iPhone, iPad Games, Apps, Reviews, News Thu, 16 Jul 2015 12:57:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Facebook iOS Messenger App Now Supports Voice Calling in the United States Tue, 22 Jan 2013 06:15:26 +0000 Read More]]> Facebook iOS Messenger Voice Calling

With new features such as Graph Search coming to Facebook, it appears that the social networking site is looking to challenge search giant, Google. Facebook is now beginning to add new features all around, including Voice Calling to the site’s iOS Messenger app. Voice Calling through the Facebook iOS Messenger app is currently available in both the US and in Canada.

According to The Verge, the Voice Calling feature was previously limited to Canada but is now being opened up to users in the United States. The feature arrived as an update in early January, and appears to be similar to Google’s Voice feature.

What this means is that if you live in the US, you can now call other Facebook users for free over Wi-Fi or using your phone’s data connection while you’re on the go. When you call someone, a push notification appears on their screen that says “Ellis Hamburger is calling,” for example. The feature is especially critical for people with bad cell service at work or at home, and for those who want to conserve cell phone minutes. It’s also a huge step for Facebook — which with a single feature emerges as one of the largest communities of VoIP users in the world. Yes, competitors Viber, Vonage, and Skype have had the feature for some time, but all have much smaller user bases.

With Voice Calling, Facebook has an upper edge over Google, particularly because of its existing user base, and because it is a social networking site as opposed to Google’s email and search service. It is also competing with other services such as Skype. Facebook Messenger will now allow the already popular iPod touch to become a calling device for teenagers, particularly because the device is targeted towards that age-group.

Voice calling can be accessed by opening the Facebook Messenger application, opening up a chat with a friend, and click the ‘i’ button. After the page appears, a button should say “Free Call”, which will then connect the two users to a voice call. Not all Facebook users are currently able to use the feature as it is slowly rolling out across the United States. Facebook Messenger is currently available as a free app on the iOS App Store [Direct Link].

{Image via Mashable}

]]> 2 Apple Inc. (AAPL) Wins German Injunction Against Motorola Over Photo Gallery Patent Thu, 01 Mar 2012 17:32:20 +0000 Read More]]>

Apple Inc. (AAPL) earlier today won an injunction against Motorola in Germany over the photo gallery patent. The judgement was pronounced on Thursday at the Munich I Regional Court by Judge Dr. Peter Guntz.

AAPL and Motorola have been involved in a number of lawsuits and this recent victory over yet another patent allows Apple to enforce the ruling which could force Motorola to destroy any infringing products. Motorola could very well continue to sell its smartphones and tablet by seeding a software update to resolve the infringing feature.

It’s interesting to note that Apple has won this injunction against all accused products which include two smartphones and the Xoom tablet. If Motorola decides to issue a software update to avoid infringing on Apple’s patent then it could possibly impact the user experience who are used to certain behavior when they scroll lists or manage / browse photo galleries.

Florian Mueller, an intellectual property activist-turned-analyst, on his blog FOSS Patents reports that:

The glass is clearly more than half-full for Apple in this case (and even more so when considering that Apple also won the drastic remedies of destruction and recall).

Apple continues to be aggressive in its approach to fight against the Android platform which the Cupertino, Calif. based company claims to infringe on its many patents. In Steve Jobs’ biography it was revealed that Jobs considered Android a “stolen product” and that he would “spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong.”

Today’s ruling is the second injunction Apple has won against MMI in Germany so far. Those are the first two Apple v. Motorola casees that came to judgment in Germany.

In August last year Google announced that it would acquire Motorola for $12.5 billion and the move was largely seen as an attempt to acquire a stronger patent portfolio. However, with Apple winning injunction in recent lawsuits it remains to be seen if Google’s decision of acquiring Motorola would play out well when the deal finally comes through.

It is worth noting that due a Motorola patent ruling which is under appeal forced Apple to discontinue the “push” feature in iCloud and MobileMe email service within Germany. Users can still receive and send emails however, they would have to manually “fetch” the emails. Apple is appealing the decision and believes “this patent is invalid”.

]]> 6 Google’s Wireless Home Entertainment System to Compete with Apple Inc. (AAPL)? Mon, 13 Feb 2012 21:15:51 +0000 Read More]]> Google logo

Google is developing a new wireless home entertainment system, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal which could compete with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). The report, published on Thursday suggests that the new platform would be marketed under Google’s brand and will be based off their Android operating system, which also runs mobile phones, and parts of Chrome OS. The hardware for the entertainment system is expected to manufactured by Google Inc., something that is new to the company, as they usually include a third party in that process.

For example, Google branded and sold the Nexus smartphone, but it was manufactured by HTC. This allows Google to stay focused on the OS as opposed to hardware solutions. This is the first time that Google would handle both hardware and software, putting them directly in competition with AAPL.

Google’s Android unit has led a multi-year effort to develop the new entertainment device, which may possibly stream other digital media besides music and is expected to be unveiled later this year, people familiar with the matter said.

The new device, along with Google’s pending purchase of device maker Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., shows how serious the Internet giant is about wanting to control both the software and hardware process, a formula used by rival Apple Inc.

The system is expected to allow users to download music and stream it to Google-branded wireless speakers and other devices, putting it in a competitive market with other devices such as the Sonos home entertainment system, and even Apple’s own AirPort Express, AirPlay, and Apple TV, while not a full entertainment system in itself, it would include many of the features.

WSJ did not report as to when Google is planning to announce, let alone release the system, however, it is very likely that users will see it sometime this year. Streaming is becoming an increasingly competitive market, and Google, being pros in online services, will not give up an opportunity to dominate.

{via MacRumors}

]]> 7 Civil Suit Against Google, Apple and Other Giants Over Employee-Poaching Ban Continues Tue, 31 Jan 2012 15:27:28 +0000 Read More]]>

A civil suit against Google, Apple, and many other tech giants originally introduced more than 5 years ago, may continue to further processing. U.S District Judge has ruled that the case has grounds to continue because “they still have an antitrust claim” according to Bloomberg.

[Judge] Koh didn’t take issue with the allegations about the agreements between individual companies, Joseph Saveri, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in an interview after the hearing. Instead, Koh has questions about “how it ties together,” or claims of an over-arching conspiracy between all the companies, he said.

The five year old case, according to the lawsuit, emerged and is still running strong on the grounds that “no solicitation” agreements appeared in 2005 between Apple, Adobe, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm, and Pixar. These agreements prevented companies from contacting employees at other companies in order to steal or “poach” that particular employee for their own company’s benefit.

However, the agreement still allows employees to apply for other positions on their own. The Justice Department investigated the agreements in 2010 and eventually came to an agreement, with companies assuring that none of the company’s would enter into a no-solicitation agreements for five years. This new civil-suit is a class-action civil suit filed by employees who suggested that they were harmed by anti-competitive actions of defendant companies.

There are no dates or times as to when the case will resume in court or when action will be taken against the companies, however, this case brings to light the risks of tech giants attempting to poach employees.

{via Mac Rumors}

]]> 0 Microsoft’s Bing Comes to iOS 4 Tue, 08 Jun 2010 15:16:06 +0000 Read More]]> bing microsoft logo

When rumors of a pending iOS search deal between Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) started circulating this year, it seemed like a long shot Bing was about supplant Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) as the default iOS search engine. But politics makes for strange allies and as the gulf between Apple and Google widened as the year wore on, Bing as the default iOS search started seeming like more and more of a possibility. With yesterday’s announcement of the inclusion of Bing in iOS as an option, not the default, we get yet another example of the Apple rumor machine giving us a partial truth mixed liberally with wild speculation.

Simply including Bing alongside Google and Yahoo! in MobileSafari instantly raises its exposure and credibility. Bing has earned some quiet praise for unique features like Visual Search and bringing those capabilities to the iOS natively should greatly enhance the user experience. In talking about Bing’s inclusion, Jobs offered his own praise for the search engine. Lauding the Bing team’s implementation of the search engine on the mobile device, the Apple chief spoke to the search engine’s use of HTML5. While stopping short of drawing comparisons between Google and Bing, he did seem to indicate his pleasure with the new option. Now that Bing is a native option it’s unclear whether Microsoft will discontinue its current iOS app but it seems likely it will maintain both, much like Google and Yahoo! do now. As with a lot of things in the iOS environment, native apps provide an outlet for increased function that can’t be replicated in a browser search results page.

What do you think of the inclusion of Bing in iOS 4? Is this an attempt to provide the user more choice or to tweak Google in the ongoing war between Cupertino and Mountain View? Is this the beginning of an unforeseen detente between Apple and Microsoft? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.

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]]> 0 iPhone OS 4.0 To Include More Bing Sat, 29 May 2010 17:15:04 +0000 Read More]]> bing microsoft logo

It appears the war between Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) has escalated and to some it may seem that Apple has chosen the nuclear option. According to reports originating on TechCrunch, Apple is currently in talks to expand the breadth and availability of Microsoft services in iPhone OS 4.0. Traditional foes during the original Silicon Valley wars, increasingly Apple has taken a pragmatic, “enemy of my enemy” approach in Silicon Valley War 2.0. How ironic would it be if Microsoft, who once famously injected a 150 million life saving dollars into Apple, was in turn saved by their former nemesis?

Reports earlier this year suggested that Apple and Microsoft had been in talks to include Bing as an iPhone search option or replace Google entirely. If Apple is serious about ridding their operating system of Google-branded products, Microsoft and their Bing division certainly have the services to do it. Bing provides replacements for basic web search, image and video search, news, maps, and visual search. In some cases these products are more highly regarded than similar offerings from Google. Although we shouldn’t expect a wholesale expulsion of Google from the iPhone OS immediately, it certainly sets the stage for further moves if these first ones are successful. Microsoft has hungered for a way to get more eyeballs on Bing and the iPhone ecosystem is certainly prime real estate. Bing already offers a very popular iPhone application, it wouldn’t take much for Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Apple to work together to integrate these services into the operating system. This integration could be as simple as letting a user choose which services they want right up to the eventual end game of wholesale Google replacement.

These negotiations with Microsoft demonstrate the incredible acumen with which Apple manages their products. Talking to Microsoft serves two primary purposes. First, Apple gives a company desperate for a foothold in the mobile space a chance for success. Apple is very good at selecting partners who are in need of the boost inclusion provides. Originally it was the music industry with the iPod and iTunes. After that it was the print industry with the iPad. Now Apple recognizes that partnering with Microsoft puts them in a position of power to deal for the services they need. When the iPhone was introduced in 2007, Google was in a similar situation. They wanted and needed a foothold in mobile that Apple was happy to provide. Now that Google has shown its desire to go an independent route, Apple is more than happy to move away from them.

Secondly, it gives Apple options. They can choose to use a contract with Microsoft as leverage with Google or as their exit strategy. If Apple isn’t quite ready to cut the cord with Google they could use an agreement with Microsoft to gain concessions from the search giant. Rumors have circulated about how much Google is paying Apple for relatively exclusivity on the iPhone platform but no hard numbers have ever been revealed. With Bing in their back pocket, Apple could sting their former friends in Mountain View with demands for more money or other concessions to maintain that exclusivity, or at least primacy, in the operating system. By the same token, Apple may well have decided the end has come for their partnership with Google and be readying a phased exit strategy. They’ll gradually introduce Bing-based services into 4.0 and subsequent releases until all traces of Google have been removed. It may be hard to see the break up happen but it may be time and best for both companies to go their separate ways.

What do you think of the Apple – Microsoft negotiations? Will the inclusion of Microsoft services help or hinder the iPhone OS? Do you Google or Bing? We’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on the subject.

]]> 2 FTC Clears Google’s (GOOG) AdMob Acquisition. What does it mean? Mon, 24 May 2010 21:09:04 +0000 Read More]]> Apple iAd Admob

To little fanfare before the weekend the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the US cleared Google’s acquisition of AdMob. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) dived in to snap up AdMob in late 2009, while Apple was mulling over the purchase itself.

The deal has been on hold while the FTC looked into it ever since then. The FTC’s initial concern was that Google snapping up a competitor in a market place that it is already dominant in could lead to antitrust worries.

In the meantime Apple purchased a similar, but much smaller and cheaper rival mobile advertising company called Quattro Wireless. This was morphed into iAd, Apple’s own entry into the mobile advertising arena, which is set to be an integral part of iPhone OS from version 4.0 onwards.

It is expected that, at least initially, Apple will only allow iAd to be used on its own devices. Whereas AdMob started out on the iPhone, but is now on Android too, and is expected to try and spread to as many platforms as possible. But its days on the iPhone seem numbered, at least in the iTunes App Store model. Because Apple seems to be locking other advertisers out by restricting their use of metrics to track consumers, so as to make their existence on its platform untenable.

On the surface of it the basic reason why the FTC cleared this acquisition by Google now is because of Apple’s move into the mobile ad arena with iAd. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) did Google a favor. Even if it didn’t intend to. Because as it stood, back in late 2009, Google had simply paid top dollar for a company which was potentially of no great strategic value to it, other than in a move to stymy Apple’s aspirations in the Google’s sandpit.

The FTC’s decision was probably also swayed to some degree by their perception of Apple’s dominance in the mobile market place generally. Their thinking being that some competition for Apple might be a good thing. And perhaps that Apple seems big enough and ugly enough to go toe to toe with Google in a market that it is traditionally dominant in.

If neither of those factors had been in play it is likely Google would have had to go to war and fight the FTC for this acquisition to be approved. Because as it stands even now AdMob has a de-facto monopoly on mobile advertising. Even if it may be short lived now.

“As a result of Apple’s entry (into the market), AdMob’s success to date on the iPhone platform is unlikely to be an accurate predictor of AdMob’s competitive significance going forward, whether AdMob is owned by Google or not,” the Commission’s statement explains.

But the hands off approach that the FTC has taken at this stage is certainly not one that comes without caveats.

Google is The (with a capital ‘T’) advertising powerhouse on the web globally, and the FTC is not without its concerns over that.

However, Google’s mobile phone market share at the time the FTC was looking over this, was to Apple’s mobile phone market penetration what Apple’s iAd is to Google’s global advertising behemoth currently. Of course things can change.

In some ways it could be said that the FTC feels it is creating some balance with its decision, and recognises that there is going to be healthy competition between Apple and Google in the future – which should in theory be good for the consumer. By consumer one could infer both us clicking on ads, and also advertisers who buy exposure from Apple (via iAd) and Google (via AdMob). But let’s remember Apple has not served a single ad yet.

Google is also a company that preaches, and to some extent practises, openness to all. Where as Apple presents a slightly less accessible front to its “partners”. Google has also played nice in terms of the US government’s world-view when it comes to things like China. It spends a bit more on lobbying than Apple does too. All these things may count for something.

Having said all that the FTC did have the following to say, “Though we have determined not to take action today, the Commission will continue to monitor the mobile marketplace to ensure a competitive environment and to protect the interests of consumers.”

In other words if iAd fails (which is unlikely) they may look at this again.

Notice also that the FTC don’t specifically say “mobile advertising” in their statement. They say “mobile marketplace”. The FTC obviously have concerns over the mobile marketplace generally. And probably also feel that they still have a lot to learn too. It’s worth noting that they may still be mulling over an antitrust investigation into Apple over Flash, and also Google over some of its recent acquisitions of internet communications companies.

An interesting twist is to consider what would happen if Android gains massively in market share. Which if you believe Google, and certain analysts, is already happening. In that case AdMob will still be the only advertising network available to advertisers on Android, unless Apple opens up iAd. And it will be the only mobile advertising marketplace on a very large eco-system controlled by a company which is already The King of Advertising – globally!

When you look at this that way it’s hard to see who the FTC is actually protecting. Google has its own mobile phone ecosystem, which is actually quite closed from an OEM point of view. And it has an advertising network which is likely to be used more and more exclusively on their devices only. That is until HP or RIM get their act together.

Apple has an extremely closed mobile device ecosystem, and its own very closed advertising network – which is purportedly charging advertisers a premium to play on, as well as potentially being choosey about who can leverage the network in their apps. Two aspects that advertiser and consumers have yet to form solid opinions on, but have been heard to be apprehensive about.

The whole equation may be a little too complex for the FTC to form an opinion on, or effectively legislate for right now. Almost to the point that making a decision about advertising networks alone becomes moot currently.

Moving forward its likely that AdMob and Android will become synonymous with one another, likewise the iPhone, iPad and iAd will do the same.

At that point the FTC will have to decide if two companies, both with an effective monopoly for advertising in their own handset eco-systems is something they need to look at again.

When you look at it in its entirety, what choice did the FTC have today? And what have they actually achieved?
More to the point, what could they have achieved?

The FTC probably realised all this. Saw it had no effective decision to make. And so decided that the best thing to do was let this all play out, while keeping a close eye on both Apple and Google with regards to their mobile devices, OS and advertising networks in their entirety moving forwards.

What do you think? Are both Google and Apple monopolies in their own right? Should the FTC do something now, or later? Let us know in the comments…

]]> 0 Who Wins The Apple – Google War? Sun, 23 May 2010 13:18:14 +0000 Read More]]> Steve Jobs Eric Schmidt

If an official declaration of war was necessary, it was presented this week at the Google I/O conference. Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) are at war and all of the afternoon coffee breaks between Steve and Eric aren’t going to change that. As the technology world moves from the desktop to the mobile world, the long truce that held between these two rivals dissolved as Microsoft moved to a place of importance but relative irrelevance. So now that the guns are blazing in round two of the Battle of Silicon Valley, who will eventually win the conflict? Will it be Apple with their superior user experience, vertically integrated products, and developed ecosystem? Will it be Google with its clout, emergent systems, and open standards? In fact, neither will be the winner or the loser. The real winner will be you and I, the consumers that use the products and services of both companies.

It is a generally accepted axiom of commercial and economic theory that competition breeds innovation. It is, in fact, the central underpinning of the free market system. When the iPhone and associated operating system came on the scene in 2007 it had no competitor, it had no comparison. It was utterly and truly a new thing, formed entirely to bring a new experience to the cell phone. There was WAP web browsing before the iPhone, there were even limited Java-based applications. The iPhone was born from the realization that consumers would be interested in using a true smart phone as a mini-computer instead of just a phone and limited entertainment device. Apple took that initial lead they grabbed by going in another direction and parlayed it into an environment they slowly iterated to add new features as they became comfortable with them. By the time the iPhone 3G came out in 2008 Apple was firmly astride the mobile market with a dominance and lead no one could question.

But a funny thing happened on the way to world domination, Google showed up. When the Android operating system was announced in 2007 it signaled a move by Google into the mobile space. Google wanted a share of the emergent market Apple had discovered with the iPhone they had announced earlier that year. At the time Android presented little threat to the iPhone OS. It was seen as a configuration heavy, geek friendly operating system while the iPhone OS was geared towards a managed, consumer friendly experience. Between 2007 and 2009 the iPhone OS grabbed a large share of the smart phone market, partially due to its innovative design and partially due to the lack of a viable alternative. When the Motorola Droid was launched in October of 2009 with Android OS 2.0, serious competition for the iPhone finally landed. In the interceding time since then, the innovation and competition coming out of both companies has heated up.

I don’t think it comes as any surprise that I am generally a fan of the iPhone, the iPhone OS, and the whole ecosystem Apple has grown around it. It’s my opinion that it presents the best integrated user experience. I would be the first one to admit however that with the inception of Android 2.0 Google has started to right the ship. As a consumer in the iPhone ecosystem I don’t view this as necessarily a bad thing and neither should you. Good competition breeds innovation and innovation ultimately benefits the consumer. While I wouldn’t advise Apple to start rushing features and services into their products merely to participate in a “me-too” race with Google, I might suggest that taking the competition into consideration might be a good idea. I think they’ve done that already with the inclusion of video conferencing, a front facing camera, and multitasking to the upcoming iPhone 4G / HD. In evaluating the competition and consumer demand, Apple has added features to the product they are comfortable with and that advance the product that much more. Competition spurred the innovation but the innovation wasn’t simply a move to imitate something the competition already had. That’s an important point. As I mentioned yesterday, Google’s Froyo announcement at I/O seemed intent on introducing features that were picked from a shopping list of things the iPhone OS didn’t have. The things Apple is bringing to the table in the new iPhone 4G and iPhone operating system may have been spurred by the competition from Android, but they are not simply extensions of what Android already offers.

The good news is this war will have a winner; you, the consumer. Much like an earlier war between Apple and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) produced improved versions of both Windows and Mac OS, this new conflict will ultimately breed innovations and improvements in the mobile market. I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens.

Do you think this newfound competition in the mobile space will ultimately benefit the consumer? Does either Apple or Google really have the clout to truly beat the other? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section.

Image: Gizmodo
]]> 3 Android outsells Apple’s iPhone in the US (NPD Survey) Mon, 10 May 2010 19:14:52 +0000 Read More]]> According to NPD Group Google’s (GOOG) Android outsells Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone and has grabbed the number two spot in the US for mobile phone sales. The operative word being sales.

The figures they quote are based on sales data from more than 150,000 completed online consumer research surveys from each month for 2010 so far. According to NPD these surveys represent the “entire population of US consumers”. But they are surveys, not raw retail figures.

Reading through the report the figures they quote seem to show that Research in Motion (RIM) still hold the number one spot, with 36 percent of the mobile phone market in the US. Android’s share has grown quite impressively to 28 percent, and Apple has lost some ground, to fall slightly into 3rd place, with 21 percent.

The reasons that NPD give for this is that Apple’s iPhone is a victim of only being available on one network, and in one flavour. Where as Android handsets are available in more flavours, and on several networks.

Even so these results are quite a shift from a slightly different kind of report put out by ComScore earlier in the year, which showed that Android only had 5.2 percent of all web smartphone traffic in the US, against the iPhone’s 25.3 percent. By comparison though, let’s remember that those figures were based on figures gleaned up to the end of 2009 for smart phones using the internet. Not sales.

So bearing in mind that NPD’s figures today are sales figures for the first quarter of this year, it is entirely reasonable to draw the conclusion from them that Android has been selling like hot-cakes for the last few months. Which would mean that while there are more iPhones out there overall than Android handsets, Android is stealing a march on the iPhone right now.

However, both phones are still selling very well.

There is also of course the possibility that consumers are holding off buying iPhones (to some small degree) while they wait for the next iPhone. But this would have a very small overall effect on those figures, I suspect. Certainly not 10’s of percentage points which is what Android’s sales growth seems to show.

In any case the figures make interesting reading, and give us all something to think about.

Do you think Android is about to give the iPhone a drubbing? Let us know in the comments.

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