Motorola & Sprint Preparing To Launch The LTE-Friendly, QWERTY-Packing Photon Q

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The folks at Sprint seem to be having a busy day so far — this morning saw (among other things) the release of the carrier’s latest quarterly financials, an announcement about new LTE markets, and the revelation that birds are keeping the company from lighting up “hundreds” of LTE sites.

If that wasn’t enough Sprint for you, now the carrier has announced the Motorola Photon Q, a new LTE-capable handset with a physical keyboard for all those customers who could stand to do a little future-proofing.

Putting the sizable five-row QWERTY keyboard — which looks as though it’s been transplanted directly from a DROID 4 — the rest of the spec sheet looks rather familiar Like the recently-released Atrix HD for AT&T (which, if you’ll pardon the aside, was quite a treat), the Photon Q sports a lightly-tweaked version of Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, 8GB of internal storage, and an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera. Sadly it sports a slightly smaller 4.3-inch qHD ColorBoost LCD than its 720p cousin on AT&T, but its support for NFC may help to take the sting out of the switch.

As usual, Motorola is playing its cards close to the metaphorical vest when it comes to the Photon Q’s chipset. The last time Motorola did that, it was to conceal the Atrix HD’s Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 SoC, so here’s hoping for another pleasant surprise. Also up in the air at this point is when exactly the device is going to be released; all Motorola and Sprint will say for now is that the hefty-looking device is “coming soon.” With any luck, you’ll have some sweet LTE access in your neck of the woods when the little guy launches, but I’d advise against holding your breath.





TechCrunch » android

Motorola’s Xoom Wi-Fi Tablets Now Receiving Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean Update

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Move over, Nexus 7 — you’re not the only Jelly Bean-powered Android tab in town anymore. According to a handful of Droid-Life tipsters, it appears that Motorola’s aging XOOM tablet is finally getting its crack at Google’s latest and greatest dessert-themed OS update.

The process has been in the works for about two or three days now, with selected members of Motorola’s Feedback Network receiving the Android 4.1.1 build for soak testing earlier this week. At this point, the floodgates seem to have opened, though not every XOOM owner will be able to enter the fray just yet.

You see, the build currently making the rounds is meant only for the U.S. Wi-Fi model, and there’s no word on when Verizon-flavored XOOMs will get their update. Some folks on the xda-developer forums are holding out hope for a widespread release sometime before the month is out, but still others have a more pessimistic outlook — the Verizon XOOM only got its Ice Cream Sandwich update last month, while Wi-Fi models received it all the way back in January. On top of that, Verizon has been taking the slow approach to pushing out updates for its LTE-capable Galaxy Nexus while the GSM versions are already able to nab Jelly Bean over the air. C’est la vie, I suppose.

While 4G XOOM owners bemoan their choice of hardware, the rest of you can pop into the device’s settings and check for the new update. Don’t fret if it doesn’t appear immediately — some users have reported success in forcing the update by clearing the Google Services Framework (Settings/Apps/All/Google Services Framework/Clear Data) first. It may take a few tries, but it should be smooth sailing from there once that little hiccup is taken care of.


TechCrunch » android

iOS Soars Ahead of Android Development As Apple Quietly Makes Move Into The Enterprise Market

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The Apple iOS is surging ahead of the Google Android platform for enterprise development, according to survey results from Appcelerator, the mobile platform development company.

In the largest survey of its kind, Appcelerator developers were asked what operating system is best positioned to win the enterprise market. Developers said iOS over Android by a 53% to 38% margin. Last year, in its second quarter survey, the two companies were in a dead heat for the enterprise market, tied at 44%.

In a surprise of sorts, Windows showed some life as 33% said they would be interested in developing apps on the Windows 8 tablet.

Each quarter, in conjunction with IDC Research, Appcelerator surveys its community of 340,000 developers. It is the largest survey of mobile developers. This quarter, more than 3,600 developers participated in the survey.

Apple’s dramatic push ahead is in part attributed to developers perception about Android. When asked what interests them, developers said the size of the market and the price point of the devices.

“Android s a consumer centric app in the eyes of developers,” said Appcelerator’s Director of Enterprise Strategy, Michael King.

Apple has also put more emphasis on supporting the enterprise through better security. They have worked closely with mobile device management companies such as MobileIron, SAP Afaria and Symantec’s Nukona.

On its Web site, Apple has successfully marketed its iOS products. For example, it markets the ways it is used; the companies that have adopted it; the apps and its security features. It beautifully shows the iPad and the innovative ways it can be used.  Its resources page helps people understand how to use, integrate, and support iPad in business environments.

In addition, Apple now has an enterprise associate in every Apple store.

Also reflected in the survey results, is a trend from consumer app development to enterprise apps. Two-thirds of those surveyed are building apps for their company or a business customer.

Enterprise managers are recovering from the bring your own device (BYOD) era. They are now learning how to manage devices and how to use them to innovate.

The interest in Windows is arguably as interesting as Apple’s gains. Could this be the new race between Apple and Microsoft?

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Viber Updates iPhone, Android Apps To Version 2.2: Group Messaging, Improved UI, Enhanced HD Calling

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Viber has just released version 2.2 of the app for both Android and iPhone, bringing some much-requested features to the platform for the very first time including group messaging and improved call quality. The UI has also been significantly improved, which should please Viber’s growing user base.

In May, we learned that Viber had surpassed 70 million registered users. Today they’ve topped 90 million users and have taken the number of text messages sent from 1 billion to 2 billion per month.

But let’s not get distracted — back to the update.

Group messages show every member of the group’s thumbnail below the message preview, with the latest sender having the large profile pic on the left. Inside messages, you’ll actually be able to choose a fun background rather than the usual white. You can also use messaging in landscape.

More importantly, a new smart notifications feature has been added to make sure you aren’t bombarded with alerts, and a system has been implemented to speed up the process of kicking off a group message. Users will also be able share their name and photo.

Viber recently released their beta apps for BlackBerry and Windows Phone, and the group messaging features will carry over in an update to Viber for BlackBerry. The Android version will be getting nine additional languages including Arabic, Chinese (simplified and traditional), French, German, Hebrew, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

To get hooked up with Viber, head on over to the website and install the app.

Viber is an application for iPhone® and Android™ phones that lets you make free phone calls and send text messages to anyone who also has the application installed.

 

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Eric Schmidt-Backed Slice Reveals Revamped iOS And Android Apps

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Don’t let their recent quiet streak fool you — the team at Eric Schmidt-backed receipt aggregator/tracking service Slice have spent the last few months slaving away on revamped versions of their iOS and Android apps, and now that major update is ready for the purchase tracking masses.

With Slice 2.0, co-founder and CEO Scott Brady wanted to do more than just track packages and aggregate users’ purchase histories. Perhaps the most notable addition to the updated Slice mobile apps is a new personal analytics option called Thingerprint that breaks down how much users have spent on what kinds of products, with options to drill into specific purchase categories, item types, and merchants.

Naturally, most of my paycheck goes toward gadgets and other similarly shiny new things, so Slice’s Thingerprint has branded me a “Gadget Geek.” It may not be the most original addition to the mix — rivals Lemon and OneReceipt have taken a similar approach — but having a fairly comprehensive breakdown of your purchasing habits at your fingertips isn’t the sort of thing most users would turn their noses up at.

While the addition of personal analytics adds another dimension to the service, some of the updated bits were just about making Slice more accessible to particular use cases. During Slice’s early days for instance, the service could only connect to and scan Yahoo! And Gmail accounts for emailed receipts and tracking notifications.

Not so any more — Brady and his teamed fleshed out Slice 2.0 with support for iCloud, Hotmail, and AOL email accounts. Also featured prominently is the ability to manually add a new purchase to your Slice account by scanning the barcode off of a packing slip, though it should be noted that the Android version requires users to download a separate scanner app for that feature to work properly.

Some of the additions included in this most recent update may seem like no-brainers, but the process wasn’t always that straightforward. Brady confirmed to me that there was plenty of thoughtful testing and retesting before he and team signed off on the final updates.

“The focus groups give us ideas on where we like to take our capabilities,” he said “We rely pretty heavily on them, and before we go too far on any product we do plenty of testing and tweaking.”

For what it’s worth, his approach seems to be working so far. Since Slice’s launch in May 2011, the service has processed and tracked over 25 million purchases, and that number is sure to grow even larger if the company eventually gives in to their users’ demands.

“Behind additional email support, global availability is the second most requested feature,” Brady remarked. “Today we only support the U.S., but we’ve created a technology that can work throughout the rest of the world.”

Slice provides the simplest way to track and organize everything you buy online. Slice keeps shopping information organized and accessible. After signing up, the app automatically pulls information from electronic receipts within email and organizes it in one place for quick, easy reference – all while keeping personal information private and secure. With Slice, users can track packages automatically, save money with price drop alerts, access e-receipts and purchase details anytime and track your spending. It even processes electronic…

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