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29
Apr

Samsung wants to leverage smart wearables and VR tech for business customers


samsung_gear_vr_officialSamsung is still trying to find the perfect market for its wearable technology, including its array of smartwatches and virtual reality headsets. It’s currently focused on pushing those devices to consumers, but the company might be looking at getting into the business market to find a target audience for their newer devices.

The company is exploring the best use cases for these niche devices in a business environment. Smartwatches seem like a no-brainer, as having access to information quickly and easily without having to take out your phone is extremely useful. Things like email notifications and other alerts are going to be universal to almost all businesses, so that target makes sense.

VR is a slightly more tricky subject, since we still don’t even have any killer selling points on VR headsets to consumers. Sure, they’re cool, and there’s some potential down the line, but nothing currently exists that make those headsets a must-own accessory. Transitioning that into a business-focused model will be just as tough.

Different kinds of businesses could benefit from using VR to create specialized training simulations or material, but there’s also the option to use the headsets for virtual tours of houses, or in-flight entertainment for airline industries. Of course, on the back-end of that, each company would have to invest the time and resources into developing VR content specific to their needs, and there’s no proof that many businesses are going to be willing to do that.

As wearable tech gets more and more popular, we’ll likely start seeing more use cases for the devices. Samsung plans to be at the forefront of it all, so expect to see them try to fit wearable technology into as many situations as possible.

source: PC World

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29
Apr

Samsung takes back the lead in worldwide smartphone shipments


Samsung_Galaxy_Note_Edge_Front_Samsung_Logo_TASamsung has had a rough past few months with declining marketshare, thanks to some serious competition from Apple and cheaper smartphone vendors. 2015 looks like the year they turn it around, though, as the company has reclaimed the top spot for smartphone manufacturer in the first quarter of 2015.

Global smartphone shipments grew about 21 percent, up to 345 million devices shipped in the first three months of the year. Samsung accounted for 24% of that, or about 83.2 million of those devices. Apple held onto second place, shipping 61.2 million devices with 18% of the market.

Lenovo managed to snag third place with a little over 5% of the market, partly thanks to their Motorola acquisition, and Huawei accounted for almost exactly 5% of the market. The remaining 40% of shipments from other OEMs like HTC, LG, and the smaller vendors.

Samsung can probably expect a strong second quarter as well, with their Galaxy S6 gaining popularity early on. And since Apple won’t be releasing anything new until later this year, it gives Samsung a few months to breathe a little easier.

source: Strategy Analytics

Come comment on this article: Samsung takes back the lead in worldwide smartphone shipments

29
Apr

Via Voice by Treycent, Inc. The nifty app with loads of promise


One of the most appealing features of android now days is voice controls. Google has been at the forefront of voice commands by being simple and intuitive. One of the drawbacks to voice commands is lack of custom voice commands.  Treycent has come up with a solution with an application called Via Voice. the application allows the user to set up custom voice commands to access pictures. This alleviates an issue that plagues many users by having quick access to pictures without having to search the gallery. The interface is simple allowing you to type in a command or speak the command and attach a photo with very little effort. Via Voice also works with your android wear device allowing you to show pictures without reaching for you phone. The application has had a fair share of updates adding capabilities such as posting to Twitter. Just say you command followed by post to Twitter.

Via Voice has a straight forward setup asking to create an account attached to your email. Once you are signed you are ready to set up you custom voice commands. Commands are created using spoken word or manually typing in the command. The photo you choose is attached to a web link allowing the app to pull the photo online with your command. The user can also type the command in loud settings where voice is not recognized. You can also share your voice command with friends through several avenues allowing them to access the photo with voice. The application on the phone works every time. On both the Galaxy S5 and Moto X (2014) I had to choose a photo from Google Photos, Dropbox, or Facebook. So in simple terms the photos must have a link to them somewhere, any photo not synced would not work with the app. This makes sense considering the voice control is attached to a URL. The program also has a website that works in much the same way as on the phone. I was able to type or say a command and the picture was shown in a new tab. The voice control is accurate and I had very little issues as far as operations. On the off chance the voice recognition failed I was able to type the command to perform the action. The issue was mainly in places with an abundant amount of sound which is to be expected with any voice control.

The android wear capabilities with this app show promise but come up short in real world settings. The concept is very intriguing and makes showing a photo to you friends effortless when it works. The watch aspect is a work in process. I have tested this out in various situations with several failures. This could be a flaw in android wear or the app. Android wear is by all accounts not perfect and has had its fair share of issues so to pin this on the app is unfair. One of the most agitating aspects is accessing the app on the watch when it is not active. Having to scroll down to start and select the app is painful and pretty much defeats the purpose of convenience. I would suggest wear mini launcher for this app or any others on your watch. Once the program is open the access is much more convenient with a simple tap. Another noticeable shortfall is that on my Moto 360 the voice search seemed to activate at random. With the LG g watch I did not have that issue but the process itself suffered a considerable lag. I stress these issues could be because of android wear itself or the hardware.

To sum my long experience with Via Voice up it is a very neat feature to have. What would make this a go to app for me is the watch features. To have my watch pull photos to show on the go would be a very valuable tool. As of now though the app is regulated to my phone and is more a novelty than a must have. The concept has promise to make wear devices even more useful and shaves some time off searching your phone in this fast paced mobile world. The execution is lost with the watch by being unreliable and defeats the purpose of a wearable by having to use my phone in many instances. The promise is that even when the watch side was finicky the app was always up showing the correct picture on the phone. The developer has put a lot of time and effort in creating this application and I encourage anyone to give it a try. Custom commands for easy access of photos you want to share with friends and family is really convenient and hopefully the wear side can be ironed out. Via Voice is free on Google Play as well as web access at Treycent.com.

Treycent , Google Play

 

The post Via Voice by Treycent, Inc. The nifty app with loads of promise appeared first on AndroidGuys.

29
Apr

Smart pedals will track your stolen bike for $149


Back when we saw Connected Cycle’s smart bike pedals at CES in January we were pretty impressed by its plan to track activity and location; now you have a chance to get in on the action. The outfit’s smart pedals recently hit crowdfunding site IndieGoGo where the campaign has already hit 171 percent of its funding goal. Since we last saw them, the duration limit on included data plans has been lifted for backers and CC is working on design modifications so the pedals accommodate “standardized” foot straps.

The discounted early-bird backer levels are already gone of course, so if you want a pair of the anti-theft and activity tracking pedals they’ll run you $149. As the campaign page tells it, that’s still a $71 savings over retail. As it stands, they’re probably a little overkill if you’re riding a Huffy from Kmart but anyone who’s dropped serious coin on something along the lines of a Cannondale or Fuji probably can’t put a price on peace of mind.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/126046310

Connected Cycle Pedals – Indiegogo Campaign Film from Christian Kravanja on Vimeo.

Filed under: Transportation, Software, Mobile

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Source: IndieGoGo

29
Apr

Microsoft expands Office integration with third-party apps


So far, Microsoft’s Build 2015 keynote has mostly been focused on the tools available for developers. But, having said this, the company just made an announcement that’s beneficial to its core consumer base. Rob Lefferts, GM of the Office Extensibility, took the stage to reveal that the Office productivity suite will be further integrated with third-party applications and services. With Uber in Outlook, for example, you can click on a button and quickly catch a ride to your next appointment, all without having to manually enter a destination address — it does this automatically by grabbing data from your email accounts.

Another “add-in” mentioned was PicHit, a webstore that sells photos, which users can now easily access within PowerPoint. You can expect more of these soon too, especially with Microsoft making a huge push toward opening up its platforms to developers. Not surprisingly, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella took the opportunity to briefly talk about Skype’s web API and its ability to bring voice and video chats to any site.

Filed under: Microsoft

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29
Apr

Instagram dives into curated content with a dedicated music account


Instagram uses its official account to promote notable snapshots on the social network, and has been doing so for quite some time. But now, the filter-driven app will serve up a daily look at music “around the globe.” Through the @music stream, the folks behind the software will highlight music photographers, designers working on album art, instrument makers and fans in addition to current stars and emerging talent. It’ll even offer 15-second lessons from time to time. Musicians are a big part of Instagram’s user base, where artists can share updates and connect with fans, so it makes sense that the subject would get its own channel. In fact, BuzzFeed reports that around 25 percent of the app’s 300 million accounts belong to those folks.

The move also follows other social networks, like Snapchat, getting into the curated content game. Of course, music is also a popular topic elsewhere. You may recall Twitter’s short-lived #Music app back in 2013, and it’s current chart collaboration with Billboard. As I’m sure you’re well aware, people love taking pictures of food with the app, so it’ll be interesting to see if a culinary-focused channel pops up in the future.

Filed under: Software

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Source: Instagram

29
Apr

Carrier billing is coming to all Windows devices


The Windows Store

Wish you could put that Windows app purchase on your phone bill rather than rack up a separate charge? Microsoft just made your day. It’s bringing carrier billing to all Windows devices, so you only have to make one payment to cover everything. There are 90 providers involved, too, so there’s a very good chance that your network of choice is eligible. The move is welcome, if not totally surprising. When Windows 10 focuses heavily on universal apps that run on both phones and PCs, it only makes sense to pay through your carrier on whichever hardware you use.

Filed under: Cellphones, Tablets, Wireless, Software, Mobile, Microsoft

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29
Apr

Microsoft invites Android and iOS apps to join Windows 10


Microsoft’s Terry Myerson confirmed on-stage at Build what many of us suspected in the hours leading up to the event — the company’s going to make it easier for developers to bring Android apps into the Windows Store. To make this possible, Myers said, Windows phones “will include an Android subsystem” meant to play nice with the Java and C++ code developers have already crafted run on a rival’s operating system. Turns out, that’s not the only dev-friendly coup we’re seeing today: iOS developers can compile their Objective C code right from Microsoft’s Visual Studio, and turn it into a full-fledged Windows 10 app. This, frankly, is huge. With one announcement, drawn out of the course of a few minutes, Microsoft may have just changed its mobile trajectory completely.

Haven’t been keeping tabs on the matter? Well, today’s news (particularly the iOS bit) came like a bolt from the blue this afternoon, but the situation that probably predicated it has been brewing for a while now. Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform — while distinctly charming in ways its rivals aren’t — has never been the place to go if you’re looking for the newest, buzziest apps. Even Windows software maintained by social giants like Twitter don’t get the same attention as their iOS and Android counterparts; Vine’s video sharing app for Windows Phone got its first update in over a year just a few weeks back. By throwing its arms open to iOS and Android developers, it’s possible that Microsoft just solved that problem. And of course, since Windows 10 is built around the concept of Universal Apps, we’ll start to see all that converted software running on a slew of differently sized devices down the road.

One of the weightier questions surrounding this shift in thinking is, well, what are these apps going to look like? Sure, King may have ported a version of Candy Crush Saga to Windows 10 without breaking much of a sweat, but plenty of iOS and Android apps rely on a set of specific UI flourishes, interactions and design elements that don’t always jibe with Windows 10’s aesthetic. We’ll soon see how this whole thing shakes out, but one thing seems clear for now: Microsoft’s still doing whatever it takes to court developers and this time it could really pay off.

Filed under: Mobile

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29
Apr

Desktop apps are coming to the Windows Store


One of the reasons some people didn’t like Windows 8 was that it seemed to include two versions of Windows: Live Tiles and the desktop, with touch-friendly apps kept far away from traditional x86 programs. With Windows 10, Microsoft seems to be trying hard to make the user experience feel less jarring, and now, it’s taking things a step further with the Windows Store. Once home exclusively to touch-friendly, “Metro-style” apps, it will now house a mix of Win32 and .NET apps as well, along with server-hosted web applications. The result is that users will now have a one-stop show for all manner of Windows downloads. From a developer standpoint, meanwhile, all of these apps will be able to take advantage of the same Windows Store platform — that means updates are delivered the same way, and developers can also enable in-app purchases, as they would in any other Windows Store download.

Additionally, Microsoft is giving developers an easy way to port over code from their Android and iOS apps, making it (relatively) painless to convert them to Windows applications and them put them up in the Store. This, too, should soon make the Windows Store catalog look bigger than it once was.

Filed under: Microsoft

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29
Apr

Any site can be a Windows app


At today’s Microsoft Build conference, vice president of operating systems, Terry Myerson announced that websites can now be placed inside a Windows 10 universal framework. In other words, developers can make a Windows 10 app out of their site. The site-based apps can be listed inside the Windows Store and support Cortana notifications and in-app purchases. Building these apps is pretty simple according to Myerson. Couple this with news that the company is helping iOS and Android developers port their apps to Windows 10 and the inclusion of .NET and Win32 apps in the marketplace and it’s pretty clear Microsoft really, really wants you to start using the Windows Store.

Filed under: Cellphones, Desktops, Tablets, Internet, Software, Microsoft

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