Saturday, April 26, 2014

Goodbye, Nokia

The story of Nokia is far from over, but Friday marks the end of its most enthralling chapter thus far. The company was founded nearly 150 years ago and it went through a number of iterations before it became the cell phone giant most of us think of now. But as of April 25th, Nokia is no longer a cell phone company.

Nokia’s devices and services business moved over to Microsoft on Friday morning as part of a deal worth more than $7 billion. The deal values Nokia’s handsets division at around $5 billion, which is obviously a painfully small fraction of what it was once worth.

The cell phone maker’s failure to react when Apple first launched the iPhone back in 2007 led directly to the company’s collapse. I remember it like it was yesterday — especially when one Nokia executive told me in 2008 that “Apple is like the annoying fly buzzing around the fisherman’s head. Nokia is still the fisherman and we’ll still catch all the fish.”

But enough about my story. The far more interesting tale on Friday comes from a Nokia employee who penned an open letter to say goodbye to the Nokia he knew.

John Kneeland is Nokia’s product manager for emerging markets, and he posted a letter on Thursday evening to discuss the Nokia-Microsoft deal from his inside point of view. His letter is interesting, moving and at times, saddening.

“Today (April 24 2014) was the last day of Nokia as we knew it. The staff of Nokia’s Silicon Valley office went to the restaurant down the street and had one last celebration together. We had fun and said our goodbyes,” Kneeland wrote. “On April 25, that Nokia ceases to exist, and in its place are two companies that officially have nothing to do with each other: Microsoft Mobile Oy (where the heart of the company will go) and Nokia Oyj (where I will be).”

He continued, “Tomorrow I will still be an employee of Nokia. I will go to my office in Sunnyvale. It will be the same building it was yesterday. It will still say NOKIA on its facade basking in the California sun. But half of the people I’ve worked with will be gone. Up through today we shared everything. Tomorrow we will share nothing but our memories. I am not writing another piece to lay blame for who is responsible for the decline and fall of this iconic company. I am writing to reflect on what Nokia has meant for the world, and for me.”

Kneeland’s full letter is a fantastic read and it’s linked below in our source section.

Source: BGR

Android 4.4.3 tipped to bring major Dialer redesign

Google has yet to roll out its Android 4.4.3 KitKat update, which is believed to bring various bug fixes and improvements, but a leaked screenshot seems to indicate that at least one major new feature may also be part of the upcoming software update. According to an image posted on the xda-developers forum, the Google Dialer is getting a completely new look.

The Android 4.4.3 Dialer app features a series of cards for each contact instead of a list. The cards have a colored background with the first initial of the name placed on them, but they can apparently also show a picture of the contact when one is assigned to it. Other elements in the screenshot include the top search bar and the bottom blue action bar.

The new Dialer app was apparently spotted on a Nexus 5 handset running Android 4.4.3 firmware version KTU84F. Android Police speculates that the Nexus 5 belongs to a Googler, considering the names of some of the contacts.

It’s not clear when Android 4.4.3 will launch, although a recent report revealed that Google may have expanded testing to other Google employees, in addition to members of the Android team. Recently, Sprint announced an Android 4.4.3 update for its Nexus 5 version, but Nexus devices are yet to receive the latest Android version available.

The leaked screenshot showing the Dialer app redesign follows below, alongside a second image that shows the Android version running on the phone.

Source: BGR

Apple iOS 7.1.1 Jailbreak: Geeksn0w 2.x Semi-Tethered On iPhone 4 Release Date

Those still sporting the older Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 4 may still be able to run their iOS device jailbroken on the newly released iOS 7.1.1.

Italian iOS developer Andrea Bentivegna announced that his latest update to the Geeksn0w jailbreak launches on Friday, giving iPhone 4 users another chance to run custom tweaks, mods and software on their aging iOS device. The Geeksn0w jailbreak software developed by Bentivegna was originally released for the iPhone 4 after iOS 7.1 was released in March, as other developers began shifting their attention toward iOS 8.

As with the original release of the Geeksn0w jailbreak for iOS 7.1, this jailbreak release is semi-tethered, requiring users to connect their iPhone to a computer in order to return a device back to a jailbroken state after a restart or reboot. Unlike a tethered jailbreak, a phone jailbroken using Geeksn0w can still fall back to a non-jailbroken firmware mode should a computer with Geeksn0w not be available.

Jailbreak developers such the Evad3rs development team have shifted their attention toward iOS 8 as Apple’s June Worldwide Developer Conference approaches, leaving a void for those still looking to jailbreak their iOS 7.1.x device.

Unfortunately for owners of modern iOS 7.1.1 devices like the iPhone 5S and iPad Air, Geeksn0w continues to support only the iPhone 4, which was first released in 2010. Unlike newer iPhone models, the iPhone 4 contains an exploit, or permanent software bug, which allows developers to continue to run jailbreak software on the iPhone 4 in at least a “tethered” state.

While the Geeksn0w iOS 7.1.1 jailbreak only supports the iPhone 4, iOS users still running iOS 7.0 through 7.0.6 can still jailbreak their device using the Evasi0n 7 jailbreak developed by the Evad3rs team.

You can download the Geeksn0w iOS 7.1.1 jailbreak as soon as it's updated through the official Geeksn0w website.

Source: IBTimes

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Flappy Bird: New Season soars to top of the App Store charts

Don't call it a comeback. No, seriously: don't. A game called Flappy Bird: New Season may have flown to the top of Apple's App Store charts, but it doesn't appear to be the work of the original Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen.

The release of a new Flappy Bird clone isn't news in itself: on one day alone in February, The Guardian tracked 95 such releases. Apple's App Store and Android's Google Play have been equally awash with flappy clones, after Nguyen removed his game last month.

Something strange is afoot with Flappy Bird: New Season, which is currently the most popular free iPhone download on Apple's UK store, and the fourth most popular free iPad download behind Microsoft's Word, PowerPoint and Excel.

According to its App Store listing, the game was released on 29 March by developer Animated Emoji, although the listing carries a "© dotGears" credit – referring to the trading name of Nguyen. At the time of writing, Flappy Bird: New Season has an average rating of four stars from 255 reviewers on the store – an impressive total so soon after its launch.

Is it the real return of Flappy Bird? Almost certainly not. The game was not released through Nguyen's existing App Store developer account, for example, where he still has his Shuriken Block and Super Ball Juggling games available. Meanwhile, on Twitter there's an excitable quote that purports to be from Nguyen:

Dong Nguyen  

Again, this isn't Dong Nguyen's official Twitter account – his handle is @dongatory without an _ on the end, and his last tweet was on 23 March.

The @dongatory_ account claims to be a "backup" for Nguyen's official account, but past tweets like "RT if you want a free itunes gift card :)" and "Let's trend a hashtag to be easier! Hashtag #dongatory_ as much as you can lets trend it!! #dongatory_ :-)" don't seem a good fit for the famously-shy Flappy Bird developer.

Meanwhile, the support link on the App Store page for Flappy Bird: New Season leads to this blank page on the Weebly website, while a search for the game's title on Android's Google Play store brings up this game from a developer called Gameslogic Mobile, whose other titles include Clumsy Ninja Go! 2 and Farm Hero Saga 2 3D, masquerading as new versions of two popular mobile games from big publishers.

In short, Flappy Bird: New Season almost certainly isn't the return of the original Flappy Bird to iOS and Android. So why write a story about it? Because its success raises big questions about how the game managed to rise to the top of the App Store chart so quickly, at a time when Flappy Bird clone-fever has been dying down.

This isn't just a quirk in the UK App Store. Flappy Bird: New Seasons is the third top free iPhone app in the US too, where it also has a four-star rating, this time from 659 reviews, most of which are glowing.

The sudden success of the original Flappy Bird provoked speculation that Nguyen had in some way gamed the charts – he denied this – but the rapid rise of Flappy Bird: New Season may be a spur for more debate about the value of those charts to Apple, developers and players alike.

Update: As independent developer Matthew Wiggins points out on Twitter, search placement is likely to be a big factor in the game's rise:

Stuart Dredge  
Flappy Bird: New Season soars to top of the App Store charts (but it’s fake)  via @guardian

Matthew Wiggins 
@stuartdredge @guardian I suspect it's rapid ascent of the app store is down to search placement

Source: TheGuardian

This is what the new CyanogenMod OS looks like on the OnePlus One

OnePlus has been constantly dishing out teasers for its upcoming One smartphone since December, but little is known about its UI until we received these two screenshots today, courtesy of a reliable tipster. First of all, this Android KitKat-based OS is dubbed "CyanogenMod 11S," and given how the lock screen on the left looks nothing like the one in the original CyanogenMod, we assume the "S" indicates that this flavor carries OnePlus' customizations. This cleaner lock screen lacks the usual unlock slider, but it still shows the clock, date, weather, battery level and text messages over a solid-color background. Here's hoping that we can also toggle specific apps from the lock screen using swipe gestures.

The screenshot on the right confirms the presence of the three virtual Android buttons (as opposed to hardware ones), and that this Android 4.4.2-based OS is made for a device named "One." With 23 more days to go until the phone's launch, we'll be keeping an eye out for the OnePlus One's few remaining secrets -- especially its sub-$400 price tag, which is very competitive for this 5.5-inch 1080p, Snapdragon 801-powered device.

Source: engadget

Nokia 3310 given 41-megapixel camera upgrade on April Fools' Day

Just when one thought that Nokia will launch even more products in its Nokia X family running Android or new Lumia devices based on Windows Phone 8.1, April Fools' Day comes and Nokia announces its heritage 3310 in a new avatar.

The Nokia 3310, which was initially launched in 2000 and is one of the most successful phones ever released by Nokia, has made a modern-day comeback.

The Finnish giant has introduced its 3310 sporting a 41-megapixel PureView sensor with Zeiss optics and Xenon flash. Further, the 3310 is seen boasting a huge camera hump at the back panel, much like Nokia 808 PureView and Nokia Lumia 1020.

The company claims that the Nokia 3310 now runs a modified version of Windows 8 (yes, you heard it right) with a new 'ClearDiamond' 3-inch WXGA (768x1280) display.

The Nokia 3310 PureView will be available in Blue, Dark Blue, Green, Red and Yellow colour variants.

The revamped Nokia 3310 is a touchscreen device and also sports three soft-touch navigation buttons, alongside a Windows Phone 'home' button.

Other specifications of the Nokia 3310 include a 1.5GHz dual-core processor; 2GB of RAM; 1430mAh battery; 32GB inbuilt storage; Bluetooth 4.0; Wi-Fi and 3G.

The yesteryear device Nokia 3310 comes with pre-loaded with four games - Snake II, Pairs II, Space Impact and Bantumi. Other pre-installed apps include MS Office, Xbox Games, Outlook and OneDrive.

Nokia notes that the Nokia 3310 will be rolled out with 3G connectivity, while LTE-enabled devices will follow later this year.

Commenting on the Juha Alakarhu, Nokia's Head of Imaging Technologies said, "I'm really excited that we've found a way to marry our innovative PureView technology with such a beloved device. With its durable design and iconic look, we think even more people will enjoy our signature PureView magic."

Earlier on Tuesday, HTC and Samsung both showed off smart-gloves on April Fools' Day.

Samsung hit the hammer first, announcing its first 'all-over-hand' wearable device dubbed Samsung Fingers that features a flexible Super Emo-LED for the technology-sensitive consumer. HTC on the other hand teased its HTC Gluuv, which is also a smart-glove.

Google, despite being one of the biggest tech companies showed off its unique sense of humour and that's most apparent on April 1 every year. The Mountain View giant has a long list of gags that include Google Pokemon Maps, Gmail Shelfie, Emoji Translate in Chrome, Auto Awesome Photobombs, Google Magic Hand, Nest Total Temperature Contro and WazeDates.

Source: NDTV

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