Let’s be clear: I think that Windows 8 is in many ways a good operating system. But it is also a very polarizing one among longtime Windows users and that’s something Microsoft will ignore at its own peril. First, let’s go through Windows 8′s obvious virtues — it runs much more smoothly than earlier versions of Windows, it starts up more quickly and is generally a more stable platform than Windows 7. However, for a sizable chunk of PC users these plusses are outweighed by the giant minus of the big changes Microsoft made to the traditional Windows user interface. More →
Apple’s $200 million purchase of Topsy prompted speculation earlier this week on what the iPhone maker may do with the analytics firm. PeerIndex founder Azeem Azhar in an article on LinkedIn proposes Topsy as a way for Apple to reduce users’ reliance on Google Search on its devices. Instead, Apple would serve custom search results provided in part by Topsy technology. Topsy is a “search engine, at its heart,” Azhar writes. “And Apple doesn’t have a search engine. Instead, iOS relies on its frenemy Google.” Even though Google Search is no longer the only search option on iOS devices, many users still prefer it over Bing or Yahoo when looking for stuff online. A report in February claimed that the search giant may be paying Apple $1 billion per year in order for Google Search to be the default choice for users. More →
You don’t have to pay nearly as much as you’re likely paying now for cell phone service. Increasingly, cheaper cell phone plans are available through what are called “mobile virtual network operators,” or MVNOs. These MVNOs rent space from the major networks instead of building their own. MVNOs are increasingly popular; there are now more than 120 MVNOs with a combined 30 million customers. An example of just one company that is making real headway: Consumer Cellular, an MVNO that uses AT&T’s network, has increased its customer base from 400,000 to 1.3 million over the past four years. More →
Often called the Steve Jobs of China – a title he publicly said wasn’t appropriate – Xiaomi’s CEO Lei Jun said in an interview with Beijing News that Apple’s iPhone is still the best smartphone in the world, even though his company sells popular smartphone models running a customized version of Android. “iPhone is still the best smartphone on the planet,” Jun said. “For Xiaomi there’s a lot of space for learning and talent.” More →
After former BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins couldn’t manage to clean up the mess that co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie left behind, a full or partial sale looked like the company’s only way out the hole it found itself in. That might have indeed been BlackBerry’s only out, but the company instead decided to stay the course — Heins was let go, talks of a sale were cancelled and John Chen was appointed interim CEO. While Chen has merely been named interim boss, a new report from Reuters states that Chen is in it for the long haul and as such, the company’s fate may rest in his hands. More →
Amazon’s eReaders aren’t just for books anymore. A survey conducted by App Annie and IDC shows that although the iOS App Store and Google Play still dominate the mobile gaming world, the Kindle Fire, which uses Amazon’s own proprietary app store, was the most popular Android-based gaming tablet of Q3 2013. Of the 1,117 respondents, over 10% voted for the Kindle Fire as their favorite mobile gaming device, topping even Nintendo’s DS and 3DS lineup. Normal Android tablets with Google Play received closer to 5%. The survey also shows that Android’s smartphones are the most popular mobile gaming devices, amassing around 20% of total votes. Apple remains the undisputed leader of the mobile gaming scene, especially in terms of revenue, but Android is continuing to creep closer every quarter. More →
Samsung has been relatively quiet since the recent launch of its Galaxy Note 3 phablet and Galaxy Gear smartwatch, but the consumer tech giant reportedly has a big first quarter planned. According to a new report from South Korean news site ET News, Samsung is cooking up at least five new smartphones that will launch during the first quarter next year. The handsets will range from entry-level to high-end and the star of the show will reportedly be Samsung’s next-generation hero phone, the Galaxy S5. More →
The holiday console war is in full swing now and points are being scored on both sides. Sony came out strong, selling more than 1 million PlayStation 4 consoles during the box’s first 24 hours of availability alone. Then Microsoft’s Xbox One launched a week later and matched the PS4′s astonishing first-day sales performance. Things seemed to be leaning in the Xbox’s favor after sales of the new console crushed the PS4 at Walmart and Target on Black Friday, but PlayStation 4 supply constraints may have been to blame — Sony would later announce that it sold 2.1 million PS4 consoles so far and Microsoft has yet to issue a real response. Both consoles have their merits and either one seems like a solid buy this holiday season, but those considering the Xbox One should pump the brakes according to one reviewer. More →
If there’s one thing we feel confident in saying about Samsung’s upcoming Galaxy S5 smartphone it’s that it will have killer hardware. FoneArena points us to a new benchmark posted at GFXBench showing a mystery Samsung phone that features a 2K display with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels and a 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor. Given the resolution shown in the benchmark, FoneArena speculates that the mystery device might have “a 5.25-inch display since the pixel density of a 5.25-inch 2560 x 1440 pixels display would be 560 ppi.” While we don’t know for sure which new Samsung phone this is, it’s very likely that the Galaxy S5 will at least match the specs revealed in the benchmark. Earlier leaks have suggested that the Galaxy S5 will feature a 5-inch Super AMOLED display, a 16-megapixel camera, a 4,000 mAh battery, 3GB of RAM and Android 4.4 KitKat.
Ever since Andy Rubin stepped down from his post as Google’s Android boss, questions arose about what would be his next job within the company. And now The New York Times has given us the answer: Rubin is still working with androids, albeit of the “small a” variety. According to the Times, Google has put Rubin in charge of a new “moonshot” initiative “to create a new generation of robots” that will be used for manufacturing and for retail delivery operations. The most realistic scenario, say the Times‘ sources, is that Google will make a fleet of robots for “automating portions of an existing supply chain that stretches from a factory floor to the companies that ship and deliver goods to a consumer’s doorstep.” More →
While Nokia’s Lumia 1020 certainly has the most powerful camera of any flagship smartphone, Samsung is looking more and more determined to close the gap. Korea’s ETNews reports that Samsung is working on a 20-megapixel smartphone camera module that the company will release in the second half of 2014. ETNews says that Samsung is working to aggressively improve its smartphones’ cameras and is planning to release the 20-megapixel module even though it will be releasing its Galaxy S5 flagship phone with a 16-megapixel camera just a few months earlier. Of course, even a 20-megapixel module would only give Samsung smartphone cameras just half of what the Lumia 1020 camera offers with 41 megapixels, although there’s a lot more to camera quality than what shows up on the specs sheet.
Spotify has always been a double-edged sword for artists. Streaming music is a gargantuan business and one of the best ways to quickly attract an audience, but the pay rates are minuscule for all but the biggest acts on most services. Some artists have even publicly condemned Spotify, but up until now the company has never released official numbers to back up its claims that it shares an appropriate portion of its profit with the musicians that populate the service. More →
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