It is no secret that iOS is a tightly controlled ecosystem. There is not a whole lot that users can do to customize their iPhones, and there are not that many options for developers wanting to sell their apps outside of the App Store. In fact, if you do not want to reach a very small audience, who likes to jailbreak their devices, your one and only bet is the App Store.
A number of customers believe that that is a problem so serious that they sued Apple over its perceived iOS app distribution monopoly. A complaint was filed all the way back in 2011, but only now did a court allow the lawsuit to go forward.
Apple traditionally enjoys very strong iPhone sales after it launches new smartphones. And this is certainly true of the three months ending November 2016, when the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus topped the sales charts in US and helped iOS close in on Android in Great Britain.
In US, it is actually an all-iPhone podium, with the iPhone 6s joining the newer models in the top three, according to a new Kantar Worldpanel ComTech report. Apple saw its share rise to 43.5 percent, while Google's Android dropped to 55.3 percent of the market.
Gartner has a grim prediction for Microsoft which is pinning its hopes on Windows 10 and the forthcoming Creators Update. According to the research firm, Windows will lose OS share in 2017, and then flatline for at least the next two years.
Gartner’s prediction covers all flavors of Windows, but of course it really means Windows 10 since that is now Microsoft’s only readily available OS. Apple on the other hand is set for a brighter future, with its operating systems set to see continued growth.
Android Wear devices are hardly lighting the world on fire. Heck, smartwatches in general are not particularly popular. With that said, some consumers find real value in more basic wrist-worn wearables such as the fitness-focused Fitbit. Still, there are fans of more advanced smartwatches, such as Apple Watch, too.
While Samsung has created Android Wear devices in the past, its new focus is Tizen-based "Gear" wearables that work with its Galaxy devices -- and other smartphones running Google's mobile OS. Today, Samsung announces iOS support for three of its Tizen-based Gear devices -- Gear S2, S3, and Fit2. Will iPhone users really pick this over the Apple Watch, though?
Back in October Twitter announced that it was shuttering Vine, with the promise that more details of the closure would follow. A subsequent announcement narrowed it down to the first month of 2017, and now it has been pinned down to 17 January.
The move sees Twitter morphing the app into a new Vine Camera app, and killing off the Vine website as we know it. It will still exist, but only as an archive of Vines for you to browse. If you want to download your old Vines for posterity, you'll need to do so by the 17th.
Welcoming the new year with a trumpet of doom, WhatsApp is bringing misery to many users. If you're using old versions of iOS, Android or -- heaven forbid -- Windows Phone 7, Facebook's popular messaging tool no longer works.
There is a brief stay of execution for anyone still packing a BlackBerry, but as of June 30 these will also be cut off. WhatsApp says that "BlackBerry OS, BlackBerry 10, Nokia S40 and Nokia Symbian S60" will stop working by the middle of the year, but it is the hundreds of thousands of Android and iOS users that will be hardest hit.
The popularity of Super Mario Run for iOS may be starting to wane slightly, but there is great anticipation for the arrival of Nintendo's Italian plumber on Android. Well, the wait is nearly over -- Nintendo has added Super Mario Run to Google Play!
Malware producers were quick to jump on the popularity of the Mario game on iOS, pushing fake, malware-filled versions into the Play Store. In a move that will not only help to prevent people falling victim to such scams, but also serves to indicate the imminent arrival of the official game, eager Mario fans can now pre-register to download Super Mario Run for Android.
When Apple announced that Mario was making his way to iOS, there was much rejoicing. But the excitement soon gave way to disappointment for several reasons. Firstly there was the price, with many feeling $9.99 was just too much to ask for what is, ultimately, a very basic, one button platformer.
Next there's the complaint that Super Mario run requires constant access to the internet -- many users have also grumbled that the game has eaten through large chunks of their monthly data allowance. Nintendo may have made a pretty penny from sales of the title in the first few days, but the company's share price has tumbled. On top of this, just as it happened with Pokémon Go, the initial success of the game is being used to push malware at users.
It's not all that long since Facebook started to allow users to broadcast live video to their friends and followers -- now the social network is doing the same with audio. Things are looking good for mobile users, particularly those with Android devices.
Starting off with partners such as the BBC World Service, LBC and Harper Collins, Live Audio is something of a blend of podcasts and radio. To start off -- just as happened with live video -- audio broadcasting will only be available to a select group of companies, but there are plans to open it up to everyone.
After "the most requested Messenger feature ever" yesterday -- Group Video Chat -- Facebook now has another update.
This time around the social network is allowing users to change the background color of status updates. Before you get too excited, however, there are limitations aplenty to bear in mind.
Twitter is rolling out a new feature to iOS and Android users that enables users to broadcast live video from within the app. If this sounds rather familiar, it's because it's a feature copied from Facebook -- and something that is already offered by Twitter-owned Periscope.
But live video broadcasting on Twitter is not replacing Periscope, it is powered by Periscope. By moving live video direct into the app, Twitter acknowledges the importance that users place on the feature, something which has been proven by the popularity of Facebook Live videos.
Christmas is a time that sees many people getting new phones -- and for Google this is the perfect opportunity to try to steal a few iPhone users. But the problem with switching from one mobile platform to another is making sure data migrates across. Thanks to Google Drive, this is now easier than ever.
Google has had a guide to switching from iOS to Android on the Android website for some time, but it has now been updated to reflect important changes that have been made to the iOS version of Google Drive.
You would think that Google would concentrate on bringing its apps and tools to its own Android operating system before rivals, but this is not always the case. In fact the company has only just got around to launching the Android version of Gboard, months after it debuted on iOS.
Gboard is an updated version of the Google keyboard, and it comes with a raft of new features that make it well worth considering. Among the new additions are a dedicated number row, GIF and emoticon search, and the ability to perform Google searches from any app.
I laughed so hard and so often at IDC's smartphone forecast, my response took nine days to write -- okay, to even start it. The future isn't my chuckable -- that data looks reasonably believable enough -- but the past. Because 2016 was supposed to be the year that Microsoft's mobile OS rose from the ashes of Symbian to surpass iOS and to challenge Android.
In 2011, IDC forecast that Windows Phone global smartphone OS market share would top 20 percent in 2015. The analyst firm reiterated the platform's No. 2 status for 2016 in 2012 as well. Not that I ever believed the ridiculous forecasts, writing: "If Windows Phone is No. 2 by 2015, I'll kiss Steve Ballmer's feet" and "If Windows Phone is No. 2 by 2016, I'll clean Steve Ballmer's toilet". The CEO's later retirement let me lose from those obligations had I been wrong. I was confident in my analysis being truer.
The announcement that Netflix now allows viewers to download videos for offline viewing caused understandable excitement among subscribers. Of course, the key concern -- particularly with mobile devices -- is storage space. But thanks to a tweaked codec, Netflix has your back.
If you were worried that you might not be able to fit many episodes of your favorite shows on your phone or tablet, fear not. For Android users, Netflix opted to use the super-efficient VP9 codec, but as this isn’t supported by Apple, it had to think outside the box a little and ended up plumping for a custom H.264/AVC High codec for iOS users. The space savings are impressive.