15/05/2013 - Google Play game services aims to integrate gaming across Android, iOS and the web, available today
Google Play game developers and players alike are getting a quartet of game-changing additions today: real-time multiplayer, leaderboards, cloud saves and achievements. And that's not all -- the latter three services will function cross-platform between Android, iOS and the web. The whole initiative is called -- unsurprisingly -- "Google Play Game Services," and it's available today in a smattering of games. Unlike Apple's Game Center application, what Google's offering is backend support for developers rather than a standalone application. Think of it more like OpenFeint than Game Center -- you can sign in using your Google+ login in-game, and that login will track your identity (including leaderboard scores, achievements and saves) across various games and devices.
Any developer launching a game on the Google Play store has access to game services, though Google isn't making it an obligation. "We won't make it a mandatory exercise, or have any certification process around it," Google lead product manager Greg Hartrell told us. "We create fantastic services that allow developers to create these great game experiences, and help promote their discovery, help retain their users and keep them engaged."
What would a Google liveblog be without some updates on Android activations? Well, in case you're curious, the newest figure is 900 million -- a big jump from the 400 million activations reported last year. What's more, Google says there have been 48 billion app installations to date, including 2.8 billion in the last month alone, with revenue per user 2.5 times what it was a year ago. To put that in context, that's not far off Apple's latest numbers: the company has logged just under 50 billion downloads of its own.
Moving on to Chrome, meanwhile, Google is touting 750 million active users, and that includes not just the desktop, but phones and tablets too. That's up from 450 million users at this time last year, with 300 million switching over in the past 12 months. Finally, if you want to get really granular, Google also gave an update on its Google Cloud Messaging service, which was announced last year. Apparently, 60 percent of apps are now using GCM, and 17 billion messages are pushed through the service per day. We'll let you chew on that for a moment while you follow the liveblog, but it seems to us now would be a good time to start placing bets on when we hit the 1-billion-activations mark.
Filed under: Mobile
We already got word from Nokia about some new Windows Phone features that'd be trickling out in a forthcoming update, and Microsoft has now filled in some more details on what other phone users can expect. In addition to FM radio support, an update said to be coming to Windows Phone 8 devices "later this summer" will add the previously-promised support for CalDAV and CardDAV to ensure your phone will continue to work with Google's new sync protocols. Otherwise, you can look for the company's Data Sense feature to support more carriers (no word on specific ones yet, though), and also expect some minor tweaks to Xbox Music. We'll keep you posted if we hear more about a specific rollout date.
Source: Windows Phone Blog
14/05/2013 - Skype and Moog now available for BB10.1
Amongst the flurry of announcements this morning at BlackBerry Live in Orlando, CEO Thorsten Heins finally made good on an app promise from this past January. Yes, Skype is now available on the Z10. Users that want to make VoIP calls will have to upgrade to the latest iteration of the platform, BB10.1, in order to download the preview from BB World. Additionally, Heins also told attendees that Moog will be bringing its music app, previously exclusive to iOS, to the BB10 platform starting today. So, slowly, but steadily BlackBerry's following through on its vision to make BB10 a robust developer-friendly OS.
13/05/2013 - Pantech Perception - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
09/05/2013 - Huawei hosting 'Beauty' event on June 18th in London
Huawei is announcing an event in London for June 18th that'll celebrate beauty, glamour and inspiration. Although, we also hope to see a phone being launched. If the leaks are accurate, then this could be the official arrival of the 6.18mm-thick P6-UO6 with a brushed metal enclosure. It could possibly be joined on stage by the Huawei Edge, which we saw back in March. Either way, we'll be there to see what beautiful, glamorous and inspirational smartphones Huawei's chairman Richard Yu has to show -- hopefully something with sequins.
Samsung announced in March that its Knox security suite would debut with the Galaxy S 4. That might not have happened exactly as planned, but just as predicted the Department of Defence has given it the official hat tip for use in government departments. Good news for Samsung, who will now see its Knox-enabled devices added to the alongside BlackBerry on the official list of approved products.
Remember the M4? We've seen glances of a spec sheet, but now we get to see how it's going to look. Courtesy of evleaks, we can now tell it's looking good. After the critically-acclaimed One, the company looks to be sharing its style tips around -- at a glance the M4 appears almost identical to the HTC flagship, although the camera flash has been relocated to the center of the device and there's a few less micro-drilled speaker holes. Running over the leaked specs, you can expect a smaller 4.3-inch screen at 720p resolution and possibly a cheaper build to the unibody beauty that leads HTC's smartphone family.
There's likely to be a dual-core processor, LTE-capable radio and 16GB of storage too. There's better news, with the Ultrapixel-packing 4-megapixel camera sensor rumored to make its way into the middleweight phone, although initial leaks pointed to a 13-megapixel sensor. The phone is mooted to appear later this quarter, but we're still waiting on official word (and that all-important price) before we get too excited. But hey, it worked for Samsung.
Source: Phone Arena
25/04/2013 - Evernote's John McGeachie on business expansion, the shift to mobile and an update on two-factor authentication
Evernote Business has only been around since last summer, but it's already having an impact on how teams far and wide keep track of what's on the collective mind. The division's vice president John McGeachie sat down with us for a bit at The Next Web Conference this week in Amsterdam, giving us an inside look at how the company has evolved, what it has learned and where it hopes to go. Specifically for Evernote Business, McGeachie affirmed that there's a greater need for educating users as compared to individuals just testing the waters on its free service. "It sort of takes a while for people to figure out how to best fit Evernote into their workflow," he said, "but once that starts happening, people see that it adds an amazing amount of value to all of these different areas." He added: "That's basically how our whole marketing strategy works. We're really just listening to how people use Evernote, and then put that back out there [as use case scenarios]."
In that sense, Evernote's quite unusual. Many startups have to maintain a focused product just to convince a new audience to try something foreign. Evernote, on the other hand, is deliberately open-ended, and it's the company itself that's now learning how to evolve based on direct feedback. "Our best source of new users that stay and really use the product is from understanding how someone they know or someone they can identify with uses it," said McGeachie. He did, however, acknowledge that the huge amount of flexibility does mean that the learning curve is steeper. "We see a lot of people download the app and use it once, and they aren't sure what to do next, so they go away. But a lot of them come back and reengage because they read something or run into someone they know who uses it, and it clicks."
Android may be improving its reputation as a gaming platform, but there isn't a consistent, official service that can tie everything together -- Google has no parallel to Xbox Live or Game Center. That might be changing, if Android Police's snooping around the Google Play Services component of the MyGlass app is any indication. A seemingly innocuous "games" folder includes what appears to be a Google Play Services gaming framework: achievements, in-game chats, rankings and invitation-capable multiplayer lurk inside. None of these are accessible to regular users, though, so it's unclear whether the references represent a glimpse into an upcoming gaming strategy or just an instance of developers leaving in code that's normally destined for the scrap heap. We're hoping there are some proper answers at Google I/O.
Source: Android Police
Two days ago, Mozilla CEO Gary Kovacs reinforced what we already knew: Firefox OS will launch in four to five countries in Europe and South America by summer. Today, a newsletter from Spanish e-retailer Geeksphone fills in a few more details. According to the email, the Keon and Peak smartphones we saw at MWC will hit its site next week -- albeit as developer preview units. Still, Geeksphone says the two handsets "will be available for dispatch anywhere on earth." The lower-end Keon will cost €91 plus taxes, while the mid-range Peak will set you back €149. Early adopters can subscribe to the mailing list to stay updated; click through to the source link.
Evernote may be known for its flexible suit of cloud software, but the company is apparently looking to hardware as its next evolution. CEO Phil Libin told IDG that his company won't create hardware internally at first, but with partners. "We won't actually do the manufacturing, but we'll do the co-design together," he said. That isn't to say Evernote is staying out of the internally produced hardware business forever; Libin estimates his company will get there "in a few years -- three, four, five."
Evernote partnered with Moleskin earlier this year to create the "Smart Notebook," so the California-based company's certainly no stranger to working with collaborators. And that's to say nothing of Evernote's functionality on virtually every smart mobile device available (including Google's Glass project). It's not clear what Evernote's hardware ambitions could be, but we'll be sure to keep asking as the next few years roll along.
We're not quite sure what it is yet, but LG has just invited us to save the date May 1st for a special event held in New York city, in which it asks us to "share the genius" and "capture the spotlight in true brilliance." If this is indeed a new device, it alludes to a higher-res display and greater sound; is this a US version of the Optimus G Pro or simply the next-generation Optimus G? Hard to say at this point, but we're keeping a pretty close eye out for more details. In the meantime, this is at least one more thing to look forward to in a couple weeks.
There's a Google exec speaking at a tech conference, and that means one thing: more Android statistics. At Dive Into Mobile today, Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt confirmed that the company is now seeing 1.5 million Android activations per day, which is up from 1.3 million per day last fall and 1.4 million as of last month (seemingly an uptick after a short period of slower growth). Schmidt also says that the company remains on track for one billion total devices by the end of the year, which would be a sizeable increase from the 750 million that CEO Larry Page confirmed in his most recent statement last month. Schmidt further notes that the key to that future growth -- or reaching the "next five billion people looking to get connected," as he puts it -- will be the $100 price point, something he suggests they'll quickly get to.
15/04/2013 - Time Warner Cable's TWC TV app will add some VOD, live TV streaming while away from home
Time Warner Cable has expanded its TWC TV IP streaming of broadcast television to several different platforms since its launch two years ago, but so far it's been limited to use inside subscriber's homes. That will change tomorrow, according to a tipster who informed us a new version of the iOS app is coming that allows out of home streaming. This source previously gave us an early heads up on TWC TV for Roku, which just launched last month. The video doesn't include all of the channels that are a part of TWC TV, but will feature video on-demand from channels like BBC America, BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nick, and Univision, among others. There will be ten live TV channels as well: Aspire, BBC America, beIn, Big Ten Network, FearNet, Fox News Channel, Fox business, GMC, Pac-12 Network and TV Guide Network
The web portal will also be revamped in May, and Android users should expect an update in Q2 with access to streaming away from home. However, there are still a few strings. From what we've heard, streaming over 3G / 4G will be limited to Verizon Wireless until Q4, but all users will be able to access the video streams over WiFi. Time Warner already faced several legal challenges to the initial app, if the new features arrive tomorrow we'll see whether Viacom and other content providers head back to the courts for round two, or if any complaints have been negotiated away already
Apparently Nokia's interested in Microsoft's tablet cover slash keyboard market, filing a patent application today with the US Patent and Trade Organization for an "apparatus cover with keyboard." The description is what gives us that distinctly Surface feeling, which calls the "apparatus" a "cover" with two sections, one of which "has a keyboard thereon." Said cover is "pivotally connected" to a "display" (read: tablet device).
The concept is a bit different visually -- at least in drawings, as seen above -- than where your brain may be going. It seems to be more of a stand device than just a cover, and it apparently includes a stylus as well. Of course, all of this is still very much in concept-ville, as it's just a patent application and not even the granting thereof. So keep your salt shakers nearby and all that -- this could end up never materializing.
05/04/2013 - Nokia Lumia 928 spied for Verizon Wireless
How does a US carrier get around AT&T's exclusivity of the Lumia 920? Why, it releases an exclusive of its own, of course. News of the Lumia 928 is probably familiar to many of you, which has been rumored (and spotted in inventory systems) as an upscale Windows Phone for Verizon. Now, things just got real, as @evleaks has just released the first glimpse of the Lumia 928, and adorned in black, we're quite sure that Batman would approve. Naturally, Big Red's branding adorns both the front and back of the device, but at least there's a modicum of restraint. This being Nokia's second Windows Phone outing on Verizon, we're crossing our fingers that the phone was spared a beating with the ugly stick. We'll reserve judgment until we can get our grubby mitts on one.
Source: @evleaks (Twitter)
Last month HTC announced the SIM and bootloader unlocked Developer Edition of its new One would be available at the same time as regular carrier versions, and it's held to that promise. Tonight it tweeted pre-orders will begin the morning of April 5th at 7AM PT / 10AM ET, a day after AT&T's list opened and the same day as Sprint. While there was no mention of ship or regular sale date, Android and Me reports being told by company reps at today's Facebook event that sales will begin April 19th, which it confirmed to us in a subsequent tweet. We're sure you'll cherish the hours / days left to decide if parting with $649 is worth having that 64GB metal-backed wonder (no, it is not transparent, this is just a rendering) to yourself without the phone company's interference.
Last month, a purple Galaxy S III first reared its regal-hued exterior accompanied by claims that it would launch on Sprint sometime in April. Tonight, a tipster sent a screenshot our way that's pegged the aubergine handset for an April 12th release on the Now Network. With the help of a $50 mail-in rebate, you'll be able to pick up the 16GB variant of the smartphone for $99 on a two-year contract. Finally, a phone that'll match our impeccable taste in handheld gaming consoles.
Human beings living their mobile life under Microsoft's OS have been enjoying the Nokia Music service for awhile now, but for the Windows Phone 8 folk in particular, the groovy app just got a little better. Earlier today, Nokia released an updated version of its jam-packed application, giving users, among other things, a Live Tile option that displays various info about the music currently being played -- you know, simple (but useful) stuff like artist and song names. What's more, Nokia Music now also boasts a history feature which takes virtual note of the most recently played tracks, as well as bringing improvements to the download section of the app's mix radio stations. If all that jazz sounds great to you, dear reader, then pay the source link below a quick visit, where you'll easily find a direct download of the goods.
Source: Windows Phone
On April 3rd 1973, Martin Cooper made the first mobile call on the nine-inch (and 28-ounce) Motorola DynaTAC. Dialing up a rival at AT&T, he apparently said that he was ringing "to see if my call sounds good at your end." While briefcase-size models had come before it, it's Motorola's truly mobile phone that became the go-to power accessory for the likes of Gordon Gekko, Zack Morris and, er, American Psycho's Patrick Bateman. Since its heyday, however, the AMPS analog networks that the phone used to run on have now largely disappeared, replaced by digital ones that have added better call clarity, not to mention data connectivity at ever-improving speeds. We've come a long way.
Via: Sky News
28/03/2013 - Microsoft showcases Windows Phone middleware partnerships at GDC, we go hands-on (video)
Building on yesterday's announcement that Temple Run and several other games are coming to Windows Phone, Microsoft's been actively courting developers at GDC 2013. To that end, the company's booth showcases several games that highlight cross-platform development and middleware. Now that WP8 and Windows 8 share the same NT kernel, DirectX APIs and tools, it's easier than ever to write games that use the same code base for both platforms. Microsoft is sweetening the deal with a few significant middleware partnerships -- Unity, Marmalade and Havok, to be specific. We talked with Larry Lieberman, Senior Product Manager for Windows Phone development, who was kind enough to explain what these partnerships mean for developers and to give us a tour of the games. Hit the break for our hands-on video.
Evernote's getting a version 3.0 overhaul for Windows Phone that updates the app with some majorly welcome improvements. Now, users that launch the note-taking app will be greeted by two UI refreshes: a simplified homescreen that gathers all your necessary tools for quick access at a glance and a more compact tag list that's easier to navigate and displays more results. The Evernote team's also added the ability to create checkboxes, group notebooks by "stacks" and pin live-tile shortcuts by long-pressing on tags, notes or notebooks; shortcuts that can be synced across various platforms (i.e., Mac, Windows Phone and Android). And for die-hard organizational freaks that pay for the premium product, the app now features document search -- useful for parsing attached MSWord, OpenOffice or iWork docs. The update's live right now, so it should hit your WP device soon. Or if you're one of the uninitiated, now's a good time to make the jump and connect your life with the cloud.
27/03/2013 - Springpad note-taking service gets interface overhaul, now an even worthier rival to Evernote
Springpad may lack Evernote's commercial clout, but it makes up for it in a number of ways -- not least with free-of-charge features like offline access from its mobile apps (which certain rivals charge for) and Pinterest-style sharing options. The interface hasn't been a particular strong point, but that could be about to change as version 4.0 has just gone live for at least some users of the web interface. The new UI centers everything on three key buttons along the top:
- Springs -- which gives you immediate access to your latest notes, regardless of which device you made them on
- Notebooks -- for organizing your notes into projects
- Search & Do -- which, needless to say, lets you earch your notes, but also suggests activities based to-do tasks you've created.
The same, simplified philosophy is due to hit Springpad's iOS and Android apps soon, although there's no sign of that happening just yet. In meantime, check it out the web interface for yourself at the source link.