Google has been working hard to unify their products. Their latest project, combines its currently fragmented messaging platforms under one powerful and effective service. The new initiative, affectionately called “Babble”, will do just that. Currently, Google is maintaining Google Talk, Hangout, Voice, Messenger, Chat for Drive collaboration, and the pseudo Google Talk for G+. The only two that work even fairly well together are Google Talk for Gmail and G+ and even they can evoke frustration with users from time-to-time.
The Babble cross-platform solution could enable Google to dominate chat services such as iMessage and BlackBerry Messenger. Google is building Babble from the ground up, which may or may not be a blessing depending on how you look at it. On one hand, they will be working from a clean slate and there will be no boundaries as to what they can make the app do. On the other hand, Google will be pushing out another Beta product based on past experiences that may have more bugs than a Louisiana bayou on a hot summer afternoon. We will just have to hope the geeks at Google push out a well polished, well oiled, version of the app on Beta release. Read more
Gmail for Android received a new update today and users can now reply to or archive emails directly from the notifications bar. However, the feature isn’t available on just any Android device. On the Official Gmail Blog, it mentions for Android users running 4.1 and up since more in-depth notifications are supported in Jelly Bean. Users can also combine the feature with the ability to customize which emails they receive notifications for under settings in the Gmail app. Aside from this new feature, both online or offline search in the Gmail Android app has been made faster with bug fixes and performance improvements as per usual.
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Web conferencing users will be glad to know they have a new option available to them in iMeet, a platform that had previously been available only for iOS devices. iMeet developer Premiere Global Services, Inc., says the conferencing app is intuitive, easy-to-use, and will unchain you from your desk when you need to participate in a web conference. The iMeet service is available on computers, smartphones and tablets and can transition between the devices during a conference. Read more
As Apple and Samsung continue to bounce the crown for best-selling smartphone between each other, analysts at Nomura say the latest Galaxy device will push Samsung back to the top spot. Nomura was not impressed with the latest device in Samsung’s Galaxy line, the Samsung Galaxy S 4. Nevertheless, the changes that they describe as “evolutionary” as opposed to “revolutionary” should be enough to propel Samsung to the top spot.
During the fourth quarter of 2012 Apple sold around 27.4 million iPhone 5 devices versus 15.4 million Samsung Galaxy S III units to retake the title. Nomura’s analysts think Samsung’s Galaxy S 4 and the Samsung Galaxy Note II will combine for sales in the range of 35 to 40 million units per quarter during 2013. The analysts also expect a shift to occur during the upcoming sales quarters as both Apple and Samsung will have to start working on stealing users from each other rather than the smaller players in the smartphone market. Besides ratcheting up the acrimony that already exists between the two companies, this will probably result in more price-based competition. Such a situation will be good news for consumers but it will impact margins for Samsung and Apple and it will make life difficult for other manufacturers trying to capitalize on the market.
The Samsung Galaxy S 4 will always be able to charge the traditional way, but if you’re wanting to charge it wirelessly, Qi charging accessories will be coming soon. Qi issued an official press release today announcing their work on wireless charging accessories for the S 4. They didn’t mention a release date or price, but with the latest flagship Samsung smartphone coming out towards the end of April, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to expect the accessories available around then. Currently, Qi is used in products by Motorola, LG, Sony, Toshiba, Nokia, HTC, and many more.
Source: Business Wire
Last week we got word of a new Motorola device with the model number XT912A. We have heard that the Motorola “X” phone refers to more than one phone, so this could be just one variant. It showed up in the GLBenchmark database with the codename “Ghost”, and it will be a mid-range device with a 720p display and a 1.7GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro. This one is rumored to be headed to all four major U.S. carriers, Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. It could wind up in the Google Play Store as well, but that’s just a hunch. Yes, this one is mid-range, but more than enough for the average consumer. If they can price this one right as in $199 to $249 off contract, it could be a hit.
Samsung Orb will allow users to take 360 degree panorama photos, and is rumored to be introduced on the Galaxy S 4 when Android 5.0 is released. According to an insider, the decision to delay Orb until the Android 5.0 update isn’t finalized yet, but is expected to be. Orb is very similar to Photo Sphere which is part of the Nexus 4 experience. This will be a nice value add for photo taking S 4 owners, however, Android 5.0 won’t make its way to select Galaxy devices until after Google I/O in June when a Key Lime Pie announcement is anticipated.
Owner’s of a Samsung Galaxy Note II on the T-Mobile network may notice an update is available for their device. The update is probably one you will want to grab as it enables a connection to T-Mobile’s new 4G LTE service. T-Mobile indicates the service should be available in Las Vegas and Kansas City by the end of this month. At some point this summer the new service should be lit up in enough areas to reach 100 million people and by the end of the year it should reach 200 million people. For comparison, the Verizon 4G LTE network reaches 275 million people.
In some testing that was conducted using a Galaxy Note II, speeds were found to be in the 59 Mbps down, 25 Mbps up range. Granted, there were probably no other users accessing the signal. As fast as the 4G LTE connection is, T-Mobile customers will also benefit from HSPA+ 4G when they find themselves in an area with no 4G LTE coverage.
Around the summer of 2010, my contract was coming to an end and the HTC EVO 4G on Sprint was very appealing. Touted as “America’s first 4G phone”, it featured a large display and great specs at the time. I desperately wanted this phone and every Sprint store, Radioshack, or online store, was out of stock for four to six weeks. With my contract ending in just a couple weeks, the options were simple: Either buy the EVO 4G for full price and then some due to demand, or just grab a Blackberry. Unfortunately, an outdated BlackBerry Curve it was. Read more
Since ASUS is already working with Intel on the FonePad, it’s no surprise that they could be prepping an Intel-powered smartphone for June. According to DigiTimes, it will sport the Intel Atom Z2580 processor (Clover Trail+), which has a 2GHz dual-core CPU. This one will compete with the Lenovo K900 as it will sport a display around 5 to 5.5-inches.
DigiTimes also mentioned that ASUS would have an updated Nexus 7 tablet for Google I/O, which further confirms what we heard in January.