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  1. Live on stage at Nokia World 2013, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum announced the instant messaging service now has 350 million monthly active users. That's up by 50 million since August, when the network announced it had hit 300 million. Koum also announced that some 250,000 users per day are registering for WhatsApp using Nokia devices — including Symbian, Asha, and Lumia handsets — over 7 million per month. source
  2. BlackBerry’s CMO Frank Boulben has confirmed the BBM messenger for Android and iOS will be released “within days”. The client has been teased a lot in the past few months with the promise the released date is getting closer. We even saw a beta version makes it to the Apple’s AppStore, but it was quickly taken down. Well, it seems the BBM is finally ready and its arrival is only a matter of days. Frank Boulben shared this info alongside other reassuring piece of info that BlackBerry is doing well and the development is going according to plan. You can find about the open letter from BlackBerry to its partners and customers right here. According to BlackBerry six million people have already signed up to be notified for the released of the BBM on Android and iOS. SOURCE
  3. Even though over 10 million people have downloaded BBM for iOS and BBM for Android, we told you that a further update would be necessary for the voice and video calling features of the service to work. On Sunday, Andrew Bocking said that those with BBM for iOS and BBM for Android will be able to make voice and video calls within months. And Bocking should know, considering that he is Executive VP of BBM for BlackBerry. While Bocking says that BBM will always be free, the Canadian OEM wants to monetize the app. One way will be with BBM Channels. Appearing Sunday on CBC’s The Morning Edition, Bocking said that this will be the way for BlackBerry to make money off of BBM. Calling Channels a "social engagement platform within BBM," the executive says that it spreads the "BBM experience to brands, artists, businesses and communities, you will now be able to connect with individuals and groups in real time." CBC says that BBM Channels will launch soon, although the service might remain in beta for some time. Speaking of BBM, Bocking says that "We continue to plan to evolve the service and keep making it more engaging and have more reasons why people will come back to use the service." With BlackBerry looking to monetize Channels as a way to profit from BBM, we could be looking at a new BlackBerry, more software oriented with a focus away from handsets. source: phonearena
  4. BlackBerry as a company and as a platform may be seeing its market share dropping, but the BlackBerry Messenger app has been very popular since it was released on Android and iOS this past week. The app has seen pretty substantial download rates even with its waiting list to actually use the app. But, that wait list has been removed and users are now free to get their BBM on. BBM has been popular on both Android and iOS, which makes it hard to tell if more BlackBerry users have upgraded to Android over the years than they have to iOS. The iOS App Store shows BlackBerry Messenger as number 2 on the list of free iOS apps, while the Google Play Store is showing BBM at number 7 in the top 10 free apps, and it has passed the 10 million download mark to slide into Google Play's ambiguous 10 million to 50 million download category. It only took BBM one day to break the 1 million download mark on Google Play, and it is not slowing down just yet. Unfortunately, iOS doesn't give even general download numbers, so we don't know how big it is there, but given how high it is on the top charts, it must have quite a few downloads. And, the best news so far is that no one on Android or iOS needs to worry about the wait list anymore. If you download BBM, you should be able to sign up and get going right away. source: phonearena
  5. Mobile gaming giant Rovio has launched its latest title on Android and iOS today. Angry Birds Go is a free "kart" racer based in the Angry Birds universe, featuring feathered friends from the popular artillery shooter. If you've played Mario Kart or any similar titles you'll know what to expect here — fast-paced 3D racing with a focus on power-ups and weapons, featuring familiar characters (birds and pigs, in this case.) There's a variety of game modes to choose from besides a straight-up race to the finish, including Time Boom, Fruit Splat, Champion Chase and Mega Match. Naturally you can also upgrade your vehicles by earning points in-game or buying them through in-app purchases — and you can add more characters to the game by capturing Rovio "Telepod" toys with your devie's camera. The base game itself, however, is completely free. -|dOWNLOAD LINK|-Apple iTunes StoreGoogle Play Store Source
  6. Good news Family Guy fans. The San Francisco-based game studio TinyCo has just announced that it has teamed up with Fox Digital Entertainment to build an official mobile game for the popular TV show, which first debuted back in 1999. Headed to Android and iOS in 2014, the title is said to feature an original story based on the show’s 212 episodes. Fox says that in the game, players will adventure throughout the city of Quahog, recruiting and confronting popular characters “TinyCo were really passionate about what they wanted to do with Family Guy,” Rick Phillips, senior vice president at Fox Digital Entertainment, told Polygon. Saying the company had interest from multiple developers in tackling the source material, “We thought the guys from TinyCo could build a game that’s truest to the brand and IP. - Michael McWhertor of PolygonAndrew Green of TinyCo told Polygon that theFamily Guy mobile game will feature elements of resource management, but that its focus is on character and story, with a “large meta-arc” that will play out many months after release through regular updates." Not much else is known about the game at this point, but it sounds like Fox and TinyCo are putting a lot of work into it. Apparently it’s been in the works for over a year, and both sides seem intent on making a quality game that’s faithful to the show. The news of the game instantly brings to mind another iOS title for a popular Fox TV series: The Simpsons: Tapped Out, which EA has had a lot of success with. Even with the stacks of IAPs, if this game plays anything like that one, it’s in good hands. Look for the Family Guy mobile game in 2014. Source
  7. A published report out of China on Saturday says that web app versions of Nokia Music are coming to the iOS and Android platforms. This is despite other rumors that have the service shut down once Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia closes. Others expect Nokia Music to merge with Xbox Muisic after Redmond based Microsoft signs on the dotted line to close the deal. There is no indication when Nokia Music will be made available to iOS or Android. But we have some leaked training material along with images of the Nokia Music web app for other platforms. The Windows version of Nokia Music will be a native app and will support Windows 8/8.1 and Windows RT which means it will not be a Nokia exclusive. Source
  8. geeteam

    iOS Core Ported To Nokia N900

    Well known developer Winocm has managed to achieve “one of the core milestones” pertaining to a project he has been working on for quite some time. Those who follow the activity of the developer on his Twitter feed will more than likely know about the project he has been working on for quite some time. With a little help from Steven Troughton-Smith, Winocm has managed to port the core elements of Apple’s iOS operating system onto non-Apple hardware. The benefits of this port aren’t immediately known to the majority of iOS users, but it does represent a significant technical achievement. The “proof” of port images have been provided courtesy of Troughton-Smith and show the core port of iOS successfully booting and running on a Nokia N900 smartphone from 2009. That particular hardware was originally shipped by the Finnish company running the Maemo 5 operating system. In addition to the N900 success, the developer has also stated that his port will successfully boot on various other hardware pieces. It is extremely exciting news to know that this port is possible and effectively opens the door for others to look at the open-source implementation and build on it where necessary. In its current form however, it does appear to be for the purists and those who are extremely technically biased. There is currently no GUI support for this implementation – nor is there any planned in the immediate future – with the focus being on getting the XNU Kernel to boot on hardware other than the official Apple supplied kit. As previously mentioned, the port will also play nicely with hardware other than the Nokia N900. For those interested, Winocm has detailed a number of hardware setups that are capable of booting his work, including the Texas Instruments AM335x (BeagleBone/BeagleBone Black) (OMAP335X) and ARM RealView Platform Baseboard for Cortex-A8 (ARMPBA8). The XNU Kernel is essentially the “core” of iOS (and OS X for that matter) and was built by Apple over a decade ago to form the foundations of their two operating systems. Source
  9. With the World Cup, Football’s most revered and decorated tournament of them all, taking place in Brazil next summer, we’re going to be seeing a dramatic rise in the number of products related to the sport being released. The general interface, whilst pretty unspectacular, is clean and flat – a move many app makers have subscribed to since Apple introduced the ironed-out iOS 7. The Android iteration of the app appears to have been dealt many of the same characteristics, although since Google’s OS has been free of skeuomorphism for a long while now, the clean and minimal appearance looks good on Android as well. It covers all of the major leagues, including the States’ very own Major League, so no matter where you are, you can stay in sync with the goals, decisions and controversies around the clock. -|download links|- Google Play Store Apple iTunes Store Source
  10. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas will be released for mobile devices in December, Rockstar has announced. No exact price or release date has been given. Originally released in 2004 for the PlayStation 2, the new mobile version of the game will feature an improved draw distance, a wider colour palette, and new character and car models. Rockstar adds that Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Mobile will also feature a tweaked checkpoint system, iOS 7 controller compatibility, and new touch controls. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Mobile will be released for "select" iOS, Android, Kindle, and Windows Mobile devices, according to Rockstar. Mobile versions of Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City are currently available, alongside a port of the Nintendo DS' Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars.
  11. In case you missed it, yesterday we exclusively reported that OneDrive is getting a new “co-owned folders” feature. But the good news doesn’t stop here, as we have received more exclusive information regarding what’s to come with OneDrive. LiveSide has learnt that OneDrive will offer up to an extra 8 GB of storage for users when they complete certain tasks. Below is a screenshot showing the welcome screen outlining how you can get this extra storage: We understand that when OneDrive launches, there will be two bonus offers for users to get extra free storage, these include: Referral bonus – Users will be able to earn up to a maximum of 5 GB of extra storage by referring their friends to join OneDrive. For every friend you invite and actually joins OneDrive, both you and your friend will get an extra 500 MB of storage. You can only refer up to 10 friends for this offer. Camera roll bonus – Users will be able to earn 3 GB of extra storage by simply choosing to sync photos from their camera roll to OneDrive using the OneDrive app for iOS, Android, or the built-in Windows Phone function. We understand that these bonus storage will be in addition to the free 7 GB of storage that all new users get (or if you were one of the early SkyDrive adopters, 25 GB), and that they do not expire. As always, whilst we’re certain that the information is accurate at the time of posting, things may change between now and when OneDrive gets released. But this should be welcoming news to many – after all who wouldn’t like some extra free storage? Source
  12. Nowadays, saying ‘apple’ would bring associations with a tech company rather than a fruit, and things like iPod, iPhone and iPad are household names, but did you know that there is a hidden meaning behind the ‘i’, a meaning that was embedded in it when Apple launched its first iProduct? It all starts around 1997 when Steve Jobs made his return to Apple from NeXT Computers with a grand vision and with a company 6 months short of going bankrupt. Groups of Apple employees have formed, each one blaming others for the demise of the company, and Cupertino was practically all in shambles. Jobs spent the first few months cutting down on products and employees, and trying to regain focus. What remained were two product lines - the PowerPC and the Mac family, and it was time take a bet and put all chips on the table on one of these. It was the Mac family, with a plan for the first computer to ship with a new for the time Universal Serial Bus (USB) connector, and the first to shockingly skip the 3.5-inch floppy drive. This visionary approach to features will later become an Apple trademark. One more thing - Jobs had a radically different vision for its looks and design - it was not to be disassembled and upgradable (that was a stark difference from the vision of core Apple engineers like Wozniak), it was translucent and came in a fascinating array of vivid colors. It was like nothing else in the market, and right in its center was a CD-Rom drive. "We're betting the company on this computer," said Steve. "It needs a great name." As always, Jobs took the creative lead, thinking up names and he eventually came up with the name MacMan. Luckily, he was not the only one involved in the process. Ken Segall came to Apple directly from NeXT, with Steve Jobs, and he and his team were shocked when hearing the name. It must have taken a lot of convincing, but finally Steve agreed with his Apple co-workers to settle on a different name: iMac. "It's a full-powered Mac, so it can do a lot of things. But first and foremost, it will get you onto the Internet in 10 minutes, even if you've never used a computer before." And that’s where the ‘i’ in all succeeding Apple products comes from: ‘i’ for the Internet, the most important new feature of the iMac. The presentation board, however, liked the name for more than just that. The name was spot on - it was simple, it was obvious, it fit in the ‘Think Different’ Apple ideas. To them, it also stood for other things, things of different value like individual and imagination. These are the core Apple values built in the names of the current iPod, iPhone and iPad. We might also see an iWatch, and many other iDevices, but the values behind those products seem to remain a priority for Apple, don’t you think? Source
  13. The rumored iWatch smartwatch is not yet confirmed, but many top Apple execs as well as new hires are reportedly working on the product. An in-depth 9to5Mac profile of various existing and new Apple employees reveals that not only is the iWatch expected to look good and appeal to a variety of buyers, but also to offer plenty of smart features thanks to the many talents currently at work for it. Jeff Williams, senior vice president of operations; Bud Tribble, vice president of software technology; Bob Mansfield, special projects; James Foster, senior director engineering; Kevin Lynch, vice president of technology and Achim Pantfoerder, engineering manage are some of Apple’s execs involved in one way of the other in the iWatch project, at least according to the publication. Other iconic Apple employees including Jony Ive and Craig Federighi may also be involved with the project, considering that the iWatch is expected to closely work with other iOS devices. In addition to its well-versed team of designers and engineers, Apple has hired other professionals for their specific expertise, whether related to potential fitness, sleep or health features that may be related to a wearable device, or for their experience with designing and selling products that people want to buy. Jay Blahnik worked at Nike on the Fuel Band and other fitness companies until last year when he joined Apple. Roy Raymann, a recently Apple hire, researched sleep at Philips Research until leaving his position, and his résumé includes “extensive research into non-pharmacological methods of altering sleep quality,” and has experience in wearable sensors and miniaturization technology related to sleep. Ueyn Block is an optical engineering scientist who worked before arriving at Apple on technologies that can measure substances in the human body in a non invasive way. Nancy Dougherty joined Apple in late 2013 and is a hardware engineer with experience in medical products including wearable devices such as ingestible, Bluetooth-connected smart pills. Todd Whitehurst joined Apple last summer, and he previously worked on wireless smartphone-connected body sensors. Michael O’Reilly also joined the company last summer, after working among other things on an iPhone application for sensing pulse at his previous employer Masimo – O’Reilly was also included in Apple’s mid-December FDA meetings. Ravi Narasimhan joined Apple in late 2013, and he’s an expert in biosensors and wireless communications. The other day, Apple posted a job listing for a fitness and health devices tester, although that listing has since been removed. On top of potential iWatch features, other Apple recent hires will likely be involved in making the product look good. One such person may be Paul Deneve, former Yves Saint Laurent CEO who joined Apple in July 2013 to serve under Tim Cook for special projects. Former Nike designer Ben Shaffer, who worked on the FuelBand and other devices, will also be involved in the iWatch product. Angela Ahrendts, former CEO of Burberry, also knows a thing or two about selling fashion-related goods and could help with the iWatch product, although she isn’t specifically linked to this rumored iWatch team – instead she will be taking over the senior vice president of retail position. In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, Tim Cook assured customers, analysts and investors that the company is working on new products without confirming the iWatch, although given all the hires that Apple has made recently it’s pretty much a given. Source
  14. In a new interview with The Wall Street Journal, Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked for his thoughts on Google's pending sale of Motorola to Lenovo. "I wasn't surprised," Cook said, calling the deal "a logical transaction." Cook pointed out that Motorola was a financial disaster for Google — a point many others have raised as reason enough for a sale. But Apple's chief executive also took a shot at Mountain View, describing Motorola as something that Google wasn't "committed to." "I think it’s really hard to do hardware, software and services and to link all those things together," said Cook, repeating one of Apple's longstanding talking points. "That’s what makes Apple so special. It’s really hard, so I’m not surprised that they are not going to do that." Of course, Google still does those things — to some extent — with its Nexus line of Android products (and the Chromebook Pixel). Cook also brought out another point of trash talk we've heard before, saying that "the experience on Android tablets is so crappy because the app is nothing more than a stretched out smartphone app." When asked about the possibility of a larger iPhone, Cook was unsurprisingly evasive. "What we’ve said is that until the technology is ready, we don’t want to cross that line," he said. "That doesn’t say we’ll never do it. We want to give our customers what’s right in all respects." Cook highlighted resolution, clarity, contrast, and reliability as just some of the things Apple focuses on when researching displays. "There are many different parameters to measure a display and we care about all those, because we know that’s the window to the software." Earlier this year, the Journal reported that Apple may release two iPhones with bigger screens in 2014. And in response to Google's recent high-profile acquisition of Nest, Cook claimed that Apple isn't reluctant to buy large companies; the challenge is finding a good match. "We have no problem spending 10 figures for the right company that’s the right and that’s in the best interest of Apple in the long-term," he said. "None. Zero." Nest CEO Tony Fadell has thus far been unwilling to confirm whether his company held acquisition talks with Apple before selling to Google. In the full interview, Cook also discusses Apple's approach to emerging markets and its ongoing confrontation with Carl Icahn over returning more cash to investors. "We’re trying to build a company for the long term, so that’s how we look at these decisions," Cook said. Source
  15. According to ABI Research, 438 million handsets and 244 million smartphones shipped during the 3rd quarter of 2013. Samsung's share of the smartphone market grew to 35%, while Apple saw its share stay level at 14%. On the platform numbers, BlackBerry is down to its lowest point at just 1.5% of worldwide shipments. Windows Phone was the big mover once again, showing solid growth up 165% year-on-year, to finish at 4% of global shipments and the number three platform. Of course, Nokia essentially is the market for Microsoft, making up 95% of Windows Phone shipments. Android is still the top of the pile with its share of shipments growing to 80.6% of the market. ABI is also saying that based on the Q4 revenue guidance provided by Apple, the company is expecting to ship 53 million iPhones during the holiday quarter. And, if that turns out to be correct, Apple is looking at a big drop in Q4 shipment market share. It could drop all the way to 18.7% market share which is down from 22.6% in Q4 2012. source: phonearena
  16. According to Horace Dediu, a mobile market analyst that is familiar with Apple's financial strategies, Samsung and Apple together take hold of 87.9% of the profits, generated in the smartphone industry for the past 6 years. From the total of $215 billion, accumulated by the phone industry for the given period, roughly $189 billion went to the said duo, Dediu claims. However, it seems that Apple holds the upper hand, as it has generated significantly more profits than the Korean manufacturer - $132.87 billion went to Cupertino, while Samsung earned no more or less than $56.11 billion. The remainder of $26 billion is split between Nokia, BlackBerry, HTC, and LG. According to Dediu, Nokia's earnings for the last 6 years account for a total of $20.5 billion, which grants the Finnish company the third place among the most profitable smartphone manufacturers. HTC, on the other hand, lands on the fourth place with 2.8% of the total industry earnings, whereas BlackBerry and LG take the 5th and 6th place. Sony balances the books with 0% earnings, but Motorola scores an unpleasant financial result of -2.8%, which means that the company lost significantly more than it earned. $215b: Net phone operating profits earned last 6 yrs. Moto: -2.8% Sony: 0 LG: 1.2 HTC: 2.8 RIM: 1.9 Nokia: 9.5 Samsung: 26.1 Apple: 61.8 — Horace Dediu (@asymco) March 18, 2014 Source
  17. According to performance monitoring by Crittercism, a mobile solutions firm, the freshly-released iOS 7.1 has a crash rate of only 1.6%. This is the best stability achievement in iOS's recent history, with versions from 6 to 7 having crashes of above 2%. For example, iOS 7.0.4 had an app crash rate of 2.1%, which means that either testing went over really well, or Apple has done an impressive work of optimizing the latest installment of iOS. Reportedly, a significant number of iOS 6 users who hesitated to upgrade to iOS 7 have now switched to version 7.1. Also notable is how quickly the update was adopted. Ad network and analysis agency Chitika claims that 12% of the devices that accessed its ads were running iOS 7.1 about 45 hours after its release. That's all fine and dandy, but Apple customers have been complaining of poor battery life, drops in connectivity, and random reboots since installing the update. Other users, meanwhile, have been enjoying their iDevices as usual. Either way, Apple has not yet commented on the situation. Source
  18. Apple is looking to hire physiologists who can “design and run user studies related to cardiovascular fitness & energy expenditure.” This job listing effectively confirms rumors that Apple’s iWatch will be laden with health-tracking sensors and features. The job listing, first spotted by 9to5Mac, calls for someone who has experience with “indirect calorimetry” and “exercise testing,” which suggests the iThing is now in the testing phase. Apple wants to run user studies to test various health factors, including “calories burned, metabolic rate, aerobic fitness level measurement/tracking.” This job posting is the latest in a string of iWatch-related rumors. Earlier this week, 9to5Mac reported that Apple had hired sleep expert Roy J.E.M. Raymann from Philips Research to work on its iWatch. And last week, 9to5Mac reported that Apple was hoping to make health and tracking a main feature of iOS 8, in the form of an app called Healthbook, which would integrate with the iWatch. The job listing also calls for someone who pays attention to detail, is organized, and can “carry projects through to completion.” A screenshot of the listing is below: Source
  19. It looks like Apple will be putting sapphire displays in future iPhones after all. 9to5Mac reports that Apple’s manufacturing partner GT Advanced just ordered shipments of the Intego Sirius Sapphire Display Inspection Tool, which documents say “will increase the yield of high quality sapphire material from each boule and ensure that only high quality material enters the value stream.” This is the best evidence yet that the manufacturing plant in Mesa, Arizona will be home to the iPhone 6 sapphire display. “Lowering manufacturing and fabrication costs of sapphire is a key driver for accelerating the adoption of its use in new market segments such as cover screens for smartphones and mobile devices,” read documents obtained by 9to5Mac. “GT Advanced Technologies is working with key downstream technology providers to optimize fabrication processes and technologies to lower the cost of sapphire cover screen material.” Although sapphire could be used in multiple components in the next iPhone, these machines are tailored for “display-grade components,” according to 9to5Mac. There is a chance that the machinery could be part of an agreement with another partner, but an SEC filing uncovered by 9to5Mac seems to indicate that all current GT Advanced work is exclusive to Apple. Other recent shipments include furnaces and chambers, which transform sapphire crystals into material that the manufacturers can work with. GT Advanced has already ordered over 500 furnace and chamber systems, which could produce between 103 million and 116 million 5-inch displays in a year, according to analyst Matt Margolis. 420 machines are currently in the docket, which would nearly double that production. Source
  20. In an interview to Wired, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said that Apple should consider releasing an Android phone, which would let the company compete in two “arenas” at once. From Wired:“There’s nothing that would keep Apple out of the Android market as a secondary phone market,” said Wozniak–who, it should be noted, is no longer involved in the day-to-day workings of the company. “We could compete very well. People like the precious looks of stylings and manufacturing that we do in our product compared to the other Android offerings. We could play in two arenas at the same time.” There’s nothing preventing Apple from releasing an Android phone, since the Android project is open source, but the company will need to negotiate with Google for permission to include apps like Google Maps and Gmail. Of course it’s highly unlikely that Apple would take this up, for several reasons, including its already busy project roadmap, and the fact that it would be difficult to replicate the tight integration between iPhone and iOS on Android. Woz has in the past also suggested that Apple let Android and Windows Phone users use iTunes on their device. In the interview, Woz reveals that he has three iPhone 5s units, one in each color. He added that he doesn’t believe that Apple has stopped innovating, and that the company is probably waiting for the right time to release future products like the iWatch or a television: “The great products really come from secret development,” he said. “You put small teams of great people on them and they aren’t bothered by other people commenting on what they’re doing while they’re doing it. A whole new category of products doesn’t happen very often. It might happen once a decade. Sometimes you have to wait for one of those to come about.” Watch the full interview here; if something is missed, feel free to share below. Source
  21. A recent study put a bunch of different pieces of tech to the test to see which of them would be the most likely to break. The top of that list? The iPad Mini. Following close behind was the Samsung Galaxy S4. In fact, Apple and Samsung products dominated almost all of the list. The tests consisted of dropping the devices onto concrete and dipping them into water. The results of the drop and dip tests were then reconciled with other factors: the design of the devices and how likely they were to fall out of your hands and how much each device weighed. The tests were conducted by SquareTrade Europe. Kevin Gillan, managing director of the firm, had this to say about their research and why it’s so important to consumers: “We are all investing in more and more technology, so when we do we want to make sure that we are going to get our money’s worth. By putting devices through tests that replicate real life situations, we want to help people make smart choices when it comes to choosing gadgets and ensure they are covered against accidental damage.” Here’s the entire list below, the higher the number, the more likely the device will break: 1. iPad Mini – 7.52. Samsung Galaxy S4 – 73. iPad Air – 6.54. Samsung Galaxy S3 – 6.55. iPhone 5C – 66. Nexus 7.1 – 67. Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 – 5.58. iPhone 5S – 5.59. Nexus 7.2 – 510. Moto X – 4.5 Is durability a factor that guides your purchasing decisions? Or do you slap a case on your device and forget about it? Let us know in the comments. Source
  22. Beyond its big presence in Best Buy stores across the country, Samsung also has a few showrooms of its own scattered about. One such location was visited recently by Kontra, an anonymous “veteran design and management surgeon” who is well-known by Apple bloggers and enthusiasts. Kontra has been sharing his smart and snarky takes on Apple and its competition for quite some time now, and his most recent escapade took him to a Samsung Galaxy store in New York. As you can imagine, he had some thoughts to share regarding his experience there. “One step into the store, there is an extremely awkward concrete step with yellow-black warning stripes for a grand entrance,” Kontra noted in a post on his blog. “This would have never happened if Steve Jobs were alive or Judge Judy Koh wasn’t on vacation.” He shared 14 thoughts about the Samsung Galaxy store on his blog, some of which are merely quips and some of which offer interesting insights. Kontra said that the crowd in the store was a fraction of what one might find in an Apple Store at any given time, and he says the location would be “an ideal venue for students of store design and merchandizing to study (and compare to Apple Stores) matters of attention to detail, purpose, focus, traffic management, customer care and, dare I say, profitability.” Why profitability? As Kontra noted, Samsung doesn’t actually sell any merchandise in the store. He continued, “As you’d expect, the whole Samsung Galaxy experience is gamified. You get a check-in card (see above), NFC-activated on the spot via a Galaxy phablet, to harvest your contact info. If you get enough points (by familiarizing yourself with various store sections) you get freebies like food, t-shirts and ‘a chance to win Samsung products.’” “The unsurprising thing about the store was that I encountered absolutely nothing that failed to unsurprise me,” Kontra concluded, joking that perhaps he should return to the Samsung store every day, as his check-in card suggests, in order to better understand its purpose. Source
  23. The Concepts iPhone team is back at it, fleshing out the latest analyst forecast for the iPhone screen size in a video format. Korean securities firm KDB Daewoo Securities Research, recently issued a note to clients on the expected specs for the Apple iPhone 6 that is supposed to arrive in late summer/early fall this year. The report says that the Apple iPhone 6 will be available in two sizes, one with a 4.7 inch to 4.8 inch screen, and the other with a 5.5 inch glass. The resolution on the displays will be 1080 x 1920 and 1280 x 2272 respectively. The glass will be made of indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) instead of the low-temperature polysilicon (LTPS) employed on current iPhone models. This setup would leave Apple with a three-pronged approach to screen sizes, as it will likely keep the current 4" iPhone 5s as a mid-range model, as usual. While a 5.5" iPhone "phablet" sounds rather fishy, Display Search analysis back in January reiterated diagonal being in the cards for the iPhone, so Apple might at least be toying around with the idea. Here's what the Apple portfolio might look like this year, if the 4.7" and 5.5" iPhones indeed materialize, in a concept video designed by Enrico Penello and Ran Avni. Source
  24. Samsung, as you’ll likely be aware, has a colossal advertising budget, regularly throwing tens of millions into new ad campaigns. While some, like the Samsung Style dance, have left us cringing, the company has regularly taken the more traditional approach of involving itself in major sporting events, and having been a major partner in the London 2012 Summer Olympics, the company is also looking to capitalize on Moscow’s 2014 Winter Games. But while its tactic of giving away a free Galaxy Note 3 to every athlete may equate to some decent coverage when the TV feeds are beamed worldwide, there’s a catch, in that recipients of the free Note must obscure the Apple logo if they plan on using an iPhone during the opening ceremony. With social media being what it is, and fans able to get closer to the stars through mediums like Twitter and Instagram, participants of the Winter Olympics will likely be using their smartphones to take snaps of their personal highlights and share them with the world. But while a free Galaxy Note 3 will be offered to each and every athlete, they’ll have to essentially hide their affinity to the Apple iPhone, or indeed any other brand, as part of the deal. I’m sure many of us would happily hide our beloved handset – whatever its denomination – for a couple of hours if there was going to be an expensive, highly sought-after new smartphone on the other side. With that said, quite a few Olympians are wealthy enough to rebuff such an offer, and with Samsung’s requirement that Apple logos be covered up seeming a bit extreme, it will be interesting to see how many Galaxy Notes we can spot once the Games begin. The ban on logos does extend to any other brand of smartphone aside from Samsung, although since the Cupertino company is its main industry rival – allied to the fact that there’s certainly no love lost between them – means there’s little doubt that these guidelines have been set mainly to quell the ubiquitous bitten Apple logo. Supposing you were an athlete competing in Moscow, would you hide your iPhone / Lumia / Xperia in order to play along with Samsung’s rampant ad campaign? Do share your thoughts below! Source
  25. Apple has been sued for $2 Billion by the German company, IPCom, due to alleged patent infringements. The patent is for mobile phones giving priority to emergency calls over a cellular network. IPCom purchased the patent from Robert Bosch, a German automobile parts maker. Seeing as this technology has existed in mobile phones for a long time, and virtually every phone uses the feature, it's hard to see IPCom as having a real shot at getting an amount anywhere near what they're asking for in the lawsuit. It seems to be a very obvious case of patent trolling, which is heavily practiced in the consumer technology space. This isn't the first time, however, that this patent has been brought up in courts. Nokia has also been sued by IPCom, along with other cell phone manufacturers. HTC, Vodafone, Ericsson, Nokia, and Apple have all previously attempted to get this patent deemed invalid by the European Patent Office. IPCom demands $2.12 Billion from Apple for the patent infringement. Apple hasn't been reached for comment on the lawsuit, but the Cupertino-based company's legal team probably isn't sweating bullets. Source
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