Mobile device Stories November 13, 2014

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The rivalry between Apple and Samsung looks set to enter a new field as Samsung has announced a direct competitor to iBeacon, called Proximity.

Samsung Proximity is a mobile marketing platform that connects consumers with places via cutting-edge Samsung location and context-aware technology.

With Samsung Proximity, visitors are able to experience rich content related to their location, and marketers can better engage with customers for increased sales and brand awareness.

The applications Samsung describes for the service are identical to those already in use with Apple’s iBeacon partners …  expand full story

Mobile device Stories September 2, 2014

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Reddit has today launched an official Ask Me Anything iOS app, providing a convenient way to view both real-time and archived AMAs. Reddit’s SVP of mobile Ellen Pao said that move was to address the fact that a third of site visits are made on mobile devices, a number that is growing all the time.

We’ve found in the last year or so a huge uptick in people accessing Reddit from the mobile web, and we want to give those folks a great experience …

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Mobile device Stories December 5, 2013

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AT&T has launched a new initiative called Mobile Share Value Plans that is designed to save customers money on their monthly AT&T mobile phone service bills. The following changes are specifically for the Mobile Share program, which allows devices to work under the same AT&T account and share data, talk, and text plans. Similar to T-Mobile’s “un-carrier” approach, the new AT&T plans separate the cost of the device hardware completely from the monthly service charges:

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Mobile device Stories September 13, 2013

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Update: Apple has removed the job listing from its website, but we grabbed a screenshot below.

Apple appears to be investigating the use of thin film solar technology for future mobile products with a new job listing on the company’s website looking to hire an engineer with experience in the solar industry. The thin films engineer would join Apple’s Mobile Devices group and “assist in the development and refinement of thin films technologies applicable to electronic systems.” The job listing adds some proof to rumors in recent years that Apple was evaluating the use of solar panels for future products.

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Mobile device Stories August 28, 2013

Cortex-A15-smallAccording to Rapidus.se (via TechCrunch), Apple has purchased a Swedish firm called AlgoTrim for an undisclosed price. The small company specializes in image and video, specifically JPEG, compression techniques on mobile devices which allow faster processing of images on power-constrained mobile devices.

AlgoTrim™ develops advanced solutions for mobile devices within the fields of data compression, mobile imaging and video, and computer graphics.

These solutions are designed to excel in terms of high performance and small memory requirements, making them ideal for mobile devices. Many solutions offered by AlgoTrim are codecs that are the fastest on the market, for example, the lossless codec for general data compression and the imaging codecs.

Apple could use these codecs in its camera and image viewing and manipulation apps on iOS. It is probable that the cost of picking up the company and owning the technology outweighed the cost of licensing the technology over its hundreds of millions of devices. This also could be an “aquihire”.

Apple is no stranger to the Swedish technology market. It picked up Polar Rose in 2010, a face recognition company and C3 a Swedish 3D mapping company in the run up to its Maps product launch. Cupertino has been on a bit of a startup binge lately buying such companies as Embark and Matcha.tv.

Last year, AlgoTrim reported a revenue of 3.0 million USD, with an net income before taxes of EUR -1.1 million.  Until now, AloTrim has been focused mostly on Android development.

Update: The acquisition has been confirmed to TechCrunch:

Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.

Mobile device Stories January 11, 2013

TYLT’s Energi backpack charges up to three iOS devices at once, we go hands-on (Video)

We went hands-on with the new ENERGI Backpack from Tylt, a company with products we’ve enjoyed in the past, in the video above. There are many power bags on the market that include built-in batteries to recharge your mobile devices while on the go, but we were quite impressed with these new backpacks from Tylt. They are hitting the market for between $150 and $200 at the end of March. They include a 10,400-mAh-lithium ion battery with the ability to charge up to three devices at once and dedicated pockets for your iPad, iPhone, iPod, and MacBook.

Mobile device Stories November 19, 2012

Holiday gift idea for your ancestors: Pyle’s new retro rotary telephone with built-in iPhone dock

Pro, home, and car audio company Pyle is launching a few retro inspired rotary telephones that connect to your mobile devices. The PRT35I, for instance, includes a built-in iPhone dock, a button to switch between iPhone and landline, and a 3.5mm jack for any device that doesn’t fit the dock. It appears to be shipping with a 30-pin connector, so Lightning devices will have to be connected externally.

Pyle has the unit listed for $110 on its website, but you can already find it for under $100 on Amazon.

These classically designed rotary desktop telephones, handcrafted from real wood and adorned with brushed copper parts, work with landlines allowing for normal telephone functions, as well as smartphones. In addition to letting you talk on your smartphone in style, using the handset also helps shield you from up to 99 percent of the radiation absorbed when speaking directly into cellular phones.  The collection is compatible with all 3.5mm jack mobile phones and tablets, including iPhone, Android, Blackberry, iPad and the latest MacBooks.

Pyle is also launching a couple of other models today without built-in iPhone docks, including the PRT55IPRT15I, and PRT25I.

Pyle’s Retro Telephone Collection Features Include:

•    Retro-style telephone with handcrafted wood base and brushed copper parts •    Standard telephone features and functions including last number redial flash function, and ringer high/low selection. •    Compatible with any mobile device with a 3.5mm jack •    Eliminates up to 99% of the radiation absorbed from direct cellphone use •    One button pick-up/hang-up •    One button transfer between landline and smartphone •    PRT35I model also charges your mobile device

Mobile device Stories August 26, 2012

As you can probably see, we made some big changes to the look and feel of the site this weekend. The new design was put together by Get10Up.com and we want to thank Taylor, Jake and the rest of the team for getting it all into place and making this happen.

We did not hate the old 9to5 design, but we wanted to start from scratch on so many different aspects due to Retina devices proliferating and the move toward mobile. Some improvements you will notice:

1. All of the design elements are optimized for Retina displays. In addition, we are able to display images and video over 700 pixels wide in this new format (1,400 pixel Retina). This allows us to bring imagery and video clarity that has always been hard to deliver (without “open in a new window”). Our CMS/Hosting partners WordPress VIP are also jumping on the Retina train with new additions that will allow us to deliver Retina quality imagery without compromising load times for those without Retina displays.

2. Mobile. We have been through a bunch of mobile designs before, which we were not particularly fond of (and neither were you!), but last year we gave up and decided we were going to start fresh. If you are reading this on a mobile device, you will hopefully like the changes at hand. Desktop users: Have a look…or just resize your browser and notice how the responsive desktop elements fall away into a mobile experience.

[tweet https://twitter.com/inadarei/status/239805729941385216]

3. Load times. Even with Retina images and design elements, we wanted to bring load times down. The team at Get10Up was able to pull this off with their mastery of WordPress, CSS and some front- and back-end “magic.” No matter what device you are using, you should notice significant page load time improvement.

4. We are a blog and proud of it. Recently, many of the bigger blogs attempted to change formats from their roots in the reverse chronological format into something like a magazine or newspaper. We played with the idea, but we found that we really, truly enjoy the traditional blog format whether we’re on an iPhone, an iPad, or our Macs. With that said, we also enlarged our Top 4 Feature Stories to spread across the page. In addition, we are improving our “asides” as smaller, title-only lines on the front page. We love these for small, quick bits of news and hope you do too.

5. Hooray for Authors! We gave a little more space to Mark, Jordan, Elyse, Jake, Mike, and all of our contributors who do a great job of delivering Apple news, rumors, reviews, and opinion to you first. You will see their faces on stories so you will know who is delivering your news.

6. Sharing buttons: Nowhere and everywhere. We labored over the decision about whether to include sharing buttons. On one hand, they are very helpful when you want to share a post with your social networks. On the other hand, they take valuable load time, are ugly, and they get in the way of the flow of content.

We think we came up with an elegant compromise: There are no social buttons anywhere on the site, but sharing buttons will load with counts (now including Pinterest!) if you hit the ‘share’ text on top or ‘share this’ text on the bottom of a post. They are a little harder to find, but we think you will have no problem sharing if you should decide.

7. You! As you’ve probably noticed (see @inadarei above), we’ve been embedding a lot of reader Tweet reactions to posts recently. Besides just calling out great comments, embedding allows us to share the conversation. If you have something to add, include the post URL and cc @9to5mac on the tweet for consideration.

We also pushed updates to 9to5Google.com and 9to5Toys.comwhich should unite the experience. 9to5Forums.com and our commenting engine also got a big pickup this week from VanillaForums. It improves voting/order of comments, spam removal, and a host of smaller improvements. 9to5Forums will move to the new design shortly.

We really hope you like the update and it improves your experience at 9to5 (more on the way too). We love bringing you your favorite technology news!

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Mobile device Stories August 16, 2012

TIME’s Wireless Issue examines phone dependency in the modern age

TIME magazine’s special wireless issue for this week takes an interesting look at how phones are practically now an extension of our minds and bodies.

The cover for “THE WIRELESS ISSUE. 10 Ways Your Phone is Changing the World” notably showcases more than 200 Instagram photographs from across the world; a mobile device captured each image. The magazine also features an in-depth, Qualcomm-partnered mobility poll that illustrates human dependency on smartphones and tablets. The poll tallied worldwide responses from 5,000 people online and by phone in June and July, and a whopping 84 percent said they could not go one day without a mobile device.

More poll results (via TIME Mobility Poll):

  • Mobile Use & Attitudes
  • – 84 percent worldwide said they couldn’t go a single day without their mobile devices in hand
  • – If forced to choose between the two, 65 percent worldwide opted to take their wireless mobile device with them in the morning instead of their lunch; 44 percent would leave their wallets at home in favor of their device
  • – 61 percent worldwide plan to replace their phone in less than two years
  • – 50 percent of Americans say they sleep with their mobile next to the bed—as do more than 80 percent of 18-24 year olds
  • – 32 percent of all respondents say that if it was their choice they would prefer to communicate by text message
  • – 30 percent said that being without their mobile for even short periods leaves them feeling anxious
  • – 23 percent of all respondents say they screen almost all their calls and tend to reply to many voicemails via text or email
  • Dating
  • – 55 percent (76 percent of 25-29 year olds) worldwide had flirted with someone via text message
  • – 43 percent have used texting to ask someone out on a date
  • – 24 percent of respondents globally said they sent a text message to coordinate or commit adultery – including 56 percent in China
  • Parenting
  • – 66 percent of people feel that their wireless devices have made them better parents
  • – 70 percent of parents think the benefits for kids of learning about technology outweigh the potential for distractions from studies
  • – The average age thought appropriate for a child to own a mobile phone is 13 years
  • Government & Politics
  • – 75 percent worldwide think governments should not have the power to shut off wireless networks for the purpose of suppressing peaceful dissent
  • – In the U.S., 28 percent say they are better informed about the news and current events; in China, that number jumps to 79 percent
  • – 40 percent in the U.S. say mobile technology has strengthened the economy; in China, 81 percent agree with that
  • – 50 percent agree that wireless mobile technology made the government more accountable to the people
  • Business
  • – 26 percent say they feel guilty if they don’t promptly respond to a work-related message outside of normal work hours
  • – In the U.S. only 19 percent said it is easier for them to be away from the office because of mobile technology
  • Multi-Tasking
  • – 64 percent (77 percent of 18-24 year olds) use their devices while watching TV
  • 58 percent globally (74 percent in India) use their wireless mobile device while also using a laptop or desktop computer

“It is hard to think of any tool, any instrument, any object in history with which so many developed so close a relationship so quickly as we have with our phones. Not the knife or match, the pen or page. Only money comes close—always at hand, don’t leave home without it,” wrote TIME Deputy Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs. “But most of us don’t take a wallet to bed with us, don’t reach for it and check it every few minutes, and however useful money is in pursuit of fame, romance, revolution, it is inert compared with a smart phone—which can replace your wallet now anyway.”

Additional stories in the wireless issue include:

Mobile device Stories May 22, 2012

TiVo Stream brings streaming to iOS devices with no interruptions

As noted by The Loop, TiVo announced a new service called “TiVo Stream” that will allow TiVo Premiere or Premiere Q DVR customers to access content on their iPhones and iPads. The company made the announcement alongside a new “IP set-top box” that delivers content to secondary TVs. There is no timeframe for a launch of the new service, but additional details are coming in the months ahead. TiVo noted the Stream service would be the first to “enable streaming or download of shows simultaneously to multiple portable devices without interrupting what’s playing on the television”:

TiVo Stream seamlessly delivers the content available on a consumer’s TiVo Premiere or Premiere Q DVR to alternative screens such as iPads and iPhones. Unlike similar offerings in the market, this is the first product to enable streaming or download of shows simultaneously to multiple portable devices without interrupting what’s playing on the television. The power of TiVo Stream enables users to quickly transfer shows to their mobile device for viewing outside the home. TiVo will release both products at retail and through select cable operators.

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