Monthly Archives: October 2011

Siri port now talking to Apple servers, avoiding Cydia

siri-appleA little cajoling from a clever developer got Siri talking to the iPhone 4 and the iPad, but Apple’s tight-lipped servers kept the conversation effectively one-sided. The last-gen port was still missing something, and developer Steven Troughton-Smith knew where to find it: a jailbroken iPhone 4S. In an interview with 9to5Mac, Troughton-Smith said that getting Siri to talk to Cupertino’s data servers only took ten minutes after he had all of the pieces in place. Ready for your personal assistant port? Hold the phone, the process is a bit dodgy — our hacking hero said that getting Siri on the older device is a 20-step process, and it requires files from the iPhone 4S that he says aren’t his to distribute. When asked about distributing the hack over Cydia, Troughton-Smith said it was something he couldn’t be a part of. On Twitter he suggested that a release would “anger the hive,” but promised to post detailed notes on the hack after a iPhone 4S jailbreak drops. by engadget

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Posted by on 30/10/2011 in IT


Fully Functional Siri Ported to the Apple iPhone 4

dsc009091Ever since Apple introduced the iPhone 4S and its appealing voice-controlled assistant, Siri, developers were working on porting the new feature to the iPhone 4. After great news that Siri will not need jailbreak to run on last year’s Apple-phone we now get a demo of a fully working iPhone 4 port.

Developer Steven Troughton-Smith shows off a fully functional Siri on an iPhone 4, side-by-side with its newer cousin, the iPhone 4S. One of the main problems with iPhone 4 ports was the ability to make Siri connect to Apple’s servers. As you can see in the video below, the problem has been solved. According to the developer, contrary to what was rumored earlier, an iPhone 4S jailbreak was indeed necessary to port the proper files to the iPhone 4 and make Siri fully functional.  by 9to5mac

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Posted by on 30/10/2011 in IT


Samsung Italy confirms Android 4.0 update for Galaxy S II, Galaxy Note

icecream-sandwichSamsung Italy has apparently confirmed the Android 4.0 update for some Samsung devices. According to a post on HD blog, Samsung will release the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update in 2012 for the following devices:

– Galaxy S II
– Galaxy Note
– Galaxy Tab 10.1
– Galaxy Tab 8.9
– Galaxy Tab 7.7
– Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus

The site says there is no status on the update for other missing and low-end devices but Samsung is probably assessing the Android 4.0 features before giving any commitment. sammyhub

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Posted by on 29/10/2011 in IT


Tablets Grow 280% in Q3, iPad and Android the Driving Forces

samsung-galaxy_tab-hand-smStrategy Analytics have published yet another one of their studies regarding the tablet market, this time focusing on the shipped units in Q3 2011. IT’s been a mere year and a half since the iPad debuted and already tablets are omnipresent and loved by the public.

The analysts say that 17 million tablets were shipped in Q3, with Android and iOS owning 94% of the market. iOS owns 66.6% and shipped 11.1 million units in this time frame, while Android has 26.9% and shipped 4.5 million units. Microsoft is third, with 2.4% of the market and 0.4 million units, while BlackBerry PlayBook managed to get 1.2% with 0.2 million units. The impressive increase is the one of Android, that in 2010 had 2.3% of the tablet market share in Q3 and now increased almost 13 times. Meanwhile, iOS tablets dropped from 95.5% in Q3 2010 to 66.6%, as Android started to matter more. The Google mobile platform has the advantage of lots of device makers on its side, plus a bunch of quality models such as the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Now let’s see what this table will look like next year, when Windows 8 slates are already available. by tablet-news

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Posted by on 28/10/2011 in IT


Adobe Carousel hits the App Store

adobe-carousel-1Adobe has released their photo management and editing app Adobe Carousel, today. With Adobe Carousel, you can keep an updated photo library on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It even comes with some basic editing tools to help improve the look of your images.

One of the other big features of Adobe Carousel is the ability to create a family photo library for sharing photos with family so that they can contribute their own photos and vote on favorites.

After the 30 day free trial, Adobe Carousel requires a paid subscription for $9.99/month or $99.99/year. However, Adobe is currently offering a special for $5.99/month or $59.99/year.

Adobe® Carousel is the only photography solution that gives you access to your entire photo library from all your iPad, iPhone, and Mac—no storage issues, no manual syncing hassles. Enjoy your photos anywhere you are, and make them look terrific using the same powerful photo-processing technology that’s used in Adobe Photoshop® Lightroom®, so you get the finest photo-editing results delivered consistently no matter what type of device you are using. Create the ultimate family photo hub by sharing a photo library with family members to contribute shots and weigh in on favorites.

  • Don’t sweat storage limits or suffer syncing—just enjoy the freedom to browse your entire photo library or show off any shot on any device you have handy. Simply add photos to your Adobe Carousel photo library on your iPad, iPhone, or Mac, and you’ll instantly have access to them in Adobe Carousel on your other iPad, iPhone, and Mac devices.
  • Easily crop, rotate, adjust exposure, and make other corrections, or lend your photos serious style with unique Looks. Experiment with wild abandon knowing Adobe Carousel always preserves your original photo.
  • Create a family photo library without the hassle of sending emails, handing off drives, and trying to figure out which photos to touch up or use in special projects. Simply invite family members to add photos to your library via their own Adobe Carousel apps, and let them flag their favorites so everyone can quickly find the best-loved shots.
  • Use familiar multitouch gestures to easily explore tens of thousands of photos or quickly find and fill the screen with one great shot.
  • Simplify your life. A subscription lets you use Adobe Carousel on all iPad, iPhone, and Mac, and you can accomplish the same tasks in virtually the same ways on every iPad, iPhone, and Mac.
  • Share those moments that matter by sending your photos straight from Adobe Carousel to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.
  • Snap new photos right from Adobe Carousel on your iPhone or iPad, and they’ll instantly appear in your photo library on all your devices. No manual importing required!
  • Take advantage of WiFi and 3G technologies to use Adobe Carousel anywhere you want.
  • Export photos from Adobe Carousel to your hard drive so you can use other apps and services to create your own photo books, calendars, and keepsakes.
  • Import, edit, and share all your JPEGs, the most common file format for photos.

Adobe Carousel is available on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac for free.

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Posted by on 28/10/2011 in IT


Android Orphans: Visualizing a Sad History of Support

016a_android_orphansThe announcement that Nexus One users won’t be getting upgraded to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich led some to justifiably question Google’s support of their devices. I look at it a little differently: Nexus One owners are lucky. I’ve been researching the history of OS updates on Android phones and Nexus One users have fared much, much better than most Android buyers.

I went back and found every Android phone shipped in the United States1 up through the middle of last year. I then tracked down every update that was released for each device – be it a major OS upgrade or a minor support patch – as well as prices and release & discontinuation dates. I compared these dates & versions to the currently shipping version of Android at the time. The resulting picture isn’t pretty – well, not for Android users:

Other than the original G1 and MyTouch, virtually all of the millions of phones represented by this chart are still under contract today. If you thought that entitled you to some support, think again:

    7 of the 18 Android phones never ran a current version of the OS.
    12 of 18 only ran a current version of the OS for a matter of weeks or less.
    10 of 18 were at least two major versions behind well within their two year contract period.
    11 of 18 stopped getting any support updates less than a year after release.
    13 of 18 stopped getting any support updates before they even stopped selling the device or very shortly thereafter.
    15 of 18 don’t run Gingerbread, which shipped in December 2010.
    In a few weeks, when Ice Cream Sandwich comes out, every device on here will be another major version behind.
    At least 16 of 18 will almost certainly never get Ice Cream Sandwich.

Also worth noting that each bar in the chart starts from the first day of release – so it only gets worse for people who bought their phone late in its sales period.
Why Is This So Bad?

This may be stating the obvious but there are at least three major reasons.
Consumers Get Screwed

Ever since the iPhone turned every smartphone into a blank slate, the value of a phone is largely derived from the software it can run and how well the phone can run it. When you’re making a 2 year commitment to a device, it’d be nice to have some way to tell if the software was going to be remotely current in a year or, heck, even a month. Turns out that’s nearly impossible – here are two examples:

The Samsung Behold II on T-Mobile was the most expensive Android phone ever and Samsung promoted that it would get a major update to Eclair at least. But at launch the phone was already two major versions behind — and then Samsung decided not to do the update after all, and it fell three major OS versions behind. Every one ever sold is still under contract today.

The Motorola Devour on Verizon launched with a Megan Fox Super Bowl ad, while reviews said it was “built to last and it delivers on features.” As it turned out, the Devour shipped with an OS that was already outdated. Before the next Super Bowl came around, it was three major versions behind. Every one ever sold is still under contract until sometime next year.
Developers Are Constrained

Besides the obvious platform fragmentation problems, consider this comparison: iOS developers, like Instapaper’s Marco Arment, waited patiently until just this month to raise their apps’ minimum requirement to the 11 month old iOS 4.2.1. They can do so knowing that it’s been well over 3 years since anyone bought an iPhone that couldn’t run that OS. If developers apply that same standard to Android, it will be at least 2015 before they can start requiring 2010’s Gingerbread OS. That’s because every US carrier is still selling – even just now introducing2 – smartphones that will almost certainly never run Gingerbread and beyond. Further, those are phones still selling for actual upfront money – I’m not even counting the generally even more outdated & presumably much more popular free phones.

It seems this is one area the Android/Windows comparison holds up: most app developers will end up targeting an ancient version of the OS in order to maximize market reach.
Security Risks Loom

In the chart, the dashed line in the middle of each bar indicates how long that phone was getting any kind of support updates – not just major OS upgrades. The significant majority of models have received very limited support after sales were discontinued. If a security or privacy problem popped up in old versions of Android or its associated apps (i.e. the browser), it’s hard to imagine that all of these no-longer-supported phones would be updated. This is only less likely as the number of phones that manufacturers would have to go back and deal with increases: Motorola, Samsung, and HTC all have at least 20 models each in the field already, each with a range of carriers that seemingly have to be dealt with individually.
Why Don’t Android Phones Get Updated?

That’s a very good question. Obviously a big part of the problem is that Android has to go from Google to the phone manufacturers to the carriers to the devices, whereas iOS just goes from Apple directly to devices. The hacker community (e.g. CyanogenMod, et cetera) has frequently managed to get these phones to run the newer operating systems, so it isn’t a hardware issue.

It appears to be a widely held viewpoint3 that there’s no incentive for smartphone manufacturers to update the OS: because manufacturers don’t make any money after the hardware sale, they want you to buy another phone as soon as possible. If that’s really the case, the phone manufacturers are spectacularly dumb: ignoring the 2 year contract cycle & abandoning your users isn’t going to engender much loyalty when they do buy a new phone. Further, it’s been fairly well established that Apple also really only makes money from hardware sales, and yet their long term update support is excellent (see chart).

In other words, Apple’s way of getting you to buy a new phone is to make you really happy with your current one, whereas apparently Android phone makers think they can get you to buy a new phone by making you really unhappy with your current one. Then again, all of this may be ascribing motives and intent where none exist – it’s entirely possible that the root cause of the problem is just flat-out bad management (and/or the aforementioned spectacular dumbness).
A Price Observation

All of the even slightly cheaper phones are much worse than the iPhone when it comes to OS support, but it’s interesting to note that most of the phones on this list were actually not cheaper than the iPhone when they were released. Unlike the iPhone however, the “full-priced” phones are frequently discounted in subsequent months. So the “low cost” phones that fueled Android’s generally accepted price advantage in this period were basically either (a) cheaper from the outset, and ergo likely outdated & terribly supported or (b) purchased later in the phone’s lifecycle, and ergo likely outdated & terribly supported.

Also, at any price point you’d better love your rebates. If you’re financially constrained enough to be driven by upfront price, you can’t be that excited about plunking down another $100 cash and waiting weeks or more to get it back. And sometimes all you’re getting back is a “$100 Promotion Card” for your chosen provider. Needless to say, the iPhone has never had a rebate.

Along similar lines, a very small but perhaps telling point: the price of every single Android phone I looked at ended with 99 cents – something Apple has never done (the iPhone is $199, not $199.99). It’s almost like a warning sign: you’re buying a platform that will nickel-and-dime you with ads and undeletable bloatware, and it starts with those 99 cents. And that damn rebate form they’re hoping you don’t send in.
Notes on the chart and data
Why stop at June 2010?

I’m not going to. I do think that having 15 months or so of history gives a good perspective on how a phone has been treated, but it’s also just a labor issue – it takes a while to dredge through the various sites to determine the history of each device. I plan to continue on and might also try to publish the underlying table with references. I also acknowledge that it’s possible I’ve missed something along the way.
Android Release Dates

For the major Android version release dates, I used the date at which it was actually available on a normal phone you could get via normal means. I did not use the earlier SDK release date, nor the date at which ROMs, hacks, source, et cetera were available.
Outside the US

Finally, it’s worth noting that people outside the US have often had it even worse. For example, the Nexus One didn’t go on sale in Europe until 5 months after the US, the Droid/Milestone FroYo update happened over 7 months later there, and the Cliq never got updated at all outside of the US. by theunderstatement

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Posted by on 28/10/2011 in IT


Apple Releases a Minor Update to Aperture

A61547-500pple has released a minor update to Aperture that resolves an issue that could cause Aperture to quit unexpectedly at launch.
Aperture is designed for iPhoto users who want to get more out of their photos. It includes powerful tools for refining images, showcasing your work, and managing massive libraries on your Mac. Enhanced Faces and Places provide new ways to organize images. Nondestructive brushes with built-in edge detection make precision retouching of photographs intuitive and fast. Choose from dozens of built-in adjustment presets, or create your own to give your photos a custom look. Advanced slideshows support HD video and give you complete control over text, transitions, and timing. And stunning full-screen views let you use every inch of your Mac display to navigate and browse your entire library.
What’s New In This Version:
• Resolves an issue that could cause Aperture to quit unexpectedly at launch on Macs with Core Duo processors
• Addresses problems that could cause the Crop tool to switch to the incorrect orientation or resize incorrectly
• Resolves rendering issues when cropping images with Onscreen Proofing enabled
• Location menus are now displayed correctly on the map in the Places view when “Photos” is selected in the Library Inspector
You can purchase Aperture from the App Store for $79.99. by iclarified

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Posted by on 28/10/2011 in IT

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