With MWC 2015 underway in Barcelona, the tech world is laser focused on mobile devices at the moment. Whether your mobile device preference is an iPhone, an Android handset or a Windows Phone device, your decision will have been swayed by a number of things -- price, brand reputation, knowledge of the ecosystem, and range of apps. Android may be the most popular choice at the moment, but this appears to be in spite of problems the platform suffers form.
A new report from Crittercism suggests that Android apps crash more frequently than their iOS counterparts. But this is not the only bad news for Google's mobile operating system; the report also finds that the fragmentation of Android persists.
One of the advantages of advertising on digital platforms is that it reveals information about the devices and apps being used to view ads. This is useful for marketers but also echoes some general industry trends.
Digital advertising specialist Millennial Media has released its latest Mobile Mix report charting the use of its platform over the past year. The results throw up some interesting patterns. Among them are that Samsung saw the greatest number of impressions on the platform in the past year, unseating Apple who had previously been the leader.
Every mobile operating system would have you believe that it has the best built in keyboard. It's clear that plenty of people disagree judging by the number of alternative keyboard apps that exist in the Windows Phone, Apple and Android stores. Sometimes even the best software keyboard isn't good enough, but few people are enamored with the idea of carrying around a full size Bluetooth keyboard.
There are numerous mobile keyboards that are particularly suitable for use with smartphones and tablets, and today at MWC in Barcelona, Microsoft threw its hat into the ring with the Universal Foldable Keyboard. Bearing more than a passing resemblance to a large money wallet, this svelte device connects via Bluetooth to whatever mobile device you happen to be using -- including the newly announced Lumia 640 and Lumia 640 XL.
A new report from security company FireEye, based on analysis of over seven million mobile apps during 2014, reveals that mobile users are being targeted from a number of directions.
Risks on the Android platform include malicious apps that steal information once installed, legitimate apps written insecurely by developers, legitimate apps using insecure but aggressive ad libraries, malware and aggressive adware that passes Google Play checks and is assumed to be safe, identity theft, and premium rate phone and SMS fraud.
Apple has been granted a patent that could potentially allow it to track an individual’s iPhone, even when it appears to have been turned off.
The feature enables phones to enter a sleep-like state that suggests it has been shut down, but instead the phone’s movements can still be traced.
It might come as something of a surprise, but Windows is more secure than not only Apple's iOS and OS X, but also Linux. I'll just let that sink in for a moment...
Windows, the operating system ridiculed for its vulnerabilities and susceptibility to viruses is actually more secure than the supposedly Fort Knox-like Linux and OS X. This startling fact comes from the National Vulnerability Database (described as the "US government repository of standards based vulnerability management data") which details security issues detected in different operating systems and software titles.
Wearables are awesome, the next big thing. Smartwatches in particular are very functional extensions of the smartphones, which have become ubiquitous nowadays. True, many tech pundits were dubious of the smartwatch's utility; including myself. I came around after actually using a smartwatch -- the Android Wear-based Samsung Gear Live -- for an extended period and loving it. My colleague Joe Wilcox is a recently converted proponent.
As great as Android Wear is, there are problems. While the most glaring is the fairly short battery life of devices, its lack of cross-platform support is a bigger issue. In other words, it can be harmful to consumers to have a product that only works with a certain platform, as it limits their freedom. An Android user with Android Wear that wants to move to an iPhone for instance, will be left with a useless smartwatch. Thanks to a developer named Mohammad Abu-Garbeyyeh, this may no longer be an issue. This impressive dev has gotten Android Wear to work with iOS. The best part? No jailbreak needed!
Dropbox has unveiled Dropbox for iOS 3.7.0, a major new version of its client for iPhone and iPad. The new release adds a single feature to its roster, one that requires iOS 8 in order to work.
The feature in question is the addition of a new action extension, which allows users to save files straight to their Dropbox storage from within selected other apps without first having to open Dropbox itself.
It's not all that long since Google launched Inbox. The 'smart' alternative to Gmail appeared a few months ago and Google tried to get the hype machine going by launching it as an invite-only service, gradually trickling out invites here and there.
Now the search giant is trying a new tactic to encourage people into using the service, specifically Apple users. Google has pulled the iOS and Mac version of the Sparrow email app from the App store; the hope is clearly that Sparrow users will migrate to Inbox.
Microsoft's mobile-first, cloud-first strategy continues. In something of a surprise announcement the company reveals that it is launching a new cloud storage partner program meaning that any cloud storage provider will be able to integrate with Office for iOS and Office Online.
The news follows on from Microsoft's partnership with Dropbox in November and while it is just iOS users who will benefit from the new mobile options for now, Office for Android and Office for Windows 10 will also get the same treatment in due course. It's a recognition of the fact that integration with OneDrive is not enough so it shouldn't be long before we see iCloud and Google Drive working with Office.
When it comes to sharing photos services like Instagram and Flickr spring to mind, but there are countless others buried beneath the waves of information and programs available these days. Many fly under the radar, and some of those may be better than the big name alternative you're using.
All of that is not say that Microsoft's Xim is better -- that's simply a matter of personal taste. What I am saying is that you've likely never heard of it. The app has one simple mission -- "share your photos, not your phone". It goes a bit further, promising that the recipients of your shares don't need to have the app to view your images.
Apple is giving app developers more breathing room for their apps by increasing the maximum size of binaries from 2GB to 4GB. The move comes as devices' resolutions have grown, placing greater demands on developers' abilities to stick to the upper size limit.
Increasing the maximum size to 4GB gives greater scope for including high resolution images and video, as well as creating larger, more immersive games. While this is news that will be welcomed by developers and some iOS users, not everyone will be as pleased. Many people with 16GB devices are already struggling to find room for apps.
Following on from the rumors that surfaced a week ago, Microsoft has confirmed its acquisition of calendar app Sunrise. The Android and iOS calendar app is widely recognized as one of the best that's available, and the announcement marks the latest move in Microsoft's recent productivity focus.
This is the second big acquisition Microsoft has made recently -- just a couple of months ago, the company snapped up email firm Acompli. It also sees Microsoft adopting rather Apple-esque language, referring to "meaningful, beautiful experiences in mobile email and calendaring".
People in the UK really love Apple products. OK, to be more precise, people in the UK with email accounts love Apple products.
More than half of all email in the UK (54 percent) is opened on an Apple device, says SendGrid, an email delivery platform. The total number of opened emails on iPads and iPhones has increased by 18 percent and five percent respectively.
Asking someone to switch from their operating system of choice is akin to asking them to switch partners when they’re in a happy relationship. But time and time again, Apple, Google and Microsoft try to attract new users with redesigns, killer features, and headline-grabbing excitement. It's an approach that Microsoft is using for Windows 10, but Apple could use a different tactic with the release of iOS 9.
If you've got an iPad, iPad mini, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus, the next version of iOS could be slightly lacking in the 'new' department. Reports suggest that rather than taking the wraps off a raft of new features, Apple is instead focusing firmly on improving stability and performance of its mobile OS.