead on a Superphone using the QNX OS. Among other operating systems. Windows Phone 7 has 19% of the market while defunct Windows Mobile still controls 9%. HP’s webOS and Symbian each account for 2% of the market.

source: Nielsen via BGR

The Apple iPhone was the only smartphone in the U.S. to gain share among newly acquired devices in the last 3 months

The Apple iPhone was the only smartphone in the U.S. to gain share among newly acquired devices in the last 3 months

Posted in Android OS

Funny comic reveals what your smartphone says about you

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Funny-comic-reveals-what-your-smartphone-says-about-youiphone-android-blackberry-c-section-comicWe were a little hesitant to post this, as it just might set off a fanboy world war, but it’s just too funny to resist. While these images are obviously sweeping generalizations, we definitely felt like there were grains of truth.

C-Section Comics, which publishes this and other assorted hilarity, has taken an impressively impartial approach. While the comic is funny, we’re most impressed by the fact that no one OS really got the brunt of the criticism. But fanboys of each category will obviously disagree.

A couple questions: Is the iPhone user (in the eyes of Android users) a witch? Or is she a member of a Steve Jobs cult? Either way, ouch. And what about the Android user (in the eyes of BlackBerry users); is the pizza delivery boy a reference to age, or socioeconomic status?

Feel free to fight it out in the comments below!

source: C-Section Comics via BlackBerryOS

Posted in Phones

Best Buy launches cloud music service

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Best-Buy-launches-cloud-music-service.jpgThe cloud music revolution has started and the options just keep growing and growing. First to market was actually Sony with its Qriocity Music Unlimited service, which had a rolling launch from December 2010 to February 2011 in various countries. But, the first in the news was Amazon with their Cloud Drive and Cloud Player in March, followed soon after by Google Music in May. All of these services allowed users to store their personal music collection on cloud servers and stream that music to a variety of devices (the lack of this latter feature is why Apple’s iCloud will not be mentioned in this article.) Now, Best Buy wants to get into the game as well, and has done a soft-launch of their competing Cloud Music service.

The Best Buy Music Cloud is just a soft-launch, so it is still buggy, and has limited features. The service most closely resembles Google Music in that it offers online storage for your local music collection and streaming of that music, but does not connect to a music store in any way. This means you will have to upload your collection, which could take a long time depending on how much music you have. It also allows for syncing, so you can listen to certain music even if you don’t have an Internet connection.

Best Buy is offering a free version which allows use of the Web player, but not mobile streaming. The free version also apparently only lets users listen to 30-second clips of their own music. In order to hear your full songs and use the mobile apps, it will cost $3.99/month for the premium package. No word yet on any storage limits for either the free or premium packages.

The service is available on Mac, PC, iOS, BlackBerry, and Android. Unfortunately, the iOS version doesn’t support premium features as yet. As stated above, this is just a soft-launch so expect Best Buy to add features and clean up the problems as we go along.

source: Best Buy via BGR

Posted in Software

J.P. Morgan says non-iOS tablets are having a clash with reality, production quotas reduced

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J.P.-Morgan-says-non-iOS-tablets-are-having-a-clash-with-reality-production-quotas-reducediPad rivals are cutting down on build plans, says a research note from J.P. Morgan’s analyst Mark Moskowitz. Manufacturers’ production plans for Android and other tablets in the January-March period, have been cut with 10% on average.

While the number might not seem significant, the sheer fact that manufacturers xpect the tablet market to shrink beyond their sales predictions is pretty telling. To put things in perspective, however, we must note that Apple also sold quite a bit less iPads than analysts expected in its latest quarter, but supply issues due to the Japanese earthquake were deemed the culprit. So was the case with the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, though.

The analyst provides the following table with production plans details, from which it becomes clear that only Apple, HTC and Lenovo haven’t reduced their sales estimates from January to March. Of course, most tablets were hardly available at that time, so a snapshot of the same plans taken in the end of June would be more appropriate.

Nevertheless, Mr Moskowitz claims that tablet manufacturers are having an “early dose of reality”, slashing production plans, but at the same time he expects tablets to hijack a significant amount of market from desktop and notebook computers in 2011, enough for a spillover effect, and real shift in the industry.

So the guy is hedging his bets, but it’s actually too early to tell how the tablet market will develop. Seeing how Asus can’t make enough of the Eee Pad Transformer, BlackBerry PlayBook is selling better than expected, while the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is not even available yet, not to mention the iPad 2, it’s pretty obvious that the tablet game of chess is with a yet-unknown outcome.

source: AppleInsider

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Posted in Tablets

Smartheart is a portable electrocardiogram machine for smartphones

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Smartheart-is-a-portable-electrocardiogram-machine-for-smartphonesIn the U.S. alone, a person has a heart attack every 34 seconds. And, heart disease costs the U.S. $316.4 billion every year. So a small telehealth startup, SHL, is seeking to improve those statistics with the Smartheart device and app.

The Smartheart device, which is estimated to cost US$499, hooks around the user’s chest, much like a heart rate monitor. The device then records a hospital-grade electrocardiogram (ECG). Smartheart connects to your iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android device via Bluetooth, allowing you to view your ECG in detail, and email it to your physician.

While there is no substitute for an in-hospital ECG, Smartheart could be a great resource for people with cardiovascular diseases. Rather than having to go to the hospital and endure a tedious ECG, they can record them from home, and send them to their physicians. And if the physician finds something irregular, then the user can go to the hospital.

In addition to saving time, Smartheart could also save people a lot of money. While the $499 price tag sounds expensive, it’s still better than frequent visits to the doctor. And, in time, healthcare plans might cover at least part of the device’s cost.

Our only concern is that people might rely too much on this homebrew solution. We don’t know how effective it really is by comparison, but we think it’s safe to assume that people with serious conditions should continue their traditional ECGs.

source: TechCrunch

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