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    Showing posts with label Technology. Show all posts

    Apple creates 'Move to iOS' app to pull Android users away from Google

    The iPhone 6 has been more successful than previous versions of the smartphone at drawing Android users away from Google’s mobile platform, and Apple wants to capitalize on that with a new app that makes it easier for them to make the switch.

    Later this year, a new “Move to iOS” app will wirelessly transfer a user’s “contacts, message history, camera photos and videos, web bookmarks, mail accounts, calendars, wallpaper, and DRM-free songs and books” from an Android phone to their new iPhone.

    The switching process will also suggest that they install free apps from their Android device that are also available on Apple’s App Store, so switchers can quickly get back on their feet with their favorite apps like Facebook and Twitter. Paid apps that they have on Android with iOS versions available will be added to a user’s wish list in the iOS App Store.
    According to Apple, the whole process will be handled “securely” so that a user’s personal information doesn’t get exposed. It’s not clear exactly how the process works yet, and how aggressive Apple will be when it comes to migrating users away from Google’s services. For example, it’s possible that the process will move all of the contacts a user has stored with Google over to iCloud—Apple hasn’t said one way or another.

    Once the process is done, the Android app will helpfully prompt users to recycle their Android phone, just to keep them from going back to Google’s mobile platform unless they buy a new phone.

    The app wasn’t announced on stage Monday morning during Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, but it appeared on the promotional page the company created to show off its new mobile operating system ahead of its launch later this year.

    Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro India Launch Expected at Firm's September 30 Event

    Lenovo has sent out invites to an event on September 30, where the company is widely expected to launch the Vibe Z2 Pro in India.

    The invite to "Make way for the Pro" includes an image of the Vibe Z2 Pro's rear panel with a tagline that says, "The Pro awaits you."

    Interestingly, the Chinese handset maker has listed the Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro on the company's India website - pointing to an official launch soon.

    Another smartphone that can be expected to launch alongside the Vibe Z2 Pro is the Lenovo Vibe X2, which was listed on the company's India website on Wednesday. The official listing of the Vibe X2 does point to an imminent launch soon; however, there is no word from Lenovo.
    The Vibe Z2 Pro was announced last month with an expected availability of September. The Lenovo Vibe Z2 Pro sports a 6-inch Quad-HD (1440x2560 pixel) display, which will be up against the likes of the LG G3 and Oppo Find 7, which also sport QHD displays.

    It runs Android 4.4 KitKat out-of-the-box with the company's proprietary Vibe UI 2.0 on top. The Vibe Z2 Pro supports dual-SIM functionality, and is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon (MSM8974AC) 801 processor clocked at 2.5GHz, coupled with 3GB of RAM. Currently, the flagship devices currently in India from HTC, LG, Samsung, and Sony are powered by the same SoC series.

    The new Lenovo flagship packs a 16-megapixel rear camera and also houses a 5-megapixel front camera. The Vibe Z2 Pro's rear camera comes with OIS (optical image stabilization), 4K video recording functionality, and dual LED flash.

    ASUS Zenfone smartphone series to launch in India on 9 July 2014

    ASUS will most likely release its ZenFone series of phones in India on July 9 according to sources. The ZenFone series was first announced way back in January 2014 at CES. The ZenFone series comprises 4-inch, 5-inch and 6-inch handsets with most of them being priced aggressively under Rs 25,000.

    The ASUS Zenfones are named Zenfone 4, Zenfone 5 and Zenfone 6, where the number corresponds to the screen size. All the phones have an IPS display and each of them comes in five different colours. The Zenfone 4 has a 5MP camera, the Zenfone 5 sports and 8MP camera and the flagship Zenfone 6 houses a 13MP shooter with an aperture of f/2.0. Each of these phones come with ASUS’s proprietary PixelMaster technology.
    Zenfone 6 is the flagship 6-inch phone which sports a 13MP camera with an f/2.0 aperture
    Zenfone 6 is the flagship 6-inch phone which sports a 13MP camera with an f/2.0 aperture

    All the ZenFone series phones sport an Intel Atom processors, with the ZenFone 4 sporting the 1.2GHz Intel Atom Z2520 CPU (quad-core with hyper-threading technology) whereas the ZenFone 5 and ZenFone 6 have the 2GHz Intel Atom Z2580 CPU (quad-core with hyper-threading technology). The other major specifications of all the phones are as under.

    Zenfone 4 Specs
    - 4inch WVGA 800 x 480-pixel display
    - 1.2GHz Intel Atom Z2520 CPU with Quad-Thread Hyper-Threading Technology
    - Android 4.3 (will update to Android 4.4 KitKat)
    - DC-HSPA+ (DL/UL): 42/5.76 Mbps
    - Integrated 802.11b/g/n; Wi-Fi Direct
    - 5-megapixel rear camera
    - 0.3-megapixel front camera
    - 1GB RAM
    - 1170mAh battery
    - Up to 64GB micro SD card
    - 124.4 x 61.4 x 11.2-6.3mm
    - 115g
    - Price at launch: $99 or pprox Rs 6000
    ASUS Zenfone 5 sports an Intel Atom Z2580 processor clocked at 2GHz
    ASUS Zenfone 5 sports an Intel Atom Z2580 processor clocked at 2GHz

    Zenfone 5 specs
    - 5inch HD 1280 x 720-pixel IPS display
    - 2GHz Intel Atom Z2580 CPU with Quad-Thread Hyper-Threading Technology
    - Android 4.3 (will update to Android 4.4 KitKat)
    - DC-HSPA+ (DL/UL): 42/5.76 Mbps
    - Integrated 802.11b/g/n; Wi-Fi Direct
    - 8-megapixel rear camera
    - 2-megapixel front camera
    - 1GB RAM
    - 2050mAh battery
    - Up to 64GB micro SD card
    - 148.2 x 72.8 x 10.3-5.5mm
    - 140g
    - Price at launch: $149 or approx Rs 9000
    Zenfone 6 specs
    - 6inch HD 1280 x 720-pixel IPS display
    - 2GHz Intel Atom Z2580 CPU with Quad-Thread Hyper-Threading Technology
    - Android 4.3 (will update to Android 4.4 KitKat)
    - DC-HSPA+ (DL/UL): 42/5.76 Mbps
    - Integrated 802.11b/g/n; Wi-Fi Direct
    -13-megapixel rear camera
    - 2-megapixel front camera
    - 1GB RAM
    - 3230mAh battery
    - Up to 64GB micro SD card
    - 166.9 x 84.3 x 9.9-5.5mm
    - 200g
    - Price at launch: $199 or approx Rs 12,000

     However, the prices mentioned above are exclusive of taxes and duties which will be levied on the devices eventually. So please note that the final prices will only be revealed on the launch date.

    Obi Mobile to enter India with ‘multi-channel approach’

    At a time when new players in the Indian smartphone market are opting for and finding success in the e-commerce route, Obi Mobile, which will launch its first devices in the country this June, has decided to take a multi-channel approach.

    Ajay Sharma, CEO of the company which came into limelight for being promoted by former Apple CEO John Sculley’s Inflexionpoint, told indianexpress.com that they would go across channels to sell the new range of phones.

    “We are talking about pop and mom stores, mobile stores, regional stores and online. We plan to have a larger width of channel and touch all the distribution points available,” he said. The strategy is in complete contrast to new players like Motorola and Alcatel which are selling only through e-tailers like Flipkart. “We can’t afford to pick just one channel. Some specific models could be launched through individual channels later, but not now.”

    “We were first planning to bring in just three devices, but as our launch has got delayed we should be coming in with about 5-6 devices in the R5,000 to R15,000 price bracket. Most of the devices will be priced under R10,000, that is the sweet spot,” he said.

    Sharma said they are looking at a 360-degree campaign on TV, online and print to make people aware of the brand. “We also plan to give the customer an experience at the store level to convert the enquiries into sales,” he said, adding that Obi Mobile will, however, have a pan India strategy covering 50 cities initially. The company already has a headstart with distribution as Iris Computers, also owned by Inflexionpoint, has warehouses and offices in 23 Indian cities.

    “We will not compete on price. What we will offer the customer is a unique looking device with differentiation and we are working with many design houses on the same,” he said, adding that user experience will also different.

    The company plans to offer stock Android at the entry level, some user interface differentiation at the middle range and a completely different UI at the high end. “We are working with companies to offer content on our phones to add value to the user... We really need to help customers access content,” added Sharma, who has worked with companies like HTC and Micromax before.

    If your iPhone 5 power button is broken, Apple will now replace it for free

    Apple has offered to replace faulty on-off buttons on the iPhone 5, a rare glitch which it admitted affected “a small percentage” of the previous-generation smartphones.

    Apple said on its user-support page that “iPhone 5 models manufactured through March 2013 may be affected by this issue,” in which the button, also known as a sleep/wake mechanism, stops functioning or works only intermittently.

     It did not say how many phones were shipped with the faulty mechanism. Owners can type in their iPhone serial numbers on Apple’s website to see if their phones qualify for a fix, then either take their gadgets to a store or mail them in to be repaired.
    “Apple will offer the service free of charge to iPhone 5 customers with models that exhibit this issue and have a qualifying serial number,” spokeswoman Teresa Brewer said in a statement on Friday.

     Apple rarely initiates large-scale repair programs for its products, and iPhone glitches are rare. The company prides itself on hardware engineering and design, particularly for a flagship phone that yields more than half its revenue.

    In a 2010 incident dubbed “Antennagate,” the company famously admitted that its iPhone 4 may experience signal loss when handled a certain way. The company subsequently offered free phone casings to correct the issue.

    Apple began selling the iPhone 5S and the cheaper 5C in late 2013. In the first quarter, it moved a better-than-expected 43.7 million phones, helped by the gadget’s increasing popularity in markets like Japan and China.

    Microsoft eyes $50bn market post Nokia deal

    Microsoft has officially announced it has completed its acquisition of the Nokia Devices and Services business. The takeover has been approved by Nokia shareholders and by governmental regulatory agencies around the world and arrives right on schedule, as announced earlier this week.

     As part of the transaction, Microsoft will honour all existing Nokia customer warranties, beginning April 25, 2014. Approximately 25,000 employees will be transferring to Microsoft from around the world.

     “Today we welcome the Nokia Devices and Services business to our family. The mobile capabilities and assets they bring will advance our transformation,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “Together with our partners, we remain focused on delivering innovation more rapidly in our mobile-first, cloud-first world.”

    Former Nokia President and CEO Stephen Elop will directly report to Nadella and will serve as executive VP of the Microsoft Devices Group, overseeing development and progress of the Lumia range and other Nokia phones, Xbox hardware, Surface PCs and Perceptive Pixel (PPI) products.

     Microsoft says in a press statement that Windows Phone is the fastest-growing ecosystem in the smartphone market. “Furthermore, with the Nokia mobile phone business, Microsoft will target the affordable mobile devices market, a $50 billion annual opportunity, and delivering the first mobile experience to the next billion people while introducing Microsoft services to new customers around the world.”

    The statement also confirms that Nokia as a brand will become largely irrelevant when it comes to handsets. Microsoft says Microsoft Mobile Oy develops, manufactures and distributes Lumia, Asha and Nokia X mobile phones and other devices, with no mention of the Nokia brand in the statement when talking about what Microsoft constitutes.

    Microsoft also reiterated that it will not acquire Nokia factories in Masan, South Korea, and Chennai. The latter will stay with Nokia due to the ongoing tax row in India that prevented the transfer.

    Google plans to turn phones into 3D mapping devices

     Google has announced a new research project aimed at bringing 3D technology to smartphones, for potential applications such as indoor mapping, gaming and helping blind people navigate.

    The California tech giant said its Project Tango would provide prototypes of its new smartphone to outside developers to encourage the writing of new applications.

    Project leader Johnny Lee said the goal of the project, which incorporates robotics and vision-processing technology, is "to give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion."

    "What if you could capture the dimensions of your home simply by walking around with your phone before you went furniture shopping?" Google said on its Project Tango web page.

    "What if directions to a new location didn't stop at the street address? What if you never again found yourself lost in a new building? What if the visually impaired could navigate unassisted in unfamiliar indoor places? What if you could search for a product and see where the exact shelf is located in a super-store?"

    The technology could also be used for "playing hide-and-seek in your house with your favourite game character, or transforming the hallways into a tree-lined path."

    Smartphones are equipped with sensors which make over 1.4 million measurements per second, updating the positon and rotation of the phone.

    Partners in the project include researchers from the University of Minnesota, George Washington University, German tech firm Bosch and the Open Source Robotics Foundation, among others.

    Another partner is California-based Movidius, which makes vision-processor technology for mobile and portable devices and will provide the processor platform.
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    Fairfax consortium bids $4.7 billion to take BlackBerry private

    The $9 a share tentative offer, from a consortium led by property and casualty insurer Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd(FFH.TO), will set a floor for any counteroffers that might emerge for Blackberry, which has been on the block since August.

    As an investor, Fairfax Chief Executive Prem Watsa is often described as the Canadian Warren Buffett because he also takes the long view.

    Blackberry shares peaked above $148 in June 2008 when the company's devices were still the top choice for bankers, politicians and lawyers.

    The stock, halted pending the announcement on Monday, closed below the offer price on Nasdaq, at $8.82, indicating the market's lack of faith that other bids would emerge.

    "I would think a competing buyout offer is quite unlikely," said Elvis Picardo, strategist at Global Securities in Vancouver. "The miniscule premium, and the muted market reaction, is another indication that the market views the odds of a competing bid as slim."

    BlackBerry, based in Waterloo, Ontario, once dominated the market for secure on-your-hip email. But it introduced consumer-friendly touchscreen smartphones only after it lost the lead to Apple Inc's(AAPL.O) iPhone and devices using Google Inc's(GOOG.O) Android operating system.

    BlackBerry has until November 4 to seek superior offers, which the Fairfax group has the right to match. The group is seeking financing from Bank of America Merrill Lynch and BMO Capital Markets to complete the deal and has until that November 4 deadline to conduct its due diligence.

    A BlackBerry statement did not name members of the consortium, although many in the financial community see Canada's deep-pocketed and influential pension funds as likely participants.

    "We need to be careful given disclosure constraints, but we can say that we are focused on a strong Canadian solution," said Fairfax spokesman Paul Rivett.

    The pension funds, with assets around the world, traditionally take a long-term view in their investment decisions. Officials at the biggest funds either did not reply to requests for comment, said they had no information or declined to comment.

    "We never discuss whether or not we plan to enter into any investment," said Deborah Allan, spokeswoman for Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan.


    Watsa stepped down from the BlackBerry board of directors in August, citing a potential conflict of interest, as the company said it was exploring a sale.

    Canada's Globe and Mail newspaper quoted Watsa as saying that a significant amount of the equity in the deal will come from within the country. The consortium included neither strategic players, nor other technology firms, he said.

    Google Nexus 7 Suffering Big Performance Drop-Offs 12 Months After Release?

    Google and Asus scored a huge win the the tech space last year with the launch of the Nexus 7. With its small and neat form factor, stock Android OS seven-inch screen, nice specs and - crucially - exceptionally low price, it was one of the first Android tablets to truly spark a light in the iPad-dominated market.

    Unfortunately, reports are starting to emerge that the tablet might be experiencing growing pains - or, possibly, a premature death.

    According to Dustin Earley at Android and Me, in a blog post widely cited in the tech media on Wednesday, the Nexus 7 is showing severe drop-offs in performance.

    "I can't find one person who has been using the Nexus 7 for an extended period of time, and hasn't seen a massive downgrade in performance," Earley writes.

    "I cannot pick up my Nexus 7 without experiencing problems like a lag of ten seconds, or more, just to rotate the display; touches refusing to acknowledged; stuttering notification panel actions; and unresponsive apps."

    And he's not alone. Beneath the piece dozens of Nexus 7 users say they have also experienced issues, while Google's own forums hold similarly dispiriting tales.

    "I have all the same exact issues. Horrific lag when doing anything in the browser, any simple multi-tasking, and at least one crash/reboot per hour," said one user, Kunal Patel.

    Not all users said they had experienced problems however, with some saying the tablet worked as well as the day they got it.

    Apple Insider (arguably not an unbiased source...) suggests that the issue might be down to cheap SSD memory. One Android app developer said it related to a well-known bug in Samsung's "flash controller firmware".

    We wouldn't hold off on purchasing a Nexus 7 based on these reports alone - the tablet is still an excellent device for the price.

    Feedly Mobile revamp caters to Reader escapees with fast search, Must Reads

    The phaseout of Google Reader is quickly becoming a boon for developers still carrying the torch for newsreader apps -- just ask Feedly, which now says it took on 3 million new users in the two weeks since Google's decision. Rather than simply wait for more customers to roll in on their own, though, the company is taking matters into its own hands with a major refresh of Feedly Mobile for Android and iOS. The update brings a reworked search engine that's both extra-quick and makes topic suggestions based on the collective subscriptions of the Feedly user base, getting better as more readers join the ranks. Other updates also serve those who want to keep things moving quickly. A new Must Reads section prioritizes feeds, a title-only view maximizes screen space and an updated sharing panel both allows a customizable shortcut as well as (slightly ironic) sharing to Google+. Once you've gotten over the sting of another Google spring cleaning, Feedly's potential solutions await at the source links.

    'Hunger Games' Exposes Myth of Technological Progress

    Tomorrow's world of "The Hunger Games" doesn't just showcase the reality TV spectacle of teenagers battling to the death — it also features futuristic hovercraft, force fields and bioengineered "Mutt" creatures. Those technological marvels represent tools of oppression for the dystopian nation of Panem, where the Capitol elite live in high-tech luxury supported by the old-fashioned sweat of district coal miners, farm hands and factory workers.

    But the popularity of the "Hunger Games" series has not stopped some fans from eying the technological imbalances of the story. Some question why a post-apocalyptic North America filled with futuristic technologies would still rely upon coal for its electricity needs; others wonder about the story's complete absence of the Internet. One character in "The Hunger Games" books complains about "forgotten" military technologies such as high-flying planes, military satellites and robotic drones, even as he rides inside a hovercraft.

    Such "gaps" in technology don't necessarily represent plot holes, according to historians of science and technology. Real societies have adopted or rejected technologies based on whether they suited their particular economic, political or cultural circumstances.

    "Technology is not pre-determined as "better" — it becomes better when a society deems it to be better or more advanced," said Joline Zepcevski, a researcher with a Ph.D. in the history of science and technology at the University of Minnesota. "With respect to "The Hunger Games," there is no reason why a new society, rising from the ashes of an old society, would necessarily re-invent the same technologies."

    Technology has come and gone throughout history, said Marie Hicks, an assistant professor of history of technology at the Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago. Electric cars appeared on U.S. roads at the start of the 20th century, but disappeared for almost a century before making their recent comeback. Supersonic civilian jetliners made their debut with the Concorde in 1976, but ended up grounded in 2003.

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