Displaying items by tag: Android

17There was a time when IBM was the largest patent holder in the tech world. In fact the joke was that IBM did not have to actually make anything anymore. They could sit back and maintain their profitability with their licensing and royalty fees. Of course this was exaggeration, but IBM did have a massive portfolio and the revenue to back it up. Now, it seems that Microsoft is looking to take IBM’s top spot. They have been busy pressuring and perhaps bullying companies that make Android and Chrome mobile devices to sign agreements with them. The agreements sound a lot like the old Mobster movies. “Hey you pay me 10 (million) dollars a week and we will make sure,… you know, that nothing bad will happen to you.”

In short Microsoft is offering protection from patent litigation in return for a small cut of the manufacturing profits from Android and Chrome devices. Now you may think this is all very unethical and you would be right. However, there is no law against this. Just like there is no law against patenting the look and feel of something. To be honest, this is a last ditch effort on the part of Microsoft. They know they are losing the mobile war and that Windows Phone will be a thing of the past in a few short years. Right now they are just trying to replace the income they know they are going to lose with a little extra from someone else’s pocket.

Source Fudzilla

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Published in News
Saturday, 22 October 2011 21:44

Microsoft Trying Another Ploy to Save Windows Phone

untitledWe have talked about this one over and over and over (is my face getting a little blue?). Microsoft just does not get the market they are trying to sell to any more. Don’t get me wrong, I like Windows 7 and their new server stuff is fantastic (we will be covering a lot of that very soon), however when it comes to putting out hardware or even assisting in hardware production they are clueless. This is doubly true for their mobile division. So far we have heard them put down both Apple and Google saying their products are immature and chaotic respectively. Then we heard Andy Lees (the guy in charge of the Windows Phone Division) comment that the iPhone 4S was a wasted opportunity and that talking to a phone was not productive… I think one of the PR guys needs to pull Andy aside and ask him not to talk quite so much.

Even beyond Andy putting his foot in his mouth on occasion we now have Steve Ballmer telling us what we should want in a phone OS. His last comments on Mango and in turn the MetroUI were almost pleading in their attempt to get the market (and the consumer) to understand that giant square tiles are a good thing. Guys, they are not. We tried them here at DecryptedTech and they just did not work; just like they are not going to work for Microsoft.

Now, Microsoft has run out of ideas and quite possibly time. They are going to attempt to get the manufacturing cost below $200. Oddly enough this announcement came only a day or two after it was discovered that the iPhone 4S had around $188 in hardware inside its housing. While this will make the devices less expensive to make, and in turn should make them cheaper to buy that will not spell success. You have to not only have a compelling product (which they don’t) but also know how to market it (which they do not). On top of all that you have to offer an infrastructure to support it that makes sense and that people want to use (sorry third strike there Microsoft).

Mr. Ballmer, if you do not believe me about cheaper does not win the market; just take a look at Android tablet sales. In many cases they are $100 less expensive and yet the market still keeps buying the iPad… this is despite better hardware too. In the end you have to have two (no three), Ok three things.

1 a compelling product (not great or even that innovative, just compelling)
2 a great marketing team that knows its stuff and can give the product its own image
3 A legal team to fight off the ones over at Apple.

Picture Credit AllThingsD

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Published in Editorials
Friday, 21 October 2011 23:06

We Look at Siri's Evil Twin, Iris for Android

irisTaking their cues from Apple’s Siri a group of developers came up with a natural speech recognition algorithm similar to Siri in 8 hours. The difference is that this one is for Android. The new app (that is available as an alpha release in the Android Market) is called Iris and for an 8-hout project is very functional. We were rather impressed after we had a few hours to tinker with it.

After we first heard that someone had done this we immediately went to the Market to see if we could get it there. The first thing that we noticed though was that while we could grab this for our phone, there was nothing visible in the Market on our Transformer tablet. In fact a quick run to the Market on our desktop PC shows us that Iris is not compatible with our Transformer. The other thing that we noticed is that you have a grab a dependency application called Speech Synthesis. This is what takes the text based responses and turns them into speech for you to enjoy.
iris-noOne of the first questions we put to Iris was the big one… What is the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything! It took three tries but we got the answer we were looking for.  However some of the more mundane ones like “What is the forecast for the weather near Orlando” it had some problems with.  I think my favorite answer for that question was “Beyond your Ability to comprehend”.

42 Swallow

Now, I know this is nowhere near as polished or complete as Siri is on the iPhone, but what I did like was how accurate the device was at picking up what I was saying. Even when using contractions like what’s or can’t it knew what I was looking for. I was also able to differentiate between declarations and questions.

We are still playing around with this very interesting software, but we have to say what if this is what the group at Dexetra can do in only 8-hours… Apple should be worried when they put some real time and effort into it.

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asiadday22011keynote2004Asus had some great news during the AsiaD conference today. Not only did they finally show off the next generation Transformer (now called the Transformer Prime) but they also announced Ultrabooks, the Padfone and gave us a rough idea of when we can expect to see Ice Cream Sandwich for their line of Android Tablets. Now that we have set the table let’s dive in and see how each one of these tastes.

To kick things off Jonney Shih brought out the new Transformer Prime. This is the one that everyone has been talking about since rumors first popped up about a new Quad Core tablet in early September. Then just yesterday Asus dropped a nice teaser video on the internet that again ran around like mad. Now we are finally getting to see this new device. Although not a complete launch (that is on the 9th of November) Jonney showed use a 10 inch tablet with an 8.3mm thick slate. Under the hood is a Quad Core Tegra 3 SoC which should be more than capable of handling just about anything you throw at it. Although the amount of memory has not been fully disclosed we are betting on 2GB as that is in keeping with the typical 512MB per core that nVidia likes to have. Other items of interest on the Prime are a mini-HDMI, an SD Card Slot… pretty much the same thing you find on the current Transformer.

Next up is something that we have been wondering about since we saw a video explaining Asus’ direction for the coming years. This is the Padfone, at the time it show it was all concept art and not much else. However now we find out that it is going to launch in Q1 2012 and should ship with Android 4.0. For those of you that are no familiar with this it is basically a “super phone” with a 10.1-inch tablet that it can dock into. Think of the Atrix with quite a bit more style and class.

Last on the list of cool things coming from Asus was an announcement of Ultrathin Netbooks that will look something like the Zenbook, only smaller. According to Shih the netbook is not dead but does need to evolve to survive. We will try to get some more information about these items (especially the Transformer Prime and Padfone) in the next few weeks and get this out to you as soon as we get it.

Source and Image Credit Engadget

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3d-11Last night was all about Ice Cream Sandwich from Google. We heard all about it from so many sources on the internet that we started getting details mixed up. In the end we highlighted the features that were typically the most complained about or the “coolest” in our opinion. Now this is the stock Google ROM that we saw yesterday so what about those companies that offer more than the stock ROM? Companies like HTC or even Asus with their Transformer flavor of Honeycomb?

While we have a feeling that the minor changes that Asus made to their version of Android will pose no major issues we are not so certain about HTC. The Sense UI that HTC uses is a massive change to the default ROM from Google. In many cases it is better, (like a much better email client and tap to focus on the camera) but now that these items are being included in the stock ROM what will HTC do?

For the time being HTC is stating that they are reviewing the new flavor of Android and will make their decisions at a later date.

“We are excited about the latest update for Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, and are currently reviewing its features and functionality to determine our upgrade plans. Our goal for Android updates is to give every customer an improved user experience, which means balancing each phone's unique hardware, HTC Sense experience and the Android kernel. While our goal is to upgrade as many of our recent devices as possible, we are committed to maintaining every phone's performance and usability first. Please stay tuned for more updates on specific device upgrade plans.”

We are sure that many HTC owners (us included) are a little disappointed to hear this, but when I stop and think about it this is really the best course for HTC. After all I already have many of these features built into the SenseUI. Ok, so I do not have facelock, or the new scalable font Roboto but I really can live without those if it means making sure I do not lose the items that I have come to enjoy in the SenseUI.

Still, I can’t help but check for that new update each time I unlock my EVO 3D and Transformer…

Source Engadget

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Published in News
Tuesday, 18 October 2011 23:48

Google's Ice Cream Sandwich is Looking Very Tasty

ICS-40Google’s Ice Cream Sandwich has finally been launched. This new version of Android which will officially be Android 4.0 is supposed to not only bring new features to the table, but it also going to address some items that have been lacking on Android. According to many sources this new version of Android will touch every native app in some way. We can only hope they did something to improve the poor email app that currently is in Honeycomb, but we will have to see about that once the update is available for our Transformer.

Aside from the updates to all of the native apps we are hearing that there will be some very cool new features including a facial recognition lock. This will allow you to use the built in front facing camera to interrogate your face and compare it to an image stored on the device. If it matches you can access the device, if not; well you can figure that one out on your own.  Android 4.0 will also feature a new NFC-enabled feature called Android Beam. This will allow you simply tap two phones or devices together to share files, links and other information. Google is saying that this is being designed to work with a number of app that are already in the market so you won’t have to wait long to start bumping phones.

Next up is an overhaul of the camera app. This is also a very welcome feature as the current default one is very immature.  With the new interface you can access the camera right from the lock screen (if you choose to). You also FINALLY get a zero shutter lag in a mobile phone camera, this combines with the continuous focus and face detection. Android is also adding touch to focus and exposure lock. These are features that many phone makers have tacked on (like HTC) but are now showing up in the native app as well. Android did not stop with the Camera though, you also get some nice new features in the gallery including filters and a built in Photo Editing app which allows you to make changes and still maintain the original file for later tinkering.

We are sure there is a lot more to Android 4.0 that we are missing in our roaming around the net, but you can be sure we will be taking it for a test drive and comparing it to what you get with Apple’s new iOS 5 just to see if Android is lagging behind or actually catching up. If it is the latter then we can see the Android Tablet market picking up, especially with the Holidays coming up quickly.

Source All Over the Internet

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Published in News

WindowsPhoneThere are two things you can do when you are at the bottom of the pile. One is to work harder and smarter so that you can fight your way to the top. The other is to talk smack hoping that the people above you will believe you are competent and you can BS your way up a few notches. There are complications with both of these but the latter has more dangers. Unfortunately it is this latter course that the folks over at Microsoft’s Windows Phone division are taking.

Andy Lees, President of Microsoft’s Windows Phone Division sat down for a quick talk with the people over at the Seattle Times and some of the things he said were interesting, but also a little laughable. He calls Apple’s one million unit selling iPhone 4S a missed opportunity and Android Chaotic. These are some bold words for a company that only captured less than 2% of the market in 2011 so far.

It is true that Apple might have missed an chance at putting out a better product, both hardware and software wise, but the market is speaking and it is saying that they do not care. Over one million iPhone 4S’ have been sold so far. That does not sound like consumer disappointment no matter how much you dislike Apple. As for Android’s chaotic development, well one of the things that people like about Android is that they can get the version they like. I personally like the SenseUI version of Android that HTC uses and prefer it over the stock version and the same can be said for many Android owners.

No, the comments sound more like someone grasping at straws and asking you to ignore the obvious. This leads us into the next comment Lees called the Mango UI a “flowing, almost singular experience” however others have called it the Jitterbug of touch screens. The tile layout is eye watering and almost obnoxious. The fact that Microsoft is forcing this on the Xbox 360 and Windows 8 is quite annoying. Having tinkered around with a Windows Phone recently I can tell you that there was nothing flowing or singular about the experience and after a week fighting Windows 8 and the MetroUI I could not imagine having to deal with that on a daily basis. I think that the developers at Microsoft do have a good concept and vision, but they are still falling short of what the Market wants. The tile based UI is not it, they like icons and widgets that they can drag around and manipulate. You would think that Microsoft would have learned this by now and maybe tried to find a way to make their UI more fluid because a bunch of square tiles is anything but fluid.
I think that all we are seeing is a PR push from Microsoft hoping that this gets pushed around enough to generate interest. So far, there really has not been any in Windows Phone, and the disappointment in the developer’s release of Windows 8 has probably caused some concern as the Metro UI with its large and ungainly tiles is the way Microsoft wants to go; now they are just hoping they can convince us that is what we want too…


Source Seattle Times

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Published in Editorials

trnas07In our second dive into the Non-Apple Tablet market we take a look at one of the more popular Android based tablets available right now. This is the Asus EEE Pad TF101 known more affectionately as the Transformer. This 10.1-inch Tegra 2 sporting device was first shown off at CES earlier this year. It generated quite a bit of interest as it not only works as a tablet but also has an available dock that lets you use it like a small netbook (and get a few extra hours of battery life).  The Transformer comes in two flavors; one with 16GB of internal storage and one with 32GB. Other than that they are identical. You get the dual 1GHz Tegra 2 SoC (which features an nVidia GPU core and Cuda Acceleration for Flash) plus 3D SRS surround sound, MicroSD and SD Card readers (the SD card comes with the Dock) and much more. The best part of all of this is that you can get the 16GB Transformer with Dock for only $50 more than an iPad 2 16GB WiFi. Now the question is, is it worth that much and have we found a non-Windows tablet that is anything other than a toy? Read on to find out.

Published in Mobile Computing
Friday, 07 October 2011 19:52

Consumers want a Windows Based Tablet

Tansformer_and_DockRemember how we told you not too long ago that Microsoft was being smart by working on a tablet friendly version of Windows 8? (Which they have been trying very hard to screw up) Well, one of the things we said about this was the people want a tablet that can do real production work. We have seen this in our own tinkering with multiple tablets from the iPad, iPad2, Transformer and the Flagship tablet, the Asus EEE Slate EP 121. Out of all of these, the only one that we can actually do full production work on is the EP121. Oddly enough (not really) it is also the only one of the group that runs on Windows 7.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the Transformer (we will have a review of that up soon) for its versatility and ease of use. It is a great little tool and easy to transport. However, there are no real productivity apps available for it. I have tried all of the office suites from Documents to Go, Apple’s Pages, to Quick Office. None of them can compete with Office 2010; even Pages (which comes closest) cannot cut it. The tools and flow are not there, it is as simple as that.

It seems that this is not just my opinion on the subject, but a majority of consumers in both the US and China. According to a poll taken by the Boston Consulting Group and another one by Forrester earlier this year over 40 % of US consumers would like a Windows Based Tablet.  BCG’s numbers came in at 42% while the Forrester report showed a nice 46% wanted a Windows based tablet.  The remaining 50%+ was not all iOS either. Forrester claimed that 9% were interested in Android while 16% wanted iOS. BCG’s study claimed that 20% were interested in Android while 27% were looking into an iOS based tablet.

These numbers are only shocking when you leave out what people really want from their devices. They want a seamless experience. One thing that bugs me about having a desktop, laptop, and two different tablets is that to do anything on the Transformer I have to format it differently (especially videos). On the other Windows based devices, I just move files back and forth or put them in my Asus Cloud Drive account (if they are not important or need security).  Of course it also does not mean they want something like the EP121. While I love my EEE Slate, it can be bulky and is awkward to use with the keyboard at times. No what they want is something like the Tab or the Transformer, but running all of their favorite Windows software (including Office); this is what will finally bring the tablet home for many people.

So it seems that I am not the only one that feels that Windows is making the right (if somewhat late) move to a more tablet based OS and will only increase their potential for profit by coding for ARM (something they should have done with Windows 7).  Of course… that is saying they do not alienate all of their potential customers by failing to grasp what the market really wants in a tablet.

Source All things D

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Published in Editorials
Monday, 03 October 2011 21:39

Adobe Announces New Touch Apps for Honeycomb

PhotoShop_ExpressThe day before Apple holds its three ring circus for the next generation of iPhone Adobe shows off a few choice apps for Android’s Honeycomb Tablet Operating system. One of these is their top end Photoshop app with a completely new touch interface. Now, Adobe does have these out for both the iOS and for Android (both free and paid versions), but these new flavors appear to much more specifically designed for the larger screened Android based tablets. It is also worth mentioning Adobe’s partnership with nVidia here as there are a number of tablets based on the Green Teams dual core Tegra 2 SoC.  

Of the six Apps shown off (Photoshop Touch, the other apps are Collage, Debut, Ideas, Kuler, and Proto) one already exists for Apple’s iOS as it is now and one has existing versions (although not as complete as the new Photoshop Touch) for both Android and iOS. The other four are new and from the look of them are aimed squarely at the Android platform.  

The releases are interestingly timed. All of them appear to be developed using Adobe’s AIR platform, which technically is capable of developing across multiple platforms.  However, our guess is that this is a subtle slap in the face of Apple for their former CEO’s obnoxious rejection of Flash based applications and at one point an outright ban on any app that was developed in Flash (even if it was later packaged to operate without the need for Flash). What better way to pull some potential clients away than to announce a group of “professional” applications designed for the competition?  The question is, with the launch of these apps slated for November will this make any difference at all? Our guess is no, after all people that want an iOS device will get one and the people that want an Android Tablet will get that. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. In the long run, a few people may opt for Android over iOS if they are looking for a tablet in that time frame, but if someone already owns an iPad or iPad2 they are unlikely to make that bold of a shift just because of Adobe. Plus Adobe has already alluded to the fact that they plan on versions for the iOS later…

But all the posturing aside it is nice to see some serious productivity apps hit the non-Windows based tablets. Now if they could only come up with a decent office suite it really could pull the tablet out of the “cool toy” category and make them truly useful.

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