Microsoft will have a hard time convincing consumers who wish to buy Apple's MacBook Air to get Surface Pro 3 instead. That is not because the former is the better purchase, but because these devices aim to please two different crowds. You're either a Mac or a PC, as the old Apple commercials would say today.
I believe that Microsoft does not realize that it is pitching Surface Pro 3 to the wrong crowd. Swaying would-be MacBook Air owners in the hybrid's direction is not a simple matter of touting feature benefits, as in Surface Pro 3 can be more and do more than MacBook Air. People have to be convinced that those features are things they want; just because they are offered does not automatically mean that they will immediately gravitate towards the device that has them. Yes, some do not want more just because they can get more. And, would-be MacBook Air users do not want more. It's more likely that would-be Surface Pro 3 users do.
China has stepped up its tough stance on foreign technology suppliers with reports it has banned government purchases of Apple products.
Apple has so far declined to comment on reports that China’s government has banned its agencies from buying Apple products including iPad, iPad Mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.
Smartphone makers would do well to take into account the results of a new poll from price comparison and switching service uSwitch.com which found that just 3 percent of Smartphone users are interested in quirky or unique features, such as Amazon’s Fire phone’s face tracking.
While gimmicks like that might help differentiate one device from another, what most smartphone users want is a phone that is easy to use and doesn’t require constant charging -- and preferably with built-in fingerprint scanning security.
Apple and Samsung have been waging a global patent war since 2011. Apple famously won $1.05 billion in damages in an American court two years ago (a verdict still being challenged by Samsung), but the two companies have been continuing to sue each other since, including fighting a range of infringement cases in nine other countries.
Finally, though, it seems as if peace has broken out between the two smartphone giants, with news today that Apple and Samsung have agreed to end all patent litigation outside the United States.
While it can never be faulted for being slow, Internet Explorer 11 for Windows Phone 8.1 still has some catching up to do with rival browsers from competing platforms, mostly regarding the way it displays some websites. My biggest gripe is that it quite often shows the desktop-optimized versions, when it should load the mobile-friendly versions instead (not the dated ones, mind you, like it does so frequently now).
Fortunately, those problems appear to be fixed in the version of Internet Explorer 11 found in Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1. "Based on your feedback, we pursued a web experience for IE users consistent with what is available on iOS and Android devices -- even where this meant we would be adding non-standard web platform features", says Microsoft. "We believe that this is a more pragmatic approach to running today's less-standardized mobile web".
Microsoft, it is time to reconsider your Windows Phone plans. The tiled smartphone operating system's market share came in at a tiny 2.7 percent in Q2 2014, dropping from the 3.8 percent it claimed in the same period of last year. As a result, Windows Phone saw a 28.94 percent decrease year-over-year in market share, caused by low shipments of only 8.0 million units in the second quarter of the year, 0.9 million units less than in Q2 2013 when its shipments were at the 8.9 million units mark.
The data is from a new report issued by research firm Strategy Analytics, which adds "Windows Phone continued to struggle in the United States and China", the first two largest smartphone markets worldwide. There, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech places the platform at 3.8 percent and 0.9 percent market share, respectively. That is lower than in other markets such as Australia, where Windows Phone was able to reach 5.3 percent market in Q2 2014, as well as some parts of Europe.
The competition is heating up in the smartphone space, as, in Q3 2014, a dozen vendors have what it takes to shake up the top five smartphone makers list, according to a new report from research firm IDC. Judging by the standing from Q2 2014, the likely players in danger of losing their spots are Huawei, Lenovo and LG.
Samsung and Apple continue to be in a position of strength, with the two being responsible for 25.2 percent (74.3 million) and 11.9 percent (35.1 million), respectively, of the 295.3 million smartphones shipped in the quarter that ended June 30. That said, both lost market share compared to Q2 2013, when they claimed 32.3 percent and 13 percent, respectively, thanks to shipments of 77.3 million and 31.2 million units, respectively.
A few years ago it would have been unthinkable, but whispers that Apple and Samsung are losing their stranglehold on the market are growing louder.
It all stems from the fact that customers are becoming increasingly frustrated at the mobile market mono-culture. In the West especially, we've developed a sort of smartphone East Anglia: hedgeless, featureless and planted as far as the eye can see. This is the Samsung strimmer, the Apple Inc. lawnmower, cutting all other competition out of the market.
It's the question I keep asking, wondering whether to blame the device or my daughter. Last night, she texted: "My screen cracked again. I'm so sorry". That's the third shattered iPhone 5s since May; two 5ers busted before that. Clearly, she's fumble fingers, but something just doesn't seem right. The college student sticks the damn device in a protective case. Did Apple put pretty design before damage durability?
I spent several hours searching for smartphone breakage data today -- on the web and contacting several sources compiling stats. Strangely, the most compelling comparisons are years old. For example, in late 2010, SquareTrade reported that iPhone 4 accidents exceeded the 3GS and devices from competing smartphone manufacturers. In a 2012 survey of 2,000 iPhone users, 30 percent had damaged their device in the previous 12 months.
There was a time when Apple was the undisputed king of mobile. Since the release of the first iPhone in a barnstorming speech by Steve Jobs, the company went from strength to strength, dropping better models every year, and absolutely dominating the high-end mobile market.
Apple sold out of the launch shipments of the brand-new iPhone 5s in under two days, and sales of the iPhone have maintained Apple's profits despite a recent drop in iPad sales. But since Steve Jobs' death, Apple's competitors have been getting bolder. With the launch of the upcoming iPhone 6 coming in September, a number of high profile rivals have been snapping at Apple's heels with aggressive marketing, attack ads and a general lack of respect for the venerable giant of mobile technology. Here are a couple of hints that Apple's competitors are sensing a weakening of the giant.
Apple has updated its MacBook Pro with Retina display lineup with faster processors across the board and more RAM in the base 13.3-inch and 15.4-inch models, that kick off at $1,299 and $1,999, respectively. The new processors are 200 MHz faster than before.
Both the entry-level and mid-range 13.3-inch Retina MacBook Pros come with a 2.6 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (with Turbo Boost up to 3.1 GHz), while the high-end model packs an even faster 2.8 GHz processor (with Turbo Boost up to 3.3 GHz). The base model gains 8 GB of RAM in the new generation, twice as much as its predecessor offered, but retains its 128 GB of internal storage.
Even though Cortana shares some major design traits with Google Now, there is no denying that the new Windows Phone 8.1 personal assistant actually feels more like a Siri rival. That is due to their uncanny wittiness and human-like personality, two things that are just not there in Google's (clinical, albeit mighty powerful) offering.
Cortana is gunning for Siri as the latter is a more talked-about personal assistant than Google Now is (and will likely ever be). So it should come as no surprise that, in a new Windows Phone 8.1 ad titled Happy Anniversary, Microsoft pits the two against each-other. And, obviously, Cortana embarrasses its opponent.
BlackBerry isn’t losing any sleep over the recent enterprise tie-up between IBM and Apple as their CEO John Chen compared it to a couple of large mammals taking to the dance floor.
Chen, talking to the Financial Times, likened the partnership to when "two elephants start dancing" and thinks that the firm he is slowly rebuilding has enough in the bag to compete with anyone that challenges it in the enterprise market.
Piriform Ltd has released CCleaner for Mac 1.08, a minor update to the Mac version of its freeware cleaning tool. Unlike the Windows version, which is updated monthly, CCleaner for Mac’s updates are more sporadic -- this is the first new release since November last year.
The new version opens by adding support for the OS X 10.10 Yosemite Developer Preview, which should mean it’ll work with the final version when it’s released later this year, although a further update for official compatibility is likely.
Eighth in a series. What goes around comes around. It's cliché but describes my return to Nokia after abandoning the brand five years ago. I never expected to come back, and the app experience, while a backwater compared to Android or iOS, is little different than when I left. Cameras are great and app selection limited, but it's hugely improved because of Microsoft.
Nokia was in 2009 still the world's mobile handset leader, except for one major market: The United States. As such, Symbian dominated mobile app development, even as iOS rose in prominence. (Remember: Apple opened its app store in July 2008, and the first Android phone shipped a few months later.) But the majority of apps and supporting services, developed by Nokia and third-parties, best suited the rest of the world. Americans had limited choices on the company's handsets.