If the winner of the next-generation console war were to be decided today, Sony would undoubtedly walk away victorious. The Xbox One debut has been an unmitigated PR disaster for Microsoft, which didn’t bother to ensure that it had simple, clear explanations in place for its various confusing policies surrounding used games, game-sharing and connectivity requirements. As a result, blogs have been reporting misinformation and gamers have been getting angrier and angrier. To make matters worse, several Xbox One policies aren’t very gamer-friendly, so many people remained upset even once the air had been cleared. But despite the PR nightmare Microsoft and its public relations firm are dealing with right now, it’s still way too early to declare a winner in the coming battle for gamers’ hearts and wallets. More →
Apple unveiled a fresh new vision for its mobile platform earlier this week and the responses have been mixed. While the broad look and feel of Apple’s mobile software have been maintained to an extent, iOS 7 is a pretty big departure from earlier versions of iOS. As such, panic ensued. According to noted designer Cap Watkins, who is currently Etsy’s design lead and has worked in the past with companies including Amazon and Formspring, most iOS 7 critics are missing the big picture because they fail to realize exactly what Apple showed the world this past Monday. More →
The ruggedized version of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S4 smartphone will launch later this month in the United States. AT&T announced on Thursday that it will begin taking preorders on Friday for the Galaxy S4 Active, a $199.99 Android handset featuring a 5-inch full HD display, a 1.9GHz quad-core processor, an 8-megapixel camera and Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. The phone will then become available beginning June 21st, the day after Samsung’s upcoming press conference. AT&T’s full press release follows below along with a video. More →
Apple fans who have been clamoring for a smartphone with a larger display may finally get their wish next year. According to a new report from Reuters, Apple is developing not one but two new iPhones with much larger displays for 2014 debuts. The report claims that Apple is testing one new iPhone model with a 4.7-inch display and a second with a massive 5.7-inch screen. Reuters’ unnamed sources in Apple’s Asian supply chain said Apple has been discussing the new phones with its supply partners preliminarily, but the company’s plans are always changing so it is unclear if Apple’s new iPhones for 2014 will actually launch with the screen sizes currently being considered.
Apple is reportedly working on two new iPhone models that will debut later this year — an iPhone 5S with an integrated fingerprint scanner and a cheaper iPhone model that will be available with several color options that are new to the iPhone line. The news comes from Reuters and it mirrors a number of earlier reports. “For this year, Apple is expected to launch two new models, widely referred to as the iPhone 5S, with new fingerprint technology, and a cheaper version in plastic casing, supply chain sources have said,” Reuters’ Clare Jim, Reiji Murai and Poornima Gupta wrote. “Apple plans to dress up the cheaper phone in a range of 5-6 colors to differentiate it from the more expensive model that has traditionally come only in black and white.” The report claims Apple may be targeting a $99 retail price for the new handset, and it also claims the launch of the cheaper iPhone may be delayed until next year.
What a long, strange trip it’s been. Once the most popular smartphone platform on the planet by a massive margin, Symbian is now officially dead. The Financial Times on Wednesday reported that Nokia has built and shipped the last batch of Symbian smartphones it will ever produce. The platform will now fade away, remembered only occasionally alongside other mobile operating systems that helped shape an industry before being crushed by their successors. More →
Google is on a mission to bring high-speed data service to American homes at the lowest possible cost to the consumer. Why? Logic dictates that faster data means more Internet usage, and more Internet usage means more Google services (and ads). The real explanation might not be that simple, however, and Citigroup analyst Jason Bazinet has a theory: Google Fiber is actually a ploy to drive down the cost of cable TV service. More →
Tech bloggers and reporters love to complain about dealing with public relations companies, but there’s a reason these firms exist — and a reason they get paid so handsomely. By working with PR firms on messaging and positioning when it comes to hot button issues, scenarios like the one that unfolded during Xbox boss Don Mattrick’s interview with GameTrailers might be avoided. Instead, Microsoft’s Mattrick told the world that there is a clear answer to critics who don’t like the Xbox One’s requirement for an internet connection: Just buy an old Xbox 360 and forgo the future of gaming. More →
Apple’s new iOS 7 software is undoubtedly polarizing. Unveiled on Monday, the reimagined mobile platform has harsh critics and avid fans. Some find it “positively mind-blowing,” while others find the new design to be an eyesore. Opinions will change over time, of course, and the currently available version of iOS 7 is merely Apple’s first developer beta, so the software will change a great deal before it finds its way to consumers’ iPhones and iPads this coming fall. Love it or hate it, however, one things is certain: Visually, iOS 7 is a drastic departure from the user interface Apple fans are used to. As such, Co.Design put together a great photo series that helps users visualize the evolution from iOS 6 to iOS 7. A few images follow below, and the full set can be seen by following the link in the source section. More →
Being the driving force behind change is never easy, but it’s especially difficult when powerful industry players do everything in their power to crush you. Such has been the story of Pandora, which added an interesting twist to its tale this week. Pandora, a pioneer in Internet radio, bought a terrestrial radio station in South Dakota on Tuesday. The move seems curious on the surface, obviously, but Pandora’s assistant general counsel Christopher Harrison penned a piece on The Hill Tuesday to explain the brilliant maneuver. More →
Is Samsung saving any surprises for its June 20th press conference? The world’s top smartphone vendor by sales volume has been a busy beaver lately, churning out smartphone after smartphone. The latest addition to the company’s always expanding portfolio may be its most intriguing in recent months. Samsung on Wednesday unveiled the Galaxy S4 Zoom, a smartphone with just one thing on its mind: capturing amazing photos. The S4 Zoom features a 16-megapixel camera with 10x optical zoom and image stabilization, a xenon flash, a 4.3-inch qHD display, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 8GB of internal storage, microSDXC support for up to 64GB of removable storage, and Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. The handset will begin rolling out this summer and we expect to get our first hands-on look at it next week. Samsung’s full press release follows below. More →
Excitement is growing among gamers around the world as they prepare for the launches of Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4. In Asia, however, only half of the video game fans in the region have cause for celebration. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Microsoft has pushed the launch of its Xbox One back to late 2014 in Asia, a year after the console debuts in the U.S. and other regions. Alan Bowman, Microsoft’s Regional VP for Sales and Marketing in Asia, told the newspaper that its next-generation console will be released in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and India late next year, and the executive didn’t even make any mention of when the Xbox One might debut in Japan.
When Google unveiled its Nexus 7 tablet with respectable specs and a $199 price tag, it opened up the Android tablet market to a whole new group of users. 7-inch tablets and other smaller-sized slates have since exploded in popularity, and even Apple felt the heat enough to launch its own iPad mini. The $199 price point made tablets a much more reasonable purchase for many people, but in 2013 Android slates could become an impulse buy. According to Digitimes’ sources within unnamed manufacturers in the Far East, several Android tablet vendors could begin selling $99 Android tablets as soon as the third quarter this year. The report notes that Asus already offers a tablet for $129 and Acer’s Iconia B1 retails for just $149, but the next wave of 7-inch slates could undercut these already affordable options.