Google to counter Amazon’s Echo Show with smart screen device, sources say

Google is rumored to have a new smart device in the works, TechCrunch reports. The tabletop smart screen for the home will serve as the competitor for Amazon’s Echo Show, which has been on the market since June 2017. If true, such a device would keep Google in the smart home market race with Amazon and Facebook.

The rumors follow Amazon’s announcement Thursday of a cast of new Echos. The company now has a total of seven Amazon Echo devices to choose from. With Amazon covering all the bases in the home, and essentially ruling the current smart home market, it’s about time Google expanded from Google Home into other smart home products.

TechCrunch gathered their information from two confirmed sources, one of which received the intel from a current Google employee. TechCrunch learned that the new Google smart screen has been dubbed “Manhattan” internally. It is unclear if this will be the final launch name for the device.

As far as size goes, it appears to be measuring up with the Echo Show, with a screen around 7 inches. One source told TechCrunch that Google previously played around with much larger sizes for the smart home screen, some designs as large as television screens. For now, the plans seem to have honed in on the smaller, tabletop screen.

Manhattan will offer Youtube, Google Assistant, Google Photos and video calling. It will also be able to act as your home’s “smart hub,” connecting with other smart home devices like Nest.

The original launch date was planned for mid-year 2018. Sources report that there is “internal pressure” to get the launch date moved up after Amazon’s Echo Show. With October and the end of 2017 just around the corner, it’s probably safe to assume that the release date will remain some time in 2018. As TechCrunch points out, “establishing smart hub partnerships” and “exploring the possibility of service partnerships with Best Buy Geek Squad and Enjoy for home installation,” the many moving parts surrounding the launch for Manhattan seem to ensure a 2018 launch.

Sources told TechCrunch that Manhattan will run on a version of Android. This will ensure flexibility for third-parties to build apps for it.

What remains unclear is the final price for such a device or even the final look. As the Amazon Echo Show retails for $230, it’s possible Google’s competing device will come out at a similar price range.

Earlier this week Google removed Youtube from Amazon’s Echo Show without any warnings for current Echo Show owners. Critics claim the removal was strategic, as Youtube will be available on Manhattan. With Youtube capabilities on offer, Manhattan owners would be able to stream music videos from Youtube or watch live cable channels on Youtube TV.

It’s too soon to tell if this would give Manhattan enough of an edge to topple the Echo Show. Many disagree with such a prospect. Fast Company has said that once the mystery device finally arrives on the market, assuming it will, “Amazon will already be a step ahead with its second-generation Echo speaker and new devices like the Echo Spot.”

With a biting finish, Fast Company challenges Google’s ingenuity, claiming that Google should stop “lifting ideas” from Amazon and start bringing to market fresh perspectives of their own making.

Facebook Profile Picture Protection in India

Facebook is looking to introduce new forms of protection in India for user’s profile pictures. The goal is to stop copying, sharing, and other image misuse. More specifically these protections prevent others from being able to send, share, download or tag themselves in the image. These protections are not compulsory, but they do allow users to choose whether or not they want their profile picture’s protected.

Protected pictures display a blue shield border around their image, with additional capacities currently only available on Android to prevent users from taking screenshots of profile pictures where possible. The design overlay aims to reduce picture theft, protecting the identities and privacy of its users.

These features were inspired after Facebook heard from Indian social and safety organizations that predominantly women decided to not upload images with their faces due to privacy reasons. Facebook has partnered with a number of these organizations in order to introduce a tool that is both security focused that does not interfere with Facebook’s primary social agenda. This freedom for choice still enables those who are inclined to utilize their profile picture as more than a means of identification to do so, while providing an alternative option. Facebook has responded to this issue well, without overreacting and restricting the platforms intended use.

However, while the protection will alleviate image theft tensions, it will not completely prevent possible image misuse. The reality of the matter is that these preventative measures only make image theft more difficult, but not impossible. Those with enough intent and means will find a way to continue image theft if the need is great enough, but these protections will certainly reduce the frequency at which profile pictures are copied, shared or misused. Facebook predicts that simply adding a design overlay to a picture reduces the likelihood of others copying it by 75 percent, based on the underlying message that the user sends.

These protections are readily available in India, and users can easily add them quickly through Facebook’s user interface system. However, the screenshotting protection is only available via Android, and so other can screen shot a user’s profile picture through other means including desktops. Furthermore, the blue shield only acts as statement declaring the user’s intent that their profile picture should not be copied, and not a hard barrier that comprehensibly prevents copying.

Ideal for deterring opportunists through simple additions makes this tool a potentially useful option for Indian users. Facebook has not yet indicated whether similar measures will come to other countries. The criteria for this is twofold: whether there is a need for such a tool, and whether the additions can be easily transferred and implanted. Regarding the first, regardless of whether or not there is a sizeable desire for similar protections, Facebook should pursue a rollout of these protective measures for other countries. Considering that these features are optional, there is no downside for the users in other countries by adding this tool. For the second criteria, this is dependent on how easy it is to implement the protective measures. It is uncertain whether the transfer is possible based on the coding involved. However, Facebook has already developed the tool, and so a full rollout would not require much-added cost, and in fact can be beneficial towards Facebook’s reputation of being able to balance both its social and security responsibilities on behalf of its users.

The final issue to address is whether the major concern for why women in India rejected uploading a profile picture was indeed due to possible image theft. If the issue was instead based on the personal preference of maintaining privacy, then Facebook’s tool will not stimulate more user profile pictures. This does not mean that the tool is a waste, as its flexibility is an added benefit for current users wishing to further protect their images online.

Featured Image via Pixabay

Google’s New App Sends Your Location

Google has announced the launch of its new application called Trusted Contacts. This will allow close friends and love ones to be able to track your location during times of an emergency.

You will be able to add close friends and family you want to share your location with to Trusted Contacts and they will be updated on your exact whereabouts. If for some reason there’s an emergency, you will be able to share their GPS location with family and friends. There is also a timeframe in which, if you are unable to respond, your location will be automatically sent to your contacts.

If for some reason one of your contacts requests your location and there is nothing wrong, you can deny the request. Trusted Contacts can work if the user’s phone is offline. However, if someone feels that you haven’t been in touch for a while or begin to worry about you, they can request your location and it will be sent to them within five minutes.

Although it should go without saying, the app should be used with care. While you unintentionally may leave the app running, this will open up an opportunity for violent partners or inquisitive companions to have easy access to your location throughout the day. The app also isn’t available for iOS  yet, but is currently downloadable for Android.

Netflix App Makes Offline Downloads Available

Netflix subscribers are getting Christmas early this year; the company has finally announced that it will be making some of its shows available for download on Apple and Android devices without being connected to the internet. Netflix will stand alongside Amazon Prime and YouTube Red, who have both been offering video downloads to iOS and Android members.

Netflix will offer its new program to iOS and Android users who have the updated version of the Netflix app. They will also have to have an iOS 8.0 or Android 4.4.2 versions of phones or tablet devices. While users must use Wi-Fi to download the updated version of Netflix, they won’t need it for downloading videos.

Not all the movie titles are available for offline streaming. Shows like “Daredevil,” “Fuller House,” and the “Gilmore Girls” reboot are a few of the titles. Disney movies like “Jungle Book” and “Lilo & Stitch” are also omitted from the list. However, new versions of the Netflix app do offer some interesting features. There will be a new download button in the details page, and a new menu option will show which TV and films are offered for streaming.

“Orange Is the New Black,” “Narcos,” “House of Cards,”, and “Stranger Things,” are amongst a few titles that will be available for Netflix users starting Wednesday. Also, shows like “Breaking Bad,” “Supernatural,” and the movie “Kung Fu Panda 3” are going to be part of the offline streaming option.

In a blog post announcement of the new Netflix feature, Eddy Wu, director of production innovation for the company, stated, “While many members enjoy watching Netflix at home, we’ve often heard they also want to continue their ‘Stranger Things’ binge while on airplanes and other places where internet is expensive or limited.” What members worldwide have been asking for is finally here.

Ruby by Glow Essential for Tracking Women’s Health

Glow has created a new app called Ruby to help women track their sexual health. Glow has come out with a number of apps geared towards women’s fertility, pregnancy and sexual activity. This app in particular helps women to electronically keep track of their own sexual activity, fertility and helps to track when their menstrual cycle takes place.

Apps similar to this help to make women both sexually aware, giving them the education that is lacking in many school systems. Under the sexual health and trends are options to track your moods and any symptoms you may be experiencing and they can be linked to other health apps that track specific things like sleep and exercise patterns.

The app tracks your cycle while also keeping track of your history and can help predict when you can expect to get your period again. It also gives information such as ovulation cycle and fertility.

What sets this app apart is that it encourages women to talk openly about sexual health and feel comfortable doing so. The app provides accurate information on things such as birth control and sexual activity.

If there was any doubt about the legitimacy of the app, they have also partnered with Bedsider which is an online support group for birth control users from the ages of 18 – 29. It is organized by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

With their influence, as well as a community of women in all stages of their life, Glow will have information for any and every woman.

According to Techcrunch, Jennifer Tye of Marketing & Partnerships said,

“To offer young women a way to embrace their bodies and better understand their health really drives us.”

Since its launch at the end of July, the app already has 37 ratings that bring it to four and a half stars in the Apple app store.

There are a lot of period and health trackers in the app store, but not many can say that they provide tips for women and a safe forum to discuss it. In the community, women are encouraged to ask questions as well as give their own experiences to those who might be searching for advice.

According to TechCrunch,

“The idea behind Ruby is to provide women, especially the young and sometimes ill-informed with a better sense of self and to help them make informed decisions about their health, birth control and safe sex options.”

Ruby by Glow is one of the three products that the company has. One of the three includes Glow, which specifically tracks ovulation and fertility by allowing women to track their period, moods and symptoms and predicts fertility as well. Similar to Ruby, there is also a community to talk to and gain support from.

According to the iTunes store, Glow has a

“daily health log [that] helps you record over 40 different health signals, including BBT, cervical mucus, sleep, stress, weight, exercise, ovulation calculator and more.”

To download the free Ruby by Glow app, go to Glowing.com.

Image: Via Glowing

Blackberry Could Possibly Launch an Android Device

Blackberry was founded in 1984 in Canada. The company was in its heyday in the early 2000’s. The consumers’ addictions to their blackberry devices were indeed a real dilemma, not too far from a drug addiction.

As of now, the dynamics of this situation have changed completely. The markets are dominated by Android and Apple devices. Brands like Blackberry and Nokia are not the big players anymore.

Blackberry has hinted that they want to launch a new device that is powered by Google Inc.’s Android software. This move has apparently been made by the company to shift the consumers focus on devise management and software enhancement.

The company that now dominates a meager 1% of the market has lagged behind, mainly because of the lack of good apps. However, in an email released from an official from the company, it was said that,

“We don’t comment on rumors and speculation, but we remain committed to the BlackBerry 10 operating system, which provides security and productivity benefits that are unmatched.”

On the other hand, a spokesperson from Google has declined to comment on the rumor.

Only time will tell if this is true and the collaboration will materialize or not.

English: A BlackBerry Bold 9650 cell phone for...
English: A BlackBerry Bold 9650 cell phone for the Verizon Wireless phone network. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blackberry Discusses Plan to Layoff More Employees

Blackberry plans to lay off employees involved with their signature phone’s productions in order to turn a more significant profit in the coming years. According to Blackberry, “one of our priorities is making our device business profitable.”

The company hasn’t announced the amount of employees that they plan to lay off. Blackberry has seen a significant drop over the years.

This announcement comes a little less than a year after Blackberry’s Chief Executive John Chen sent out a memo giving updates on their layoffs back in August 2014.

In Blackberry’s Investor Frequently Asked Questions as of September 2014, they had seven thousand employees. This is a dramatic change from its peak where at most they had 20 thousand employees.

The company is looking to turn a profit with these cut backs, and believes cutting the amount of operations will help.

According to Reuters it said, “We have completed the reconstruction notification process, and the workforce reduction that began three years ago is now behind us.”

In the memo, it mentioned plans for increasing workers in the fields of development and sales, but now it doesn’t seem that this plan worked as well it had been intended to.

According to Reuters, at the time “Blackberry [had] shrunk its workforce by roughly 60 percent over the last three years as it attempts to reinvent itself.”

Chen has bigger plans for Blackberry that involve making it solely for business purposes, and giving it qualities that employers look for in their company phone services.

According to Huffington Post Canada, this involves, “[emphasizing higher security levels and are aimed squarely at the business community and government.”

There is some speculation as to which will be cut. The company had made an announcement that their Sweden offices which had 100 employees.

Chen said at the March 2015 Mobile World Congress their plan for this year is to make $500 million on software revenue alone.

The drop in employment may have something to do with the popularity of Apple and Google phones. In fact, Chen was hired because of his ability to turn around technology companies.

In the emailed statement from Blackberry said, “As the company moves into its next stage of the turnaround, our intention is to re-allocate resources in ways that will best enable us to capitalize on growth opportunities while driving toward sustainable profitability across all facets of our business.”

One of Blackberry’s improvements has been the fact that Verizon and AT&T have begun to carry their phones in their stores again.

This is a positive change, seeing as it was only five years ago that Blackberry purchases outranked iPhone by 500 thousand in Canada.

This didn’t last long as by 2011 2.08 million Blackberrys were being purchased as opposed to 2.85 million Apple products, according to Bloomberg Business.

“Blackberry’s loss of domestic preeminence shows the iPhone’s user-friendly features and wealth of apps trump other considerations, said Paul Taylor, a fund manager at BMO Harris Private Banking in Toronto,” said Bloomberg Business.

Despite its differences from Apple and Android products, blackberry prides itself on its security, with its “Blackberry Balance technology and Secure Work Space”.

Some other adjustments the company plans to make is to increase their sales and advertising activity. The company is also working to improve its applications and software, because as of currently they are no nearly as easy to operate as an iPhone where everything is laid out for you.

According to Huffington Post Canada, “The Waterloo, Ont.-based company said the job cuts will affect people who made the hardware, software and applications for its phones, which includes devices like the Blackberry Bold, Classic and Passport.”

 

LG – G4: It’s the Cool, New and Affordable Gadget

Even though the iphone6 and iphone6+ are the popular smartphone choices, it wouldn’t hurt to look at other devices before deciding on your next purchase. One such smartphone to consider is the LG – G4. It has a splendid spectrum with:
• Android OS, v5.1 (Lollipop)
• 1.8GHz 64-bit Hexa-Core
• Adreno 418
• 32 GB, 3 GB RAM
• Supports up to 2TB microSD card2
• Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 808 processor with X10 LTE
Not only is this fine on the inside but it’s gorgeous on the outside as well with an IPS Quantum Display on a 5.5 inches screen with a resolution of 2560 x 1440 (Quad HD), 538 ppi.
Whether or not you are a gadget geek, it is wise to get all the information you can about what each devise has to offer. If you are looking to get your money’s worth, then the more research and opinions you consider the better.
If you are wondering about the price range of this bad boy, then know that it retails for approximately $600. The phone is available in a range of leather and metallic backs as well. If this gadget feels about right in your hands then it should be worth every penny.

Six Smart Watches for All Your Needs

The release of the Apple Watch got a lot of people interested in the smartwatch market, but Apple isn’t the first to come out with a product like this, and they won’t be the last.

The newly released Apple Watches are being praised for all of their new features, but a lot of the features that the Apple smart watch has can be found in other types of smart watches.

The type of smart watch you choose to get should depend on what you’re going to use it for, not on the brand it is.

Fitbit is a fitness based smart watch, has come out with a long line of smart watches ranging in prices. As the prices goes up, there are more features that comes with it. The cheapest model called the Zip is advertised to be for everyone. It costs $59.95. It has a touch screen display, and is made to clip onto your waist band, or belt loop.

The most expensive Fitbit watch is the Charge HR and it costs $149.95. This watch will track your caller ID, and your sleep. This is a thick band that goes around your wrist. This is also the only band that will track your heart rate.

The Zip by Fitbit offers users a compact fitness tracker to take on their daily workouts.
The Zip by Fitbit offers users a compact fitness tracker to take on their daily workouts.

According to Fitbit.com, “Monitor calorie burn, maintain workout intensity and more – all without an uncomfortable chest strap.”

Nike is another smart watch that has been on the market for a while. They started a line of fitness bands in 2012 but have since discontinued them. Now there is the Nike+ SportWatch GPS. This will track you as you run, connect you to other runners, allows you to set goals, and track your progress. The product also allows you to connect to Nike+.

The Nike+ Sportwatch GPS looks most similarly to an actual watch, and with backlit LCD display, it can be used for any time of the day.

The Samsung Gear S smart watch has put everything that you could possibly want from a phone into a watch. The appeal of the watch is that you won’t have to have your phone with you all of the time, and if you leave it at home, or at your desk, and you can still get all your updates.

The watch does have fitness capabilities, but is advertised more so as an alternative to a cell phone. The watch has downloadable apps, and features to allow you to call, text and email.

However according to Cnet.com, “I tried using it on its own, as a true independent smartwatch. Well, I should say “independent,” because if you’re going to use the Gear S, you’re still best off bringing a phone along.”

The Nikesport+ Sportwatch GPS helps track your exercise and where you run.
The Nikesport+ Sportwatch GPS helps track your exercise and where you run.

This watch goes for $349.

The last watch to consider before you purchase the Apple smart watch is the Android Wear. This watch comes in many different shapes and designs. Depending on which watch you choose, you will be able to receive different features, and the watch will have a different set up.

This smartwatch has similar features to what the other smart watches can do, it has GPS, allows you to play music, and use the internet.

The difference comes in the different styles, making it the most diverse option of all of them. The Moto 360 looks exactly like a watch.

Android.com describes it as, “a modern timepiece powered by Android Wear.”

This allows for people to glance over at their watch, but not be consumed by it, and the shape and style makes it blend seamlessly.

The LG G Watch looks similar to the other smart watches with its square shape, and a long running battery, and the display is always sup for you to look at it.

Never worry about leaving your phone behind with the Samsung Gear S which will do everything your phone can do without even having it on you.
Never worry about leaving your phone behind with the Samsung Gear S which will do everything your phone can do without even having it on you.

The Android has a long list of different styles that do different things. The most important thing to keep in mind, when shopping for a smart watch, is to make sure you’re going to enjoy all of the features, because they are a large investment to make.

 

Dom Hofmann, Rus Yusupov, and Colin Kroll Discuss Vine

Before June 2012, video’s had the ability to be endless and last forever. With unlimited time, there was an unlimited amount of unnecessary information. When Vine was created in New York by Dom Hofmann, Rus Yusupov, and Colin Kroll, instead of an everlasting film, Vine only allowed users six seconds of film time, which meant every image had to be relevant. The app itself allowed users to create short looping videos and share them with fellow viewers; almost like a restricted YouTube. Acquired by Twitter, in October of 2012 for $30 million, users are able to sign up using their Titter account to the free app, as well as share their creations on various social networking platforms.

Wired was able to sit down with Vine creators and get inside information about why loyal users are only allowed six seconds of film time and the time loop.  According to Hofmann, “It began with unlimited time. But when we saw our friends trying to share their videos over text message, we realized that it needed a social component—and that meant we needed to make it quick to share and view.”

Like YouTube, Vine provided countless videos that can be shared all over the world; though the world already had YouTube. Vine needed to be unique and have several defining features in order to make it stand out. “As soon as we started limiting the length, we noticed that the videos started to feel anticlimactic. So we put in a tweak to make them loop. As soon as we got that working, we could tell it was a defining feature—really, one of our two defining features, the other being the time limit.”

With 40 million registered users, Vine is a driving force with features unlike any other form of social media. Vine is available in the app store for both android and iOS users at the wonderful cost of nothing.

 

Hilton Modernizes Smartphone to Be Used as Hotel Key and More

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. recently announced an upcoming technological advancement that will make the smartphone more than just an average phone. According to The Wall Street Journal, the company has planned to turn mobile phones into hotel room keys. Customers already have the ability to check in and out of the Hilton hotels with their smartphones, so now there’s an even bigger luxury in the works to take place starting in 2015.

BGR reported that the innovation is part of a $550-million investment that will provide this convenience to all 4,200 properties by the end of 2016. This new amenity will allow customers to see the location of their rooms and select rooms of preference all by the touch of a button.

“We are giving customers unprecedented choice and control at scale, and in the palm of their hands,” said Christopher Nassetta, Hilton’s chief executive, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The competitive hotel business is trying to keep up with society’s change in communicative habits and dependence on Internet-based technology. In specific, the invention was an attempt to win the support and business of the millennials. However, The Wall Street Journal explained the jeopardy involved in this development. Technology is changing and updating at a rapid pace, and Hilton runs the risk of becoming outdated.

Nonetheless, the company is going forth with strong efforts and belief that due to excessive planning, this luxury will prove to be a huge success.

“We have spent the past few years testing a number of different options to make this vision a reality, and we are developing proprietary technology that is safe and reliable for our guests to use, and cost-effective for our hotels to install,” said Christopher J. Nassetta, president and Chief Executive Officer of Hilton Worldwide, according to CNET.

The feature is set to work through a Hilton HHonors app for iOS and Android.

 

Google Working on Android Video Game Console

Google announced Thursday in its annual conference that it partnered with Razer to create a game console.

“By partnering with Google on this initiative, living rooms around the world will be places for people to connect to their entertainment interests and to each other seamlessly,” Min-Liang Tan, Razer’s CEO, told the International Business Times.

Building a game console seems like a reasonable next step for Google to compete with its biggest operating system, Apple. According to the International Business Times, Razer is a San Francisco-based company with about 500 employees that sells gaming computers and accessories.

CNN reported the OUYA game console that runs Android just went on sale Wednesday after raising $8.6 million on Kickstarter. It sold out quickly on Amazon. With a giant like Google coming in to the gaming market, OUYA needs to watch out for competition.

The Wall Street Journal reported Google is also working on a smartwatch that seems like another step to thread its competitor.

 

Read Also: Google Swings First with Samsung Gear Live

 

Moment App Tracks and Curbs iPhone Usage

“Moment” is a new app that exposes a developing problem, smart phone addiction. Not only can it tell users how often they are on their phone, but it can tell them where they use it.

The Moment app is free to start out, but to make much progress users will eventually have to pay $1.99. Users may find it to be a small price to pay when its purpose is to reconnect them with people. The app enables users to set limits to track their daily usage, and it blasts a warning when they are at the edge of their set limit and again when they have blown through their daily ration of smartphone use.

The free version of the app does not set hard limits; until you pay, all you can do is view usage statistics. Developer Kevin Holesh gave up some background on the idea in an open letter on Moment‘s Web page:

“I built Moment to help nudge me in the right direction by automatically tracking my daily iPhone use and giving me a warning when I’m on it for too long. When I first started using Moment, I was spending 75 minutes or more on my phone every single day. I currently have my daily limit set to 40 minutes, so after 40 minutes on my iPhone for the day, I get an annoying buzzer telling me to look away from the glowing box in my hands. That’s a good amount of time for me right now, and I’m working on improving that further.”

Phone users all create unbreakable excuses to gaze at their smart phones every few minutes. “I’m checking job emails,” “The babysitter’s watching my daughter” or “Really, I’m just checking work emails.”

Connecting through social media may seem great, but too much of anything is bad. People need a reason to diminish their phone usage. The Moment app just might do the trick.

Moment is not available for Android yet. Users who leave their email address on inthemoment.io will be among the first to know when it does become available.

 

moment/BIZNOB
via moment
moment/BIZNOB
via moment

 

 

 

Google Swings First with Samsung Gear Live

Google hopes to beat Apple to the punch with smart watches. While Apple quickly ramps up its work force to produce and release a new Apple smart watch, Google will have the Samsung Gear Live released on July 7th.

The Android Wear smart watch comes with a heart rate monitor embedded in its back. It has an every-day-at-the-office look, with a flat, plain band that seems rubbery. It features a 1.63 inch 320×320 screen and runs a 1.2GHz processor and 4GB internal storage. Google added that popular apps will be compatible, like Hangouts and Pinterest. The hardware is noticeably similar to the Samsung Gear 2.

While Apple seemingly focuses in on every detail of their upcoming watch, Google hopes to flood the market with them, thereby ducking their best competition for about two months. At the Google I/O Keynote, their upcoming Samsung Gear Live didn’t seem to offer much of anything different from smart watches we’ve seen before. Just like Android phones, users swipe back and forth through boxes to check notifications. Moreover, users will be able to sync app downloads with their Android phones.

Although the new Samsung Gear Live doesn’t have much to offer in terms of originality and beauty, history tells us that those two characteristics aren’t at all deal-breakers; many more people own Android phones than iPhones, and many more people own Microsoft PC’s than Apple PC’s.

It’s pretty much a given that Google will produce smart watches for lower prices than Apple will. Still, Apple’s higher quality standard and loyal fan base could change the expectations for all smart watches by the fall. Until then, call the Google vs. Apple smart watch war a draw.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo:  via Connectedly

 

 

Samsung Unveils Plans for First Tizen; Smartphone Operating System

A year after its planned release, the world’s largest mobile device manufacturer, South Korean based Samsung Electronics, released the first Samsung Tizen smartphone called the “Samsung Z” to rival the Android. In contrast to its Android counterpart, the Tizen version does not have “Google Play Store” access, yet this might be a chance for Samsung to create its own store and expand to a world beyond the “Droid.”

The new gadget has a 4.8-inch Super AMOLED screen display at 1280×720 pixels, 2.3GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage with a microSD card expansion slot, 4G compatibility, both rear-facing and front-facing cameras, a fingerprint sensor, and a heart rate monitor. Sounds like a nifty new toy.

The new operating system platform, Tizen 2.2.1 has been slow to be released to handsets, and instead has been developed into multiple versions so that the product reaches its full potential. An official Samsung press release emphasizes the “optimal performance” and “improved memory management” of the new Tizen Smartphone. Sounds like Samsung is trying pretty hard to rival Google’s Android.

The gadget will be shown at a conference in San Francisco on June 3 and will first launch in Russia before expansion into other markets. Prices have not yet been released, but are expected to be competitive with both the Android and iPhone counterparts.

 

 

 

Photo: Courtesy Samsung

Uber Pairs Up With AT&T’s Android Smartphones

By now, we’ve all heard of the almighty Uber driving service, and if you haven’t, you must be living under a rock. The startup app provides a quick and easy option for transportation that can be reserved through the click of a button on your phone, and the cost is automatically billed to the customer’s credit card. The service currently exists in over 100 cities around the world.

Starting this summer, the transportation app will now be incorporated as a core feature in AT&T’s Android cell phones. Just like phones comes with embedded weather or news apps, Uber’s transportation app will come already downloaded in the phone.

The pairing was announced by Uber CEO Travis Kalanick at the Code Conference in California this week. It is expected that the Uber app will increase up to 50 million phones this summer and many drivers will be moving to cater to AT&T users. With the help of AT&T, the transportation app hopes to expand to many more cities and places throughout the world.

AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega released a statement that said: “With Uber we found a company that gets what it means to revolutionize an industry through mobile technology to give customers a new, compelling, and valuable service and I look forward to what we can achieve together.”

Loyal Uber lovers everywhere are waiting to see how this pairing will impact the quality of their service. Will it improve the already reliable transportation option, or will the company drown in the rush of incoming business?

 

 

Photo: Android Central