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Fitbit Shares Surge on Healthy Downloads
December 30, 2015
Fitbit shares earlier this week climbed several percentage points after the company's app topped the iOS charts over the Christmas holiday. The Fitbit app was the top free app downloaded from Apple's App Store on Christmas Day. It was already the most downloaded app in the store's fitness and health category. It wasn't just downloads that told the story of Fitbit's success, however.
Smart Homes Meet Connected Cars: X Marks the Spot
December 29, 2015
Several factors have contributed to the sudden expansion of connected car services available or coming to the market, notably the expansion of mobile broadband networks, high penetration of smartphones, and automakers' re-evaluation of connected services as a competitive advantage. Crossover between connected car and smart home ecosystems offers a unique opportunity for the ecosystem players.
Gadget Ogling: Streaming Socks, a High-Powered Hoverboard, and a Vigilant Vacuum
December 29, 2015
Finally, a pair of socks I would not be ever-so-slightly disappointed to find among my gifts on Christmas morning. Netflix has released some designs for socks that can stop streaming the show or movie you're streaming if you should nod off. The socks detect when you've stopped moving for a long period and hit the pause button. If you're still awake, you can wiggle your big toe to halt the action.
Looking Ahead to 2016
December 28, 2015
Next week is CES, and I am so looking forward to coming home from that show. It used to be a lot of fun, but it covers such a massive amount of space that just getting around takes up much of the time. Given that most folks do prebriefings if they are smart, and that most of the really cool stuff is behind closed doors and not on the show floor, every year I question the intelligence of going.
Apple, Samsung Cut Mobile Payment Inroads in China
December 22, 2015
Apple and Samsung last week announced separate mobile payment partnerships with China UnionPay, the only domestic bank card network in the People's Republic of China. China UnionPay cardholders will be able to utilize Apple Pay and Samsung Pay via a mobile device. Both services will begin early next year, pending approval and certification from regulators.
Ready or Not, Enterprise Appification Is Here
December 21, 2015
Portfolios of task-oriented mobile apps for employees, contractors and business partners have been transforming the way enterprises conduct business, Apperian reported last week. Companies that have launched mobility initiatives have customized and deployed one or more apps that have streamlined business operations, according to the firm's analysis of 2 million app deployments.
2015: Looking Back at an Amazing Year
December 21, 2015
I'm kind of surprised it took us so long to figure out that an iPod-like product with a Siri-like voice interface would be a massive hit in the home. As I write this, the numbers suggest the breakout product this holiday is the Amazon Echo. It once again showcases that if you create something that is plug-and-play easy and does at least one thing folks want to do well, it will be a hit.
Cook Rearranges Apple's Executive Suite
December 18, 2015
Apple on Thursday announced some personnel moves that suggest CEO Tim Cook's future vision for the company. He named Jeff Williams chief operating officer, elevated Johny Srouji to senior vice president, broadened the powers of Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller, and added Tor Myhren as vice president of marketing communications.
CRM to Get Emotional in 2016
December 17, 2015
Temkin Group on Tuesday predicted 2016 will be the year of emotion. That's one of 11 customer experience trends to watch for in the coming year, managing partner Bruce Temkin wrote in a blog post. "Emotion is the component of customer experience that has the largest impact on loyalty, but it is also the area where companies are least adept and often seemingly ignore," he wrote.
WhatsApp Brouhaha Breaks Out in Brazil
December 17, 2015
A Brazilian judge on Thursday lifted the ban a different judge had imposed on WhatsApp hours earlier, according to reports. It did not seem reasonable to affect millions of users to penalize Facebook, WhatsApp's owner, for failing to cooperate with judicial rulings, the judge reportedly said, suggesting that the imposition of a larger fine would have been more appropriate.
Seattle Lets Ride-Sharing Drivers Unionize
December 16, 2015
The Seattle City Council this week approved an ordinance that will allow drivers for Uber and Lyft to form unions, becoming the first U.S. city to pass such legislation. The City Council voted 9-0 in favor of the ordinance, which doesn't require the mayor's signature to pass. Drivers for Uber and other ride-sharing networks are classified as independent contractors, like taxi drivers.
T-Mobile Sets Hulu Lure to Snag Verizon Customers
December 14, 2015
T-Mobile last week introduced its latest promotion aimed at attracting subscribers from rival mobile phone carriers: 12 months of Hulu streaming service for Verizon customers who switch to T-Mobile. In addition to a year's worth of Hulu service, T-Mobile will give Verizon customers who switch up to $125 off in-store accessories such as smartwatches, speakers, fitness trackers and headphones.
Yahoo Ropes In Gmail
December 14, 2015
Yahoo last week announced that it had integrated Gmail with the online version of Yahoo Mail, just two months after integrating Outlook.com, Hotmail and AOL Mail in a major redesign. It also has integrated Gmail support in Yahoo Mail for Android 5.1 and Yahoo Mail for iOS 4.0.4. Yahoo Mail for Android 5.1 began rolling out to Google Play last week.
Twitter Sics Promoted Tweets on Logged-Out Users
December 11, 2015
Twitter on Thursday revealed it's testing the expansion of promoted tweets aimed at logged-out users. The company has been searching for ways to monetize the patronage of the roughly 500 million logged-out users per month who hop off Google for a moment to read tweet or two. The glue here is more tweets, more content. The test will enable logged-out users to view promoted tweets.
Walmart Jumps Into Mobile Pay Fray
December 11, 2015
Walmart on Thursday introduced its own mobile payments solution to let customers make in-store purchases with an Android or iOS smartphone. The move will make it the only retailer to compete with third-party mobile payment systems. Walmart currently is rolling out the feature through its Walmart mobile app in select stores in the northwest Arkansas area.
Apple Tweaks Music, Mail, News in iOS Update
December 10, 2015
Apple on Tuesday released a new version of iOS, and while it was largely a maintenance release of the mobile operating system, the upgrade included some treats for music and news enthusiasts. The release, iOS 9.2, improved Apple Music, the company's streaming music service, in a number of ways. For example, users can create new playlists when adding a song to a playlist.
Mozilla Launches Free Ad Blocker for iOS 9
December 9, 2015
Mozilla on Monday launched Focus by Firefox, a free ad blocker for Safari users on iOS 9. It lets users block the same trackers blocked by Private Browsing with Tracking Protection in Firefox for the Windows, Mac, Linux and Android platforms. The protection is based on Disconnect's open source block list. Focus by Firefox doesn't work with Firefox.
Gadget Gives Passwords Pocket Protectors
December 9, 2015
Denis Clermont and Jérôme Jadot last month launched a Kickstarter campaign for the OdyOne digital identity manager. As much as many Web travelers and security experts would like usernames and passwords to disappear from use, the pesky credentials aren't going away anytime soon. That's why password managers are seen as a way to make the best of a bad situation.
Apple Cranks Up Music Storage to 100K
December 8, 2015
Apple has increased from 25,000 to 100,000 the maximum number of music tracks that can be uploaded to the personal libraries of Apple Music and iTunes Match users, according to media reports Sunday. When Apple launched its streaming music service, Apple Music, in June, company exec Eddy Cue revealed on Twitter that the company was working on raising the library ceiling for iOS 9.
Hello Barbie, Can We Talk About Your Security Issues?
December 8, 2015
New security issues that surfaced last week in connection with Mattel's Hello Barbie doll, which talks back to kids, have heightened fears that hackers could use the toy to steal information about its owners and their families. The Hello Barbie app, which is available for iOS and Android, uses an authentication credential that can be reused by hackers, Bluebox disclosed.
4-Inch iPhone With Apple Pay May Be Coming Soon
December 7, 2015
Apple will launch an iPhone with a 4-inch display and support for Apple Pay in early 2016, according to a research note from an analyst with a good track record of predicting Apple products. The new iPhone model will have an A9 processor -- the same processor found in the latest iPhone models -- and a metal casing offered in several colors, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities said.
Facebook Lets Ordinary People Try Out Live Video
December 7, 2015
Facebook last week launched a beta of its Live Video service for a small percentage of iPhone users in the United States. Live Video reportedly will be available for the Android platform at a later date. Facebook also has launched a pilot to make it easier to share videos from mobile devices. Some iPhone and Android device users can tap the "What's on your mind?" prompt to trigger a drop-down menu of the options they can share.
Steve Ballmer's Excellent Android Adventure
December 7, 2015
Steve Ballmer last week presented an interesting plan to kill Android -- or at least compete with it. What's ironic is that Ballmer's tenure at Microsoft wasn't short of good ideas -- it was short on execution. In contrast, Satya Nadella has shown strength in execution but -- so far -- hasn't come up with anything that represents the kind of risks that Ballmer was willing to take.
Yahoo Reintroduces a Messenger for This Millennium
December 4, 2015
In the midst of takeover speculation, Yahoo on Thursday reintroduced its standby Messenger app in a more robust version, with a set of features designed to breathe new life into a semi-comatose patient. Yahoo completely rebuilt the app with a focus on sharing images and online conversations. Tapping its Flickr, Tumblr and Xobni properties, Yahoo created some collaborative juice.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Focuses on Intelligence
December 3, 2015
Microsoft this week released Dynamics CRM 2016 in CRM Online and on-premises versions. Built-in intelligence is a key feature of the package, which is available in 130 markets and 144 languages. It leverages the Cortana Analytics Suite's advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities. Intelligence "is important because it's an idea that's current," observed analyst Denis Pombriant.
Google Updates Android for Web Lite
December 3, 2015
Google on Monday announced an update to Data Saver mode in Chrome on Android designed to make loading Web pages on a slow wireless connection easier. The update will remove most images when loading a page on a slow connection, reducing data consumption by up to 70 percent, Google claimed. After a page has loaded, users can tap to show all images or just the ones they want.
'Tis the Season for Online Predators
December 3, 2015
While visions of holiday shoppers dance in retailers' heads, those visions are also on the minds of online marauders. Net predators are sticking to scams that have made them money throughout the year. "Over the last 12 months, we've seen a return to attachments with innocuous macros in them," said Kevin Epstein, vice president of advanced security and governance at Proofpoint.
Android Studio 2.0 Aims to Rev App Development
December 1, 2015
Google last week released a preview of Android Studio 2.0 at the inaugural Android Dev Summit in Mountain View, California. The preview offers several updates, including Instant Run and a new GPU Profiler. Instant Run lets developers see changes to code running on their devices or emulators, while the GPU Profiler lets users profile their OpenGL ES Android code.
Gadget Ogling: Zippy 3D Printing, Custom-Molded Earphones, and Fast-Food Buttons
November 30, 2015
One of the current issues with 3D printing is that it can take some time to create physical versions of large or complex designs. Nexa3D's NX1 prints objects as much as 100 times faster than competitors, with printing speeds of about a centimeter in height every minute, according to the company. It uses light on a certain type of resin to speed up the process.
Facebook Tests Tools to Make Breakups More Bearable
November 24, 2015
Facebook last week announced it was testing tools that will let people manage their post-breakup life on its pages. "Today social media means that you are guaranteed to run into your ex, and he or she might very well be wrapped around a new partner," relationship expert Wendy Walsh said. "Research has shown that those who don't disconnect electronically have a harder time getting over a breakup."
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