When Samsung announced the Galaxy Round, the company's first smartphone with a curved display, many folks (myself included) struggled to see the real-life benefit that such a form factor would allegedly bring. The natural direction for the curve is considered to be on the long side, and not on the short one as the Galaxy Round has it. The rather gimmicky Roll Effect feature, that shows users some information when tilting the device, did not add more credibility to the touted benefits of the Galaxy Round either.
Rival Android maker LG has also announced its first smartphone with a curved display, that is called G Flex. The company markets it as the "world's first 'real' curved smartphone", in a (clever) attempt to take advantage of the negative feedback that the Galaxy Round has received so far.
Surface is the tablet market's laughing stock. Microsoft has introduced the two-slate lineup in an attempt to steer consumers away from Apple's iPads and the myriad of Android tablets, by luring them with Windows and its services. In theory, the idea sounded great when the lineup was unveiled in June, last year, showing plenty of promise from the get-go but, as it turns out, most people only want Windows on their desktops and laptops, and not on tablets. The lineup has yet to make great strides in the business segment also.
The moment of truth was in mid-July when Microsoft revealed a $0.9 billion write-off related to Surface RT inventory adjustments. This has clearly shown that the software giant planned to sell a lot more units while the market had other plans, which involved (yes, you guessed it) iPads and Android tablets. Fast-forward a quarter later and Microsoft is now carefully choosing its words, saying that Surface sales have since more than doubled but without announcing an exact number of units that were shifted during the three months ending September 30. But, the $400 million in revenue that the lineup generated still points to a bleak quarter, despite a different picture being portrayed.
I am the sort of person who values a versatile device, that lends itself well both to productivity work and content consumption, in a portable package. In my opinion, Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 strikes the right balance and is definitely the tablet that I would buy if I were in the market for such a device. On the productivity side, it is an uncompromised machine that can run every piece of software that I want or need. Unquestionably, it puts Apple's new iPad Air to shame in this regard.
But the same cannot be said about the Surface 2, that ships with Windows RT 8.1. The tablet is not as good as the Surface Pro 2 when it comes to productivity work as it cannot run the same software nor is it as good as the iPad Air when it comes to content consumption, due to a still inferior app selection. But what happens when the Surface 2 is compared to the iPad Air, from a productivity standpoint?
In early August, Surface Pro received a $100 price cut in an attempt to lure prospective buyers, following the less than stellar revenues generated by Microsoft's tablet lineup. The base model would run for a more accessible $799, with the flagship costing $899. Now, the software giant is at it again, slashing the price of its Surface Pro one more time.
The latest Surface Pro price-cut comes in response to the arrival of the new Surface Pro 2, that touts significantly better battery life and performance improvements and a price that kicks off at $899 for the base model. Unsurprisingly, Microsoft wants to give Surface Pro a real fighting chance at raking in more sales before pulling the plug.
Even though LG is the second-largest Android smartphone vendor and showing strong growth in the market, the South Korean manufacturer does not want to put all its eggs in one basket. The company is now also pursuing success with Firefox OS, with its new Fireweb smartphone.
The smartphone launches today in Brazil, alongside the Alcatel Onetouch Fire, at local mobile operator Telefonica Vivo. Like other Firefox OS devices, the Fireweb is aimed at the low-end smartphone market, featuring modest hardware by modern standards.
I will admit to being intrigued by BBM. I have never owned a BlackBerry smartphone (nor do I have plans to buy one) so I have never had the chance to find out what all the fuss is about. But, after the Canadian maker revealed that the service will also arrive on Android and iPhone, my interest piqued.
And I am definitely not the only one who is interested. Following the second release on rival platforms, in its first 24 hours on Apple App Store and Google Play BBM surpassed 10 million downloads, which is impressive for a service that only had 60 million users before the second half of the year.
Starting today, Mac users are able to officially upgrade to OS X 10.9 Mavericks. However, instead of charging its customers for the newest Mac operating system, like the company did before, Apple is giving it away for free. If that sounds familiar, it's because it is. Microsoft is doing the same thing with Windows 8.1, which is also available as a free upgrade to all Windows 8 users.
"Mavericks is an incredible release, which introduces significant new apps and features, while also improving the performance and battery life of your Mac", says Apple senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi. "We want every Mac user to experience the latest features, the most advanced technologies, and the strongest security. We believe the best way to do this is to begin a new era of personal computing software where OS upgrades are free". Therefore, it should not come as a surprise if Apple chooses to adopt the same strategy for the next release of OS X, which will likely arrive next year.
Alongside the new Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1320 Windows Phone 8 phablets and the Lumia 2520 Windows RT 8.1 slate, Nokia also announces a number of popular apps and games that are set to launch on Microsoft's tiled smartphone operating system.
Undoubtedly, the most popular new title to grace Windows Phone Store is Instagram. The photo-sharing social network will finally launch its offering "in the coming weeks", roughly a year after Microsoft introduced its latest smartphone operating system.
As Microsoft's hardware partners are moving away from Windows RT, Nokia is now embracing the controversial tablet operating system. The Finnish maker has officially unveiled the Lumia 2520, which runs Windows RT 8.1, alongside two new Windows Phone 8 phablets, the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1320. It is a rather bold bet seeing as the tablet OS has never been popular with slate buyers, with vendors only shifting 200,000 units in Q2 2013.
Let us take a look at what the Lumia 2520 offers. The Windows RT 8.1-based tablet comes with a 10.1-inch AH-IPS display with a resolution of 1080 by 1920, 665 nits of brightness and Gorilla Glass 2 on top. Like the Lumia 1520, it is powered by a 2.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and 2 GB of RAM. Inside there is a large 8,000 mAh battery which, according to Nokia, helps deliver up to 11 hours of video playback.
Finnish mobile maker Nokia has taken the wraps off its latest, and largest, Windows Phone 8 devices, called the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1320. The smartphones represent the company's entry in the phablet market, which so far has been dominated by Android handsets from Samsung's Galaxy Note series.
Nokia has built the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1320 around Windows Phone 8 Update 3, that ships with support for 1080p displays and quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processors. Both hardware features have been available on Android smartphones but were missing from devices running Microsoft's tiled OS which only supported up to 720p displays and older Snapdragon S4 processors.
With Android handsets and iPhones taking the lion's share of the smartphone market, Windows Phone is quite often overlooked by most consumers in their purchasing decisions. The popularity, or lack thereof, of devices running Microsoft's mobile OS likely plays an important part but it also detracts folks from getting the smartphone that may be right for them. Ask yourselves how many of your acquaintances have been in this position.
Many do not even take Windows Phone into consideration and the ones that do easily find a couple of reasons to dismiss the platform and jump on the Android or iPhone bandwagon. Yes, Windows Phone may not be the right answer for everyone but it might be for more people than naysayers think. And I have got 10 good reasons why consumers should give Windows Phone a chance.
The name "Maxthon" likely evokes some memories for long-term Windows users. The browser, that was once known as MyIE 2, is among the oldest of its kind, having launched on Microsoft's OS more than a decade ago. It has never risen to the popularity of Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer, but it has been a perennial alternative ever since. To keep up with the changing computing landscape, the company behind Maxthon has also launched the browser on Android and iOS.
And, now, Maxthon arrives on Windows Phone 8 as well where, once again, its biggest rival is Microsoft's Internet Explorer, which the former has long struggled to surpass in market share. But, this time around, the balance can tip in Maxthon's favor as smartphone users are not as enamored with (or, better said, glued to) Internet Explorer as Windows PC users used to be. But there is one barrier to overcome: Maxthon has to clearly best Internet Explorer. And that may prove to be, once again, a difficult task.
Microsoft has officially released Windows 8.1 to consumers, following the operating system's availability on MSDN and TechNet. The new version addresses many of the issues that plague Windows 8, and adds a number of new features that, among others, make it easier to use the Desktop and relegate the Modern UI. PC users should definitely be happier with Windows 8.1.
If you want to try Windows 8.1 before installing it on your primary devices, your best option is to use a virtual environment. VMware offers two of the most popular dedicated applications, and in this article I will show you how to leverage VMware Player and VMware Workstation to install Microsoft's latest consumer operating system for testing on a virtual machine.
According to a new survey conducted by J.D. Power among US mobile operator subscribers, Apple and Samsung lead the pack on "overall satisfaction performance". The iPhone maker ranks first for AT&T and Verizon customers while Samsung takes the top spot for Sprint and T-Mobile subscribers.
The J.D. Power survey identifies Apple and Samsung as the sole smartphone vendors to rank above the average value on all four counts -- performance, exterior design, features and ease of use. The findings of the survey are based, according to J.D. Power, on the experiences of 16,421 users who are customers of the aforementioned four-largest local mobile operators and have had their current smartphone for less than a year.
There is no denying that Windows 8.1 dwarfs Windows 8 in every single way that matters. The new operating system is more feature-rich, more suited for tablet use, more suited for PC use and far closer to what a modern OS should be like. The warm feelings towards it are reflective of how Windows 8 was like at first -- let's just say that the standards were low to begin with.
But for some strange reason, Microsoft still does not prioritize having a notifications panel in any of its consumer operating systems. This is an oversight that I thought the software giant would address in Windows 8.1, seeing as it has been a major known problem since Windows 8 arrived. However, once again Microsoft has decided to not include it. And, to be frank, it is one of the worst decisions that the company made this year. I bet not many will miss Steve Ballmer. I sure won't.