Posts tagged Apple

AT&T preps for early to mid-September iPhone 5 launch



BGR has exclusively learned that AT&T has begun communicating launch plans internally for Apple’s next-generation iPhone 5 handset. We have been told that AT&T has begun informing employees across the company, and those who work in retail locations, to finish any sort of employee training as soon as possible. AT&T is asking managers to finish training in order to have employees available for the influx of foot traffic expected in September, a proven source has shared with us. Other reports indicate that Apple is looking to hire additional Apple Store staff to be on hand for “new product launches” during the same period of time, further supporting our information. Apple is expected to announce the company’s next-generation iPhone at the end of August, with a launch to follow in the first half of September.

Android Honeycomb and apps: Win or fail?

Android 3.0 tablets are set to hit the UK left, right and centre in 2011 but there’s one glaring issue affecting all of them at the moment.

Google may have done a lot of work with Android 3.0 Honeycomb. It certainly looks good, has everything you’d expect from a tablet operating system, in terms of features, and has taken centre stage on some of the most exciting tablets we’ve ever seen – the Motorola Xoom, LG Optimus Pad and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

Thing is, there’s one big stinking elephant in the room when it comes to Android 3.0. So what is it? Simple: there’s hardly any dedicated Android 3.0 apps currently available. Not even 100, and when you compare this to Apple’s 60,000+ for the iPad, it starts to look like quite a big problem.

As you might have noticed, so far the only Android 3.0-powered tablet to hit the market is Motorola’s Xoom. Both Samsung and LG have yet to confirm when their respective Android 3.0-powered tablets will be arriving – although it will be sometime this year.

Motorola has yet to release any official figures relating to Xoom sales, but early indicators suggest that it’s not doing as well as Motorola has hoped it would – and this is bad news for both Motorola and Google.

And if all of the above wasn’t enough, Apple launched the iPad 2 – a device so popular across the globe that Apple is struggling to keep up with orders.

So – just how bad is the apps situation? It’s not good. Thankfully, most Android smartphone apps will work on Android 3.0 – albeit with a little tweaking:

‘Android 3.0 brings a new UI designed for tablets and other larger screen devices, but it also is fully compatible with applications developed for earlier versions of the platform, or for smaller screen sizes. Existing applications can seamlessly participate in the new holographic UI theme without code changes, by adding a single attribute in their manifest files.’

But if you’re forking out £500 or so, you’d expect there to be more than a few dedicated Android 3.0 tablet-only applications ready for you to download wouldn’t you? Well, there isn’t – so prepare to be disappointed.

According to Wired Magazine, who tested the Motorola Xoom extensively, there are about 50 dedicated Android 3.0 applications on Google’s newly designed tablet-centric Android Market.

However, of those 50 uncovered by Wired only 14 are said to be native Android 3.0 applications. The rest, according to HTLounge, are phone applications that’ll size up on the tablet display.

Information Week’s Eric Zeman claims to have only found 38 whilst he was testing the Motorola Xoom towards the end of March. Zeman wasn’t pleased either, commenting: ‘Had I actually purchased the Xoom with my own money, I’d be pretty annoyed at the paltry app selection.’

Android 3.0 is now closed source

Google officially made matters a lot worse by delaying the release of the Android 3.0 source code. Only a ‘trusted few’ were granted access to the Android 3.0 source code – namely OEMs and a handful of developers.

According to Geek with a Laptop, ‘While the details are still sketchy, Google says it will delay the distribution of Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) source code for the foreseeable future – whatever that means.  Google says it is not yet ready for the outside world.’

So what’s the official line from Google?

“Android is an open-source project. We have not changed our strategy,” is the mantra espoused by Andy Rubin, vice-president for engineering at Google.

Maybe so, but the delay of the source code and blatant pandering to OEMs on Google’s part has caused quite a ruckus in the open source community. Google has suddenly started behaving like RIM and Apple, and people don’t like it.

Here’s what Paula Rooney of ZD Net made of the decision:

“Transparency is paramount in the open source community. The tablet market is going to be huge. It’s not fair to lead the entire open source developer community along, enjoy massive success and then pull the plug on its open source commitment as the market wave is poised to peak.”

No one – even with all of the above fumbles – doubts Android 3.0, though. It will be huge, just like Android for smartphones. It’s just going to take a while for the applications to start rolling in.

After all, Google only released the official Android 3.0 SDK a couple of days (February 22) before the Xoom launched.

And once these apps start appearing, which they will, everyone will forget about Android 3.0’s sticky start and begin to enjoy having a nice iPad alternative.

Still though, launching a new platform with less than 100 native applications is a serious error and one that Apple, understandably, made light of at its recent iPad 2 launch event.

And who can blame Steve Jobs? Apple has 60,000 dedicated iPad applications on its App Store and can’t keep up with current demand for its latest tablet – talk about winning!

Within this context then, Google has quite literally brought a knife to a gunfight – even HP’s brand new webOS platform has more than 100 native apps.

Nevertheless, Android 3.0 will undoubtedly win out in the end – it’s all just a matter of time.


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Google VP Marissa Mayer Dishes Google Mobile Stats, 150M Mobile Maps Users


At SXSW, Google’s VP of  Location and Local Services, Marissa Mayer, took the stage and dished out some interesting Google data, including mobile stats. During her talk, Mayer revealed the following statistics we found interesting:

  • 40% of all Google Maps usage is from mobile devices, and Christmas and New Years day mobile usage surpassed desktop usage for the first time.
  • 150 million mobile users on Google Maps
  • Google Maps Navigation, included on Android handsets, has guided users 12 billion miles a year, and the latest version with traffic routing saves users 2 years per day in time that would have been spent in traffic.
  • Google Maps could get smarter, and become contextually aware. For instance, if you were trying to catch a flight, Google Maps could see your flight schedule to see when your flight was, then look and analyze real-time traffic data and weather conditions to try and figure out the exact time you should leave
  • Google would like there to be better Google Maps for iPhone. “We like being the default provider, but we’d like to get some of these updates out to a broader audience. That’s still a debate/question we’re considering.”

With Google’s Android explosion continuing, it looks like there will plenty more Google Maps and Navigation users over the next few years.

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New HTC Thunderbolt March 21 Release

The release date for the HTC Thunderbolt is getting a little boring now but we said we would report on everything we find, well how about adding March 21 to your release list.

So far we have all seen Verizon HTC Thunderbolt release dates being February 14, 17, 24, 28, then March 3 and 10th, which means these dates are void, then we heard that March 17th is a possibility and now according to BGR and Droid-Life March 21st has popped up.

Now these are all just online rumours, they could be true but we always suggest waiting for an official announcement and until then we will still report what we find or know. Apparently according to BGR their tipsters do not have proven track records but the new March 21 date did show up on HTC’s Facebook page briefly.

According to Droid-Life they were having a casual chat with a friend at Verizon and the word “Official” when the potential date was mentioned.

Verizon if we are not mistaken release products on a Thursday and March 21 is a Monday, and before you ask yes the Apple iPad 2 is being released on Verizon tomorrow but that is Apple’s doing. As soon as the official HTC Thunderbolt release date has been mentioned we will let you know.

Please do give us your HTC Thunderbolt release date predictions in the commenting area provided below. Thanks (Picture above is a fantastic Photoshop)

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Foursquare 3.0 for Android and iOS Set to Launch Tonight with Host of New Features

Foursquare 3.0

Via a blog post today, foursquare founder Dennis Crowley announced an updated version of his company’s software that will be available to users “late tonight.” Reminiscing about his company’s past, present, and future, Crowley admits that he and his team have not been able to “expand the foursquare experience as much as they hoped to” over the last year. But that all changes today. Focusing on discovery, encouragement, and loyalty, foursquare will deploy several new features to its iPhone and Android applications (version number 3.0). Through a new “Explore” tab, users can input what it is they are looking for, getting recommendations from 4sq based on what’s around and where friends have visited. The company will try to encourage users to continue to explore their world with a revamped leader board. “You’ll see that we’ve replaced our old leader board (and its simple points system and Sunday night reset) with a sliding 7-day barometer of you and your friends,” writes Crowley. “Check-ins now trigger points for dozens of different types of actions.” Loyalty will be addressed by offering merchants additional ways to reward “swarms, groups of friends, regulars, newbies, or everyone.” Merchants will gain access to the new controls later this week. In closing, Crowley writes, “we’ve got really ambitious plans for the rest of the year and we’re excited to let you play with three big new pieces of the master plan.” Foursquare notes that an updated BlackBerry client is due out later this week — though it will not include many 3.0′s features — and that it is “working hard” on its Windows Phone and Symbian apps.


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