Apple released its third-generation iPad on March 16th and I purchased mine one day later on the 17th. There were no lines at my local Best Buy when I went to buy the new model. In fact, there were still more than 100 new iPads in stock when I picked up my iPad more than 36 hours after it was released. The store was eerily quiet. It felt nothing like an Apple launch. More →
Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled its forthcoming major update to its Windows Phone platform — Windows Phone 7.1 “Mango.” We gave you live coverage of the event as well a hands-on look at the update, and now that the dust has cleared we can finally sit down and collect ourselves. In short, Mango looks awesome. We’ve seen plenty of promise in the Windows Phone platform right from the start, but we also thought Microsoft rushed the OS to market — understandably — and a lot of key features and functionality were missing as a result. Mango goes a very, very long way in bringing the emerging platform up to date, and Microsoft has named HTC, LG, Samsung, Dell, Acer, Fujitsu Limited, ZTE Corporation and of course Nokia as partners moving forward. Windows Phone 7.1 will be the launch platform for upcoming Windows Phones from Nokia, by the way, and Microsoft confirmed that Nokia has already built devices running Windows Phone 7.1 that are currently being tested in its labs. Mango will add more robust multitasking support, messaging threads, deeper social integration, a unified email inbox, voice-to-text and text-to-voice support, and about 500 other enhancements to the Windows Phone platform when it launches this fall. Hit the break for Microsoft’s full press release along with a video of some of the new features Mango will bring to the Windows Phone platform. More →
Paul Bryan, Microsoft’s senior director of business experiences product management for Windows Phone, has written a blog post that details Windows Phone Mango’s business productivity features. The update, which will be discussed in deeper detail during a press conference in New York City on May 24th, will include pinnable email folders for quick access from the homescreen, conversation view in email, server search, and a new Lync application for business chat users. Bryan also said there will be added capabilities for IT departments, including complex password support, information rights management support, and the ability to access hidden corporate Wi-Fi networks. “This week, we expect to exceed 16,000 apps available in the Windows Phone Marketplace,” Bryan added. We’ll be reporting live from Microsoft’s press conference on the 24th. More →
In a note to investors on Friday, Jefferies & Company analyst Peter Misek claimed knowledge of Apple’s fifth-generation iPhone. While most are now in agreement that Apple will not unveil its new iPhone until September this year at the earliest, thereby breaking its annual summer release cycle for the first time, the feature set coming in Apple’s next iPhone remains a topic of debate. Misek’s channel checks found that the next iPhone will be called the “iPhone 4S,” and it will feature minor cosmetic updates, Apple’s A5 processor, better cameras and HSPA+ support. More interestingly, perhaps, Misek claims that the next-gen iPhone will be picked up by both Sprint and T-Mobile. Of course we already knew Apple was testing an iPhone compatible with T-Mobile’s network, but Misek’s note is the first confident claim that the device will launch on T-Mobile since our exclusive report. Regarding 4G LTE compatibility, Misek says the Qualcomm LTE chip Apple would use in a 4G model is not available in the quantities Apple would need for the huge production volumes that are expected. This claim jibes with earlier reports that Apple’s iPhone is not likely to support LTE until next year at the earliest. More →
Apple’s iOS platform is now on its fourth iteration and from the second it was announced, iOS has been arguably the most cohesive and advanced mobile operating system in the world. That’s not to say iOS is perfect, as competing operating systems like Android have greatly accelerated their advancements in near light-speed fashion. With Apple’s next version of iOS due to hit in the coming months, here’s what we have to see in iOS 5. More →
In a recent blog post, Google Software Engineer Stanley Chen revealed the latest addition to Gmail’s feature set, Smart Labels. The new labeling system, which can be turned on via the Labs section of Gmail, tries to help you automatically organize incoming email. “Smart Labels automatically categorizes incoming Bulk, Notification and Forum messages, and labels them as such,” reads the announcement. “‘Bulk’ mail includes any kind of mass mailing (such as newsletters and promotional email) and gets filtered out of your inbox by default (where you can easily read it later), ‘Notifications’ are messages sent to you directly (like account statements and receipts), and email from group mailing lists gets labeled as ‘Forums.'” Smart Labels can be tweaked and customized to fit your workflow and function in harmony with Gmail’s Filters. The new feature is available to all Gmail users immediately. More →
Via a blog post today, foursquare founder Dennis Crowley announced an updated version of his company’s software that will be available to users “late tonight.” Reminiscing about his company’s past, present, and future, Crowley admits that he and his team have not been able to “expand the foursquare experience as much as they hoped to” over the last year. But that all changes today. Focusing on discovery, encouragement, and loyalty, foursquare will deploy several new features to its iPhone and Android applications (version number 3.0). Through a new “Explore” tab, users can input what it is they are looking for, getting recommendations from 4sq based on what’s around and where friends have visited. The company will try to encourage users to continue to explore their world with a revamped leader board. “You’ll see that we’ve replaced our old leader board (and its simple points system and Sunday night reset) with a sliding 7-day barometer of you and your friends,” writes Crowley. “Check-ins now trigger points for dozens of different types of actions.” Loyalty will be addressed by offering merchants additional ways to reward “swarms, groups of friends, regulars, newbies, or everyone.” Merchants will gain access to the new controls later this week. In closing, Crowley writes, “we’ve got really ambitious plans for the rest of the year and we’re excited to let you play with three big new pieces of the master plan.” Foursquare notes that an updated BlackBerry client is due out later this week — though it will not include many 3.0’s features — and that it is “working hard” on its Windows Phone and Symbian apps. More →
A new report suggests Apple will unveil the next version of its mobile operating system at a media event early next month. German Apple enthusiast blog Macerkopf.de cites a trusted source in claiming that Apple will reveal iOS 5 and new MobileMe features in early April. The timing of the rumor is in line with Apple’s announcements in years past; Apple held its iOS 4 event last year on April 8th. Among the more anticipated changes expected in iOS 5 is a completely revamped notification system. We have discussed Apple’s notifications system several times on BGR, and we even said iOS notifications were “as disruptive as notifications on a mobile device can possibly be.” Apple is well aware of the problem, and the company hired Rich Dellinger last year — the man widely regarded as being responsible for the fantastic notification system found on HP’s webOS platform. Apple has not yet confirmed any details surrounding the next version of iOS or an event next month. More →
As with several desktop and mobile platforms, Twitter is being out-tweeted on Windows Phone 7. Subjectivity aside, third-party Twitter clients often provide a great deal of functionality omitted from Twitter’s official clients. Such is the case with an independently-developed app that is quickly becoming the go-to Twitter experience on Windows Phone 7 devices. Beezz already provides a host of great functionality left out of the official Windows Phone 7 Twitter app, and a major update will add nearly all of the core features the app is currently missing. New features in version 1.2 of the Beezz app include:
- List support
- Option to open app directly to main timeline
- Saved Searches
- Old-style Retweet support
- New live tile, which will include timeline, mentions and DMs
- Picture Hub integration
- Internet Explorer integration (tweet a URL from within IE — very handy since there is no copy/paste yet)
- Bit.ly integration
- Conversation view
DevMob, Beezz’s developer, hasn’t yet given a time frame for the new update, but we can asure you that the team is hard at work prepping the new release. Hit the jump for a quick teaser video highlighting a few upcoming features and in the meantime, version 1.1 of the Beezz app is currently available in the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace for free. More →
The list of things that enterprise calendaring systems (e.g. Microsoft Exchange) can do that Google Calendar can not do is getting shorter and shorter. Today, the Big G announced a new feature it is folding into its online Calendar implementation: optional meeting attendees. As Google explains:
Guests’ roles in meetings tend to vary as well. Some people have to be there to lead the meeting or help make decisions, whereas others are gathering information they may be able to digest just as well via the notes. Without knowing which attendees are crucial and which are optional, it can be difficult to know which meetings you really need to attend.
With a couple clicks, you can openly communicate the importance of a meeting for each attendee. Click on the “Make some attendees optional link” above the guest list and then toggle the role of each attendee by clicking the icon next to his or her name.
The optional attendees feature should be rolling out to Google Calendar users shortly. Hit the read link to check out the official article. More →
If you’ve heard about the Kik messaging app, or as some would call it, “the new BBM”, you probably sat at the cool-kid lunch-table at school. Kik, a multi-platform messaging app designed to do one thing — communicate instantly and effortlessly with buddies — has absolutely exploded over the last few weeks. Originally on track to launch an innovative (and pretty cool) music-sharing, remote-controllable service, Kik soon found themselves creating a messaging app with some of their existing technology while the music service firmed up behind the scenes. After a pretty poor original launch (I tried Kik back then and the beta was definitely a beta — I uninstalled it soon after it was first installed), Kik stripped away almost everything until they ended up with one of the quickest and most reliable messaging apps around.
Kik has over 1.2 million unique users signed up, Kik CEO Ted Livingston told BGR yesterday evening. The company is expecting its user-base to cross the 1.75-million user mark any day. Ted even said that Kik had to charter a plane and load it up with extra servers to bring to their data center just to keep the service up and running to handle the influx of users. Kik’s growth is nothing short of remarkable, with a completely viral marketing initiative spreading like wildfire across Facebook and Twitter. What’s exciting is that Kik knows that their users expect an even better user experience, and even more features. Here is what Kik is planning on doing: More →
Nokia and the Symbian Foundation announced Monday some major changes surrounding the open source Symbian OS. First and foremost, the Symbian Foundation will no longer be responsible for OS development as of March 2011. Instead, Nokia will take on the task, leaving the Foundation responsible for licensing the software to manufacturers and other partners. Nokia says the move will allow it to issue updates more efficiently. As other manufacturers continue to look elsewhere, Nokia says it is still committed to the Symbian OS, which is currently the most popular smartphone operating system in the world by a wide margin. Hit the break for the full press release. More →
Last night, Google announced the addition of a Priority Inbox to its Gmail email service. As Google explains:
Priority Inbox splits your inbox into three sections: “Important and unread,” “Starred” and “Everything else.” As messages come in, Gmail automatically flags some of them as important. Gmail uses a variety of signals to predict which messages are important, including the people you email most (if you email Bob a lot, a message from Bob is probably important) and which messages you open and reply to (these are likely more important than the ones you skip over). And as you use Gmail, it will get better at categorizing messages for you.
The new feature has been rolling out to Gmail users since late last night. If you see “New! Priority Inbox” in the top right-hand corner of your Gmail window, you’ve got the new feature. Hit the jump to see a video explanation of just how the new inbox will improve your digital life (complete with Ragtime music). More →