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.
Motorola managed to really impress with last year's Moto X and Moto G. The two smartphones have shown time and time again that they do not need heavily-customized software, large screens or the fastest hardware around to stand out from the rest of the pack. They successfully targeted different parts of the market -- the former has gone after flagship buyers while the latter has sought to attract consumers on a budget -- in a different, impactful way, relying on the appeal of the overall package to tell their story. But, no matter how good they might have been, Moto X and Moto G are clearly showing their age.
Today, Motorola is relieving the pair of their leading roles, as it unveils the new Moto X and Moto G (the 2014 editions, if you will). The names might be the same, but the latest offerings are new inside out.
Google is to pay out at least $19 million to Android users whose children were tricked into making expensive in-app purchases on smartphones and tablets. The Federal Trade Commission has been investigating mobile purchases for the last three years, and Apple agreed at the beginning of the year to a settlement. Amazon was also investigated and plans to appeal against the charges. In agreeing to repay the money, Google has effectively admitted that apps available in Google Play may be deceptive.
The brunt of the FTC case centers around the idea that it was not made clear to parents that their children would be able to make purchases within apps without authorization. Many of these in-app purchases are to be found in games where players are encouraged into parting with money in return for extra lives, game power-ups, or to unlock new levels. The FTC complained that since 2011 Google had indulged in unfair practices that left parents with bills of hundreds of dollars.
Phablets are emerging as the next big thing in the smart device market. According to research firm IDC, big-screen smartphones will out-ship portable PCs (laptops) before the end of 2014, and tablets sometime in 2015. What's more, also this year, phablet shipments are expected to far outnumber desktop PCs. Want to bet on a winning large form factor? Pick phablets.
In 2014, IDC expects shipments of phablets, tablets, portable PCs and desktop PCs to reach 174.9 million, 233.1 million, 170 million and 133.5 million, respectively. Fast forward to the end of 2015, and shipments of phablets and tablets reach 318 million and 233 million units, respectively. And with Apple expected to unveil an iPhone phablet, big smartphones are only going to make things worse for PC and tablet shipments.
Google knows a lot about you, and the government may be snooping on your activities, but it's your significant other who may well be the one spying on you the most, according to a new survey by security firm Avast.
The company surveyed 13,132 adults in the United States and found that one in four women and one in five men regularly checked their partner's smartphone. Most of the women were doing so purely to be nosy, but a quarter of married women admitted to looking for evidence of infidelity.
Microsoft today introduces Lumia 830, a new Windows Phone 8.1 device that is advertised by the software giant as "the first affordable flagship" smartphone. The device is touted to give rival devices from Apple and Samsung a run for their money, so let's take a look at what it has to offer.
The highlight of Lumia 830 is its PureView-branded main camera, which is paired with some very interesting software features, which allow users to, for instance, change the intensity of the flash in the captured still, after the fact. It is aided by optical image stabilization. To showcase just how capable the 10 MP unit is, Microsoft inexplicably compared Lumia 830 with an outdated flagship, Apple's iPhone 5 which is verging on two years of market time. Thankfully, Microsoft has not gone crazy (well, maybe it did).