Android (operating system) Stories May 17, 2018

I recently got my hands on a Google Pixel 2 XL, primarily because I’ve long planned on migrating my business line from Google Voice to a standalone phone, and figured an Android phone would give me a good opportunity to catch me up on the platform’s features. As you may have heard, the latest developer beta for Android was just released, called Android P, and Google makes it super easy to enroll and install the beta on a select few Android phones.

One of the things that I found interesting about Android P is its updated multitasking interface. The interface works similarly to the iPhone X, in that swipe gestures can be used to invoke the app switcher. Although Android P is still in beta, I wanted to showcase how some of the Pixel XL 2’s multitasking features stack up against the iPhone X. Watch our hands-on video walkthrough for more. expand full story

Android (operating system) Stories March 22, 2016

iphone-se

I argued a couple of months ago that ‘peak iPhone’ was likely a temporary phenomenon, but that Apple might have to be willing to accept lower margins if it is to continue to grow its sales.

I think it will also need to learn to be a little more flexible when it comes to its profit margins, especially in growth markets. That ~40% markup has served it well for a great many years, but I don’t think it can necessarily expect to maintain it indefinitely.

Yesterday, the company indicated its willingness to do just that. For the first time, Apple’s entry-level phone is a brand-new device that offers close to flagship specs at a price level close to the previous-generation phone. That will hit Apple’s margins on the device for sure, but the company is looking to the long-term …

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Android (operating system) Stories September 18, 2015

move-to-ios

While Apple’s new Move to iOS app appeared to be the company’s first ever Android app, Phandroid did some digging around in the code to discover that it in fact appears to be just a rebadged third-party app called Copy My Data.

If we take a look under the hood of Apple’s Move to iOS app, we see the […] android:name is still set to android:name=”com.mediamushroom.copymydata”That’s just the tip of the iceberg. The two applications share a vast majority of code and functionality. In fact, all of the com.mediamushroom.copymydata strings were left inside Apple’s rebranded version. Essentially, the only differences between the two apps are Apple’s artwork being added, the inclusion of Apple’s licensing agreements, and Media Mushroom’s UI elements being removed. That’s really it.

Apple thus appears to have simply licensed an existing app, rather than creating its first Android app – meaning that the Apple Music app expected to makes its way across to Android sometime this fall may be the first Apple-coded app on the rival smartphone platform …  expand full story

Android (operating system) Stories September 15, 2015

UE-Boom-2-JBL-Charge-Bose-Soundlink Mini

One of my absolute favorite Bluetooth speakers got a huge update today. The UE Boom 2 is an upgraded version of the iconic portable Bluetooth speaker from Logitech’s Ultimate Ears division. Originally released in 2013, the Boom set a new standard for Portable Bluetooth speakers with its “cupholder friendly” and colorful design, great acoustics, and iOS/Android apps.

In recent months UE has released a much bigger, more expensive MegaBoom and a much smaller, cheaper UE Roll. Both are waterproof and extremely rugged and if you’d had to have guessed, you’d be right in assuming the Boom would get these same features.

And it has. IPX 7 waterproofing means you can not only take it with you into the shower but you can drop the Boom 2 in the pool or bathtub without damage. It is also more powerful with a 100-foot wireless range, 15 hour battery life, and 25% louder and better sound than its predecessor. The UE Boom 2 also now includes a new tap control that allows you to start, pause and skip songs, without needing to have your phone in-hand.

I’ve been using the UE Boom 2 for the past week and I think this speaker is a big deal… expand full story

Android (operating system) Stories August 5, 2015

ios-kantar

Kantar data suggests that the iPhone increased its market share during Q2 in all of the countries it surveyed bar the USA. Apple’s share of the smartphone market grew in China, Australia and all five of Europe’s largest markets, defying the usual lull in sales seen during the run-up to a new model in September.

Apple iOS returned to growth across all of Europe’s ‘big five’ markets [of] Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain,” reported Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

Kantar surveyed buyers to determine the reasons they selected the iPhone over Android rivals, with owners listing four main factors …  expand full story

Android (operating system) Stories July 30, 2015

sa-market-share

Strategy Analytics has issued its latest estimates of global mobile phone shipments, and reports that Apple’s market share climbed from 8.2% in Q2 2014 to 10.9% in the same quarter this year. Apple revealed in its latest quarterly earnings that it saw iPhone sales climb 35% year-on-year to 47M units.

The research firm said that Apple’s dramatic growth in iPhone shipments contrasted strongly with an overall industry growth rate of just 2% …  expand full story

Android (operating system) Stories July 24, 2015

stories

There aren’t too many cool apps that launch first on Android, but Google Spotlight Stories is one. It plays sweet, animated stories using a mix of 2D and 3D imagery – the cool part being that you can ‘look around’ the scene simply by rotating your phone.

Immerse yourself in a world of storytelling made just for mobile. Engineers and critically-acclaimed filmmakers are bringing stories to life using the latest advances in mobile technology. Using 3D and 2D animation, 360° spherical cinema-quality video, sound sphere audio and sensor fusion techniques, the screen is now a window into a story that unfolds all around you. Look anywhere, follow individual characters, watch it over again and again. It’s a little different each time. Google Spotlight Stories is your mobile movie theatre.

There’s some heavy-duty talent behind the creation of the stories, the debut story Windy Days being created by former Pixar animators, and Help by Justin Lin, director of The Fast and the Furious … 

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Android (operating system) Stories July 21, 2015

apple-samsung-trial

In the latest news in the patent case that feels like it will never end, a number of tech giants have taken Samsung’s side in its appeal against the damages it was ordered to pay for infringing Apple’s patents.

It’s almost three years since Apple was awarded $1B in damages after a jury found that Samsung infringed five of its patents. $450M of that award was later vacated and a retrial ordered to determine a revised sum, with Apple awarded a lower sum of $290M – for a revised total of $930M. The US appeals court later ruled that while Samsung did indeed copy iOS features, it should not have been penalised for copying the general look of the iPhone. The court now needs to once again revise the amount awarded.

The amount awarded in part reflected the profits Samsung was deemed to have made by infringing the patents, and it is this aspect that Google, Facebook, Dell, HP, eBay and other tech companies say is unreasonable …  expand full story

Android (operating system) Stories July 17, 2015

Image: n3rdabl3.co.uk

Image: n3rdabl3.co.uk

Popular iOS and Android apps from companies like Walmart, ESPN, Slack and SoundCloud have been found vulnerable to password cracking, according to a recent report from AppBugs. The security firm found that dozens of the most popular apps are lacking, in that they allow you to make any number of attempts to login without restriction. These clearly opens up a gap for attackers who have the means to guess those passwords and gain access to your accounts.

The most secure apps will force you to reset your password if you don’t enter it correctly, or they’ll lock you out after you’ve made a certain number of attempts.

AppBugs tested the most popular apps to see how they stacked up. It checked 100 popular apps which support password-protected web accounts and limited themselves to apps which had been downloaded at least 1 million times. Of those 100 apps, 53 were found to have the vulnerability.

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Android (operating system) Stories May 20, 2015

SwiftKey today released a major update to its iOS 8 third-party keyboard, bundling in a new theme store and critical performance improvements. SwiftKey is one of the more popular third-party iOS keyboards, and was launched last year with impressive word prediction technology that is similar to Apple’s QuickType keyboard…

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Android (operating system) Stories May 7, 2015

Screenshot 2015-05-07 13.45.31

Earlier today, fitness tracker hardware and software company Fitbit filed to go public on the New York Stock Exchange. Since the regulatory filing went public, observers have been scouring the paperwork for information on Fitbit’s financials, sales numbers, and notes about the competition. The Financial Times‘s Tim Bradshaw noticed that that Fitbit cites Apple and the recently-launched Apple Watch as the top billed competitor in the IPO Risk Factors section:

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Android (operating system) Stories March 31, 2015

hero

Data from IDC and App Annie suggested that both Apple and Google are likely to see their app store revenues doubling within the next four years, reports Re/code. Based on Apple’s 2014 total revenue of $10B, this would suggest that Apple is likely to hit total revenue of $20B in 2018, with developers seeing $14B of it.

“I would consider this projection conservative,” App Annie CEO Bertrand Schmitt said in an interview, noting that the company has consistently been revising its forecasts up over the past two years as revenue has exceeded expectations.

The study also suggested that the trend toward freemium apps, which derive their income from in-app purchases, will continue–though this model is more common on Android than iOS …  expand full story

Android (operating system) Stories February 22, 2015

Screenshot 2015-02-22 14.32.34

On the day of the annual Academy Awards ceremony, Apple has begun airing a new iPad Air advertisement highlighting how the tablet is used in the filmmaking industry. The new video advertisement is narrated with excerpts from notable movie director Martin Scorsese’s 2014 commencement speech at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. The video, embedded below, is accompanied by a website highlighting specific stories of the iPad being used to make movies. These video stories were actually filmed and edited on iPads. The new website also discusses key video planning, filming, and editing applications for the iPad such as Final Draft, Garageband (but not the consumer-focused iMovie), and VideoGrade. This film-focused advertisement follows a music-oriented one that aired on the day of the Grammy Awards.

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Android (operating system) Stories February 20, 2015

Apple to begin offering web-based chat support for Beats hardware (update: live)

Apple will expand its support capabilities for Beats by Dre hardware products, like headphones and speakers, next week by launching web-based chat support, according to sources. Customers in need of support for their Beats devices will be able to instant message with a support representative via Apple’s support website beginning on Monday, February 23rd. In January, Apple began moving Beats phone-based support wholly in-house after still using the headphone maker’s outsourced support for most of last year. Apple began servicing Beats products in its retail stores late last year.

Android (operating system) Stories January 29, 2015

Huge iPhone growth is more than a one-off blip, argues Tim Cook, with most still to upgrade

Updated quote with WSJ correction:

While few would expect the record-breaking surge in iPhone sales generated by the larger-screened models to continue into subsequent quarters, Tim Cook argued in a WSJ interview that the potential is there.

In an interview, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, not surprisingly, argued that the demand is more than temporary. He said fewer than 15% of older iPhone owners upgraded to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and that the majority of switchers to iPhone came from smartphones running Google Inc.’s Android operating system.

“We certainly believe there are legs to it,” said Mr. Cook of the iPhone sales surge.

Cook noted during the Q1 earnings call that the current iPhone lineup had experienced “the highest Android switcher rate in any of the last three launches.” With CIRP data suggesting that the US rate of switching from Android to iOS has remained broadly constant, that suggests the bulk of switchers have been outside the US–China in particular … 

Android (operating system) Stories December 6, 2014

Harman Kardon Esquire Mini - Lifestyle (2)not me

I reviewed two portable Bluetooth speakerphone options earlier this year: The Philips WeCall ($145) vs. Logitech P710e ($125) . Both are square and have internal batteries and make conference calling easy. But for their ~$150 price tag, I wondered if you could get more portability and style without sacrificing sound quality.

Harman Kardon Esquire Mini Black (3D View) 02

The answer to those questions is the Harman Kardon Esquire line of portable speakerphones. Below, I take a look at the Esquire Mini which retails for $149.99 and can be found as low as $145 at Amazon or $135 at World Wide Stereoexpand full story

Android (operating system) Stories November 26, 2014

PKTBlog_iPhone6_v2

Predictions that larger-screened iPhones would cannibalise iPad usage look to be confirmed by some stats from the Pocket app that allows you to save webpages, videos and other content for reading later.

Pocket reported in a blog post today that while 55% of owners of the iPhone 5s viewed content on their phone rather than iPad, the number leapt to 72% for the iPhone 6 and 80% for the iPhone 6 Plus …

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Android (operating system) Stories November 24, 2014

From 9to5Toys.com: parallels-bundle

Starting this evening and running through Black Friday weekend, Parallels is running a special bundle of Mac apps for free when you upgrade to Parallels 10 for $49.99 or buy it new for $79.99. The bundled apps 1Password password manager, Camtasia screen recorder, CleanMyMac 2 file organizer/remover, Gemini file de-duplicator, Acronis True Image backup and restore software and a 2 year subscription to Parallels Access which allows you to run parallels VMs remotely on iOS and Android devices. Not a bad deal at all of you need any of these other apps.

Parallels 10 was announced in August and we reviewed it shortly thereafter noting it was the best way to run Windows and Linux VMs on a Mac.

Not sure you are into Parallels? Grab a 14 day free trial here. Just want Parallels in a shiny box? Amazon has it for $62. More info on the bundled apps below:

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Android (operating system) Stories November 7, 2014

Screenshot 2014-11-07 15.27.30

Apple and its Beats by Dre group seem to be close to announcing a new pair of headphones: a Bluetooth version of their popular Solo2 headphones. Earlier this year, Beats launched the Solo2 wired earphones as a cheaper alternative to the Studio cans. Today, a wireless version has been revealed thanks to the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) testing department.

As can be seen in the image above from today’s FCC filing, the design of the wireless model is akin to the wired model. The only difference appears to be the Bluetooth connectivity. The documents specify that Bluetooth 4.0 Low-Energy technology is utilized.

Interestingly, these documents indicate that these headphones are Apple-branded:

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Android (operating system) Stories September 15, 2014

guess-top

If you’re the CEO of a watch company, you likely watched the announcement of the Apple Watch with a mixture of optimism and fear. Optimism because Apple just made watches cool again in a market where many people haven’t worn one for years. Fear because most of those who now have a renewed interest in watches aren’t going to buy yours.

Guess Watches CEO Cindy Livingston put a brave face on it with a letter welcoming Tim Cook to the watch industry (full version below) as she announced the company plans to make a smartwatch of its own …  expand full story

Android (operating system) Stories November 25, 2013

tado

This review has been updated a year in, with an improved thermostat with built-in display and touch-sensitive controls, and new fuel-saving figures.

Affordable home automation has been a long time coming. Frankly, I’m a bit disappointed that it’s the 21st Century and homes still don’t have Star Trek style swishy doors as standard.

But iPhone-controlled heating and lighting is here today. Nest hasn’t yet made it to the UK, so I decided to try out competitor system Tado, which is available in Europe now.

In the UK, it costs £199 if your system already has a wired thermostat, or £278 if it doesn’t. Alternatively, you can rent Tado for either £4.99 or £7.98/month. Looking at my own energy usage before and after, the payback time is a little under three years.

The concept

The idea behind Tado is three-fold. First, automation. As well as the programmable timer you have in any heating system, it also monitors the locations of everyone in the household via their iPhones (or Android phones). If everyone is out, it turns down the heating even if the timer says it should be on.

How much it turns it down depends on how far away you are, because it aims to have it back up to temperature by the time you return. Nip out to the local grocery store, and it won’t adjust it much, drive an hour to work and it’ll turn it down a lot …  expand full story

Android (operating system) Stories July 6, 2011

Amazon today announced unlimited storage for music in its cloud drive.  The catch is you have to upgrade your overall Cloud storage (also includes Docs, Pictures, movies, etc) to the 20GB plan which is $20 per year.  Once you do that, you can upload “Unlimited” amounts of music and play it anywhere.  So, this appears to be taking on Spotify, Google and Apple’s iTunes Match (though each service is slightly different).

Speaking of Apple, the Amazon Cloud web experience is now also optimized for the iPad.  Full press release below:

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Android (operating system) Stories January 5, 2011

You like movies? We like movies. We all like movies and now it seems Comcast has a super plan which means you’ll be watching huge amounts of video content on your iPad. Hooray! expand full story

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