A few years ago it would have been unthinkable, but whispers that Apple and Samsung are losing their stranglehold on the market are growing louder.
It all stems from the fact that customers are becoming increasingly frustrated at the mobile market mono-culture. In the West especially, we've developed a sort of smartphone East Anglia: hedgeless, featureless and planted as far as the eye can see. This is the Samsung strimmer, the Apple Inc. lawnmower, cutting all other competition out of the market.
It's the question I keep asking, wondering whether to blame the device or my daughter. Last night, she texted: "My screen cracked again. I'm so sorry". That's the third shattered iPhone 5s since May; two 5ers busted before that. Clearly, she's fumble fingers, but something just doesn't seem right. The college student sticks the damn device in a protective case. Did Apple put pretty design before damage durability?
I spent several hours searching for smartphone breakage data today -- on the web and contacting several sources compiling stats. Strangely, the most compelling comparisons are years old. For example, in late 2010, SquareTrade reported that iPhone 4 accidents exceeded the 3GS and devices from competing smartphone manufacturers. In a 2012 survey of 2,000 iPhone users, 30 percent had damaged their device in the previous 12 months.
Even though Microsoft is planning to downsize its Nokia X efforts (to the point where there will likely be no new device announced), the software giant is still supporting its Android lineup by rolling out a new software update.
The update introduces the multitasking functionality from the Nokia X2 lineup, giving users the ability to easily switch and close running apps. It can be triggered by tapping on the App Switcher icon, after swiping down from the top of the display.
Even though Cortana shares some major design traits with Google Now, there is no denying that the new Windows Phone 8.1 personal assistant actually feels more like a Siri rival. That is due to their uncanny wittiness and human-like personality, two things that are just not there in Google's (clinical, albeit mighty powerful) offering.
Cortana is gunning for Siri as the latter is a more talked-about personal assistant than Google Now is (and will likely ever be). So it should come as no surprise that, in a new Windows Phone 8.1 ad titled Happy Anniversary, Microsoft pits the two against each-other. And, obviously, Cortana embarrasses its opponent.
People in other countries handle everyday situations in different ways, and that can make life difficult for the traveler. What might be seen as a polite action or way of behaving in one country could well be insulting in another, and it's not just customs or beliefs to be aware of.
Every nation has its own idea of what constitutes proper cell phone etiquette. In countries like the USA and UK, we know it’s not polite to do things like talk loudly on your phone in a public place, or answer a call during a movie or in a business meeting -- even if not everyone obeys these unwritten guidelines. Elsewhere around the globe, there are other rules when it comes to how and when to use the phone.
The option to change the Windows Phone 8.1 lockscreen is a new feature Microsoft showcased in early-April, at the unveiling of its new operating system, but that is not yet ready for prime time. As you may recall, Windows Phone head Joe Belfiore has said that it will be available later down the road through a dedicated app.
But, how close are we to its release? Well, Belfiore says that the development of the lockscreen app is in its final stages, with the software giant and prolific Windows Phone developer Rudy Huyn (who also works on the lockscreen app, as announced at Build 2014) now focusing on "loose ends".
Nokia Lumia 520 has proved to be an extremely important entry-level handset for Windows Phone, allowing the platform to reach more consumers and become more relevant in emerging markets. Its successor has to live up to high expectations, as it has to exceed the 12 million activations mark quicker than Lumia 520 has managed to, in order to be considered a success. That is no easy task, when the competition in the entry-level smartphone market is heating up.
So does the new Lumia 530 have what it takes to become a worthy Lumia 520 successor? Well, it at least gets off on the right foot, as Microsoft says its new Windows Phone 8.1 entry-level offering is expected to cost €85 before any local taxes and subsidies, and under €100 "on the highstreet". And that goes for the Dual SIM version as well; it will play a key role in increasing Windows Phone's popularity among price-conscious buyers.
Eighth in a series. What goes around comes around. It's cliché but describes my return to Nokia after abandoning the brand five years ago. I never expected to come back, and the app experience, while a backwater compared to Android or iOS, is little different than when I left. Cameras are great and app selection limited, but it's hugely improved because of Microsoft.
Nokia was in 2009 still the world's mobile handset leader, except for one major market: The United States. As such, Symbian dominated mobile app development, even as iOS rose in prominence. (Remember: Apple opened its app store in July 2008, and the first Android phone shipped a few months later.) But the majority of apps and supporting services, developed by Nokia and third-parties, best suited the rest of the world. Americans had limited choices on the company's handsets.
It feels a bit ironic to be discussing, in 2014, if C++ is a viable, or more importantly, a great choice for multi-device, multi-platform app development. It’s ironic in the sense that despite the attention Objective-C, Java, and C# get for app development, most of the software we use on a daily basis is written in C/C++ and after all these years represents the largest community of developers.
There are many reasons to use C++ for your current and future app development and I will discuss five key reasons after a brief history.
Following in the footsteps of fellow maker Samsung, LG just unveiled a beefed-up version of its current flagship smartphone, G3. Called G3 Cat. 6, the new Android handset comes with a faster processor and support for speedier cellular networks as its main highlights.
G3 Cat. 6, like Galaxy S5 LTE-A, is compatible with LTE-Advanced cellular networks, that enable top download speeds of up to 225 Mbps (theoretically speaking) courtesy of the Qualcomm Gobi 9 x 35 modem. In the power department, LG's device employs a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor to do the heavy lifting.
Chinese maker Xiaomi has unveiled its new flagship Android smartphone. Dubbed Mi 4, it is described by the company's Global VP Hugo Barra as the "fastest & most gorgeous Mi Phone ever".
Mi 4 comes with hardware specifications that are typical of an Android flagship announced in 2014. It packs a 5-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1080 by 1920, and is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor. Pretty standard stuff, except for the price.
Not to be outdone by Google's Android operating system, Mozilla wishes to push its own mobile platform out to customers. The organization is aiming mostly at the low-end market, but that will be expanding in the future.
The mobile platform initially debuted on just two devices, but Mozilla has managed to scare up a few more partners to produce its product.
Microsoft has introduced Preview for Developers to give Windows Phone users early access to new releases, specifically betas, of the tiled operating mobile system. The program is also supposed to ensure a seamless upgrade path to the official firmware, once it is available.
While I have had no issues upgrading to an official firmware ever since I started using Preview for Developers in late-2013, it looks like there might be a problem in upgrading to Lumia Cyan for those of us who have relied on the program to install Windows Phone 8.1.
Top Android manufacturers have made a habit of releasing smaller versions of their flagship smartphones. Samsung is doing it. HTC is doing it as well. And LG is no exception. But, unlike its fellow vendors, it is not calling it a "mini". Meet G3 Beat.
Also unlike Samsung and HTC, which give their mini-flagships small displays, LG opts for a 5-inch panel; it is as large as what One (M8) offers and not that much smaller than what Galaxy S5 comes with. Let us take a look at what G3 Beat has to offer.
Lumia 635 is one of the three Nokia-branded Windows Phone 8.1 devices announced so far. It is designed to compete in the low-end smartphone market, where it goes up against similarly-priced handsets from rival Android manufacturers. It is also the only device in its lineup to officially reach US shores, with T-Mobile being the first local mobile operator to announce its availability.
But Lumia 635 will also be available at another US mobile operator. Starting July 25, AT&T will offer the Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone through its GoPhone prepaid service and, starting August 8, the device will also be available through the mobile operator's online and brick and mortar stores.