Samsung Galaxy S5 may face stiff competition from the likes of HTC One (M8), LG G3 and Sony Xperia Z2, but it is doing quite well sales-wise in major markets, according to a report released today by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech. Apple's older iPhone 5s, however, still edges ahead.
"In the USA the Samsung Galaxy S5 was the second highest selling smartphone in May just behind the iPhone 5s", says Kantar Worldpanel ComTech global strategic insight director Dominic Sunnebo. "Apple loyalty is high in the US, with former iPhone owners making up just 8 percent of Galaxy S5 sales. The majority of those switching to Samsung were LG and HTC users".
The battle for dominance between Microsoft and Google continued, with Microsoft offering a huge storage boost for Office 365 and OneDrive users. This was quickly trumped by Google later in the week at 1/0 2014, when the company announced unlimited storage for Google Drive for Work users. Microsoft is basking in the glory of being heralded as cooler than Apple by Joe -- and stunts like offering cashback deals to sway MacBook Air owners into switching into Surface Pro 3 certainly helps. Microsoft opened a new store on Long Island, while Google branched out into new territory with a trial run of a new domain registration service. Microsoft also ventured into new waters with its first Android smartphone, the Nokia X2.
In something of an interesting twist, Microsoft opted to use Opera Mobile as the default web browser. Opera is also returning to Linux after the surprise release of Opera 24 Developer. Linux Mint 17 "Qiana" KDE was also released. Linux also managed to hit the headlines for facilitating the hacking of Google's Nest thermstats. If this hasn’t put you off, Logitech added support to its Harmony remotes.
Many Google fans and developers are still excited in the wake of an eventful Google I/O 2014. From a transcendent show-opener where a metaphor-heavy Rube Goldberg device crossed through the physical and digital space to more discussion on the expansion of wearable technology, there was something for everyone at this developer conference.
The US tech giant's big hitter of this year was an emphasis on improving the integration of Android apps more seamlessly into users' everyday lives. Conference attendants were also granted an unprecedented look at the figures behind Android users' buying habits in the Play Store.
Twenty-fourth in a series. Apple refreshed its aging iPod touch lineup this week, introducing a new 16GB model with an iSight camera, and lowered the price of the existing models. If you’ve been tempted to pick up an iPod touch, but were put off by the price, now is the time to go for it.
The App Store saw some excellent releases this week, including a free app which lets you store unlimited photos and videos in the cloud, a Ministry of Silly Walks game voiced by John Cleese, a travel app that covers everything from planning to booking, an origami based puzzle game, and a slot machine that lets you put pictures of friends and family on the reels. And that’s just for starters!
Opera Software ASA has unveiled Opera Mini 8.0, a major new version of its speed-optimized browser for iPhone and iPad. The browser, which uses compression technologies to speed up data transfer and browsing, gets a major overhaul with this new release, the first for over two years.
It’s also joined by a new version of Opera Developer 24.0 for Windows and Mac, which adds a new Tab Preview feature.
Security company Kaspersky Lab has published a new report uncovering previously undiscovered Remote Control System (RCS) Trojans that work on both Android and iOS. It's also mapped their massive international command and control network.
The Trojans are part of the allegedly 'legal' spyware tool, RCS, also known as Galileo, developed by the Italian company, HackingTeam. Kaspersky's researchers were able to map the presence of more than 320 RCS command and control servers in over 40 countries. The majority of the servers being found in the United States, Kazakhstan, Ecuador, the United Kingdom and Canada.
"Abandonware". It’s the scourge of the industry. Every time a vendor abandons a software product, a puppy dies. Or an orphan. Or a Java developer.
Regardless, nobody likes to see their favorite app/game/platform get left behind. It’s the worst kind of techie betrayal. You spend days, weeks or even months mastering a product only to have the virtual rug pulled out from under you.
Looking for a way to access programs on your desktop or laptop from your mobile? You could go down the route of installing something like TeamViewer, but with the best will in the world, trying to control your entire Windows or Mac desktop from your mobile is a fiddly experience at best.
A more practical solution can be found by going down the Parallels Access route, and it’s one that’s just been made even better with the release of version 2.0.
While there are many fairly specialized mobile apps out there, Yo, which was just launched by Life Before Us, takes the cake for being the narrowest-focused messaging service available on Android and iOS now.
Why? Because Yo can only be used to say "Yo" to your contacts. As you can imagine, it does not even trigger a keyboard when you want to hit a friend with a message, as a touch of a button will do the trick (Life Before Us touts this as a feature, in case you are wondering why the heck I am mentioning it).
Amazon today unveiled the latest entrant to the smartphone race -- the Fire phone. The handset continues the Fire name that is more readily associated with Amazon's range of Android tablets, and it has a few tricks up its sleeve to make it stand out from the competition. A press event in Seattle brought to an end weeks of rumor and speculation as the phone, which features Dynamic Perspective that allows for maps and other images to be displayed in three dimensions, was revealed.
Run by four ultra-low power specialized cameras and four infrared LEDs, Dynamic Perspective has numerous uses. One application makes it possible for users to gain a different perspective on an image or object on screen by moving their heads. In games, a move of the head can be used to switch views, and there is scope for unique navigation options within apps. Some applications are slightly simpler, and mimic those found in other handsets such as Samsung's Galaxy range. For example, auto-scroll allows for easy reading of lengthy documents and web pages without the need for swiping.
Microsoft has released Skype for iPhone 5.0, a major new update to its voice, video and chat messenger for iPhone and iPod touch users. Version 5.0 sports a major new redesign, more in-app options and drops support for iOS 7.
The update has been released separately to the iPad version, with Microsoft claiming to be "hard at work on a new version" for iPad users.
Battery packs may not be the most exciting or sexiest gadgets on the market, but the LUM-008-01 Power Bank from Lumsing has a good stab at changing things. But stabbing isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when picking up this battery pack for the first time. Yes, the manufacturers "Harmonica style" description is fairly accurate but this is a unit that is rather weightier than the handheld instrument favored by blues and folk musicians. The mass of 236g (8.3oz) coupled with the way it nestles in the hand brings to mind a form of cudgel; this is a battery pack that could double as a murder weapon. Maybe that's just me... I should probably evaluate it for what it is.
Let's cut to the chase. This is a battery pack. There's a limit to how animated one can get about such a device, but Lumsing's offering gets off to a great start by being so easy on the eye. It's good to look at, and it also feels good in the hand. Style drips from every port. In all there are three ports: one USB input for charging the unit itself, and two outputs for charging other devices such as mobiles and tablets. There's one low powered 1.5 A port and one rated at 2.1 A so there's scope for charging all manner of devices.
Most everyone, at least the tech-savvy who read this, are familiar with VLC Player -- the Video LAN Client. It's a jack-of-all trades media player, that is capable of handling pretty much any format you can throw at it, no matter how obscure it may be.
Now the developers of the project are revealing one more feature that is on the roadmap -- support for Chromecast. The question was asked on the forums and lead developer Felix Paul Kuehne responded that support was in the works. "Yep, this is exactly what we are up to", he states.
The biggest news of this week came from Apple which held a keynote speech at WWDC in San Francisco. One of the major announcements was the unveiling of iOS 8 which will be making its way to iPhone and iPads around the world sometime in the Fall. There was a lot to take in, including "Hey, Siri", HealthKit and iCloud Drive. OS X also got a new lick of paint with Yosemite, with beta versions made available for immediate download. There was also an intriguing change to the App Store Review Guidelines that suggests the doors may be opened to virtual currencies such as Bitcoin.
Windows 7 continues to grow faster than Windows 8.x, but if you're looking for an alternative to Windows, Linux Mint 17 "Qiana" could be worth a try. Windows XP is still managing to hang on it there for the time being. Microsoft celebrated the news that Windows Phone is becoming increasingly popular -- if not with developers -- particularly when security is important; which is just as well, because reports suggest that handsets need to be made more secure for enterprise. Microsoft also had cause for celebration after helping the FBI to take down the Zeus botnet.
New features in the next iteration of the mobile OS include interactive notifications, HealthKit, Family Sharing, improved chatting, a better keyboard, and iCloud Drive. It will be released sometime in the fall.