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Google wants Australians to take coding seriously to ensure there is enough manpower to take care of the country’s future requirements in the computer field. The online search giant has embarked on a campaign to make coding appeal to younger tech users , which includes promoting a video as well as an ebook Start with Code, written by Fran Molloy. The ebook shares success stories achieved by the start-up founders such as Noller, Peter Bradd, Marita Cheng, and Mitchell Harper, and aims to inspire a whole new generation of coders.
“We need to improve the way we teach our kids; we need to inspire a generation of digital natives who are already avid consumers of technology to embark on careers as entrepreneurs and coders, in e-commerce and as engineers,” said Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull while stressing on the far reaching changes that technology and computer science have brought to our lives.
The whole idea behind the campaign is to make Australians aware that learning to code is extremely important for innovation in the field of computer software. The campaign also highlights the country’s rich tradition of innovation in order to make coding seem fashionable and ensure there is enough homegrown talent available to put their efforts into the various new aspects where digital technology permeates in say two decades from now. This way, the country will be able to take care of its own issues without having to hire overseas workers.
Google has come up with a new set of guidelines for developers to follow, all aimed at establishing a safe environment for apps to flourish. As per the new rules introduced in the Google Play Developer Program Policy, developers will have to ensure their apps does not engage in immoral activities or attempt to deceive users with nefarious advertising policies. This will make it difficult for developers to issue pop-up alerts mimicking official Android notifications. Developers will also be barred from sending unsolicited SMSs for advertising purposes.
Developers often resort to issuing Windows-esque dialog boxes warning users of their systems being prone to serious malware infections and other threats, thereby luring unsuspecting users to download various apps. The new amendment also enforces a clampdown on developers using sexually explicit content to promote such apps. Developers will also be barred from indulging in app installs or redirection to the Google Play Store without explicit user consent.
Google has stated developers will have 15 days time to comply with the new guidelines before it starts banning apps that don’t conform to the changed rules.
The new amendment is the latest in a series of new measures that Google had introduced in ensuring its only quality apps that make it to the Play Store.
New research by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech has revealed Apple, Amazon, and Samsung are the key players in the US tablet market, controlling 43, 24,and 11 percent of the user base respectively. However, the market itself seems to be losing steam, with the slowdown being attributed to market saturation. The findings reveal tablet growth reached 37 percent, a 54 percent growth over 2012. A sizeable 53 percent of consumers stated they won’t buy a new tablet in 2014, while another 34 percent said they are yet to make up their minds. Nearly 67 percent of those who said they are unsure about buying a tablet claim to know very little about tablet devices. Thankfully for the manufacturers, tablet awareness as a whole is considerably higher in the US, with just 4 percent stating they’ve never heard of the devices.
Of the 53 percent who ruled out buying a tablet in the next 12 months, the majority (72 percent) said they are pleased with their current laptop or PC, while 42 percent said they aren’t attracted to tablet devices; another 31 percent said they don’t think owning a tablet makes much of a difference.
A common reason for many (47 percent of those who are unsure and 25 percent of those who said they won’t buy a tablet ) to not invest in a tablet was the high price, despite the fact that the average cost has dropped to $300.
As for particular brands, the iPad is on top with 32 percent claiming to use it daily. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Note devices come in second with 24 percent claiming to use it every day. Kindle Fire makes up the third slot with 10 percent claiming to use it regularly.
Microsoft is not content to let Android and iOS tablets dominate the landscape. The Redmond company is rather bullish with orders totalling 25 million units in 2014, from Taiwan manufacturers. This no doubt will be a tall order considering just five million of these got shipped in 2013 . Experts too have expressed skepticism at Microsoft being able to achieve the target and have stated 18 – 20 million would have been a more achievable goal. Microsoft has also stated they wish to see shipment of its own Surface range of tablets to rise to six million from three million in 2013.
To help achieve the figure, Microsoft plans to provide incentives to vendors manufacturing Windows tablets. It will be good to see some of it passed down to the customers with a lower price, to help compete against Android. Among the manufacturers, Asus and Acer have already shown interest in manufacturing a new product line. Asus said they plan to ship 12 million tablets in 2014, with Windows making up one-third of their units. Acer, meanwhile has set a slightly realistic goal of of ten million tablet shipments in 2014, with Windows making up just two million.
HP, Toshiba and Del have also expressed interest in throwing down with Microsoft. However, companies like Sony and Lenovo seem to be lot less enthusiastic and will likely just stick with Android.
Microsoft’s move to launch Office on the iPad seems to be paying off rich dividends, with the app already featured among the top free apps for iPad. Word has emerged as the most popular at the No. 1 slot, followed by Excel and PowerPoint at the 3rd and 4th slots, respectively. The Office app is a free download but that will only allow for opening and viewing documents; an Office 365 subscription is required to do anything meaningful, including editing or formatting a document or creating one from scratch.
The Redmond-based company is also benefiting from a new and steady stream of income from Office 365 subscriptions that costs $9.99 a month or $99 a year. Of course, Apple is benefiting from a 30 percent share for every in-app purchase, creating a win-win situation for both Apple and Microsoft.
Microsoft, it seems, is open to adapting to a fast changing tech scene. As for the app itself, Office for iPad impresses with the features and functionality that it offers, all of which has been optimized for touch based operations.
Close on the heels of Microsoft launching its Office software suite on the iPad, the tech giant made its Office for Android free to use. Unfortunately, this only applies to Android phones and not tablet devices, enabling users to create and edit documents that earlier would have required an active Office 365 subscription. Interestingly, this latest move has made Android phones on par with their Windows counterparts so far as usability of the Office app is concerned.
Apart from the risk of losing subscription money, the Windows phone will now be deprived of a competitive advantage and may translate into adding greater adoption of Android phones. You can download this app today from the Good e-Reader App Store.
The latest finding by Crittercism, which takes stock of app usage on Android and iOS devices, is that Android has emerged as the more stable platform than iOS. However, it hasn’t been a cakewalk, as Android 2.3 Gingerbread has been notorious for unexpected app crashes, earning it the least stable Android version honor. Things have improved dramatically ever since the later Android versions of Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, and the latest Android version, Kit Kat. In numerical terms, while Gingerbread alone accounted for app crashes 1.7 percent of the time, its successors crashed about 0.7 percent of the time.
The corresponding figures for iOS show that iOS 6 has been most prone to app crashes, reporting crashes an average of 2.5 percent of the time. Things improved with subsequent revisions, with iOS 7 and iOS 7.1 crashing only 2.1 and 1.6 percent of the time, respectively. That might come as a surprise to Apple fans, who often perceive iOS as the most matured mobile OS out there.
These findings form part of the report titled “Mobile Experience Benchmark,” which is based on a survey of about a billion Android and iOS devices for a period of one month.
Prolific author George R. R. Martin broke the internet when he posted a chapter of his upcoming book, The Winds of Winter, on his site, which crashed shortly after the announcement due to traffic. Fortunately for those who missed the chance to catch up with Mercy, the central character, they can still do so via the Ice and Fire app, available at the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
“Some of you who enjoyed meeting Mercy may not have found the other sample we’ve put out there of late, a new Tyrion chapter. That one is live and available with the ICE & FIRE app, and can be found at iOS; Android. Enjoy the read, ” the author revealed in his blog.
Martin’s other fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, has been immensely popular and has already been made into a television series Game of Thrones.
Finally, Microsoft has launched its Office software suite for the iPad which brings to an end the years of speculations and rumors. Thankfully, the Office for iPad is a mature application compared to the almost half-hearted attempt that the Office for iPhone was. Users will have at their disposal many advanced features lacking in the iPhone app, such as the ability to add rows or columns in an Excel spreadsheet thanks to the iPad’s larger screen. Users will also get to choose from almost the entire range of fonts andformatting options as well.
The Office app – which offers Word, Excel and Powerpoint – though free, will require a subscription to use the advanced editing options. Right now, users are free to open and view documents but are required to have an active Office 365 subscription to edit or create a document from scratch. Microsoft is also offering a free 30 day trial of the Office app.
Overall, the launch of the Office app for iPad is long due, and it’s the first major move since the changing of guard at Microsoft. Now what remains to be seen is whether the Office app will be able to hold its own in the face of Apple’s iWorks app, which offers an array of features and most important of all, is free.
Companies certainly don’t like the idea of outsiders having early access to sensitive or proprietary information. Not only can it provide competitors with an inkling of what they’re up to, inadvertent leaks also have the potential to damage the product’s and the company’s future prospects as well. BlackBerry is the latest company to find itself facing this problem; CEO John Chen is infuriated and has stated they will be legally pursuing the matter.
“This is why I want to make you aware that, right now, we are pursuing legal action against a party who stole confidential information about a future BlackBerry product and made that information public. This person falsely posed as an employee of one of our carrier partners to obtain access to secured networks,” revealed Chen in a company blog post.
Needless to say, it is these very leaks and speculations that outsiders depend on to have an early insight into the latest happenings within the company. The problem is such acts can prove to be risky if the line is crossed. Microsoft is another company that is reported to be considering legal action against one of its ex-employees for having leaked secrets pertaining to Windows 8.
Sony has stated it will continue using its own proprietary software to power its smartwatch lineup. They don’t seem to care about Google launching Android Wear, the platform designed specifically for use in smartwatch devices. The Japanese conglomerate had earlier stated it is channelling their resources heavily towards mobile devices, such as phones and tablets.
The above development is interesting, as Sony isn’t the only company to ignore Android Wear, at least for now. Samsung has launched its revamped Galaxy Gear 2 smartwatch running Tizen. As things stand now, it’s the Moto 360 and the G Watch from Motorola and LG respectively that have revealed Android Wear based smartwatch devices.
“We’re excited about the potential of Android Wear to extend the mobile OS experience into wearable devices,” revealed Sony. “While we are currently focused on our in-market wearable offering, including SmartWatch 2, we continue to work closely with Google as a key partner and continue to evaluate opportunities across a number of areas as we extend our SmartWear Experience.”
Google Glass hasn’t proven to be as successful as its makers may have expected it to be. To make matters worse, wearable tech users are even open to charges of invasion of privacy. Nevertheless, Google has hit upon new ways to make its wearable tech more appealing to the masses, such as its recent deal with Luxottica, owners of the immensely popular eyeglass brands Ray Ban and Oakley. This will hopefully push wearables into mainstream fashion rather than being seen as a niche product.
“We believe that a strategic partnership with a leading player like Google is the ideal platform for developing a new way forward in our industry and answering the evolving needs of consumers on a global scale,” said Luxottica Chief Executive Officer Andrea Guerra.
According to the new agreement, a special team of experts from Google and Luxottica will be tasked with designing a new range of frames that will be compatible with Google Glass. This will help ensure mass availability of the internet connected eye wear, which so far has been restricted to the US. The price is expected to drop a bit, which is extremely important in order for smart glasses to grow. Google will also have the advantage of Luxottica’s extensive market presence in its efforts to make its smart glasses more alluring to buyers.
As of now, only the Ray Ban and Oakley brands are included in the Google Glass plan, though it’s not known when the first frames are expected to hit the streets. In any case, these will supplement Google’s own line of frames that launched earlier this year. However, some key aspects pertaining to Google Glass still need to be resolved, including battery issues.
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