Samsung is indulging in the mobile camera craze, according to a new report. The handset maker is working on a 20-megapixel camera it’ll bundle into mobile devices in the second half of 2014, Korea’s ET News is reporting, citing people who claim to have knowledge of the company’s plans. It should be noted, however, that ET News has had a bit of a spotty record on Samsung news, so the report should be taken with a grain of salt. Rumors have been swirling that the eventual Galaxy S5 will come with a 16-megapixel camera. Many analysts have predicted that Samsung is planning on a camera bump in its next-generation handsets. Nearly every major vendor, including LG, Nokia, and Apple, has emphasized aspects of its photographic savvy as a way to separate its phones from the pack. If the ET News report is true, Samsung plans to make its own splash in that space in the next year.
Android fans looking for a different smartphone experience will be be able to get their hands on Oppo’s latest phone, the N1, from December 10, the company said today. The phone will retail at €449 ($599). The 5.9 inch phablet has Oppo’s Android 4.2-based ColorOS and runs on a 1.7GHz Snapdragon 600 quad core processor with 2GB RAM. The device ships in 16GB or 32GB variants with a display at 1080p HD resolution, while the battery has a 3610 mAh capacity. From there, the device includes more unusual features, such as its camera: instead of a main and front-facing cameras, the N1 has one which rotates 206 degrees. It’s also got O-Touch, the N1’s rear touch panel for scrolling, tapping or taking photos. Like Oppo’s previous devices, one potential drawback as a high end alternative is the N1’s lack of LTE support, which instead relies on four band GSM and five band WCDMA support for connectivity. Normal N1 devices will ship with with CyanogenMod pre-loaded and the OS can be installed from the device’s stock recovery without the need root the device, according to Oppo. CyagenMod’s support for O-Touch made it the first time the OS had been modified for a vendor’s hardware and followed CyagenMod’s move from a hobbyist tool to a business after receiving $7m of series A funding from Benchmark Capital and Redpoint Ventures. The N1 joins Oppo’s previously released five-inch display Find 5, which is selling on its European website at a discounted €349 for the 32GB model.
The company recently inked a deal with 3D Systems to develop a futuristic 3D-printing production platform for Project Ara, Motorola’s ambitious open-source mobile hardware ecosystem. Project Ara is a push to develop modularA phones, which would allow users to mix and match hardware with the ease of downloading and installing software. When Motorola announced Ara, the company specifically made mention of 3D printing as a key technology that would make an open-source hardware market feasible. Motorola just announced a multi-year development agreement with 3D Systems, the company that created the first 3D printer in the early 1980s and has developed 3D-printing technologies for both theA personal and industrial markets. As part of the agreement, 3D Systems has been tasked with developing an integrated, multi-material, high-speed production platform, which will include both conductive and functional materials. It’s fun to conjecture into the vacuum of the future, but the open-source hardware space is one that stands to disrupt the entire mobile market, especially with commercial titans backing it.
PrimeSense’s technology is in more than 24 million digital devices, letting them monitor a scene and spot things like people’s bodies, movements and gestures, furniture and walls. And Apple Inc paid about $350 million to acquire PrimeSense, the Israeli start-up that developed the motion-sensing technology in Microsoft’s Xbox video game console. The deal suggests that Apple is interested in incorporating motion-sensing technology into its own products in the future. When the company purchased finger-print sensor company AuthenTec in 2012, the technology appeared in the latest iPhone 5s just over a year later.
It appears that now AT&T has pulled the update for some investigation. So those that are waiting on the update, can stop spamming that Check for Updates button. Currently, there’s no word about when the update will continue its rollout, or even what the issue was that caused the rollout to pulled. Samsung and AT&T have said that the update is on hold so both companies can look into “potential improvements”.
Qualcomm, a company perhaps best known for its wireless technology components, has announced the upcoming launch of a new smartwatch it’s calling Toq. The device was designed by its subsidiary Qualcomm Connected Experiences, and is compatible with Android. The Toq comes with what Qualcomm calls Mirasol display technology. With that, the device’s display will always be on and visible and will reflect ambient light to help the face stay readable. The smartwatch also features wireless charging, support for wireless stereo headphones via Bluetooth, and it will be automatically updated by Qualcomm via wireless upgrades. Qualcomm will be joining Samsung, Sony, Pebble, and others in what is expected to be an increasingly competitive smartwatch marketplace. Apple and other companies are also expected to join the fray next year.
Google has hinted that its wearable tech will be a true delight for music lovers in the coming days. Google does not want to miss on any single feature to make its wearable tech more attractive for consumers. After enabling search option, maps, and voice control on its wearable tech, it’s now time for Google to introduce sound searches on the Glass. Glass users can identify any song playing in the background with the sound search command, “OK Glass. What song is this?” The Glass in return will offer details about the singer, the album and the year the song was released in. Goggle has also come up with proper ear-buds to complement the anticipated feature on Glass. The ear-buds will be available in two forms, the bone conducting and mono ear-buds, in multiple color options to go with the Glass.
Apple is building a new, larger, curved iPhone which will include pressure-sensitive sensors to detect how hard fanboys squeeze and fondle their small slab, it has been claimed. According to a report on Bloomberg, an unnamed Apple source said a new iPhone slated for release next year would include a larger display with glass that curves down at the edges. So this is all seemingly speculative at the moment. The super mobes are expected to come in two models with screens of 4.7 and 5.5 inches – Apple’s largest yet. The phone will also come complete with unprecedented pressure sensitivity which can work out the amount of force that’s applied by a user on the glass screen. This ability to tell a slap from a tickle could be handy for a number of reasons. Firstly, it could offer another way of navigating through the phone, perhaps allowing a new way of flicking through apps by adding a Z dimension to the X and Y which already exist.
An interesting though simple look into how smartphones are effecting our lives. People are more “connected” now than they have ever been before thanks to smartphones and the mobile Internet, but is all that connectivity causing us to lose our connection with the people around us? The Wall Street Journal contributor Christine Rosen explored that question in a recent essay, wondering aloud if smartphones are turning us into bad Samaritans. Rosen cited a number of troubling events that have taken place over the past year — the shooting death of 20-year-old Justin Valdez on a commuter train in San Francisco that occurred when a man brandishing a gun went unnoticed because everyone’s heads were buried in their phones; an attack on a blind man in broad daylight in Philadelphia that went completely ignored by passersby; the death of a man who was shoved onto subway tracks and then hit by a train after no one made any sort of effort to help him. That final example was perhaps the most upsetting, since a freelance photographer took the time to take pictures of the tragic killing rather than make any attempt to assist the man. He later sold those photographs to the New York Post. Would any of these tragedies have been averted if smartphones hadn’t done so much to sever our connections with those around us — and our obligation to help them? The short essay linked below in our source section is a provocative one, and it’s worth a read.
T-Mobile began rolling out its Un-carrier offers in March 2013. T-Mobile reported on Tuesday that it had a net gain of more than 1 million customers in the third quarter this year, highlighted by a net gain of 643,000 branded postpaid subscribers. The subscriber additions helped T-Mobile post quarterly revenue of $6.69 billion, which beat the consensus estimate of $6.56 billion. Although the company still posted a net loss of $36 million on the quarter, that is still a significant improvement from Q3 2012 when the carrier posted a net loss of $7.71 billion. T-Mobile, which also said it sold 5.6 million smartphones on the quarter, saw its shares rise by more than 7% in pre-market trading on the news. With the success of our Simple Choice plan and the continued evolution of the Un-carrier strategy, branded postpaid net additions for 2013 are expected to be between 1.6 to 1.8 million, up from the prior guidance of 1.0 to 1.2 million. With this growth, and rate plan migrations, the penetration of Value/Simple Choice plans in the branded postpaid base is projected to be between 65% and 75% by the end of 2013, up from the prior guidance of 60% to 70%.
Samsung and LG are racing to the finished line in the curved display market, Kevin C. Tofel writes an opinionated but entertaining article on LG’s just introduced G flex. Calling it the world’s first “real” curved smartphone is a bold claim given that Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus display had a small curvature and Samsung recently announced the Galaxy Round, which clearly uses a curved display, albeit not in the way you’d expect. “Excuse my cynicism if you will: Normally, I’m open-minded about trying new features and functions in mobile products. The race to create a curved phone is bit silly, though. If it adds value, I’m all for it. I’m just not sold on the concept when some of the new user interactions appear to be added simply because the device is curved.” Sadly, I don’t think many consumers will be lined up along the sidelines to see who wins.
I enjoyed our discussion in class about the key code app, and the potential risk involved with such an app. In this discussion from Slashdot, they focus more on health and life saving apps. I feel the argument can still be carried over, because any app that can be bent to propose some sort of threat will ultimately be made to do so, but is that the developers responsibility? This is an interesting discussion and it voices people on both sides. It just goes the show there are no exact lines in such. And the conflict apps can potentially create as they become a bigger and more vital part of out society.
Six years ago, in November 2007, the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) was announced. The original iPhone came out just a few months earlier, capturing people’s imaginations and ushering in the modern smartphone era. While Google was an app partner for the original iPhone, it could see what a future of unchecked iPhone competition would be like. Google was terrified that Apple would end up ruling the mobile space. So, to help in the fight against the iPhone at a time when Google had no mobile foothold whatsoever, Android was launched as an open source project. Android went from zero percent of the smartphone market to owning nearly 80 percent of it. Android has arguably won the smartphone wars, but “Android winning” and “Google winning” are not necessarily the same thing. Since Android is open source, it doesn’t really “belong” to Google. This is the biggest danger to Google’s current position: a successful, alternative Android distribution. The most successful, high-profile alternative version of Android is Amazon’s Kindle Fire. Amazon takes AOSP, skips all the usual Google add-ons, and provides its own app store, content stores, browser, cloud storage, and e-mail. As does the entire country of China, who banns basically anything Google. Google has decided it needs more control over the public source code. For some of these apps, there might still be an AOSP equivalent, but as soon as the proprietary version was launched, all work on the AOSP version was stopped.
The Windows 8.1 update has reportedly meant some of the touchscreen devices will not start up properly. Soon after the update’s global release, on 17 October, Microsoft started to receive reports that once it had been applied to RT tablets and laptops, the gadgets had frozen during the boot-up process. Microsoft has removed the update from its website while it looks into what has caused the problems.
Dueling reports Monday on how much better the high-end model is doing than the low. When the iPhone 5S and 5C went on sale last month, there was every reason to suspect that the most advanced would draw more early adopters, and indeed, by one launch-day line count, the iPhone 5S buyers outnumbered 5C buyers by 20 to 1. Now there are dueling reports on how much better the iPhone 5S is doing than the 5C.
- According to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, the 5S is outselling the 5C by roughly 2 to 1 in the U.S.
- According to Mixpanel, which measures page views from around the world, not just the U.S., the ratio is more like 3 to 1.
They expect that the 5c will account for a higher percent of total U.S. iPhone sales in the coming months, but the design changes may alter that dynamic. The iPhone 5c may appeal to different buyers than the legacy 4S did last year, or the new 5s will this year.
Windows Phone 8 is launching its third update plus a new developer preview program. Windows Phone 8 Update 3 includes a bigger Start screen, a new customizable Driving Mode and better accessibility options. There is a new preview program to help developers keep their apps running smoothly on the software update, also a Driving Mode which allows users to send automatic replies to people who call or text whilst they are driving. The updates pave the way for future Windows Phone devices with 5- and 6-inch touch screens. Windows Phone reinforced its position as a top three smartphone operating system in the second quarter of this year and was the fastest-growing platform among the leading operating systems with 77.6 per cent year-over-year gain, according to IDC.
Samsung is reportedly set to announce a curved display smartphone known as the Galaxy Round, reads the Cnet article. The phone would use a plastic display rather than one made of glass. The Asiae report follows a comment made by a Samsung executive in September confirming such a phone. “We plan to introduce a smartphone with a curved display in South Korea in October,” D.J. Lee, Samsung’s mobile business head of strategic marketing, said at an event launching the Galaxy Note 3 smartphone, Reuters reported at the time. LG is also gearing up a flexible display smartphone called the G Flex, CNET recently learned, though that phone may not surface until November. What exactly is a flexible display smartphone? Those of you who envision bending and flexing such smartphones may be disappointed. The phone’s body itself is rigid. Rather, the display is curved although stationary. The curve allows the phone to fit more snugly around the contours of your face.
Dedicated magazine apps for tablets may look good, but writer Jon Lund fears they’re headed straight to oblivion. Last year, Nielsen estimated the average mobile user has 41 apps on his or her smartphone. In April, a Flurry study showed the average smartphone user opens only eight apps a day, with the most popular being Facebook, YouTube and game apps. And according to a 2012 report from Localytics, 22 percent of all apps are only opened once. To make things worse, magazine apps themselves are invisible in the large streams of information governing the web. When a magazine is organized as an app rather than as a website, its articles can neither be indexed or searched on the web. When Lund nevertheless managed to find the time to open up an iPad magazine, he felt as if he were holding an outdated media product in my hands. This year, tablets will probably outsell laptops. Apple alone sells 15 to 20 million iPads each quarter. But magazine app success stories are hard to find. Evidence of success for standalone iPad magazines is even more difficult to find. The grandest attempt to make this new publishing platform work, News Corp’s “The Daily” iPad app, closed after two years of operation. Believing the future for producing quality content for niches is both bright and promising. But it has to be presented openly, socially, in flow — not in closed tablet apps.
With the expected October release date of the Nexus 5 fast approaching, a new report has reiterated earlier rumors that the device could be running on Google’s upcoming Android 4.4 KitKat mobile operating system with white status bar icons. According to the report, the Wi-Fi icon looked slightly tweaked, while an Android Debug icon was also displayed. The screenshot also showed a Bluetooth icon on top of the standard Google Authenticator icon, which according to Phandroid, could be interesting if it is interpreted to “indicate Google’s stance on replacing passwords with a more secure method or turn out to be something similar to Motorola’s Trusted Devices, which disables your lock screen if you’re connected to certain Bluetooth devices.”
Microsoft is reportedly planning for the compact version of Surface tablet, which will feature a 7.5in screen according to a report by CNET. This piece of information comes from analyst firms NDP DisplaySearch and IHS iSuppli. The Surface family tablets, including the new Surface 2 and Surface 2 Pro, feature 10.6in screen. If the aforementioned rumor turns true then there would be about 3in difference between the current Surface tablets and Surface Mini. Earlier this year, Microsoft updated its developer tools for Windows 8.1 and reportedly included references to 7.5in tablets featuring screen resolution at 1440 x 1080 pixels with a 4.3 aspect ratio. This again hints that the 7.5in Surface Mini could have similar screen resolution. Microsoft is expected to launch the Windows 8.1 Spring 2014 GDR, Windows Phone Blue and the Surface Mini around the same time, in spring next year.
Wired magazine has an interesting write up on Apple’s new iOS7, and what it could mean for the future of app developing. Apple’s new OS isn’t just prettier to use, it’s more accessible to build for, too. It refocuses the whole expectation of an app to the solution, not how flashily that solution is packaged. Basically, the new design language makes it simpler to turn a good idea into a first-class app, even without knowing how to bounce fake light off of a clickable button. On one level, iOS 7′s new simplified visual language lowers the bar for entry. But it also puts a premium on genuinely thoughtful design. Now content and interactions are pushed to the forefront. For a sense of what the next generation of apps might look like, look no further than the ones Apple includes with the new OS. Instead of a suite of glossy applications, unified by their rigid adherence to pseudo-physicality, they’re now a collection of simple but distinctly independent tools.
Now within the Apple App Store is the added “Kids” category where apps are broken down by age range. This section of the store separates the apps into three age ranges, spanning those 5 and under, those between 6 and 8, and finally, those for kids between 9 and 11. This has Apple finally taking steps to better cater to the children who have adopted its devices, and especially family favorite the iPad, with the launch of a Kids App section. In addition to better organizing the mobile apps targeting children for ease-of-use, the Kids App Store also comes at a time when Apple has begun to allow children under 13 to sign up for and hold iTunes user accounts, as long as they’re funneled through an “approved educational institution.” – TechCrunch
The risk for Apple now is that the OS redesign disrupts its own user-base, so here’s one sign of how Apple is managing the change: it’s updated the App Store to offer a prompt to iOS devices that aren’t compatible with the latest version/s of iOS enabling them to download the “last compatible version” of the app. iOS 7 will be pushed out to the majority of iOS devices — becoming available for general download, beginning September 18 — but the iPhone 3GS won’t be able to get it, nor will the first-gen iPad. While the app compatibility prompt takes care of the owners of those older iOS devices, who would otherwise be getting left behind by the move to iOS 7. The “last compatible” app prompt may be about reassuring developers as much as users, though. While users aren’t being railroaded by Apple onto a version of iOS they may not feel ready for yet, developers get the reassurance that there won’t be a risk of their apps only reaching a sub-set of iOS users who are comfortable about upgrading to iOS 7 right away — giving them an incentive to work on iOS 7 app updates without worrying about whether their users are going to be there yet or not. (Albeit there may be more work required for developers to maintain older versions of their app, in addition to a big iOS 7 update).
We live in a throwaway society, where products often aren’t made to last long, and generally aren’t easily fixable. Smartphones are a case in point, with the average handset being replaced by its owner within two years. With the Phonebloks concept, Dave Hakkens plans to change this short-term way of thinking about gadgets. Phonebloks is (or is at least imagined to be) a smartphone made up of modular elements: a display panel of your choosing, a battery pack of your choosing, a memory module of your choosing, and other components selected by you. This all means that if one individual component breaks it can be replaced without the need to throw away the whole unit and start again from scratch. Likewise, if you want to upgrade an individual component – your camera or your RAM, for example – then you simply buy the relevant blok and embed it in your handset. Phonebloks is just a concept at present, but it’s one that has been met with considerable interest from consumers around the world. Unfortunately, consumer demand will not be enough to make Phonebloks a reality, with hardware partners an absolute necessity if this is ever going to move from the drawing board to the real world. Still, it’s a great idea that deserves some attention.
Apple could include a fingerprint scanner on the high-end iPhone the company is expected to announce on Tuesday, according to The Wall Street Journal. If true, The new technology will supposedly work by a simple touch on the front of the smartphone. Evidence has been mounting about Apple jumping into fingerprint technology. After the iPhone maker bought fingerprint sensor and identity management software company Authentec last year, rumors floated that it was aiming to use the technology in its new devices. Article here.
“Seagate’s 5mm hard drives already have a home in slender laptops; today, they’re coming to to Android tablets through the company’s new Ultra Mobile HDD. The 500GB disk augments the existing 5mm design with a speedy 8GB flash cache, a tougher enclosure and firmware that improves both the energy consumption and shock tolerance.”- Writes Jon Fingas for engadget’s news release early this morning here.
Greg Shuey, a Digital Marketing Executive for Stryde writes this brief but good article on five tactics that could potentially help people market their mobile apps. Noting it is not just important to have developed a good app, but that it be recognizable and downloaded, to become the ultimate success you hoped it to be.
Forbes magazine contributor Melanie Haselmayr discusses in detail the growing need for app discovery. With the app markets for both Android and IOS growing through the roof, we often times find there are multiple apps that do what we want. Haselmayr discusses how both users and developers can potentially benefit from app discovery.