August 2014

Microsoft cleans up Windows app store
Customers of Apple's AppStore can pretty much rely on knowing what they get in an app, and that it won't be against any of Apple's rather stringent rules. That's not always the case with other app stores where apps have been known to be badly mislabeled/misleading at best, and entirely inappropriate at worst. Microsoft has now announced in its blog that Windows Store requirements have been modified and that more than 1,500 apps have been removed. [See Microsoft blog "How we’re addressing misleading apps in Windows Store"] -- Posted Friday, August 29, 2014 by chb

IDC: Smartphone market strong and still growing, with emphasis on emerging markets
IDC reports that smartphone outlook remains strong, with over 1.25 billion smartphones to be shipped worldwide in 2014, and 1.8 billion in 2018. Considering that smartphones are really PDAs, John Sculley's 1990s' prediction that this will be a trillion dollar market no longer looks foolish at all. Note that according to IDC smartphone mature market share in 2014 is just 26.5% and will drop to 20.5% by 2018, which means the challenge for phone makers will be to maintain a (profitable) presence in high-margin mature markets while also compete in the much higher volume low-margin emerging markets. -- Posted Thursday, August 28, 2014 by chb

Microsoft One Note for Android now with handwriting/inking support for improved tablet experience
Millions are using Microsoft One Note, but Android users didn't get handwriting on it, which makes the app less useful for many. That's now changed as Microsoft introduced One Note for Android with handwriting/inking support to provide a fuller tablet experience. With current advances in truly useful capacitive pens for tablets, annotation capability will become increasingly more important. [See One Note for Android] -- Posted Friday, August 22, 2014 by chb

Western Digital celebrates 10th anniversary of its external drive
Western Digital is commemorating the 10th anniversary of its My Passport line of portable external hard drives. More than 60 million My Passport drives have been sold in the past 10 years, providing approximately 42,000 petabytes of storage. To celebrate, they're issuing the elegant metal-clad My Passport Ultra - Anniversary Edition drive in limited numbers (1 TB $89.00 and 2 TB $139.00). [See Western Digital My Passport Anniversary drives -- Posted Thursday, August 21, 2014 by chb

MobileDemand xTablet Flex 10 for less than an iPad Air
MobileDemand announced its second thin and light tablet of the year, the xTablet Flex 10. It's an Intel Bay Trail-powered Windows 8.1 tablet with a 10.1-inch 1920 x 1200 pixel IPS capacitive multi-touch display. Inside its specially selected dual-layer protective case and behind a special protective screen cover, the Flex 10 can handle four-foot drops onto concrete and steel balls falling on its display. And it costs just US$695 with 64GB of storage, less than a 64GB WiFi iPad Air. [See description, analysis and specs of the MobleDemand xTablet Flex 10] -- Posted Thursday, August 14, 2014 by chb

Opticon releases rugged Android enterprise terminal
Opticon has added the Opticon H27 rugged Android enterprise terminal to its lineup of handhelds, scanners and data collectors. The Snapdragon MSM8960-powered H27 runs Android 4.2.2 on a bright 800 x 480 pixel capacitive touch screen measuring 4.3 inches diagonally. Equipped with an industrial grade 1D scanner or 2D imager, GPS, NFC, WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, the H27 weighs just 8.5 ounces, but can handle extreme temperatures, survive 5-foot drops and carries IP65 sealing. [See description, analysis and specs of the Opticon H27] -- Posted Thursday, August 14, 2014 by chb

Smartphone sales pass 300 million Q2 2014, Android dominates
According to IDC, the worldwide smartphone market reached 301.3 million a new milestone in Q2 of 2014, up 25.3% from the 240.5 million units shipped in Q2 of 2013. Android and Apple's iOS, saw their combined market share swell to 96.4% for the quarter, leaving little space for competitors. In fact, Android alone accounted for 255 million devices, dwarfing even Apple's 35 million. Windows Phone marketshare was 2.5%, down from 3.4% Q2 2013. "With many of its OEM partners focusing on the sub-$200 segments, Android has been reaping huge gains within emerging markets," said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager at IDC. [See IDC press release] -- Posted Thursday, August 14, 2014 by chb

An easier way to port Windows Mobile apps to Android?
With Android dominating consumer phones, many enterprises contemplate porting Windows Mobile applications to Android. That's never easy. An alternate solution to direct porting might be using the Xamarin Mobile Platform for iOS and Android app development since Xamarin includes a subset of the .NET framework and a C# compiler. Motorola Solutions' Brian Reed examines the issue in "Porting Obstacles: 5 Considerations With Xamarin Android" -- Posted Monday, August 11, 2014 by chb

Microsoft loss from Surface tablets estimated at US$1.7 billion
InfoWorld reports that Microsoft has lost US$1.7 billion on its Surface tablets since their launch in 2012. While that's just a drop in the bucket of Microsoft's overall financials, CEO Nadella's statement that "we are not in the hardware for hardware sake, and the first-party device portfolio will be aligned to our strategic direction as the productivity and platform company," probably means that much will rely on Surface Pro 3 sales performance. [Read InfoWorld article "Surface damage mounts at Microsoft as red ink reaches $1.7 billion"] -- Posted Tuesday, August 5, 2014 by chb