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Google to reportedly release Android Wear app for iOs devices

Posted by wicked March - 4 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

With a lot of skepticism and not much excitement about the soon-to-be released Apple Watch, Google is reportedly already preparing to venture into the tough world of iOS users and release the Android Wear app for iPhone and iPad users. A French technology website is citing sources close to the tech giant, saying this is not a too far-out possibility as they are trying to expand their wearable market, even beyond the already large Android-using market.

Presently, the wearables running on Android Wear are only compatible with smartphones that are on the Android platform, and only with those running on versions 4.3 and above. But according to French tech website 01net, Google might be exploring the possibility of allowing even iPhone and iPad users to use Android Wear smartwatches by pairing it with their gadgets through the app. There was a video released last month showing an iPhone paired with an Android Wear smartwatch, and it got over 300,000 views. Now as to whether those people would really want that is another thing.

The rumor also states that this new product might be unveiled during Google’s I/O conference this coming May. But then again, they might hold off on an announcement, depending on how well (or how bad) the Apple Watch will perform when it’s released this coming April.

Aside from 01net, no other source has corroborated this rumor. But then again, Google has always been open with cross-platform compatibility, so it’s not really that much of a distinct possibility. Let’s wait a few more days to see if this news will actually have legs.

VIA: Mac Rumors

According to Gartner, Apple beats Samsung in smartphones sales for first time since 2011

Posted by wicked March - 3 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

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Gartner, a research firm, claims that in Q4 of 2014 Apple slightly edged out Samsung as the world’s number one smartphone distributor with 74.83 million sold as opposed to Samsung’s 73.03 million. It is also noteworthy that this is the first time Apple has been atop of Samsung since 2011 and Gartner correlates that with Apple’s success with the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. While Samsung still outsold Apple for the entire year of 2014, the drop in Q4 is still a cause of concern for the company according to a Gartner rep:

“Samsung’s performance in the smartphone market deteriorated further in the fourth quarter of 2014, when it lost nearly 10 percentage points in market share,” said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner. “Samsung continues to struggle to control its falling smartphone share, which was at its highest in the third quarter of 2013. This downward trend shows that Samsung’s share of profitable premium smartphone users has come under significant pressure.”

As we reported earlier, Samsung is poised to take market share back from Apple with the refreshing design of their Galaxy S6. How do you guys think their Galaxy S6 sales will do compared to Apple’s upcoming iPhone iteration this year?

source: Gartner

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Samsung may be delaying any more smartwatches until the Apple Watch

Posted by wicked March - 3 - 2015 - Tuesday Comments Off

Gear s wrist strapsIf there’s one thing Samsung is good at, it’s flooding a potential market with tons and tons of devices. The smartwatch market has been no exception, and the company has deluged consumers with multiple options to pair with their Galaxy devices. Remember, the Galaxy Gear launched at the end of 2013 with the Galaxy Note 3, and since then we’ve had the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, Gear Fit, Gear S, and Gear Live. For those of you keeping count at home, that’s about 6 devices in 18 months, which means they’re releasing a new watch roughly every quarter.

It would’ve made sense to see a new watch alongside the Galaxy S 6, but Samsung only announced an updated Gear VR for use with the newer devices. There could be many explanations for that, but some analysts seem to think it has everything to do with Apple’s upcoming smartwatch.

While Apple’s watch is slated for release next month, Samsung’s Young-hee Lee said that the company isn’t done making smartwatches, but they are instead taking a pause, considering they’ve released so many more products than any of their competitors. She says they want to developer a more “perfect product,” which likely just means Samsung wants to see what consumers do and don’t like about the Apple watch. It’s been a successful strategy for their smartphones and tablets, so it’s a sensible option for smartwatches, too.

For right now, you’ll have to settle with Samsung’s “older” models like the Gear S or Gear Live, but in a few months, it’s a safe bet we’ll see a handful of new Samsung wrist-computers hit the market.

source: Wall Street Journal

Come comment on this article: Samsung may be delaying any more smartwatches until the Apple Watch

Google submits plans for moveable, “futuristic” new digs

Posted by wicked March - 2 - 2015 - Monday Comments Off

While a lot of offices around the world have used the Google HQ in Silicon Valley as an inspiration for their own creative, unique, sometimes weird office spaces, the tech giant seems not content with their current already awesome hub. They have submitted a proposal to the Mountain View local government to expand their existing corporate offices into block-like structures that can eventually be moved around as they expect to be moving around when they expand in the future.

Working with world-famous designers Bjarke Ingels at BIG and Thomas Heatherwick at Heatherwick Studio, the submitted plan will redevelop four existing sites but it will actually be the first time that they will be desiging and building something from scratch. There will be translucent canopies that will cover each of the sites and inside the building will be a combination of natural light and air and also a way to control the “weather” indoors. Of course it also includes trees, landscapes, bike paths, and other elements that will help ” blur the distinction between our buildings and nature.”

They also emphasized that the proposed new campus will not just be another cool place for people to work in, but also to improve the community around them. They will be adding bike trails to lessen carbon footprint even more, retail opportunities for local businesses, and add features to help the local environment (owl habitats, widening creek beds, etc). They will also be bringing in renewable energy to offset their consumption.

Google isn’t the only one in the area that tried to beat the deadline to submit plans for major office buildings in the North Bayshore technology district. Facebook, Apple, and even LinkedIn have also come up with big plans for their respective HQs. Google’s expansion will reportedly span 3.4 million feet and if the local government will approve their proposal, they are aiming for the completion of the first of the four sites by 2020.

SOURCE: Google

Samsung Galaxy S6 vs iPhone 6 quick look

Posted by wicked March - 1 - 2015 - Sunday Comments Off

Whether imagined or real, the rivalry between Apple and Samsung is almost legendary. And nothing brings this rivalry to the fore more than a new flagship release from either company. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were launched in September 2014, and now Samsung has unveiled its latest creation, the Samsung Galaxy S6. But how does it compare with the iPhone? Let’s find out in our quick look at the Samsung Galaxy S6 vs the iPhone 6.

Design

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Samsung has been promising a big upgrade to its design language for a long time now, and with this latest iteration, it looks like Samsung has finally delivered. Beginning with the shift in the choice of material, the Galaxy S6 now features a metallic frame, a concept introduced with the Galaxy Alpha and continued with the Note 4, and a glass back. Now, with its new design, the Galaxy S6 has become more like the iPhone 6, in that it also features a non-removable battery. This is something which we have seen on other Samsung devices like the Galaxy A series, and considering how loved the replaceable battery option was, this change for sure won’t be to everyone’s liking.

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However, the Galaxy S6 isn’t such a radical departure of Samsung’s standard design language that you can’t tell it is a Samsung. Previous design elements are still seen throughout, including the tactile home button up front, with an  integrated fingerprint scanner, now updated to a touch type version, and the inclusion of a heart rate monitor found next to the camera module.

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Apple continues its signature style with its unibody metal design as well. On the front, the single home button with integrated finger scanner, also touch type, make a return. The sides and edges have a bit more of a curve to them this time around, akin to the first iPhone, and as always, the iPhone continues to be one of the thinnest flagship smartphones around, resulting in a sleek body.

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As far as similarities between the device? While both are premium devices with similarly placed buttons, ports, headphone jacks, and speakers, and even the fact that the camera module on both devices protrude a little bit, both phones take different approaches when it comes to pushing aesthetics to the next level. For Apple, metallic unibody is the name of the game, while Samsung keeps its traditional design language, while giving it a healthy dose of premium materials.

All said and done, Apple has always been known for its designs, and now, Samsung has finally created a flagship with a design language and material choice that stands true to its high-end nature.

Display

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The big news with the latest iPhones was the move to larger displays. The iPhone 6 comes with a 4.7-inch IPS LCD display, with a resolution of 1334 x 750, resulting in a pixel density of 326 ppi. For those wanting an even bigger display, Apple offers the iPhone 6 Plus with its 5.5-inch Full HD screen.

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Samsung’s offering is in between the two iPhone 6 models. At 5.1-inches, the Galaxy S6 has the same display size as the Galaxy S5. However, Samsung has moved on from Full HD and has used a Quad HD display, with a 2560 x 1440 resolution, resulting in a massive pixel density of 575 ppi.

Super AMOLED continues to offer what we love about it, with deep blacks, and vibrant colors that look even more vivid on this high resolution display. Both displays are impressive performers, and while the need for such high resolutions and pixel counts are still being debated, the difference is certainly noticeable when close up.

Hardware and Performance

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As always, a by the numbers look isn’t fair when comparing devices from these two different ecosystems. That said, the iPhone 6 features an A8 chip, which comprises of a dual-core processor clocked at 1.4 GHz, and is backed by 1 GB of RAM. On the other hand, the Galaxy S6 packs one of the best processor packages available on any smartphone, the octa-core Exynos 7420, which is paired with 3GB RAM. This SoC and RAM combination should offer the fantastic performance we all expect, and a more streamlined version Touchwiz will help improve the speed even more.

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Despite the significant difference on paper, both processing packages do a great job in handling their respective experiences, and fans of either should have little to complain about. The iPhone 6 and the Galaxy S6 are both available in 32, 64, and 128 GB flavors. In a big change of stance for the Galaxy S family, the Galaxy S6 has no microSD slot, just like Apple’s iPhone 6, and something that will leave more than a few fans disappointed.

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In other hardware, the both the iPhone 6 and the Galaxy S6 feature touch type fingerprint scanners that are integrated into their respective home buttons. While this was the standard with the iPhone since its introduction in the previous generation, in the case of the Galaxy S6, the move to this type of scanner is certainly a step up from the sometimes difficult to use swipe scanner found with the Galaxy S5. Making its way over from the Galaxy S5 is the heart rate monitor, but a feature that will surely be missed is the IP67 rating for protection against dust and water that the predecessor of the Galaxy S6 boasted.

Camera

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Apple stays away from the MP race that dominates the Android world. The iPhone 6 features an 8 MP rear shooter, the same as its predecessor, but with some improvements across the board, a better sensor, an auto focus system called Focus Pixels, and a software-based image stabilization system. Video gets a boost too, with the capability of capturing 240 fps slow motion video at 720p. The front-facing camera has a F/2.2 lens, and offers a burst mode and HDR video.

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The Galaxy S6 on the other hand packs a 16MP camera with OIS, similar to what is found with the Galaxy Note 4, though with a few extra software features thrown in. These changes include a new auto HDR mode, tracking autofocus that tracks moving objects like kids in a shot, and a double tap on the home button feature that launches up the camera in 0.7 seconds. Turning to the front, you’ll find a 5MP f 1.9 90 degree wide angle camera, great for all you selfie lovers out there.

Apple’s prowess in the smartphone camera department is well known, but Samsung is no slouch either, and while more in-depth testing is required, the Galaxy S6 will certainly offer a camera experience similar to or better than the Note 4.

Software

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iOS 8 remains aesthetically similar to iOS 7, but introduces quite a few new features, like Apple Pay – to take advantage of the NFC chip, improvements to iCloud, a new Health app, improved notifications, and the ability to use third-party keyboards. You also get a one-handed mode, which is probably more useful on the larger sibling.

The need for the hour with Samsung devices wasn’t just to do with design and build quality, but also to do with the Touchwiz software experience. The good news is that Samsung has finally streamlined that experience as well. While still bright and colorful, the OS isn’t as bloated as previous generations with fewer Samsung apps installed by default. While Touchwiz largely looks the same as before, aside from a little debloating, Lollipop does bring a few aesthetic changes with regards to the recent apps/overview screen, the notification dropdown, and settings menus.

Specs Comparison

  iPhone 6 Samsung Galaxy S6
Display 4.7-inch IPS LCD
1334 x 750 resolution, 326 ppi
5.1-inch Super AMOLED
2560 x 1440 resolution, 577 ppi
Processor 1.4 GHz dual-core Apple A8 Exynos 7420
RAM 1 GB 3 GB
Storage 32/64/128 GB 32/64/128 GB
Camera 8 MP rear camera
1.2 MP front-facing camera
16 MP rear camera with OIS
5 MP front-facing camera with 90 degree wide angle lens
Connectivity WiFi a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.0, NFC (Apple Pay only), GPS+GLONASS
WiFi a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, GPS+GLONASS
Networks 3G/4G LTE LTE cat 6 300/50
Battery 1,810 mAh 2,550 mAh
Fast charging
WPC and PMA-compatible wireless charging
Software iOS 8 Android 5.0 Lollipop
Dimensions 138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm
129 grams
143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm
138 grams
Colors Space gray, silver, gold Black, white, gold, blue

Gallery

Conclusion at a glance

One good thing about competition (i.e. rivalry) is that it forces all involved to up their game. The iPhone has consistently set a standard for others not just to attain, but to surpass, and it looks like the Samsung Galaxy S6 might have done just that. While both companies will always have their fans, one thing is for sure, this is the best Galaxy S phone that Samsung has ever released.

Android’s Global Smartphone Profit Share only 11 percent, says Strategy Analytics

Posted by wicked February - 27 - 2015 - Friday Comments Off

The smartphone era will never come to an end. This isn’t just my prediction but I think even if tablets and wearables become popular, the smartphone will be a standard mobile device more than the two. Laptops are more preferred now over desktop computers. However, tablets are more preferred over laptops. But between a tablet and a smartphone, more people would go for a smartphone because it’s more portable and has more features than a tablet because of the call and text functions. Honestly, you can do almost anything on the smartphone now…even work!

A recent research by Strategy Analytics found out that global smartphone operating profit in the last quarter of 2014 reached $21 billion. That’s a lot of money but it’s interesting to note that Android captured only a small 11 percent share. This is a record-low by the mobile operating system while iOS hit 89% (from 71 percent) which is record-high in contrast.

Impressed with iOS now? Actually, I’m confused because all along I thought there are more Android devices all over the world. The operating profit increased to 31 percent from the previous year, same quarter. From $16.2 billion, Q4 profit reached $21.2 billion. However, Android saw a 29 percent loss for a lot of reasons. There may be a more Android phones all over the world now but the prices make the difference. Apple’s iPhones are still more expensive.

Apple iOS seems to be tigheting its grip on the smartphone industry according to Strategy Analytics’ Executive Director Neil Mawston. He noted “Apple’s strategy of premium products and lean logistics is proving hugely profitable” while “Android’s weak profitability for its hardware partners will worry Google”.

Right now, smartphone manufactures working on Android phones like Huawei or Samsung are not making much profit because there are smaller and newer companies introducing affordable or mid-range phones especially in the emerging market China. If this continues, they might be “tempted to look at alternative platforms such as Microsoft, Tizen or Firefox” as suggested by Mawston.

SOURCE: Strategy Analytics

Smartwatch Invention Upon Invention Coming March 9 From Apple

Posted by Kellex February - 26 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

Apple just sent out invites to its hand-selected, Apple-friendly press for a “Spring forward” event that will take place on March 9 in San Francisco. The Apple Watch will more than likely be shown in finished form. Expect inventions, as always. Things like notifications on a watch, AMOLED displays that only light up select pixels and create richer, deeper blacks, and using your voice to dictate messages on your wrist will all be shown off for the first time in the history of the world, beautifully, unapologetically. 

Via:  @Mashable

Smartwatch Invention Upon Invention Coming March 9 From Apple is a post from: Droid Life

iA Writer finally arrives on Android devices

Posted by wicked February - 26 - 2015 - Thursday Comments Off

There are a lot of note-taking and writing apps out there in the market, but there are times when you have a writing deadline or a very important article or report to write, where you don’t need any distractions from the app’s other features. Our iOS friends have been enjoying one such minimalist app for the past years, but now it has finally arrived for Android devices, and a blog post from the developer might also signal a new appreciation of Android for those who have been on the “other side”.

iA Writer has been available for Apple devices since 2010, and it’s only now years later that the developers have thought of coming on to the Android platform. The features are basically the same, with no complicated formatting settings or interactions, with a custom typeface that will get you writing and a Markdown feature that you can use if in case you need some simple formatting options. It even has a Focus Mode that will let you focus on the current sentence or paragraph you’re writing. Of course all documents can be seamlessly synced to Dropbox.

Aside from the fact that it’s finally on Android, another great thing to come out of this is that the developers, Information Architects, which has always been associated with Apple Devs, has said that the “horror stories” about Android are in the past. The core tools are now “very stable”, and they even found to their surprise a “friendly” dev culture in the Android community. This might convince some of the purely iOS developers to also bring their apps to the “other side”, giving users even more options and choices.

So if you’d like to see what the fuss is all about this minimalist writing app, you can get iA Writer from the Google Play Store. It has a bit of a “steep” price of $4.99, but people are saying it’s worth it, so maybe you wouldn’t mind spending that much.

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Cortana and Siri voice recordings are evaluated

Posted by wicked February - 25 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

We don’t have confirmation about this piece of news (or rumor) but a Reddit user recently posted that he now works for a company that listens to voice recordings and commands sent to Siri and Cortana. A company known as Walk N’ Talk Technologies is said to be in the business of checking voice to text translations and interpretations. FallenMyst, the Reddit user, said that he just started in his new job that requires him to listen to audio recordings of commands.

The voice commands sent are not in real time because according to FallenMyst, his job is to check if the audio file and the text based translation correspond to each other.He listens to a file, compares it with the text, and check if they are correct. If not, he makes a note in his evaluation. According to FallenMyst, he has heard some unusual recordings like sexting and weird commands which is not really surprising.

Only mentioned were Siri and Cortana. Google Now, which is now ahead of Siri, was not included. I’m guessing Google has it’s own team or has outsourced an agency to check the translations. That seems a relief for us Android users, at least, for now and until we learn a similar case of our Google Now searches being evaluated.

To be fair, Microsoft and Apple have mentioned something about this on their terms. You know how most people don’t really care to read the terms and fine print. Who reads them anyway? But in this case, the two tech giants have warned the users. Not that anyone is complaining but just in case somebody raises a complaint about the issue of their privacy being invaded or whatever.

FallenMyst said data are anonymized so evaluators will never know who sent the voice recording. That is good news. Honestly, I don’t really see any big problem here because the goal of Microsoft and Apple, through the work of Walk N’ Talk Technologies, is to improve voice to text engines and translations.

As for Google, we won’t be surprised if a similar case comes up because the search engine has this habit of archiving as much data as possible: Gmail messages, search queries, chat conversations, and more.

The biggest problem that I see here is on the part of the Reddit user. FallenMyst just started a new job and he’s already talking about what he does online when clearly, he shouldn’t. If I’m his boss and I find out about this, it would be so easy to identify the employee. It would also be easy to fire him due to a breach of contract or not following the confidentiality clause.

SOURCE: Forbes

IMAGE: Bhupinder Nayyar on Flickr

Android snags 81% of the market in 2014 with over 1 billion units shipped

Posted by wicked February - 25 - 2015 - Wednesday Comments Off

android-vs-iphoneWith 2014 in the books, we’re finally getting the numbers to see how each manufacturer and OS did over the past year. The good news for Google and Apple (and bad news for the likes of Microsoft and BlackBerry) Android and iOS accounted for a whopping 96.3% of all smartphones shipped. That leaves a very small 3.7% for Windows Phone and everything else that’s competing for scraps.

When you break the numbers down between Android and iOS, though, Android came out a clear victor in the market share battle. Android devices accounted for 81.5% of all phones shipped, finally breaking the 1 billion mark for smartphones. Compared to those 1 billion Android smartphones, Apple shipped 192 million phones for 14.8% of the market. 

In the Android camp, Samsung still pulled in the most market share among Android OEMs. Samsung actually shipped more than the next five vendors combined, which is a phenomenal amount of devices. However, growth year-over-year was nearly non-existent, while smaller manufacturers saw quite a bit of growth.

It’s nearly set in stone that Android is going to stay the top dog, at least when it comes to global market share. The next big battle will be between Samsung and everyone else in 2015.

source: IDC

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