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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Google Search Gets New Interactive Weather Widget On iOS And Android Tablets

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Here is a small but nifty update to Google’s search interface on tablets (both iOS and Android): just search for [weather] and a new tablet-optimized weather widget will show you the current weather at your location (or anywhere else if you add a city’s name or ZIP code to your search), as well as hourly and ten-day forecasts for temperature, precipitation, humidity and wind speed. Google officially confirmed this update on Google+ earlier today.


The new widget looks like the developers took their design cues from Android’s new Google Now feature. Earlier this year, Google launched a similar widget for iPhone and Android phones as well, but its design is significantly different and the feature set is limited to a three- or five-day forecast depending on the size and orientation of your screen. Just like the new tablet widget, though, the phone interface is also interactive.


Interestingly, the desktop version of Google Search currently features the least informative weather widget. On the desktop, all you get is a basic three-day forecast without any interactivity. Instead, the search results link to The Weather Channel, Weather Underground (which The Weather Channel acquired earlier this month) and AccuWeather.


Chances are that Google will sooner or later bring these different interfaces together.


It’s worth noting that the tablet interface uses a very similar layout and the same minimalist icons as Google Now, the company’s new opt-in contextual search utility. Google Now automatically learns from your search behavior and other clues to displays relevant weather data, upcoming calendar appointments, scores for sports teams you’ve search for, traffic conditions for your daily commute and more.


For now, these features are just available on Jelly Bean. Looking at the design of this new widget, it’s hard not to think that some of these features could slowly be making their way over to Google Search as well, starting with the overall look and feel.



Launch Date: September 7, 1998

Google provides search and advertising services, which together aim to organize and monetize the world’s information. In addition to its dominant search engine, it offers a plethora of online tools and platforms including: Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and Google+, the company’s extension into the social space. Most of its Web-based products are free, funded by Google’s highly integrated online advertising platforms AdWords and AdSense. Google promotes the idea that advertising should be highly targeted and relevant to users thus providing…


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Telltale Galaxy Note Documents Spotted On T-Mobile’s Website Ahead Of Launch

Chris Velazco is a mobile enthusiast and writer who studied English and Marketing at Rutgers University. Once upon a time, he was the news intern for MobileCrunch, and in between posts, he worked in wireless sales at Best Buy. After graduating, he returned to the new TechCrunch to as a full-time mobile writer. He counts advertising, running, musical theater,… ? Learn More

Samsung-Galaxy-Note-007

Well, if you needed any more proof that the Galaxy Note will soon make an appearance on T-Mobile’s store shelves, take a gander at this.

TmoNews has discovered that a slew of Galaxy Note related documents can be found by searching for — what else? — “Galaxy Note” on T-Mobile’s website. Sadly, there’s no word yet on whether or not that rumored July 11 release date is still in the cards.

The documents run the gamut from explanations of the device’s specs and features to a software overview to a how-to guide for using enormous handset. All in all there are 12 such documents detailing various aspects of Samsung’s fabulous phablet, though there’s little telling what specifically is inside of them at this point.

You see, when trying to open up the documents proper, users are prompted to login to their T-Mobile Support Community accounts, and all they get for bounding over that hurdle is an error message saying they aren’t authorized to see the document. It’s certainly a bummer that we can’t pore over those documents to see how (if at all) the T-Mobile version differs from its international and AT&T-bound relatives, but things aren’t all bad.

Some people are surely heartened to see that T-Mobile will soon be getting some big screen love (even though a brand new Galaxy Note may be just around the corner), and with any luck it’ll come bearing the same Ice Cream Sandwich update that the AT&T model just received. And for those of you who just can’t wait to surf on T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network with Samsung’s hefty handheld, well, let’s say just a little elbow grease can go a long way.

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Kantar: Android Now Accounting For More Than Half Of All Smartphone Sales Across U.S., Europe and Oz

Ingrid is a reporter for TechCrunch, joining February 2012, based out of London. She comes from paidContent.org, where she was a staff writer, and has in the past also written freelance regularly for other publications such as the Financial Times. Ingrid covers mobile, digital media, advertising and the spaces where these intersect. When it comes to work, she feels most… ? Learn More

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Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, a market analysis division of WPP, has today published its latest figures on mobile device sales across a number of key markets, and it looks like something of a milestone for Android: this is the first time in ComTech’s recording of sales that Android has accounted for more than half of all smartphone sales in the U.S., the biggest markets in Europe, and Australia.


The sales, recorded over the last 12 weeks that ended June 10, put Android sales in a range going from 49.6 percent of all smartphone sales in Italy to 84.1 percent of all smartphone sales in Spain.


These numbers are a crucial barometer of how well Android devices are selling in the market: Google typically talks activations but not actual sales of handsets. Andy Rubin in June noted that Android device activations are now numbering at over 900,000 per day.


They also underscore the competitive threat the Google represents to all other platform operators at the moment. The newer entrant, Microsoft’s Windows Phone is showing positive signs, in that its percentage of sales is growing in different markets, but it remains in the single digits, and will be hard-pressed to make inroads in the short term with Android device makers continuing to perform so well.


Dominic Sunnebo, consumer insights director at Kantar Worldpanel, puts the popularity of Android down to a crucial factor: a lot of people are migrating from feature phones and Android represents just the right nexus (sorry!) between price and functionality.


Kantar Worldpanel’s research shows that Android devices are particularly successful with people who spend $50 and under for devices (typically sold with subsidies from carriers when you buy the device under contract), in the “vast majority” of countries covered in its research. ”Android handsets currently offer an easier platform to enable these consumers to upgrade, as many first time smartphone consumers state ‘price of handset’ and ‘multimedia capabilities’ as their main reason for choosing an Android device,” he writes in the news release.


But what’s really the killer with Android is that it’s also becoming the migration platform of choice for smartphone owners, too. For example, in the UK, Worldpanel notes that the Samsung Galaxy Ace and Y are popular choices for young people who were previously using — “traditionally loyal” in its words — to RIM’s Blackberry. (Fun fact: the 20 year-old au pair who lives in my house is precisely the young user Worldpanel’s talking about. She’d had a BlackBerry; now she uses a Galaxy Ace.)


But what about the iPhone, you ask? Well, iOS smartphones are still doing fine, and in markets like the U.S. they are actually still gaining at the expense of Android. Google’s OS is still the biggest there, at 50.2 percent, but that’s actually a decline of 6.8 percent compared to the same 12-week period last year. iOS’s share, meanwhile has grown by 8.7 percentage points to 37.4 percent of all sales in the market, fueled partly by wider availability on Sprint’s network. iOS was, in fact, the only platform whose sales grew over the period in the U.S.


Another point worth noting is that Kantar Worldpanel’s figures also provide a rather stark picture of who is on the way down — the counterbalance to who is going up. RIM and Symbian saw declines in sales shares in just about every market listed below: the one exception is Symbian in the U.S., where the share of sales is so small — just 0.5 percent — but at least a rise of 0.3 percentage points compared to the same period a year ago.




Kantar is an insight, information and consultancy network. By uniting the diverse talents of its 13 specialist companies, the group aims to become the pre-eminent provider of compelling and inspirational insights for the global business community. Its 26,500 employees work across 95 countries and across the whole spectrum of research and consultancy disciplines, enabling the group to offer clients business insights at each and every point of the consumer cycle.

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WPP plc, together with its subsidiaries, offers various communications services worldwide. It provides global, national, and specialist advertising services; above- and below-the-line media planning, buying, and specialist sponsorship and branded entertainment services; and specializes in brand, consumer, media, and marketplace insight, as well as works with clients to generate and apply insights. The company also offers corporate, consumer, financial, and brand-building services; consumer, corporate, and employee branding and design services, covering identity, packaging, literature, events, training, and architecture; a…

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Android is a software platform for mobile devices based on the Linux operating system and developed by Google and the Open Handset Alliance. It allows developers to write managed code in Java that utilizes Google-developed software libraries, but does not support programs developed in native code. The unveiling of the Android platform on 5 November 2007 was announced with the founding of the Open Handset Alliance, a consortium of 34 hardware, software and telecom companies devoted to advancing open standards…


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Android And iOS Still Lead In Smartphone Market Share, But The Race For Third Rages On

Chris Velazco is a mobile enthusiast and writer who studied English and Marketing at Rutgers University. Once upon a time, he was the news intern for MobileCrunch, and in between posts, he worked in wireless sales at Best Buy. After graduating, he returned to the new TechCrunch to as a full-time mobile writer. He counts advertising, running, musical theater,… ? Learn More

android-v-iphone

Nielsen released another of their periodic looks at the U.S. smartphone market today, and aside from the revelation that two-thirds of U.S. phone purchasers went for smartphones in Q2 2012, the results are as you’d expect.

Android still leads the pack in terms of pure penetration — as of this past June, it accounts for 51.8% of smartphones in use (up from 50.4% in Q1 2012) with Apple’s iOS right behind it at 34%. Don’t feel too bad for Apple though, as they still have the highest manufacturer share by far (34% in Q2), with Samsung at a distant second.

That those two platforms still hold first and second place shouldn’t come as surprise, and their slight gains come at a cost. Nielsen has RIM still clinging to third place despite another quarterly drop, as it now accounts for 8.1% of smartphones in use. Meanwhile, the rest of the competition languishes below 5% as of Q2 2012.

It’s that part of the market that seems the most interesting right now, as there’s still plenty of room in the market for a third strong mobile ecosystem to emerge while Apple and Google continue to slug it out. The question though is what that third platform will be, and there are no clear indicators to be found in Nielsen’s data.

RIM looks like a possibility, considering it has managed to hold on to a its tenuous third, though it’s tough to say how their recent performance will affect this figure going forward. CEO Thorsten Heins noted during the company’s somewhat contentious shareholders meeting that their current and forthcoming BlackBerry 7 devices would comprise the company’s low and mid-range product tiers until it can push out a full slate of BB10 hardware next year.

Still, RIM had best gird itself for a long(er) transition period, as its split focus between platforms may not do it any favors. The process of shifting users from older devices to new ones will take a considerable amount of time, especially as the company focuses on getting existing BlackBerry users to upgrade right now.

Of course, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 is set to make its official debut this fall, putting it well ahead of RIM’s nascent “computing platform.” That’s not to say a head start is all that it takes to win in a race like this — there’s something to be said for how well a company can capture new customers (or upgrade older ones), and Microsoft seems to have had some issues with that. Nielsen’s data still puts Microsoft’s aging Windows Mobile platform (3% of the market as of Q2 2012) ahead of the much-newer Windows Phone (1.3%). With any luck, Microsoft has learned a few things and garnered enough developer support to put Windows Phone 8 higher up in the rankings, but only time will tell whether or not either of these companies has the savvy to make real contenders of their forthcoming mobile operating systems.

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