When it comes to being fit, it's really the small stuff that counts. You can go to the gym as much as you want, run five miles every morning -- but if you eat like crap, drive yourself to the corner store and take the elevator every morning to your 2nd floor office, it'll be all for naught. RunKeeper can already help track each training session as you make your way from couch to 5K, now it's trying to motivate you to keep moving between runs with Breeze. The iOS-only app uses the iPhone 5s' M7 chip to track your movements and count the number of steps you take. Of course, pedometer apps are quickly becoming a dime a dozen. Breeze attempts to set itself apart through simplicity and minimizing user interaction.
With all the modular phone concepts, balloon internet projects, robots and drones it can be easy to forget Google's main business angle: search and advertising. Google reported its first quarter earnings today and didn't have much to say about our favorite topics -- we'll hear more about those at Google I/O in June -- or even its pending sale of Motorola to Lenovo. Responding to an analyst's question, Google execs Patrick Pichette and Nikesh Arora mentioned the need to "keep evolving (search) results," as it increasingly serves up info (sports scores, TV listings, restaurant menus) on its own website instead of just providing links. That's probably also behind its push for Google Now results that bring up relevant info before the user even asks, on the desktop and mobile. In a brief reference to the Chromecast, Pichette called the $35 device a hit, mentioning the over 3,000 developers had signed up to build apps since the launch of the SDK.
Source: Google Q1 2014 earnings
Were you hoping for a single-player campaign in Blizzard's Warcraft-themed card game, Hearthstone? Well, you're getting one. The outfit's announced Curse of Naxxramas at PAX East, and, in addition to fresh challenges and more than an entire deck's worth of shiny cards, there's a new Adventure mode en route for solo players. As Joystiq has noticed, Naxxramas also features a new game-board based on Warcraft's floating necropolis of the same name. The first area, subtly named Arachnid Quarter (gee, wonder what's lurking in there?), is free for everyone and will roll out simultaneously across iPad, Mac and PC sometime later this year. If you want to complete the expansion's other successive areas as they release, you'll have to buy-in either with in-game gold or your hard-earned meat-space ducats. Still not sure what the hype is about? Well, the game doesn't cost a thing, so there really isn't much risk in giving it a shot for yourself. It'd probably be a good idea to start practicing ahead of Naxxramas' ambiguous release date, anyhow.
Even Microsoft knows that Windows Live Tiles have so much potential to be a lot better, especially on touchscreen devices. In fact, a group of the company's researchers in Asia have apparently been working on making Live Tiles interactive. As you can see in the videos after the break, the experimental tiles expand when touched, showing you its contents right on the Start screen instead of launching the app. For instance, touching the mail app automatically shows a list of your emails in an expanded view, which looks very similar to an Android widget.
With its Framily plans, Sprint wants you to convince friends, family and possibly outright strangers, to join the carrier and chip a few bucks off your bill. It's even created a new ad series to show just how broad its definition of "framily" is. The dad's a hamster, while the daughter speaks only in French, accompanied by three animated birds. However, Sprint's Frobinsons have to go a long ways to match the sheer offbeat-ness of Softbank's answer to "framily," the Shiratos in Japan.
That framily consists of a talking dog as patriarch, a wife who has the real power, a daughter played by popular actress Aya Ueto and a non-Japanese son played by Dante Carver (a Softbank commercial mainstay). The core family unit is then augmented by bit-parts from 'Uncle' Quentin Tarantino, Manchester United's Shinji Kagawa (and his dolphin father) and Tommy Lee-Jones, the live-in-maid-from-space. Ad-Age wasn't a fan, but we hope the Frobinsons are just getting started. We've pulled together a few English-subtitled Softbank ads and added them, alongside Sprint's interpretation, to the video gallery below. %Gallery-slideshow187843%
We can't help you with the lights or the action, but the professional video folks at V.I.O. will provide the camera for one lucky Engadget reader this week. We have one V.I.O. Stream Battery System, which is a seriously rugged little POV shooter capable of capturing and streaming 1080p HD video using the Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP). It's waterproof, dustproof and shockproof (earning it an IP67 environmental standard rating), so it can handle all the extreme action you want to throw at it. And the battery add-on, which is included in this model, lets you roam free and capture footage for up to two and a half hours on a charge without any wired entanglements. Whether its documenting base jumps, birthday parties or kickstarting a budding film career, this HD video camera is up to the task. All you need to do is head on down to the Rafflecopter widget below for up to three chances at winning this V.I.O. Stream Battery System.
When one massive corporation buys another one, it's not as simple as handing over the dosh and winking. There's also the small matter of the world's competition authorities, which check that the deal won't affect market conditions. China has finally given its blessing to the Microsoft - Nokia tie-up, meaning that the pair can make their marriage official, probably before the end of April. Of course, that only gives us a few days to work out a facetious portmanteau to name the pair -- Microkia and Nokrosoft are all we've got so far.
It isn't quite the selfie-retweeted-'round-the-world, but that hasn't stopped the White House from answering questions about David Ortiz's impromptu snapshot with the president. Obama's senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer made an appearance on Face the Nation to talk about serious matters like the state of the Affordable Healthcare Act, but didn't shy away from host Bob Schieffer's questions about the above picture (those start around the 5:47 mark). Pfeiffer said that the president didn't know anything about Samsung's connection with Big Papi, and that whenever someone is using the president to promote a product, that's concern for the White House's counsel. On the topic of legal action, Pfeiffer said that the while the White House has spoken with Samsung, he'd rather leave the outcome of that conversation between the lawyers. "Maybe this will be the end of all selfies," he said. We can only hope.
[Image credit: David Ortiz, Twitter]
Microsoft has a home in the automotive world, but it doesn't have a way to bring a phone's interface to your car's infotainment system -- there's no Windows Phone equivalent to Apple's CarPlay. That might change before long, though. The software giant used a presentation at this week's Build conference to show off Windows in the Car, a conceptual platform that would adapt Windows Phone's apps and basic functions to in-vehicle interfaces. Not surprisingly, the MirrorLink-based tech looks like a cross between Microsoft's mobile and desktop interfaces; while you're running mobile apps, they get more on-screen buttons than usual to help you complete tasks faster and keep your eyes on the road. The software also focuses more on voice commands (Cortana is mentioned as a good fit), and it could eventually restrict complex app functions while you're driving. You might not get to add music to a playlist until you're parked, for instance.
Via: The Verge
Source: Channel 9
With Windows Phone 8.1 now free, we may start seeing more announcements like this: Verizon's just put the Samsung ATIV SE handset up for pre-order. As we saw in an earlier leak, it's essentially a high-spec Galaxy S4 with Windows 8 (not 8.1) instead of Android. Though that's been superceded by the Galaxy S5 on Android, the internals are still not too shabby, especially for a WP8 handset: a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800 quad-core CPU, LTE, 2GB of RAM, a 16-megapixel camera and a 2,600mAh battery. Naturally, Samsung's also thrown in its own goodies whether you want them or not -- though some, like the TV remote control app, actually look useful. Verizon says it'll ship them out by April 12th at the latest and, if you go for one at $200 on a two-year contract, you'll even get a second one free.
Via: The Verge
Last week, we discussed prepaid VoIP and the opportunities it offers for entrepreneurs looking to start a business. This week, we’d like to focus on International Mobile Top Up. International Mobile Top Up enables end users to purchase mobile airtime from mobile operators in other countries, which in turn allows people to send mobile minutes to friends and family overseas to use on their prepaid mobile phones. Although not technically a VoIP service, International Mobile Top Up nonetheless provides many uses and advantages for end users and, therefore, offers opportunities to entrepreneurs.
The post How to Start a VoIP Business: Opportunities in International Mobile Top Up appeared first on IPsmarx Official Blog.
There have been rumblings about Nokia unveiling a Lumia 930 in the near future, but its actual design has remained elusive. However, frequent tipster @evleaks claims to have a press image of the new smartphone... and if the picture is accurate, it's effectively a Lumia Icon for everyone who isn't a Verizon customer. Not that we'd be complaining too much if that's the case, mind you. An Icon-like design would give the 930 top-tier features that include a 5-inch 1080p display, a 20-megapixel camera and a quick Snapdragon 800 processor. There aren't any clues as to what's under the hood just by looking at the picture, but we suspect we'll be hearing a lot more about the device at Nokia's Lumia-focused event this evening.
Source: @evleaks (Twitter)
Samsung's ATIV SE hasn't been a terribly well-kept secret, but we've heard precious little about the Verizon-bound Windows Phone beyond its use of a 5-inch, 1080p display. However, tipsters have given The Verge hardware specs that will seem very familiar. If the leak is accurate, the ATIV SE will be a higher-end Galaxy S 4 variant with Microsoft's OS slapped on top -- you should see the same Snapdragon 800 processor, 13-megapixel rear camera, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of expandable storage. Those specs could still make it a potent device, but they hint that Samsung is once again recycling an Android design. If you don't mind the reused components, you'll be glad to hear that the ATIV SE could be coming very soon. The smartphone is reportedly launching on Verizon in April (minus Windows Phone 8.1), pitting it directly against Nokia's similarly-specified Lumia Icon.
[Image credit: @evleaks, Twitter]
Source: The Verge
26/03/2014 - Sprint to launch HD Voice calls nationwide in July
Sprint's HD Voice impressed our ears two years ago, but the feature's been placed on the company's back burner since then. Sure, it's already available in a handful of locations, but it's only now that the carrier's announced its plans to make it available nationwide. According to Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, subscribers all over the country should be able to enjoy clearer voice calls "around the first of July"... assuming they're using HD Voice-compatible devices to talk to people also using HD Voice-compatible devices. It's not too bad, though: over two dozen Sprint phones already support the standard, including the iPhone 5s/5c, Samsung Galaxy S 4/Note 3, Nexus 5 and HTC One/One Max.
Sprint's HD Voice promises "crystal clear calls" by cancelling background noise and delivering more natural-sounding voices. From the time it was introduced in 2012, though, rival carriers AT&T and T-Mobile have already come up with their own versions. Hesse made the announcement at the Oracle Industry Connect event, where he also talked about the overly technical details of Sprint's Spark LTE service.
25/03/2014 - 10 Basic Terms in the Calling Card Industry
The calling card business has been around for many years. At IPsmarx we have worked with many entrepreneurs that entered the industry with barely a notion of the business but with a strong believe in the potential for profit. We helped them learn and succeed.
We'll admit, we're getting mixed messages here. According to @evleaks' latest reveal there is very likely a new LG Lucid (number 3 to be specific) incoming for Verizon. Nothing unusual there, as it's been about a year since the last one. But if the images are accurate (and history predicts they will be) LG has taken some design cues from its G-series -- rounded corners, and a curved back etc -- along with a very Samsung-esque physical home key (the last edition had capacitive buttons). Of course, this isn't the first LG phone with such a button, or even to share this design. The new F-series we saw at MWC bears more than a casual resemblance to the pic we see above. There's little else to glean from the image other than the obvious, but expect a mid-range specification (with model number VS876) to hit the Verizon web store in the coming weeks.
Source: @evleaks (Twitter)
07/03/2014 - Leak reveals the Nokia Lumia 630's colorful backside
There have been leaks showing the front of the Nokia Lumia 630 (aka Moneypenny), but a complete view of the Windows Phone 8.1 hardware has been elusive... until now. Frequent tipster @evleaks has posted an apparent press shot revealing the back of the bright-hued device, and it suggests that the 630 will represent a sharp break from the designs of the Lumia 620 and 625. There's no camera key or flash, for a start -- mobile photography fans may want to give this phone a pass. We also see hints of a flatter, more X-like body. There aren't any fresh clues as to when the 630 might launch, although we're not expecting to see it until sometime after the official unveiling of Windows Phone 8.1, which may take place in April.
Source: @evleaks (Twitter)
Even though more people in developing countries are switching to smart phones and downloading WhatsApp for the messaging service. Two factors are challenging the voice call service in developing countries: Data plan services and bandwidth. WhatsApp subscribers might soon be able to talk to each other but this does not mean that the number of subscribers in developing countries will increase.
The post Facebook acquires WhatsApp and the international calling and mobile app business appeared first on IPsmarx Official Blog.
28/02/2014 - Report: Less than one percent of mobile gamers responsible for half of all in-app purchases
With the runaway success of Candy Crush Saga, it's perfectly natural to wonder just how many people are dropping coin in freemium mobile games. One firm's answer, however, might surprise you. A very small number -- 0.15 percent, to be exact -- of total mobile payers contribute half of monthly in-game revenue, according to in-app marketing company Swrve. The outfit also says that over 60 percent of the money made within the first two weeks of a player's life is made on the first day. Meaning, if most people install a game and don't make any purchases almost immediately, they likely won't at all. The report comes from a limited sample, but designers hoping to build the next fragile confection-like phenomenon are probably studying it for secrets right now. We've embedded the provided infographic after the break should you want a peek at a whole lot of graphs for yourself.
After Tony Hawk's massively popular Pro Skater game series faded into the sunset (and the Ride/Shred series lit that sunset ablaze with nuclear warheads), the world went a few lonesome years without a new Tony Hawk title. 2014 is apparently the year that all changes, as Tony Hawk's back with a new game headed to mobile phones.
In a wide-ranging Bloomberg interview, Hawk said, "We are working on a game for mobile devices this year, and we've never gone exclusively that direction yet." While the leaves the door open to a wide variety of genres (Tony Hawk first-person shooter? Tony Hawk match three?), we're betting it's of the skateboarding variety.
26/02/2014 - A new version of the Moto X is coming this summer
After Lenovo's recent purchase, questions immediately arose surrounding Motorola's planned device launches for 2014. In a Twitter Q&A surrounding the events at Mobile World Congress, the handset maker revealed that the next version of its popular Moto X is coming in "late summer." Unfortunately, that's about all the outfit was willing to spill for now, but we'll be curious to see how things like manufacturing play out in the coming months.
Via: Android and Me
Among the many frustrations we had with Samsung's first smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear, was the limited number of apps available for it. While the company offered premium access to select partners, it never came out with a software development kit (SDK) for anyone and everyone to submit their own app. When the Gear 2 was announced earlier this week, Samsung also promised that it would deliver an SDK for its latest series of wearables. At the company's developer keynote at MWC this morning, that's finally changed -- Samsung has announced the immediate availability of kits for the Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo and Gear Fit, as well as another SDK for S-Health.
There's a bit of a difference between the Gear and the Gear Fit kits, however. The Tizen-based Gear SDK will make it possible for developers to create applications that run on both Gear 2 watches (using both Android apps and web apps), while the Gear Fit version offers an emulator and the ability to control the device from an Android app. We'll continue to update you as we get more information at this morning's keynote.
There you are, leisurely perusing Twitter (as one does), when the stinking funk of marketing speak smacks your cerebellum like a Mack truck: "Want to grow your presence on Twitter? Reach more people with your Tweets using Promoted Accounts. Learn more today!" It has begun.
Too serious? Perhaps, but today's news that Twitter's "Promoted Tweets" (read: adverts) are now also part of Twitter's search results is unfortunate at very least. For one, it takes the point of search and adds confusion -- why would Pizza Hut's new, hand-tossed pizza show up in results for, say, unrest in Ukraine? Here's hoping the algorithms are smart enough to avoid messy situations like that.
It's long been the case that (contextual) ads show up in Google search results, but in the case of Twitter search we've come to expect an ad-free experience. As Twitter product manager Nipoon Malhotra says in the announcement, "One of the best ways for users to discover what's happening on Twitter is through search, giving users the ability to instantly connect to conversations and topics of interest." That the logic following such a statement goes directly to advertising is, again, unfortunate. We've yet to see any promoted tweets in our search results just yet, but please let us know what you're seeing (good and bad alike).
Jolla's got a big problem, and the company knows it. The small Finnish startup has grand plans to upend the smartphone paradigm with its modular phone and unique gesture-based OS, but that foreign approach has left some users confused. The MeeGo-derived Sailfish OS relies entirely on swipe navigation -- there are no soft keys onscreen -- and the current tutorial does a poor job of explaining how it all works.
"Many people have difficulties because we suck," said Senior Designer Jaakko Roppola here at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. "We're not very good at the first-time user experience."
That candid admission may ring true for the startup now, but what Jolla is exceedingly good at is listening to and quickly addressing community feedback. That eagerness to please has not only led to recent improvements in battery life and connectivity for the nascent operating system, but also the integration of a user-created WiFi hotspot option.