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.
Firefox OS is still very young and about to endure something of a growth spurt. In the coming months Mozilla's fledgling mobile platform will see a pretty dramatic reinvention of its UI. A core piece of that reinvention is EverythingMe, a contextual search interface that delivers results from the phone and the web simultaneously. Pulling down slightly from the title/address bar will open the search dialog that doubles as an application launcher. That new launcher will provide an entirely new way to interact with the phone, while bringing a welcome level of polish and modernity to the OS. The company also aims to banish the app store model and the ubiquitous install button. Instead searching for an app will offer you a direct link to launch it (which is made possible by Firefox OS' heavy reliance on the web).
Additionally, a number of UI elements will be shifted around. Now, instead of opening the notification drawer, pulling down all the way from the top of the screen will initiate a task switcher. For quick and fluid app switching, simply swiping left or right from the edge of the screen will toggle between open applications, just as it does on Windows 8. The notification drawer will find a new home at the bottom of the interface, and opens with an upward swipe.
Subtler changes are also being made under the hood that will make Firefox OS faster and more responsive. Especially when scrolling and panning. The on-screen keyboard will also use predictive algorithms to guess what letter a user will enter next and will invisibly enlarge the touch target. There wont actually be any visible cues for the person typing, but it should lead to less mashing of backspace.
Now that Nokia is merely one of Microsoft's tentacles, it would be pretty weird if it finally introduced an Android phone, right? Well, that's exactly what's about to happen, according to a spate of leaks. The device is said to be called the Nokia X, and allegedly resembles an Asha handset while running a forked version of Android. That raises a lot of questions, like whether there'll be any Google content and, if not, where the heck your apps will come from. Luckily, we're here at MWC in Barcelona to blog all those answers live, so come back right here for all the news!
Microsoft is on a roll at its MWC event today. Shortly after announcing updates to Windows and Windows Phone, the company also told us that it's now trying to make its mobile platform more flexible for operators and manufacturers and is now working with a whole bevy of new manufacturing partners. Among the notable companies on the list are LG, Lenovo and ZTE, in addition to several companies in India, such as Xolo, Karbonn and Lava. Some of the listed companies (such as LG, Huawei and ZTE) have worked with Windows Phone in the past, but today's revelations show that those companies haven't completely turned away from Microsoft -- or have returned to the fold.
Says Microsoft VP Nick Parker, "we're open for business on Windows Phone to anyone who wants to build one." The company is extending its arms out to more partners by providing more options; for instance, Parker told us that Microsoft is now working with operators on possible white label devices -- phones that are branded by operators but built by other manufacturers. Additionally, Microsoft also announced that any company can build a Windows Phone using Qualcomm's Reference Design; interestingly, this means that Android-based hardware could potentially be reused for Windows Phone.
These changes announced today will certainly add more appeal and higher volume to the platform around the world, especially in emerging markets, and is a good way for Microsoft to indirectly address growing concerns that its upcoming acquisition of Nokia's device division would limit the interest of outside manufacturers.
2013 was a banner year for our fledgling series of gadget get-togethers, Engadget Live. Now that 2014 is here, we're running it back with a slate of events across the country that'll be better than ever. For the uninitiated, Engadget Live is all about bringing folks together to geek out on the latest gadgets -- and for us to connect with you, our readers, face-to-face (as opposed to face-to-screen). Naturally, it also gives you a chance to play with the latest gear from companies you know and love, and maybe from some companies you don't know, but should love. If that's not enough to entice you, perhaps the promise of free stuff will do the trick. We'll be giving away a bunch of that very same gear and tons of swag to attendees at every event.
The tour kicks off on Friday, June 20th in Austin, Texas -- with stops in Seattle on July 18, Boston on August 22 and Los Angeles on October 3. Just hit the linked locations above, and you can buy your tickets to any Engadget Live right now for $7.50 apiece. Oh, and keep in mind our nationwide tour culminates in the third Engadget Expand conference in New York City on November 7-8.
We'll have more info to share about each Engadget Live (and Expand, too) as we get closer to each event, so keep your eye on Engadget.com to get all the latest updates. Still, you should mark your calendars now, and we'd recommend arriving early to every Live event -- the lines can be city blocks long. And, if you're a company interested in sponsoring or participating in any Engadget Live, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. See y'all there!
HTC clearly doesn't think that promising two years of Android updates is enough to win over American smartphone buyers. It's launching HTC Advantage, an upgrade to its US support policy that goes beyond the usual warranty limits. In addition to delivering on earlier promises of OS upgrades and extra cloud storage, the Advantage program replaces one cracked screen for free within the first six months of ownership. You're only covered if you buy a One series phone from today onward, but the initiative could be just the reassurance you need if you're worried about dropping a shiny new handset.
Less than a day after the explosively popular game Flappy Bird vanished from the App Store and Google Play, it's become available on eBay -- for hundreds of dollars. Lucky owners of the Flappy Bird app have put their phones and tablets up for bidding, with prices ranging from $460 for a black iPhone 4s with an "updated" version of the game to $1,000 for a Galaxy Tab 3 with the app pre-installed.
It's unclear if any devices have sold, though there are a few bids in the running. Maybe wait a day or two before pulling the trigger, though; some say this is all a huge publicity stunt and the app will be back up soon, while others say the developer is avoiding being sued by other game makers. You could also check out Flappy Bird clones such as Ironpants. It's free; it offers similar gameplay, if you can live without the bird character; and it doesn't require remembering your eBay password.
Via: Slash Gear
Just in case it wasn't already clear that Samsung is prepping a next-generation Windows Phone for Verizon, the company has just passed the device (the SM-W750V) through the FCC. The approval confirms the presence of Big Red-friendly LTE and CDMA frequencies, as well as GSM and HSPA for world roaming. The handset is also large enough to hold that rumored 5-inch screen. The filing doesn't offer any clues as to when the hardware ships, but we wouldn't rule out the possibility of an announcement at or around Mobile World Congress.
Lawmakers in California are so intent on curbing record levels of smartphone theft, they're ready to fine phone makers if anti-theft measures aren't installed on their devices. The New York Times reports that the order will come from State Senator Mark Leno, who is set to introduce a new law requiring all smartphones and tablets sold in the state to include a "kill switch" solution that would lock down a device if it was stolen. Ignore the ruling and device makers could face a $2,500 fine for each device sold.
San Francisco and New York prosecutors George Gascón and Eric Schneiderman set the ball rolling when they met with representatives from Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft last year. Apple has since won praise for including its Activation Lock feature by default in iOS 7, requiring device owners to set a passcode that stops thieves reactivating a stolen phone (but could be unlocked with a username and password). While it would only officially cover California, the new law could force phone makers into a full US rollout, likely upsetting the carriers. The CTIA, which represents the likes of AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint, believes its stolen phone database is a better solution and will fight the ruling. If it is signed into law, phone makers will have until January 1st, 2015 to implement a solution or they will not pass Go and will be forced to pay out a lot more than $200.
Source: New York Times
05/02/2014 - Google sells Motorola Smartphone business to Lenovo
Samsung's still making Windows Phones, okay? And here's what the company's 2014 model will apparently look like, with yet another protruding physical button and what appears to be a lighter grey color palette -- matching the vague fortunes of Microsoft's still (gradually) growing mobile OS. According to @evleaks, it's also heading to Verizon in the US. Prior leaks have suggested it'll arrive LTE-capable with a 1080p 5-inch display. Well, we do expect Samsung to show up to MWC 2014 with more than just the one Android flagship.
Source: @evleaks (Twitter)
It's easy to think of Foursquare as an app you use on the go: it's what you use to check in places, get a mayor's crown, let your friends know you're about to eat a taco. That sort of thing. Now, though, Foursquare is teaming up with GrubHub Seamless, allowing you to order delivery from local restaurants -- without ever actually setting foot there or checking in. (Foursquare already lets you check into restaurants after you order on Delivery.com, but that's not the same as being able to order food from inside the Foursquare app itself.) All told, the screenshot above explains it all: if you're browsing Foursquare for local eateries and find one with either the GrubHub or Seamless icon, just hit "order delivery" and go from there. You can try it out today on iOS, Android or Foursquare's web app. As for all you Microsoft fans, it's unclear when or if the Windows 8 app will be updated to support this -- not that anything can stand between you and a good burrito.
Samsung had a rough day yesterday. Its earnings report indicated the company experienced the first posted drop in profit in two years (a mere $7.8 billion, compared to $8.27 billion the previous quarter), thanks to a strong Korean won, a special one-off bonus payment to employees and heavy holiday marketing costs. Given its increased year-over-year profits and sales this may not seem so bad, but there is a growing concern that the company has a difficult year ahead, especially for smartphone sales.
The company expects slowing sales in the first quarter of 2014 for its smartphones and tablets, thanks to "seasonality." This means fewer people are buying mobile devices -- as a new Galaxy flagship approaches, many people put off their phone purchase until it comes out. But the company also indicated that the mobile battlefield is only going to get more fierce over the next year, as developed markets are reaching saturation. Now, the war is shifting to developing markets where more people are becoming smartphone and tablet owners for the first time.
As Samsung's Galaxy S5 gets ready to launch, the rumor alert scale has already hit "yellow." The latest from @evleaks shows a possible TouchWiz home screen that would be a sharp U-turn from the current one, if real. It displays information and notifications like Google Now in a tiled format à la Microsoft's Modern/Metro UI -- not unlike the Galaxy Note Pro 12.2's Magazine UX. Naturally, there's no info about how the software would gather up such data, but in any event, the screenshot above could easily be a Samsung test or a fake -- we'll find out in a few short months.
Source: Evleaks (Twitter)
Like the high school kid who doesn't get invited to go out partying with the in-crowd, Polaroid decided that the best way that it could turn some jaded heads was with a dramatic reinvention. The company pulled up outside CES with a whole new range of cameras, tablets and a 4K TV, the latter of which was one of a small few that break the $1,000 barrier. When we went to examine the 50-inch UHD panel, an executive remarked that this un-smart TV would likely get a price-cut before it hits store shelves in order to undercut rivals from Vizio and Kogan. Of course, there's no word on just how much cheaper this unit will be, but we figure it'll be hashed out with the accountants in due course.
TCL's already jumped the gun by launching its Idol X+ in China last month, but the same flagship device will be heading to Europe this February under the Alcatel brand. For those who missed the news first time round, this dual-Micro SIM, 7.9mm-thick Android phone packs MediaTek's 2GHz MT6592, which is currently the world's fastest true octa-core chipset. You'll find the usual top-spec components around the Idol X+ as well, including a 5-inch 1080p IPS display, a 13-megapixel main camera (which supports 40-megapixel panorama and digital stabilization for video capture), a 2-megapixel front-facing imager, a 2,500mAh battery and dedicated audio amplifier chips by ESS. Internal storage starts from 16GB (with 12.3GB available to the user), along with microSD expansion of up to 32GB. The phone also comes with a pair of JBL earbuds, but there's no word on whether the China versions' Bluetooth activity tracker will be included as well -- at least it won't be called Boom Band, as it will apparently be a more refined version when it goes global.
We were left rather impressed by the Idol X+'s design and build quality. The solid plastic bezel features a brushed metallic effect, accompanied by a spin finish (achieved by in-mould labelling) on the back of the phone. Like the screen, the backside will also have a nano-coating treatment to minimise fingerprint smudges. Shoppers will be given a color option of either black or white when this 3G phone lands in Europe some time in February, and it'll likely be sold for around the attractive $300 price point unsubsidized.
Brad Molen contributed to this report. %Gallery-slideshow159477%