Tag Archive | "Windows"

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

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

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

Microsoft earned 3 times the revenue from Android than from Windows Phone 7 in Q2

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Microsoft-earned-3-times-the-revenue-from-Android-than-from-Windows-Phone-7-in-Q2According to Asymco analyst Horace Dediu, in the first quarter of 2011 Microsoft stunningly brought in five times the revenue with Android devices compared with the cash generated by Redmond’s own Windows Phone 7 OS. For the second quarter, the ratio has dropped but at 3:1 is still an ironic situation.

Asymco analyst Horace Dediu tweets that Microsoft earned 3 times the money from Andriod than from its own mobile OS in Q2

Asymco analyst Horace Dediu tweets that Microsoft earned 3 times the money from Andriod than from its own mobile OS in Q2

Dediu said in a tweet that for Q2, Microsoft received $21 million from royalties on 1.4 million Windows Phone 7 units sold from which Microsoft received a $15 license fee on each phone. At the same time, the company brought in $60 million from the sale of 12 million HTC Android phones from which it receives $5 in royalties for each unit sold. The analyst used Canalys’ Windows Phone 7 sales estimates and HTC’s own statement that it shipped 12.1 million handsets in Q2 (although it is not known how Dediu figured that they were all Android models).
While the amount of money involved isn’t that important for a multi-billion dollar company like Microsoft, just the idea that the company’s fortunes were improved more by a rival mobile OS than from the firm’s own home grown software shows just how inbred the whole mobile OS business has become thanks to patents, royalties, licenses and lawsuits.

source: Twitter via BGR

Posted in Software

Acer moving to the cloud, woos talent from HTC, Asus, Pegatron

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Acer-moving-to-the-cloud-woos-talent-from-HTC-Asus-PegatronAcer seems to be relatively quiet on the mobile front recently, but that silence might be of the eery type just before a storm – the company has sacked its chief executive officer in March and since then has been stepping up its R&D and smartphone and tablet effort. Just a couple of days ago, Acer set up a new global research and development center in Chongqing, China, pouring some $4 million into future software and services. In addition, the Taiwanese manufacturer is rumored to be looking to acquire California-based cloud-service provider iGware for $320 million. The deal envisages a new cloud service integrated into the company’s software. Acer Cloud, as it could be called, is expected to launch next year.

And now rumor spread by Digitimes and originating from “PC players” claims that the company has been on a headhunt for talent, handpicking industry professionals from HTC, Asus and Pegatron. Earlier, in 2009, Acer has managed to successfully woo an R&D team of 30 HTC engineers trying to rejuvenate its smartphone department and enter the tablets market.

Acer is offering attractive packages for software gurus and has reportedly already gotten their attention. The company missed last three quarterly forecasts and has halved its initial tablet shipment estimate for the year, so it’s in dare need of fresh blood. Acer is focusing on Android-based smartphones and tablets, but it is also expected to release handsets running Windows Phone Mango.

source: DigiTimes

Posted in Software

Qualcomm acquires GestureTek to prevent smudging our touchscreens with chicken finger grease

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Qualcomm-acquires-GestureTek-to-prevent-smudging-our-touchscreens-with-chicken-finger-greaseWith the acquisition of GestureTek, Qualcomm gets access to 25 years of intellectual property in the gesture recognition area, and plethora of engineering resources.

The mobile chipset maker says it will introduce the gesture recognition technology in the next generation of its system-on-a-chip Snapdragon family. We’ve seen some gesture-based navigation demoed by XTR and rival Texas Instruments way back last year, but things should have advanced even more by now.

We are curious what will Qualcomm come up with here. In the case of a cell phone or tablet, the front-facing camera should be the standard gesture-recognition tool involved. The next Snapdragons based on the ARM Cortex-A15 “Eagle” architecture will certainly be powerful enough to read any hand or finger movement you throw at them, so we can finally stop smudging our precious touchscreens with finger grease and ketchup.

Have a look at the XTR gesture navigation demoed on TI’s OMAP4 mobile development platform in the video below, for a hint at what’s to come with Qualcomm’s next Snapdragons. GestureTek has fitted its technology for mobiles running Android and Symbian, but knowing that Qualcomm should be powering the Nokia Windows Phone handsets, we might see gesture-based navigation implemented there as well.

source: Qualcomm

Posted in Uncategorized

Leaked roadmap reveals seven new LG smartphones scheduled to launch by the year’s end

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Leaked-roadmap-reveals-seven-new-LG-smartphones-scheduled-to-launch-by-the-years-endWhat we are looking at here, folks, is the remainder of smartphones that LG is reportedly planning on unveiling by the end of 2011. According to an LG roadmap that surfaced on the web just recently, seven more devices are expected to join the manufacturer’s smartphone lineup during the second half of the year, and while some of them are said to be lacking much of a performance punch, others appear to be perfect candidates for obtaining flagship status.

Since LG’s future top-of-the-line smartphones are probably what you are most curious about, we will first introduce you to the LG K, which is said to be equipped with a true 720p HD display. This might very well be the LG P930 that we heard about not long ago, and chances are it will become the most powerful smartphone that LG will have to offer. If the device does hit the market eventually, its display will likely be 4.5 inches in diagonal and will match the 326 dpi pixel density of the iPhone 4’s Retina display. Unfortunately, a rendition of the smartphone is missing at this time…

Read the whole story at PhoneArena.com

Posted in Phones

Qualcomm roadmap leaked: quad-cores coming 2013, 1.7GHz dual-cores in 2011

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Qualcomm-roadmap-leaked-quad-cores-coming-2013-1.7GHz-dual-cores-in-2011NVIDIA stepped up its chipset game by demonstrating quad-core silicon coming by the end of the year, and one of its main competitors Qualcomm has been left to trail. Up until now, we didn’t know what the company’s reply was, but this leaked roadmap lays out details about chips expected until 2013.

First on the list are dual-core chips clocked at the whopping 1.5GHz to 1.7GHz, coming somewhere in the fourth quarter of 2011 or the first quarter of 2012. These 28-nm chips are coming in three varieties: 8960 with LTE, 8270 with HSPA and 8260A with HSPA+, all equipped with the Adreno 225 graphical unit, said to be matching the graphics on the PlayStation Vita in terms of power. 1080p HD video at 30fps is also something we’re looking forward to on the chips.

Skip to the third to fourth quarter of next year, and you get the 8230 and 8930 chips with Adreno 305 GPU nearly reaching the performance of contemporary gaming consoles. Both chips will be clocked at 1GHz to 1.2GHz.

Last comes the true answer to NVIDIA’s quad-core processors – the monstrous quad-core Qualcomm 8974 chip built using 28nm technology clocked at 2.0GHz to 2.5GHz. It handles 1080p HD video at 60fps, while the graphical core is Adreno 320 – a configuration that might make you reconsider the need of a personal computer. Okay, maybe not that powerful, but Qualcomm’s quad-core solution is definitely mind-boggling by today’s standards. It’s coming in the first quarter of 2013, but is that fast enough? NVIDIA is to release their Kal-El chip with four cores by the end of the year, but others like Samsung and Texas Instruments are not going to match those speeds. One thing is certain, though, with AMD and Intel joining the mobile chip wars, the battle is heating up.

source: MobileTechWorld via Engadget

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Posted in Uncategorized

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

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