At MWC 2015, Chinese manufacturer Huawei announced its first foray into Android Wear. The company unveiled the rather predictably-named Huawei Watch today, and it's already got tongues wagging around the world. The screen is a 1.4 inch, 400 x 400 pixel AMOLED affair which is, importantly, completely round.
Packing 286 pixels per inch, the Sapphire crystal screen has a higher resolution than the Watch Urbane launched by LG today. The stainless steel case gives the watch a quality look and feel, and the device boasts a bevy of on-board sensors for tracking different activities. What is likely to prove the Huawei Watch's key to success, however, is the fact that it so closely resembles the look of a regular watch.
Mobile World Conference 2015 is here, and the news is coming fast and furious. The most anticipated announcement, however, has been Samsung's Galaxy S6. As expected, the smartphone is here, but so is its more beautiful sibling, the S6 Edge. Potentially more important though, is Samsung Pay -- a mobile payment system to rival Apple Pay and Google Wallet.
Unfortunately for Samsung, pundits and analysts have been talking all doom and gloom for the company, something else Apple has had to face. Much like Apple, the analysts are dead-wrong to count out Samsung in the mobile market. Quite frankly, the Android market is the Samsung market -- no other brand of smartphone is more ubiquitous in public. So are these announcements enough? Are they enough to finally make the doom and gloom pundits zip their lips?
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HTC is the company many Android-purists root for. Besides the Nexus line of device (which HTC has participated), going with HTC gets you a fairly stock experience with some useful additions. Its "One" line has been massively popular with both users and the media, thanks to its great performance and solid build quality. Just feeling the metal in your hands lets you know thought and care went into the design.
Today, HTC announces an all-new addition to its smartphone lineup; the One M9. This is an evolutionary upgrade from the M7 and M8, which finally drops the controversial dual-rear-camera design. While this smartphone was expected, some other new hardware was not -- HTC also announces a wearable called "Grip" and a VR-headset called "Vive".
Lenovo is a manufacturer under a lot of scrutiny right now. While the Superfish debacle may be fresh on your mind, the company is much more than that onetime mistake. The company's hardware is legendary; well built and respected by both home users and the enterprise alike. The company has since apologized and vowed to stop loading bloatware on machines. In other words, while Superfish was bad, the fallout is benefiting consumers, as the new PC experience will be improved. Kudos to the company for learning from its mistakes and actually improving as a result.
Moving beyond mistakes, Lenovo is at Mobile World Conference 2015, where it is announcing new products. Today, the company announces three new tablets; one is running Windows 8.1, while the other two are running Android. Which OS do you prefer on a tablet?
Censoring of the web in China is nothing new. Services like Gmail often find they are blocked, and there are constant battles on both sides of the Great Firewall of China to get information in and out of the country. The most recent battleground has been online usernames, and new regulations have come into force that dictate what is acceptable, and what is not.
China has long tried to force internet users to use their real names online and just before the new regulations took effect, more than 60,000 online accounts were deleted because they failed to comply. The Cyberspace Administration of China said that big names including Alibaba and Baidu had removed the accounts which infringed the guidelines for various reasons.
Starting in April, IKEA will start to sell furniture with integrated Qi wireless charging points. The Scandinavian flat-pack furniture store, famous for the likes of the BILLY bookcase, plans to launch a range of home furnishing in North America and Europe, before extending the rollout worldwide.
You might expect that sofas would be a natural home for wireless charging -- just pop your smartphone on the arm so it can power up while you watch your favorite shows -- but in fact it is tables, desk and, surprisingly, lamps which will boast the feature. It's not just phones like the Galaxy Note 3 and Nexus 5 that can take advantage of wireless power, but also tablets like the Nexus 7.
It’s fair to say, Windows 8.x has enjoyed something of a rollercoaster ride when it comes to usage share. While it’s never been a popular operating system (quite the opposite in fact), share has gone up and down, with gains one month being wiped out by losses the following month.
NetMarketShare’s monthly usage share figures provide a decent guide as to how Microsoft’s tiled OS is doing, and it’s usually pretty interesting, although February was a fairly unexciting month.
The change in Google's narrative over the past few months has been very interesting to watch. The recent "Peak Google" proclamations remind me of Facebook's post-IPO narrative in 2012. Conventional wisdom back then was that Facebook's decline was imminent as mobile was not a meaningful part of their revenue. Of course, Facebook's app install ads and other mobile initiatives disproved that narrative in short order.
Some observers even make it seem as though Google's growth has seen a major slowdown in 2014. Interestingly, both Google's revenue and operating profit growth accelerated in 2014. This isn't to say that mobile does not pose a challenge to Google. It does, but it is important to understand exactly what those challenges are and the way forward. By looking at Google's financial reports, their biggest challenge is a decline in operating margins. This has been triggered by increase in search advertising on mobile, which delivers lower CPCs. While consumers used search on PCs for more involved research on products/services, the interaction window for mobile search is shorter. Lower ad engagement led to fewer bids on keywords and consequently, lower CPCs and margins.
Late on Friday, the White House released a draft proposal for the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2015. It is supposed to grant greater privacy rights to individuals, and sets out a framework in which codes of conduct can be constructed.
The bill comes in response to growing concerns about the amount of data companies store about their customers and users, particularly online. Government surveillance has brought privacy into the public eye, and this is the government's attempt to be seen righting wrongs.
Raspberry Pi celebrates its third birthday today. Well actually it doesn’t, as the super-affordable ARM GNU/Linux computer was launched on February 29 2012, in what was (obviously) a leap year, but it’s close enough.
In that time the Raspberry Pi has achieved staggering success. Two months ago it was revealed total sales had surpassed 5 million (and the Raspberry Pi Foundation says another half a million have been sold in this month alone), with new and updated models launched in the past year.
Facebook found itself under fire last year for imposing a real name policy. Drag artists, the LGBT community, musicians and other groups were among those who felt they should be able to use a name other than the one that appears on their birth certificate. The social network ultimately backed down, but the whole debacle left something of a bad taste in the mouth.
People are able to use "the authentic name they use in real life" to identify themselves on the site, and Facebook has opened up gender options further. There's no need to feel limited by the male or female labels, or even make a selection from a readymade list -- you can now specify whatever gender you want. But is this enough?
It was big news last year when Microsoft announced that it would officially start selling the Xbox One in China. The original September launch date came and went ("Despite strong and steady progress, we are going to need a bit more time to deliver the best experiences possible for our fans in China"), but eventually the next gen console made it on sale.
Although China gave the green-light for the sale of 5 million Xbox units, actual sales have been way, way below that. Launch numbers (including pre-orders) were just 100,000 units, and the company responsible for Xbox One sales in China has posted huge losses.
VideoLAN has announced the release of VLC Media Player 2.2.0 (and64-bit) for the desktop, along with coordinated releases for iOS, Android, and the first public betas for Android TV, WinRT and Windows Phone.
The desktop build now features a built-in extension manager. No need for manual tweaking any more, just click Tools > Plugins and Extensions, browse and install whatever you need.
Cloud storage is the future. You can try to hold out, but all that kicking and screaming won't do you any good. While physical storage for home users won't be going away any time soon, the convenience of the cloud will convert many.
It feels like all the top cloud storage companies are eager to give away space nowadays, so it can be hard to choose. My choice is Dropbox, however, as it is cross-platform, including Linux distributions like Ubuntu and Fedora. Today, Dropbox announces that Vodafone smartphone users can get 25GB of storage for free.
Buying a new laptop, tablet or other device should be a fun experience. No one likes spending money, because let's be honest -- you work hard for it. When you finally decide to make that purchase, you want to be sure that you bought the right machine. Not only do you want to be sure that it is powerful enough, but you also don't want to pay for power you don't need. A wrong decision can turn a fun experience into regret.
Unfortunately, it can be confusing for the non-tech oriented consumer. Intel's battery-sipping Atom processors can be brilliant for low-cost machines, but the naming conventions are convoluted and can confuse customers. This is changing, however, as Intel is rebranding the Atom line.