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Free is lawsuits, get is free from blame – the Apple linguistics shift

Posted by Tom November - 22 - 2014 - Saturday Comments Off

The Apple App Store has had a subtle makeover. So subtle, in fact, that it’s just one word – but one word that appears a lot.

Until recently, apps that didn’t demand an initial payment sat next to a button that said ‘Free’. This led to lawsuits a’plenty, with parents suing the company when they got massive bills from their children clicking away on in-app purchases.

Those days are behind them, they hope. Free is gone and has been replaced by ‘Get’.

‘Get’ this app implies nothing. Get it, and then see how it goes.

This blame-free simple shift should save the company some money in legal fees.

Mystical early-2000s Australian soothsayers The Vines saw it all coming.

Via gizmodo

Room for another OS? Top-spec Jolla tablet runs Sailfish 2.0

Posted by Tom November - 22 - 2014 - Saturday Comments Off

The Jolla Tablet has a top-notch spec sheet and comes at a nice price. It runs the open source Sailfish 2.0 OS, which may put off some buyers but will be the icing on the cake for adventurous tech users.

The tablet resembles the Apple iPad mini 3 and Nokia N1 with its 7.9-inch, 2048 x 1536 resolution display and quad-core Intel processor.

It also comes with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, all for $189.

The Sailfish OS is all about simplicity in its usage MO and as a bonus, it runs Android apps.

It’s available on Indiegogo.

Via pocket-lint

Settlement with Google could be the beginning of the end for Apple’s patent war

Posted by wicked November - 21 - 2014 - Friday Comments Off

iphone 6 plus aa (6 of 15)

According to reports and new court filings, an end to the long running legal battles between Apple and Google, along with various Android handset manufacturers, is finally within reach, just over a year since the mobile patent war escalated.

A federal judge involved in the disputes has agreed to stay a series of lawsuits involving Google, Android manufacturers and the patent consortium named Rockstar, of which Apple is the majority partner. Instead, a final settlement could be agreed upon by the parties as early as December 29th, although neither Apple, Google, nor the court has disclosed the terms or figures proposed in the settlement.

While the courts cannot provide much insight, intellectual property magazine IAM understands that at least five of the companies involved in the Rockstar group are looking for an exit from the cycle of disputes. Reportedly, Rockstar’s management had attempted a well-funded buyout of the dissatisfied parties, but this was rejected as some shareholders did not want to appear to be profiting from the group. As a result, the Rockstar group could instead be wound down, rather than risk being sold to a potential NPE (non-practicing entity or “patent troll”).

The exact cause for the group’s decision remain unclear for now. However, Apple has only scored partial success in its recent lawsuits against Cisco and Time Warner, had a case dismissed against Google last year in the US, came to a truce with Samsung earlier in the year, and now seems to be contradicting itself when lambasting patent trolls. Perhaps the momentum behind these lawsuits is finally running out.

Apple’s shift in patent policy comes as good news for both the industry and consumers, with fewer resources wasted on drawn out court cases and an end to indirect costs being passed on to consumers. Hopefully 2015 will become a year of closer cooperation between the big smartphone businesses and not just between a small selection of Android manufacturers.

The U.S. government continues to claim that encryption will lead to deaths

Posted by wicked November - 20 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

NSAPrismFBI Gawker

Several weeks ago, I wrote about how some people in the United Kingdom believe that the only way to stop terrorism is to limit people’s “free speech” rights and allow government agencies to have unlimited access to everyone’s tech devices. The U.S. Justice Department even got into the argument by having a high ranking official claim that new encryption technology on smartphones would “lead to tragedy” as a “child would die….because police wouldn’t be able to scour a suspect’s phone.”

As the Wall Street Journal wrote about yesterday, law enforcement agencies are continuing to push their theory of how evil new technology will be for the country’s safety. The main issue is that companies such as Apple and Google are putting in place improved technology on smartphones and tablets which make their devices more secure.

“But law-enforcement officials see it as a move in the wrong direction. The new encryption will make it much harder for the police, even with a court order, to look into a phone for messages, photos, appointments or contact lists, they say.” - Wall Street Journal

When the U.S. government met with Apple last month to discuss their issues with the new encryption, they actually tried to use the “dead-child” scenario which Apple found “inflammatory.” As Apple pointed out in the meeting with the U.S. government, there are a number of other outlets for the government to find the information that they want.

But whether the U.S. government likes it or not, more companies are now switching to encrypting technology. Just this week, WhatsApp revealed that they will now be encrypting text messages sent from one Android phone to another.

google io 2014 keynote (37 of 41)

As I wrote about yesterday, in one of the biggest shocks, AT&T is now even standing up to the U.S. government by supporting new rules on what data the government can take without a probable cause warrant.

“Look, if law enforcement wants something, they should go to the user and get it. It’s not for me to do that.” - Tim Cook, Apple

Both Google and Apple are now installing encryption schemes with their latest software which prevent others from accessing user data stored on the phone when locked. They are not alone either in fighting back against the government as both Microsoft and Twitter have filed relatively recent and separate lawsuits against the U.S. government in which both companies ask the courts to decide what information must be handed over to the government.

Xiaomi could be world leader five years from now, thinks CEO

Posted by wicked November - 20 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

xiaomi ceo lei jun Fortune

If you live outside China, Malaysia, or Singapore, chances are you’re not very familiar with the name Xiaomi. Founded in August 2010, in Q3 2014 the Chinese company was ranked as the 3rd largest mobile OEM in the world. The WORLD. That is no small accomplishment to say the least, with companies like Sony, Motorola, LG, and HTC – all established players – wishing they could have such a coveted position. In fact, even the dominant giant, Samsung, couldn’t pass up the opportunity to scrutinize how the company has managed to be so successful. Then again, for a relatively new company to sell $163 MILLION worth of phones in 12 hours is pretty darn impressive indeed.

Here’s the catch though: Xiaomi isn’t content with its newly acquired bronze placement; it wants gold. It’s so confident, that CEO Lei Jun (currently China’s 23rd richest person) has likened his company to Apple, and proclaimed that it will become top dog within 5-10 years. Even more shocking? Apparently, China’s Steve Jobs may be planning for a global product launch after it reaches #1.

Xiaomi Q3 2014 smartphone sales

Xiaomi’s sales have exploded in 2014

Given the rate at which things are progressing for the fledgling company, it’s safe to say Lei Jun may even best his own expectations, as Xiaomi is now targeting India for domination, along with other fast growing markets like Indonesia, the Philippines, and Brazil. Given the large number of customers there, it’s not unreasonable to assume that next year will see even bigger success and more money rolling in the door. Samsung stands to lose out big-time if more and more large markets fall to its rivals, and, even with a more streamlined product line being planned, it’s difficult to say what will happen. Still, it does have those folding screens on the way, something that Xiaomi apparently doesn’t, though given their potentially high cost, that’s probably going to be a shallow victory at best. Let’s see what the future has in store(s)!

For those who want to get a glimpse of what may come, be sure to check out our in-depth coverage of Xiaomi products and news.

What kind of mobile fanboy are you?

Posted by wicked November - 15 - 2014 - Saturday Comments Off

samsung galaxy s5 vs nexus 5 3

In the mobile world there are all sorts of stereotypes. In particular we tend to lump certain folks into the “fanboy” category, sometimes rightly so but other times not so much. So what defines a fanboy, and what are some of the most common types of fanboys in the mobile world? Are you, in fact, a fanboy? Let’s jump in and take a look.

A word of caution, this article is meant for fun! Don’t take it too seriously! Just because you like Android or a particular OEM, or even Apple or Microsoft, doesn’t necessarily mean you are a true fanboy and we aren’t saying you fit into any of these particular categories.

Google fanboys

Android Lollipop with Google logo

First up is the Google fanboy, not be confused with the Android fanboy (aka fandroid). A Google fanboy doesn’t just like Android, they absolutely live and breathe just about everything Google. Here’s just a few signs you might be a Google fanboy:

  • No matter what, Google apps and services are your preference. Google Drive, Google Plus, Google Maps, Google Music All Access, and (OF COURSE) Android. You love Google, you crave Google. You need Google!
  • While you might be okay with OEM skins, you still prefer and often semi-religiously defend Google’s vision for the platform. This means you likely prefer stock over skinned versions, and there’s a pretty good chance you own a Nexus.
  • You own at least a few Android accessories, such as T-shirts, figurines, etc.
  • You may own a Chromebook, and/or consider Chrome the best browser in the world.

Signs you might be an extreme fanboy:

  • You plan to name one of your children after Google and/or one of its execs — Matias perhaps?
  • You tend to call anyone who doesn’t have your EXACT point of view by the name “Apple fanboy”.
  • You think that all skins and OEMs should be eliminated in favor of stock, but in the same breath talk about how “being open” is what makes Android so awesome..
  • You complain about OEMs being slow to update, and then get mad when OEMs move faster than  Google.
  • You defend Google’s every mistake, and can’t admit that they ever do anything wrong.
  • Under religion on forms you mark “other” and fill it in with Google.

Android fanboys

LG G3 Vs HTC One M8-89

Now we are moving on to Android fanboys — or fandroids as some like to call them. While some consider Google fanboys and Android fanboys to be one in the same, I decided to separate them due to the fact that there can be some philosophical differences between these two similar but different fanboy tribes.

  • You love Android, particularly for its open nature. You consider it the best mobile OS in the world.
  • You consider yourself a fan of the OS, but don’t feel the need to always go with Google on decisions.
  • You often use Google services, but may also explore alternatives (Facebook, Dropbox, etc)
  • There’s a chance that you might have a Nexus, but there’s just as big of a chance you’ll try out another OEM maker’s products. You judge by quality and features, not by who is making it or what skin it has on it.
  • You own at least a few Android accessories, such as T-shirts, figurines, etc.

Signs you might be an extreme fanboy:

  • You have a tattoo of Andy the robot anywhere on your body. And/or you consider your phone more important than your kids, girlfriend, wife or whatever have you.
  • You tend to call anyone who doesn’t have your EXACT point of view by the name “Apple fanboy”.
  • You can name every ROM, Android version and root app — but you can’t remember your birthdate.
  • You believe Android is perfect as is, and that no other mobile operating system has any positive features or attributes. They all suck and there’s absolutely nothing Google could learn from its competition, Android is king. Long live the king!

Samsung fanboys

samsung galaxy note 4 vs galaxy s5 quick look aa (5 of 7)

Oh boy, here we go. Samsung fanboys tend to come in several different flavors. Some are great guys and gals, others take things a bit too far. Which are you? Here’s some signs you are a Samsung fanboy:

  • Plastic is fantastic. You are perfectly fine with Samsung’s design choices, no complaints at all. Though if Samsung switches to metal, that’s okay too. Ultimately, you just like Samsung’s hardware and build quality, regardless of what materials they use.
  • You only buy Samsung phones and consider anything else to be second rate.
  • You like Touchwiz, or at the very least enjoy many of its added features. You tend to defend against the complaints that it is a bloated mess.
  • You even use many of Samsung’s less popular apps.
  • You recognize the fact that Samsung is the number one player, and one of the main reasons Android is successful today.

Signs you might be an extreme fanboy:

  • You say stuff like “Samsung IS Android”, believing all other OEMs are awful. You also tend to take offense at the idea of stock Android.
  • You tend to call anyone who doesn’t have your EXACT point of view by the name “Apple fanboy”.
  • You believe that Samsung is more important than Android, meaning you’d gladly consider a Tizen phone, if a globally available high-end flagship ever surfaces.
  • You believe Samsung can do no wrong. Period.
  • You have a deep disdain for Apple fans that goes way beyond any other mobile fanboy group.

Apple Fanboys

iphone 6 and 6 plus drop test aa (23 of 27)

This one is going to probably cause the most stir. The Apple fanboy. And we’re talking about ‘real’ Apple fan boys, not general mobile enthusiasts that get called an Apple fanboy because they disagree with any of the other types of fanboys mentioned above.

Here’s some signs you might be an Apple fanboy:

  • You won’t touch Android. Apple is supreme, simple as that.
  • You don’t mind the restrictions placed on iOS and Apple hardware. Apple probably knows best anyhow.
  • You are known for saying something similar to the following: “I choose Apple because it just works. I want something simple, not just an OS for nerds”.
  • You tend to look down at Samsung, calling it a cheap copy.

Signs you’re an extreme fanboy:

  • You regularly call people Samsung fanboys, fandroids or similar.
  • You believe Android is a cheap copy of iOS, ignoring the fact that iOS has taken many features from Android in recent years.
  • You tend to believe that Apple invented everything.
  • You say stuff like “Android is for poor people”.

Don’t be a fanboy

iphone 6 plus vs samsung galaxy note 3 quick look aa (15 of 20)

That is far from every type of fanboy group around (Microsoft fanboys, the one or two Blackberry fanboys left, etc), but you get the idea. Now I want to make this perfectly clear: There is nothing wrong with being a fan of Google, Android, Samsung or even Apple, but you don’t want to be a stereotypical fanboy. Even if you happen to prefer one brand or ecosystem over the other and fit into some of the stereotypes found with a particular fanboy group, it’s important to recognize that competition is a good thing.

Hopefully the reason you like a particular brand or mobile platform over the other is because they’ve proven themselves to be the best match for you. But let’s not become blinded by our choices. As time passes, another OEM (or even an OS) could better match what you’re looking for, and there is nothing wrong with that.

For those wondering, if I had to choose a fanboy group to identify with it’d be the Android fanboy group, though I do rock a Nexus 5 and tend to favor Google services and stock Android. Of course I also own a Moto 360, a Dell Venue 8 and plenty of other Android goodies. If you had to pick, what ‘fanboy’ group would people be most likely to label you as, or which of these groups do you most identify with, given your mobile preferences? What do you think of the ‘fanboy’ culture, do people take their mobile choices too seriously in your opinion? Let us know what you think in the comments!

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Introducing Samsung Flow: Samsung’s version of Apple’s Continuity

Posted by wicked November - 13 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

Samsung Flow

If you haven’t heard of Apple Continuity, it’s basically a feature that allows owners of multiple Apple products to connect their devices together in a way that wasn’t previously possible. Start browsing the web on your iPhone and pick up from the same link on your Mac, receive a call coming through on your iPhone over your iPad…. you get the picture. The concept is certainly an interesting one, which is probably why Samsung recently announced their own version of this feature at the Samsung developer conference.

The name of the service is Samsung Flow, and like Apple’s service, it will also allow you to move tasks between Samsung devices. Samsung Flow basically has 3 main components: Transfer, Defer, and Notify. Transfer will allow you to, well….transfer. For example, transfer an article you’re reading from one device to another, or move a call from a tablet to a laptop. Defer lets you delay performing a specific task until you are ready, like continuing where you left off on a movie or song from another Samsung device. Notify gives you the option of viewing notifications from pretty much any screen, regardless of if it’s on your tablet, computer, TV, or even a smartwatch. Battery running low on your tablet? Your TV will tell you. App updates available for your tablet? View them on your watch…and so on and so on.

Pretty cool stuff.

Here’s a brief video showing off some features of the service:

With the jaw dropping amount of devices that Samsung currently has, this feature certainly could open up some very cool possibilities. That being said, Samsung just released the SDK to developers today, meaning that Flow will most likely need a bit of time before it hits your favorite Galaxy devices.

Does Flow sound like something that could be useful to you? Let us know what you think about it in the comments below.

Samsung Proximity to take on Apple’s iBeacon technology

Posted by wicked November - 13 - 2014 - Thursday Comments Off

It has now become a race as to which proprietary technology will be able to revolutionize the way merchants and businesses interact with our smartphones. After Apple announced their iBeacon in the middle of last year, which they said would simplify payments and offers for retailers, there hasn’t been much major development from their end, and many consider it still in the initial infancy stages. Now Samsung has announced they are working with several systems to be able to bring the Proximity Platform to retailers and consumers.

Using Bluetooth Low Energy, which is part of Bluetooth 4.0, the software solution they’re working on with systems providers like GigaLine, Radius Networks, Roximity and Swirl will be able to offer retailers, merchants and other businesses the opportunity to connect with Android smartphone users that are in their proximity. A lot of the newer smartphones released since the past year have Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity already, including Samsung Galaxy S5 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

Stores can offer discounts or e-catalogues to those who will pass by their establishments. Shopping malls can let shoppers know about events and stores they want to push. Airports can beam flight information and schedules to passengers waiting for their flights. Museums can bring mobile tours to visitors. Sports stadiums can send maps, messages and also special offers to those who attend the games and concerts. There are a lot of possibilities and different iterations that venues and businesses can come up with.

Screen-Shot-2014-11-12-at-11.53.17-AM-1280x840

Apple’s iBeacon indoor proximity system uses low-cost and low-energy transmitters, which means Bluetooth Low Energy as well. However, it can only communicate with iOS devices running on iOS 7, so it does limit the market a bit. With Samsung’s Proximity Platform, they’re hoping to give businesses a larger market, as well as deeper system level integration.

VIA: SlashGear

Apple’s Beats Solo2 go wireless in latest Bluetooth model

Posted by Tom November - 12 - 2014 - Wednesday Comments Off

Beats has announced the Solo2 Wireless headphones, which cut the cord on the popular cans.

The specs remain the same, except there’s now Bluetooth connectivity for up to 30 meters and 12 hours playback time.

The new Bluetooth set will be available in black, white, red and blue and at $299.95, will cost $100 more than the regular Solo2s.

In other Beats news, the regular Solo2s will be released in five new colours: Stone Grey, Hunter Green, Blush Rose, Imperial Violet and Sapphire Blue.

Via ubergizmo

Apple finally offers tool for fixing lost messages issue for Android switchers

Posted by wicked November - 10 - 2014 - Monday Comments Off

galaxy s5 vs iphone 5s aa (4 of 14)

Apple is finally fixing a problem that caused text messages to stop reaching users who switched from iOS to Android or other mobile platforms.

The problem, which first began to affect users in 2011, prevents texts sent to some former iOS users from reaching their recipients. The issue happens when a user does not de-register their phone number from Apple’s iMessage before moving their SIM card to an Android or other non-iOS device. When an iMessage user sends a message to the number, the message is routed through iMessage instead of SMS, effectively remaining stuck on a service that the recipient can’t access any more.

The problem only affects texts sent from iPhones to former iPhone users that converted to different platforms. As you can imagine, lost texts can cause a huge amount of frustration and confusion. Back in May, a Samsung user affected by the issue even filed a class-action lawsuit against Apple, alleging that the company failed to disclose that switching to Android would cause this issue.

The issue can be avoided if the user deregisters their number before removing their SIM from the iPhone. But many people forget to do this, and in some cases, the de-registration doesn’t work as it’s supposed to.

apple deregister imessage

Now Apple is finally offering an easy tool for former iOS users to de-register their numbers from iMessage and begin receiving all their texts again. The tool is available online here – simply enter your phone number and then the confirmation code you will receive to de-register from iMessage.

If you’ve been having issues with text messages after switching to Android definitely give this tool a try.