Samsung is reportedly working on a Galaxy smartphone with a curved, wrap around screen. Bloomberg reports that Samsung is using the same technology as the Youm Round and is expected to b releasing this device in 2014. It will have a three sided display that will all function independently from one another. Samsung might have beaten LG to the market with their prototype, the Galaxy Round, but if Apple decides to unveil a curved display device, the competition will get substantially more intense. What is the point of a curved screen? I really don’t know what the benefits are but hopefully those will be released in the near future.
According to CNET, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile have announced that they will now be supporting an application called Isis. Unfortunately, there aren’t many people interested in NFC(near field communication)-based mobile wallets after Google’s Google Wallet failed a year ago. Also, Apple products do not support NFC, which, in turn, eliminates a large portion of potential users. To counter this downfall, the carriers are offering free cans of Coca-Cola at select vending machines and up to 20% off on select items when American Express card users use the Isis application. People are already uneasy about putting too much personal information into their phones and although, this would make some instances more efficient and convenient, I don’t think it will be enough to relieve users with the peace of mind that their financial information is secure.
As we discussed in class last week, this app called Cycloramic, posses a great concept. It allows users with iPhone 5’s and iPhone 5s’s to take 360 panoramic photos or videos hands free. The makers of Cycloramic say that all you need is to download the free app (or the $1.99 paid version for HD photos/videos), make sure the phone has not case on it, and to apply it on a flat surface (preferably glass or granite). I’ve attempted to use this app various times, on a multitude of flat surfaces, and I have yet to get one good picture or video that I’d be proud to share. Even though it’s optimized for iOS7, is aesthetically pleasing and seems fairly easy to use, I can still take better pictures/videos by just using my own hand. I truly believe it’s a great idea and has potential but it definitely needs some kinks worked out.
According to 9to5Mac’s sources, Apple will soon be starting to implement machines in their retail stores to restore broken iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c screens. This is the first step Apple is taking to the start of their new on-the-spot iPhone repair program. The cost will be around $149 and although that might seem steep, it’s less than the hundreds it would cost to completely replace an iPhone. Maybe this will attract more customers to getting their phones fixed through Apple, instead of going to 3rd party retail stores.
In Siegel & Gale’s Simplicity Index 2013, Samsung has not only topped Apple in simplicity but every other smartphone manufacturer on the planet. The Simplicity Index is a wide ranged consumer survey that measures the ease that users have with different companies based on the simplicity or complexity of their “products, services, interactions and communications in relation to industry peers.” Last year Samsung wasn’t even ranked in the top 10 while Apple was 7th; now, Apple has fallen to 19th while Samsung sits at a proud 8th place. Apple is supposed to be the epitome of “simplicity,” so this is shocking news but people have said that Apple has slowly been losing it’s touch ever since found and CEO, Steve Jobs, has passed away.
In a recent report, LG stated that despite their $2.75 billion reported sales in their 3rd quarter, which was a 24% increase from Q3 2012, they still had a loss in profit because of increased competition and higher marketing investments. While Samsung seems to be the only company to be turning a major profit on Android smartphones. LG does plan to focus more on their premium products, like the LG G2, by releasing it during the peak holiday season and maximizing its 3G products as well.
Financial Times has reported that an insider leaked to them that Amazon has partnered up with HTC to build the first “Kindle Phone.” Another source, Bloomberg, has stated that Amazon has been in communication with HTC since this past June in regards to building a device for their Amazon Prime members but not much other information has been released just yet. I do think, though, that if Amazon is able to put a smartphone on the market, this will only further their position in the service industry. They’re already going up in the ranks to compete with company’s like Wal-Mart, Costco, etc. and if they’re able to get this smartphone out there, this could be monumental for them.
Google accidentally debuted it’s Nexus 5 in the Android KitKat 4.4 video but after that, Google had also released the price for the Nexus 5 on its online store, Google Play. Rumors say that it wasn’t supposed to be up there yet and that the price was incorrect because it was showing that without a contract you could purchase the Nexus 5 for only $299. Unfortunately, that’s not the case but the real price is only $50 more for a total price of $349 without a contract. This makes the Nexus 5 the least expensive smart phone on the market, among the best smart phones. This will definitely be something to keep an eye out for in relation to competing phones like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Apple’s recently released 5s and 5c.
CNET’s Jason Cipriani wrote up a small how-to-guide on selecting/making the perfect wallpaper for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch with iOS 7’s new parallax effect. I have the guide linked below but Cipriani basically goes on to say that wallpapers should be at least 400 pixels wider and longer than your device’s screen to avoid zooming in on the image, thus, reducing it’s quality. For instance, the iPhone 5’s ideal wallpaper should be at least 1,040 pixels wide by 1,536 pixels tall.
Although Samsung had a record breaking third-quarter earnings of about $9.2 billion, their projected sales for the Galaxy S4 wasn’t nearly as close to what the actual sales were. In lieu of this miscalculation, a South Korean news site, Naver, has reported that Samsung is looking to introduce the Galaxy S5 in January, rather than February. I’m not sure if releasing another phone this soon is such a good idea but on the plus side, the new S5 is planning to have a 64-bit processing chip (like the iPhone 5s) and a 16 megapixel camera (their best camera on a phone to date) with optical image stabilization to allow for clearer photos. Maybe that will incline more users to purchase the phone but they have yet to release a price yet so that will definitely be a key factor in the number of sale responses they receive.
According to The Wall Street Journal, LG is supposed to be unveiling a prototype of their new OLED (organic light-emitting diode) curved screen smartphone in November. What was previously noted as the “LG Z” is now being referred to as the “LG Flex.” While LG is not the first to do this, Samsung is rumored to release their curved screen smartphone this month but no name has been reported for it yet. We’re not sure what the benefits and downfalls to these new types of designs will be, aside from the fact that they’ll be expensive to produce, but both LG and Samsung believe that there is a market for these new models.
Qualcomm’s CMO, Anand Chandrasekher, criticizes Apple’s 64-bit chip as nothing but more than a marketing gimmick. He goes on to say that you would need hardware with at least 4 GB of RAM, while the iPhone 5S only has 1 GB of RAM. Although, I don’t know enough about 64-bit chips and the hardware required to get its optimum processing use, I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple did something like this. Chandrasekher addresses the fact that more phones like Samsung’s Galaxy S5, which is rumored to be released in Feburary of 2014, will also be incorporating 64-bit chips but that Apple did it just a little too early.
One disgruntled user, who has switched over from T-Mobile to Verizon within the past years because of their improved voice and data network, is now bashing Verizon & AT&T’s limited monthly data plans. LTE (Long Term Evolution) was something that was supposed to be a way of the future for mobile users. It enables users to have fast broadband speeds on their smartphones and tablets to enable faster data loading. When it first emerged, Verizon and AT&T had unlimited data plans but it didn’t take long for them to get rid of those and start putting caps on them. Now, you can only have an unlimited data plan if you’ve had one from the beginning; a term often referred to as being “grandfathered in.” People are so hesitant with how much data they’re using per month, that they’ve resorted to using Wi-Fi whenever the opportunity arises. In the meantime, a company called SoftBank is investing in upgrading Sprint’s network and now that T-Mobile has the wide range needed to build a nationwide network, Verizon & AT&T will be seeing some forgotten competitors coming back into the game. In turn, Verizon & AT&T might reconsider up-charging their customers for these capped data plans and hopefully an unlimited data plan will make a re-appearance.
King is the second largest European mobile application company with it’s most popular hits: Candy Crush Saga & Pet Rescue Saga. Even though it is based out of the UK, King has filed for an IPO (Initial Public Offering) for the US. For those that don’t know, an IPO is basically putting your company out on the stock market for the general public. It’s currently valued at $5 billion and it’s not far behind the number one spot in Europe, Supercell (who’s notably famous for Clash of Clans). The amazing thing, though, is that it has been a substantially long time that the European tech industry has produced two $5 billion-plus companies in the same niche market. This only goes to show how large the mobile application industry has become over recent years and how it is able to positively affect the economies of multiple nations.
For those of you who haven’t watched Apple’s Key Note event debuting the new iOS7, and even for those who have, this shows 12 different features that you probably have yet to discover. Even for those that did watch it, like myself, there are still some little tid bits that I wouldn’t have normally stumbled upon without some serious digging into the Settings. Although, the first one about Text Size is definitely in the old iOS6, the others are worth checking out.
Aside from Twitter’s most recent announcement to launch an IPO, which has been discussed in a previous blog post, they also plan to make a new iOS application that focuses more on multimedia rather than text-based tweets. Why? Mostly, because nobody cares to read a conversation you’re having with someone else. They want to read the little 240 character statements you make, and you only. Twitter currently has 1 billion users but only 250 million “consistent” users. The 750 million, myself included, either no longer use their account or only rarely do. In an attempt to draw back these long lost users, they plan to remove the Home, Connect, Discover and Me tabs, in lieu of a simplified swipe-navigation layout. They’re also hoping to bring in more people who are not as tech-savvy as their regular users. I don’t plan on returning to Twitter because the last thing I need is to worry about another social media site to use, but I still think it’s a smart move on their part.
“What Do You Want To Be?” is a mobile application that is currently only available on the iTunes App Store for the iPad only. It’s an interactive app that kids and parents can use together to learn English, Math, animals, fruits, and various occupations in the world. The app helps establish a basis for the different public figures in our society. Although, this app does nothing to affect the lives of us in this class or the majority of mobile app users, I wonder if it says something for the future. Dev IT Solutions, the app’s creator, and myself believe that kids learn better in an informal and more creative environment. As more of these education applications are released and tablets become more common inside/outside of the classroom, I think that schools will be encouraged to utilize these new devices as educational tools to shape young minds.
Unlike McDonalds’ 2011 app that allowed users to locate nearby restaurants, look up nutrition facts and available job positions. Their newest one, which is still in the testing phase in Salt Lake City, Utah & Austin, Texas, will allow customers to order their processed meals via their mobile phone, which they can then pick up in store, curbside or drive-thru. It’s also said that the application will offer special promotions and a loyalty program. Aside from this only worsening the dietary state of our country, I can’t disagree with the fact that it’s a smart business plan on McDonalds’ side. If it’s anything like the Chipotle app, which I use almost every time I go there, it should be a success.
IBM has developed their own SmartCloud service so that they are better able to help their clients that are on the go. Their cloud service offers clear, simple and fast-cycle delivery of mobile applications. The article states that IBM overs fixed rates and a defined time frame so that once you create your order, work will start immediately after you approve. All the work done is made up of your exact specifications and with the latest and best technology used.
Web application security firm NT OBJECTives have recently found that within Yahoo’s popular fantasy football mobile application, there were some minor bugs. The mobile application was susceptible to some hacking and session hijacking from outside parties. It also showed that league managers, or any pesky hacker, were able to change the lineups of others. As well as, post on message boards while impersonating certain users. Luckily, with the start of the season last night, the problem was already fixed and Yahoo has released an updated version on mobile application stores but users with the old version of the app are still vulnerable to hacking.