There's one more smartphone platform on the market, although it's far behind the big, established names. Mozilla has released Firefox OS, which is aimed at emerging markets. Now the organization is taking it to one more, adding an Asian nation to its resume.
Telenor Group is bringing the platform to Bangladesh after hitting India just a few weeks ago. "At a press conference in Dhaka, Grameenphone, the local operator for the Telenor Group,announced that sales of the GoFox F15 (produced by Symphony) will start this week", says Mozilla.
Stock mobile keyboards tend to suck. There's always a deal-breaker somewhere that offsets all their strengths. There is friction when typing in multiple languages, the language support is limited, abbreviations and the like are a no-go, the layout can be unintuitive, there is a limited amount of customization options, or the touch vibrations are too harsh. Take your pick. I have ran into all of them. But, fret not, there are some solid keyboards out there.
The one keyboard which I am a huge fan of is SwiftKey. It shames every stock keyboard and it's generally better than any other third-party offering. With Google being the only mobile operating system maker to allow third-party keyboards, it has only been available on Android. But, now that Apple has followed suit, you can get your hands on SwiftKey on an iPad or iPhone too. And you should, first of all because it's free!
New figures show that global smartphone shipments for 2014 are set to be 19 percent higher than the previous year. Juniper Research reports that handset shipments are forecast to jump from 985 million in 2013 to 1.2 billion this year.
Smartphone popularity continues to rise, and this has been driven -- at least in part -- by the appearance of handsets with bargain basement prices. While the likes of Apple push premium-priced smartphones, emerging markets are lapping up handsets priced at $150 and under.
Are you one of the 4 million? That's the number of iPhone and iPhone 6 Plus pre-orders during the first 24 hours, according to Apple. We don't have comparative number for iPhone 5s and 5c, as Apple gave a three-day figure of 9 million last year. But in September 2012, iPhone 5 topped 2 million the first day.
In one of the funnier Hitler parody videos, the dictator says: "If Apple sold Jony Ive's gym sweat, millions would also buy that!" (Ive is Apple's chief designer.) The point: Apple can sell millions of anything. CEO Tim Cook brags "record sales" -- and they're nothing to snicker about -- but would you expect anything less?
The increasing popularity of smartphones in emerging markets coupled with Google's desire to gain control over its open-source mobile operating system have resulted in Android One. It's a new program, designed with low-end devices in mind, that will see more consumers enjoying the benefits of a close-to-stock Android experience on inexpensive handsets. It's also Google's way of making sure that billions of first-time smartphone users will be exposed to its services and become long-term customers.
"If we look at how people are getting online and accessing information today, increasingly it’s through a smartphone", says Android and Chrome & Apps SVP Sundar Pichai. "While 1.75 billion people around the world already have a smartphone, the vast majority of the world’s population -- over five billion more -- do not. That means most people are only able to make simple voice calls, rather than connect with family through a live video chat, use mapping apps to find the closest hospital, or simply search the web. We want to bring these experiences to more people".
Small displays are passé nowadays, as consumers increasingly prefer large screens. There are obvious benefits to it. Even Apple has finally acknowledged it with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which dwarf all previous iPhones when it comes to display size. But, now that we have bigger iPhones, we find ourselves in the unusual position of having to choose which one to buy.
That was not a problem before, because, since the original iPhone was introduced, Apple only had a single flagship in its lineup. In late-2013, it tried to shake things up a bit with iPhone 5c, but it was actually designed as a mid-range offering. With iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, there are more similarities. Nonetheless, figuring out which new iPhone is best for you is easy.
A lot of Google services have transitioned to gain the title of "apps", and the same is true of a large number of extensions for the Chrome browser. These online tools are essentially cross-platforms apps that work identically Now Google is taking another step to break out of the confines of making apps available to a single platform. Android apps are, quite rightly, associated with smartphones and tablets, but now a small number of these mobile apps are finding their way onto Chromebook.
The (usually) cheap and cheerful Windows laptop/Mac Book alternative (did someone say netbook?) can now start to benefit from a handful of well-known titles from Android devices. It is very early days but as of today there are four Android apps available to Chromebook owners -- Duolingo, Evernote, Sight Words, and Vine -- but we can expect to see this list expand over time. The quartet of crossover apps were introduced today by Ken Mixter and Josh Woodward. A short blog posts penned by the pair explains that the Chromebook support comes thanks to the App Runtime for Chrome (Beta) project.
Apple has finally conceded that big screens are better, as its new iPhones offer 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch displays. It has also finally conceded that a mobile operating system is better when it's more open, as iOS 8 supports third-party keyboards and inter-app communication. It's almost like Apple is saying that Steve Jobs was wrong while rival Android manufacturers and Google were right all along. Oh, the horror. How will Apple fanbois be able to explain this?
But, even as Apple is doing all these things, that some of us have already been enjoying for too many years to count, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are still outclassed by rival Android flagships. In fact, the new iPhones are not much different than Samsung Galaxy S3 or Galaxy Note 3, and, as you may know, neither of the two is the latest incarnation in their respective series. Ouch!
Digital advertising intelligence firm Exponential Interactive analyzed the anonymous online behavior of 1.7 million Britons researching mobile phones in May 2014, and used this data to work out what the key interests of the different groups was.
For each of the brands -- Apple, Sony, Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, HTC, LG and BlackBerry -- it noted the top interests in categories such as Celebrity, Movies, Cars, Travel, Home, Shopping and Sport. And what did it find? Those interested in Apple phones are 16x more likely to be interested in Brad Pitt than the average person online, apparently, while Samsung devotees are 12x more likely to be into Rafael Nadal, and Motorola fans are 89x more in love with Emma Watson. And that's just for starters.
When Microsoft announced Lumia 830 earlier this month, it made no specific mention of the so-called "first affordable flagship" arriving in US stores. The price was also listed in Euros (€330, before taxes and subsidies) from the get-go, reinforcing the idea that, like many other Nokia-branded devices before it, Lumia 830 was destined for other markets.
However, that does not appear to be the case, as US mobile operator AT&T has revealed that it will offer Lumia 830. But it remains to be seen whether the new Windows Phone will also make its way to Verizon, T-Mobile or Sprint.
And I so hoped Apple would have a winner on its hands this year, a new iPhone that would woo me like no other smartphone has done before. And it does. Kind of. But, it's not the 4.7-inch iPhone 6, it's the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. Yes, it's the darn new phablet on the block! And that's a problem. Having to go for a phablet to get the best iPhone is extremely limiting and stupid. Where's the normal-sized iPhone 6 that everyone can call the best iPhone yet? This one? I'm not feeling it. It's rubbish. What have you done, Apple?
This has got everything to do with the specs. I am not the first person to call Apple out for using hardware which someone had to raid a parts trash bin to find. The iPhone 6 that I've been waiting for does not feel like an iPhone with sub-par hardware. It just doesn't. The important bits are clearly inferior to Android flagships (heck, even top Windows Phones, which were known for using lesser hardware in the past) and iPhone 6 Plus, and, as you can well tell by now, I am one step away from using curse words to describe it. I'm trying not to go there. No promises that won't happen before the last period.
Running counter to many of the rumors circulating ahead of the Cupertino event, Apple today announces the Apple Watch, not the iWatch. Unlike the Moto 360, Apple's offering takes the squarer form adopted by many other manufacturers, but there are differences. Taking design cues from older iPhones -- think 3GS period -- the Watch was relegated to the infamous "one more thing" slot after the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were announced. Rather than the unibody design that some had expected, the Apple Watch features six different straps, comes in two sizes (38 mm and 42 mm -- his and hers essentially), and will be available in three different finishes.
Just like the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the Apple Watch's display is made from sapphire crystal but there's something interesting to the right of the screen. More usually found on a traditional mechanical watch, there's a crown -- but this is not used for winding up a spring. Instead, this is a new form of input that can be used to scroll around the interface, zoom in and out, and doubles up as a home button. Despite the squared surround, the Apple Watch's UI is very round in flavor, mimicking the look of a traditional watch.
As you may have guessed from the name, the Sony Xperia M2 Aqua is a brand new water resistant phone courtesy of the Japanese giant that seems to have made repelling H2O something of a personal vendetta.
Seriously, forget the Xperia Z3, the Sony Xperia M2 Aqua has the highest water resistance-rating for a mass-market smartphone. If you regularly make business calls in the shower, there is no other phone we'd recommend more highly.
I must disagree with colleague Mark Wilson, who last week asserted: "There is no reason for anyone to care about the iPhone 6", which as I write has 124 comments. I'm a big fan of provocative posts, because they engage the readership. But my feelings differ about commentaries that bluster without substance. Mark is absolutely wrong. There is every reason for everyone to care about the next iPhone.
Mark asserts that iPhone "used to be aspirational and high-end. Now the world and his dog has an Apple handset and it's turned from something special into a poor substitute for one of the countless alternatives...The iPhone is run-of-the-mill. It is predictable. It's just plain boring". In many ways, I agree, but his boring assessment is every reason to "care about the iPhone 6".
Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 are the oldest Nokia-branded Windows Phone 8 devices, being announced two years ago. The former was the Finnish company's flagship, until Lumia 925 came along, while the latter was introduced as a mid-ranger, succeeded only now by Lumia 830. The good news is that, despite their age, they continue to receive software updates, a reassuring sign, no doubt, for platform enthusiasts.
Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 have already started to receive a software update to Windows Phone 8.1 in many markets across the globe, but the much-awaited version of the tiled operating system is only now making its way to the AT&T-branded models.