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WatchOS 3 Offers New Hope for Smartwatch Category
June 16, 2016
Apple finally responded to concerns that were threatening to scuttle its once-promising wearables category. Its introduction of watchOS 3 at this week's WWDC has drawn high praise. The Apple Watch represented the company's attempt to marry the ultimate Dick Tracy smart gadget with the genius of the iPhone, but it fell short. Instead of a convenience, it was far too slow and complicated.
Rubin Sees AI Quantum Computer Running the Show
June 15, 2016
Just one quantum computer running artificial intelligence algorithms would be capable of connecting pretty much all the devices on the planet, Android creator Andy Rubin said Tuesday. Rubin, who also launched Google's efforts in robotics, is now CEO of Playground, which together with Redpoint Ventures has invested in an unnamed startup working on quantum computing.
FCC Wins Huge Net Neutrality Victory Over Big Telecom
June 14, 2016
An appellate court on Tuesday handed a major victory to the FCC by upholding the Open Internet Order, which ensures equal access to the Internet. By a 2-1 vote, the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the FCC's right to impose Net neutrality rules that essentially prevent big telecom and broadband companies from slowing down, speeding up, or blocking service.
Apple's iOS 10 Goes to Eleven
June 14, 2016
Apple on Monday kicked off its Worldwide Developers Conference with the biggest-ever release of its iOS mobile operating system. CEO Tim Cook called iOS 10, coming this fall, "gigantic" and "the mother of all releases." Among the new offerings in the upcoming version of iOS are more features in Messaging, and all new designs for News, Music and Photos.
Snapchat Rolls Out Ad-Friendlier Design
June 14, 2016
Snapchat recently began rolling out its redesigned Discover page. It now displays images and headline previews of the content inside Discover channels and Live stories on the Stories page. It previously displayed only logos for publishers or events on those sites. Publishers now can include an image and a headline to promote each day's story.
Can Huawei Overtake Apple and Samsung?
June 13, 2016
Huawei says it is working hard to overtake Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy line in the worldwide smartphone market. If you were to ask anyone over the last eight years if that were possible, you would have heard a resounding "no." The marketplace is changing, though, and anything is now possible. Today Apple, Google and Samsung are enormous, but the rate of smartphone growth has slowed.
Drops and Spills Don't Faze Samsung Galaxy S7 Active
June 11, 2016
The water- and shatter-resistant Samsung Galaxy S7 Active on Friday became available exclusively from AT&T. Consumers who have eligible service can get the Galaxy S7 Active for $26.50 monthly for 30 months on AT&T Next, or $33.13 monthly for 24 months on AT&T Next Every Year. With a new two-year wireless agreement, customers who opt for AT&T Next also can get a free Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch.
Apple to Boost App Store Money-Making Opportunities
June 9, 2016
Apple is planning a major overhaul of its App Store, including the introduction of a new subscription model for developers and the implementation of a paid search ad program, SVP Phil Schiller indicated in interviews ahead of next week's WWDC. To encourage developers to sell their apps on a subscription basis, Apple plans to change the current 70/30 revenue-sharing structure.
New Samsung Fitness Trackers Have Music Built-In
June 8, 2016
Samsung last week unveiled its Gear Fit2 fitness band and Gear IconX earbud set. The Gear Fit2 will be available for $180 this Friday at major retailers. The IconX will hit shelves in the third quarter of this year. The Gear Fit2 has a built-in GPS and a heart rate monitor. The Gear IconX is a pair of Bluetooth earbuds that can track fitness information.
Uber Tosses Its Drivers a Few Bones
June 8, 2016
Facing growing pressure from labor unions and regulators across the U.S. and key overseas markets, Uber on Monday introduced a series of new apps and benefits for its core group of drivers. The goal is to make their working hours more productive and profitable. Among the new apps are Driver Destinations, which lets drivers restrict ride requests to their current routes.
Microsoft, Xiaomi Become Office Mates
June 1, 2016
Microsoft on Tuesday announced plans to sell 1,500 mobile technology patents to China-based Xiaomi, in a deal that will expand both companies' access to new markets. Microsoft's office apps will gain a stronger foothold in China, while Xiaomi's smartphones will gain a stronger global presence. The agreement calls for Xiaomi to ship Microsoft Office and Skype on its Android smartphones and tablets.
Pay TV Firms Eke Out Tiny Gains in Customer Satisfaction
June 1, 2016
After two years of declining customer satisfaction, the telecommunications sector has halted the slide, according to the ACSI Telecommunications Report 2016, released Wednesday. There was a 1.9 percent gain -- to 70.1 on a 100-point scale -- in satisfaction with pay TV services, Internet service providers, fixed-line telephone services, wireless phone services and mobile phone makers.
Report: Smartphone Ad Blockers Picking Up Steam
June 1, 2016
At least 419 million people around the world are blocking advertising on their smartphones, according to a report PageFair released Tuesday. Most of those people -- 408 million of them -- are using ad-blocking browsers, notes the report. The use of ad blockers doubled in 2015, and the use of mobile ad-blocking browsers increased 90 percent during the same year.
Coalition Wants FCC to Look Into Data Cap Exemptions
May 27, 2016
A coalition of technology companies and advocacy groups earlier this week wrote to the Federal Communications Commission, urging it to open a public investigation into zero-rating practices, in which mobile providers allow some video or music providers to be excluded from data caps. The group called on the FCC to examine the zero-rating practices to determine whether they harm competition.
Tiny HopperGo Neatly Stashes Loads of Mobile Entertainment
May 26, 2016
Dish Network continues to change the way we view recorded TV. It made location-shifting as easy as time-shifting via its Sling technology, and its Hopper let users transfer recordings to a mobile device. Now it has introduced another option for taking recorded content anywhere: the HopperGO, a compact DVR hard disk drive that lets users transfer content from a set-top box to the portable unit.
Microsoft Drastically Scales Down Smartphone Biz
May 25, 2016
Microsoft on Wednesday announced plans to streamline its smartphone business by cutting 1,850 jobs. It will record an impairment charge of $950 million, with severance payments accounting for $200 million of the charge. The restructuring will entail up to 1,350 job losses at Microsoft Mobile Oy in Finland, and 500 more cuts around the world.
Google's Abacus May Count Out Passwords
May 24, 2016
By the end of the year, Android devs will be able to use a trust API from Google's Project Abacus in their apps, Google ATAP Director Dan Kaufman suggested at last week's I/O conference. The API, which will run in the background continually, is aimed at doing away with passwords. It will use a smartphone's sensors to create a cumulative trust score that will authenticate users.
New SF Store Showcases Apple's Trademark Creativity
May 24, 2016
Apple last week opened a San Francisco flagship store in the city's tony Union Square shopping district. The store has a 42-foot-tall sliding glass door and a 50-foot tall green wall and is powered by 100 percent renewable energy. "We have a deep commitment to the cities we work in and are aware of the importance that architecture plays in the community," Apple's Jonathan Ive said.
Nokia Stages Smartphone Comeback
May 20, 2016
Nokia on Wednesday announced its return to the mobile phone and tablet business in connection with a larger agreement by Microsoft to sell its entry-level phone business to HMD Global and FIH Mobile for $350 million. Microsoft will sell its Hanoi, Vietnam, manufacturing facility to FIH Mobile. Nokia will grant HMD the exclusive global license to make Nokia-branded phones and tablets for 10 years.
Motorola Shows Off New Moto G Collection
May 18, 2016
Motorola on Tuesday unveiled three new smartphones: the fourth-generation Moto G, the Moto G Plus and the Moto G Play. The Moto G and Moto G Plus can be customized using Moto Maker, while the Moto G Play can not. All three run Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. The Moto G and Moto G Plus became available Tuesday in Brazil and India. They will be rolled out elsewhere over time.
AT&T Snags Quickplay for DirecTV Expansion
May 17, 2016
AT&T on Monday announced that it has agreed to buy Quickplay Media, which will serve as the backbone for DirecTV's upcoming multiplatform streaming video services. Quickplay, which supports AT&T's U-Verse TV Everywhere service, will support DirecTV Now, DirecTV Mobile and DirecTV Preview. The services will allow DirecTV content to be viewed on mobile phones, smart TVs, PCs and tablets.
Apple Invests $1B in Chinese Uber Competitor Didi Chuxing
May 16, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook on Monday met with executives from Didi Chuxing, just days after the company announced that it had received a US$1 billion investment from Apple. After arriving in Beijing, Cook tweeted out photos of himself taking a taxi with Jean Liu, the president of Didi Chuxing, and of her showing him the mobile app. Apple hosted a panel of iOS developers at the Apple Store in Beijing.
Could the Next Disruptive Consumer Product Be a Flip Phone?
May 16, 2016
Smartphones appear to be losing their luster, and the king of smartphones -- Apple -- clearly is not having a good year. Suddenly, I'm hearing that there is an upswing in flip phones, making this feel a bit like a Game of Thrones episode, when a believed-dead king returns to seize the throne by surprise. Clearly, the market is looking for the next big thing.
Opera Browser Sips Laptop Juice Rather Than Slurping
May 13, 2016
Opera on Thursday announced a dedicated power-saving mode in the developer version of its Web browser. Tests showed it extended laptop battery life by up to 50 percent against Google Chrome, Opera said. The browser will suggest enabling power-saving mode when a battery has 20 percent of capacity left. Clicking on the battery icon after a laptop is disconnected from its power cable activates it.
Google Gives iOS Users 1st Crack at Gboard App
May 12, 2016
Google on Thursday introduced Gboard, an app that combines search with a new soft keyboard for mobile devices running iOS. Gboard, which supports glide typing, allows users to perform searches from the keyboard without leaving the application they're in. Once the information is found, they can paste it into their application without leaving the keyboard.
Feds to Take a Hard Look at Mobile Device Patch Practices
May 11, 2016
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission on Monday announced a joint investigation into the issue of mobile device security updates. The FTC issued an order requiring Apple, BlackBerry, Google, HTC America, LG Electronics USA, Microsoft, Motorola Mobility and Samsung Electronics America to provide information about how they issue security updates.
iPhone 7 Rumors Blunt Anticipation
May 11, 2016
It appears there won't be a lot of design changes in the next iPhone, according to a schematic photo published online Monday. It shows what's purported to be Apple's upcoming iPhone 7 to be the same size as the 6s. "They've done a lot with the design already. They're keeping multiple design languages to keep their customer base happy," said analyst Kevin Krewell.
Apple Partners With SAP for Mobile App Dev
May 11, 2016
Apple and SAP last week announced an agreement to create applications for the iPhone and iPad using SAP's HANA data management platform as well as an iOS software development kit and training academy for outside developers and customers. The move marks Apple's latest attempt to break through to the enterprise market and comes at a challenging time for the iPhone and sluggish sales for tablets.
Futuristic Digital Assistant Viv Takes the Stage
May 9, 2016
Viv Labs CEO Dag Kittlaus on Monday demonstrated at Disrupt NY 2016 technology that was designed to make people-to-machine interactions as natural as people-to-people interactions. Kittlaus, the former CEO of Siri, and other Siri vets cofounded Viv in 2012. The artificial intelligence-enabled interface no user manual and can handle complex tasks via simple commands, he said.
Microsoft Challenges Oracle With SQL Server 2016
May 5, 2016
Microsoft this week announced that SQL Server 2016 will be generally available June 1. It will deliver an end-to-end data management and business analytics solution with mission-critical intelligence, according to the company. Built into the software are in-database advanced analytics, in-memory capabilities optimized for all workloads, and a consistent experience from on-premises to the cloud.
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