The iOS versions of eBay’s app have been updated with a redesigned interface and a raft of other changes. The latest release improves on the stripped back UI that was available in previous versions and larger photos can now be accessed. As before, there are versions of the app available for iPad (which is version 2.3.0) and iPhone (which has reached version 3.0.0).
But there’s more than a new look to the latest version of the app. If you’re one of those people who has yet to create an eBay account, the signup process just got a whole lot easier -- if you’re in the US, that is. Forget time-consuming form filling, you can now sign up for an account with a quick scan of your driver’s license.
Microsoft has launched Skype for Mac 6.4, a major update of its Skype chat platform for OS X users. Version 6.4 is focused on improving Skype’s instant messaging features for better usability, while also introducing support for Simplified Chinese.
Version 6.4 adds infinite chat scrolling, a feature already present in the Windows build. This allows users to load historical conversations simply by scrolling upwards. This action simply loads messages from the chat history stored on the user’s computer.
Loved and loathed in just about equal measure, iTunes is installed on a huge number of computers around the world. It has been a while since the last update, but now iTunes 11.0.3 has been unveiled and there are a few important changes that make it worthy of installing, including new MiniPlayer views.
In the initial update to iTunes 11, many users were disappointed to find that the progress bar has vanished from the MiniPlayer. In the most recent update, this has been reinstated and it is also possible to have album art displayed while playback controls are hidden.
Change the rules of the game and you change the hierarchy. Two days ago research company Gartner released its latest report on the state of smartphone market which, based on sales, places Windows Phone in fourth place, just behind BlackBerry in terms of share. Today, IDC also released its latest report for Q1 2013, that measures shipments, and the two smartphone operating systems trade places -- Windows Phone now surpasses BlackBerry for the third spot in the charts.
That switch means Microsoft and Nokia have a reason to celebrate, in spite of numerous barbs coming from pundits. "Windows Phone claiming the third spot is a first and helps validate the direction taken by Microsoft and key partner Nokia", says IDC's Kevin Restivo. But the research company suggests that the operating system still has a long way to go: "Given the relatively low volume generated, the Windows Phone camp will need to show further gains to solidify its status as an alternative to Android or iOS".
Today security firm F-Secure announces the discovery of a new Mac-based spyware program, the latest in what has become a small, but growing trend. Attacks have previously affected Apple itself, as well as users in the wild. The latest problem was discovered at a recent conference in Oslo, Norway.
The Oslo Freedom Forum, an event that is designed around the world's most influential dissidents, innovators, journalists, philanthropists, and policymakers, just wrapped up on May 15. During a workshop on freedom of speech, Jacob Applebaum, an independent computer security researcher, discovered a new and previously unknown backdoor on an African activist's Mac.
It’s been a while coming. Two weeks ago my colleague Alan Buckingham wrote that Apple was fast closing in on a remarkable milestone -- 50 billion unique downloads (excluding re-downloads and updates) from the App Store -- and said the "big event seems destined to take place within the next 24 hours".
It actually took around 14 days from that point for the 50 billionth download to happen (or be announced at least), and for the winner of the $10,000 App Store gift card Apple put up as a prize to be revealed.
Music Piracy is now dead. Apple iTunes is now obsolete. Spotify, Pandora, Slacker -- yesterday’s news. This is all because of Google Play Music All Access. It will change the way you listen to music. It will change your life. You will subscribe. Resistance is futile. This is the future of music.
The idea of a music streaming service is not new. However, a music streaming service by the most important and influential tech company is. On May 15, 2013, Google unveiled its new music streaming service, named Google Play Music All Access. Other than the ridiculously long name (I will just call it All Access for the rest of the article), the service is near-perfect.
Ouch! The latest report from market research company Gartner crushes Microsoft's dreams of Windows Phone breaking away from the smartphone operating system bottom pack. In Q1 2013, with a low market share of just 2.9 percent, Windows Phone battled with BlackBerry for the consolation spot of third most popular platform (and lost), far away from either Android or iOS. The green droid is still the dominant leader, followed from afar by Apple's OS.
"There are two clear leaders in the OS market and Android’s dominance in the OS market is unshakable", says Gartner's Anshul Gupta. "With new OSs coming to market such as Tizen, Firefox and Jolla we expect some market share to be eroded but not enough to question Android’s volume leadership". What he doesn't says is that the future is bleak for both Windows Phone and BlackBerry, which have to showcase their strength to survive the future string of contenders. Let's take a look at the numbers.
I was with a friend recently who has a pretty exciting Internet startup company. He has raised some money and might raise more, his product is in beta and it’s good. It solves a difficult technical problem many companies are struggling with. We argued a little over the name of the product. Of course I thought my suggested name was better or certainly cleverer, but then he said, “It doesn’t matter because we’ll probably sell the company before the product ever ships. It may never appear at all.”
His company will exit almost before it enters. This is happening a lot lately and we generally think it is a good thing but it’s not.
How many memorable video ads about phones have you seen so far? Off the top of my head I can only think of just two recent ones, both released by Microsoft. The first one is from late-October, last year, and features Steve Ballmer discussing his HTC Windows Phone 8X and the second, unveiled little over a week ago, stars the Lumia 920 in an Android vs iOS fanboy war at a wedding.
Both videos are memorable in the sense that they allow us, the viewers, to actually relate to the folks presented in the two scenarios. We are users of different social networks, send and receive emails and messages each day, have friends who are Android or iOS fanboys and so on. Now, by contrast, Nokia's new Lumia 928 video ad is one of the weakest attempts at wooing viewers. It lacks any sort of panache or wit.
The European Union's Competition Commission has ruled that Motorola Mobility (owned by Google) abused its position in the German mobile market by filing a patent injunction against Apple.
Motorola won an injunction related to Apple products using data transmission technology in February 2012. The fruit-logo company offered to pay a licence fee for the patents but the companies failed to agree on a price. A number of Apple products, including iPad and severall iPhone models, were taken off sale in Germany during the dispute.
Yesterday (yeah, yeah, I'm late), Google released a stunning new version of Gmail for iPad and iPhone. I tried to write this story several times on May 6, but the newsroom was short-staffed, keeping me extra busy. Vacations, bank holiday in United Kingdom and Orthodox Easter Monday just about emptied BetaNews. So, please, pardon this belated story about the great Google escape.
What a wild one, too. Control-freak Apple uses Safari to keep developers like Google in check. Especially such a rival that invades iOS with a remarkably rich set of apps tightly tied to myriad web services. So Gmail's sudden liberation is quite surprising. Links now go to installed Google apps -- gasp, Chrome, Maps and YouTube -- rather than opening Safari. Chrome linkage really is a shocker, and all the more so with Google kissing WebKit to the wind in favor of its own browsing engine. Expect it in the Chrome stable channel soon.
Anyone moving up from a feature phone to smart one and considering iPhone 5 should look at HTC One. From a design perspective, both stand out for mostly metal enclosures, and they share similar design aesthetics. On T-Mobile USA, HD voice is available for both phones, too. Beyond that, their functionality couldn't be more different, because of screen resolution, physical size and overall interaction -- the latter more about operating systems than anything else.
I probably would chose the One over S4 but haven't used the Samsung. I reviewed iPhone 5 in September and one is in process for the HTC flagship. Simply stated: One is the best smartphone I have ever used. The device is so beautiful, the display equally so, that I want to hold and caress the device. Often. Social and news UI BlinkFeed changes how and how often I use a smartphone. More. More. More. The smartphone makes me happy in a way not since the original iPhone nearly six years ago.
This week IDC released tablet market estimates and the figures are quite a bit off from my original Q1 estimate, but eerily similar to my revised estimate based on NPD's figures. Android tablets are poised to permanently steal the tablet market crown from the iPad, while Windows tablets continue to struggle. Let's take a deeper look at the figures.
Android now leads the tablet market, with a share of 56.5 percent, while the iPad's share falls below 40 percent. Windows tablets are still struggling, with a share below 4 percent and with struggling shipment figures, sell-through is always questionable.
Android may rule the roost when it comes to the mobile market these days, but Apple is certainly not faring poorly with its iPhone offering. Whenever its App Store hits a new milestone the company always makes a big production of it, for both celebration, as well as publicity.
In January of 2011 the Store hit 10 billion app downloads, a milestone that took nearly three years to achieve. However, adoption increased and, in little more than a year (March of 2012), 25 billion apps downloaded was the new cause for celebration. Now, again in just over a year, that number has been doubled.