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Android, iOS Prepaid War May Squeeze Out Rivals

applevsandroidphonewars 490x306 Android, iOS Prepaid War May Squeeze Out Rivals

When rumors first emerged that Blackberry was embracing Android Market, many (including yours truly) were perplexed why RIM would even consider making a move that would potentially starve out their own app store.

Although RIM has yet to confirm or deny their embrace of Android (note: RIM is courting Android upon their Playbook tablet), doing so might ensure the companies survival in light of what Apple plans on doing with the iPhone in the future. More →

Google Fiber Winner To Be Revealed In March?

googlefiber Google Fiber Winner To Be Revealed In March?Ever since the search engine giant announced their Google Fiber project, cities around the US performed various stunts in order to get Google’s attention.

Google was suppose to announce a winner by December of 2010, but decided to push back the announcement in order to gain more time researching every city who applied.

Although Google has not indicated an official date of when the winner would be announced, it’s probable that the winner will be revealed next month (at least according to an archived blog post). More →

Blackberry To Developers: Need Analytics With That App?

blackberryanalyticssdk 490x246 Blackberry To Developers: Need Analytics With That App?

In a bid to help make the lives of Blackberry developers easier, RIM has released their Blackberry Analytics SDK which should provide greater insight regarding the usage of apps by Blackberry addicts.

Some very good information can be tracked such as the number of times the application opens, closes, the number of screen views, carriers, device models as well as usage time. [...]

Many other events in your application can be captured as well (including custom events), and there are built-in reports for Media playback, Product Views and more. Once configured, data will be captured automatically and aggregated in the dashboard view or reports. It can also be exported to CSV or Web Service. (Blackberry Developer’s Blog)

The SDK is currently in beta, which means that developers will probably encounter a few bugs after installing Blackberry Analytics within their app.

While it’s great to see RIM releasing an official analytics tool, it’s also makes one wonder whether or not Blackberry will be courting Android Market in the future (note: RIM has confirmed that they are embracing Android apps upon the Playbook).

As far as the developer community goes, RIM has a long ways to go in order to appease their current stock of developers (let a lone woo new ones)

Hopefully the company can stabilize their analytics tool (among other features) in order to keep developers from defecting towards iOS, Android and Windows Phone 7.

Verizon Gaining Windows Phone 7?

verizonwp7htctrophy Verizon Gaining Windows Phone 7?After previously gaining Palm Pre 2 as well as the iPhone 4, it looks like Verizon will be adding Windows Phone 7 to their smartphone arsenal in their war against AT&T (the latter who embraced Windows Phone 7 months ago).

If you had any remaining doubts whether the HTC Trophy would be playing for Team Red, you can leave them at the door — a tipster just sent us a high-res version of the above image, and says it’s running the latest version of Windows Phone 7, complete with copy/paste support. (via Engadget)

Previously Verizon dismissed Windows Phone 7 as a serious contender claiming that the carrier didn’t need it as they saw the iPhone, Blackberry and Android smarphones as their flagship devices.

Despite Verizon’s attitude towards Windows Phone 7, it looks like the carrier is hedging their bets by including Microsoft’s smartphone just in case it becomes a sleeper hit.

Sadly Verizon has yet to reveal a time table as to when they plan to release Windows Phone 7 to the masses, although Microsoft is claiming in the first half of 2011 which could mean a summer release.

Truth be told Microsoft needs Verizon more than Verizon needs Windows Phone 7, as the former needs to boost consumer sales in order to challenge iOS as well as Android in the future.

Verizon iPhone Not Recommended By Consumer Reports?

iphone verizon 490x267 Verizon iPhone Not Recommended By Consumer Reports?

Apple probably won’t be pleased that Consumer Reports is once again recommending that users avoid buying a shiny new iPhone 4, this time upon Verizon’s network.

As they explain in video below, the Verizon iPhone apparently suffers from the same death grip that AT&T’s suffered from (which isn’t surprising as the only major difference between the two is the radio chip inside). More →

Skype Courts Palm Pre 2 On Only One Carrier?

skypepalmpre2 Skype Courts Palm Pre 2 On Only One Carrier?For those of you who have not given up on webOS, you’ll be delighted to hear that Skype has finally released an app for Palm Pre 2 fans.

Unfortunately they are once again playing favorites with select carriers, which means a large number of Pre fans will be out of luck.

We’re working constantly to bring Skype to as many mobile devices as possible, and we’re excited to announce that Skype is now available on the Palm Pre 2 from Verizon Wireless. [...]

All calls run on the largest and most reliable wireless network in the US, which helps to make sure that call quality is top-notch, and lets you use your favorite accessories, including Bluetooth headsets. (Official Skype Blog)

Palm Pre 2 fans upon other carriers attempting to download Skype will be greeted with a friendly “Skype is not available for your phone” despite the fact that they run the same exact mobile OS.

Skype isn’t saying when their app will be available for the rest of the Palm Pre tribe, but hopefully the company will consider exiting Verizon’s walled garden lest they lose out customers to rivals like Google Voice.

Note: If anyone has any tips/hacks for porting Skype to Palm Pre 2 fans on other carriers, feel free to enlighten us in the comment section below!

Facebook, Bing! Making Social Search A Reality?

facebookbingsearch e1298592705617 490x173 Facebook, Bing! Making Social Search A Reality?

Instead of mimicking Google’s insta-search (which would probably be a huge engineering challenge in of itself), Microsoft has decided to “out Google” Google by leverage the one asset the search giant has been unable to obtain.

A few months ago, we announced an exciting partnership with Facebook to make search more social. As part of that work, we introduced Liked Results, which promotes links your friends have publicly liked or shared via Facebook. Today we are extending Liked Results to annotate any of the URLs returned by our algorithmic search results to all users in the US.

If your friends have publicly liked or shared any of the algorithmic search results shown on Bing, we will now surface them right below the result. (Bing! Community Blog)

Combined with the partnership with Twitter, Bing! is as close to a social search engine as we will probably see in the next few years (provided Facebook doesn’t launch their own competing engine).

Unfortunately once again this is only available for American users, although hopefully the company will consider expanding this feature to the rest of the planet as Facebook’s user base extends beyond the shores of the US.

While their rival Google can rely upon its superior resources (not to mention tapping into Twitter as well), the search giant’s lack of a decent social graph could prove to be a major hurdle down the road as users rely more upon social friends than sophisticated machines to filter their search queries.

(hat tip: Mashable)

Why Is Blackberry Courting Android?

androidappsblackberry 490x285 Why Is Blackberry Courting Android?

Could it be that RIM is giving up on the Blackberry OS and is about to pull a Nokia by courting a rival? Probably not, but apparently the ailing smartphone giant is courting Android (or at least apps running upon Android Market).

Well according to ShopSavvy’s flurry logs someone in Waterloo, Ontario (Canada for the geographically challenged oh and BTW it wheres RIM is based) has been running ShopSavvy for Android on various BlackBerry devices. Here are the details:

• BlackBerry 8300 ran ShopSavvy on January 31, 2011
• BlackBerry 8600 ran ShopSavvy on January 17 and 24, 2011
• BlackBerry 8520 ran ShopSavvy on February 7, 2011

Earlier this month Rachel King wrote a ZDNet story suggesting that BlackBerry’s new PlayBook tablet is going to support Android apps. This makes sense since BlackBerry OS can support Java Virtual Machines  and it would be pretty easy to compile Android in one of the them. (Official ShopSavvy Blog)

Blackberry App World already boasts 20,000 apps (and counting), although with Windows Phone 7 catching up (Microsoft just surpassed 8,000 apps), RIM is probably worried about being surpassed and being viewed by consumers as “limited” due to a lack of third party apps.

While making Blackberry “Android friendly” would help boost RIM’s appeal to the masses, it would also kill off Blackberry App World as developers would have little incentive to create apps for RIM.

If RIM does court Android while “retaining” its app store, it would signify a huge win for Google as well as developers, as Blackberry lovers might be more open to purchasing Android apps.

(Hat Tip: BGR)

FTC Going After Android?

android robot logo2 FTC Going After Android?The Federal Trade Commission apparently has some questions regarding Android’s in-app purchasing and is investigating Google regarding their latest feature.

“Let me assure you we will look closely at the current industry practice with respect to the marketing and delivering of these types of applications,” FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitzwrote to Rep. Edward Markey in a letter this week. After Markey and Sen. Amy Klobuchar requested that the FTC look into Google and Apple for their in-app purchase features, the agency set its inquiry into motion. (Android Apps)

With Android embracing carrier billing, the FTC is probably concerned about users getting scammed by third party developers (although truth be told they can always request a refund).

Both Google and Apple already have procedures in place to protect consumers just in case they get scammed, although with the FTC breathing down both their necks we may see stronger policies to protect consumers in the future.

Note: Surprisingly the FTC isn’t also going after RIM (who also offers in app purchasing for Blackberry users), although this could be due to the fact that RIM is head quartered in Canada (as opposed to the US) while Apple and Google are based within the America’s borders.

YouTube Live Streaming Sports Soon?

youtube YouTube Live Streaming Sports Soon?It looks like Google is on the verge of slaying another industry with reports that the search giant is attempting to live stream sporting events which include one popular sports league.

Google Inc.’s YouTube is in talks with the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League to show live games, building on the popularity of cricket’s Indian Premier League last year.

YouTube aims to show more live sports in the second half of the year, said Gautam Anand, Google’s director of content partnerships for Asia Pacific, in an interview in Seoul yesterday. Google is in talks with “most pro sports leagues” including NBA and NHL, as well as soccer leagues in Europe, Brian Suh, head of YouTube Partnership at Google’s Korean unit, said separately. (Bloomberg)

Thanks in part to services like Hulu, Netflix and online live news (at least on CNN and Fox), I barely watch television as it is with the exception of American Football (which you have to see live in order to enjoy the game).

There is no word on whether YouTube will live stream events upon mobile devices and large touchscreen devices (at least upon Android tablets), which would make it easier to watch ones team when a TV isn’t readily available.

While live streaming games online will not kill off television entirely (as there are probably more people with TV’s than internet service, at least within the US), it could help sporting leagues reach a larger audience, not to mention generate more revenue via mobile ads as well.