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According to the latest statistics released by Chitika, the LG user base has exhibited the greatest usage share growth as compared to any of the competing Android brands since June 2014. With a 1.7 percentage point gain and representing over 10% of the total North American smartphone and tablet Web traffic, LG should be counted as a significant player in the mobile market.

Samsung can rest easy for now, sitting comfortably at the top of the heap with 57.4% of the current Android market share –but it would be wise to keep at least one eye on their competition given their less substantial 1% gain since June 2014 (despite the release of an entirely updated line of mobile hardware during this period). Amazon is sitting precariously in the third spot (with a meagre .5% lead on Motorola), likely due in large part to their Fire tablets as opposed to their unremarkable smartphone sales.

Google was down this quarter, falling to just 3.6% –but these numbers should look a little better shortly with the release of the Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 devices.

Chitika’s report also indicated that smartphones continue to dominate the mobile Web traffic, with very little growth in this area being observed in the Android tablet space. Some speculation suggests that this is due to Apple’s dominance in the tablet arena, but it may also be due in part to the next-generation phablet type smartphones prompting users to invest in large-screen, smartphones instead of a tablet.

Founded in 2003, Chitika is an online ad network that boasts the delivery of “over four billion strategically targeted ads each month to a network of over 300,000+ sites.” Together with high profile advertising partners like Yahoo!, Chitika has developed proprietary optimization technology that promises to display the right ad, at the right time.

Categories : Android News
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nexus6

It is with great enthusiasm that Google released their next generation Nexus 6 smartphone yesterday. Being labelled the next in a line of phablets, the Nexus 6 is a very large mobile device that straddles the line between smartphone and tablets. Packed with features, the Nexus 6 promises to stand up proudly against the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus.

Design and Display

It can’t be said that the Nexus 6 is a light smartphone, and coming in at 6.49 ounces (184g) is will feel quite substantial. By comparison, the Galaxy Note 4 is 6.21 ounce (176g) and the iPhone 6 Plus is the lightest at 6.07 ounces (172g). It is also the largest of the three phablets, with a full 6-inch display with a 1440×2560 pixel resolution and 493 ppi density. Also a very attractive feature is that the Nexus 6 is splash resistant (without needing to wrap it in a case) –other Samsung products can boast that, the Galaxy Note 4 isn’t so lucky.

Camera

The camera in the Nexus 6 is competitive with a dual LED flash, but only measures 13 megapixels (where the Galaxy Note 4 has 16, and iPhone 6 Plus lags quite a distance behind at 8).

Operating System

Running the latest Android Lollipop, Google maintains their top spot as the manufacturer with the truest Android smartphone.

Hardware

Powered by a quad core, 2700 MHz, Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor, the Nexus 6 should still be comparable the 8-core, 1900 MHz ARM processor found in the Galaxy Note 4 –though on paper Apple’s processor seems quite a bit behind both devices by only being dual core and 1400MHz. With that said, many of the performance tests being run are placing Apple’s smartphone performing ahead of Samsung’s, so these specifications on their own don’t carry much real-world weight or meaning. The Nexus 6 comes with 32GB or 64GB of built-in storage, but unlike the Galaxy Note 4, cannot be expanded with additional storage (using microSD, microSDHC, or microSDXC).

Battery

Google claims that the Nexus 6 will deliver 24 hours of talk time. They also say you can expect 13.8 days of stand-by time. In other news, pigs can apparently fly. I’ll believe that these batteries perform this well when I experience it for myself, but I do trust that it’s better than most of us are used to… especially if you turn off the Ambient Display.

Unlike any of the competition, the Nexus 6 does lead the pack in the power arena by offering built-in wireless charging… and using Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0, a quick 15 minutes of charging should get you about 6 more hours of use.

Connectivity

You should have no complaints in this arena, with the Nexus 6 offering GSM at 850/900/1800/1900MHz, CDMA band classes 0/1/10, WCDMA bands 1/2/4/5/8, and LTE bands 2/3/4/5/7/12/13/17/25/26/29/41.

Aside from cellular options, Google equipped the Nexus 6 with 802.11ac Wi-Fi using a 2×2 MIMO antenna, Bluetooth 4.1 LE, and NFC.

Before you salivate yourself into needing a fresh shirt, brace yourself for the $649 USD price-tag found on the unlocked model. Not surprisingly, many Android purists are already expressing their outrage at the cost –especially when previous Nexus smartphones only rid our wallets of $349 USD. While this increase is difficult to accept, it’s necessary if Google is going to produce the kind of hardware that will have the chops to compete with the quality options being released by the competition. Of course, the Nexus 6 looks to be worth every penny… but it means that carriers with contract-signing incentives will play a much more significant role in the success of this device (like they already do for the high-end hardware coming from Samsung and Apple).

Pre-order for the Nexus 6 will begin in late October, with full retail availability beginning in November.

Categories : Android News
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googleNewsandWeather

I don’t know if you have noticed this, but no two weather apps on your smartphone will ever agree. In fact, even this morning there is a several degree discrepancy between the temperature broadcast by The Weather Network app that runs natively on my iPhone and the old de facto standard from iOS 7 – Yahoo Weather. To this end, you may wish to employ yet another weather app: Google News & Weather.

It is difficult to decide whether to be excited by this app release, with so many other options already available for news and weather reporting. Even though the app comes equipped with coverage from over 65,000 publications, it isn’t full featured enough to truly deliver mass quantities of news –but with that said, if you are a fan of hitting http://news.google.com on a regular basis to see the most recent (and therefore probably most prominent and important) headlines, it may be just what the doctor ordered.

Just like on their website, news can be tailored to your country of choice and tuned to particular categories (with choices like “Hollywood”, “NASA”, or “Fashion”). On the landing page inside the app, a brief summary is displayed for each story with full articles and additional details available with a single on-screen tap.

Whether this is a must-have app or not, it is nice to see Google giving iOS users the option to use the same software available on Android; it certainly isn’t a courtesy that is often returned by Apple.

If you’d like to take advantage of Google News & Weather on your iOS device, download it for free now from the Apple App Store. I can’t promise it is any more accurate than the zillions of other weather apps already available, but it should be of a certain quality given that it comes to us from Google.

Categories : Android News
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Sw

Without a word of warning to players or the developer Nimblebit, Star Wars: Tiny Death Star and Star Wars Assault Team were recently pulled by Disney from the Google Play Store as well as the Apple App Store. Both titles were under a year old, with Tiny Death Star reaching us last November and Assault Team launching in March.

Whether the games will be missed or not isn’t exactly the issue –the real problem is how poorly it was handled. In an email conversation with GameSpot, NimbleBit co-founder Ian Marsh noted that their first indication that the games had been removed was a tweet directed their way asking why they could no longer be found.

If you already had the games installed, you are in luck as they are still playable –but how long they can be supported is a mystery. Not only are the developers losing a revenue stream, there is also a feeling that their reputation is now tarnished by Disney’s decision.

A little research suggests that the reason for the removals may be due to a focus on newer Star Wars-themed mobile games (like Star Wars: Commander for Android or the soon to be released Star Wars: Galactic Defense), but no definitive answer has been given.

Categories : Android News
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ios-8-app-store-changes

There are plenty of complaints directed toward iOS 8, but there are plenty of good things too. One of my favourite new features (if we can call it that) is the ability to hide your app store purchases (a term which also applies to free apps) directly from your mobile device.

To remove an app from your list of purchases while on your mobile iOS device: load up the App Store app, select Updates, choose Purchased, swipe right-to-left on any app you’d rather wasn’t visible, and finish by tapping on the large, red ‘HIDE’ button that appears.

Removing an app from the list will not erase history. If you search for the app in the store, you will still see the little cloud beside it that lets you download the title again (which is good, I suppose… because some of these apps may have cost you money, and you don’t want to lose record of that in case you later change your mind about removing it).

Some of you may be wondering why this is an important feature in the first place. Well, some of us who have been using iOS devices for quite some time have likely amassed quite a list of apps that have been taken for a test drive. Some make the cut, some don’t. Those that don’t seem to haunt us forever. Every time we setup a new device that doesn’t start with a backup (like iPads for your children) means flipping through an endless list of apps, many of which you hoped to never lay eyes on again. Flash forward another few years and this list might become quite difficult to manage.

Sure you could do this from your computer using iTunes already, but these days I am delighted by any feature that means I can boot that thing up a little less… Besides, I install my apps directly on my mobile device and I back-up to the cloud –so this next stage of independence is a good thing.

Categories : Android News
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pokemon

The Pokémon Trading Card Game Online for iPad and iPad mini is a free release app available now. Based entirely on the existing PC and Mac version of the game, fans of the Pokemon franchise will enjoy choosing between playing against the computer or other online opponents (of course you can always still purchase physical Pokemon cards).

When you begin playing the game you can choose between Grass, Fire, or Water decks –from there you can expand your personal collection by earning cards, opening booster packs, and trading with other players… all in an effort to build the perfect deck! The interactive features are nice, but my favourite part is the ability to truly customize every aspect of the game: change the look of your cards, deck boxes, and avatar.

Whether you feel like reminiscing and spending time with your favourite Pokemon, or you’d like to give the game a try for the first time now –download a copy of Pokemon TCG Online for your iPad.

Unfortunately for Android users, there is no word on when a compatible version may be available.

Categories : Android News
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angry-birds-transformers

Even if you aren’t familiar with Rovio, you have almost certainly played their games. As the creators of the Angry Bird franchise, Rovio is one of the most successful mobile development stories out there. In addition to the classic title that made them famous, the development house is constantly releasing updates and additional spins on the original physics-based bird-tossing game. This go around, Transformers is the lucky franchise to receive their attention.

What’s interesting about this release, is that the Android version is slotted to follow the iOS version after a full 15-day exclusivity period. News that this was taking place came as a shock to many in the mobile world, especially considering that Android is dominating the smartphone market right now. The reason why this happened isn’t being publicized… it could be a deal struck with Apple, it could be Rovio snubbing Android, or it might just be that the iOS version is ready to go and they don’t want to delay release until the Android version is fully tested. Whatever the reason, it seems silly.

If you are curious what you have to look forward to, the official game play trailer is below. It looks to be a little ‘more of the same’ that we have become used to with other co-branded versions of Angry Birds, but if you are fond of Transformers, the graphics are great and very reminiscent of that franchise.

Are you still addicted to Angry Birds and loving it? Do you wish Rovio would give it up and stop trying to cash in with new versions of their hit game? If not, do you have a theme that you wish they would explore?

Categories : Android News
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gpn

Android users have been using Google Play Newsstand instead of the older Currents app for quite some time, but thanks to an update this week, iOS users will get the same pleasure. Advertising itself as a way to “discover more of the news you care about,” Google Play Newsstand is more like a digital magazine and less like a traditional aggregator.

Now featuring the updated look and feel using Google’s new Material Design language, the redesign offers truly elegant navigation –though the interface isn’t always as quick and responsive as it should be (for instance, choosing to delete a category wasn’t executed and confirmed for almost 30 seconds after tapping the on-screen confirmation).

If you haven’t yet created a library of your own, begin by choosing to explore the suggested news feeds assembled by Google. You can add topics broadly for things like Art or Photography, or include individual feeds for more specific content. If you already have a favourite blogger or news site, you can add those individually as well. Once your library is assembled, flip easily through all of the new articles –choosing to read them now, share with your friends, open in a browser, or bookmark to review later.

Google Play Newsstand is trying hard to compete with popular news apps like Flipboard with the functionality of Pocket, and this new version is a good first step. In its current form, I feel that this app is best used for browsing news stories the way you would magazines in a waiting room and less useful for keeping current with your existing blog roll. I read a lot of news every day, and I need to be able to do it quickly –even if it isn’t always beautiful to look at. I also need something that properly syncs between devices and makes it easy to tell what’s already been read at a glance… and Google Play Newsstand just isn’t there yet.

If you already had Currents installed, you will be prompted to upgrade automatically –otherwise, download Google Play Newsstand now to give it a try.

Categories : Android News
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instapaper

With the arrival of iOS 8, apps are starting to release updates to take advantage of the new features. Instapaper is no exception, adding several new features this week but also moving to a freemium business model. What this means for users is that the universal iOS app can now be downloaded for free –with the old subscription package being renamed to Instapaper Premium.

Reviewing a list of the new key features should persuade you that Instapaper continues to be a productivity app leader:

    – Now featuring text-to-speech (using Apple’s text-to-speech synthesizer) will let you listen to saved articles while on the go. Consider this a way of making custom curated podcasts from the news you are interested in knowing but wish you had the time to read.

    – Save an article with a single tap (functionality that the Android and web versions of the app have enjoyed previously, but was noticeably absent in the iOS version until now)

    – Unified browse brings articles from your favourite editors or friends into a single feed

    – Link to your friends’ profiles based on the articles that they like

    – View your article saves from today which will now appear in the Notification Center (and read with a single tap)

Once you give Instapaper a try, you will likely agree that a Premium subscription is worth the price of admission (currently listed at $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year). Premium members will enjoy unlimited highlights (free users only get 5 highlights per month) and text-to-speech playlists of saved articles.

If you happen to be an existing subscriber, you will be automatically upgraded to the new premium service at your current rate. If you purchased Instapaper in the past, you will enjoy a free month of premium service as compensation.

Categories : Android News
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makr

If you are feeling equal parts creative and entrepreneurial, Makr by Happy Media could be the app you need to succeed (using only your phone). Using your own visual identity or logo, create custom swag (like t-shirts, tote bags, or temporary tattoos). Once your items are mocked-up and looking just right, you can then sell your merchandise in the built-in online store (letting Makr handle all aspects of production, shipping, and payments).

The whole process is a little like Etsy, minus the handcrafting. Makr wins by capitalizing on your ideas while absorbing all of the risk so you don’t have to (by working with vendors). So what’s in it for you? If somebody buys an item that you designed, $2 goes directly into your pocket!

It may seem like a small profit margin, but consider that you really aren’t doing any of the heavy lifting.

Filled with design and marketing tools, Makr promises professional products that are easy for anybody to create. Need a little help? Try one of their templates, giving you a head-start on: business cards, party invitations, wedding materials, stickers, postcards, stationary, greeting and holiday cards –or maybe you want funny or themed clothing for an event you are hosting.

Makr – a design + print shop is only available for iOS devices currently –download it for free from the App Store now!

Categories : Android News
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docs_sheets_slides

Rounding out their business-oriented app offering, Google has launched Slide for iOS (complimenting Google Docs and Google Sheets, which were already available). Slides provides similar functionality to competing apps: Microsoft’s PowerPoint or Apple’s Keynote, allowing users to create, edit, and collaborate with users on presentations.

Google has also released update for both Docs and Sheets, adding support for Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel that will now allow users to open and edit documents in these formats. Becoming more competitive with Microsoft is a wise move and sure to gain market-share, when you consider that in order to use their ‘free’ apps, an Office-365 membership is required.

Discussing these updates, the official update feed from the Google Apps team, stated:

“The new Google Slides mobile app is now available on iOS, making it easier for people to quickly find, edit and create presentations on the go–online or offline. As with the Android version, the Slides iOS app includes support for editing PowerPoint files. Additionally, as announced for Android in June, the Google Docs and Sheets apps for iOS have been updated to allow for seamless editing of Word and Excel files. No need to worry about file compatibility or internet connections anymore with the new Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps on iOS–it all just works.”

Google Slides, Google Docs, and Google Sheets can all be downloaded from the App Store for free, and can be used on all of your iOS devices.

Categories : Android News
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apps

According to a recent study conducted by ComScore, nearly two-thirds of US smartphone users aren’t downloading any new apps. Their research uncovered that only 7% of smartphone users accounted for almost half of the new apps being downloaded.

Fortunately for a few app developers, these results cannot be interpreted to mean that we aren’t using apps. Over half of users are turning to a single, favourite app, 42% of the time. In 75% of the remaining time, users were only using 3-4 additional apps regularly.

Whether the user prefers iOS or Android, the results are about the same. Users love social media, with Facebook identified as the most popular choice overall and used more often than any other app. Radio, news and weather related apps topped the charts for iOS users. Android users appear more focused on search and email (but the integration of Google Now may be skewing those results somewhat).

What the study can’t tell us clearly is why we aren’t using more apps, more often. It may be possible that as iOS and Android operating systems advance, more features are built-in and require fewer additional apps. It may also be that HTML 5 apps are starting to dominate the marketplace, requiring users to use a web browser instead of app stores. Yet another theory would suggest that users are overwhelmed by the options presented within app stores so avoid them instead. Whatever the reason, developers should pay careful attention: persuading users to download new apps may mean engaging in new styles of marketing.

Comscore boasts being one of the leading Internet technology companies aimed at measuring “what people do as they navigate the digital world.”

Categories : Android News
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psc_press_3screen

Google has found themselves in Apple’s App Store once more by porting their popular Photo Sphere app to iOS. Having debuted on Android last year, Photo Sphere invites you to “look up, down, and all around to revisit the amazing places you’ve encountered.”

Even if you aren’t interested in creating your own Spheres (described as being a series of photographs that, when combined, give you a 360-degree view of your surroundings), consider taking a look at a few that others have shared. While you may have seen many landmarks and locations in movies already, this feels different because they are recorded by real people not unlike you or me. It’s the ultimate form of ‘wish you were here’ to share with your friends and family when you find yourself someplace special.

Of course, it isn’t a coincidence that a huge function of Photo Sphere is the ability to share your creations with Google Maps –basically making you into a content contributor, adding value to their system. When you consider the price of the app (free), it is definitely a win-win scenario.

If you would like to try your hand at taking beautiful, 360-degree images, download Photo Sphere Camera for your iOS devices.

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