Amazon’s first smartphone is essentially a smaller version of its Kindle Fire HDX tablet but makes phone calls and fits in a pocket. It hides the complexity of Android with Amazon’s simple software and rich ecosystem while boosting Amazon’s potential sales. Read more »
After launching last year with Google’s Android software, Samsung’s first smartwatch is switching to Tizen. An official software update makes the change which brings new funcations and doubles the amount of apps available to Galaxy Gear owners. Read more »
My $1,449 Chromebook Pixel just got a little more useful and so did the $299 Acer Chromebook C720P. The latest Stable channel software update adds support for pinch-to-zoom in Chrome OS. That means any touchscreen Chromebook now has the feature. Previously, pinch-to-zoom was available on developer and beta channels, but the user had to enable the feature in a hidden setting. Now, it’s on by default and makes the overall browsing experience a little better. This function, along with the recent addition of handwriting recognition could make for a nice Chrome OS tablet, particularly if it came with a docking keyboard, no?
Apple is asking suppliers for a record first production of its new iPhone, says the WSJ. While last year’s initial production run of iPhone 5s and 5c phones was in the 50 to 60 million range, Apple wants nearly 80 million bigger iPhones. Read more »
During a conference session, a security research called attention to what he says are several backdoor services put in iOS by Apple that may make it easier for your data to be accessed. Read more »
Not that we needed yet another data-point explaining why China is such an important mobile market or anything but Reuters is happy to provide one. On Monday, it reported that for the first time ever, more people in China access the web on a mobile device as opposed to a PC. The data comes from the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) and says that of the 632 million internet users in China, 83 percent (527 million) used a phone or tablet to do so. That compares with 81 percent of the connected population accessing the web through a PC, with some overlap between the two of course.
Neil Young isn’t the only one pushing high-resolution audio files: Sony’s newest $700 Walkman also plays such music and it’s reportedly selling well in Japan. There’s no timeframe for a U.S. launch although there are ways to buy this Walkman or other similar portable players. Read more »
Without much carrier backing, Huawei isn’t a household name in the U.S., at least not yet. That’s OK, the company has already surpassed all smartphone makers in terms of sales, save for Samsung and Apple. Plus it’s continuing to grow. Read more »
Relatively unchanged since late 2010, the MacBook Air will finally get its Retina Display later this year according to news from Taiwan: Parts for the updated laptop are reportedly shipping now with production set to start in August. Read more »
It is time for a Chrome OS tablet? Google’s software isn’t quite ready for that but it’s getting closer: Handwriting recognition has appeared in an early Chrome OS software build. Read more »
So long, Nokia X: We hardly knew you. Microsoft won’t be developing any Android-powered phones but LG still does; it launched the LG G3 Beat this week. And after a few weeks of using Android Wear, my thoughts are “nice but not (yet) necessary.” Read more »
Chromebooks in the education market are clearly picking up steam. Earlier this week, Dell said it was temporarily discontinuing direct Chromebook 11 sales to individuals because it can’t keep up with demand from commercial channels for the education-focused laptop. On Friday, Google reported one million Chromebook sales to schools in the second quarter of 2014. Along with the stat, Google published a blog post from David Andrade, the CIO for the Bridgeport Public Schools district explaining why he chose Chromebooks for the 23,000 student district in Connecticut. Among the reasons: “affordability and easy maintenance”; something we’ve suggested on the Chrome Show podcast time and time again.
After finding code references to Project Athena last month, we know know what it looks like. Say hello to a new — but early effort — experimental interface for Chrome OS that’s heavily card-based. Read more »
Demand in the U.S. for small slates are causing Lenovo to stop shipping them. Actually, check that. Demand for small Windows slates is the issue, which doesn’t bode well for Microsoft or a Surface Mini if it actually does launch one. Read more »
While there are a few third-party Android Wear watch faces in the Google Play Store, they’re not using the official API. That’s because Google is still working on it and suggests developers hold off on publishing new watch faces until it launches. Read more »
iOS developers have no lack of ad network partners to use but there’s always room for more. At least that’s what Amazon thinks as it now has a mobile ad API for iPhone and iPad apps. Read more »
Amid 18,000 job cuts and the elimination of Android-powered handsets, Microsoft is also putting two other Nokia product-lines out to pasture. The Verge received an internal memo written by Microsoft’s Jo Harlow, who leads the new Smart Devices and Mobile Phones group, with the news: Nokia’s Series 40 and Asha handsets will be no more, with both products joining the Nokia X Android phone in an 18-month maintenance mode. That means the low-cost handset market will become more important for Windows Phone as that’s where these products are aimed: $50 or less. The company isn’t out of top-drawer handset ideas though: The memo says to watch for “other high-end products that we will be announcing very soon.”
Microsoft recognizes the fastest growing smartphone segment is the low-cost market. In a note to employees, Stephen Elop reiterated that with renewed focus on markets where Microsoft is already succeeding. It’s a better play than focusing on the high-end, established markets. Read more »
Has Google’s Android Wear pushed the smartwatch market forward? After using a Gear Live for several weeks, I’d say yes but that doesn’t mean everyone will rush out and buy an Android Wear smartwatch; it’s convenient but not a necessity. Read more »
BlackBerry hasn’t given up any chance of a mobile device comeback: It will soon offer the square-screened Passport phone along with a BlackBerry Assistant app similar to other voice-activated digital assistant apps on competing platforms. Read more »
That Dell Chromebook 11 for education is pretty popular, and not just in schools. That sounds good, right? But there’s a problem for you (and Microsoft) if you want this Chromebook, which is one of my current favorites. Read more »
Are the U.S. handset price wars about to start now that subsidies and contracts are on the way out? Take the Luma 635, for example: AT&T will start selling it to customers on August 8 for $139.99 or $29 less than T-Mobile’s full retail price. Read more »
Instead of buying a double-capacity battery for your Galaxy S5, why not make use of the existing battery by stacking another one on top of it? That’s exactly what the Unity Battery Case from Unu does. Read more »
The wait for Windows Phone 8.1 and all of its improvements is over now that Microsoft has started to roll the software out around the world. Also included is the Lumia Cyan update with Nokia-specific features. Read more »
Iron Man couldn’t save smartphone sales and he couldn’t save the jobs of two key HTC executives, either. The company’s CMO and Engineering head are both out of the picture, leaving the company with some big gaps to fill. Read more »
Hit an Apple Store in Japan and you can digitally purchase in-store credits for all things Apple. The new program, called iTunes Pass, could hint at Apples larger mobile payment ambitions. Read more »
That didn’t take too long: Star Trek fans with Android Wear smartwatches can already download and install a free watchface based on the fictional LCARS computer interface of the U.S.S. Enterprise from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Daniele Bonaldo created and uploaded the “Starwatch” app to Google Play on Monday night, announcing the custom design on his Google+ page. The watch face displays the time, date and — just for kicks — the Unix Epoch, which is the total number of seconds (not counting leap seconds, of course!) since 0:00:00 Coordinated Universal Time on January 1, 1970.
A terrible Google+ experience keeps me from using Windows Phone handsets full time. This weekend, I tried gPlus — a Metro client for Google’s social service — and it (along with Windows Phone 8.1) is good enough for me to keep my SIM in a Lumia 930. Read more »
After its “Scroogled” ad campaign against Chromebooks, Microsoft is now reiterating it has “a great value proposition against” Google’s Chrome OS laptops. Look for $99 Windows tablets and sub-$200 Windows laptops later this year as Microsoft rallies the troops. Read more »
Launching third-party Android Wear apps by voice doesn’t always work and searching through menus to get at them isn’t ideal either. Enter Wear Mini Launcher, a touch-friendly app launcher for Google-powered smartwatches. Read more »
One of the product leads behind both Google Glass and Google’s smart contact lenses is moving on to Amazon. What new project might Jeff Bezos be cooking up that might focus on giving vision to products? Read more »
Production challenges for a 5.5-inch handset could see Apple launch just a single new iPhone model this year says one analyst. That’s not necessarily a problem: Apple may not need to debut two larger iPhones for continued success. Read more »
Got a Linux box at home or at work? Now you can access it remotely through the Chrome browser or from a Chrome OS device. On this week’s podcast, we discuss the new beta support for Linux in the Chrome Remote Desktop app. Read more »
About the Android screen fragmentation issue that’s been bandied around for years: It’s a myth says one developer because Google has long ago introduced tools to let apps adjust icons and layouts based on screen size and pixel density. Read more »
Verizon has scored the exclusive LTE model of Sony’s Xperia Z2 tablet in the U.S. You can get special promotional pricing for this dust-resistant, waterproof full HD tablet, provided you agree to a new two-year contract with Verizon. Read more »
Hints of Android devices streaming their screens to a Chromecast appeared months ago and now the feature is live. Officially announced at Google I/O, certain Android devices can now mirror their display to a large screen using a Chromecast. The feature is technically a beta and Google says support for additional devices is coming soon. To use the feature, Android users will need the updated Chromecast version 1.7 app found in the Google Play Store. With the right device and updated app, anything you see on your Android’s small screen can now be shared on a larger screen.
The good news is that Microsoft has a slick-looking video editor for Windows Phone. The bad news is that unless you have Windows Phone 8.1, you can’t use the app yet. Read more »
A new Acer Chromebook listing shows that the Bay Trail Chromebooks are coming. You’ll likely pay less for these new models and get better battery life as long as you’re willing to sacrifice a little performance. Read more »
Microsoft shared details of the latest Surface Pro 3 software update on Tuesday, saying it is now rolling out in stages. Dubbed “System Firmware Update – 7/8/2014” the changes help improve both Wi-Fi stability and the Type Cover trackpad, and show or hide the on-screen keyboard at the appropriate times. The update will also help reduce power consumption while enhancing battery life. Microsoft says an additional update will follow next week to “further improve Wi-Fi connection and throughput scenarios.” Some Surface Pro 3 users reported poor Wi-Fi connections in certain circumstances, so these two updates are likely meant to resolve those issues.
The Chrome App Launcher now makes it easier to work with Google Drive Apps; at least on the Chrome Dev channel. You have to enable the experimental view but once you do, you can open up your Drive App without searching for compatible files. Read more »