Microsoft Corporation to release new Office for Android tablet computers

Microsoft is reportedly set to “beta-test” its new touch-friendly Office mobile application for tablet computers running Google’s mobile operating system.

Microsoft Office running on Android smartphone. A new report suggests that Microsoft is taking the touch-friendly Office experience to Android tablets. Image via play.google.com.

Microsoft Office running on Android smartphone. A new report suggests that Microsoft is taking the touch-friendly Office experience to Android tablets. Image via play.google.com.

Following the success of its Office for iPad app, Microsoft Corporation is reportedly set to release its next Office for tablet app — and this time, it’s for tablet computers running Google Android. As reported by theverge.com, Microsoft Corporation is now accepting applicants who will test the mobile application. Microsoft will accept beta testers who will submit their application using its new sharepoint page.

Surprisingly, the report from The Verge is claiming that Microsoft will release the new Office for Android tablet later this year — ahead of Office for Windows. If accurate, then it is possible that Microsoft is prioritizing its rival platforms which are more popular based on market share. Android is currently the tablet PC market leader overall, while Apple’s iPad is the single most popular tablet PC brand. Releasing the touch-friendly Office app on iPad and Android first seems to confirm that Microsoft is finally prioritizing its lucrative business and consumer software suite than selling more tablet computers running Windows 8.

Microsoft is already selling its new Surface Pro 3, and it’s currently advertised as a “laptop replacement.”

Read More: Microsoft scared of iPad Mini and other small Android tablets? 

Google Music vs iTunes Radio, Spotify & Beats Music: Exciting premium music streaming competition

Google recently acquired Songza, reportedly to boost the search giant’s music curation. Can Google finally dominate the music streaming business to boost Android’s market share further? Or Apple will take the lead after it acquired Beats Music?

Google Music All Access

It’s exciting season again for consumers as Apple and Google, and other smaller companies are battling it out on the music streaming scene — not only to boost music sales, but also to expand their own ecosystem market share. We can expect better service, and hopefully, more affordable subscription options.

Just recently, Songza, the small music streaming service, has announced that it will join Google. Neither Google nor Songza would discuss the pricing and conditions of the acquisition — but earlier reports suggest that Google purchased the latter for just below $50 million.

Songza is a very important acquisition of Google, whatever the price — and here’s why.

The mobile operating system business is evolving, and consumers are demanding more content consumption. As the best example, Spotify, the commercial music streaming business based in the United Kingdom, is quickly growing thanks to growing premium subscribers. As of last quarter, Spotify is reportedly serving roughly 10 million monthly-paying subscribers with more than 40 million active subscribers which include free users. Spotify also earns money from free users through advertisements.

But unlike Spotify, Apple and Google are not interested in making “more” money on selling monthly subscriptions. Both companies want to sell the actual music file, and both want to strengthen the “stickiness” of their mobile operating system. For example, a customer who loves music streaming will definitely stay on Android if Google Music or YouTube Music streaming services can deliver. If not, the music-loving customer can still stay and just rely on Spotify or Pandora, or even Beats Music — but making Android more independent from third-party music streaming services a better strategy and delivers better brand loyalty.

Google Music and YouTube both require Google account — and a Google account also includes various Google products and services like Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs and more. It’ll be a win-win scenario for Google if it can create a robust music streaming service.

Similarly, Apple is trying to protect its iTunes music business by offering iTunes Radio — but apparently, Apple’s ambition to re-create Spotify’s success failed. And so, it acquired Beats Music to address the biggest issue on iTunes Radio: playlist creation. Beats Electronics is claiming that they “know” music more than others. As Jimmy Iovine said, Beats Music is offering better music playlist creation because it involves “human editors choosing the exact right song to play.” It’s safe to say that Apple will use Beats Electronics to improve iTunes Radio, or it could just ship iOS and Mac OS X devices with Beats Music app pre-installed.

Pricing

If price matters, Beats Music, Google Music’s All Access, Spotify and even Apple’s iTunes Radio have the same price point: $9.99 per month. Google’s service is available for free for the first 30 days as “free trial,” and $9.99 on succeeding months. Meanwhile, Spotify is offering free service on desktop with limited music access on mobile. Spotify Premium with all access to available music costs $9.99 in the United States, but in some countries, the premium service is cheaper after conversion.

On the other side of the fence, Beats Music is also serving free trial to all users with $99.99 per year for one account with three devices maximum or $9.99 per month with the same amount of devices covered. And finally, iTunes Radio — Apple is trying to lure iOS users with its automatic playlist access for free with advertisements, and for iTunes Match subscribers, playlists are served with no ads for $24.99 per year.

Also Read: Google’s Android TV targets Amazon’s Fire TV

Google Music getting Songza boost, to compete with iTunes Radio, Beats Music

Google acquires minority music streaming service Songza. The acquisition with undisclosed sum is set to boost Google Music business. Google currently competes with Spotify, Pandora and Apple’s Beats Music and iTunes Radio.

Songza is joining Google Inc. Image from Songza on Facebook.com.

Songza is joining Google Inc. Image from Songza on Facebook.com.

Google is buying startup music streaming service Songza. In a short statement posted Tuesday, Songza revealed that it’s now being acquired by the search giant for undisclosed sum. Last month, New York Post tipped that the acquisition was worth $15 million when both companies were “in talks.”

On the same post, Songza is suggesting that it will operate independently with “no immediate changes” are planned as of this writing. Keep in mind that Google is already running Google Music, and also launching YouTube Music, a music streaming service with the popular video sharing site branding. It’s possible that the Songza team will join the Mountain View-based technology company’s music application and music streaming business.

Music streaming business is growing, and it’s quickly becoming a major part of an ecosystem. In fact Apple indirectly acknowledged the sudden spike by acquiring Beats Electronics for $3 billion. Apart from music streaming, Beats also sells headsets, earphones and buds.

Songza is available on Android’s Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

Read More: Google shutting down Orkut.

Microsoft Windows Phone 8.1 getting “folder tile”

New leak reveals Microsoft Corporation’s plan to add folders on the Windows Phone 8.1 update.

Photo: Nokia Lumia 1520 running Windows Phone. With resizable tiles already, Microsoft is still set to add folders. Source: Nokia.com.

Photo: Nokia Lumia 1520 running Windows Phone. With resizable tiles already, Microsoft is still set to add folders. Source: Nokia.com.

Microsoft’s top 2 smartphone operating system rivals, Apple and Google, are already offering folders — so why not add the same option on the upcoming Windows Phone software update? As reported by theverge.com, Microsoft posted the folder how-to on the operating system’s official website, but the Redmond-based tech giant deleted the page shortly after the document went to news headlines.

As written by Microsoft’s Windows Phone team, the handset must run Windows Phone 8.1 in order to create folders on home screen.

No word yet about the official release date of Windows Phone 8.1 and specific phones that will receive the update. It’s possible that Microsoft will launch the new OS before or after the global launch of its rival platforms: the iOS 8 and the Google Android version “L.” According to the report from The Verge, Microsoft will launch the update this month or this coming August.

Read More: Microsoft scared of new iPad Mini and small Android tablets?

 

Intel: From new Macbook Pro, MacBook Air 2014, to future iPhones?

From new MacBook Pro, MacBook Air to Apple iPhones? Can Intel really oust Qualcomm and build chips for Apple’s iPhones? Intel could generate bigger revenue from providing iPhone chips than supplying Broadwell for future MacBook Pro, Retina MacBook Pro and even including MacBook Air.

Intel powers the Retina MacBook Pro, and the rest of Mac OS X lineup -- can it also score future iPhones?

Intel powers the Retina MacBook Pro, and the rest of Mac OS X lineup — can it also score future iPhones?

Word in the street is the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air inline to get the new Intel Broadwell processor — the chipmaker’s new SoC which will allow Apple and other PC makers to release thinner and lighter tablet computers and laptop computers. Experts believe that the Intel Broadwell can easily give Apple its thinnest MacBook Air to date — even if Apple will put a Retina display in it. If true, then it is possible that Intel will generate “moderate” to bigger revenue by just making chips for the Mac OS X lineup.

According to Fool.com, Apple has sold around 4 million Mac OS X during the first quarter of 2014, and believes that Intel raked in around $1.45 Bn from Mac sales alone.

That’s huge, and this year, Apple is still expected to give Intel some cash whether Broadwell is ready or not. If Apple will release its new 2014 MacBook lineup, including the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro — Intel will still benefit with its Haswell chips, specifically the Intel Core i5 used by the cheapest MacBook Air. Keep in mind that Apple is still using Intel’s i5 chips on the new affordable iMac 2014 — the dual-core 1.4GHz Intel Core i5 processor.

But Intel isn’t limiting its resources on the Mac lineup. As reported last month, the tech giant is also planning to expand its chips partnership with Apple. As reported by Apple Insider, Intel is planning to oust Qualcomm as the provider of system-on-a-chip for the Apple iPhone. In a note to Intel investors, it was revealed that Apple is “re-embracing” Intel again, and both companies are in talks for future iPhones.

It is possible that Apple wants Broadwell, but if Apple wants it first, Intel might open up some of its own conditions — like providing chips for iPhone? I should note that Intel also maintains good relationship with Microsoft Corporation, Apple’s new laptop rival. The Redmond-based tech giant is currently selling its new Surface Pro 3 tablet with Intel’s 4th generation processors.

Intel won’t be getting the iPhone 6 mainly because it’s already in production (based on leaks), but for the iPhone 7 or the iPhone 8 — it’s an open field. Image via Apple.com.

Also read: Can Macs survive with no Aperture? 

Microsoft Corporation scared of new iPad Mini 3, other small Android tablets?

A new report is suggesting that Microsoft Corporation has decided not to mass-produce the Surface Mini due to intense smaller tablet computer competition.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet computer

Apple is rumored to release a new iPad Mini, the so-called iPad Mini 3. If true, Apple will finally have a very strong small tablet computer lineup, from the original iPad Mini, to the iPad Mini 2 with Retina display that will surely get a price drop after the release of the new model.

Is it possible that Microsoft Corporation is aware of the fact that Apple is releasing a new smaller tablet? Or the Redmond-based company is not confident enough to beat Apple in the tablet space so it has decided to discontinue the production of the Surface Mini? I should warn you that the Surface Mini is still considered as a RUMOR and must be taken with a grain of salt despite the evidence coming directly from Microsoft’s literature.

As reported by Digitimes, Microsoft reportedly called off plans to mass produce the Surface Mini because of”fierce competition in the small-size tablet segment.”

Microsoft has just started selling its new tablet computer, the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, but it’s nowhere near the affordable tablet computer department. Previous reports have suggested that the Surface Mini would have been the affordable Surface tablet version from Microsoft. Additional information from other sites also added that the Surface Mini will run the same Windows 8.1 operating system version running on the Surface Pro 3, and it will also ship with the Surface Pen.

Whatever the reason, I guess it’s safe to say that Microsoft has made the best decision to halt the production of the Surface Mini mainly because it needs to focus on the new Surface Pro. Microsoft has been touting that the Surface Pro 3 is not just a productive tablet computer, but also a laptop replacement.

Also read: Apple can beat the Surface Pro 3 according to reviews 

Samsung Group introduces Galaxy S5 Mini

Samsung Group formally announces the new Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini, the “smaller” version of its flagship Android device. With few features retained, the S5 Mini’s overall package is nowhere near its larger brother — however, the S5 Mini is expected to sport a cheaper price tag.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini

Samsung Group finally announces the long-rumored mini version of the Galaxy S5. Meet the new Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini — an Android-based smartphone with smaller display and demoted specification if compared with the original version.

According to Samsung, the Galaxy S5 Mini will feature a 4.5-inch Super AMOLED display with 720p resolution, 1.5GB RAM, 1.4GHz quad-core SoC (system on a chip), Android KitKat with Samsung skin, 8-megapixel camera and 16GB of storage with expandable storage support. The Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini will also ship with 2,100mAh removable battery.

Various features found on the original Galaxy S5 are included in the S5 Mini like waterproof certification, power-saving mode to keep the phone running even on low battery situation, fingerprint scanner (Samsung’s version of Touch ID) and surprisingly, Samsung Group also included its heart rate platform which recently added the stress level monitoring.

No word yet for the United States market, but Samsung said it will launch the handset this July. Consumers can expect the new phone becoming available online with unlocked SIM card slot and available at full price by end of this month.

Before buying this device, you should keep in mind that more phones are headed later this year — starting from Google with Nexus 6 reportedly arriving by end of October with Android L, the operating system’s new version. Also worth mentioning is Apple iPhone 6, the Cupertino-based tech giant’s new smartphone which will feature a bigger screen according to multiple reports posted on the web.

Can new MacBook Pro Retina and MacBook Air 2014 survive without Aperture?

Apple is discontinuing development of Aperture to focus on “Photos” app which is in sync with iOS mobile operating system. Can the Retina MacBook Pro, MacBook Air or even the iMac survive without Apple’s advanced photo-editing tool that satisfies professionals and advanced users?

Apple Aperture Photos

It’s no secret that the photography community loves the Retina MacBook Pro and the iMac, even the older MacBook Pro because it offers Aperture, the Cupertino-based tech giant’s photo editing solution with pro editing tools for businesses and personal use. Not until this year, Apple revealed that it will discontinue all Aperture developments to focus on the Mac OS X’s new “Photos” app — an application with similar icon and features also arriving on the iOS 8, Apple’s next big mobile operating system upgrade.

MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and iMac owners with Aperture software can still use it anytime, but with no support for future updates, owners are stuck with version 3.5.1. The good news, you can still download the Aperture for Mac OS X via the Mac App Store. The software is sporting the price tag of $80.

So what happens next? Can Apple still expect good Mac sales from people who want a photography device? For app developer Marco Arment, the Aperture plug-cutting may be a good news for people who are looking for “Aperture’s powerful RAW adjustment tools but with simpler iPhoto-like management and iOS-device sync,” while adding that Aperture has been plagued with many issues like bugs, slow software updates and many more. Arment concludes that Aperture is “mediocre” — so let’s not waste our time criticizing Apple for its decision.

This year, Apple is expected to release a new MacBook Pro Retina, and a new MacBook Air — with no solid proof yet to confirm whether or not Apple will release the first Retina MacBook Air this year. As of this writing, Mac OS X Yosemite has been confirmed to be a free update just like Mac OS X Mavericks — and attached on the new free software update is the upcoming Photos app with editing tools for the Mac OS X. And because it’s correlated with the iOS Photos app, we can expect frequent software updates from Apple. Hopefully, we’ll see some Aperture-like software tools and enhancements. Plus, Apple’s new Photos app is also open to third-party service and tools.

“App developers can make their filters and editing tools accessible in the Photos app,” says Apple — so it’s safe to say that one or few developers will release a service that is close or very similar to Aperture’s RAW adjustment tools.

Apple launched the Aperture in 2005 as a competitor of Adobe’s Lightroom.

Read More: Apple releases new update for Mac OS X Mavericks 

Orkut to shut down, Google hopes people will migrate to Google Plus

Google said it will shut down Orkut later this year. The search engine giant said it will discontinue Orkut because Google Plus, YouTube and Blogger membership count are seeing growth, and apparently outpacing the 10-year old social network.

Google is hoping that people at Orkut.com will migrate to Google+.

Google is hoping that people at Orkut.com will migrate to Google+.

 

Google said “it’s time to say goodbye to Orkut” — the Mountain View-based tech giant’s oldest known social networking service that still runs as of this writing. Orkut will officially shut down on September 30 of this year, so for users who are still active on the site, or still needs something there especially photos — Google said it’s time to export or download those files. In a how-to post, Google hopes Orkut users will migrate to Google+ (or Google Plus), the company’s active social networking site which is synced with other Google products and services like Gmail, YouTube and Google Docs, Google Drive.

In a blog post, Google’s Orkut team revealed that Orkut is losing steam. In fact, the newer and highly criticized Google Plus has outpaced Orkut, according to Google. Paulo Golgher, Orkut’s Engineering director revealed that Google will now focus its resources on improving and developing more features for YouTube, Blogger and Google+.

For users of Orkut who are not interested in migrating, they can download all information at Orkut by using Google Takeout. With Google Takeout, users can save information like profile, testimonials, photos and community posts.

Google’s decision to shut down Orkut was disclosed a week after the company announced new services for small businesses. Google recently started testing service for domain registration, and launched Google My Business, a tool that will help businesses to establish presence on the internet including Google’s search engine, apparently. Without Orkut, Google will finally focus on making Google+, YouTube and Blogger as the three main and only services that will compete with Facebook — the world’s most popular social networking site. In fairness to Google, YouTube is still the most popular video sharing site in the world, and Google+ is still thriving thanks to YouTube integration. No word yet about the actual performance of Blogger, but people can also post blogs or long notes on Google+.

Also read: People will still login to Facebook despite outrage over newsfeed manipulation

Expect more ads on Twitter promoting app installs

Twitter is rolling out new advertising campaign on its network to promote companies that will pay for application installs. Similar to Facebook, Twitter will soon deliver promotion which contains information about an application with quick install button.

Twitter ads: App Installs

Companies with cash, in partnership with Twitter, will soon flood our Twitter tweet feed with advertisements promoting their mobile applications. With this new advertising system, Twitter will soon generate revenue from companies that want to bypass the tricky algorithm of Apple’s App Store or Google Play Store on Android. Twitter started the beta test for the app installs advertising last November with few partners, and the social networking site claims it’s very successful.

“After seeing strong results in beta, we’re excited to offer mobile app promotion to all advertisers globally, starting today,” Twitter said in a statement with additional testimonials from its beta partners like Electronic Arts, Dots and Lyft apps.

The new system will allow companies, and hopefully, more startups to promote their apps with “App Cards” that include the application’s official icon, actual information about the app listed on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, “deep link” enabling users to open the app directly from Twitter’s official mobile app and flexibility to add personalized tweet to convince users to install the app. Twitter will also notify users directly inside its app if the installation was successful.

For advertisers, you need to know that Twitter will offer the app installs with prediction structure based on a cost per app click model. Twitter will collect money from you if a user clicks your advertisement to go to Google Play Store or Apple’s application store, or open the app listing directly inside Twitter.

For consumers who are using Twitter, you will see these ads because you agreed to Twitter’s terms and conditions. Twitter needs to boost its ad revenue to stay moving forward.

Read more: Users will still login to Facebook despite outrage over news feed manipulation

People still login to Facebook after research study disclosure

Despite receiving negative comments from consumers, people will still use the social networking site according to a report. Last week, the internet was abuzz after the research study was unveiled confirming that Facebook manipulated its news feed 2 years ago to learn more about user’s behaviour, and if negative emotion is contagious online.

Facebook Paper

Facebook will still get more visits, and people will still login to the social networking site, usatoday.com concludes. It’s all about the report which confirmed that the Menlo Park-based tech giant manipulated its news feed to learn more about how people react to posts. The study revealed that people seeing more negative posts are most likely to post negative too, while Facebook users reading positive posts will post the same. The study somewhat concluded that Facebook users are affected by the Facebook news feed.

The report from USA Today seems to conclude that Facebook becomes absolutely necessary — and many people rely to Facebook to connect with friends and loved ones. Despite the outrage over the manipulation of news feed, the news site claims that Facebook will still see massive support.

A Facebook researcher already posted a letter of apology. Adam Kramer, a Data Scientist at Facebook Science Center, said that the team behind the study was “very sorry” for the way the paper was delivered, the study’s effects to people, and “anxiety it caused.”

Facebook owns Facebook.com, so any part of the site is its property. However, many people are asking if Facebook has the right to “play” with their emotions — and if Facebook has the right, with no consent, to conduct experiments involving the behavior of its users. Some experts argue that the experiment is important because it wants to know if negative vibes is contagious even without personal contact — or face to face talk.

Read more: Forrester claims teens still login to Facebook.

 

New Mac OS X Mavericks update for MacBook Pro, Air & iMac

Apple releases new Mac OS X Mavericks update for the MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, Retina MacBook Pro and iMac. The new software includes various bug fixes and a new Safari app version.

MacBook Pro & MacBook Air

If you’re running Mac OS X Mavericks version 10.9.3, then you need to open the Mac App Store today because Apple already issued a new version of the Mavericks OS. This could be the last update for the Mavericks operating system because Apple will release the new Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite later this Fall, alongside a new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air according to the rumor mill.

The new 92.3 MB big software update is available at the Mac App Store’s updates section. If you’re still running an older version of Mavericks, then you need to update to previous versions first before heading to OS X 10.9.4.

According to Apple, the new OS X improves the “stability, compatibility and security” of Macs. This update is very useful for people with Retina MacBook Pro and other laptops because OS X 10.9.4 includes feature update to fix issues that prevented Macs to automatically connect to saved WiFi networks. For example, you always bring your MacBook to office, the new update will help you instantly connect to your office’s network, only if the WiFi network retains the same password.

Another feature included is the reliability of wake from sleep. Again, this is very useful on MacBook lineup. Many people are not shutting down their laptops, and they just close it. With the update, Apple fixes the speed of the Mac wakeup.

And finally, but not the least, Apple also included a more stable version of Safari. Based on our own test, the new Safari 7.0.5 renders sites faster, including video playback on YouTube and other video sharing sites.

Be sure to update to the new Mac OS X 10.9.4 especially if you’re planning to upgrade to the new Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite. The new update will include various features including ‘Continuity’ — the feature that will trim the gap between the Mac OS X and iOS operating system.

Also read: Can the new MacBook Pro 2014 & new MacBook Air beat the Microsoft Surface Pro 3?

Google Drive for Work targets Microsoft Corporation’s Office 365 & OneDrive

It’s Google Drive for Work vs Microsoft Corporation’s Office 365 productivity suite. The search engine giant is finally stepping up its game with the biggest Google Drive update to date — the Google Drive for Work. Google’s new product lineup is the most direct attack to Microsoft’s core business so far – but can it steal customers using OneDrive and most importantly, Office 365?

Google Drive For Work

Two years ago, Google acquired a popular productivity app, Quickoffice — but only today that we’re seeing Google taking advantage of this acquisition with undisclosed sum. With the new Google Drive update, Google is finally attacking Microsoft’s lucrative business as of late, the Office 365. Here’s the catch, Google is trying to lure IT businesses with services that are made mostly for Google products and services. It’s like a buy 1, take many — an approach that gives Google the chance to lock more subscriptions while requiring them to use other Google services.

At the recently concluded Google I/O 2014 event in California, Google placed the Google Drive service in front of the show with various updates including the most talked-about new feature, the ability to edit or modify Microsoft Office Word documents without relying on conversions or third-party software.

It’s simple, you just upload a Microsoft Word document to Google Drive, upload it to Google Drive, and edit the document using Google Chrome. After editing the file, you can save it as a Microsoft Word file. This feature is coming to desktop soon, but limited to Google Chrome until further notice from the search giant. Android users can also expect the same update, but iOS devices need to wait a little longer. And to convert more IT companies and tech startups, Google will also offer improved document collaboration interface with the ability to view edits with the name of the editor or editors specified.

Inline with new set of features, Google also introduces Google Drive for Work. As penned by the company’s director for product management for Google Drive, Scott Johnston, they’re launching Google Drive for Work because there are 190 million Google Drive users already, in addition to many businesses that rely on Google’s cloud technology to “to work faster and collaborate better with their coworkers and customers.” In short, there are opportunities inside the Google Drive platform that Mountain View can take advantage of.

Google’s Johnston also assured customers that the redesigned platform is secure with “SSAE 16 / ISAE 3402 Type II, SOC 2-audit, ISO 27001 certification, adherence to the Safe Harbor Privacy Principles, and can support industry-specific requirements like HIPAA.”

With no Microsoft Office Powerpoint support, the Google Drive for Work will try to patch the hole with Google Slides allowing customers to create presentations, and instantly store files in the cloud with instant sync to other devices with the same account (or same group) logged in.

Microsoft recently unveiled new OneDrive prices effective July — with more storage available at lower price point. And so, Google is trying to match Microsoft’s offering by giving away unlimited Google Drive storage for businesses with more than five users, or 1TB guaranteed storage per user for businesses enrolled with fewer than 5 users. Google is also trying to be more open by allowing up to 5TB public sharing support, and all files are accessible even without a Google account. Google will charge companies $10 per user.

Google is already accepting contacts at Google Drive for Work website.

Also read: SugarSync launches redesign to compete with Dropbox, other storage services.

Microsoft vs Google is more than just IT business platform

This new attack from Google is not only to steal Microsoft’s lucrative businesses, the Office 365 and Microsoft OneDrive, but it’s also launching new services to convince businesses to adopt the Chromebooks, Google’s affordable computer lineup with Chrome OS. Keep in mind that Microsoft controls Windows, and the operating system ships with Internet Explorer with Bing.com search engine — and Google is obviously trying to protect its treasure chest: search. It’s like a domino effect, more Google Drive or Chromebook users means tighter control over search market share. Google’s main advantage right now against Microsoft is Android which ships with various Google products and services out of the box, including Google Now, the company’s virtual assistant with Google.com as default search engine.

Copyright 2014 PopHerald.com
What’s wrong with Amazon Fire Phone: Price, AT&T lock, Nexus 6 and new iPhone

Amazon’s first take on the smartphone market may be a “dead on arrival” device. The Amazon Fire Phone, built with Amazon.com in mind, is a product that will fail because it is expensive, limited to one carrier and not flexible enough — plus, Apple and Google are set to release new devices this year, the Nexus 6, and the Apple iPhone 6.

Amazon Fire Phone

The Amazon Fire Phone running the retail giant’s very own locked Android skin.

Sorry Amazon, but your smartphone made some biggest strategic mistakes that could lead to poor sales.

Don’t get me wrong, love Amazon, in fact, I love Jeff Bezos. I see him as a game-changer and a non-traditional monopolist. However, the Fire Phone doesn’t offer much to stand out in the crowd full of inexpensive or high-end and high-quality smartphones. For beginners, you need to sign-up with AT&T before you can use an Amazon Fire Phone. Plus, it’s also expensive, whether you’ll purchase it with an AT&T service agreement or unlocked. With Individual and/or Family Plan, the Fire Phone costs $199.99, while it sports the price tag of $649.00 for the unlocked model.

If you’re planning to buy the phone’s no-contract model, your next problem is content. The Amazon Appstore is limited with less than 250,000 apps to choose from and many top mobile applications are still missing in action. Another fact to I need to write is the lack of Amazon Appstore support in many countries — limiting the Fire Phone’s coverage to the company’s markets coverage only.

Amazon built the Fire Phone with its retail store in mind. Amazon wants to sell Fire Phones because it wants to put more consumers inside its locked ecosystem. If you’re planning to purchase the Fire Phone, you are forced to use many Amazon products and services – and you’re not allowed to access Google’s Play Store, the search giant’s default app store and media content service. Google also invests in making Android more useful, more innovative — and cooler, and apparently, you will not receive these Android updates because Amazon’s phone is running its own “virtual ecosystem” floating above the original Android user interface. No Google Now, no built-in Gmail, no Google Chrome — and more. Google is king when it comes to mobile operating system innovation, and you won’t be getting them with the Fire Phone.

Another problem with Amazon’s Fire Phone is the upcoming launch of the Apple iPhone 6, and Google’s next smartphone. The latter is expected to sport a cheaper price tag, around the $349 to $399 off-contract with all Google products and services available, plus the openness of Android ecosystem. Price tag alone will give the Fire Phone a headache. Are you willing to pay $300 more for a product that offers Amazon’s products only? Keep in mind that you can install the Amazon Appstore on a Nexus phone, or any device running non-forked Android mobile operating system version 2.2 or newer.

On a lighter note, Amazon is giving away free 1 year Amazon Prime subscription with “unlimited streaming and downloads of tens of thousands of popular movies and TV episodes with Prime Instant Video, over one million songs and hundreds of playlists with the all-new Prime Music, over 500,000 books to borrow for free with the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and FREE Two-Day Shipping on millions of items,” as described by Amazon’s product page.

Bottomline

So, what’s wrong with the Amazon Fire Phone? Firstly, it’s expensive. Secondly, it’s limited to AT&T only — and last but definitely not the least, it’s expensive, more expensive than other Android devices with more power and flexibility. If you’re an Apple fan and currently owns hundred of iOS apps and content, you’ll probably snub the Fire Phone. If you’re an Amazon fan with Prime subscription — you should think twice before buying the Fire Phone because you can still enjoy Amazon’s products on any Android device. But if you really love Amazon and you’re attracted to the phone’s design, UI and content offering, you should wait for price drops.

There’s nothing wrong with the Fire Phone’s build quality, its branding or ecosystem. However, its flaws are bigger than its advantages.

Read More: Google targets Amazon Fire TV

 

Copyright 2014 PopHerald.com
Google targets Amazon Fire TV & Apple: Meet Android TV

Android is moving from smartphones and tablet computers — to your living room. Meet the Android TV, Google’s product that will compete with Amazon’s Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV and other similar services.

Google Android TV

Google everywhere is happening. From affordable smartphones, tablet computers and high-end mobile handsets, Google’s popular mobile operating system is transitioning from a platform for mobile and tablets — to platform for your television sets.

Meet Android TV, Google’s latest take on digital consumption. Can it outperform Amazon’s Fire TV, Roku 3 and even Apple TV? What are the highlights of this new Google product? Let’s find out.

At Google I/O 2014, the search engine giant announced various new products like Android Auto, the upcoming Android L software update, Google Cardboard and so much more — but for me, the most interesting is Android TV, Google’s latest product which aims to conquer our living room. Android TV is similar to other set-top boxes and gaming consoles out there like Roku, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Amazon’s Fire TV and Apple TV — but because it is Android, the new product from Mountain View will deliver top Google products and services.

Can Google's Android TV undercut the $99 Amazon Fire TV?

Can Google’s Android TV undercut the $99 Amazon Fire TV?

Google claims that the upcoming hardware will offer “less browsing, and more browsing.” Equipped with the new user interface using the new “Material Design,” Google will offer Android games, movies, TV shows and other content coming from its own Google Play Store. Apparently, it’s concept is very similar to Amazon’s Fire TV and Apple TV — Google will try to sell a product that will run the company’s ecosystem only, with some partner services like Netflix, and others. If you’re using an Android smartphone, you can easily purchase or rent a video on your mobile device and watch it on the Android TV. So basically, Google is trying to lock you into its ecosystem only — and its first target are Android users, whether they own a tablet computer or a mobile device.

And because it’s a product from Google, video sharing site YouTube and Android games are also available at launch. Users can easily access popular YouTube videos and watch it on high-definition resolution, save videos or “watch later,” search for the latest trending videos, and others. If successful, YouTube can easily monetize the system by featuring quality advertisements like advertisement overlay, pre-video play and other advertising solutions.

Another feature worth mentioning is Google Now, the search giant’s virtual assistant which integrates various Google products and services including Google Maps, Gmail, and of course, Google Search.

Google is a popular search engine, and so does the Android TV, users can easily search for everything using Google Now. If logged-in, users can also receive notifications like flight schedules, previous searches and other information that are synced with the Google account.

Google is also trying to lure developers to create apps for Android TV. Google said they want Android TV apps to have “less texts” and more content like videos and images for easier browsing and searching of content.

No word yet about the price or release date of the Android TV, but experts suggest that it will launch later this year alongside the new mobile operating system roll-out, and new Google smartphones and tablet computers. Another missing piece is the price tag, although it’s safe to bet that Google will try to undercut Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV to easily gain traction. The Amazon Fire TV currently costs $99 with free one month Prime service. Apple TV is also sporting the same price tag.

Google learned a lot from its Chromecast, the most successful TV-related product of Google to date.

Also read: Google to launch Nexus devices this year

 

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