August 9, 2012

Updated Google Translate for Android reads text from photos, adds dialect preferences

Google Translate Picture
The latest version of Google Translate for Android should make it easier to read road or shop signs. Users running Android 2.3 and up with a rear-facing camera can now take a picture of text, then trace over the words to have them translated. It worked pretty well for us, and although other apps already have similar features, it's nice to see this come to the official Google Translate app. Besides that, the update to 2.5 also adds instant translation results while you type — much like Translate on the web — and the Japanese handwriting system recognizes multiple characters at once.
On the speech translation side, there's a new option to specify dialect in several languages, including English, Chinese, and Arabic. It can also check what kind of network is available when sending translation requests in order to manage data usage. This isn't quite the interface overhaul we saw last time, but the new features are much appreciated.
Read More

August 8, 2012

Kim Dotcom alleges police punched and kicked him during Megaupload raid

Kim Dotcom Police Brutality
Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom testified in a New Zealand court on Tuesday that police had punched him in the face and kicked him while he was lying on the ground during a raid on his mansion earlier this year. As reported by TorrentFreak, Dotcom testified that he had initially fled to a safe room within his house when police first entered his home but said that police had little trouble breaking into it. “And then they were all over me,” he said. “I had a punch to the face, boots kicking me down to the floor, a knee to the ribs. One man was standing on my hand.” TorrentFreak says that representatives from the New Zealand Special Tactics Group, the counterterrorism unit that conducted the raid on Dotcom’s house, will also testify about the raid sometime this week.
Read More

Judge orders Google, Oracle to disclose if either company paid off bloggers

Google-Oracle Trial Blogger Payments
Judge William Alsup of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco on Tuesday issued a brief order demanding Google (GOOG) and Oracle (ORCL) disclose whether either party paid journalists to cover the high-profile trial that took place earlier this year. “The Court is concerned that the parties and/or counsel herein may have retained or paid print or internet authors, journalists, commentators or bloggers who have and/or may publish comments on the issues in this case,” Judge Alsup wrote.
The judge continued, “Although proceedings in this matter are almost over, they are not fully over yet and, in any event, the disclosure required by this order would be of use on appeal or on any remand to make clear whether any treatise, article, commentary or analysis on the issues posed by this case are possibly influenced by financial relationships to the parties or counsel.”
Alsup required both companies to “identify all authors journalists, commentators or bloggers,” who reported or commented on the case and received money to do so.
Business Insider notes that payments were made to two individuals, one being Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents, who previously disclosed that he accepts money from Microsoft (MSFT) as well. Oracle sued Google for its use of Java in the Android operating system, however in May the Internet giant was found to have not infringed upon Oracle’s intellectual property.
Read More

August 7, 2012

Apple Accuses Samsung Of Copying Icon Designs

Apple’s latest battle with Samsung continues to unfold in court, and while we’ve recently had the opportunity to check out lots of evidence in support of claims regarding copied hardware designs, Apple is just as concerned over what it thinks Samsung has been doing with its software. To that end, it’s supplied evidence that supposedly reveals a pattern of Samsung copying Apple icon designs for TouchWiz.
Some of the icons Apple accuses Samsung of ripping-off make for more convincing arguments than others. The “settings” icon, for instance, might not be a slam-dunk for infringement; not only is the design substantially different, but gears (or maybe a wrench) are pretty common graphical indicators for such options.
Apple’s case feels a little stronger in some of its other examples. The call icon matches Apple’s design almost to a T, with both the layout and color choices consistent. Then there are ones that do seem to reveal some degree of inspiration, but are a bit less of direct knock-offs. The contacts icon keeps the silhouette and the graphical indications of binding to remind us that it’s supposed to be a book, but otherwise departs from Apple’s design. There’s a similar situation with Apple’s icon for its Notes app; Samsung also uses a pad for its icons, but plays around with its depiction quite a bit.
It’s hard to say just how strong a case Apple is making here. Do you see clear evidence of copying? Maybe just mimicry?
Source: CNET
Via: 9to5 Mac
Read More

Why is Apple ditching the YouTube app from iOS 6? It’s about money and machismo

Screen Shot 2012-08-06 at 12.06.16 PM
If the reports coming in today are accurate, then Apple will remove the YouTube app from its iOS devices with the iOS 6 software update this fall. Both Macrumors and 9to5Mac are reporting that it is gone from the current beta. Updated with statement from Google below.
Apple then issued a statement to The Verge:
Our license to include the YouTube app in iOS has ended, customers can use YouTube in the Safari browser and Google is working on a new YouTube app to be on the App Store.
 Why is Apple ditching the YouTube app from iOS 6? Its about money and machismo
This move doesn’t surprise me in the least, and here’s why it shouldn’t surprise you either:
  • Apple doesn’t need it any more. The native YouTube app was an effort to legitimize HTML5 encoded video. Apple used it as leverage, got the entire YouTube catalog converted over to iPhone-friendly video and everyone else followed suit. If you were an iPhone user in the early days, you’ll remember that the entire catalog wasn’t available at launch. Google, who had recently purchased YouTube, started crunching through all of the videos, converting them over to HTML containers and caught up some months afterwards. This was a huge factor in the sidelining of Flash video. Now, HTML5 is the standard so Apple doesn’t need a native YouTube presence built into iOS any more.
  • This year is all about getting rid of Google. We’ve heard from numerous sources over the past several months that this year Apple is going all-out to remove Google’s influences from iOS as much as possible. There is a genuine ‘out to get Google’ mentality at Apple HQ this cycle. This includes combatting them head-to-head with apps like Maps and hitting the gaps in their product line like a smaller iPad mini and cheaper iPhones across the board. Apple has been working to divorce Google for some time, and the omission of YouTube from Mountain Lion’s video sharing options (which include Vimeo), was no accident.
  • Google will be able to push updates faster. The YouTube app has remained mostly static since its introduction on the first iPhone, with some small exceptions. By taking the reins of its own app, Google can iterate quickly and match the experience on the web and in its mobile app more thoroughly.
  • Google stands to make a ton of money from ads. If Google is developing its own YouTube app, it’s likely to be able to show the pre-roll ads and other types of advertising that it loves so much on its YouTube site. The native Apple YouTube app would never have shown ads like this, and Google would likely want to get those ads displaying on mobile everywhere. An enormous percentage of Google’s revenue comes from search on iOS devices and there is a fantastic opportunity here to cash in on mobile views. So don’t think that this was all Apple’s move. I mentioned ads as a motive back in November of 2011:
“Once again the lack of advertising here makes [the native app] a more attractive feature for Apple than it does for Google, who could play pre-roll ads and more via their web app.”
Remember, though, that Google’s YouTube app will likely be at a disadvantage to Apple’s native one. The hooks that normally direct a user out to the app will now simply play in Mobile Safari, rather than bumping people out to the app. The same behavior exists with Chrome, which can’t grab links from other apps to display them. This will put the app at a major disadvantage right out of the gate. Google will likely revamp its site to specify its own app’s URL scheme, which could send the user out to its app, mitigating some of this behavior.
So, the deal surrounding the YouTube app is all about Google’s desire to get ads in front of a huge, untapped market of viewers, and Apple’s desire to exit Google from as much of its iOS platform as humanly possible. Next up is the hardest nut to crack: Search.
Update: A statement from Google:
We are working with Apple to ensure we have the best possible YouTube experience for iOS users.
Read More

NASA's new rover arrives on Mars, crash lands in YouTube's DMCA hell

NASA DMCA takedown
This morning at around 1:31AM EST, Curiosity, NASA's latest robotic Martian rover, touched down safely on the surface of the Red Planet's Gale Crater. But video of the historic event, posted to NASA's own YouTube channel, wasn't so lucky. Motherboard reports that about an hour after appearing on NASA's livestream, a video uploaded from Curiosity's control room during the landing was replaced by a DMCA copyright notice, purportedly the handiwork of the site's notorious automated takedown system.
About an hour later, the video was back online. The offending copyright claim came from one Scripps News Service, and it wasn't the first time — back in April, the company had also removed a video of the Space Shuttle Discovery riding atop a 747 as it departed NASA's Kennedy Space Center. According to Bob Jacobs, NASA’s Deputy Associate Administrator for Communications, the bogus claims happen at least once a month.
"We’ve been working with YouTube in an effort to stop the automatic disabling of videos. So far, it hasn’t helped much."
"Everything from imagery to music gets flagged," Jacobs told Motherboard. "We’ve been working with YouTube in an effort to stop the automatic disabling of videos. So far, it hasn’t helped much."
The automated process comes from YouTube's Content ID system, which has been the target of considerable criticism in the past. The algorithm has flagged false positives in everything from cover songs (protected under Fair Use) to birds singing in the background of a video. Universal Music's dubious copyright claims on a promotional video for filesharing site MegaUpload have even led to the removal of an episode of Tech News Today simply for including a clip of the ad in their video. But even without automation, bogus copyright claims made the old-fashioned way still overwhelmingly favor the complainant. Motherboard notes the absurdity of YouTube's primary defense against such frivolous claims, a line in the site's copyright claims page which simply states, "Don't make false claims!"
Granted, hiring enough staff to pre-screen the millions of videos uploaded to the site each day would probably cost Google a stack of cash that could stretch to the moon. But still, Jacobs senses that something isn't quite right. "We spend too much time going through the administrative process to clear videos slapped with needless copyright claims," he says. "YouTube seems to be missing a ‘common sense’ button to its processes, especially when it involves public domain material paid for by the American taxpayer."

Read More

Nokia looks to preempt Apple, announce Windows Phone 8 handsets before big iPhone event

Nokia Windows Phone 8 Announcement
Nokia’s (NOK) foray into the world of Windows Phones hasn’t gone as well as expected but Bloomberg reports that the company is hoping to have a fresh start by announcing its first Windows Phone 8 smartphones as early as September 5th at its Nokia World conference in Helsinki. An unnamed source told Bloomberg that multiple devices will be announced in early September and will go on sale later in the year, just before the holiday season. Nokia is also hoping to get its Windows Phone 8 announcement in before Apple (AAPL) dominates the tech world’s attention when it announces its new iPhone one week later on September 12th.
Read More

Popular torrent site ‘Demonoid’ shut down as gift to U.S. government

Demonoid Shut Down
Following a massive denial-of-service attack on July 24th that left millions of would-be pirates in the dark, the Ukrainian government has shuttered popular file-sharing website Demonoid. An executive for the company that hosted the service, ColoCall, confirmed that authorities seized information from Demonoid’s servers and the service provider was forced to terminate the agreement it had with the site, Ukrainian news source Kommersant reported. A source inside the Interior Ministry also claimed the raid was timed to coincide with Deputy Prime Minister Valery Khoroshkovsky‘s first trip to the United States to discuss copyright infringement. Demonoid, which was one of the world’s oldest torrent services, attracted millions of users each month, although it was blocked for Ukrainian locals to comply with the country’s copyright laws.
[Via TorrentFreak]
Read More

Qualcomm demos touch-free gesture control for tablets powered by Snapdragon (video)

Qualcomm demos touchfree gesture controls powered by Snapdragon
Tablets are for touching -- that much is understood. But Qualcomm's making it so your fingers will be mostly optional, thanks to the Kinect-like powers of its Snapdragon CPU. To highlight this, the company's uploaded a couple of videos to its YouTube channel that showcase two practical use case scenarios for the gesture tech: gaming and cooking. Using the device's front-facing camera, users will one day soon be able to control onscreen avatars, page forward and back through recipes, setup profiles and even wake their slates all with simple hand or head movements. Alright, so tactile-free navigation of this sort isn't exactly new, but it does up open up the tablet category to a whole new world of innovation. Head past the break to peek the demos in action.

Read More

Windows 8 retail box packaging revealed, comes in two flavors

It has been a good week for Windows 8 related news. First, Windows 8 hit RTM and was subsequently leaked to the internet. Now, we get first glimpse at what the retail box packaging will look like once Windows 8 hits store shelves. Take a look!
As you can see, there will be two flavors. A box for Windows 8 and a darker box for Windows 8 Pro. These will be the only two boxed versions of Windows 8 available in retail stores. You can purchase Windows 8 in one of these boxes starting October 26th. Windows 8 recently hit RTM and was also leaked online, but if you prefer to have a nice little Windows 8 box to go with it, the wait will be over soon.
Read More

How to activate Windows 8

  1. You need to launch CMD as admin.
  2. You need to change your key: 
  • If you're using Professional version, enter in cmd - slmgr /ipk NG4HW-VH26C-733KW-K6F98-J8CK4
  • If you're using Professional WMC, enter in cmd - slmgr /ipk GNBB8-YVD74-QJHX6-27H4K-8QHDG
  • If you're using Enterprise - no need to change your key.
  1.  Set kms server as default: slmgr /skms
  2. And finally activate: slmgr /ato
Read More

August 6, 2012

Android 4.1, iOS 6, Windows Phone 8: Which Got it Right?

By now we have a firm understanding of what the three top smartphone platform purveyors will bring to the table for late 2012 and into 2013. Each new operating system, whether Windows Phone 8, Android 4.1, or iOS 6, brings forth new features and functionality that aims to improve the end-user experience. Ultimately, while the companies behind each of these platforms do indeed (very much) care about deriving revenue and carving out market share, it is the end-user that decides whether a platform succeeds or fails. So then, with three major updates to three major operating systems, which got it right? Which will thrill, appease, and amaze people like you and me who just want the best possible smartphone experience? Let’s take a closer look.

Windows Phone 8

The keystone feature of Windows Phone 8 is that, like Windows Phone 7/7.5, it’s unapologetically different.  But unlike Windows Phone 7/7.5, Windows Phone 8 grants the user control over the sizes of his live tiles. Symbolically, it is these tiles that are the main point of differentiation between Windows Phone and the other platforms. By extending the functionality of this keystone feature, Microsoft has further carved its uniqueness into the platform. As such, Windows Phone 8 continues to be the anti-iOS and the anti-Android.
The many other improvements to Windows Phone 8, such as the improved browser, Skype integration, and support for multi-core CPUs and higher-resolution displays, are features aimed to continue the momentum of the platform, but not necessarily accelerate its market share. Most of the new features of Windows Phone 8 are iterative, and not breakthrough.

The problem with Windows Phone is that not enough people know it exists. With the highest customer satisfaction of all smartphone platform, logic holds that if Microsoft can position this product in front of more eyeballs (and continue to improve the platform, even if only in iterative ways), many more people will choose Windows Phone. But the smartphone space is noisy with a new Android released almost every week, and a benchmark iPhone coming out every fall. If Microsoft can make the same noise with its hardware partners, and with a possible upcoming Nokia Lumia with PureView technology and a high-end Galaxy S III-like Windows Phone coming from Samsung, Windows Phone could win.
There’s a bit of a caveat here. Microsoft’s recent move to wall-off all existing hardware from Windows Phone 8 will have a dramatic and lasting impact on the platform. It’s a factor that might cannibalize on Windows Phone 8 device sales. Why? Because if I, for example, am looking to spend $200 on the new Lumia, I’m going to have a low degree of convince that my investment will get the next major update of Windows Phone. And that’s a really big deal. If I buy an iPhone, I’m guaranteed at least one major software update. If I buy and Android, I’m almost guaranteed an update, and if I want it faster, I can visit sites like XDA. But buying a Windows Phone is somewhat of a crap-shoot because  there is no certainty that my new Lumia will get the Windows Phone 9 update.

Android 4.1

Previous to the release of Android 4.1, Android had a really big problem. It was laggy. It’s possible that the vast majority of Android users didn’t pinpoint this fault, but even without knowing it, lagginess causes frustration and discontent. It makes for a bad experience.
Project Butter is one of the most impactful and important features to come to Android in a long time. Not only does it magically transform the experience of any Android phone (whether new or old), but it helps Android’s promise of being a techy-do-it-all-yet-beautiful operating system come to fruition. It has done wonders, even in early form, to the HTC One X, and the Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Nexus, and Galaxy S II. With Jelly Bean, Android truly becomes a no-compromise operating system. You can now add widgets and graphics to your homescreens and download as many apps as you want without fear of slowing down the OS. With Jelly Bean, the interface operates at a higher framerate. When you touch the screen, the CPU cores go to maximize clock speed for several seconds. This stuff is built deep into the operating system. A user can’t mess this it up by installing too many widgets. The lag is gone.

iOS 6

To end-users, iOS 6 is yet another marginal upgrade from Apple that keeps the interface stubbornly the same. Even the most devout Apple users are bored of iOS’s row-after-row of icons. Dissecting iOS 6 to its cornerstone parts, all new features (except maybe Passbook) are predictable iterations: Maps is redone with turn-by-turn navigation (finally!), Siri can do more (duh!), FaceTime is possible over cellular data (took long enough!), Facebook is integrated as tightly as Twitter (Android and Windows Phone have done this for years), and so forth.
The saving grace for iOS 6 will be hardware. With the iPhone 5 coming very soon, and a rumored iPad mini not too far behind, Apple will have a chance to show us innovation through their highly-regarded industrial design.

And alas, let us not forget that Apple has been known to hold back certain features until the announcement of the corresponding hardware. For example, Siri was not included in the iOS 5 beta last year. Rather, it later debuted at the iPhone 4S announcement. It’s possible that come next month when the iPhone 5 is announced, we’ll get new features along with it that aren’t in the current iOS 6 beta.

So Which Got it Right?

If you strictly look at how these three operating systems have evolved in 2012, it is Windows Phone and especially Android that has gotten right. In the former case, Microsoft has made a good thing even better. They have massaged and improved their key point of differentiation. In the latter case, Google has taken the beautiful holographic UI first shown in Honeycomb and perfected in Ice Cream Sandwich, and they’ve made some dramatic changes to give the user a satisfying feeling of speed and responsiveness in Jelly Bean.
It is iOS 6 that did not get it right. It’ll be a great operating system, just as all previous iterations of iOS were. But it’s unlikely to thrill, appease, and amaze users, unless there’s some super-impressive (perhaps unanticipated) hardware coming from Apple, or some unanticipated software features.
What do you think? Which got it right?
Read More

Nokia To Announce Windows Phone 8 Devices At Nokia World, Says Bloomberg

We’ve heard rumors that Microsoft might be showing off some more, consumer-oriented, features of its upcoming mobile platform, Windows Phone 8, at the Nokia World happening next month between September 3 and 5.
According to a Bloomberg report, Nokia will unveil its next-gen phones running Windows Phone 8 at the same event. This would allow Microsoft to show off key elements of the platform on Nokia hardware. An early-September announcement would definitely beat Apple, at least in terms of official wording; the Cupertino-based company is expected to unveil the iPhone 5, according to rumors, on September 12. However, while the new Apple phone will probably be available by the end of next month, if the rumors are right, Nokia Windows Phone handsets will only be available towards the end of the year (with some rumors talking about October, others November and pessimistic ones about “in time for the Holidays”).
The Bloomberg report is quoting, as usual, “a person with knowledge of the matter”; as with previous rumors, there is no official wording (confirmation or denial) to back up the claims so we’ll have to treat this accordingly, for now.
Source: Bloomberg
Read More

Unannounced HP tablet glimpsed in official picture (again), could be Slate 8

HP's Make it Matter site features a shot of a medical-type person using a mysterious device that's the spitting image of one we saw in July. While the company's made no secret of its plans for a Windows 8 tablet, it's yet to confirm if this is the Slate 8 or some other unannounced flagship. Given the context, perhaps this is an enterprise offering designed for corporate customers, or it could just as easily be the fever-dream of a Madison Avenue art director. If it's real, we'd expect a release around October 26th along with the rest of the Windows 8 cohort.
Phone Arena
Read More

HTC preparing a 5-inch phone with 1080p display for September, says DigiTimes

HTC One X Mobile Wi-Fi 1020px stock
Are 720p displays not enough for you? HTC is reputedly working on cramming Full HD resolution into its next flagship smartphone, a purported 5-inch device that is expected to launch in either September or October. This information comes from DigiTimes, citing an unusual resolution of 1794 x 1080, which we're guessing means it has a full 1920 x 1080 panel, but omits 126 vertical lines for Android's onscreen navigation buttons, introduced in Ice Cream Sandwich.
Although DigiTimes' industry sources have a spotty record with their predictions, there is some corroboration for this rumored HTC phone in the shape of a GLBenchmark result that matches the resolution (and reiterates Android as the OS) from back in July. Also on the GLB information sheet, you'll find mention of Qualcomm's MSM8960 Snapdragon S4 SoC paired with Adreno 320 graphics. Running at a max speed of 1.5GHz, this chip would go a long way to matching the crazy-high resolution that is presently being speculated, while also maintaining HTC's reputation for pushing ahead in the Android spec race.
HTC has traditionally updated its Android lineup twice annually, with the autumn refresh generally being a little less aggressive than the one in the springtime. If this 5-inch flagship is indeed what the company is cooking up for the near future, we may need to reconsider that trend. Then again, with the financial performance HTC has suffered through in the past few quarters, a little more aggression seems like the right remedy.
Read More

Blackberries Could Go Android, But Didn’t, Just to Look Different!

RIM CEO is quite optimistic regarding its Blackberry 10 smartphones and has said that his company is not in trouble. Recently he revealed a rather strange plan RIM was about to take.
Thorsten Heins ,the CEO of RIM, revealed that the company was seriously considering Android for its next phones.
We know that RIM has remained in love with Android, to snatch its apps at least, however, no one could imagine that RIM could adopt Android as an operating system.
He told that the reason for not choosing Android for is that as so many companies are using Android, adding RIM to the bunch would’ve lowered its importance and would’ve reduced it to just another mobile manufacturer. Hence they decided that creating your own platform was the best solution.
Here’s the exact statement:
“We took the conscious decision not to go Android. If you look at other suppliers’ ability to differentiate, there’s very little wiggle room. We looked at it seriously – but if you understand what the promise of BlackBerry is to its user base it’s all about getting stuff done.
Games, media, we have to be good at it but we have to support those guys who are ahead of the game. Very little time to consume and enjoy content – if you stay true to that purpose you have to build on that basis. And if we want to serve that segment we can’t do it on a me-too approach.”-Thorsten Heins, RIM CEO
Mr. Heins also criticized Windows Phone 7 and Nokia Lumia smartphones by saying that they don’t deserve the attention they get and that BlackBerry still sells better than them.
He also announced the release date of the BB10 smartphones – sort of. He told that the BB10 phones are coming in January. That means that fans of BB10 will have to wait for five more months before they can put there hands on a BB10 smartphone.
In a related news RIM has finally declared that they’ll allow other mobile manufacturers to use their BlackBerry 10 operating system in their future smartphones, thus breaking their 13-year old ‘law’ of using its own OS and keeping it to themselves only. This strategy was used later by Apple in the form of iOS almost a decade later and threatened the existence of other mobile manufacturers including RIM.
Read More

What will Facebook look like in 2022?

Facebook won’t always exist. Sure, a company named Facebook will exist and sure, it will have a social network that is hosted on But Facebook as our go-to social network has a finite lifespan.
Like Google, Yahoo, and even Amazon, Facebook will have to recast itself as the internet landscape changes. Google started as a better search engine. As the internet grew and exploded in use, Google shifted to providing a bevy of cloud services, trying to be the provider of your core internet experience through apps such as Google Documents, Gmail, and Google Maps. Now Google is shifting gears again by moving offline with Google Glasses, Street View, and Driverless Car.
Or there is Yahoo, which started as an internet directory but branched out into search and home page services. Today Yahoo provides a home page for 700 million monthly unique visitors and remains profitable despite its ever-shrinking market share.
Finally, Amazon started as the ecommerce bookseller, but Jeff Bezos constantly pushed the company beyond the confines of that pigeonhole category. Today Amazon is plotting a network of urban warehouses that can ensure same-day delivery, and has even turned itself into the preeminent cloud computing provider with Amazon Web Services.

Two threats: mobile & social turf creep

Facebook now confronts two external forces that will shape how it grows: mobile and the threat of turf creep from other social products. Facebook has always had a rocky relationship with mobile. It took over a year after the iPad came out for Facebook to release an app for it. In addition, Facebook’s mobile apps have been plagued with complaints about sloth-like speed and a generally underwhelming user experience. At the same time, the breadth of mobile as a platform (over 488 million monthly Facebook users and counting) means that there are huge opportunities in stitching people together in the mobile space.
Because of mobile’s rapid growth, new opportunities such as photo sharing and video sharing emerge quickly. Each time a new piece of the mobile paradigm is built, Facebook confronts a new risk. For example, Instagram quickly amassed over 30 million users before Facebook acquired them. The gaps in consumer mobile that result from Facebook’s inability to fill the mobile space fast enough provide clear opportunities to disrupt Facebook and take social eyeballs away from them. In the case of Instagram, it came at a cost of $1 billion.
The harsh economics of mitigating the platform gap risk means Facebook will work more proactively to release mobile products.  You already see the results of this with Facebook’s standalone applications: Messenger, Camera, and of course, Instagram.
As mobile increases opportunity risk for Facebook, it also causes a revenue problem. Facebook has struggled to capture mobile advertising dollars. Mobile advertising is challenged by various practical issues. First, the small display area makes it difficult to capture the attention of customers. Second, mobile is not the ideal platform for people to complete a funnel as they are often using it in short bursts of time.
As a result, mobile ads struggle to gain clicks and suffer from weak CPM rates. Concurrently, Facebook suffers because an increasing fraction of its users are on mobile (and hampered by their mobile platform weaknesses. The next 10 years of Facebook will be defined by solving the mobile problem. How do you protect against mobile threats (a la Instagram and Viddy) and simultaneously solve the mobile revenue problem?
Facebook is also threatened by the scope expansion of other social products. What if Twitter starts building out a more thorough profile? What if Instagram remained independent and built a robust web platform? The next company to supplant Facebook may well start as a feature on some existing product: A photo-sharing application that slowly expands into a social network, or a group text message application that starts building profiles. Facebook appears conscious of this threat and evidently is trying to mitigate it ia acquisitions.

Facebook in 2022

The Facebook of 2022 will still lie firmly in the grip of Mark Zuckerberg, but will be quite different. Rather than a desktop-focused social network, Facebook will be the universal sign-in solution for the social web, a collection of various mobile applications, and a powerful external ad network that overcame Google’s publisher network.
Facebook has made continuous progress toward becoming a universal sign-in for the social web. Heavily used applications such as Spotify rely on Facbeook as their main sign-in provider. Facebook has accomplished this by leveraging the appeal of one-click signon as well as the breadth of data they are able to provide application developers without requiring a user registration form. Over the next 10 years, Facebook will work to solidify this advantage. Look out for more initiatives like the Facebook Fund, which provides financial incentives for people building on, or alongside, the Facebook platform.
In addition, Facebook will continue pursuing their strategy to provide distinct mobile experiences. Whether it’s Instagram or Messenger, Facebook’s mobile strategy will be a series of applications distinct from desktop Facebook that leverage their data and network while still providing a unique experience. This lets Facebook try more things while freeing mobile from legacy constraints derived from the core network’s functionality.
Finally, Facebook will become the main provider of external advertising, overcoming Google’s adwords and display business. Facebook’s eventual, and long rumored, external ad network has the power to target not only contextually within the page, but also use the reams of information that Facebook already has to attain deeper targeting. In the last couple of months, we’ve seen Facebook’s first attempt at this external ad network with the launch of Facebook “sponsored ads” on Watch over the next few years as Facebook builds a large publisher network based on the promise of true demographic targeting.
The Facebook of 2022 will look a lot more like a data warehouse; that is, a utility providing users and web developers an easy way to store and access personal information. Facebook will create new ways to experience and operate with this data, such as a lineup of mobile applications and a massive external advertising network that has inherent advantages over Google’s publisher network. These changes come both from the opportunities presented by the rich set of data that Zuckerberg holds tightly, and by the consistent and growing threat of mobile. Facebook in 2022 will look much more utilitarian, but no less influential.
Image Credit: Trey Ratcliff
Read More

Samsung offering new Galaxy customers up to $300 for old handsets

Gallery Photo: Samsung Galaxy S III for AT&T pictures
Samsung is offering new Galaxy S III, Galaxy S II, and Galaxy Note customers up to $300 cashback in exchange for trading in old handsets. Dubbed Samsung Upgrade, the deal is currently available via the company's US Facebook page, where users are able to get an automatic quote for devices from every major manufacturer before submitting proof of purchase to Samsung. After receiving and verifying the old handset, Samsung will send out a check for its agreed value.
Requesting quotes for a number of common smartphones, we were somewhat disappointed. A Galaxy S II will net $140, while an 8GB iPhone 4 will generate cashback of just $115. The Motorola Droid Bionic comes in at a measly $85 and the HTC Desire S provides just $30. The only device we could find that netted the full $300 was the GSM version of the iPhone 4S with 64GB of internal storage — that's $549 less than it costs to buy the device unlocked from Apple, with the same handset currently attracting eBay bids of well over $400. Samsung's quote form includes check boxes for water damage and broken screens, both of which drastically and predictably reduce the value of any handset.
Read More

August 5, 2012

Sense 4.1 on international HTC One X said to blaze through Quadrant, scores nearly 6000

HTC hasn’t had the greatest year if one were to look by the financials, but if I were to pick an Android OEM that made the greatest strides in 2012, I would undoubtedly give it to them. They have made several right steps, including cutting their losses with the disaster that was Beats and refocusing their products along the One line.
However, what stands out for me is the rethink on what Sense is meant to do. While Samsung was busy adding ripple-effect lockscreens to their own custom skin, HTC decided to reduce the bloat and focus on speed with their Sense 4.0. And, if this post on Geeksaber is to be believed, they have doubled down yet again on Sense 4.1. A ROM based on their yet-to-be-released skin for the international version of the HTC One X has made it’s way to XDA-Developers, and having given it a shot, Geeksaber has a lot of good things to say about it. The highlight? A 5900+ score on Quadrant.
Here’s their summary on the changes Sense 4.1 brings:
Sense 4.1 RUU has been leaked (version number 2.15.401.5) , and after some testing, we found the following fixes:
  1. Live wallpaper lag has been fixed
  2. There’s a dedicated button in the Camera app to switch between Front/Backward facing cameras. (earlier you’d have to go into the menu for that.)
  3. A dedicated button to switch tabs in the browser. (You’d have to go into the menu for that, too)
  4. Complete removal of all 3D-Effects in the launcher leading to a completely lag-free experience.
  5. Probably the most important- Rebased on Android 4.0.4
  6. Added ability to remap the recent apps button/ Long-press recent apps/ Long-press Home as Menu. (yes, it removes the Virtual menu bar) under Settings->Display, Gestures and Buttons
  7. New, blazing fast kernel. We mean it. It scored a pretty impressive 59oo+ in Quadrant benchmark (compared to 5100+ on Sense 4)
  8. Wifi-dropping/ Icon showing weak signal Fixes.
  9. Better Battery life- 5 Hour+ Screen-on time as compared to a measly 3 Hour+ on Sense 4.
If anyone else has tried the ROM, do share your experience with us in the comments.
Read More

All HTC One X and One S devices to get new menu button option, unknown for other One series phones

It looks like all One X and One S owners — including those internationally — are going to get a similar update to the one AT&T released last Thursday, allowing users to map the pre-Android 4.0 menu button to the multitasking capacitive touch key on the bottom of the device. Word that the AT&T One X won't be the only One series phone to get the much-needed option comes via AnandTech, which heard directly from HTC that it is working on an update for the other devices.
In case you're not familiar, the issue stems from the One series' use of three hard buttons along the bottom of the device: back, home, and multitasking. Those are the only three navigation buttons required in Android 4.0, but many apps have yet to be upgraded to use on-screen menu buttons and still require the universal button of old. For those apps, the One series has always displayed a large black bar at the bottom of the screen that served as a menu button. With the recent update to the AT&T One X users can either leave the functionality as it is, set a short press of the multitasking button to serve as the menu key while a long press enters the app switching menu, or vice-versa. While the One X and One S are now promised to get similar functionality, the Evo 4G LTE, and Droid Incredible 4G LTE are still left out in the cold for now. We've reached out to HTC to get more information about the fate of those devices, and we'll update this article when we hear more.
Update: Changed to note that the GSM One V has always used a long press of the multitasking button to activate the menu. Thanks, fluxkompensator.
Read More

Blu Products announces Vivo 4.3: Android 4.0 and dual SIMs for $249.99

BLU Products Vivo 4.3
Blu Products has announced the Vivo 4.3, a new smartphone with a 4.3-inch WVGA Super AMOLED Plus display (likely sourced from Samsung's Galaxy S II parts bin) and dual SIM capabilities. The Vivo 4.3 runs Android 4.0 on a 1GHz dual-core processor and has an 8-megapixel camera, 4GB of internal memory, and microSD support. It's unusual to see dual SIM support in a phone with such decent specs — even if there's no 4G — and even more unusual to see a device like this in the US market for a reasonably low price. The phone will be available unlocked in the US in September for $249.99, and Blu Products plans to release the device in the Latin American and Asian markets shortly after.
Read More

August 4, 2012

Real Racing 3 announcement trailer is out, previews jaw-dropping graphics

EA and Firemonkeys has released the first trailer of the third installment of the popular mobile racing simulator Real Racing. And it looks simply astonishing.

The devs behind Real Racing 3 have really put their hearts into making the game match its title. As you’ll see in the trailer below, the 3D car models, reflections and the various effects are given a lot of attention.
Here’s the video itself.
EA says Real Racing 3 will “harnesses the full power of mobile hardware” and after seeing the video above, I am inclined to believe them. And that’s only pre-alpha footage.
EA hasn’t yet announced when the game will be ready for prime time. End of the year, maybe?
Read More

Get Ready To Charge Your Galaxy S III … Wirelessly

Around these parts, we’re no strangers to wireless charging. We’ve been talking about inductive recharging for a while now, and with a webOS expat like me onboard, that’s no surprise. Palm pioneered wireless replenishment as an out-of-the-box feature in its Palm Pre Plus and subsequent devices, and even though it’s been nearly three years since, other manufacturers have been slow to incorporate similar technology into their products. Even though standards like Qi, sprung from the loins of the Wireless Power Consortium, have picked up steam since, we still haven’t seen huge adoption of third-party inductive-charging pads. Whether it’s Energizer, Duracell, or Powermat, the products aren’t flying off the shelves.
Samsung aims to change that with the Galaxy S III, which it graced with the ability to charge wirelessly. When Samsung announced this feature at the Galaxy S III’s official unveiling in London, I was pretty stoked about it. The South Korean giant was the first big-name OEM to throw its weight behind built-in inductive charging, and I specifically called out the feature in my post-announcement roundup. Maybe it wasn’t the magical long-distance charging we’d heard whispers about, but it was definitely better than nothing.
Our mortal enemy.
Since the GS3′s release, we’ve been awaiting some of the features Samsung teased us with in London. The “S-Pebble” mp3 dongle is still nowhere to be found, for instance, and the wireless charging accessory is similarly missing. While I’ve enjoyed messing around with location-aware TecTiles to customize my Galaxy S III experience, what I’d really like is to eliminate these pesky USB charging cables from my daily routine. When can I finally burn the bridges between me and the “wire and cable lobby” I’ve complained about before?
From all indications, it looks like we’ve only got a month to go before that dream blossoms into reality. Come September, we’ll have not one, but two options available. And they’re coming from each side of the OEM/aftermarket divide.


There hasn’t been much new to report about the official, Samsung-sourced wireless charging solution since May, and even then the news wasn’t great. The charging kit, consisting of a tabletop charging pad and a special battery door for the handset, wasn’t presented as part of Samsung’s London unveiling- not even a floor demo was available for press covering the event. At that time, SlashGear confirmed with UK retailer MobileFun that wireless charging solutions for the Galaxy S III wouldn’t become available until September.
In the interim, some impatient and crafty modders got to work, breaking out their soldering guns and adapting the Galaxy S III’s battery cover to work with some old Palm technology. The Touchstone charging dock, originally built for the Pre and Pixi series, seems to have no trouble throwing some volts all up into a Galaxy S III in this video:
That ingenious modification will likely prove popular with modders and tinkerers -unsightly bulge notwithstanding- but for an official wireless charging solution, we’re forced to wait until September. As a reward for our patience, though, we’ll also be graced with an aftermarket alternative.


Announced just today, the ZENS wireless charging pad for the Galaxy S III should launch in September. As one might expect, its design and operating principles fall closely in line with the projected Samsung equipment, as well as existing products like the Powermat. From ZENS’ press release:
The consumer simply replaces the standard battery compartment door of his Samsung Galaxy S3 with the ZENS battery compartment door and the phone will work seamlessly with the ZENS Wireless Charging pad, at home or in the office. The ZENS battery compartment door with wireless charging capabilities is available in both Marble White and Pebble Blue to perfectly match the color of the Samsung Galaxy S3.
As Stephen Schenck notes in the above-linked news post, the “ZENS battery compartment door” required to provide charging functionality is color-matched to the phone, but it’s also emblazoned with the ZENS logo. That might be annoying to some, but I know I’d be perfectly willing to make the tradeoff, especially given the ease-of-use ZENS promises.

In Either Case …

We’re going to be living in the future. We’ll be able to come home, drop our phone on an energy mat, see a reassuring light flash on, and know we’re being topped-off. It’ll be super-futuristic (or it’ll give you flashbacks to 2009, depending on whether you were a Palm customer or not).
Ah, the heady days of three years ago.
As for the reasoning behind Samsung’s delay, there’s plenty of speculation out there. The most plausible theory comes from SlashGear, which sees a possible connection between the pushed-back release date and Samsung’s membership in the Alliance for Wireless Power. The aforementioned Powermat is also a member of said Alliance, and it may be telling that the former hasn’t yet announced support for the Galaxy S III. It’s possible that the “official” Samsung-provided wireless charger may bear Powermat co-branding upon its release. Only time will tell.
In the interim, I’ll be keeping an eye out for further developments in this accessory story, one which has the potential to add an even more potent differentiator to the Galaxy S III’s already-lengthy list of unique features. And maybe -just maybe- I’ll break out my soldering iron and see if I can dig up one of my old Touchstones.
Samsung wireless charger image source: E’s Phone Blog
Samsung wireless charger delay source: SlashGear via The Verge
Galaxy S III on Palm Touchstone story source: GottaBeMobile
ZENS wireless charger info source: ZENS
Read More

August 3, 2012

Final copy of Windows 8 leaks online

Windows 8 RTM
The final build of Windows 8 has leaked to the internet, just a day after Microsoft confirmed it had finished the development cycle for the new operating system. Although MSDN and TechNet customers won't officially receive access to the final Windows 8 bits until August 15th, an Enterprise version of Windows 8 is available widely across various file sharing sites.
The version leaked is an "N" edition of Windows 8 which does not include a bundled copy of Windows Media Player. Microsoft was forced to create the special N editions of Windows after the European Commission ruled in 2004 that it needed to provide a copy of Windows without Windows Media Player tied in. We reached out to Microsoft to comment and the company says it's not discussing the leak.
Read More

August 2, 2012

Google Updates The Gmail Android App, Now Works Better With 7-inch Tabs

The latest Gmail Android app update brings several new features, but this is a must-have for 7-inch tablets. Google slightly reworked the UI and it now works better with 7-inch tablets. Previously, when in landscape mode, the app would occasionally abruptly cut off messages. That’s now fixed for 7-inch tablets running Android 4.0 or later. But sorry, kids, the app is still missing pinch-to-zoom within messages.
The new version also brings a new label API for 3rd-party developers, a feature likely related to homescreen widgets.
This update comes a few weeks after Google released the Nexus 7 to the retail market. Users quickly discovered that Gmail, one of the Nexus 7′s core apps, wasn’t as polished as shiny as it should have been. The updated version is now available from Google Play, which should apply the appropriate sheen to the app.
Read More

Android gets its own official blog, read all about the OS straight from the Android team

o far, the Google Mobile blog has been the major source of info on Android, coming from the source. The blog, however, covers a lot of other Google mobile services (like Google’s mobile sites and apps for other mobile OSes), so when the Mountain View team received an overwhelming amount of requests for an Android-only blog, they delivered.
The Official Android blog will be the go-to place to learn what’s new with the Google mobile operating system. A major Google Wallet announcement is the first piece of news to be broken by the blog.
By the way, even though the Official Android blog launched just yesterday, it has plenty of content already – the Google team has aggregated various Android-related posts from all the other Google blogs and put them in one place.
Here’s the blog, Android users will probably want to bookmark it for future reference.
Read More

Android rules the smartphone world by a widening margin

Analysts have crunched the numbers and revealed the state of the mobile world in Q2 of 2012. Canalys released a report that mostly talks about China - and with good reason too, as the country broke the record for smartphone shipments for a second quarter in a row.
On the world stage, Android is increasing its lead against the competition - it powered 68.1% of the 158.3 million smartphones shipped globally in Q2. It's interesting to point out that the smartphone shipments in Q2 of last year were almost exactly the same as the number of Android phones shipped this year.
Shipments of Apple smartphones increased 28% year on year, but market share fell by 2.5 percentage points. BlackBerry OS was a distant third with 5.4% of the market, while Symbian and Windows Phone had 4.1% and 3.2%, respectively. Bada isn't that far behind WP with 2.1%.

Samsung maintained their position as the top smartphone vendor by shipping 31% of all smartphones. The company is largely responsible for Android's growth - they accounted for 45 million of the 107.8 million total droids shipped.
Apple and Nokia were second and third respectively, while HTC snatched the fourth spot from RIM. Huawei and ZTE are seeing phenomenal growth in China, but couldn’t make it into the top 5 worldwide.
Speaking of China, 27% of smartphones were shipped in China - compared to just 16% in the US. A lot of that came from local makers - ZTE, Lenovo and Huawei - placed second, third and fourth, respectively. Together, they accounted for about a third of the all shipments in China, but Samsung managed to hold onto their top spot by shipping 17% of the smartphones there.
Meanwhile, Apple slipped into fifth place in China, even though their shipments went up 102% year on year. Nokia's shipments in China tumbled down by 47% and Motorola aren't doing too hot either. HTC's shipments went up by 389% year on year, but they still totaled just 1.8 million - just a fraction of the 25.6 million shipments by the aforementioned Chinese makers.
Android is the OS of choice in China, with a dominant 81% share of the market. For more, check out the report from Canalys in the source link below.
Read More

Windows 8 goes gold – now released to manufacturing

It seems Microsoft is right on track with its Windows plan – the new OS has been released to manufacturing as it’s been scheduled.
Microsoft’s OEM partners now have the final release of Windows 8 and they can start embedding it into their new devices.
The developers will be able to download the RTM version on August 15, while a day later it will become available to the TechNet subscribers, Microsoft Partner Network members and IT Windows 8 testing organizations.
August 20 is the day Microsoft Action Pack Providers will get access too, while on September 1 all Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to buy Windows 8.
The general availability of Windows 8 will come on October 26, while starting today “any qualifying business in a supported market can now submit a Metro style app for Windows 8”.
Read More

Early screenshots of Firefox OS revealed

You may already be aware of Mozilla's upcoming mobile operating system based on HTML5. We now have some new screenshots of the UI, courtesy of Mozilla evangelist Robert Nyman.

The UI looks markedly different from some of the previous screenshots we have seen and draws heavy inspiration from some of the other mobile operating system. You can see the iOS influence in the homescreen UI and some Android influence in the settings app and notification drawer.

Still, we wouldn't dwell too much on these because, as Nyman has pointed out, the OS is still being developed and a lot can change by the time it reaches its final stage.
Read More

August 1, 2012

Microsoft replaces Hotmail with, gets a million new users in a few hours

Microsoft has launched the new, which replaces the existing Hotmail webmail service. The new website makes good use of the Metro UI and also offers users to switch from their current email addresses to addresses.
Upon opening the new website you’ll notice just how clean and uncluttered the UI is. In fact, it’s so minimalistic that at first glance you’d think you accidentally opened the mobile version of the website.
On the left you have your usual folder list including items such as Inbox, Junk, Drafts, etc. You can right-click on these to access additional options, such as marking all mails as read or creating a new folder.
On the top you have the Outlook logo with a drop-down menu that lets you switch to your contacts, calendar or SkyDrive account. Weirdly, though, only the Contacts page uses the new Metro UI, whereas the Calendar and SkyDrive app use the same old Hotmail style UI. Worse still, once you switch over to these services, there is no toggle option on the top so you can’t quickly switch back to Outlook. It feels like you have opened a whole new service from a different provider altogether, which is jarring.
Coming back to the Mail app, you will find the option to create a new mail on top. Clicking it opens a two pane window, with the ‘To’ on the left and the mail editor on the right.
Going back to the top bar, you will find a button to launch the messenger on the right, next to a settings button and your profile button. The messenger service not only lets you send messages to people using Windows Live, but much like the messaging app in Windows 8, it also lets you to chat with people on Facebook. Microsoft is also going to integrate Skype in future so you can communicate with your Skype friends as well. Sweet!
The Contacts section shows you your Hotmail contacts but you can also add contacts from other services such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google. The contacts appear in a pane on the left and their information on the right once you click on them. Marking multiple contacts makes them appear as tiles on the right. You will have to do this in order to manage your contacts as you can’t right-click on them individually for some reason.
There is also a new mobile version of the site that you can access from your iOS or Android smartphones. For some reason, the same site loads on the iPad as well, even though the full desktop version would work great om most tablets.
Another interesting feature is that you can now pick up to five different email aliases to use with your standard email. Once you set up any extra aliases, you will be able to use them to send and receive email right from your regular email inbox.
Overall, the is a solid update to the well-known Hotmail service. It looks fresh and approachable and something you’d want to use on a daily basis. It would be tough for Microsoft to pull people away from Gmail, which has served everyone well over the years. Still, initial numbers suggest that Microsoft seems to be doing pretty well, with over a million new users signing up in just a few hours of the service going live. Yet, it remains to be seen how many of these are just going to try it out for a while and never go back and how many will stick around. For old Hotmail users, though, who have stuck around with the service for all these years, there are now fewer reasons to switch over to something like Gmail.
Read More
Designed By Seo Blogger Templates