Jul 14

Foursquare Changes Everything That Made Them Popular

Foursquare is a hugely popular social media app for people to locate different places around them and “check in”. The already popular app is currently re-branding themselves in order to take on the even more popular Yelp and Google Places apps. They are moving their focus away from the whole “check in” thing and turning their focus to being more like Yelp and Google Places. Will this work out?

The reason why they have decided to take Yelp and Google on is because they think that there are flaws with those services and that they have the answers to correct them. It seems pretty impossible, but they seem to think that it is worth abandoning everything that made them popular in the first place. I wish them the best of luck, because I don’t think it is ever a good idea to try and beat Google. Especially if you are risking everything to do it.

Because their original service was so popular, they even decided to put out a new app that does the same thing that Foursquare used to do. The new app is called Swarm and it came out in May of this year. You can’t “check in” with Foursquare anymore, so you use Swarm instead.

The reason for the second app is because a lot of users would use Foursquare to search for nearby places, and a lot of users would also use it to check in at places they are visiting, but users rarely use the app for both. It seems to me that it would have been a better idea to keep Foursquare as it has always been, and then launch a new app to try and compete with Google and Yelp. Marketing analysts also agree and think that the re-branding and huge changes are an extremely dangerous move for the company. In order to come out on top, or even be a direct competitor, they are going to have to offer something that the other companies don’t:  something valuable that people will actually want.

Both apps will be able to work with each other and users will be able to use the check in feature through Foursquare if they have the Swarm app as well. Your check in history will also transfer over to Swarm. This all seems a little bit too complicated, and I feel like they could have made life a little bit easier for us somehow.

Since the launch of the Swarm app, the company has been listening to its users to see what they like and what they don’t like. Some people are pretty upset about some of the changes, but about 3/4 of its users are satisfied so far.

Along with all of the new changes, Foursquare has also changed their logo to a big pink “F”. They have said that the new version of the app will be available in a few weeks.

Jul 14

Nvidia Comes Out With Their Own Tablet

SHIELD_Tablet_Plus_ControllerGenerally, Nvidia is known for being a company that makes really good graphics cards and some mobile processors. So it is a little bit crazy, but they just put out their own tablet called the Shield. It was announced on Tuesday and it is specifically designed to be a gaming tablet. It even has its own wireless controller!

There was another Shield device that came out last year at CES. It is now called the Shield Portable, and this new gaming tablet is its followup product. The new Shield tablet can even sync up with the old Shield device. This way you can set it up to use the old Shield as just a controller and prop up the new one, sit down and enjoy your gaming experience however you want and wherever you want. This gives you the most convenience and the most portability.

This 8-inch tablet runs on the Android operating system, comes with a beautiful full HD display and front facing speakers so that you can get the most out of your gaming. It comes in a few different versions too. You can get the 16 GB version with Wi-Fi or the 32GB version with Wi-Fi and LTE services. If you don’t have the previous Shield device, you can buy a controller for it for just 50 bucks. There are also some other accessories available like the optional tablet cover that also doubles as a stand so that you can sit it up on a table like a TV while you’re gaming or watching videos. The main focus of the tablet is gaming, keep in mind that it still does everything a normal tablet would do as well.

The Shield already comes loaded with a big selection of games like Trine 2, War Thunder, Anomaly 2 and a gaming hub with more than 400 games that are all optimized specifically for the Shield.

You can also stream lots of PC games like Titanfall and other popular titles over Wi-FI. The only downside is that the PC has to have an Nvidia GeForce GTX in order to do that, but you should have seen that coming. If you don’t have that then you can still download Android games and sync them to your controller. It also integrate with Twitch, so you get get into some social gaming with others and share all of your best in game moments.

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Jul 14

The iWatch Release Has Been Pushed Back, But Do You Really Care?

iwatchEverywhere you look, there just seems to be more and more news about smartwatches. I’ve done a few stories on these devices already, and I’m not sure how I feel about them. The idea of wearable technology just seems like a double-edged sword to me. I love the idea that I can have a very small computer with me at all times, but the fact that I would wearing it just seems a bit impractical to me at the same time. People can get behind the new trend all they want, but I’ve still yet to see more than one person in my life legitimately owning a smartwatch. That hasn’t kept Apple from continuing the production of the new device however.

Apple Might Be Learning From Others

Lets all just be real with ourselves here for second. We all know that Apple is the biggest tech company on the consumer market. Everywhere you turn, there is some girl texting her friends on her iPhone, or a businessman/woman working on their iPad. the iWatch has been rumored continuously, but wasn’t even talked about at this years WWDC. This did raise some concerns for the people interested in the new device. “Is it still coming out?”, “When will we see it?”, “What are the features on it?”. The list of questions goes on, but Apple might be playing it safe an just be watching the competition fail. They’re learning from the mistakes of their competitors and essentially making sure that their product doesn’t flop like the Galaxy Gear did…

What Do We Know About The Device So Far?

Honestly, not too much. Everything that we do know so far is complete speculation, so only so much can be taken with any amount of merit. We know that the device IS coming out. How? Well because of people like Ming-Chi Kuo. This KGI specialist is basically the biggest lead that any of us have on the new device and understanding what is coming. So far, we are EXPECTED to see a flexible AMOLED display. The display would be a sapphire glass covering, so making that flexible should be interesting. Supposedly, the production has been slowed down because of the circuitry and being able to shrink it down into the small-sized smartwatch. The company is also in the process of making the iOS function properly on a smaller and differently designed screen. The overall “flexibility” of this screen should be taken with a grain of salt however. Remember the LG Flex and how “flexible” that was?

What Does This Mean For You?

Well this all depends on if you’re into the wearable tech craze. I personally have no real interest in it. That being said, I and everyone else in the world will be immediately interested in the device when it drops. Why? Because it’s Apple. Everyone is going to be interested in seeing if Apple will be the company actually pull off the smartwatch. Usually anything with the “i” prefix tends to turn into gold, but that doesn’t mean that the iWatch will. If you love wearables, then stay tuned because we should be seeing the new iWatch drop sometime in November.

Apple is going to get a following for their new product and that’s just a fact. It’s the same reason why almost every has an iPhone; to make a fashion statement. Now don’t get me wrong. I think that Apple makes great products. That being said, every other smartwatch has failed. We will find out whether or not Apple will be able to pull off a miracle come November.

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Jul 14

Google Chrome Drains Your Battery Life, But Not For Long

177382490Running Google Chrome as a web browser seems to always kill your laptop battery. It could be a bigger problem if you are a consistent traveler and can’t always re-charge your battery life. It’s been a known problem for about six years and was reported to be a serious issue back in 2010, but with Windows 8 the problem should no longer exist. Google has finally committed to fix the problem by revising the browser’s performance on the Windows system.

The reason Chrome has been killing battery life and slowing down laptop performance is because it forces the Windows system clock tick rate to 1 millisecond even though the default is 15.625ms. This is the frequency that the processor responds to with any program you run over your computer. So even if you have a blank web page up, Google Chrome is ramping up the rate, making your laptop work harder than usual. With this Chrome bug, it’s said that the battery life is reduced as much s 25 percent because of the clock tick rate set to 1ms.

But with Windows 8 and its updates, it is said that users will not be affected by this issue because the newer operating system, just like the Mac OS X, it will fix the clock tick strategy by allowing the CPU to run at a low power mode until called upon. So if you’re a Windows user and you desperately need to make your battery last you do have a few options if you are unable to charge your battery on the go.

1. Use a different browser that is not running on the same coding as Google Chrome, such as Firefox or internet Explorer.
2. Upgrade to Windows 8.1.
3. Wait until Chrome releases a new version that fixes any battery issues. No worries, because Google has pushed this issue at the top of its reported bug list to solve.


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Jul 14

For The PC Market To Revive Windows Is Key

windows_blackThe PC market has been sluggish recently, there’s no denying that. However, that hasn’t stopped PC makers from trying to revitalize the market and return growth to PC sales around the world. According to research firm Gartner, there is one certain technology that could play a vital role in the growth of the PC market next year and that technology is Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

According to a recent study conducted by Gartner, PC sales could reach as much as 317 million units in 2015, which would be an increase from 308 million units that are expected to be sold this year. The number of units shipped this year is also expected to decline by as much as 2.9% compared to sales of 2013, which was also lower than the sales of 2012.

Ranjit Atwal, Research Director for Gartner, believes that the revival of the PC market will be driven by upgrades of old business PCs that are running Windows XP. Windows XP is no longer supported by Microsoft so companies and users will be forced to upgrade sooner or later and Atwal estimates that nearly 60 million PCs will be upgraded this year alone.

Most businesses are upgrading to Windows 7, completely avoiding Microsoft’s most recent operating system, Windows 8, as it is viewed as more of an operating system for tablets and touchscreen devices. It is possible that Microsoft could release a new operating system next year, replacing Windows 7 as the OS of choice for business users. However, it takes time for companies to test and deploy PC operating systems. Windows 7 took almost a year to find its footing in the market.

Gartner has stated that overall shipments of computing devices, which includes PCs, tablets and smartphones, are expected to reach 2.4 billion units this year, an increase of 4.2% compared to 2013. Shipments are also said to further increase to 2.6 billion by 2015. Gartner also predicts that tablet shipments will increase to 256 million this year, an increase from 207 million last year, with shipments reaching 321 million in 2015, overtaking PCs.

Smartphone shipments around the world are estimated to reach 1.86 billion units this year, a 3.1% increase over last year. The worldwide growth of smartphones will also continue to increase, reaching an estimated 1.95 billion units in 2015, according to Gartner.

Android is the dominant mobile operating system at the moment and will continue to be so with the operating system installed in 1.17 billion devices shipped this year. Apple’s iOS will see an increase with the latest iPhone set to ship later this year with Apple’s iOS and Mac operating systems reaching 271 million devices this year. Microsoft’s Windows desktop operating system and Mobile OS will reach 333 million devices this year.

In 2015, however, Windows will be in 373.7 million devices, overtaking the combined shipments of Apple’s iOS and Mac OS, which will only reach 301.4 million devices, according to Gartner. Android will also remain dominant being installed in 1.37 million devices shipped next year.

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Jul 14

Windows Phone’s Incredible Cameras Just Got Even Better

video tunerOne of the main reasons that some people stay away from Windows Phones is because they are typically lacking very much in the software department. Even the people who use Windows Phones will admit that. But one thing that sets most of their phones apart from the rest of the crowd is their awesome hardware. Their cameras specifically are way better than those of any other phone company on average, and even better than some real cameras out there.

Microsoft has decided to take their strongest selling point to the next level. They recently put out an app called Video Tuner. Video Tuner is an editing app, and it is designed to bring their editing software up to the same level as their actual cameras. Pair the new app with their crazy cameras and the possibilities are endless.

The new Video Tuner app has been designed to run best on Windows Phone 8.1. It is basically like having iMovie and Instagram tied together in one app. You have a ton of advanced video editing tools along with filters, lighting adjustment, and a ton of other tools that you would normally only find on expensive photo and video editing software that you would use on a computer.

A lot of the Windows phones have really great cameras for taking photos of course, but they are also equally great for taking crisp and clear high quality videos, especially the Lumia line of phones. This new software is basically the missing link to unlocking the full potential of the phone’s hardware and putting major video and photo editing power right in your pocket.

Using the app is pretty easy as well. After you take a video clip, you just go to your camera roll and select it, and then you get to choose from six different menus of editing options. You can do simple things like trim the length of the video, and you can also do more in depth and cool looking things like putting different parts of the video in slow motion or decreasing the frame rate. Another cool thing is that you can do is edit the audio of the video or choose a song or sound effects to add in the background of the video.

For all of you who are on Instagram and Vine, the app alsonokia has settings for that. It allows you to trim and crop to the relevant length and aspect ratio for those apps.

One more cool feature is that any edits you make are non-destructive. That means that at any point in time, you can reset the changes you made to your video and still have the original without any edits or changes, even after you save the edited version.

The app is also very user friendly and designed so that basically anyone can do anything they want without having to think too hard. This might be a good way for Windows Phone to make their presence a little bit bigger in the phone industry. Most other companies don’t have hardware as good as Windows phone, and they for sure don’t have any kind of software like this.

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Jul 14

How Long Until Smartwatches Become The Next Big Thing?

samsungwatchI have a question for everyone out there currently reading this. I want you all to think hard about this as well. Wearable technology. Is it really even something worth investing in? Should you spend your money on it? I guess the best and most basic question to ask is, “Is it worth it?” Remember that there are some things out there that can look a lot more intriguing than they really are. I’m just as excited about the iWatch, just like everyone else is. I thought the idea of smartwatches was… interesting, to say the least. Having said that though, I feel as if there are some things that need to be addressed when talking about these new devices.

First off, lets get this out of the way. I love new technology. I honestly do. But I also love technology that I know I’m going to use. I feel like a smartwatch is something that I wouldn’t use. Here’s why. My smartwatch isn’t necessarily doing anything different than my phone can’t already do. You’re going to have to offer me more than just a few fitness apps to go ahead and justify me forking over my hard earned money for that. Speaking of apps and money, how mad would it make you to find out that an app that you just downloaded for your new smartwatch DIDN’T download and you couldn’t fix it? Some Android Wear users are experiencing this exact issue.

The way that Android Wear apps have worked so far is in a more connected way. By this, I mean that as long as there was an app downloaded to your smartphone, that same app is downloaded to your smartwatch. This will happen as long as the app was downloaded from Google Play. The only issue is that Google Play is also the reason why the paid apps for Android Wear aren’t being downloaded. All do the paid apps are encrypted by Google to help cut down app and software pirating. The encrypting is the biggest part of the failed downloading process though. In an attempt to cut down on pirating, Google’s encrypted apps have caused the Android Wear to not download the files because it “doesn’t know how to extract the file of an encrypted apk.” Since this is the case, the Android Wear software will assume that there’s nothing to install and abandon the installation process.

Naturally there are many users out there who are less than pleased. There should be a fix coming soon, but neither Android nor Google have come out with any concrete statements regarding the problem.

I just want it to go on record that I understand that this technology is still new. I have high hopes for the iWatch. I can only hope that Apple will learn from their competitors mistakes and will avoid issues like this one. Hopefully they will also give a reason for customers to buy it by making it a practical purchase. There will always be the buyers out there who choose to buy just because it’s new technology, but I also feel that society is looking for something a bit more. After all, there has to be a reason why tablets are still dominating and the smartwatch doesn’t seem to be moving as many units. Right? I’m just not sure that smartwatches are going to be as promising as we all want them to be.

Only time will tell.

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Jul 14

Apple May Be Putting Out More Than One iWatch

480099055New rumors and hard evidence are pointing to a few different variations of Apple’s rumored iWatch. There may actually be more than one in the works.

Over the last year or so, Apple has been hiring tons of people to help with their new wearables projects. Most of the new hires have talked about the type of things that we could expect, like fitness, apps, email, and general technology things that Apple is known for. For a while it was assumed that Apple was just going to put out a smartwatch that was already outdated before it hit the streets. But, they recently stole an executive from TAG Heuer and brought him on board. This has shed a little more light on the situation and even sparked some new and exciting rumors.

What would Apple want with a luxury watch executive? Good question. It appears that Apple has more in mind for their new watch than just calorie counting and email. This move suggests that Apple is actually about to drop a super high-end watch that you’d be able to buy at fine jewelry dealers along with Movado  and other high-end watch brands. It would be really nice to have a watch that you could feel good about wearing and still have some tech tied into it.

Another good thing about Apple’s new hire is that it will allow them to build relationships and distribution channels throughout a new market that they don’t have any experience in yet. Other companies that have already released their versions of a smartwatch have really only been selling their products in electronics stores and mobile carriers along with the usual cell phones. Although this isn’t a bad thing when you are targeting the techy market, Apple may be on to something with the whole selling watches in watch stores thing. It seems pretty obvious now that you think about it.

It might be a little odd to see an Apple branded watch in a setting like that, and that is where the other versions of the watch come into play. Smartwatches already on the market are way too sporty for that kind of thing, and a lot of the people who are in the market for a smartwatch might not want something that they would be afraid to scratch or damage. It turns out that the high end smartwatch isn’t the only thing that Apple is cooking up, but there will be more predictable products available as well.

All of the products they put out might not be actual “smartwatches”. There will probably be a whole line of different watches and fitness bands. Apple has made it really clear that they are taking their new line of products very seriously and have hinted that a lot of them will fall under the wearables category.

This could be a huge thing for the watch market in general. Remember how the iPhone changed the way we thought about phones forever? What if Apple literally reinvents the watch and changes the entire market? I’m completely against wearables in general, but even I would probably sport a nice luxury watch from Apple to check my email on.

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Jul 14

Don’t Worry Android Tablet Users, Microsoft Office Is Coming Soon!

office mobileThere are a few essentials that every company or office building should have. Naturally, all of the main items should be there. Files. Copiers. Projectors. Computers. All the typical business-y things. There are a few things that you may not even realize that you need, but don’t have. It’s easy to get distracted, or even complacent with certain work programs, that you might be just settling. There are better, more productive work programs out there. If you’ve not guessed it yet, I’m talking about the Microsoft Office programs. Yes, Microsoft Word and PowerPoint can be used outside of high school, they can actually be pretty handy assets for most companies.

There are a few restrictions for some though. While it may not seem like the biggest deal in the world, not everyone uses computers anymore. Many of the companies have  moved towards the future and have started incorporating tablets into their work environments. Not everyone uses iPads either. Although Apple is pretty much dominating the ranks in terms of who is getting the most consumer usage with tablets. That being said, Android is not fairing badly. There are some out there who prefer to use Android tablets, and will gladly use it within an office setting. There is one problem, though; Android tablets have not had access to Microsoft Office… until now.

While it may not exactly be available for consumers yet, it has undergone its preparations for beta testing by selected users. Naturally once testing has finished, it will be ready for the consumer market. Testing should be done with quickly as well, as Microsoft has looked towards the end of this year to release the new Office for Android. There is no set number yet for how many users will be selected for the beta testing process. If you are interested however, there is a pre-release program that you can sign up for in order to be considered by Microsoft. If selected, you’ll be able to get a look at all of the software before the beta testing process even begins.

Office for iPad has already been released, so Apple users should feel lucky. When it actually became readily available to the public, naturally, means that they skyrocketed to the top of Apple’s App Store downloads. You can even download each individual program separately should you want to. If you want Word, without Excel or PowerPoint, or any combination of the three, you don’t have to download them all. Just download what you want and you’re good to go. The best part is that their free

Don’t jump for joy at “free” just yet though. All that glitters is not gold. Nothing is ever COMPLETELY free. While Microsoft may have plans to make the new Office apps available for free download on Android as well, that doesn’t mean you will be able to get full access to it. It’s even like that with the Apple version. While you may have downloaded the apps for free, you still must pay a $99 annual subscription fee in order to fully take advantage of all of the features. Even the Android phone app versions of the Office programs require a subscription.

It feels as if it’s been a long time coming. If Apple has already gotten it, it was only a matter of time before Android got it as well. Thankfully, Android tablet users should see these new programs later this year.

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Jul 14

ARM Shipping Mini-Computers Designed To Write 64-Bit Apps For Android L

l-dev-prevARM has developed a new mini-computer that could very well speed up the development of applications for 64-bit Android L smartphones and tablets. The computer is slated to ship late next month while the hardware, which is in an uncased computer, is targeting professional developers and large companies and designed to help them write middleware, drivers and tools for 64-bit Android smartphones and tablets that are expected to be on the market by the end of the year.

The price for these mini-computers has yet to be announced nor has an official release date. Google also released a developer preview of Android L last week but has also declined to give a solidified time as to when the final version of the operating system will make its way out to the public.

At this time, however, there are no 64-bit Android mobile devices available, which has hindered the development of 64-bit applications for Android devices with ARM processors. If you aren’t that familiar with the technical mumbo jumbo surrounding smartphones, ARM processors power almost all smartphones and tablets these days.

What’s interesting about this story is that ARM usually licenses its hardware designs and has never actually sold any hardware directly. However, the company is looking to boost its 64-bit hardware and software efforts with the Android developer brand and is doing so by releasing these mini-computers. The only ARM-based 64-bit mobile devices that are currently available are sold by Apple.

The Android L operating system comes with a host of new features, including support for ARM-v8A, ARM’s 64-bit architecture. The board will work with a 64-bit Android version that was developed by Linaro, an open-source development group.

The ARM development board is said to have a quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 along with dual-core ARM Cortex-A57. In addition to that, other features include a graphics processor, USB ports, support for 8GB of DDR3 memory and ARM’s Corelink on-chip interconnect.

Developers will also be able to format applications and games to run within the power and performance constraints of ARM’s 64-bit CPUs, according to ARM’s Vice President of Marketing for Systems and Software Vincent Korstanje. “It’s better to test graphics on actual hardware than through emulators,” Korstanje added.

Typical mobile device makers formulate Android to work on their smartphones or tablets whereas Linaro’s Android build is strictly for ARM-based platforms. The latest version lands somewhere between version 4.4.2 (also known as KitKat) and its successor Android L, according to a spokesman from Linaro.

Considering the fact that Google has yet to make a final version of Android L available, Linaro has decided to pull the base operating system from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), a repository where open-source developers contribute Android code. The Android OS from Linaro is formulated to work with processors and other components on ARM’s developer board.

The most recent Android software build from Linaro is based on the Linux 3.10 kernel. In addition to that, Linaro updates Android builds based on the Linux 3.14 kernel that is currently still being tested. Linaro’s Android will provide access to Android run-time (ART) which is an alternative environment to Dalvik for the execution of software programs in Android. Google is also transitioning to ART in Android L, stating that the runtime move will make applications two times faster.

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