Friday, June 22, 2012

Find: 100,000 apps now available in the Windows Phone Marketplace

Windows phone has some momentum now. 

100,000 apps now available in the Windows Phone Marketplace


Microsoft's Windows Phone Marketplace has now hit 100,000 applications. After reaching 50,000 apps in late December, the Marketplace has doubled in size in six months to reach a new milestone for Microsoft's mobile operating system. The software giant revealed the news during its Windows Phone Summit today in San Francisco.

Questions still remain on the availability of big name Windows Phone apps and quality over quantity, but Microsoft is clearly attracting more and more developers to its mobile platform. Alongside the milestone announcement, Microsoft also revealed that Draw Something and Word with Friends, are coming to Windows Phone devices soon.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Find: Google Play letting app developers publicly reply to user reviews

Good idea. 

Google Play letting app developers publicly reply to user reviews

Android doll mascot logo

Typically, user reviews in mobile app stores are a one-way conversation, which can be frustrating for user and developer alike: devs can't explain that they're working on a particular fix or feature, tell the user when they're wrong (gently, of course), or ask for clarification without taking the conversation offline and out of the public view. Google is changing that today in Android's Google Play store, giving its hand-selected "Top Developers" (indicated with a blue badge) the ability to "gather additional information, provide guidance, and — perhaps most importantly — let users know when their feature requests have been implemented" with public replies in response to reviews that have been posted on their apps' product pages....

Android 4.1 is Jelly Bean

It's official. 

Android 4.1 is Jelly Bean and coming soon, Play Store confirms

google jelly beans

The Google Play Store listing for the Galaxy Nexus has confirmed that the next upgrade to Android will indeed be version 4.1 and be codenamed Jelly Bean. You can check out the little blurb of information below on the Play Store website if you're in the US right now, plus there's an image showing a couple of visual tweaks to the UI: a slightly altered search bar and a new background image. Admittedly, it's all very low-res and tells us little of substance, but we'll take all we can get until we can savor the full Jelly Bean experience. Which, judging by this mildly premature update to the Play Store, should be a lock for Google I/O next week.

Huawei promises first Windows Phone 8 device by year's end

Huawei promises first Windows Phone 8 device by year's end, in Europe, China, and the US


Microsoft named four hardware partners for Windows Phone 8 devices — Nokia, Samsung, Huawei, and HTC — and surprisingly, Huawei just became the first partner to tell us when to expect a Windows Phone 8 smartphone in the United States. "2012 is building up to be a great year for Huawei. Now, we are poised to end the year with a big bang – with the introduction of our first smartphone running on the Windows Phone platform," said the company in a press release (bolding ours).

While Huawei typically builds devices primarily for its home market, the OEM also says that won't be the case this time around, as the so-called "Huawei Ascend with Windows Phone 8" is slated to arrive in Europe, China and the US first, before it spreads to other...

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Find: Microsoft's Surface event video

Watch this: Microsoft's Surface event video now live

Steve Ballmer Microsoft Surface

Microsoft announced one of its more significant hardware products today, a Surface tablet running on Windows 8 or Windows RT. Although the company did not release pricing or availability information, consumers will be able to pick between an ARM-powered or Intel-based Microsoft Surface with varying specifications. If you followed our live blog, but wanted to see Steve Ballmer's excitement over Microsoft's latest gear then you'll want to check out the full video from the company's event, embedded below. Highlights include demonstrations of the built-in kickstand, pen functionality, and Touch or Type covers.

And if you just want to see Microsoft's slick, dubstep-infused intro video to the new tablets, we've got that for you below as...

Find: BlackBerry 10 keyboard hands-on

Sounds a lot like the swype, except that the suggestions appear directly over the keys. 

BlackBerry 10 keyboard hands-on (video)

Gallery Photo:

When RIM trotted out BlackBerry 10 for its official unveil last month we were left with frustratingly little to evaluate. We did get to spend some time with the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha device, but it was essentially just a shrunken down PlayBook, and it didn't feature many of the new features that RIM teased us with. Thankfully, today at BlackBerry 10 Jam here in New York we've had the opportunity to use one of the most anticipated new features in BlackBerry 10 — a redesigned capacitive keyboard with predictive text recommendations.

Find: A first look at Microsoft's new Surface tablet

Sounds like a winner. 

A first look at Microsoft's new Surface tablet

Not actually a Surface.

Microsoft has unveiled Surface: a pair of tablet PCs and a pair of covers-cum-keyboards, designed for, and designed around, its Windows 8 operating system.

Microsoft's intent with the Surface tablets is to create hardware that puts the software front and center, to provide the hardware necessary to allow Windows 8's strengths to really come to the foreground. At the launch event, however, the software took the back seat. This was all about the hardware and with good reason.

The Surface tablets are smart, good-looking, carefully considered, well-built, slick pieces of kit, and there's nothing even close on the market today. Of course, they're not on the market today either, but unless the PC OEMs inject a serious dose of quality in their build and design processes, the Surface units will stand alone when they eventually go on sale.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Find: Prepaid mobile phone use surges in US

Us prepaid at 25% of market. Well above 75% elsewhere. 

Die, contracts! Prepaid mobile phone use surges

For the first time in the American mobile industry, contract customers have fallen.

Whether we like it or not, my wife and I recently became statistics. About eight weeks ago, we moved back to California after spending two years in Germany. We had a suspended T-Mobile USA contract while we were away and were likely going to re-activate it on our unlocked iPhones upon our return. But knowing that we’d only get EDGE speeds on our phones back in the US, it didn’t seem worth it to pay well north of $100 for two phones per month.

So we made the jump—becoming two more of the many Americans who have recently made the switch from postpaid to prepaid.

New industry data released in May shows American mobile phone operators have been hit with the first-ever net decline in contract (“postpaid”) subscriptions, a loss of 52,000 subscribers. And the number of non-contract ("prepaid") mobile customers has reached record levels—now accounting for about 25 percent of all mobile phone users in America.

Find: ABI -- apple and Samsung have 90% of the market

Htc and Nokia lose big, rim does ok. 

Samsung ships 43 million smartphones in Q1, dwarfs HTC and Motorola

Samsung and Apple are solidifying their positions as the number one and two smartphone vendors on the planet, according to a report from ABI Research. The two companies shipped 78 million handsets in the first quarter of the year, or 55 percent of the total, as big names like HTC, Motorola, Nokia, and RIM continue to backslide.

Apple shipped 35 million handsets in Q1 while Samsung shipped 43 million, powered by popular models like the Galaxy S II. The two companies also captured 90 percent of the market's global profits, according to ABI, and Samsung alone captured 29.7 percent of the total shipments.

Surprisingly, some of their gains come at the expense of two other big names: HTC and Motorola. Motorola slipped only a bit, from 5.4 million handsets in Q4 2011 to 5.1 million in Q1 2012. Michael Morgan, ABI's senior analyst for mobile devices, told Ars that the drop was "likely due to seasonality." Motorola had a handful of handset launches spanning last fall, including the Droid Razr (which was launched globally as the Motorola Razr), Photon 4G, and the Droid Bionic.

Find: AT&T splits phones into work and personal partitions, on any carrier

Good idea. This is definitely coming down the pipe. Not good for rim. 

AT&T splits phones into work and personal partitions, on any carrier

AT&T's Toggle lets users switch between the work and personal parts of their smartphones.


AT&T says it has the answer for corporations that want to let employees access work applications from personal phones without becoming a security threat. A new virtualization-style technology that works on both Android and iPhones creates a work container that is isolated from an employee's personal applications and data, letting IT shops manage just the portion of the phone related to work.

This isn't a new idea. ARM is talking about adding virtualization into the smartphone chip layer. VMware has been promising to virtualize smartphones for some time. What is notable about AT&T's technology is its flexibility. VMware's technology hasn't hit end users yet, largely because it must be pre-installed by phone manufacturers, limiting it to carriers and device makers that want to install it on their hardware.

AT&T's "Toggle" technology, meanwhile, works with any Android device from versions 2.2 to 3.x, as well as iPhones, and can be installed after a user buys it. Moreover, the technology is somewhat separate from AT&T's cellular division and can be used with any carrier.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Spotted: how easily can someone shoulder surf your phone's gesture lock?

Assessing the vulnerability of magnetic gestural authentication to video-based shoulder surfing attacks

Alireza Sahami Shirazi, Peyman Moghadam, Hamed Ketabdar, Albrecht Schmidt

Secure user authentication on mobile phones is crucial, as they store highly sensitive information. Common approaches to authenticate a user on a mobile phone are based either on entering a PIN, a password, or drawing a pattern. However, these authentication methods are vulnerable to the shoulder surfing attack. The risk of this attack has increased since means for recording high-resolution videos are cheaply and widely accessible. If the attacker can videotape the authentication process, PINs, passwords, and patterns do not even provide the most basic level of security. In this project, we assessed the vulnerability of a magnetic gestural authentication method to the video-based shoulder surfing attack.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Find: The Google APIs Explorer has a new look

The Google APIs Explorer has a new look


By Antonio Fuentes and Jake Moshenko,

Google Developer Team

Last March we introduced the Google APIs Explorer, an interactive tool that enables you to try out a Google API in minutes and explore its supported methods. When we launched it, the APIs Explorer supported over a half dozen APIs.

Starting today, the APIs Explorer has a brand new look to make it easier and more fun to navigate. We are also adding new features, including an indexed history of your API calls, a better editor for the body of a request, and a search box so you can search for APIs and methods easily.

screen shot

Moreover, we have been busy adding support for more APIs to the Explorer. The Explorer now supports over two dozen Google APIs, and the list continues to grow! We have also added an indicator to show which methods require authenticated requests.

To get started, here are some sample requests you can try in the Explorer:

  • Use the Books API to search for a particular book.

  • Use the Google+ API to list your personal Google+ activiti...
  • Monday, June 11, 2012

    Find: from wwdc 2012-- iOS 6 unveiled with Siri enhancements, Passbook, new Maps

    Apple's dev event happened today. Highlights here. 

    iOS 6 unveiled with Siri enhancements, Passbook, new Maps

    Ars Technica

    iOS 6, a new version of Apple's mobile operating system, was unveiled at the company's Worldwide Developer's Conference on Monday. The version will feature "significant enhancements" to Siri, Apple's own Maps app, a new app called Passbook, Facebook integration, changes to phone calls and FaceTime, and improvements to Mail, Safari, and Photo Stream.

    Apple stated it has been working "very closely" with Facebook to integrate it into iOS 6. Users will be able to post to Facebook from different apps, similar to the level of Twitter's integration now. Users will see notifications from Facebook in the Notification Center, and Facebook events and birthdays will appear in the Calendar app.

    Third-party apps can now be launched with a command to Siri—for example, "Play Temple Run" opens the app. Users can also now tweet from Siri, a formerly noticeable hole in the Twitter integration throughout the rest of iOS. In addition to hands-free mode, Siri now has "eyes-free" mode, where the app doesn't light the screen, but still reads responses out. Apple is working with BMW, GM, Jaguar, Mercedes, and Honda to bring a "Siri button" to their cars that will work with iPhones within the next 12 months.

    Siri showing answers to sports questions
    Jacqui Cheng


    Siri has become more knowledgeable about restaurants and theaters, said Scott Forstall, senior vice president of iOS software. Restaurant search results are now sorted by Yelp rating, and tapping on them takes the user into the Yelp app. OpenTable, a reservation booking app, is also integrated into the restaurant results. For movies, Siri can bring up artwork and the slate of movies playing at a nearby theater, along with information culled from Rotten Tomatoes. Siri is also now able to respond to questions about sports ("What was the score of the last Giants game?"), including queries on standings and player stats.

    Siri now supports languages other than English.
    Jacqui Cheng

    Apple will add many international languages to Siri, including Canadian French and English, Spanish, Italian, French, German, Korean, Mandarin, and Cantonese.

    Read more |

    Thursday, June 7, 2012

    Find: Mozilla shows off web apps accessing phone sensors with WebAPI


    Web apps for mobile will indeed slowly grow at native expense.

    Mozilla shows off web apps accessing phone sensors with WebAPI

    We've been pretty impressed by Mozilla's powerful HTML5-based phone OS, Boot to Gecko, which can do anything from send messages to play Cut the Rope with the equivalent of web apps and bookmarks. A similar project is WebAPI, an attempt by Mozilla to help developers standardize web content to work on a wide range of hardware. In the demo below, developer Paul Rouget shows how an app based on some of the WebAPIs can access the accelerometer, the proximity sensor, or the battery of an HTC phone.

    Mozilla isn't the only group with an interest in standardizing web apps. W3C has a similar project, although Mozilla's is focused much more around Boot to Gecko, and webOS / Enyo is also HTML5-based. Chrome's web store sells cross-platform web apps,...

    Wednesday, June 6, 2012

    Find: Gartner Says Worldwide Sales of Mobile Phones Declined 2 Percent in First Quarter of 2012

    Samsung number 1 mobile device maker, Nokia 2, apple 3

    Gartner Says Worldwide Sales of Mobile Phones Declined 2 Percent in First Quarter of 2012; Previous Year-over-Year Decline Occurred in Second Quarter of 2009

    Worldwide sales of mobile phones to end users reached 419.1 million units in the first quarter of 2012, a 2 per cent decline from the first quarter of 2011, according to Gartner, Inc. This is the first time since the second quarter of 2009 that the market exhibited a decline.

    Sunday, June 3, 2012

    Find: Paper, Tweetbot, Mixel, and Piictu creators on designing beautiful apps

    The paper guys are exiles from microsoft's never released folio project. 

    The Art of Apps: Paper, Tweetbot, Mixel, and Piictu creators on designing beautiful apps

    art of apps 1020 watermark

    At the Art Of Apps gallery event in New York City last week, seven apps were projected on TV screens to display the best user interfaces iOS has to offer. In front of each screen were the creators and designers behind apps like Paper, Mixel, Tweetbot, Piictu, Path, and the upcoming Cameo. The event was curated by Khoi Vinh, one-time designer for, founder of iPad collage app Mixel, and influential design blogger at Even the event website, built using Splash, a new tool for creating social-network-integrated show pages, is gorgeous and very focused on "good design."

    We spent a few minutes catching up with the team behind Paper, which recently hit 1.5 million downloads, Khoi Vinh, the duo behind Cameo — a...

    Find: Nvidia backs cloud gaming with GeForce Grid

    Gaming over the Internet for mobiles and tvs. 

    Nvidia CEO: GeForce Grid 'will do for video games what cable television did for video'

    Nvidia CEO GeForce Grid Gaikai stock 1024 cloud gaming

    "The skiing industry would be a lot larger if you could just go do it," explains Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang. There isn't a ski pole in sight: it's a metaphor for how he wants to expand the reach of video games to entirely new audiences. Two weeks ago, at the company's GPU Technology Conference, Huang introduced a new technology on stage: a GPU called GeForce Grid, specifically designed to stream video games to any smartphone, tablet, PC, or app-savvy TV. Today, however, at the company's annual investor meeting, Huang has revealed that his company is looking to make graphically potent games more portable and convenient for everyone, not just existing players. "The entire video game market is still relatively small," he says, telling us...

    Find: 'Triggers' iOS app - scripting actions in response to sensor events

    Good idea. 

    'Triggers' iOS app uses your phone or tablet's sensors in simple scripts


    We're always open to tools that help with automation or basic tech literacy, so our test of iOS app Triggers entailed a swift journey from joy to disappointment. Triggers uses the same basic idea as web automation tool If This Then That, allowing users to set a condition ("phone hears noise greater than 10") and define an output. Unfortunately, while If This Then That integrates a wide range of social networks, Triggers' inputs are basically limited to the physical sensors on the device. That means you'll be able to set conditions for acceleration, light, hand proximity to device, sound, or system time. It's not a bad set, but it's a shame that you can't set triggers for social networks, app launches, network signal strength, or even GPS...

    Find: 1080p smartphone from LG is 440ppi, while iPhone is 300dpi

    We can see the difference: consider 600 dpi printers. 

    LG's 5-inch 1080p smartphone display goes far beyond Retina pixel density

    lg 1080p smartphone display

    Apparently not content with the 1024 x 768 resolution on its 5-inch Optimus Vu, LG is working on a 5-inch 1080p smartphone display for the second half of 2012. The 1920 x 1080 touchscreen offers a wonderfully excessive pixel density of 440 ppi, which is 72 percent more pixels per inch than the Optimus Vu, and a third more than the display on the iPhone 4S. Unlike the display on LG’s current 5-inch phone, the new screen will have the same 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio as the HDTV in your living room. The display technology is the same IPS-based LCD that LG has offered in recent devices like the Nitro HD and aforementioned Optimus Vu, but with the added benefit of many, many more pixels. If you're eager to get an early look at the...

    Friday, June 1, 2012

    Find: AT&T CEO predicts data-only phone plans within two years

    Voice, text, web will all be charged by the mb. 

    AT&T CEO predicts data-only phone plans within two years

    AT&T logo (STOCK)

    AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson believes that within two years mobile customers will be able to sign up for data-only plans. While speaking at an investors conference in New York, Stephenson explained that these plans would view phone calls and text messaging as just another form of data — though this could lead to a hike in prices. However, he didn't give any indication as to AT&T's future in that regard, simply saying "I'll be surprised if, in the next 24 months, we don't see people in the marketplace with data-only plans."

    The CEO also made a number of other predictions, most of which reiterate things we've been hearing about for some time — data use will jump 75 percent annually for the next five years, he believes, while we'll...

    Find: Mary Meeker's report on disruption and mobile

    Mary Meeker's Views on Mobile

    Mary Meeker of the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers presented the latest version of her influential Internet Trends report at the All Things D conference on Wednesday.

    Find: building native iOS apps with RubyMotion

    Exclusive: building native iOS apps with RubyMotion

    In 2007, software developer Laurent Sansonetti launched an open source software project called MacRuby. It aimed to build a Ruby interpreter on top of the Objective-C runtime, providing a seamless bridge between Ruby and OS X "Cocoa" ecosystem—and it succeeded. Now Sansonetti hopes to do something similar for iOS.

    Sansonetti recently left his job at Apple-where he has worked for the past seven years-to found his own startup, dubbed HipByte. He announced his first product today, a new software development kit called RubyMotion that will open the door for developers to build native iOS applications with the Ruby programming language.

    I've been testing RubyMotion since March, when Sansonetti gave me access to a private beta release. In this article, I’ll give you an exclusive hands-on introduction to RubyMotion and describe how it can be used to build software for iOS. The article includes the full source code of a simple iOS demo application I created that displays the top stories from reddit.