There has been a lot of speculation recently about the future of Microsoft’s tablet business. We covered a rumor earlier today which claimed that Microsoft was actually thinking about giving up on this business altogether. The company was rumored to be not interested in developing a successor to the Surface Pro 3 owing to lackluster sales of the existing models. Microsoft’s official response has come up now and it has reiterated ”full and sustained support” for the Surface program.
In a blog post on the official Surface Blog Microsoft talks about how this tablet is built for work and how it can provide be a laptop replacement for businesses both big and small. The post also contains a comment from CEO Satya Nadella which reads that “Microsoft is putting its full and sustained support behind the ongoing Surface program.”
While the company hasn’t revealed any details about the next generation Surface models that might be in the pipeline right now it has made one commitment. Surface Pro 3 accessories, which include the docking station, Type Covers, power and Ethernet adapters and more, have been designed with the future roadmap in mind. Microsoft confirms that all of these accessories are going to work with “the next generation of the Pro line of Surface.”
Its safe to say that most of us have unintentionally damaged our smartphones at least once in our lives. An accidental drop is enough to shatter the screen in most cases and there are countless instances when a device might find itself submerged in water or have some liquid spilled on it. The Samsung Protection Plus Mobile Elite warranty program for customers in the U.S. is going to offer replacements for damaged devices, but its going to cost you.
Basically what this program does is extend warranty of supported Samsung devices by two years. So under the program devices damaged through drops, spills and with cracked screens or those that have mechanical and electrical failures will be covered. Samsung promises to have a replacement on its way within two business days or less.
During the coverage period up to three claims are allowed so if you have a habit of damaging your devices more than three times in less than two years you should probably look elsewhere. Once a replacement unit has been shipped and received only then are you required to send your damaged unit back to Samsung.
Samsung Protection Plus Mobile Elite program does come at a cost, $99.99 up front. Plus there is a service fee for each claim, $95 for Note series and $75 for Galaxy series.
The country’s largest carrier announced a new partnership with Slacker Radio today through which its subscribers can decide to use streaming music as their ringtone. Its a good option for those who like to frequently change their ringtone while keeping up with the latest trends in music. There’s a small subscription charge but it will give you access to the music service through which you can either select a song or an entire station.
For $2 per month Verizon subscribers can now sign up for Slacker Radio Tones. This service is not just limited to ringtones, users can select ringback tones as well. A ringback tone is what a caller hears when he or she is calling you and many like to go for custom options as opposed to the conventional tone which simply lets you know that the phone is ringing on the other end.
Folks who subscribe to this new service will have to download the Slacker Radio application to their device, keep in mind that it works on Android only. The app will have a Slacker Tones section from where the music can be selected for ringtones and ringback tones. Users can select one ringback tone for all contacts or use different tones for different contacts.
There is no shortage of apps these days that promise to provide a personalized experience to those who want to stay on top of news every single day. News Republic wants to go beyond that level of personalization and for that it has introduced My News Digest, a curated news feed that will provide individual readers with what they need to read in just three minutes every single day.
The My News Digest feed is built around the user, backed by an algorithm with semantic and learning intelligence, that takes countless items into consideration before recommending stories to the user based on a variety of topics which include Technology, Politics, National News, Sports, Entertainment and more. The feed updates in real time with breaking news so users are always up to date.
There is some good news today for folks who use Google Hangouts. The company today released a new update which aims to make it much more easier for users to access Hangouts on their desktop computers. This update has been developed keeping one aim in mind which is to ensure that conversations are not buried in browser windows and instead they’re easily accessible. Which is why today the Hangouts Chrome App has been released for Windows and Chrome OS.
The new application has a streamlined design which keeps chats front and center without blocking anything else. One toggle window contains the entire contact list and all of the chats. Integration notifications will alert users when there’s a new message so that they can quickly locate that particular conversation.
Chrome doesn’t necessarily have to be open in order for this application to work, as long as the app is running users will receive any and all messages, and the chats will sync across Hangouts on all devices.
The video and voice features of Hangouts are all available and so is the ability to make phone calls to any number in the world through Hangouts dialer. Users can now make voice calls straight from their desktop courtesy of the new Hangouts application.
Quite a few months back Facebook had announced its intention to purchase WhatsApp, one of the most popular cross-platform messaging service used by hundreds of millions of people around the world. A couple of days ago this acquisition was finally completed after review by regulators and now WhatsApp is officially owned by Facebook. Does the world’s largest social network have any plans of monetizing its new property? Apparently not in the near future.
Reuters reports that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made this clear today that the company has no near-term plan to make money through WhatsApp. However he didn’t reveal any plans about the future of WhatsApp and what strategy Facebook can adopt to make money off of it.
Even before it was acquired by Facebook WhatsApp had a simple business model. The app is available for free and so is the first year of service after which it just costs $1 per year to use the service which is available across a wide variety of platforms. One of the reasons why users prefer WhatsApp is because it doesn’t have in-app purchases, advertisements or sponsored deals which one can find in its rivals.
There has been much speculation about the revenue streams that Snapchat will open up in order to capitalize on its huge user base and for now the company is going with a tried and tested method: advertisements. Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel confirmed at a Vanity Fair event in San Francisco that the ephemeral messaging service will soon be getting its first ads. They won’t be targeted so don’t expect these ads to be similar to the ones you might see on Google or Facebook.
One of the reasons why ads on Snapchat won’t be targeted is because this service doesn’t collect as much information about its users which can then be used to target ads at them.
One might ask the question why advertisers would want to spend money on a platform that doesn’t allow targeted advertisements? Snapchat will be an appealing medium for advertisers because of its reach particularly with younger demographics, with 50 percent of all users being under the age of 25.
So how will the ads be served? According to Spiegel they will be displayed in Snapchat’s new “Stories” feature which lets users create a feed of countless snaps which can be viewed multiple times over 24 hours.
Spiegel however did not confirm exactly when the ads will be rolling out and which brands will be allowed to advertise their products initially.
A rather interesting rumor has come up today regarding Microsoft’s Surface tablet business. Apparently the company is not very “aggressive” about developing a next-generation Surface tablet because sales of existing models, including the Surface Pro 3, have been lower than expected. The rumor claims that Microsoft may even be mulling over existing the tablet business altogether.
The rumor comes via Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes which claims to have heard this from sources in the upstream supply chain. The sources reportedly claimed that the first and second generation Surface tablets have ended up costing Microsoft roughly $1.7 billion in losses which is probably why the company isn’t too interested in developing a successor.
It is further claimed that there’s concern about upcoming demand for the Surface Pro 3 because smartphones with large displays are impacting tablet demand. This may be why the sources don’t expect sales of Surface Pro 3 to pass one million units.
Microsoft today launched Skype for Mac 7.0 and also unveiled a preview for the new Skype for Windows. The company says that both desktop clients have been redesigned in order to make it easier for users to chat and share with their contacts. Those who have already been using Skype on mobile will recognize some of the changes that have been made to the desktop clients. The aim was to make the user experience consistent across both mobile and desktop.
On desktop users will now see thumbnail pictures of their contacts, consistent icons for chat, video and audio calls and a new “bubble style” chat design. There’s additional spacing between contacts and chats, making it easier for users to follow conversations.
Multi-tasking gets a huge improvement in Skype for desktop. The new side-by-side design now allows users to multi-task even when they’re on a video or voice call, share photos and files without ever having to leave the call. Skype had already announced free group video calls for desktop clients and now they’re claimed to work better than ever before on the new and improved Skype for Windows and Mac.
Netvibes touts its technology to be the “Dashboard of Everything” that delivers brand monitoring, data analytics and reporting across large corporations. “Big data” and “IoT” are the most trending keywords in the Silicon Valley, right now, and, as a matter of fact, we have seen an exponential growth in the amount of data that any business needs to collect and process in order to remain competitive in today’s tough economy.
Netvibes delivers comprehensive dashboard intelligence to three types of audiences: Netvibes Basic for consumers enables people to aggregate easily their favorite content in a single custom dashboard, , Netvibes for your Agency offers custom social dashboards to monitor social ROI for any campaign, and Netvibes for Enterprise connects all internal systems and the social web together on a real-time dashboard intelligence portal.
Today, the company launched its new Hierarchical Dashboarding feature that optimizes data visualization and sharing across large enterprises and small teams. This innovative feature aims to improve horizontal collaboration for processing and analyzing data more efficiently and with better results.
The screenshots provided by Netvibes show how Hierarchical Dashboarding works for Acme Shoes team:
“The VP of Marketing for ACME Shoes and his team share a dashboard that listens to all media and social mentions about ACME shoes. They also monitor competitor mentions and emerging industry trends in shoes.”
“The VP of Marketing for ACME Smartwatches and her team share a dashboard that listens to the online conversation about smartwatches and wearable technology.”
“The CMO’s dashboard uses Hierarchical Dashboarding to monitor key charts from the Shoes dashboard, the Smartwatches dashboard and other supporting teams.”
All these charts displayed above can be dragged-and-dropped on each other to create instant comparison in a compelling visual interface. For example, it can rapidly show how Twitter mentions are related to sales numbers or if web traffic is related to media coverage. Team mebers can share easily all the dashbaords in a few clicks via email:
Please note that I have not tested Netvibes for Enterprise, however , from the screen shots I have received and my past experience with the consumer dashboard, I can tell that the service is highly user friendly and efficient for accessing the most relevant information you need in a single dashboard.
The iPhone’s speaker is decent. It’s not as loud as some phones out there, but neither it is too soft where it becomes hard to hear. However if you plan to use your phone as your primary entertainment device and you don’t want to use headphones, then perhaps the Amp iPhone speaker case might be for you
As you can see in the image above, Amp is a case for the iPhone that basically adds stereo speakers to your device. It places one at the top and one at the bottom, essentially lengthening your phone. To top things off, it also adds a small battery which should be good enough for a 25% bump in battery for the iPhone 5s.
Now it should be pointed out that Amp isn’t your traditional speaker case. It actually personalizes the sound coming from its speakers according to your preference, which involves more than just fiddling with the EQ. To set up the case, users will have to plug a pair of headphones in which will then playback high, medium, and low frequency tones to help calibrate the sound.
Of course you can still tweak the sound further depending on your preference. The case right now plugs into the headphone jack, as expected, but SoundFocus is working with Apple to get it certified so that it will be able to use the Lightning port instead, like some headphones that have been released rather recently.
As it stands, there are many out there who aren’t happy when an app is trying to determine their location as they feel that this might be an invasion of their privacy. Now imagine if you weren’t willing to give up your location, as innocent as it might, imagine how you will feel if a developer has been recording videos of you and uploading them without your knowledge or permission.
You would be outraged, right? Well that’s exactly what one developer has done. According to a report from the South China Morning Post (via Eurogamer), a Chinese developer for the game Fengkuang, which is essentially a game of charades, has landed themselves in hot water after it was discovered that they had uploaded videos onto Youku (China’s version of YouTube) of players playing their game.
The game is like charades which means that gamers have to act out their words to let their friends guess. While this might seem harmless, it seems that some players weren’t fully clothed during their gaming sessions. We can’t blame them for being so as some might be playing from the comfort of their own home, or they might be playing it with their partner.
According to the developers, the reason for uploading the videos was for storage purposes and so that they can be shared with friends. The developers have since apologized to players and have removed all the videos, although given that this is the internet, chances are some of them could have been saved already. What do you guys think? Is this a flagrant disregard for privacy or what?
If the rumors are to be believed, Apple could be working on a larger iPad called the iPad Pro. The tablet is rumored to feature a 12.9-inch display which would be a reversal on the iPad mini which features a smaller display. According to the rumors, Apple had reportedly planned for an unveiling in December, but it looks like that could change.
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, Apple is said to have delayed the mass production of the iPad Pro in order to keep up with the demand for the iPhone 6 Plus. This seems to be in line with a report from a couple of days ago in which it was suggested that Apple could also be shifting focus away from the iPhone 6 in order to ramp up iPhone 6 Plus production.
Their source at a supplier was quoted as saying, “The top priority for the supply chain is to meet the overwhelming demand for the larger screen iPhones. The output of the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus remains unsatisfactory. It would be challenging for display makers to split resources and spend a few months to ramp up production for a new larger screen iPad now.”
With Minecraft being as popular as it is, we guess we can’t say we’re surprised that the game has spawned fanart, toys, collectibles, and according to a confirmation earlier this year, the game will be made into a movie as well. Now we’re sure some of you guys are wondering when you might be able to expect the movie.
Well the bad news is that it could be anywhere between 2-4 years, according to Mojang’s chief operating officer Vu Bui. Speaking to The Guardian, Bui was quoted as saying that he had no idea as to when the movie will come out. However he did venture a guess and stated that anywhere between 2-4 years would be a reasonable bet.
He also spoke a bit about the project and revealed that Mojang was approached by many studios offering to turn the game into a movie, but they ultimately decided to go with Warner Bros. because they thought that the studio respected the IP the most. According to Bui, “We don’t want any story that we make, whether it’s a movie or a book, to create some sort of ‘this is the official Minecraft, this is how you play the game’ thing.”
For those who play Minecraft or know about it, you know about the wondrous creations that players have come up with over the past few years, some of which merely use the game as a building block of sorts. These are the players that Mojang does not want to discourage if they were to slap a story to the game and claim that this is how the game was meant to be played.
A few days ago, Ubisoft revealed some of the potential specs of Assassin’s Creed Unity. The developer had stated that the game would run on 900p at 30fps on both the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, which unfortunately did not sit well with PS4 gamers who believed that their console would be able to output higher performance.
Many accused Ubisoft of intentionally lowering the specs. While Ubisoft has since issued a statement and claimed that the specs have yet to be finalized, World Level Design Director on Unity Nicolas Guerin explained some of their choices to the folks at Tech Radar. Guerin spoke specifically about the framerates of the game, which is at 30fps for now.
According to him, “At Ubisoft for a long time we wanted to push 60 fps. I don’t think it was a good idea because you don’t gain that much from 60 fps and it doesn’t look like the real thing. It’s a bit like The Hobbit movie, it looked really weird.” He also goes on to give examples of other games which used the 30fps framerate and claimed that the rest of the industry will be following suit.
Minecraft is an incredibly popular game that has made its way onto a variety of platforms, like the PC, consoles, mobile devices, and even virtual reality headsets! Well if you were hoping to get your hands on the PS Vita version of the game, you will be pleased to learn that the game will be available for PS Vita owners come 15th of October, which is next week.
This was revealed by the folks at 4J Studios who are the developers of the PS Vita version of the game. Unfortunately it seems that the 15th of October date is only for those living in Europe, meaning that for the rest of us living stateside or other parts of the world, we still have no idea when we will get it, although hopefully it won’t take too long.
The PS Vita version of Minecraft is a Cross-Buy game, meaning that if you had bought the PlayStation 3 version of the game, you should be able to get the PS Vita version for free. Unfortunately if you bought the PlayStation 4 version, you’ll have to pay a difference in price to get the PS Vita version of it.
Ever since Apple introduced the third-gen iPad, they have kept the resolution more or less the same over the past few generations, including latest iPad Air. With no one really complaining about the resolution or sharpness, does Apple need to change it? Well it seems that the Cupertino company could be at the very least toying with the idea.
Thanks to more digging within the iOS 8.1 files, it has been discovered by developer Hamza Sood that there were image files that were 3x versions of the iPad’s UI. Given that the new iPhone 6 Plus had to use triple-sized elements to maintain its Retina status, it would seem to hint that Apple’s iPad announcement next week could unveil a potentially new resolution.
It’s interesting to note because according to the rumors we’ve heard so far, there has been no mention of a higher resolution. We have heard the rumors of a possible increase in the RAM from 1GB to 2GB, and also the inclusion of Touch ID which will help to facilitate Apple Pay payments, but no mention of a higher resolution display.
Just yesterday, HTC announced the HTC Desire Eye which is a selfie phone to end all selfies. It packs a whopping 13MP front-facing camera which comes with a flash unit, which safe to say there aren’t that many manufacturers out there who have included such a feature. Now long with the announcement, HTC also revealed a suite of photography-related software.
These new softwares fall under the Eye Experience and the good news is that if you had your eye on any of them, you will be pleased to learn that HTC will be releasing the Eye Experience software as an update for a handful of their existing devices. These devices include the HTC One M8, the HTC One M7, the One E8, One Mini 2, One Max, Desire 816, Desire 820, and the Butterfly 2.
Granted this isn’t exactly a huge update, but it’s still nice to know that HTC is thinking about their existing customers who might not want to be left out of the fun. The HTC Eye Experience will include tools like Split Capture that combines the front and rear cameras; Crop-Me-In which crops users via the front-facing camera onto the photo taken by the rear-facing camera; Voice Selfie which is pretty self-explanatory; Face Fusion, and Live Makeup.
One of the rumors regarding the upcoming Nexus X “Shamu” from Motorola is that the handset will feature a 5.9-inch display. Given that Google has gotten their partners to increase the screen size with every Nexus release, with a 5-inch display for the Nexus 5, we guess a near-6-inch display for the Nexus 6 sort of makes sense.
Well if you were hoping that the rumors weren’t true, you might be disappointed thanks to new benchmark sightings at CPU-Z. According to the benchmarks, it basically confirms the handset’s resolution to be that of the QHD variety. It also revealed that the phone will come with 3GB of RAM under the hood and will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 quad-core chipset clocked at 2.65GHz.
However the benchmark from CPU-Z does not reveal anything new or additional, like its camera, battery size, and so on. For those who might have missed our coverage with the Nexus X, it has been rumored that the phone will come with a 12MP rear-facing camera, a 2MP front-facing camera, and will house a decently sized 3,200mAh battery.
Come 16th of October, we expect that Apple will be taking the wraps off their new iPads. We expect that Apple will unveil the new iPad Air 2 whose alleged photos were leaked the other day, and the third-generation iPad mini. Now one of the rumored specs of the new iPads is that it will come with 2GB of RAM.
This is an upgrade over the current-gen iPads which features 1GB of RAM, but thanks to newly leaked photos from GeekBar (via MacRumors), the alleged RAM modules for the new iPads have surfaced which seems to suggest that the new tablets will indeed come packing 2GB of RAM under the hood.
The RAM modules are made by Elpida who happens to be the supplier of RAM modules for Apple, as evidenced in the iPad Air which used 1GB modules from the company. It has been speculated that Apple has used 1GB of RAM to help keep costs down and maintain battery life, but we guess at some point in time they’d have to upgrade it, so why not now, right?