The three apps are free for consumers, who may use them only for non-commercial purposes; in other words, not for work- or business-related tasks.
Microsoft kicked off previews last month, wrapping up the release of the suite’s apps for the OSes maintained by rivals Google (Android) and Apple (iOS). The gradual rollout began in March 2014 with the surprise debut of Office on the iPad less than two months after Satya Nadella replaced Steve Ballmer as CEO.
Previously, Microsoft released betas of Office for Windows 10 Mobile — the operating system that will launch before the end of this year for smartphones and smaller tablets — and for Windows 10 on desktops, 2-in-1s and larger tablets. Neither of those collections have been completed.
Microsoft’s change in tenor and pivot in strategy have been clearest over the last 17 months as it crafted and then released touch-based Office apps for every major operating system except Windows, turning a decades-long practice of protecting its own OS on its head.
As with the Office apps on other devices, Excel, PowerPoint and Word on Android can be used by consumers free of charge for basic tasks, including viewing, creating and editing documents. A Microsoft Account — the credentials used to access Microsoft’s services, such as Outlook.com and Skype — is required for all but viewing documents, and on larger Android devices, for everything but viewing and printing.
Business customers and anyone who wants to utilize advanced features, however, require a current Office 365 subscription.
Google Play Music has offered a $9.99 per month subscription service for two years but Tuesday’s launch is the first free version of the streaming service. It is available online and will be available on Android and iOS by the end of the week, Elias Roman, Google product manager, said.
Apple said earlier this month it would launch a music streaming service on June 30 for $9.99 per month along with a $14.99 per month family plan, with a free three-month trial.
As with other streaming services, such as Spotify and Rhapsody, Google Play Music curates playlists. Users can tailor playlists based on genre, artist or even activity, such as hosting a pool party or “having fun at work.”
“We believe this is a play that will expose a lot of people to the service,” Roman said in an interview.
Unlike Google’s subscription music service, the free service will carry ads, be unavailable offline and exclude certain songs.
Roman said millions of people look at Google Play Music each month but are not ready to pay for a subscription. By offering a free version of the service, he said, the search engine hopes more people will be compelled to pay for an upgraded version.
Ted Cohen, managing partner of TAG Strategic, a digital entertainment consultancy, said the timing of Google’s launch was strategic.
“It’s a smart time to do it with all the attention around Apple,” Cohen said. “If they did it absent the Apple service, it wouldn’t be the same story.”
Google declined to say how many subscribers it has but said they more than doubled in 2014 from the previous year. But rivals Pandora, Spotify and Beats Music had far more mobile downloads than Google Play Music in 2014, according to data from analytics firm App Annie
SoftBank Robotics Corp., an international company based in Japan, put 1,000 personal robots, priced at $1,600, on sale last Saturday. Within one minute, they were sold out. Customers also must pay a $120 per month cloud connection fee and and monthly insurance of $80.
It was the first time that SoftBank had allowed people to put in orders for the robot, dubbed Pepper.
There has been high interest in the robot’s launch because its creators say Pepper not only can read and respond to human emotions but it will have its own emotions. According to SoftBank, the robot can autonomously generate emotions by processing information from its cameras and sensors.
SoftBank said more sales will be announced next month.
“With this emotion function, Pepper’s emotions are influenced by people’s facial expressions and words, as well as his surroundings, which in turn affects Pepper’s words and actions,” the company said in a statement. “For example, Pepper is at ease when he is around people he knows, happy when he is praised, and gets scared when the lights go down.”
The robot is designed to raise its voice or can sigh depending on its emotions at the moment. Pepper also will show its emotions – based on different colors and motions – on a chest display.
The robot also has an ecosystem of more than 200 apps.
Last week, SoftBank announced a deal to team deal to team with Foxconn Technology Group, an Apple manufacturer, and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group to build and sell robots for the home and enterprise worldwide.
SoftBank will retain 60% of its company but for an investment of $118 million U.S. each, both Foxconn and Alibaba will receive 20 percent stakes in the robotics maker.
IDC had said two weeks ago that Apple will ship to retailers about 21 million Apple Watches in 2015. That’s in the mid-range of other analyst forecasts of 15 million to 30 million for the new device.
Then last week IDC said that all smartwatches and a small number of other smart wearables will total 33.1 million shipments in 2015, putting Apple Watch at 63% of that total. Smart wearables are defined by IDC as devices capable of running third party apps, such as Apple Watch and Android Wear watches like the Moto 360.
The IDC prediction comes amidst some other striking analyst forecasts for the Apple Watch, but also amid questions about the overall value of smartwatches.
Financial analyst Brian White of Cantor Fitzgerald recently declared the Apple Watch will “prove to be the best selling product in Apple’s history (within the first 12 months.)” Various estimates say it took one day of pre-orders to sell 1 million Apple Watches, while it took Apple 74 days to sell 1 million iPhones and 28 days to sell 1 million iPads.
Research firm Slice Intelligence told Reuters that about 2.8 million Apple Watches were sold through mid-June, nearly two months after the device first went on sale. Apple hasn’t reported how many Apple Watches it has sold and is not expected to separately report that number in the future. Slice gets its insights by mining e-mail receipts. The entry-level Apple Watch costs $349 and is the most popular in sales, Slice said.
About 20% of Apple Watch customers are also buying a spare watch band, with the entry-level sports band selling for $49, Slice noted.
One of the emerging players in the industry is definitely Oculus Rift, a potential leader of the whole Virtual Reality niche.
The Electronic Entertainment Expo or E3 is definitely a good place to show off new tech, and visitors get to see the multi-billion dollar gaming industry jewels at their best. A veritable who is who of the gaming and publishing industry is competing for visitors’ attention and some 50,000 people get to see some of the latest and greatest gaming achievements.
Since Oculus got picked up by Facebook for $2 billion, everyone started to believe that VR is the place to be. Nvidia and AMD, the undisputed leaders of the gaming hardware industry, are investing huge amounts of money and effort to make Virtual Reality a reality, pardon the pun. Oculus needs a lot of GPU performance, the sort of performance you can get from the latest graphics hardware. It will spend every texel that your graphics engine can compute and it will need even more. Oculus needs at least a Radeon R9 290 or Geforce GTX 970 graphics card in order to get you a decent gaming expirience.
This VR need for performance, coupled with demand for 4K panels and gaming rigs, will push graphics hardware development to the next level and there is no doubt that 2016 GPUs will pass the 10 billion transistor barrier.
We got a chance to try the Oculus CV1 Consumer Version that is set to launch in Q1 2016 and we had a whole 7 minutes to play with it. We have to admit that Oculus has a virtually nonexistent public relations department and that we can be happy that we got these seven minutes with the Edge of Nowhere game. You get to chose from a few titles including EVE Valkyrie, Edge of Nowhere, Chronos, AirMech VR, Lucky’s Tale, Herobound: Spirit Champion, VR Sports: Challanage, Esper or Damadged Core. We did tried EVE Valkyrie on both AMD and Nvidia hardware at Crescent Bay demo.
The resolution didn’t change from Crescent Bay last beta Oculus that we got to try so many times. You can see individual pixels and despite the fact that you can look around and see 360 degrees, you would want to get somewhat better resolution.
The second problem was that the Edge of Nowhere game is really hard to play. The Xbox 360 controller is not the greatest tool that will keep you from falling trough the void. It is hard and no, we didn’t get to try the new controller.
My biggest concern is the fact that Virtual Reality glasses are making your slightly dizzy. There are more than a few people who feel really bad after minutes of using Oculus. If 3D glasses at movie theater make you dizzy and uncomfortable, Oculus VR will be your cryptonite. This is going to be a tough nut to crack. Getting into Virtual Reality world and coming out might be a troublesome expirience, too. Every single Oculus demo we got to try since the first one was a few minutes long. We want to see what happens after one or more hours of gameplay. This will be the key thing for the future of Oculus VR (and other VR solutions).
On a less critical note, the glasses get to mess up your hair as you can clearly see from the picture above.
Have in mind that virtual reality is the way to get you to Star Trek holodeck and we hope that this will happen sooner rather than later, but there is a lot of room for improvement. Mark Zuckerberg was very smart to buy Oculus, as the company wants you to move to a VR space and make time consuming stuff such as chat more personal. Millennials will be able to chat more on a much more personal level than older generations, who got used to MIRC, ICQ and Skype.
The fact that HTC and Valve are already making Oculus run for its money is great, as every industry needs competition. Some other players are trying to get to this market but we saw a few other smaller players that are trying their best, but they are still not at the level where these big boys are.
Every new technology just needs time to mature, and Virtual reality is no exception. Just give it some time and please don’t expect it to be the best thing since sliced bread.
Last week, researchers at NowSecure, a mobile security company, identified the flaw in SwiftKey, a keyboard application that comes preloaded on Galaxy smartphones. The flaw could be exploited even when SwiftKey was not used as the default keyboard, NowSecure said.
On Thursday, Samsung said it would issue a fix that wouldroll out over the coming days to owners of the Galaxy S4, released in 2013, and later models. Those devices have Samsung’s Knox security platform installed by default and can receive over-the-air security policy updates. Users must have automatic updates activated in their phone’s settings, Samsung said on its website.
For earlier Galaxy phones that don’t come with Knox, Samsung said it was working on an expedited firmware update. Availability will vary depending on the model, region and service carrier.
SwiftKey’s app, which predicts words as users type, is also available from the Google Play and Apple App stores. But those versions of the app were not affected by the vulnerability, a SwiftKey spokeswoman said last Thursday.
The smaller sibling to the 9.7-in. iPad no longer appears on Apple’s online store, a fact first reported by 9to5Mac.com on Friday.
The iPad Mini had been superseded by a pair of follow-ups, including the iPad Mini 2 in 2013 and the iPad Mini 3 last year. Both of those tablets, while sporting the same-sized screen as the original, boasted so-called “Retina” high-resolution displays.
Apple initially priced the iPad Mini at $329, but as its successors appeared, dropped the price, first to $299 in 2013, then to $249 with the appearance of the $399 iPad Mini 3.
Apple confirmed the discontinuation of the non-Retina iPad Mini.
“The non-retina iPad Mini model is no longer available,” an Apple spokesman said. “Now all models of iPad Mini and iPad Air have 64-bit Apple-designed CPUs and high-resolution Retina displays.”
The original iPad Mini relied on a 32-bit A5 system-on-a-chip (SoC). Both successors were powered by the A7 SoC, which featured a 64-bit architecture. The larger iPad Air 2, Apple’s current top-of-the-line tablet, runs on a 64-bit A8X SoC. Also still available from Apple: the original iPad Air, which uses a 64-bit A7 SoC.
As Apple’s spokesman noted, the four remaining iPad models — Air 2, Air, Mini 3, Mini 2 — all feature Retina-quality screens and 64-bit processors.
Most analysts expect that Apple will again expand the iPad line, probably this year, with a larger-screen tablet in the 12-in. range. Several new features in iOS 9, this year’s annual upgrade, including a split-screen mode, have signaled a likely turn to a bigger iPad.
“Today, we’re introducing Box for Office Online, making it easier than ever for our customers to create and manage their Word docs, PowerPoint presentations and Excel spreadsheets securely from anywhere and on any device, right from Box,” said David Still, Box’s chief of mobile products, in a post to his company’s blog.
Like the ties between Dropbox and Office Online — the latter is Microsoft’s browser-based app trio of Excel, PowerPoint and Word — Box lets customers open documents from within its service, edit and then save back to the cloud. Box users will also be able to create new Office Online documents.
Dropbox added the same functionality to its browser-based UI in April, part of a broader partnership with Microsoft that kicked off in November 2014.
Still also promised future Box moves to bring it more on par with Dropbox. “Later this year, [Box and Microsoft] intend to further collaborate on integrations with native Office clients on iOS, Android, and Windows,” Still wrote.
He did not provide a release window for updates to Box’s mobile apps.
Microsoft added Dropbox support to its Office apps on iPhone, iPad and Android late last year, and Dropbox released a Windows Phone app in January.
Box took advantage of Microsoft’s Office 365 Cloud Storage Partner Program, an initiative by the Redmond, Wash. developer to extend the influence of Office by letting third-party cloud storage services connect to Office Online and Office for iOS. Box signed up with the program in mid-February.
“By opening up Office Online, Microsoft is showing an amazing amount of proactive enablement for moving the future of work this direction,” said Box CEO Aaron Levie in a separate post.
Although Microsoft competes with both Dropbox and Box with its own OneDrive cloud storage service, the company has aggressively moved toward a more agnostic outlook, whether regarding rival platforms or competitive services.
Advertisers’ videos and those uploaded to Twitter natively through its new video recording tool will play automatically on the company’s desktop site and in its iOS app, with Android functionality coming soon, the company announced.
The changes also apply to videos recorded with Twitter’s Vine app and GIFs.
Autoplaying videos, though possibly annoying, will help Twitter compete against Facebook, which started placing autoplaying videos, including those from advertisers, in users’ feeds in 2013. Twitter makes the bulk of its money through advertising, and more Internet companies are looking to siphon video advertising dollars away from traditional TV.
On Twitter, the videos will start playing without sound unless they’re tapped on.
Twitter users who don’t want autoplaying videos can change their settings to revert to the click-to-play format. Users can also change their settings so videos only play automatically when they’re connected to Wi-Fi.
Users will not see auto-playing videos if they have a low bandwidth connection on their device, Twitter said.
Twitter is using the same amount of viewing time as Facebook to define a video “view”: three seconds.
Twitter began testing auto-playing videos earlier this year.
In a sign that the end is near for the iWatch, the New York Times has admitted that it is rubbish.
For those that came in late, the New York Times has a long history of writing pro-Apple stories and has been a key ally in promoting all of Jobs’ Mob’s products to its readers.
The fact that the New York Times which reviewed the watch and called it “bliss” has changed its mind is showing how much the product is slipping.
Vanessa Friedman told the world that after a few months trying to get the iWatch to do something useful she was giving up.
“The relationship was, despite all expectations, not what I needed. All the focus on San Francisco and Apple’s next big innovation this week (streaming!) made me realize it was not playing my tune,” she wrote. ”I wanted it to work. I wanted to fall in love, like so many of my friends. “It takes a while,” they said. “Don’t expect a coup de foudre. Let it build over time.”
Besides the fact I think you need to change your friends and your insistence on using pretentious French idoims, does this suggest that you gave the product too much credibility to start with?
According to Vanessa while she liked the way that people asked her about the watch, she didn’t like the fact that people pigeon holed her into a category.
We guess it meant that people started speaking to her slightly slower like she would not understand big words and assumed she always had more money than she knew what to do with. We would have thought she would have noticed that when she used her iPhone.
“It looked like a gadget… Every time I see it, I want to shriek, “Beam me up, Scotty,” she wrote. Which is coincidently what everyone else thinks when an Apple fanboy or girl comes into the room.
She was also disappointed to discover that people thought her mad trying to read things the size of a postage stamp on her emails, or ended up appearing to talk to her wrist.
“A phone is hand-held, and we are used to seeing people read things held in their hands. Like, say, books. But seeing somebody staring at her wrist (or merely sneaking a surreptitious glance at it) telegraphs something else entirely: (1) rudeness or (2) geekiness.”
Good point, but one was obvious long before you wrote an expensive cheque for the thing.
“The watch isn’t actually a fashion accessory for the tech-happy. It’s a tech accessory pretending to be a fashion accessory. I just couldn’t fall for it,” she summarised.
For once me and an Apple fangirl agree on something completely But it does mean that after a month of use, many iWatch users are giving up on Apple’s latest shiny toy.
Last week, Asus Chairman Jonney Shih said he wouldn’t dismiss the possibility of buying HTC.
Such a move could help both companies: Asus has been trying to move beyond its traditional PC business into sales of Android smartphones, and acquiring smartphone maker HTC would boost its market presence. It could also provide support for HTC, which has seen its market share dwindle in the face of tough competition from Apple, Samsung Electronics and Chinese smartphone vendors.
Such arguments hold no sway with HTC, though.
“We didn’t contact Asustek, and will not consider the acquisition,” the company said in a posting to the Taiwan stock exchange on Monday.
With a deal out of the question — at least as far as HTC is concerned — both companies will need other strategies.
Asus is counting on organic growth in its smartphone business. This year it aims to ship 17 million phones, double last year’s total, but still a tiny fraction of the global market. It has already started selling phones in the U.S. in a bid to reach its target.
HTC’s future financial performance remains in question. Earlier this month, it revised its financial outlook for the second quarter, and said revenue would be down further than expected on slower demand for high-end phones. In the past three months, the company’s stock price has also dropped by almost half.
In March, HTC founder Cher Wang took over as CEO, with the hope of engineering a turnaround. She has said the company will cut operating costs, and look for opportunities outside selling handsets.
Apple did not highlight it during the keynote address kicking off its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) last week, but the company will release an Android-to-iOS migration app alongside iOS 9 this fall.
The app, given the prosaic name “Move to iOS,” will help switchers defect Android for Apple’s iPhone or iPad.
“It securely transfers your contacts, message history, camera photos and videos, [browser] bookmarks, mail accounts, calendars, wallpaper, and DRM-free songs and books,” Apple asserted in its iOS 9 online marketing materials.
The migration app shouldn’t come as a surprise, said Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel Comtech.
“Anything vendors can do to make it as pain-free as possible for users to make [a migration] is a good thing,” Milanesi said in an email. “We are in a very saturated market and sales will come from keeping your clients loyal and engaged, and attracting customers from your competitors.”
Apple’s focus on snatching customers from Android device makers isn’t new.
In a January call with Wall Street analysts, Apple CEO Tim Cook trumpeted his firm’s ability to tempt consumers to dump Android. “The current iPhone line-up experienced the highest Android switcher rate in any of the last three launches in the three previous years,” Cook said.
Apple sold a record 74.5 million iPhones in the three months that ended Dec. 31, 2014, a 46% improvement compared to the same period the year prior. Analysts attributed much of that growth to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus that Apple started selling in September 2014, when the Cupertino, Calif. finally offered smartphones with screens in sizes previously available only from Android ODMs (original device manufacturers) such as Samsung.
iPhone sales dropped to 61.2 million units in the March 2015 quarter, but that was still a 40% year-over-year increase.
While Cook did not peg an Android-to-iOS switch rate, outsiders have. In January, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) said its polling showed that 19% of U.S. iPhone customers confirmed they had switched from an Android phone.
The service, to be available in the form of an app as well as a website, will focus exclusively on gamers and gaming.
More than 25,000 games will each have their own page on the site, bringing videos and live streams about various titles together in a single space, Google said.
Users will be able to add games to their collection for quick access, subscribe to channels, and receive recommendations on new games based on the games and channels they follow.
“When you want something specific, you can search with confidence, knowing that typing “call” will show you “Call of Duty” and not “Call Me Maybe,” Google said in a blog post.
Amazon bought Twitch Interactive last year for $970 million, beating a rival bid from Google.
“We welcome new entrants into the growing list of competitors since gaming video is obviously a huge market that others have their eye on,” said Matthew DiPietro, Twitch’s vice president of marketing.
Twitch also tweeted a welcome message to its rival, saying, “@YouTubeGaming Welcome Player 2. Add me on Google +. #kappa”
“Kappa” is an emoticon used mostly by Twitch users to convey sarcasm.
YouTube Gaming will available on the web, mobiles and tablets on both Android and iOS operating systems, according to a tweet from its official account.
The service will launch this summer, starting in the United States and UK.
Fudzilla tried every single developer’s version and we tried the last beta, codenamed Crescent Bay, at more than one action. Recently Nvidia had a bunch of demos that we got to experience last week at Computex in Taiwan.
Crescent Bay is good, but we wanted a higher resolution per eye. Unfortunately, the Oculus Consumer version comes with the same OLED based 2160×1200 at 90Hz panel, split over dual displays. This means that you are getting 1080×1200 at 90 Hz per eye. These are the numbers that Atman Binstock, Chief Architect at Oculus Rift shared with the community some months ago.
Another thing that Oculus CEO Palmer Luckey didn’t mention is the retail price of the VR glasses. From what we could find out, the company plans to sell them for $499. The goal is to offer this technology together with PC for $1500 and you can get a decent PC with GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 for that money. Have in mind that the computer components will get even cheaper by Q1 2016 when Oculus plans to ship their glasses. Oculus issued a statement that $1500 will get you a PC with glasses.
The main question remains how they feel after hours or playing. Every single demo we tried was a few minutes long, but what happens after a couple of hours of playing?
And don’t worry the second generation consumer version that we expect to see in the second half of 2016 will probably have better displays and improved tracking sensors too.
“From the standpoint of marketing, this is a great way for BlackBerry to get visibility. It really doesn’t hurt them much, and the upside is high,” said Rob Enderle, who runs technology consulting firm Enderle Group.
Enderle and other financial and tech analysts agree that the move by BlackBerry does present its own set of challenges as the company would have to support two platforms and potentially put some resources into marketing an Android device, but with little to lose most agree it comes with little downside.
“If Android has one significant weakness it is security and that’s just the thing that BlackBerry can fix, so it could play out pretty well and I am actually quite surprised that they did not try this sooner,” said Enderle, adding that BlackBerry has to deliver a compelling device in order for the gambit to work.
Reuters reported last week that BlackBerry was considering a move to test run Android on its upcoming slider device, as part of a bid to convince potential corporate and government clients that its device management system, BES12, is truly able of manage and secure not just BlackBerry devices, but also devices powered by Google’s Android, Apple’s iOS and Microsoft’s Windows operating system.
“In order for BES12 to succeed it has to be viewed by all as platform agnostic, and what better way to demonstrate that other than by doing it yourself,” said Ramon Llamas, an analyst with technology research firm IDC.
BlackBerry, which once dominated the smartphone market, has seen its market share drop to under 1 percent, as the iPhone and a slew of Android devices from Samsung have captured market share. John Chen, a turnaround expert brought in to fix its slide, is now pivoting BlackBerry to focus more on its well-regarded software and device management business.