Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Find: Google changes stance on net neutrality four years after Verizon deal

A big deal: google flips to say mobile data should also be net neutral. 

Google changes stance on net neutrality four years after Verizon deal
// Ars Technica

Four years ago, Google teamed up with Verizon to argue that most network neutrality rules should not apply to cellular networks. The companies got much of what they wanted, with the Federal Communications Commission passing rules that let wireless operators discriminate against third-party applications as long as they disclose their traffic management practices. Wireless companies were also allowed to block applications that don't compete against their telephony services.

Verizon sued anyway and won when a federal appeals court struck down the FCC’s prohibitions against blocking and discrimination. The decision has set off months of debate, yet Google—once a strong supporter of net neutrality—has largely remained silent.

That changed today with Google sending a message to subscribers of its “Take Action” mailing list urging them to “Join Take Action to support a free and open Internet.” Within this page is evidence that Google has changed its mind on whether net neutrality rules should apply to wireless networks.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Find: Apple announces iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus

Apple announces iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus
// Ars Technica

17 more images in gallery

CUPERTINO, CA—As expected, Apple has just updated its iPhone lineup with brand-new handsets. While last year's 5C and 5S were both variants of 2012's iPhone 5, the new phones feature a redesigned chassis made to hold their larger 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens. The new enclosures are thinner, too, with the iPhone 6 measuring 6.9 mm and the Plus coming in at 7.1 mm—both thinner than the iPhone 5S's 7.6 mm.

This is just the second time that Apple has changed the size of the iPhone's screen since the original model was introduced back in 2007, and it's the first time Apple has changed the width of its screens—the 4-inch iPhone 5 design just made the previous 3.5-inch displays taller. The new phones are better-suited to compete against ever-increasing screen sizes from Android phone OEMs like Samsung, HTC, LG, and Motorola. According to Apple slides revealed during the Apple vs. Samsung case, Apple is aware that most of the growth in high-end smartphone sales is coming from large-screened phones.

The 4.7-inch iPhone 6 has a resolution of 1334×750 (326 PPI) and the iPhone 6 Plus is 1920×1080 (401 PPI), They won't be as sharp as displays in many premium Android phones, some of which have 2560×1440 display panels, but as we've seen, those panels can be a big drain on the battery.

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Find: Apple reveals long-rumored Apple Watch

Apple reveals long-rumored Apple Watch
// Ars Technica

On Tuesday, Apple finally unveiled the Apple Watch, the company's first dedicated wearable device.

Once rumored for an October reveal, the Watch was only recently linked to today's iPhone announcement event, and while it follows devices from the likes of Samsung, Motorola, and LG, the Watch stands out thanks to its total integration with the iPhone and iOS ecosystem. The Apple Watch comes in two different sizes—one larger and one smaller.

According to CEO Tim Cook, the Apple Watch has been in development for a considerable amount of time and required a reassessment of how users interact with devices. Not content to take the iPhone experience and simply shrink it to wrist-like proportions, the Apple Watch discards traditional gesture controls like pinch-to-zoom, since they are impractical in the tiny form factor. Instead, the primary means of interaction is with the "digital crown," the tiny dial on the watch's side. Per Cook, it lets you interact with the watch without blocking its screen (although, confusingly, a screen-obscuring swipe appears to be the most common gesture used with the Watch). A press on the "digital crown" returns you to the home screen.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Find: Apple explains why your iOS app keeps getting rejected

Apple explains why your iOS app keeps getting rejected
// Ars Technica

If you've ever developed an app for the iPhone or iPad, you've had to deal with Apple's App Store Review Guidelines. The lengthy list of rules encompasses many different areas, and Apple has just published a new page to explain what rules are broken the most often—and what developers can do to avoid rejection.

Apple's graph (which reports app rejections for the week leading up to August 28) shows that "incomplete information" is the most frequent reason for rejection—this includes providing demo account credentials for apps that require an account, failure to adequately explain any special settings needed for evaluation, and failure to provide an accompanying demo video for apps that only work under specific circumstances (when attached to a particular piece of hardware, for example). In short, tell Apple what it needs to know to evaluate your app, because the company isn't going to take extra time to do research if your app isn't self-explanatory.

Bugginess is another big reason for app rejections, as is failure to comply with Apple's Developer Program License Agreement. A fuzzier problem that takes down six percent of apps is a "complex or less than very good" user interface, which could mean that the interface is too cramped or not finger-friendly—Apple provides many UI explainers to developers, and failure to take them into account can get your app thrown out even if it's otherwise useful. The chart above and the page itself explains how to comply to these guidelines as well as the others on the list, though they won't help you much if your app was one of the 42 percent rejected for "other reasons."

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Friday, August 22, 2014

Find: Android is more fragmented than ever. Should developers or users worry?

Android is more fragmented than ever. Should developers or users worry?
// Technology

OpenSignal finds the variety of devices has grown by 58% from 2013, and now developers have to content with sensor fragmentation too

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Find: ComScore: Most people in the US don't download apps on a regular basis

ComScore: Most people in the US don't download apps on a regular basis
// Engadget

While smartphone apps come in handy for a variety of uses from sharing photos to navigating a new locale, it appears that most folks in the US barely download them at all. According to ComScore, 65.5 percent of those users 18 and above who wield a...

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The state of Android updates: Find: Who’s fast, who’s slow, and why

Nexus and Motorola phones update rapidly, Samsung and lg very slowly. 

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The state of Android updates: Who’s fast, who’s slow, and why
// Ars Technica

Aurich Lawson

Android 4.4, KitKat was released on October 31, 2013, or at least, that's what you can say about one device: the Nexus 5. For the rest of the ecosystem, the date you got KitKat—if you got KitKat—varied wildly depending on your device, OEM, and carrier.

For every Android update, Google's release of code to OEMs starts an industry-wide race to get the new enhancements out to customers. So how did everyone do this year? Who was the first with KitKat, and who was the last? What effect does your carrier have on updates? How has the speed of Android updates changed compared to earlier years?

Given all those variables, we wanted to check in on the specifics of Android in 2014. There are lots of slightly different ways to go about measuring something like this, so first, a word about our methodology. All of these charts measure KitKat's update lag time in months. For our start date, we're picking October 31, 2013, the day KitKat was released on the Nexus 5. For our finish time for each device, we're going with the US release of an update via either OTA or downloadable system image. OTAs are done on a staggered release schedule, so it's hard to tell exactly when they start and finish—we just went with the earliest news of an update.

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