Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Samsung Pushes Out Galaxy S III OTA Stability Update, Kills Local Search

Samsung Pushes Out Galaxy S III OTA Stability Update, Kills Local Search
July 25, 2012 12:41 AM
by Anton D. Nagy

Samsung Pushes Out Galaxy S III OTA Stability Update, Kills Local Search

The U.S. version of the Samsung Galaxy S III already received an update to disable local search — in order to avoid future possible Apple litigation — and now it is time for the international/unlocked variant of the phone to get a "stability update" which seems to kill the feature. While our international Galaxy S III didn't receive the notification ...

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Android Phones Android 4.0 Galaxy S III Ice Cream Sandwich News Samsung

Oliver Yatco

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Google helping out newcomers with Nexus 7 getting started video

Google helping out newcomers with Nexus 7 getting started video

For many, the Nexus 7 could be a first foray into the world of Android. Google hasn't forgotten about those people, so they've gone and posted a quick getting started video to help guide through the process of setting up the tablet. While not providing compelling viewing for the more experienced -- many of the Android Central readers -- we should remember that we were all new once. It's a nice touch to see Google ensuring that all types of user are catered for. We'll take a guess that we haven't seen the last of these educational type videos either.

Something to note too -- the Nexus 7 in the video has clearly had its bootloader unlocked. Then again, it is a Nexus, after all. 

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Oliver Yatco

Monday, July 23, 2012

Unreleased Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 unboxed by The Brave Post

Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Note 10.1 back at MWC 2012 and we got some hands-on time with the Android 4.0 tablet. Since that event, we’ve seen a few details leak about the tablet, but most of the information has focused on hardware changes. A recent post from The Brave Post keeps the Note 10.1 rumor mill churning with some unboxing shots that show a very finished looking white version of the tablet.

In its unboxing, The Brave Post provides shots of the packaging, the accessories, and both the front and back of the device. The device is very similar to the one we saw at MWC, but the specs listed in this latest release suggest Samsung may have doubled the RAM from 1GB to 2GB. According to an earlier leak, the updated version of the Galaxy Note 10.1 may ship with a 1.4GHz quad-core processor (instead of the dual-core at MWC), a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera (instead of 3MP), and Samsung’s S-Pen which will reside in a dedicated slot on the device.

In contrast to the BGR rumor that claims Samsung may announce the Galaxy Note 2 on August 15th, The Verge predicts the Note 10.1 tablet will be the subject of the upcoming Galaxy event.


[Via The Brave Post and The Verge]

It’s time for Apple to allow developers to respond to App Store reviews

It's time for Apple to allow developers to respond to App Store reviews
The Next Web

 Its time for Apple to allow developers to respond to App Store reviews

It's safe to say at this point that Apple's introduction of the App Store was a watershed moment for mobile marketplaces. But the lack of options for addressing reviews directly in the store has caused frustration for many developers and the time has come for this to change.

Since it hit the scene it has set the agenda in a lot of ways, making and breaking fortunes with featured spots on its 'top 100′ lists. But it hasn't been without its various hiccups, including those same lists getting polluted with crap knockoffs and a lack of transparency in the review process.

Last week I had the opportunity to speak to dozens of developers at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference about the new changes brought about by Apple's new iOS 6 and OS X announcements. Outside of that, I had the chance to talk to them about issues surrounding selling their apps on Apple's Store and how they felt the process could be improved.

By a huge margin, the number one request by these developers was for Apple to allow them to respond directly to reviews on the App Store.

If you frequent the App Store at all, you know that the reviews below app listings can be of varying helpfulness and accuracy. Sometimes they're working on false assumptions of the app's capabilities, sometimes they're simple issues that could be fixed with a settings tweak. Sometimes they're completely insane.

What's it take to get 5 Stars!?!!? #WondersApp…

— Chris Harris (@_ChrisHarris) April 1, 2012

And then there are the complaints that are completely valid, but that the developer may already be in the process of working on or submitting a fix for. The way that they're sorted doesn't even make sense either, as the 'most helpful' metric means next to nothing. Although a review must be filed by a customer that has purchased the app, the 'upvoting' of these can be done by anyone, including the developers themselves.

useless mug 1 520x339 Its time for Apple to allow developers to respond to App Store reviews

This causes a natural corruption that can surface silly 'this is crap' remarks or just as inaccurate 'best app ever' remarks. And that's not even attacking the '5 star ratings' system at all, which has its own issues when taken as a sign of quality.

Check out the reviews for Temple Run: Brave. This is a version of the popular Temple Run app in which developer Imangi worked closely with Disney Mobile in a collaborative effort to transform the uber-popular platformer into a game for the new Pixar movie Brave.

There are hundreds of assets in the game, including textures, audio and more, that came right from the movie itself through the Disney partnership. These are the 'most helpful' reviews:

Screen Shot 2012 06 21 at 1.25.12 PM 520x287 Its time for Apple to allow developers to respond to App Store reviews

The app's rating overall? Four and a half stars.

The time is ripe for the App Store review system to grow into a two-way conversation between reviewers and developers, rather than a static 'complaint board'.

I delved into this topic a bit back when Apple announced it had acquired the app search engine Chomp. At that time I talked about the need for a platform for discourse between app makers and consumers:

But even more importantly, an app community would create a two-way platform for discourse between users and developers. Apple's current App Store is a one-way conversation, with a customer of an app making one concise statement, at times misleading or misinformed, but nevertheless practically unaddressable.

What's needed is a deeper system for commenting on apps, replying to comments, within reason, and most importantly, rater accountability. The system that personal cab service Uber has in place is an interesting one, because it allows the driver to rate the passenger as well as the other way around. This means that you can actually be held accountable for being a jerk.

And now the precedent has been set in a big way by Google, who enabled developer replies to reviews on its Chrome Web Store a few days ago and today announced that the same was coming to the Google Play store. Google is rolling out these 'review reply' privileges to its 'Top Developers' first, but it will eventually end up in the hands of anyone publishing on Google Play.

rVionFBGNK4ahm3rTLa10ojDZj7t0Q2dH1P16oiLL9j RkWsbck VkRInEmUvaEL3JbNwkutOX0K uv6Q9hLsiZ0ukSCYrngzMfdVw1NMwHuy9Bh9UY 520x435 2 Its time for Apple to allow developers to respond to App Store reviews

Google has cut the path here and Apple needs to follow. It would go a long way towards making the App Store a place for discussion about apps. Starting out with a subset of developers is an interesting way to ease into it, and allowing those replies to be sent directly to the commenters by Google email creates a conversation chain that didn't exist before.

"It's something I have wanted for years," says Justin Williams, of Second Gear and the creator of Elements. "Reviews would be more useful for both developers and customers if we had a way to interact and address their issues."

Developer Craig Hockenberry, of Iconfactory, the creators of Twitterrific, believes that "being able to respond to customer problems is a basic need for any business. If you can't keep your customers happy, you'll end up losing them."

"App developers who enter into a partnership with Apple are in a difficult situation where there is absolutely no way to contact a customer who reports a problem via an iTunes review," says Hockenberry. "I appreciate Apple's desire to keep the customer's information private, but in the process of doing that we're denied that basic need of contacting the customer about any issues they're having."

Hockenberry also agrees that many issues could be handled simply, due to many being related to changing a setting or another simple operation. Even a recommendation to visit the developer's website in order to get further help would be a welcome ability.

Until this issue gets sorted out, both app developers and their customers will continue to be frustrated by simple little problems," Hockenberry added.

Some developers are excited about the prospect of this kind of conversation, but have reservations. Tapbots' Paul Haddad, the co-creator of Tweetbot, thinks that Google's solution is interesting, but is concerned with logistics.

"I think its an interesting move by Google, my concern would be with possibly cluttering up existing reviews and the increased costs associated with having yet another support mechanism," Haddad told us. "Between Twitter, Web, in app support and Email the various support avenues that an app developer needs are already a bit overwhelming, this will add a new one."

Replying to reviews is only the tip of the iceberg, of course. Using the tools that Chomp had active when its own service was alive, Apple could do so much more than just add 'review replies'. It could use it to gin up a full-on community that allowed for more organic sharing of apps, recommendations from friends to one another and more.

The addition of Facebook 'liking' in iOS 6 is interesting, but it's essentially an outward-facing feature. Apple has, by far, the best platform for this to take place already, and it's not Facebook. There are hundreds of thousands of people that never venture outside of the App Store to find apps. They may see and download an app on Facebook, but the potential for frisson is much higher if you're in the store, looking for things to buy and a recommendation is surfaced to you by a reviewer with a good reputation, or with a relationship to you.

Apple has several months before it is likely to release a new device, probably an iPhone. It would be fantastic to see a portion of its efforts over that period be dedicated to improving not just the look and feel of the App Store, which it's already doing, but the sense of communication and community.

Mug image via Marco Arment

Original Article:

Oliver Yatco

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Nokia May Launch Windows Phone 8 Ahead of Competitors

Nokia may be getting an exclusive early launch of the next mobile operating system from Microsoft. ahead of other Windows Phone 7 manufacturers like Samsung, HTC and LG. Stephen Elop, Nokia CEO, made mention of this in a statement to the NY Times. He mentioned that Windows Phone 8 would be "Launched in September", which has a good head start on the tentative launch date at the beginning of November 2012.

It should be made clear that Elop didn't specifically state that Nokia would be launching WP8 devices in September prior to HTC, Samsung or LG devices, but with Microsoft mentioning it's launch dates for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 near the end of October, one has to wonder why Elop would state to the NY Times that we would see it in September. Clearly, he knows something that we don't.

After Nokia released its financials this week of an operating loss of over $1 Billion, a turnaround is needed. Having a solid month to sell Nokia WP8 devices on the market ahead of a new iPhone launch would be the right thing to do in gaining market share. It should also be noted, however, that Nokia did manage to sell 4 million devices this last quarter in 2012. Many of those devices being Windows Phone 7 devices in the Lumia family, accounts for the lion's share of total Windows Phone devices sold in that quarter as well. Microsoft may just be giving Nokia the advantage due to their recent rise in WP7 device sales.

Source - ZDNet

The Galaxy S III’s TecTiles: Gimmick or Greatness?

The Galaxy S III's TecTiles: Gimmick or Greatness?

Judging from my editorials this month, you'd think webOS suddenly got exhumed from the grave. I've mentioned Palm's defunct operating system in a piece on new smartphone platforms, on Android multitasking, and in an editorial about

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Oliver Yatco

Friday, July 20, 2012

iPhone and Mac Gmail app, Sparrow, acquired by Google

iPhone and Mac Gmail app, Sparrow, acquired by Google

Sparrow, the elegant, delightful Gmail -- and general mail -- created for the Mac and brought over to the iPhone, has announced they've been acquired by Google. Sparrow CEO Dom Leca announced the deal on the Sparrow blog, saying in part:

Now we're joining the Gmail team to accomplish a bigger vision — one that we think we can better achieve with Google.

And in a more personal email sent out to users:

We will continue to make available our existing products, and we will provide support and critical updates to our users. However, as we’ll be busy with new projects at Google, we do not plan to release new features for the Sparrow apps.

That last part is the kicker from a user perspective, and immediately brings a few thoughts to mind:

  1. Congratulations to Dom and the whole team at Sparrow. They made a great product and it got the biggest attention in the business.

  2. Once again, a small team of indie developers coded circles around a big company, and just like Instagram and Facebook, and Tweetie and Twitter, the big company was smart enough to notice and pounce on it.

  3. While it's still too early to tell about Instagram, Twitter absolutely destroyed any and all value Tweetie had, completely replacing the iPhone app, and leaving the iPad and Mac apps to languish as abandonware.

  4. If Google were smart, they'd keep Sparrow as wholly-owned, in-house competitor to the lackluster Gmail for iPhone app, and rather than allowing it to fall into a slow, maintenance-mode driven death (which is sounds like it's doing), they'd keep it vibrant and in active development. They'd let Sparrow be Sparrow.

  5. Sadly, given Google's abysmal track record with everything from Twitter-competitor Jaiku to the apps spun out of the Slide acquisition, it's probably better this way -- users get quick if brutal closure rather than false hope and drawn out disappointment.

Congrats again to Sparrow, and farewell!

Source: Sparrow blog

App Store Apps News

[From iPhone and Mac Gmail app, Sparrow, acquired by Google]

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Rumor: Windows Phone 8 devices to launch this November?

pa href= Windows Phone 8 devices to launch this November?/a: p style=text-align:center a href= alt=Mary Jo Foley Windows Phone 8 devices to launch this November src= style=margin:4px/a/pp Industry rumors usually come with a heaping helping of salt, emunless/em theyre being issued from a trusted source. In this case, its Mary Jo Foley of emZDNet/em spilling some beans regarding Microsofts release roadmap. Though weve already caught wind that a href= Phone 8/a devices would be a href= sometime this fall/a with nearly a href= major carrier support/a, Foleys source is now pegging the RTM build of that mobile OS for September, with the finalized consumer version and accompanying hardware hitting the marketplace in November. Given that timing and an impending a href= 26th bow for Windows 8/a also on the horizon, any plans Redmond mightve had for a dual platform launch will have to be shelved. Thats all she wrote for now, folks -- well surely find out more concrete details in the coming months. So, take this gossamer morsel for what its worth./ppFiled under: a href= rel=tagCellphones/a, a href= rel=tagSoftware/a/pp style=padding:5px;background:#ddd;border:1px solid #ccc;clear:botha href= Windows Phone 8 devices to launch this November?/a originally appeared on a href=http://www.engadget.comEngadget/a on Thu, 19 Jul 2012 19:01:00 EDT. Please see our a href= for use of feeds/a./ph6 style=clear:both;padding:8px 0 0 0;height:2px;font-size:1px;border:0;margin:0;padding:0/h6a href= rel=bookmark title=Permanent link to this entryPermalink/a img src= alt=spana href=  |  img src= alt=sourcespana href=  | a href= title=Send this entry to a friend via emailEmail this/a | a href= title=View reader comments on this entryComments/a/p p(Via a href=http://mobile.engadget.comEngadget Mobile/a.)/p

TNW’s Daily Dose – Nokia’s Q2 flop, Apple and Samsung meet, better Google Maps

TNW's Daily Dose – Nokia's Q2 flop, Apple and Samsung meet, better Google Maps

More and better Google Maps roll out. Nokia's financials flopped in Q2. Apple and Samsung have met, but Samsung doesn't want you to know that.

You can catch The Daily Dose every Monday through Friday right here on The Next Web. Make sure to hit the subscription button of your choice below to get The Daily Dose as soon as it's available.

Google Maps gets more detail in Europe, Africa and Asia, including attractions, roads and ferry routes

Nokia's Q2 2012: $1 billion operating loss, $9.21 billion in net sales, 4 million Lumia phones sold

Apple CEO Tim Cook met with Samsung execs this week to discuss patent issues

Oliver Yatco

Chrome already owns 1.5% of iOS browser market

Chrome already owns 1.5% of iOS browser market

Chrome For iOS Browser Market Share

After being announced during Google's (GOOGannual I/O Developer Conference last month, the Chrome Web browser for iOS has received positive feedback from users. The browser quickly became the most popular free app in Apple's (AAPL) App Store and has since remained among the most popular free downloads. According to the latest data from online advertising network Chitika, Chrome now owns more than 1.5% of the iOS browser market. While Safari continues to dominate the market, of course, the firm found that almost 14.5% of iOS users surf the Web using other apps. Most of the this traffic doesn't come from dedicated third-party browsers, however, but instead from in app-browsing through programs like Facebook and Tweetbot. Chitika's press release follows below.

Chrome for iOS Grabs 1.5% Share of iOS Browser Market

New Live Tracker Monitors Chrome for iOS Adoption in Mobile Market in Real Time

On June 28th, Google announced the availability of its web browser, Chrome, on iOS 5, which over time may serve to shake things up. Until now, Safari has seen little to no competition from any mainstream browsers in the iOS environment. While iOS users do have alternate ways of surfing the internet, be it through an app or Facebook referrals (to name a few), Safari has experienced an effective monopoly in the iOS browser market. With the introduction of Chrome on iOS, Safari now has a legitimate competitor in the mobile browser market (which is always good for consumers). After its initial release, Chrome for iOS held a top position in the rankings for free apps in the iTunes market and continues to post moderate levels of growth.

Chitika Insights has been tracking the launch and adoption rate for the new Chrome for iOS browser to determine how much share they are taking from Safari for iOS, and how quickly. Our latest Live Tracker has just been launched, with the purpose of measuring Chrome for iOS adoption rate in real time.

The main pie chart featured on our Chrome for iOS Adoption Tracker shows current shares of browser usage on iOS 5. The three fragments we are analyzing include; Safari, Chrome, and "Other" (comprised mostly of app traffic), as seen below. (Note: Image below represents data on July 17, 2012)

Directing your attention below we have highlighted a few interesting data points revealed by the tracker as of July 17, 2012:

  • Chrome's share of iOS traffic is above 1.5% of all iOS web traffic. However, considering it launched just over two weeks ago, this current figure and continued growth seen on a week on week basis means share is on the rise
  • 14.5% of iOS users chose to surf the web on a platform other than Safari. This statistic helps expose the greater story of how consumers interact, share, and navigate the web using smartphones and the constantly increasing number of applications available to them

The second element of our tracker analyzes historical browser usage for iOS. With this dynamic chart, we can infer Chrome's adoption rate in real time (with a six hour delay to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the data).

In addition, users can filter out individual browsers to get a more specified perspective of a browser's recent activity.

A few insights pulled from the trackers historical data include:

  • Chrome didn't make an impact in Chitika's network until July 2, but its share of traffic shot to over 1% between the July 2 and 3, which may be due to word of mouth and its high profile status on the app store
  • Chrome's traffic share tends to fluctuate daily. Its current prime usage hours occur between 7 AM and 10 AM where it peaks at around a 2% share, but then slide back down later in the day. This indicates a high degree of morning use and can be correlated with consumer behavioral patterns in mobile usage

If Google Chrome's share of web traffic continues to grow on iOS, it will be particularly interesting to see if it cannibalizes share from other browsers, or starts cutting into Safari's lead. Will Apple respond to this new competitor by introducing new features to their Safari mobile browser and making other long sought after improvements? With this new tracker, we will now be able to see whether Chrome on iOS is a contender or a pretender, as well as what effect it will have on the overall market – in real time.

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Oliver Yatco

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

AT&T unveils Mobile Share, lets you add 10 devices to a single plan

AT&T unveils Mobile Share, lets you add 10 devices to a single plan
July 18, 2012 4:01 AM
by Daniel Cooper

AT&T unveils Mobile Share, lets you add 10 devices to a single plan

AT&T unveils Mobile Share, lets you add 10 devices to a single plan

We knew it was coming, and even Ralph de la Vega himself publicly admitted it was in the pipeline, but today AT&T has whipped the covers from its new shared data plans. Mobile Share will enable customers to use a single data allocation across all of their devices with unlimited calls and text -- letting you add up to 10 devices to a plan. Users can pick how much data they expect to use each month and then pay an additional fee to add the rest of their family's handsets (or just use all your own, if you're Steve Wozniak). The plans will arrive in late August and will sit alongside the current individual and family offerings and the company will allow current customers to switch without a contract extension. We've got PR for you after the break if you wanna get yourself ready for the switch.

Continue reading AT&T unveils Mobile Share, lets you add 10 devices to a single plan

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AT&T unveils Mobile Share, lets you add 10 devices to a single plan originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 18 Jul 2012 07:01:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Oliver Yatco

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Announcing Windows Phone 8

NewImage Three years ago I was lucky to join the Windows Phone team at a time when we were “resetting” our approach to mobile operating system software. We made big changes to our design, our approach to partners, and our platform. The result was Windows Phone 7. Now it’s time to start telling you about the next exciting chapter of our story: Windows Phone 8. Officially announced this morning in San Francisco, it’s the most advanced mobile OS Microsoft has ever made and will arrive on new phones later this year. Many of Windows Phone 8’s new capabilities come from a surprising source: Windows, the most successful and powerful operating system on the planet, and one used by more than a billion people. Yes, you read that right: Windows Phone 8 is based on the same core technologies that power Windows 8. As a result, Windows Phone 8 will unleash a new wave of features for consumers, developers, and businesses. Today I’ll give you a high-level sneak peek at the Windows Phone 8 platform and tell you just some of what it’s going to make possible. I’ll also share some exciting news about apps and updates for current Windows Phone customers. This isn’t a full disclosure of everything in Windows Phone 8—look for a more complete tour of new features later. The power of Windows If you’ve seen Windows 8, Microsoft’s groundbreaking new release for PCs and tablets, you’ve probably noticed it bears more than a passing resemblance to the look of Windows Phone. Here’s how the Windows 8 Start screen looks in the latest preview release. more on