Airline pilots now have the ability to use the Microsoft Surface 2 tablet in the cockpit after receiving Class 1 or 2 electronic flight bag project authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Powered by Windows RT, Microsoft was able to work the tablet through different testing phases before being authorized for in-flight use.
"While airlines are still obligated to define their specific use requirements with the FAA and request specific device approval, our completion of these tests for Surface 2 satisfies a lengthy and important part of that authorization process," Microsoft noted in a blog post. "So when airline looks to select Surface 2 for their EFB initiatives, their timeline to deployment can be significantly decreased."
Pilots are anxious to leave behind paper maps, bulky manuals and other non-digital products, though the FAA has stringent testing that includes environmental testing to make sure the device doesn't interfere with aircraft electronics.
This is an important victory for Microsoft, because the software giant wants to show its Windows-powered mobile devices can be used as real-world work devices.
Sprint and SoftBank are trying to determine if a continued effort to acquire T-Mobile is worth the trouble, as antitrust officials want to keep as much competition alive as possible. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse and Chairman Masayoshi Son reportedly have met with U.S. Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) officials, though trying to convince antitrust officials to approve the deal will be difficult.
When AT&T, currently the No. 2 U.S. wireless carrier, expressed interest in purchasing T-Mobile a few years ago, the deal was almost instantly shot down. It would be hard to imagine the No. 3 wireless carrier being allowed to successfully acquire T-Mobile, which is No. 4, especially after SoftBank purchased majority stake in the company.
"A few years ago only AT&T and Verizon were growing," said tech analyst Jeff Kagan. "At that time T-Mobile and Sprint were in trouble. Since that time things are starting to change. T-Mobile got a new CEO and has started to grow once again. Sprint has been acquired by Softbank and has not started to grow yet, but we are hoping to see that growth begin sooner rather than later."
Consumers trying to sign up for wireless service have more appealing, competitively priced voice, texting and data plans available.
Today, Verizon announced that it will finally be selling and activating Google's Nexus 7 tablet with LTE capabilities. The Tablet will go on sale later this week just in time for Valentines day, and can be added to existing share everything plans for just $10 more per month. The Tablet itself will run consumers $249 with a 2-year agreement or $349 straight up.
This announcement ends months of user complaints from Verizon denying activation of LTE based Nexus 7 tablets on its network. Verizon says that the activation issues stemmed from the LTE chip utilized in tablet, but some consumers seem to think Verizon did not want to activate tablets that it did not profit from. This led to some Nexus 7 owners filing complaints with the FCC over the issue. Verizon of course denied all of these allegations and with today's announcement seems to have ended the issue once and for all.
BlackBerry's downward spiral may have slowed as of late, but the once king of the smartphone is not out of the water yet. Today new rumors have surfaces that detail what the company's next phone may be like. The smarphone said to be a beast of a model, featuring a eight-core CPU and more.
Based on the 20-nm Snapdragon MSM8994 chipset, the octa-core CPU will be of 64-bit design and will be clocked at speeds up to 2.5GHz. 4GB of LPDDR4 will also be present and an Ardreno 430 CPU will handle graphics crunching duties. The phone will be in the 4.5-inch to 5.25-inch range, with a screen resolution of at least 1080p at the least. Unfortunately we are not likely to see this phone released until 2015 at the earliest, and even then it is likely to be an enterprise only release.
For the most part, LTE connectivity has widely been reserved for the high-end smartphone market which is generally comprised of phones in the >$400 price range. Broadcom says that with the release of its new M320 and M340 system-on-chip processors, LTE could finally come to the low to mid-range smartphone market segment.
"We project that the LTE baseband market will register about 64 percent year-on-year growth in 2014 to reach over 500 million units," said Sravan Kundojjala, Senior Analyst, Handset Component Technologies service at Strategy Analytics. "Broadcom is one of the only players with a mature carrier-ready multimode LTE SoC, the engineering expertise and the worldwide scale required to deploy complete LTE platforms. The new Broadcom turnkey design will help accelerate the adoption of LTE worldwide and make high-performance, yet affordable devices available to the broader market."
The new M320 and M340 chips feature dual and quad-core processors respectively as well as 150Mb/s LTE radios built on board and Broadcom says that it has already integrated the processors with Android 4.4 KitKat, so OEMs will not have to worry about software support. While no mention was made of which OEMs might be utilizing the chips in upcoming phones, it did say that it has sent out sample units to "leading" manufacturers, so one would expect that to mean Samsung, HTC, Motorola, and Nokia have all gotten samples.
HTC had some bad times last year, but the Taiwanese smartphone maker is looking to right wrongs in 2014. HTC will make more mid-range smartphones this year, selling them for a cheaper price than its current models.
HTC's Chief Financial Officer, Chang Chia-Lin, said that the company will sell products in the $150-$300 price range in both existing and developing market. HTC hopes this will turn the company around from its problems from last year, where in saw its global market share drop to just 2%, its stock price dive 80%, and its profits slide 83% in Q2 of 2013, from the previous year. HTC co-founder and chairperson Cher Wang, when speaking with Reuters, said that HTC's "problem" last year was "concentrating on [its] flagship".
Out of HTC's entire range in China, just two of them retail for under $150 - where 21 of its handsets retail for over $500. Wang said that with HTC focusing on higher-end models, it saw the company miss "a huge chunk of the mid-tier markets" in 2013.
The 16GB variant of the Moto G sold out in less than 60 minutes on Flipkart, an Indian e-commerce company. The 8GB version is still in stock, for now, but with the Moto G selling like cupcakes on Flipkart, I wouldn't expect it to stay there for long.
Motorola launched the Moto G in India last week, in partnership with Flipkart. Motorola announced that the Moto G would go on sale on February 6, at 12am, but the e-commerce company began selling the 8GB version before the clock reached midnight. When it opened sales of the 16GB version, it sold out within an hour. It sold out before some people could even reach the checkout.
It sold out quick because of the low amount of Moto G smartphones imported, with a reported 14,800 units of the 8GB version, and just 5,000 units of the 16GB version were imported into the country. Stock should be back by now, but it goes to show that a great smartphone at an even better price can break into emerging markets quick.
This could be one of the many reasons Lenovo purchased Motorola Mobility from Google recently, at $2.9 billion. The emerging market space is going to be big business in the coming decade.
Samsung has just outed Black Editions of its Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S4 mini, weeks before it debuts its new Galaxy S5 smartphone. The Galaxy S4 Black Edition is pretty much identical to the standard S4, with a 1.9Ghz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, 5-inch 1080p display, 16GB of internal storage, a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera and unfortunately, only Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean - for now.
The Galaxy S4 mini Black Edition feautres the same specs as the smaller S4's, with a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED display, 1.7GHz dual-core processor, 8-megapixel rear-facing snapper and the same Android 4.2.2 OS on top. The Black Editions will however, "sport a high-quality leather-like textured black back cover and bezel" and also "come preloaded with a suite of eight dedicated wallpapers for both the home and lock screens as well as several new and exclusive ringtones".
We reported earlier on that Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, said that Apple should think about making an Android-based smartphone, but it looks like we - along with most tech press - got it wrong.
In an e-mail to Gina Smith of aNewDomain, Wozniak said: "They got it quite wrong for their own reasons ... I'm used to things like this, (where the media turns) 'could' into 'should.' But the idea caught a lot of attention. It was just (my) independent idea ... I'm sure others have said it before but I get more attention".
Wozniak continued: "I was asked some general question as to BlackBerry. I said, as I have before, that I felt BlackBerry's best (plan) two years ago would have been to make an Android phone. I went into how the world seems to be Apple lovers and Apple non-lovers. I did say Apple 'could' make an Android phone. But I (said) total business decisions would be in the hands of knowledgeable Apple execs - not me".
The Apple co-founder finishes his e-mail with Smith saying: "I questioned how much this would compete with the iPhone business. My answer was brief and more thrown out like art, to mention a rare and dramatic idea to get people to (start thinking)".
During an interview with Wired, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said that the iPhone maker needs to build Android-based smartphones in order to boost its market share.
He added that the iPhone has the right amount of features and capabilities, and doesn't need the added innovations - that are sometimes gimmicky - that other smartphones have. Wozniak added: "There's nothing that would keep Apple out of the Android market as a secondary phone market. We could compete very well. People like the precious looks of styling and manufacturing that we do in our product compared to the other Android offerings. We could play in two arenas at the same time".
Apple could use Android on the iPhone, as it is an open source OS - it wouldn't be anywhere near as good as a pure Android device like the Nexus line of smartphones, but it would be an interesting path for Apple to take.
California lawmakers want to make mandatory smartphone kill-switch requirements for phones in case of theft, an epidemic on the rise through metropolitan cities throughout the United States. Senate Bill 962 would take effect for both smartphones and tablets, as both mobile electronics become more common place among casual consumers.
"This is an important day for wireless consumers everywhere," said George Gascon, San Francisco District Attorney, in a press statement. "This legislation will require the industry to stop debating the possibility of implementing existing technological theft solutions, and begin embracing the inevitability. The wireless industry must take action to end the victimization of its customers."
Gascon also added that SB 962 would help clamp down on the market for stolen devices in California.
Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) created the bill that would make it a requirement for smartphone makers to provide the built-in kill switches by Jan. 1, 2015. More than 50 percent of thefts in San Francisco involve an Apple iPhone or other smartphone, local city officials recently reported.
There is some concern from privacy experts that remote phone backdoors could lead to intrusion from cyber criminals. The law could also make smartphone manufacturers need to rethink hardware used in current and future products, as they rebel against the thought of a mandatory kill switch.
Over the last few weeks rumors have been gathering that state that Apple will be releasing an iOS 7 update anywhere between early February to late April, but today it appears that the update will come in March. iOS 7.1 is the first significant update to Apple's flagship mobile operating system since its release last year, and while no surprises are expected, some much needed improvements will be made.
The update will feature tweaks to the user interface, an improved calender app, and overall performance will increase. Users can expect their device to feel faster after the update thanks to many bug fixes and memory optimizations as well. We are expecting Apple to release iOS 7 at an Apple TV event in March, but nothing has been confirmed and there may not even be a show to launch at, but Apple does have a history of March events, so only time will tell.
HTC's successor to the One is the most talked about smartphone at the moment and today we got a look at what its new home screen may look like. The leaked image comes from everyone's favorite leakster, @evleaks, and shows off what appears to be a completely redesigned Blinkfeed that takes on a very blocky Windows-phone appearance.
Additionally, the image shows the on-screen navigation buttons that have been appearing in rumors since the M8 was first outed. The image also likes like it could be a clever Photoshop job with some hazy glow being featured around the quick launch icons at the bottom of the screen. I do however feel that its safe to say that this image is legit, as @evleaks is almost always spot on with his smartphone leaks.
We heard rumors that LG would launch its new G Pro 2 smartphone soon, but it looks like the company could launch its new flagship smartphone earlier than previously anticipated: on February 13.
The South Korean-based electronics giant has sent out invitations for an even on February 13, named "Knock-knock-knockin' on". This would most likely refer to the company's 'Knock On' feature, which lets you wake the smartphone from its slumber with two simple taps to its display.
But remember, Mobile World Congress starts on February 21 in Barcelona, so LG might be wanting to jump the gun on fellow South Korean rival Samsung, and its unveiling of the Galaxy S5.
Sony will shutter its Reader e-bookstore, and will transition customers to the Kobo online library and store, with Reader and Xperia tablet and smartphone users needing to make the move.
The shuttered Sony store was made up of 4 million e-books, magazines, newspapers, mangas, and kids content available to customers.
"Kobo is the ideal solution for our customers and will deliver a robust and comprehensive user experience," said Ken Orii, Sony VP of Digital Reading, in a press statement. "Like Sony, they are committed to those most passionate about reading and share our vision to use open formats so people can easily read anytime and anywhere."
This isn't necessarily surprising news from Sony, as the electronics giant is currently restructuring to try and cut costs. Also, the traditional e-reader market has slowed down due to the drop in price of the tablet market, adding to growing list of issues facing e-reader supporters.
It's no secret that Google likes to partner with established mobile device manufacturers to produce its Nexus line of devices, and rumors have began surfacing that HTC may have just partnered with Google to manufacture the next Nexus tablet for the Mountain View-based company. This could mean that ASUS will no longer be making the Nexus 7 tablet or that Samsung is off the list for the next Nexus 10, at the moment not much is known about the deal.
Website FocusTaiwan.tw is reporting that HTC has won the contract to manufacturer a "high-end" Nexus-branded tablet, and that it will lie within the 7-inch to 10-inch range. It's still unknown exactly what the report means by "high-end" but personally, I am hoping for something built on the same design features of the HTC One. If I could buy a 7-inch tablet with the alloy chassis featured on the HTC One, I would be standing in line on day one. So if anyone from HTC is out there listening to what I am saying, please bring a HTC One Tab to market with pure Android and a Nexus label!
Should Apple make an Android-powered smartphone? Steve Wozniak seems to think so. In a recent interview with WIRED, Wozniak said that he feels that Apple would do well competing in the Android market space. He said, "There's nothing that would keep Apple out of the Android market as a secondary phone market, We could compete very well... People don't really choose their smartphones based on features," added Wosniak. "I think Apple is superior at being able to say no."
"People like the precious looks of styling and manufacturing that we do in our product compared to the other Android offerings. We could play in two arenas at the same time," Wazniak said. "The great products really come from secret development," he said. "You put small teams of great people on them and they aren't bothered by other people commenting on what they're doing while they're doing it. A whole new category of products doesn't happen very often. It might happen once a decade. Sometimes you have to wait for one of those to come about."
I have to agree with this statement, as the numbers do not lie. Apple has a cult following for its iPhone, and even people who do not like the current versions continue to buy the device because they feel that they have to if they wish to stay relevant in their social circles. If Apple were to release an iPhoneDroid, iAndroid or any device running Android, people would buy it with out question, not because of Android, but because of Apple's false sense of high-quality, and the idea that just because its Apple-made, it is a superior device.
Cyber criminals accelerated their focus on attacking mobile devices in 2013, with more than 11.6 million devices compromised as malware becomes increasingly sophisticated.
Google Android devices made up 60 percent of infected devices, with mobile malware sampling drastically increasing 20 times in 2013. Smartphone makers installing Android - and software developers - are slowly making changes to ensure they are able to offer more advanced security software alternatives.
"Not only is Android the largest smartphone market, unlike iPhone and BlackBerry, it allows apps to be loaded from third-party sites," said Kevin McNamee, Alcatel-Lucent Security architect, in a statement. "This provides cybercriminals with an unpoliced mechanism to distribute their malware which can easily evade detection by device-based anti-virus. Thus, in 2013 we saw an increased trend towards operators offering network based anti-virus security to subscribers as a service."
Mobile security solutions are evolving to meet the growing threat from cyber criminals, though the types of attacks also are evolving. Instead of relying on malware to just collect personal information and steal bank data, mobile spyware has become big-business to hijack devices and use them as part of an organized botnet.
We are pretty certain that Samsung will announce the Galaxy S5 at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona later this month, but the New York Times is chiming in confirming that its sources agree: Samsung will launch its new flagship smartphone at the event.
But, how it will launch the event will be a little different, even compared to the announcement of the Galaxy S4 last year. The New York Times reports that "Unpacked 2014 Episode 1" will be a low-key event, but this will be the launch event itself. As for the Galaxy S5, the publication reports that we should see some design and specification improvements.
This means we should see a better camera on the back of the Galaxy S5, and a better SoC inside of the device - most likely the Exynos 6 or Qualcomm's super-fast and super-capable Snapdragon 805. I think we'll see Samsung push the Galaxy S5 as a 4K-capable device, where its rear-camera will be capable of shooting 4K video.
Everyone knows how annoying it is to not have an active internet connection to check TweakTown when hiking through the middle of the jungle, or while hiking in the Alps right? Well that is no longer an issue thanks to Iridium Communications' latest offering, the new Iridium Go. All kidding aside, this device will change the way activist, scientist, and media communicate in areas where Internet access is limited or non existent.
The Iridium Go is a portable Wi-Fi hotspot that connects to the internet via satellite and provides a broadband connection to your PC no mater where you are in the world. The device allows users to surf the internet, make calls, and even send text messages when there is no land or cellular based internet available. The device ships with Android and iOS apps ready to download from their respective stores, but wont be available for some time. Pricing is unknown at this time, but we do know that the MSRP will be below $800 USD.
When Google announced Android 4.4 KitKat late last year, we were told that it would be the version that unifies Android across low and high-end devices, but a few months in and we are still waiting to see that happen. A new report from Android Developers is showing that KitKat holds just 1.8-percent of the Android market share, while Android Jelly Bean continues to grow its market share.
Android 4.1x, 4.2x, and 4.3 make up about 60-percent of the total Android market share, while 2.3.3-7 makes up 20-percent. Android ICS comes in second with 16.1-percent followed by KitKat at 1.8-percent. Froyo owns 1.3-percent and Android 3.2 Honeycomb only holds onto about 0.1-percent. With the major carriers just now beginning to update devices like the HTC one to 4.4, its only a matter of time until 4.4 becomes the dominate power house. I suspect that by the end of the summer 4.4 will be above 30-percent.