Alongside Euro-zone cell phone data, U.S. first-quarter 2015 phablet shipments are out from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. Depending on how the numbers are cut, fanboys can rally for their platform.
Spurred by iPhone 6 Plus, iOS showed strong performance, representing 44 percent of phablet sales. However, the number of iOS smartphone switchers from Android fell -- to 11.4 percent from 14.6 percent year over year -- supporting early anecdotal evidence that existing Apple customers are the most-likely 6 Plus buyers. Also confirming: Android smartphone conversions from iOS fell from 9.8 percent to 5.9 percent.
Apple's latest iPhones continue to be in high-demand in Europe half a year after their launch, leading up to a market share boost on the old continent according to a new report from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. And it is happening at the expense of Android, which, while still the most-popular smartphone operating system in Europe, is seeing part of its local users fleeing to iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
In Q1 2015, iPhones claimed 20.3 percent of the European smartphone market, a 1.8 percentage points increase over Q1 2014. During the first quarter of the year, 32.4 percent of new customers were Android defectors.
It has been a while since I last talked about Android distribution numbers. At the time, the first Jelly Bean iteration claimed the top spot, while Gingerbread was still on the podium. Lots of things have since changed, so it is now time to take another look at the state of Android releases.
As always, we start with the latest Android distribution and work our way back to the oldest. As you know, Android 5.1 Lollipop is the newest release available, officially announced two months ago, in early-March. However, it was made available starting a month earlier, since reaching 0.7 percent usage share, based on data collected by Google during a week-long period that ended on May 4. No popular handsets ship with it, and few software upgrades to the second Lollipop incarnation are available today.
Microsoft values its customers’ security, and it wants them to know that. The company announces its plans to frequently update Windows 10-powered desktops, laptops, phones, and tablets. At Ignite 2015 event, the company says that it will be pushing security updates every day instead of delivering them once a month.
Home users will be getting updates more often than ever, Windows chief Terry Myerson notes. Businesses, however, will remain sited on their monthly cycle -- popularly known as Patch Tuesday -- as the company plans to first test the update with home users and ensure that those codes aren’t breaking anything. Sounds reasonable.
Google's Android operating system has matured over the past couple of years. Lollipop -- the latest update -- added fresh paint to give the mobile OS more elegance and provided sophisticated encryption options to make things more secure. But in all these years, Google Play Store -- the marquee Android app store -- has largely remained free from any substantial improvement. In the past, we’ve witnessed plenty of cases where prominently showcased apps in Play Store have been found malicious, riddled with adult content, and spying elements. So it didn't come as a big surprise when this past week a new study uncovered many more of such dubious activities. This time, however, we're looking at apps that many of you are likely using on your devices.
Security researchers from Eurecom tested the top apps from all 25 categories -- summing up to about 2,000 apps -- and found that many of these were connecting to tracking and advertisement websites. Furthermore, many of these apps were pinging even more dubious portals. What’s even more striking is that the owners of these devices have no idea about the activities happening behind the curtain.
In the world of wearables, Microsoft Band may not hold the same gravitas as Apple Watch or the various Android Wear devices, but the company is still trying to get more developers on board -- today launching the Microsoft Band SDK, following on from February's preview release.
With support for Windows Phone, Android, iOS, and full-blown Windows, Microsoft is clearly keen to appeal to as many developers as possible. This full SDK release offers access to all of Band's sensors -- as part of a push to get more third-party apps on the device.
The older I get, the less aware I am of the current popular musicians. If I hear a pleasing song while I am at the store or chilling at Starbucks, it would be awkward to ask one of the younger and hipper people to identify it for me -- that is about as uncool as one can get. Luckily, thanks to technology, I can use my smartphone to discover name of both the song an artist.
Today, both Shazam and TuneIn announce a partnership with Google to integrate their app functionality into the Google app on Android. What does this mean? You can call upon Google with the familiar "OK Google" followed by "Shazam This Song". The Shazam app will then attempt to identify a song using your devices microphone. You can use similar functionality to play music with TuneIn Radio.
I was sold on Windows 10 before I could even try the first Technical Preview. Now, after seeing the latest slew of changes unveiled at Build 2015, it is clearer than ever that Microsoft is on the right path and that Windows 10 will be the most impressive release yet. There is no doubt in my mind about it.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Microsoft expects Windows 10 to attract one billion users within the first two to three years of its release. The timer starts this summer. It may sound like an empty claim, but when you look at everything that has been done so far to make Windows 10 so exciting, and consider the huge unlocked potential, it certainly sounds plausible. While I am no fortune-teller, I can’t see Microsoft getting anything important wrong. And that’s something I haven’t felt in ages in regards to the software giant.
Android phones have become a bit of a boring affair. Sadly, what was once an exciting market has become stale and stagnant. Bigger screen? Faster processor? Yawn and yawn. In order to stand out, manufacturers need to offer something unique. Samsung accomplished this with the gorgeous Galaxy S6 edge -- the curved screen edges made consumers take notice. Gimmick? Maybe, but it worked.
Now it's LG's turn to attempt to wow. Today, the manufacturer announced its newest flagship, the G4. This time, it is the materials that attempt to make the device stand out. You see, LG is offering the options of beautiful leather or ceramic. In other words, LG seems to be creating a luxury experience. Android purists will greatly appreciate the removable battery and microSD card slot.
Got a spare patent or two lying around, gathering dust and cluttering the place up? Google might be interested in taking those patents off your hands in return for cold, hard cash. Today the search giant announces details of the Patent Purchase Promotion which will run for two weeks in May.
The move is an attempt to "remove friction from the patent market", with the added benefit for Google that it will help the company to expand its patent portfolio. The online patent-selling portal will run from May 8 to May 22 and has been designed to be accessible to smaller players.
Many people -- let's call them 'haters' -- like to make fun of Microsoft's mobile market share with Windows Phone. True, the platform is a failure in this regard, but many users of the OS like it. Quite frankly, besides the lack of apps, Windows Phone is a rather smart and well-designed operating system.
If you choose to laugh at Microsoft over its mobile presence, feel free, but please know that Microsoft is laughing too; all the way to the bank. What you may not know is, Microsoft makes money from Android handset sales thanks to its patent portfolio. In fact, it also collects money from Chromebooks too. In other words, Microsoft is profiting from Linux, since both operating systems are based on the kernel. Today, Microsoft increases its number of patent licensing agreements, by making a deal with Qisda Corp.
Avoiding online ads can be fairly easily achieved by installing a tool such as AdBlockPlus, but it's a different matter when it comes to ads in mobile apps. Security researchers at Doctor Web have discovered that a number of Android apps found in Google Play are plagued with aggressive ad modules.
Advertising is considered aggressive if it appears on top of other windows, interferes with the use of applications, and makes normal use of a smartphone or tablet difficult.
Google hides lots of Easter eggs in its products and services. Usually fun little extras designed to amuse. However, the latest one discovered in Google Maps is of questionable taste.
Tucked away in Pakistan, close to the New Islamabad International Airport, is a cartoon image of Google’s Android urinating on an Apple logo. Nice.
Dedicated satnav units are less popular than they used to be, and this can be attributed in part to the rise of direction-providing smartphone apps like Google Maps and Waze. If you are invested in Google Maps, you may well check out directions on your desktop computer and then have to get them set up on your phone as well.
Today that changes. Google has unveiled a feature that makes it possible to push directions from your desktop computer or laptop to your phone. This eliminates a step and makes the whole process of getting from A to B much easier.
Acer held a massive press conference today in Manhattan to unveil its new product lineup. BetaNews was there, live, at 4 World Trade Center. The views from the 60-something-th floor were magnificent, but even more awe-inspiring to a tech nerd like me, were the Acer products.
Acer is one of my favorite manufacturers because it focuses on value. Not only are the company's computers beautiful and powerful, but affordable too. While the company kept its focus on the affordable segment with Windows, Chromebooks and Android products, it also introduced its new Predator gaming computers. The star of the show? A small gaming-tablet running Google's mobile OS.