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Jan 30, 2015 - 10:59 AM - by dgstorm
Here's some strange news from late last night. Both Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal reported that Microsoft was planning to invest in Cyanogen. Here's a quote from the WSJ on the issue,
Apparently, this is Microsoft's play to get their fingers deeper into the Android pie. This way, Microsoft can create a version of Android that is more friendly to their app ecosystem than Google has been.
People familiar with the matter say Microsoft is putting money into Cyanogen, which is building a version of the Android mobile-operating system outside of Google’s auspices.
Microsoft would be a minority investor in a roughly $70 million round of equity financing that values Cyanogen in the high hundreds of millions, one of the people said. The person said the financing round could grow with other strategic investors that have expressed interest in Cyanogen because they’re also eager to diminish Google’s control over Android. The identity of the other potential investors couldn’t be learned.
Spokespeople for Microsoft and Cyanogen declined to comment.
As for Cyanogen, this is their way of dominating the Android landscape. In fact, the Cyanogen CEO Kirt McMaster, boldly claimed, “We’re going to take Android away from Google.”
It sounds like this team-up is designed to specifically diminish Google's control of Android. If this turns out to be true, what do you think of this behind the scenes strategic maneuver from Microsoft?
Jan 29, 2015 - 3:42 PM - by dgstorm
The FTC recently ruled in a case against prepaid mobile carrier TracFone. This case will likely have wide-sweeping ramifications throughout the entire mobile landscape in the US. It will impact consumers positively, while likely frustrating big carrier's like AT&T and others.
TracFone was ordered to pay $40 million in damages for throttling customers’ data connections. The reason for this ruling was because the customers signed up for “unlimited” data plans, yet TracFone chose to "throttle" customers who were heavy users. The FTC's director of Consumer Protection, Jessica Rich, had this to say,
Rich elaborated that the FTC doesn't have a problem with carriers using throttling if customers exceed certain limits or when the company needs to manage traffic during peak hours. The issue at hand was in how TracFone presented and marketed their plans. Basically, the FTC wants to enforce greater truth in advertising in this instance. If a customer believed they were signing up for "unlimited" service, then there shouldn't be any "limitations."
“The issue here is simple: When you promise consumers ‘unlimited,’ that means unlimited."
The reason why this could affect companies like AT&T is the way in which the FTC is phrasing their ruling in the case. Recently, AT&T thumbed their noses at the FTC, arguing they have no authority or jurisdiction over AT&T's network management practices. AT&T contends that the FCC handles that jurisdiction.
While that is true, the FTC does handle consumer protection as it relates to deceptive advertising, and their argument is that the TracFone case falls under that classification. Very soon, we are likely to see the FTC use this incident as precedent to rule the same way against AT&T and any other carrier that markets "unlimited data plans" who then limit them with throttling or other methods.
Here's a quote with a final addendum on this topic,
What do you guys think of this issue? Does the FTC make a valid argument, or do you believe AT&T has it right.
In a conference call with reporters, Rich said that the FTC’s concerns relate specifically to how carriers are advertising their services.
“This case is about false advertising,” Rich said in response to a question from Re/code
. “It’s not about throttling. We’re not challenging throttling in and of itself.”
Rich said that so long as it is made clear to customers, carriers can employ the practice: “If it’s clearly disclosed, if a company advertises unlimited, but very clearly discloses their practices with regard to throttling we would not challenge that action.”
Source: FTC Says Unlimited Data With Throttling Doesn 8217 t Count as Unlimited Re code
Jan 28, 2015 - 5:20 PM - by dgstorm
Not too long ago Samsung claimed they were going to slow down the production of a large variety of smartphones and refocus their efforts on fewer models. Apparently, that was just lip-service to the media, because they just announced a completely new Galaxy series of smartphones to add to the plethora of options already coming.
The "pinnacle" of their new J Series Galaxy model is the Galaxy J1, and here are the humdrum specs:
1.2 GHz dual-core processor of unknown origin
4.3-inch WVGA (480 x 800) display
Dual SIM capabilities
Android 4.4 KitKat on board
5 MP camera with LED flash on the back
2 MP snapper on the front (includes a Palm Selfie function which can detect movement so you can take selfies using hand gestures)
512 MB of RAM
4 GB of internal memory
A microSD card slot
1850 mAh removable battery
Ultra Power Saving mode
Weighs 122 grams
Measures 129 x 68.2 x 8.9 mm
Three color versions: blue, black, and white
The phone will be launching in Malaysia and Russia soon. We have no further details than that. Apparently, Samsung feels they can just slap a "Galaxy" name on any device to make it a great product. Feel free to "groan" now...
Source: GALAXY J1 | SAMSUNG Malaysia
Jan 22, 2015 - 4:25 PM - by dgstorm
There is something we missed in our reporting yesterday of Microsoft's Windows 10 briefing. The product wasn't actually directly related to Windows 10, so please forgive us for our oversight. Once you see this tech, (if you haven't already) you may have reason to be irritated with us for missing it.
After discussing Windows 10, Microsoft also announced an experimental new product which they have been working on for over 5 years. It's called HoloLens, and it's basically everything Google Glass wants to be and much, much more. In fact, HoloLens may just be the next "disruptive" tech device that shakes up the entire electronics industry. While those are obviously bold claims, if Microsoft can pull off what they have demonstrated in the videos we included with this story, then they could potentially change the way we use computers forever.
HoloLens basically merges several different computing interface concepts into one. It mixes elements from Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Gesture-Based Controls, and Voice Based Commands into one cohesive computing device that will let us create, share, work, play and collaborate in ways never possible before.
The gist of it is that the HoloLens goggles overlays holograms into our field of vision, floating amidst our everyday world, and able to be interacted with and manipulated with our voice and gestures. The goggles create the holograms in our field of vision, and the built-in Kinect-like sensors allow us to manipulate them in real-time. It's basically like what we see in the Iron Man movies when Tony Stark is building or tweaking his Iron Man suits. The only difference is that the real thing will require these cool looking goggles.
What's really amazing is how far along they are with this technology. While we are unlikely to see a consumer retail version of HoloLens available by Christmas time this year, Microsoft is planning on sharing the tech with NASA as early as this summer. The HoloLens will allow scientists who are separated by distance to collaborate with projects in new and exciting ways based upon images and data sent from the Mars Rover. This is due to the built-in Skype functionality.
The video above may be your typical PR "pie-in-the-sky" representation of the HoloLens concept, but according to folks who have demoed it, the device is not too far from this is exact functionality. In fact, a writer from Wired magazine was given a personal demo of the HoloLens, and she came away very impressed.
Here's her writeup: Project HoloLens Our Exclusive Hands-On With Microsoft s Holographic Goggles WIRED
Here's Microsoft's landing page for more info: Microsoft HoloLens Official Site
It's awesome to see the Sci-Fi concept of holograms finally coming to fruition. Perhaps the folks in the office at Microsoft are walking around singing, "The future's so bright, I gotta wear HoloLens!" What do you think of Microsoft's vision of the future?
Jan 16, 2015 - 11:43 AM - by dgstorm
It's that time of the year again... rumors regarding the specs and features of high-end devices are flying across the web. This latest intel seeks to shed light on LG's upcoming flagship, the LG G4. Its specs were supposedly leaked, and they are exactly as you would expect them to be.
Here's the breakdown from the leak:
- 5.3-inch display with Quad HD (2K) resolution
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor
- 3GB of RAM
- 16-megapixel rear camera
- Android 5.0
While this internal hardware is undoubtedly very powerful, we can't help but make a frustrating observation. A pattern has emerged in the flagship Android smartphone market that is even more pronounced this year than ever before. All of the top new phones of this year will be virtually identical to each other on the inside. There will basically be almost nothing that distinguishes them from each other besides their outer aesthetics and a few software gimmicks here and there.
Obviously, this has been occurring for the last couple of years, but this year in particular we see the hardware reach a parity across the board that is completely flat. Basically all of the top flagship phones will have the same CPU, GPU, RAM, Display and Camera. Very little will be left to distinguish them from one another. Have we already hit that saturation point for Android devices? What will it take for these OEMs to create something truly different and innovative? Sound off with your ideas!
Jan 16, 2015 - 11:43 AM - by dgstorm
Galaxy Note Edge pictured.
We have a couple of awesome rumors to share with you guys regarding the Samsung Galaxy S6 this morning. First, it looks like Sammy is going back to the drawing board for their fingerprint sensor (if this newest intel is accurate). Supposedly, Samsung was not happy with the performance (or lack thereof) provided by their current fingerprint sensor tech. Because of this, they may be considering replacing it with something more like the fingerprint sensor on the Apple iPhone 6. Basically, this new fingerprint sensor will be touch-based instead of swipe based.
The second big rumor is a list of specs which were hidden in a user agent profile found on Samsung's website for a device. The model number of the device was SM-G920A. We will supposedly see a Quad HD display (2560 x 1440 resolution) and a 64-bit processor on the Galaxy S6. Not much else was gleaned from the UAP, but it seems to jive with what we have heard previously.
Don't forget to check out our dedicated Samsung Galaxy S6 section for more topics: Samsung Galaxy S6 General Discussions Android Forum at DroidForums.net
Jan 16, 2015 - 11:42 AM - by dgstorm
Here's some official news to get excited about this morning folks! HTC just outed their official press event for the next HTC flagship. Although they didn't specify anything, more than likely we will see the HTC Hima, aka the HTC One M9 launched. The date and place to set on your calendar is March 1st in Barcelona, Spain (just before Mobile World Congress 2015).
This is HTC's usual modus operandi for flagship smartphone launches. The press event's marketing "tag0line" is "utopia in progress," whatever that means. Previous rumors have already pegged many of the specs of HTC's latest superphone.
Here's a recap:
- 2560 x1440 QHD display
- 3GB of RAM
- Octa-core Snapdragon 810 CPU with Adreno 430 GPU
- 20.7MP rear-facing camera
- 13MP front-facing camera
- 2840mAh battery
- Android 5.0 with Sense 7.0
Of course, we still don't know what size the display will be. Rumors have ranged from 5-inch, to 5-2-inch, to 5.5-inch. At least now we know when we will know.
Don't forget to check out our HTC One M9 section for more discussions: HTC One M9 Android Forum at DroidForums.net
Jan 15, 2015 - 12:47 PM - by dgstorm
Xiaomi is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the mobile world. Their growth has been astonishing. They were recently valued at a substantial $45 billion and have invested hundreds of millions in dozens of new tech companies from TVs to air conditioners. On top of that, they shipped 61.1 million units of low-cost smartphones last year. By selling inexpensive devices in their native country of China, they have quickly risen to be one of the top mobile players.
However, selling low-end devices isn't their only goal, and they just announced two impressive new devices to prove it. These are the Mi Note and the Mi Note Pro. Take a look at these insane specs:
Xiaomi Mi Note - 16GB (CN¥2,299 or about $370) or 64GB (CN¥2,799 or about US$450)
- 5.7-inch Sharp / JDI 1080p (386 ppi) NEGA LCD - with a 95 percent NTSC color gamut, improved outdoor performance and lower power requirements
- 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 chip
- Adreno 330 graphics processor
- 3GB LPDDR3 RAM
- 13-megapixel f/2.0 module - Sony (IMX214), with a 6-lens f 2.0 aperture, OIS, - dual-color LED flash by Philips
- 4MP "large-pixel" front-facing camera (similar to HTC's Ultra-Pixel design)
- HiFi feature: Includes a Sabre ES9018K2M high-end DAC, along with Analog Devices' ADA4896 and TI's OPA1612 amplifiers - this is for headphones of both high and low impedance - native playback support for lossless formats like APE, FLAC, DSD and WAV
- Gorilla Glass 3 on both the front ("2.5D" curved) and back ("3D" curved)
- 3,000mAh battery plus internal storage of either 16GB or 64GB
- LTE Dual-SIM
- Black or white color options
Xiaomi Mi Note Pro - CN¥3,299 or about $530
- 5.7-inch Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440; 515 ppi) Display (with same enhanced design as the Mi Note)
- 2GHz octa-core Snapdragon 810
- Adreno 430 GPU
- 4GB LPDDR4 RAM
- 64GB of internal storage
- LTE Cat 9 (450Mbps) radio
- 3,090mAh battery
- Gold Color
- *Includes all of the other features shown in the Mi Note above, like the camera, audio, glass and more
Sadly, there's no indication that this will be coming to the US, but we will keep you informed as to when and where it finally does launch to retail. Wouldn't you guys like to see these come to the US?
Jan 15, 2015 - 11:41 AM - by dgstorm
It looks like Samsung is hard at work on an all new tablet lineup for 2015. Their newest plan was recently leaked and we have the details. Here's a quick breakdown on the four tablets Sammy is working on, followed by a quick quote with more of the details below,
- Galaxy Tab AS – SM-T351
- Galaxy Tab AL – SM-T551
- Galaxy Tab AS – SM-T350
- Galaxy Tab AL – SM-T550
- Galaxy Tab AL Plus – SM-P551
- Galaxy Tab AL Plus – SM-P550
- Galaxy Tab AS Plus – SM-P351
- Galaxy Tab AS Plus – SM-P350
Here's what the source of this story had to say,
Sound off if you are the owner of a Samsung tablet and will be considering any of these new devices.
“The Galaxy Tab AS (Small) (SM-T350/351) and the Galaxy Tab AL (Large) (SM-T550/T551) might be successors to the Galaxy Tab 4 7.0 and the Galaxy Tab 4 10.1 respectively. As the current Galaxy Note and Galaxy Note Pro series of tablets bear model numbers SM-P600 and SM-P900 respectively, we believe that the SM-P350/351 (Wi-Fi/Cellular) and SM-P550/551 (Wi-Fi/Cellular) tablets will be mid-range devices under the Galaxy Note series.”
Jan 06, 2015 - 6:11 PM - by dgstorm
Microsoft made good on their promise to bring Office to Android tablets. They just made the Office Preview available for Android tablets and you can get it at the Google Play Store. This "Preview" version is basically like an extended "beta" test, although most of the kinks have already been worked out. The program is designed to get feedback from users so Microsoft can improve upon the Android tablet version of Office.
There are a few limitations worth considering before trying out this Office Preview. Here's a quote from Microsoft's blog with the full details,
Finally, keep in mind that the "preview" versions of Office are actually broken up into Office's constituent parts. Word, Excel & PowerPoint must be downloaded separately: microsoft office preview - Google Play
In November, we invited you to sign up for the Office for Android tablet preview
. With such an overwhelmingly positive response from people around the world, we made it even easier for customers to download the preview apps
by requesting access to the Google Plus community
Over the last two months, we have heard from people all over the world who want the power of Office on their Android tablet. The feedback we’ve received through this initial phase of preview has helped us shape and optimize the Office experience for Android tablet users. Your feedback also helps us plan and prioritize future feature updates.
Today, we are excited to announce that we are further expanding the preview. We want more feedback from more users to ensure that Office apps work well on a range of different Android tablets before launching the official apps. To participate in the preview, you can use an ARM-based Android tablet running KitKat or Lollipop, with a screen size between 7″ and 10.1″. Starting today, anyone can go to Google Play and download the Word
preview apps. No waitlist. No requesting access. Just go and download the apps!
We hope you will join the preview and tell us what you think. Your feedback
is critical in helping us deliver world-class Office applications to Android tablets. Download the Word
preview apps for your Android tablet today and tell us what you think in our Google Plus community.
Source: ... [Read More]
Jan 06, 2015 - 5:08 PM - by dgstorm
It looks like Google TV is pretty much "dead" as a development platform now. Google just announced that most of their Google TV devices will not be compatible with Android TV and will not be getting the OS at all. While there are a few that might get it, Android TV seems out of reach for most of them. Here's their statement,
Of course, for many proud owners of Google TV, the fact that it won't receive Android TV may not matter much to you. The device will still do what it was designed to do and can run current apps that already worked on it. Even with this official statement from Google detailing their intention to no longer support Google TV, that won't make the device suddenly stop working.
Dear Google TV developers
With the launch Android 5.0, Lollipop, Android TV is now fully launched, and we’re working closely with OEMs to release Android TV devices going forward. By extending Android to the TV form factor, living room developers get the benefits, features and the same APIs available for Android phone and tablet development. Going forward, we will focus our living room efforts on growing the Android TV and Google Cast ecosystem.
What does this mean for Google TV? Existing Google TV devices and all of the features of these devices will continue to work, and so will the apps you’ve developed for the Google TV platform. A small subset of Google TV devices will be updated to Android TV, but most Google TV devices won’t support the new platform. We expect to see an exciting lineup of Android TV devices in the coming year, including TVs from Sony, Sharp, and Philips, as well as other set-top and over-the-top boxes.
Thank you for being passionate developers creating great content and apps for the living room. With this shift, we encourage you to transition your living room development efforts to Android TV apps and Cast-enabled apps. While the Google TV libraries will no longer be available, we’ve made it really easy to transition apps to Android TV using familiar Android development tools, as well as our new Leanback support libraries. Learn more at developer.android.com/tv
We can’t wait to see what you imagine and create for the living room!
- The Google and Android TV teams
Enjoy it while you can... the future belongs to Android TV now though. Perhaps they can "wow" us with impressive new Android TV devices...
Source: Google TV on Google+
Jan 06, 2015 - 12:29 PM - by dgstorm
Yesterday, Sony officially revealed that Android 5.0 Lollipop will be rolling out to their Xperia Z3 in February. They didn't give a specific date, but at least we have more than we did before. They still haven't revealed the rollout timeframe for Android 5 on any of their other devices like the Z2 an others, but we don't expect it will be much longer after the Z3 rollout. Stay tuned for more updates!
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