Guess what’s back in the technology headlines? It’s Foursquare! Unsurprisingly, it will soon release a new software update for its establishment-finding mobile application. The upcoming Foursquare app will now focus on indexing places, businesses and establishments in a better user interface with information like reviews, rating, phone number and menu.
Right off the bat, the new Foursquare app (for Android and iOS or iPhone) will display a user interface with quick glance on what’s best nearby. It also offers categories such as breakfast, lunch, coffee, and so much more. Clicking a category, like coffee for example, will display the best, if not the list of notable places nearby that serve coffee and other related products.
The upcoming application update will also serve easy access to place a reservation — but we’ve been told that this service is limited to some cities only, and it will depend upon the owner of the claimed establishment if he or she will activate this feature.
For beginners, Foursquare has decided to put its original service list into two separate apps, the original Foursquare which contains information about establishments only, and secondly, the Swarm app which contains the original check-in feature of the Foursquare app. The new app update of Foursquare will remove all information about past check-ins, and the tech startup said in a new blog post that it will move these information to the linked Swarm app. It will also add new features on Swarm, but we’ll discuss that in a separate post.
Another new update from Foursquare is its new logo. It’s now all-caps with the letter F as the main icon. The company explains, “we designed it to be a mix of map pin and superhero emblem. We’ve always thought of Foursquare as giving you superpowers to explore your city, and our new logo reflects that vision. It’s coming soon to a homescreen near you.”
This upcoming software update only confirms that Foursquare wants to compete with Yelp, the popular city guide and business review website. Can Foursquare beat Yelp by focusing more on business and establishment review? We’ll find out soon.
With the help of its 50 million members — Foursquare will try to generate revenue by crowdsourcing businesses globally, and launching new applications with better user interface is only the beginning.
Nintendo on Monday has updated the Wii U system with various bug fixes and of course, software enhancements. What’s new is the ability to transfer data from one Wii U system to another. This feature is specifically useful for customers who are planning to buy or upgrade to a new Wii U with bigger storage. But here’s the catch, Nintendo’s software requires both Nintendo Wii U units to be simultaneously running before the transfer will push through. In other systems, the user can transfer data just by logging in to a new system. The Wii U system data transfer system is similar to Nintendo’s hand-held gaming device, the Nintendo 3DS.
Apart from the data transfer, Nintendo also added eShop support for other Wii U controllers. Previously, Wii U owners can access the Nintendo eShop with the Wii U’s official GamePad only. With this new software update, Wii U owners can easily navigate the online store using the old Wii Remote, the Wii U Pro (sold separately) Controller or the classic controller.
If this rumor is true (hopefully it is), HTC Corporation will supply this year’s Nexus tablet computer that will replace the Nexus 7. Reported on Monday by seasoned “leaker” evleaks, the Taiwan-based OEM will release a brand new tablet computer later this year that will sport the Nexus branding. For starters, Nexus devices are Google products that run the latest and greatest version/s of Android, and these devices are always getting the software update from the search engine giant ahead of “skinned” or Android devices that run custom user interface.
Besides the T1 Volantis/Flounder/Nexus 9, HTC is developing two other tablets: the T7 and T12 – http://t.co/Kf7ifgG2Gz
— @evleaks (@evleaks) July 21, 2014
The Nexus 7 successor according to evleaks is taking the Google Nexus 9 (with code-name T1) name because it will feature a 9-inch touchscreen display. Last year, ASUS manufactured the Nexus 7, and yes, it sports a 7-inch display. Surprisingly, the report also revealed that HTC Corporation will also release two other tablet computers dubbed the T2 and T3.
No word yet about other features of the HTC Nexus 9, but it’s a safe bet that it will feature a better display than the Nexus 7, hopefully with more pixels per inch — and with better display, HTC’s unannounced tablet will most likely need a more powerful processor.
Aside from the Nexus 9, Google is also expected to retail the Nexus 6, the phone that will replace the LG Nexus 5. Both the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 are rumored to ship with the upcoming Android L mobile operating system. For readers who are not aware of Android L — it’s the “biggest” Android software update yet based on user interface changes. Google is implementing the so-called Material Design with brand new colors, transition and functionalities.
The more you hate, the more you love? According to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index report, business-centric social network Linkedin and the most popular social networking site in the world, Facebook, are the least-loved services among social networks.
“These sites are still the worst in the industry,” reveals ACSI quoting Facebook and Linkedin’s customers. Both Facebook and LinkedIn scored 67 out of the survey’s possible 100 perfect score. Meanwhile, Twitter has posted a much better score of 69 and customers of the micro blogging service are happy with the latest update on the site design and better integration of photos and videos.
And what’s the most popular social networking service based on customer satisfaction? ACSI claims that Pinterest, the social pinning, and image storage service has gained the most with 6 percent climb and completing the score of 76, 9 percent higher than Facebook, apparently. YouTube is just below Pinterest with 73 percent while the social networking site of Google, the Google+, is unchanged with 71 percent. Google+ remained unchanged despite posting 9 percent decline last year.
So, what’s the purpose of this survey?
For Facebook and LinkedIn, they have to improve their services to please more consumers, not only in America but worldwide.
To be fair, Facebook is rolling out some updates recently including the Save For Later feature allowing its users to save a link for reading later — in case the user is busy when he or she spotted the article on the news feed. Facebook’s save feature is similar to Instapaper and Pocket, though the social networking site is focusing mainly on saving URLs or website address, while the two services I mentioned are able to save the whole article.
Source: The ACSI.
There’s no confirmation yet from Apple Inc. about the rumored new MacBook Pro with Retina display and new MacBook Air, but if they’re coming this Fall alongside the new Mac OS X Yosemite software update, then it’s safe to say that Apple will take advantage of Intel Corporation’s newly updated Intel Haswell processors with better performance than its predecessor.
As reported by CPU World, Intel has just announced new Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7 processors with the latter sporting the most expensive price of $623. The said model is equipped with 2.8GHz and turbo boost of up to 4GHz and Iris Pro 5200 graphics. The most expensive Retina MacBook Pro is currently sporting Intel’s core i7 processor quad-core clocked at 2.3GHz and turbo boost of up to 3.5GHz.
Apparently, if Apple will release a new batch of MacBook Pro and MacBook Air later this Fall, it might use the new core i7 for its most high-end Retina MacBook Pro model, but Apple can also take advantage of the new dual-core Intel Core i5 dual-core processor clocked at 2.9 GHz for its new base-model MacBook Air. We’re not sure yet if the new core i7 can support a thinner Retina MacBook Air — the long-rumored first thin-and-light laptop computer of Apple with the Retina display.
According to the rumor mill, the new generation MacBook laptops will be available by end of October alongside the release of new iPad and new iPhones. This new lineup is expected to ship with the new Mac OS X Yosemite.
Fresh off its reported plan to file for IPO in Tokyo, Japan, Naver Corporation in Japan has just unveiled a new update for its mobile application Line. Meet the “hidden chats” feature on the Line app, it mimics Snapchat, but with more controls given to the user. Just like Snapchat and other updates from rival instant messaging platforms, Naver’s Line App now supports self-destructing encrypted messages.
As described by Naver Japan, the Line app’s hidden chats allows “messages that will be deleted after a predetermined amount of time.” Users can change the allowed time before the message gets deleted automatically by the app. Users can also switch from regular messaging to self-deleting chat window.
In United States and other major mobile apps market, Snapchat became a popular application thanks to its self-deleting messages, photos and other content. Snapchat recently updated its application for Android and iPhone to support instant video calling.
Last week, New York Times Dealbook blog reported that the South Korea-based Naver is planning to file IPO in Japan or in the United States following the success of Line app in major markets especially in Asia.
Apart from Snapchat, the Line App competes with Facebook Messenger, China-made WeChat and Korea’s KakaoTalk. Microsoft Corporation’s Skype is also focusing more on instant messaging lately to generate its own mobile messaging market share.
Source: Google Play Store.
Ahead of the Android L release date, and hopefully the new Google Nexus 6, Google has just unveiled the material design implementation for its Google Play Store — the search giant’s official online store that sells mobile applications, digital content and Nexus devices.
In a brief post on social networking site Twitter.com, Google announced that the new Google Play Store with Material Design is now rolling out. We’ve been told that Nexus users will initially receive the update, but it will be a gradual roll out. Google uses the LG Nexus 5 as the model for the Google Play Store mobile app update.
On its tweet, Google posted four images to show how the Material Design will be displayed on various Google Play Store categories including books or magazine, application store, music and content information.
It’s expected that Google will sell the new Nexus lineup: the rumored Nexus 6 and new Nexus tablet computers on the Google Play Store soon — and we’re very excited to see how Google will preview its new devices using the Material Design of Android L.
Source: Twitter (Google Play).
Read More: New Google Nexus 6 rumors.
To compete with Google Wallet, eBay’s PayPal and Apple Inc. Passbook, retail giant quietly launched Amazon Wallet, a limited service as of the moment. According to Amazon, the Amazon Wallet is a new app that “simplify your shopping trips, and never lose another gift card or rewards membership number. Scan or type your gift cards, loyalty cards and membership cards to your Amazon Wallet to reduce the clutter in your leather wallet or purse. Wherever you are, the information you need is easily available as a barcode, QR code, text or image.”
In short, Amazon Wallet is for storage only and doesn’t allow syncing of credit cards, debit cards or bank accounts — yet.
It’s safe to say that Amazon might soon update its app to take advantage of the untapped by continuously growing mobile payment system. PayPal is undoubtedly beginning to transform its business to more mobile-friendly, so it will make sense that Amazon will follow.
The Amazon Wallet was quietly launched ahead of the Amazon Fire Phone release date later this month. The Fire Phone is the online retail giant’s first smartphone, and it runs a custom version of Android filled with Amazon’s products and services only.
I should note that the Amazon Fire Phone supports Near Field Communication, so it’s wireless payment-ready — and just a simple update of Amazon Wallet can transform the Fire Phone into a smartphone wallet.
Amazon Wallet is available on Google Play Store, the official app store of Android devices, and of course, the new app is also available on the Amazon Appstore.
Read More: Amazon Fire Phone getting exclusive games
Social networking giant Facebook is still the most popular social login or account used to access other sites and provide information according to the latest data provided by Gigya. Meanwhile, search engine giant Google’s social network is in far second, the Google+ or Google Plus.
Another good news for Facebook is the data showing its social login strength on e-commerce. According to the report, Facebook lost 2 percent of the market, but still leads with 75 percent of the market. This is a very important market for Facebook that is currently testing the “buy now” button on its website allowing users to quickly purchase an item or digital goods on the newsfeed without leaving Facebook.com. Twitter is also testing its own “buy now” button, but e-commerce social login last quarter only gave Twitter a small 2 percent market share. Google is second on e-commerce identity provider market with 11 percent share.
Another category worth mentioning is on mobile which is the main focus of internet growth. According to Gigya, Facebook still dominates mobile social login with 64 percent of the market followed by Google with 25 percent. Twitter is more mobile, apparently, and it’s on third place with 7 percent.
Gigya is suggesting that the new anonymous Facebook login, which is still in beta, is helping the tech giant. Gigya’s Victor White said that “renewed approach towards privacy may be having a positive impact on consumers’ perception of the social network and on Facebook Login in particular.”
Google’s position is not bad, but not great, and it looks like the recent policy change allowing “fake names” on Google+ might give the search giant the social login boost — attracting those who are not into divulging their real names online.
Dropbox, the popular cloud storage and online collaboration platform is expanding outside of United States. As reported by FT, the San Francisco-based tech startup is opening a new office in United Kingdom where it currently serves 16 million users. The goal of the new office is to lure new businesses that will pay monthly fee per user. Dropbox offers free cloud storage account, but it also sell monthly subscription for advanced services including collaboration tools, larger online storage, better security and multiple device syncing.
Dropbox is also planning more offices with Japan and Australia getting their own offices after the UK launch.
Surprisingly, the report also revealed that around 70 percent of Dropbox users are based outside of United States. Is it a good thing? Not really, but not bad. I should note that apart from putting up new offices outside of United States, Dropbox should must also acquire new premium or monthly paying individual customers and businesses to generate more revenue and to secure its growth.
Dropbox is currently competing with much fiercer competition. Google recently unveiled its Google Drive For Work, and Microsoft is trying to match its rivals by lowering prices of its OneDrive and Office 365 services. Dropbox is still not implementing its own price drop and still selling its Dropbox for Business for $15 per user/month. For comparison, Google Drive for Work with bigger storage space and more features is priced $10 per user per month.
Dropbox introduced its business solution last year, while Google Drive for Work was introduced last month during the Google I/O 2014 event in California.
Source: Financial Times.
After launching in United States courtesy of Verizon Wireless, HTC Corporation’s HTC One M8 smartphone in Red is joining the United Kingdom. The new variant will be available via O2 wireless carrier in the region starting on August 4.
Similar to other HTC One M8 variants, the red model ships with Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor, Android KitKat with the latest HTC Sense user interface, 4-ultrapixel primary camera, front-facing 5-megapixel camera, and 5-inch 1080p touchscreen LCD display.
It’s safe to say that this new Red HTC One M8 will try to lure customers who want to own a device that is “different” from others. Google’s LG Nexus 5 is also available in red. Motorola Mobility’s Moto X is also available in “cherry red” using the Moto Maker.
As of today, the LG Nexus 5 on the Google Play Store is still the most affordable with $349 price — and rumors suggest, which include notes from analysts, that the upcoming Google Nexus 6 will retain the low price via the official Google store. For starters, the Google Play Store is the official devices online store of the search engine giant. It also offers Android mobile applications and digital content like movies, TV shows, etc.
Similar to previous Nexus phones release, the Nexus 6 is expected to offer better specs than its predecessor. Last year’s Nexus 5 made by LG Electronics is offering a 4.95-inch 1080p touchscreen display, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB or 32GB of storage, 8-megapixel primary camera and a large 2,200 mAh non-removable built-in battery. So how can the next Nexus phone manufacturer beat the Nexus 5?
Well, new rumors are suggesting that this year’s Nexus 6 will feature a 2K touchscreen display or a resolution of 2048 by 1080, if true, the display on the new handset will offer more pixels per inch than new devices like the HTC One M8, the Samsung Galaxy S5 and of course, the Nexus 5. If you have a display with higher pixel density, then you might need a better processor. Google’s Nexus partner can still implement Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 on higher clock rate or just apply the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor with Adreno 420 GPU.
Another feature that the Nexus 6 might apply is 10-megapixel or 13-megapixel back-facing or primary camera and also improve the front-facing camera. Google can easily convince consumers to upgrade to the new Nexus by talking about how it can shoot better photos, videos — and better selfies. New phones today have front-facing 5MP cameras, and will make more sense that the Nexus 6 will also have a 5-megapixel camera or better to be more competitive.
Google’s new Nexus 6 smartphone, if it will arrive later this year, is also more competitive if it will feature a better sound speaker, and a larger battery. From the Nexus 4, the Google Nexus program abandoned the removable battery design and took the iPhone-like non-removable battery approach. Apparently, the Nexus 6 should include a larger battery if it will feature a display with more pixels.
And lastly, the Google Nexus 6 should maintain the Google Play Store advantage of price range lower than $400. In the United States, the Nexus 6 will be more competitive if Google will partner with more wireless carriers. Based from previous Google Nexus devices, T-Mobile might offer the Nexus 6 off-contract, but the chance of having a Verizon Wireless model is slimmer than models for Sprint and AT&T.
Many critics and analysts are saying that the Amazon Fire Phone will flop hard because it lacks the “it” factors to beat top smartphones like the iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, HTC and Google Nexus — but these criticisms won’t stop the retail giant’s money-funded muscle from convincing customers to switch to the Fire Phone.
Amazon’s Game Studios just recently introduced two new games that will exclusively run on the Amazon Fire Phone. The more interesting between the two, and the cutest I must add is the To-Fu Fury game. It offers a tofu ninja as the protagonist and just like the other Amazon Fire Phone game, it will take advantage of the phone’s dynamic perspective feature to “solve crafty physics puzzles and triumph in frenetic melee battles.” It’s priced $1.99. The second Fire Phone exclusive game is called Saber’s Edge. Amazon doesn’t offer a price tag yet, but it will also take advantage of the dynamic perspective technology. According to Amazon Game Studios, Saber’s Edge is a “strategic match-3 puzzle game that allows you to chain attacks, plan your defenses, and defeat your enemies like never before! You can outmaneuver, outflank and outlast your enemies to become the most renowned raiders across the entire Seven Skies!”
Exclusive titles could be one of many ways to beat the enemy, but it still doesn’t make sense that the Amazon Fire Phone is an AT&T exclusive on-contract and very expensive with $649 price off-contract or unlocked.
Analysts say the Amazon Fire Phone was made to attract more “direct” Amazon buyers. The handset is filled with Amazon products and services and even include a feature called “Firefly technology” giving Fire Phone owners the shortcut to “take action” and buy goods and digital content from Amazon.com.
Source: Amazon Game Studios.
Based on the latest updated price list covering unlocked smartphones — the Nokia Lumia 1520 appeared to be more affordable than the former flagship phone of Nokia Corporation, the Nokia Lumia 1020.
The first Nokia large-screen smartphone running Windows Phone, the Lumia 1520 with unlocked SIM card slot, is now priced $460 to $480 per unit, while the Lumia 1020 unlocked is still more expensive on $520 to $550 price range. In United States via the Microsoft Store, the unlocked Nokia Lumia 1020 is also available but with a more expensive with $549 asking price.
Let’s compare the specs of the Lumia 1020 vs the Lumia 1520. The latter is more high-end, and dubbed as one of the best Nokia handsets ever made. The Lumia 1520 sports a large 6-inch 1080p LCD display with more than 360 pixels per inch. It’s powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor, 2GB RAM, with 16GB storage and supports additional storage via a MicroSD card slot. The unlocked Lumia 1520 also supports Long Term Evolution, Bluetooth, WiFi and features a 20-megapixel PureView camera and a front-facing camera.
The only top feature of the Nokia Lumia 1020 that the 1520 is lacking is the 41-megapixel back-facing camera. Reviews are claiming that the Nokia Lumia 1020 is the best cameraphone in the market right now. The Lumia 1020 also features a decent 4.5-inch AMOLED display with 332 pixels per inch, and it’s powered by a dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 2GB RAM and offers 32GB of on-board storage out of the box.
For gaming and advanced tasks, the Lumia 1520 is a much-better handset, but for photo and video taking, it’s obvious that the Nokia Lumia 1020 is the go-to phone.
If we’re going to compare the two Nokia handsets from other devices running Android — both the Nokia Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1020 are “more expensive” picks. The Moto X unlocked or carrier-made model is currently the cheapest after a promo code with $299 price tag, while the Google Play Store Nexus 5 is sporting the price of $349 for the 16GB model.
Facebook really wants to be a more independent service — and obviously, Facebook wants to be the new go-to service for the latest news. On Monday, the social networking giant announced the availability of the service called “save for later” which allows Facebook members to save articles and posts which are posted on Facebook’s newsfeed.
For example, if you already liked news websites like Wall Street Journal or New York Times and stumbled upon an interesting article, but you don’t have enough time to read it — you can save the article and visit it later.
On newsfeed social network will provide a save button, and on the Facebook page, users can save for later by clicking the three-button link and choose ”
The Save For Later service will provide a new link located left of the newsfeed on desktop and on “more” tab on mobile application and mobile site. Facebook clarified that only the user can see his or her saved articles and list of saved articles is not share-able as of this writing.
This feature is very useful especially for people who are using Facebook as the source of news. This is also useful for how-to articles including recipes and technical posts.
What’s the best computer for students? It’s debatable, apparently, but both Google and Microsoft want the education ecosystem because it will not only give a boost in revenue, but it also gives “familiarity” — giving both Google and Microsoft the chance to capture the interest of students.
In a new blog post posted last week, Google Enterprise blog announced that schools bought more than 1 million Google Chromebooks. The tech giant also invited the CIO of Bridgeport Public Schools to explain why they chose Google Chromebooks over other platforms specifically the Microsoft Windows which is the popular choice of the education ecosystem based on Windows market share.
David Andrade, CIO, Bridgeport Public Schools said, “when the technology committee for Bridgeport Public Schools raised the idea of bringing affordable computers into our classrooms, I suggested we consider Chromebooks, coupled with Google Apps for Education. I was a fan of the Chromebook right from the start because of their affordable price and ease of use.”
In short, the main reason behind Bridgeport’s decision to join the Chrome OS ecosystem is the product’s competitive price tag. As of today, the Chromebook is available for $200, and the most expensive brand is Google’s onw Chromebook Pixel. For comparison, Chromebooks are way cheaper than Windows devices, and it’s easier to use because it’s “direct to the point” — students can access the web and various Google products and services in an instant.
Google Enterprise blog’s editor added that Bridgeport is using various Google Chromebook models including Acer, Samsung and HP.
Apart from Chromebooks, the new Google Enterprise post is for the promotion of the search giant’s new venture — Google for Education with website at google.com/edu.
In related news, Microsoft is also claiming that schools are embracing the new Windows 8. In Q1 2014, Microsoft announced that more schools are choosing the Surface because “tablets in the classroom is one of the biggest trends in education today,” Microsoft said.
And how about the new Surface Pro 3? Well, the new tablet computer from Microsoft Corporation is arguably made for businesses and consumers — and it will be hard for schools to implement the Surface Pro 3 because of its price — unless, Microsoft will give massive discounts to convince more classrooms to upgrade. The most affordable Surface Pro 3 model is sporting the base price of $999.
Are you up for an upgrade? Or you’re craving for the LG G3? Best Buy is now selling the Android-based handset from LG Electronics via Best Buy’s online store and brick-and-mortar outlets nationwide. Customers can instantly buy the LG G3 Verizon Wireless, Sprint and AT&T variants with price tag of $99.99. Keep in mind that each order requires upgrade or new carrier commitment for 2 years. Best Buy is also offering per-month sales just like T-Mobile.
All models from the three carriers I mentioned are also available via monthly installment. For the AT&T model, the LG G3 costs $24.17 per month, while the Verizon Wireless variant is sporting the tag price of $27.50 per month, and Sprint’s LG G3 is cheaper with $25 monthly fee.
Customers on Best Buy can also purchase the new phone without a contract, but it’s expensive, $699.99 per phone. Sprint Corporation’s LG G3 is available in black or gold, while Verizon and AT&T-locked models on Best Buy are available in black only.
Apart from Best Buy, online retailers are also selling the LG G3 with unlocked SIM card slot. Factory unlocked phones are compatible with SIM cards of AT&T, T-Mobile USA and U.S. prepaid carriers. It also works with major carriers in other countries.
The LG G3 is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor clocked at 2.5GHz, 3GB RAM, Android KitKat with the latest LG custom user interface skin, 3,000 mAh battery and a 13-megapixel primary camera. The top feature of the LG G3 is its 5.5-inch LCD display with pixel density of more than 530 per inch. Its display is the best in the market so far, beating the iPhone 5S, the Nexus 5, the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8.
When you login to Facebook by end of this year, you might encounter some ads with a large “buy now” button. It’s not a scam, it’s a legitimate advertisement that Facebook will run soon in more areas and more territories. If successful, it’s safe to say that Facebook will expand this online business to more countries.
Meanwhile, Facebook’s rival Twitter also revealed that they’re acquiring CardSpring, a company that focuses on e-commerce. And just recently, a leaked screen grab confirmed that Twitter is already testing its own “buy now” button on mobile via Twitter’s iOS application.
Just this month, the two top social networks have confirmed that they’re finally joining the e-commerce business. Some analysts are claiming that Twitter and Facebook’s latest business strategy will greatly affect top online retail sites like Amazon.com and eBay, and also some services that offer online e-commerce hosting like Squarespace and Shopify. This could also affect eBay’s PayPal if Facebook or Twitter will not support the check-out feature.
So what’s the reason/s behind this new move? According to a Mashable.com article, a researcher at Gartner is saying that Facebook (and also Twitter) want to participate in online retail business because they just “want to facilitate it, and they want to grab your credit card.”
This will not only bring additional revenue for Facebook and Twitter — it will also give them some lucrative insights about buying behaviour of its customers. For example, more customers are buying the Nexus 5 than the iPhone 5S — both Facebook and Twitter will get the “idea” that promoting the Nexus 5 more will give them more transactions. My example is just one of many things that Facebook and Twitter will gain with this new e-commerce business.
If you can spend more for a high-end Android smartphone, the Sony Xperia Z2 could be the perfect device for you. With a price tag higher than the Apple iPhone 5S, or the Moto X, Sony Corporation has just launched the Xperia Z2 in United States, and the device is shipping with an unlocked SIM card slot.
For starters, factory unlocked phones will work with AT&T, T-Mobile USA and prepaid carrier SIM cards, but you should check out carrier coverage in your area first before buying or acquiring your SIM card. If you’re already subscribed to AT&T or T-Mobile, etc, you can use the SIM card by opening the SIM card tray located at the upper left side of the Sony Xperia Z2.
Sony’s official U.S. online store is now retailing the Xperia Z2 with $699.99 price tag — that’s more expensive than the 16GB iPhone 5S of Apple which costs $649.99. The Xperia Z2 is also more expensive than the Google Play Store Nexus 5, and Motorola Mobility’s Moto X which is now available for $299 (for the 16GB model) with a promo code.
The Sony Xperia Z2 is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 clocked at 2.3 GHz, 3GB RAM and Android KitKat with Sony’s custom user interface. The smartphone features a large 5.2-inch display, 20.7-megapixel primary camera, Bluetooth, Near Field Communication Technology and supports additional storage via Micro-SD card slot.
Source: Sony Xperia
Apple is selling its iPhone lineup directly to end-consumers in many markets via its Apple Online Store — apart from its retailing business through Apple brick-and-mortar stores. Apple is gaining retail sales because it’s not applying the “third-party” rule in distributing its products, from Macs to iPads and iPhone. Whether it is unlocked or carrier-locked, Apple is selling it directly. And with this highly successful business model, consumers are enjoying SRP or suggested retail price sales.
On the other side, Google’s smartphone and tablet PC retail business is focusing mostly in United States and some major countries. It’s a competitive strategy because the search giant is sell its Nexus devices directly via the Google Play Store in one of the largest mobile phone markets in the world. But the growth is not limited 24 countries & territories only – and apparently, Nexus 5, Nexus 7 tablet and even the Nexus 10 — and let’s not forget the upcoming Nexus devices like the Nexus 6 and new Nexus tablets — are missing a lot of opportunities especially in developing nations and markets where the demand for smartphones and tablets are growing.
In China alone, Android-based phones with cheaper price tags are owning the smartphone business. Can you imagine the Nexus 5 available online in China via the Play Store Nexus online retail? Retailing unlocked phones directly to more markets will not only give Google the opportunity to expand the market share of Google, but it could also give the search giant a growth in revenue from hardware sales and application sales revenue.
Also read: New Nexus 6 rumors suggest 2K display
Apart from China, countries like Taiwan, The Philippines, Indonesia, Mexico and many more are also not included in the list of countries and territories covered by Nexus 5.
Online retail is arguably one of the weaknesses of Google – but with Google’s resources, they can definitely improve it. The Google Play Store is accessible globally, but in majority of countries covered, Google is only selling the apps.
The Nexus 5 is a very successful device in terms of annotated data and its sales performance versus analyst expectation — if only the Google Play Store is fully available in more markets, Google’s phone sales can be bigger, and Android can easily break more records.
Update: To reflect the real coverage of Nexus phone Google Play Store.
If you’re waiting for some price cut for the HTC One M8, now is the right time to window shop online. Some online retailers gave us a list of updated prices for the unlocked HTC One M8, and surprisingly, some merchant portals are now giving the flagship Android-based HTC device a little to massive price cuts.
One popular retailer which is based in the United Kingdom and also ships phones to South East Asia, Middle East and South America is now selling the 16GB HTC One M8 LTE version with unlocked SIM card slot for $597, cheaper than the original $649 price. The same handset but with 32GB storage is also available for $669 on eBay.com — and that’s more than $50 cheaper compared to its asking price last quarter, Q2 2014.
At Amazon.com, the factory unlocked HTC One M8 is priced $654, but some third-party retailers have posted prices ranging from $600 to $650.
Prices of the two HTC One M8 unlocked models are expected to dip further by end of this year thanks to growing competition. One online retailer suggested that they’re putting the One M8 on a more affordable pricing because some customers are “now waiting for the new iPhone” and some are particularly interested in “new Nexus phone.” Speaking of Nexus, the Nexus 5 is also seeing some mild price cuts online (outside of Google Play Store) due to multiple reports claiming that Google will soon launch a new Nexus phone.
The Nexus 5 is still cheapest via the Google Play Store. The 16GB unlocked model is still priced $349.
Apart from HTC Corporation, Nokia is also showing signs of new price assessment with the launch of the unlocked Nokia Lumia 1020 on a lower price tag. From the original price of $649, the unlocked Nokia handset with 41-megapixel camera, is now priced $549 via the official Microsoft Store.
As of this writing, Amazon’s stock price (NASDAQ: AMZN) is up by 1.76 percent, and analysts are saying that a slew of new services could be helping the Seattle-based retail giant. According to The Street, Amazon’s stock was getting the bump-up mainly after the unveiling of the Amazon Kindle Unlimited — the “all-access” or unlimited e-book reading for $9.99. It’s a subscription-based service allowing book lovers to read up to 600,000 books on any device for a monthly fee.
The Kindle Unlimited is not actually a “new idea,” in fact, other services are already betting on this kind of scheme. The best example is Scribd, and also the e-book service Oyster Books. But Amazon is arguably on a better business position because it is already serving thousands of e-book customers with its Kindle platform. It also sells its own e-book readers including the Android-based Kindle Fire tablet computer lineup.
Speaking of Amazon hardware, the online retail juggernaut is set to release its first smartphone product later this week — the Amazon Fire Phone. The device that runs Amazon’s own Android-based platform will begin shipping on the 27th of this month. Without a service plan with AT&T, the Fire Phone unlocked model is sporting the tag price of $649. Some smartphone experts believe that the Fire Phone is lacking the “it factor” to compete with top smartphone manufacturers, specifically Apple’s iPhone which is the most popular smartphone brand in United States.
The biggest problem of the Fire Phone is its price, with $649, customers can just add few dollars and bring home two Google Nexus 5 from the Play Store, or two Moto X phones, or buy a new iPhone 5 with 16GB storage. Another problem worth mentioning is the Fire Phone’s limitation, it is available on-contract with AT&T only in United States.
Can the Fire Phone give Amazon.com a new set of customers?
Another Amazon product that we need to mention is the Amazon Zocalo.
The Amazon Zocalo is a platform that IT Businesses can use to “fully manage” files in a secure online storage. It’s similar to Dropbox for Business and Google Drive for Work — or products that were built for small to large-scale IT businesses.
Three new products in a single month — can Amazon.com dilate its business list to generate more revenue? Or Google and Apple will still rule the internet business?
Taiwan’s Economic Daily News, a website with a good track record when it comes to Apple supplies-related news, is back in the headlines after reporting that due to the delay of Intel Corporation’s Broadwell processors, Apple will not release the Retina MacBook Air this year. The site is claiming that the laptop will arrive in 2015.
It’s worth noting that as early as June, reports about Intel Broadwell delay started to circulate online. Some tech sites believe that the delay will not only affect the Retina MacBook Air, but also the performance boost of the MacBook Pro, the Retina MacBook Pro and the iMac. For starters, the current Apple MacBook and iMac lineup is shipping with Intel’s Haswell processors.
Later this year, Apple is expected to release a brand new MacBook Pro with Retina display alongside the release of the new Mac OS X Yosemite, a free operating system upgrade which includes various new features including a slightly tweaked user interface, new Safari and sync-related features that will bridge the gap between iOS and Mac OS X.
In related news, Apple’s MacBook is still gaining market share specifically in United States. According to new data, Apple’s laptop computer market grew 20 percent in the U.S. during the first half of this year. Apple’s new $899 pricing for the 11-inch MacBook Air is obviously helping the tech giant to expand its market share. Apple recently introduced the cheapest iMac with price tag of $1,100. The most affordable iMac model ships with 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB memory and 500GB of storage. The new desktop, apart from various MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Mac Mini and Mac Pro models, is also getting the Mac OS X Yosemite free update.
Just recently, Facebook announced that it’s now testing an instant buy button allowing merchants to easily sell items directly inside Facebook — without the need to rely on third-party services and website retailing suites.
And now, Facebook is not only giving its services to merchants and online retailers. The top social networking site has just launched a brand new app that famous people and brands can use. Meet the Mentions app, an iOS-only service allowing celebrities, famous personalities and brands to easily check people and trending messages that tagged or mentioned them. It also gives a bridge connecting the brand or celebrity and customer and fans.
“See what fans are saying about you and join the conversation,” Facebook said in a new post. Mentions app will also let businesses and influential people share updates, photos or videos, or host a “live Q&A” — if the latter sounds similar, then you may be aware of Reddit’s AMA or Ask Me Anything.
Facebook Mentions is free, and no word yet about an Android version.
Despite finishing second as reported by NPD Group, the Mario Kart 8 is considered by many as the most popular game in terms of sales. According to the fresh metrics, Ubisoft’s Watch Dogs, which is available on PS4, PS3, Xbox One and 360 and PC, was the best-selling SKU in United States in terms of units sold. Taking the second spot is the Nintendo Wii U-exclusive Mario Kart 8. Apparently, the Mario Kart 8 is more impressive because it’s available on a single platform only.
Nintendo is the happiest with the Mario Kart 8′s success in North America. In a statement, Nintendo said it has sold more than 800,000 units in United States alone and 470,000 sales were recorded last month.
NPD concluded that the popularity of Mario Kart 8 is helping Wii U sales. To be exact, Mario Kart 8′s success gave the Nintendo gaming console a solid 233 percent boost.
Nintendo is currently running a promotion to boost Mario Kart 8 sales. The Japan-based gaming company is giving away free $39.99-worth titles like Pikmin 3 or Super Mario Bros. U for every Mario Kart 8 registered on its Club Nintendo system.
In related news, Sony Computer Entertainment’s PlayStation 4 took the title as the most popular console in the United States last month while the Xbox One disappoints with second place finish despite the price drop.
Another price drop for the Moto X, Motorola Mobility’s Android-based device with “mid-range” specs but marketed as a high-end device. As reported by Android Police, Motorola is running a new promo for the Moto Maker, the customization website of Moto X. After creating your very own Moto X on the website, you can get up to $125 off if you use the promo code MBXISMOT.
With the new code, the 16GB Moto X is now $299 while the 32GB unlocked or carrier-paired model is priced at $324. This new promotional will run until July 26th, and it’s available only in United States.
Until the end of this new Motorola Mobility marketing strategy, the Moto X is will remain as one of the top affordable Android handsets in the market right now, and way cheaper than the flagship Google Play Store Nexus 5.
The Moto X features the latest version of Android KitKat, 4.7-inch Super AMOLED 720p touchscreen display, Bluetooth 4.0, 2,200 mAh built-in battery, 10-megapixel forward-facing camera, front-facing 2-megapixel camera and an optimized version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor.
Moto X is a rare phone mainly because it is always on the front line when it comes to software updates, and owners of this handset can expect the upcoming Android L mobile operating system upgrade soon. I should note that the Nexus 5, the Nexus 4, Nexus tablets and Google Play edition handsets are expected to receive Android L ahead of the Moto X.
Possibly related to cleaning the inventory, Nokia’s former flagship Lumia 1020 with 41-megapixel PureView camera is now available with unlocked SIM card slot at the Microsoft online store. The unlocked Lumia 1020 will work with an AT&T, T-Mobile USA or prepaid SIM card, Microsoft Corporation is selling the handset for $549 each unit, and surprisingly, Microsoft’s offer is more affordable than top online smartphone retailers including sellers at eBay, Amazon and other online stores.
The Nokia Lumia 1020 from the Microsoft Store is filed under the “no contracts” section alongside the new Nokia Lumia 635 and the Nokia Lumia Icon unlocked from Verizon Wireless.
The Nokia Lumia 1020 is considered as the best cameraphone in the market, and as of today, no other phones can beat the phone’s camera performance. It features a 4.5-inch “PureMotion” high definition display, Windows Phone 8 operating system and ready for 8.1 upgrade, dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, 2GB RAM, non-removable 2,000 mAh battery — and of course, its top feature is the 41-megapixel back-facing camera.
For comparison, the Lumia 1020 unlocked at the Microsoft store is more affordable than the 32GB iPhone 5S which costs $649 with 16GB storage at the Apple online store. However, Google’s flagship LG Nexus 5 is cheaper than Microsoft’s Lumia phone. The search giant is selling the Nexus 5 at the Google Play Store for $349 with 16GB storage.
If you’re planning to purchase the Google Nexus 5, and you live in the United States — then you will most likely purchase the flagship 2013 smartphone from the Google Play Store, the search giant’s official online retail outlet which also retails accessories, mobile applications, content, and others. Unsurprisingly, the 16GB Nexus 5 unlocked is still priced $349, while the 32GB model costs $399 each. As of today, Google will ship orders with 1 to 2 days delay, and the device is still limited to United States shipping.
We’re already seeing online retailers that are putting the Nexus 5 on lower price point, but not lower than Google Play Store offers. Nexus 5 price drop are expected ahead of the Nexus 6 release date reportedly set by end of October. Unlocked phone retailers are now selling the Nexus 5 with 16GB storage for $400 to $500, while the 32GB model are on $500 and up price range. Major online phone retailers, which also offer devices from Samsung Group, LG Electronics, HTC Corporation, Nokia and others, are the go-to stores for customers who live outside of United States. Keep in mind that these stores will charge additional fees for shipping and local tax in your area.
The Nexus 5 is still one of the best Android handsets in the market right now. It features a 4.95-inch 1080p touchscreen IPS display, 8-megapixel primary camera, 2,300 mAh battery, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 processor and the latest version of Android guaranteed.
If you’re not interested in Nexus 6, then you should wait for the release date of the new Nexus phone before buying the Nexus 5. It’s highly possible that online retailers will put the Nexus 5 on even lower price points to sell their remaining inventory until by end of 2014.
The internet is going “unlimited access” as the nation’s largest online retailer and books seller Amazon joins the scheme. Meet the Amazon Kindle Unlimited — the Spotify Premium or Netflix of e-books. Interested customers are required to pay $9.99 per month and he or she can access at least 600,000 books unlimited. If you can finish a 300-page or 400-page book in less than 2 days, and you read more than 5 books per week, this is obviously a rare good deal.
Compared to the traditional buy-before-read e-books retailing, the Kindle Unlimited is expensive. For example, the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer Stone Kindle edition is currently priced $5.99 per account. You will own this book and read it anytime. If you can read this book for just 2 days — then it’s time to switch to Amazon Kindle Unlimited. But for moderate book readers, this could be a rip-off.
Who cares if you love books? You can access Amazon’s e-books on any device, whether it’s an Android phone, tablet, iPhone or iPad, Amazon’s hardware and of course, including desktop.
Amazon’s new service will compete with similar model which offer “unlimited ebooks access” like Oyster and Scribd. For Oyster Books customers, the service currently offers unlimited access to 500,000 titles, while Scribd is catching up with 400,000. Unsurprisingly, Amazon is leading the space with more than 100,000 more titles to offer.
Rumor has it that Microsoft will sell a smaller version of its Windows 8-based tablet computer and it will be called Surface Mini. But based on Lenovo’s latest decision, the Redmond-based tech giant will have a lot of work to do to lure buyers.
A spokesman of the Chinese company said on Thursday that it will stop selling Windows 8 tablet computers in United States “due to lack of interest” — and buyers are reportedly more interested in Windows tablets with bigger touchscreen display. Lenovo added that smaller Windows tablets are more popular in other countries like in China, Brazil and even Japan.
Is Microsoft Corporation to blame? Or Lenovo is not so popular in the United States tablet PC market?
Lenovo and other tablet computer manufacturers are currently competing with Apple inc’s iPad Mini with Retina display. I should note that Android-based tablet computers with small touchscreen display are more popular than Windows in United States based on sales data from multiple research firms.
Lenovo’s ThinkPad 8 is a very competitive product and one of the top small Windows 8 tablet computers based on specs. It ships with the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system, offers a 1080p display, Microsoft productivity apps, USB 3, Micro HDMI and Micro USB ports, and it also includes two cameras. It’s possible that smaller Windows 8 tablets, including Lenovo’s ThinkPad 8, are struggling in United States because many Windows 8 apps are made for tablets and laptops with larger display. Lenovo’s decision to abandon the US small tablet PC market could also be related to the rumored Surface Mini.
According to latest reports, Microsoft’s partner manufacturers are now “mass producing” Surface Mini tablets — and the new Windows 8 tablet PC category will arrive later this year. If true, the Surface Mini will compete with Apple’s rumored new Retina iPad Mini, Google’s rumored new Nexus tablet computer lineup, and other Android-based small tablet computers like the Kindle Fire, Samsung Galaxy Tab and others.
The countdown to Nexus 6 release date started last month after Google announced and unveiled the Android L mobile operating system upgrade. One of the top features of the new software update is the Material Design which will offer colorful palettes, unique transitions and more consistent design elements. Apparently, Google’s Nexus 6 will most likely arrive with Android L out of the box.
But what’s the use of an exciting software if the hardware will fall short of critics standard?
Last year’s Nexus 5 is a beautiful phone, but not exciting enough to impress smartphone enthusiasts. According to theverge.com’s review from editor in-chief Joshua Topolsky, the hardware design of the Nexus 5 is “unexciting” but clean and very simplistic. The review went further to say that the main point of selling Nexus phones is to focus on Google’s software enhancements and developments. Maybe it’s time to focus on hardware too Google? Investing on better smartphone design is not only for the protection of Android’s market share, but it can also expand Android’s market share reach including the territory owned by Apple inc, the high-end smartphone owners.
So what are the top OEMs (phone manufacturers) that can make a better Nexus 6?
If Motorola Mobility will create the Nexus 6 — then it’s safe to say that Google’s new smartphone will not only focus on beautiful software, but will also offer a stand-out and highly customizable hardware.
Last year, Google has changed the way we pick phone colors by introducing Moto Maker. It’s debatable whether the Moto X and all of its gimmicks is a successful venture. Another possible candidate that can create a more beautiful Nexus phone is HTC Corporation. Its latest high-end phone, the HTC One M8, is arguably the most beautiful flagship Android smartphone in the market right now.
LG Electronics is also a good pick because the LG G3 is a beastly and beautiful phone too. I should note that last year’s Nexus 5 was made by LG Electronics.
According to Google’s design head Matias Duarte, this year’s Android update will focus entirely on “materials” and better user interface animations that are usable and will benefit Android users. It’s maintaining beauty and usability.
Android L is a total waste of energy if the new Nexus 6 will be “as simple” as last year’s Nexus 5. Google should learn the art of picking the better Nexus phone — whether it’s more expensive.
NPD is reporting that the Sony Computer Entertainment’s PlayStation 4 or PS4 topped last month’s gaming console sales in United States, apparently beating Microsoft’s Xbox One. The demand for gaming products is higher and generated more than 100 percent growth compared to same month last year.
The research firm revealed that PS4 is still the top-selling gaming device in America, followed by Microsoft Corporation’s Xbox One. This new development is particularly interesting because it clearly shows that despite Microsoft’s effort to lower the price of its gaming product, Sony is still more popular in United States. For starters, Xbox One is now more affordable because Microsoft repackaged it without Xbox Kinect out of the box.
Apart from losing sales because the PS4 is more popular, Microsoft is also losing sales from Xbox One fans because the $110 Kinect Sensor is now optional.
Meanwhile, Nintendo also recorded higher sales for its Wii U system thanks to Mario Kart 8, while Nintendo 3DS sales is also up this time, but based on year-over-year data, Nintendo’s portable gaming device is losing popularity.
Apple will introduce a new iPad with bigger display according to a new report posted by Chinese website Economic News Daily. This should be taken with a grain of salt, however, I need to note that previous leaks have also confirmed that Apple Inc. is already testing a 12-inch iPad. Some analysts and Apple fans are suggesting that this could be the long-rumored new iPad Pro, a large tablet computer that will bridge the gap between Apple tablets and laptop computers.
If this new rumor is accurate, Apple might copy Microsoft Corporation’s Surface Pro 3 and introduce an official tablet keyboard companion to make the iPad Pro a good “laptop replacement.”
With a display measurement of 12.9-inch, the iPad Pro could be similar to MacBook Air in terms of size, but with Retina display, it could mimic the Retina MacBook Pro but with iOS instead of Mac OS X.
The iPad lineup is arguably more popular than Apple laptops that run Mac OS X — and the iPad Pro can easily cannibalize the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, unless the Cupertino-based company will introduce new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models that will offer Intel Corporation’s new Broadwell chipsets.
According to rumors, Broadwell-based MacBook Pro and MacBook Air laptops and the iMac with a new Intel processor will not arrive until mid-2015. However, Apple is expected to release new MacBook Pro, new MacBook Air and new MacBook Pro with Retina display later this year with Mac OS X Yosemite operating system out of the box.
You login to Facebook every day because you want to catch up with friends and relatives. Some people are using Facebook because they want to check out the latest news across the globe. But Facebook doesn’t want you to just virtually socialize with others using their ecosystem — soon, Mark Zuckerberg’s website will offer goods and virtual products that Facebook members can easily buy.
In a new post, Facebook announced that they’re currently testing the “buy” button allowing merchants to easily sell goods and make transactions directly inside Facebook. “With this feature, people on desktop or mobile can click the “Buy” call-to-action button on ads and Page posts to purchase a product directly from a business, without leaving Facebook,” says the social giant. The Menlo Park-based company also added that its retailing business will focus on privacy and make payments secure and safe.
Facebook’s direct retailing will support both desktop and mobile access.
Also read: Facebook launches Mentions app
Facebook is already offering credit card transaction, but it’s currently limited on Facebook credits for gaming and advertising on its network. This new buy button is expected to tap Facebook’s secure credit card and debit card support — but how can Facebook generate revenue from this new feature? It’s safe to say that Facebook will “copy” Amazon or eBay’s internet selling business model/s — and that’s by requiring all participating merchants to surrender a small percentage of their revenue per item sold.
If successful, Facebook’s buy button is not only a threat to Amazon or eBay’s business, but also the set of services that offer online merchant website hosting and support like Squarespace, Shopify and even Google Shopping. Facebook boasts more than 2 billion members, and if you’re an aspiring merchant or owner of a large online retail company, Facebook is very hard to ignore.
Read More: Google+ rivals anonymous Facebook login
Both Apple inc (AAPL) and IBM or International Business Machines Corporation will benefit from this apparently. The two tech giants announced on Tuesday that they will enter an intimate partnership. IBM staff will sell Apple products, specifically those that run iOS mobile operating system, and both Apple and IBM will develop applications that will work specifically for IBM’s data analytics and cloud products. Apple will also create a support team for IBM-related services.
In a press release, Apple inc. revealed that its partnership with IBM will cover services for “retail, healthcare, banking, travel and transportation, telecommunications and insurance” as part of the “new class of more than 100 industry-specific enterprise solutions including native apps, developed exclusively from the ground up, for iPhone and iPad.” The press release also said that IBM will get apps optimized to work inside the iOS ecosystem, and support courtesy of a new Applecare specifically made for enterprise.
This deal sounds like an advantage for iOS-based sales only which will include the upcoming iPhone 6, the rumored new iPad Air and Retina iPad Mini. But for Bloomberg, the new IBM-Apple deal could also help Mac OS X sales, specifically the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and iMac. The business news site said IBM can help Apple sell Macs on enterprise market. If true, then Apple might offer apps for the Mac App Store which are made entirely for IT businesses.
Apple is expected to unveil a new MacBook Pro with Retina display and new MacBook Air later this year as part of the yearly computer cycle. These new laptops including the iMac are expected to ship with Mac OS X Yosemite or Mac OS X version 10.10 out of the box.
It’s no secret that Apple’s is considered a “weak” company in the enterprise space — but can IBM change this image? Can Apple finally break the curse and expand from consumer electronics company to an IT business-friendly retailer?