Watch out for NFC in Apple’s product announcements

Finally to do a U-turn about a technology it didn’t invent

Until today, Cupertino-based Apple has been pretty vocal in its dismissal of NFC [Near Field Communication] as a key technology in the mobile space. GoMo News has always maintained that Apple was instead keen on pumping up its AirDrop (Wi-fi based) technology instead. Comments by Apple’s Phil Schiller have always been taken to mean that the company has on intention of incorporating it. But the rumour mill insists NFC will be inside the iPhone 6 and maybe even an iWatch. According to Ovum, Apple might complete a full U-turn and make the NFC sector its own!

Eden Zoller, a principal analyst, with Ovum, commented, “If Apple is forming alliances with major card schemes and riding on contactless rails then embracing NFC is a pragmatic move.”

She continued, “We would expect Apple to prove highly effective at marketing NFC to consumers, creating awareness and excitement around NFC capabilities in a way others have so far failed to do.”

Zoller added, “This is turn could help ignite merchant interest in NFC, that so far has remained cool due to lack of consumer uptake.”

Now Apple is rumoured to have been in discussions with major financial institutions to make mobile payments are more widespread. Presumably by using NFC.

The list includes Visa, Mastercard and Amex.

However, GoMo News believes the original clue came some time back when Brightwire reported a a deal between Apple and China UnionPay so that customers could use the latter’s ‘QuickPass’ POS machines in China. Using NFC, of course.

Tony is currently Editor of GoMobile News. He’s a veteran telecoms journalist who has previously worked for major printed and online titles. Follow him on Twitter @GoMoTweet.

This article was published in Apple, NFC, mobile news, mobile payments and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


GoMo News

How the Apple Watch compares to Android Wear and Pebble

Today was the big day: Apple announced its smartwatch, unimaginatively named “Apple Watch”- not iWatch or  iTime, simply “Apple Watch”. Perhaps that’s the best summary of Apple Watch: unimaginative. While the rest of the world is losing its mind over Apple’s new timepiece, let’s take a minute, step back from the hype, and see how Apple’s new competitor stacks up against the already saturated smartwatch playing field.

Features & Functionality

Apple Watch has a big grid of icons, tooWhen it comes to features and functionality, there are a few differences between what Apple offers and what everyone else does. Apple’s product includes two new input types: a twistable crown button for scrolling and zooming without blocking the display, and a touchscreen than can tell the difference between a tap and a press. Just how useful either of these features are will remain somewhat of a mystery until we get our hands on the device, but they’re worth mentioning, nonetheless.

As far as features go, it looks like Apple Watch is much more in-line with Samsung’s Gear lineup and devices powered by Google’s Android Wear. There are a few additions, of course, but their utility are hardly worth mentioning.

What does deserve recognition is the fluidity of the OS running on Apple Watch. I’m not, nor have I ever been, a fan of the “big grid of icons”, and a circular grid, as we’ve seen demonstrated here, doesn’t seem much more user friendly. Why Apple hasn’t abandoned this for something more useful, we may never know. The rest of the UI, however, looks amazing! It blows everything else away, hands down, no questions ask, no argument. Period. Google, Sony, and Pebble have their work cut out for them.

Apple Watch includes a feature that no other smartwatch currently has: mobile payments. Mobile payments via your watch certainly sounds like something the masses could get behind. No more credit cards. No more fishing your wallet or phone out of your pocket either! Just tap your watch and get on with life. Hopefully Android Wear will get some NFC support and enable this functionality through the Google Wallet and ISIS Softcard apps. Time will tell.

Size & Shape

Apple made the Apple Watch in two sizes, which is a bit interesting, but will attract more users, that’s for sure. Women and small-wristed men will flock to Apple’s watch over any other simply because it’s available in a smaller size. We assume, of course, that concessions had to be made, probably in the battery, to make up for the size difference, but until we see (and tear-down) the two in person, we’ll have to deduce.

What’s especially surprising is that if you want a round smartwatch you’ve got to go with either the Moto 360 (which is already available, if you can find it in stock) or the LG G Watch R (which is coming out next month). Prior to Apple’s announcement, almost every comment I read that was critical to the first round of Android Wear devices commented that Apple would never make a rectangular watch, they’d do it “right” and make it circular. Sorry to disappoint you, folks, but even the engineers at Apple couldn’t build a round smartwatch. They let you down. You can head back to those forums and post your apologies now. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Form & Function

iwatch-goldThat leads us to the Apple Watch’s build. Here’s one area where literally every other smartwatch on the planet has just been lapped. Everything about the Apple Watch screams “high-end” and “attention to detail”.

Although all we’ve really seen is renders and a few samples, if Apple Watch lives up to its promises, it’s going to function very, very well.

Motorola and Pebble make smart watches out of metal, but Apple’s has a sapphire screen and various types of metal bodies – including gold. Yes, actual gold. Compare that to the LG G Watch and pretty much anything from Samsung and – well, there really isn’t any comparison, so we’ll just stop there.

Apple’s wristbands are very interesting as well! No, you can’t use a standard 22mm watch band like you can with many of the other smart watches. You have to buy Apple’s special bands. Looking at them, and the way they connect with the watch, makes me think this could be a feature rather than a drawback. I’m quite impressed with the several ways Apple has apparently reinvented the watch band!

Battery & Power

Apple Watch ChargerWe don’t know anything definite about battery life on Apple Watch, but we expect that it’ll last a day or so, just like everything powered by Android Wear , but it probably won’t come close to the 5+ days that Pebble users enjoy. Charging, on the other hand should be exciting! Similar to the Moto 360, Apple Watch will have wireless charging. Unlike the Moto 360, the charger looks like it uses a proprietary format, not the Qi-standard that Motorola opted for.

Limitations

Now for the bad news. In addition to starting at hundred dollars more than pretty much every other smartwatch available today (including the Moto 360), the Apple Watch is not available yet – and won’t be until next year. When exactly next year? We don’t know.

Like we mentioned before, charging the Apple Watch will require a proprietary charger, and is not compatible with the Qi or PowerMat standards. This doesn’t bode well for when Apple includes wireless charging in its phones and tablets, since it will likely go with the non-standard type of charger it will be using for Apple Watch.

What about compatibility? Android Wear is only compatible with Android-powered devices, and Apple Watch will only be compatible with the iPhone 5 and above. Pebble, on the other hand, works just fine with Android or iOS.

Although Apple Watch looks pretty neat, it’s going to have a hard time competing with the Moto 360, but Pebble and the rest of devices powered by Android Wear have some catching up to do.


Pocketnow

Alcatel Pop 2 the first 64-bit Windows Phone

Published by at 14:49 UTC, September 9th 2014

Seen at IFA, the Alcatel Pop 2 is a Windows Phone 8.1 version of the Android handset of the same name, with 4.5″ 854×480 resolution screen and 1GB of RAM. Crucially, it comes with the Snapdragon 410 processor, making it 64-bit (and not 32-bit). Other specs are modest, with 8GB storage plus microSD, and a ‘4MP’ camera (an odd figure!). LTE is present though, plus the Pop 2 is quoted at only 119 Euros, making it rather good value.

WMPU broke the news:

Pop 2

To the benefit of the Windows Phone, this means the device comes with 1 GB RAM as standard, despite only having a 4.5 inch FWVGA screen, and the latest Snapdragon 410 processor running at 1.2 Ghz, which in fact means it is the first Windows Phone with a 64 bit processor and the Adreno 306 GPU.

The device otherwise features 8GB storage, a 4 megapixel rear camera with LED flash, VGA front camera, 2000 mAh battery and most importantly LTE support, which for the 119 Euro price point makes it a steal over the Nokia Lumia 635, which is 40 euro more expensive.

The handset is 9.9mm thick and weighs 147g and will be available in white, blue, purple, green, red and yellow. It will also be available in Dual-SIM.

The Android version has capacitive controls in that large bottom bezel and it seems that the Windows Phone version simply omits these – with the on-screen controls now, the device looks a bit unbalanced. Given that the (right number of) capacitive control spots were already in place, could they not have been re-used, changing the functions/assignments as needed?

All a little odd, plus it’s unknown at this point quite what difference a 64 bit processor will make to Windows Phone, especially down at this low end of the spectrum.

There’s a video demo, too, by Drwindows.de and in German:

Source / Credit: WMPU

Filed: > >

Platforms: Windows Phone 8
Categories: Link of Interest, Hardware
 

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All About Windows Phone

Watch out for NFC in Apple’s product announcements

Finally to do a U-turn about a technology it didn’t invent

Until today, Cupertino-based Apple has been pretty vocal in its dismissal of NFC [Near Field Communication] as a key technology in the mobile space. GoMo News has always maintained that Apple was instead keen on pumping up its AirDrop (Wi-fi based) technology instead. Comments by Apple’s Phil Schiller have always been taken to mean that the company has on intention of incorporating it. But the rumour mill insists NFC will be inside the iPhone 6 and maybe even an iWatch. According to Ovum, Apple might complete a full U-turn and make the NFC sector its own!

Eden Zoller, a principal analyst, with Ovum, commented, “If Apple is forming alliances with major card schemes and riding on contactless rails then embracing NFC is a pragmatic move.”

She continued, “We would expect Apple to prove highly effective at marketing NFC to consumers, creating awareness and excitement around NFC capabilities in a way others have so far failed to do.”

Zoller added, “This is turn could help ignite merchant interest in NFC, that so far has remained cool due to lack of consumer uptake.”

Now Apple is rumoured to have been in discussions with major financial institutions to make mobile payments are more widespread. Presumably by using NFC.

The list includes Visa, Mastercard and Amex.

However, GoMo News believes the original clue came some time back when Brightwire reported a a deal between Apple and China UnionPay so that customers could use the latter’s ‘QuickPass’ POS machines in China. Using NFC, of course.

Tony is currently Editor of GoMobile News. He’s a veteran telecoms journalist who has previously worked for major printed and online titles. Follow him on Twitter @GoMoTweet.

This article was published in Apple, NFC, mobile news, mobile payments and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


GoMo News

Apple Unveils iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Announces iOS 8 Availability

iphone 6 650At an event today in Cupertino, California, Apple unveiled its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones, with the company calling the devices “the biggest advancements in iPhone history.” The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus offer 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch Retina HD displays, respectively, and feature advanced iSight and FaceTime HD cameras, the Apple-designed A8 chip, improved wireless technologies, increased battery life, and Apple Pay, a new way to use one’s phone for making payments in-stores and online.

The devices will be available in gold, silver or space gray, and will launch in the US on September 19. The iPhone 6 will be available in three models: 16GB for $ 199, 64GB for $ 299 and 128GB for $ 399. The iPhone 6 Plus offers the same storage configurations, but at higher price points: 16GB for $ 299, 64GB for $ 399 and 128GB for $ 499 (all prices are on a two-year contract). Pre-orders for both models will be available starting September 12.

The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will include iOS 8, Apple’s upcoming mobile operating system, which will launch for existing iPhone users on September 17. With iOS 8, users can expect a variety of new features, including Apple’s QuickType keyboard, new features in the Messages and Photos apps, an entirely new Health app and much more.

To start, QuickType features predictive typing, and becomes more personalized over time. The keyboard takes context into account, including the recipient of the message and which app is being used while typing. In doing so, the keyboard may suggest favorite phrases, for one, with this information being kept private and encrypted on the device, never being sent to the cloud. The system supports third-party keyboards for additional layouts and input methods.

Elsewhere, the Photos app allows users to automatically straighten horizons, and smart editing tools offer controls for adjusting light and color with a swipe. Users can change individual image characteristics as well, with tools for exposure, brightness, contrast, highlights, shadows and more. “Developers can tap into the same robust framework as the built-in Photos app using PhotoKit, and with extensibility APIs, can make their own filters and editing tools available to users within the Photos app,” Apple said in a statement.ios 8 650As for Messages, users can use “Tap to Talk” to share their voice. Users can send multiple photos and videos to their contacts at once, while group messaging will give users the ability to add or remove contacts from a group, along with new options for leaving a conversation entirely or toggling an option to not be disturbed. Finally, users can choose to share their current location within the Messages app, for periods lasting an hour, a day, or longer.

iOS 8’s new Health app gathers a user’s information from multiple health and fitness apps to provide a one-stop-shop for monitoring one’s current health in a single place. HealthKit APIs will give developers the option of making health and fitness apps communicate with one another. With the user’s permission, each app can pick and choose information from other apps to form a more comprehensive view of a user’s personal fitness. For instance, healthcare professionals can view the data patients choose to share through apps like Mayo Clinic.

Other iOS 8 features include family sharing, for sharing photos and calendars with others in a family group, for locating family members and their devices, and the ability to share “eligible” iTunes, iBooks or App Store purchases across each other’s accounts. iCloud Drive allows users to store and easily access any of their documents in the cloud, with any changes synced across devices. HomeKit connects to a user’s home accessories like lights and thermostats, interactive notifications will allow users to respond to notifications and prompts directly from their lock screen, and so on.apple Pay 650 2Finally, Apple Pay looks to revolutionize the way we make purchases online and in traditional retail stores. Available on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the secure platform turns an iPhone into a payment device, as users enter their credit and debit card information, and a unique Device Account Number is assigned and stored to the Secure Element within the iPhone or Apple Watch. When making a purchase in a real-world store, the phone’s NFC antenna, combined with the security of the Touch ID pad on the device, trigger the sale with Apple Pay creating a security code to validate each transaction securely. When making a purchase online, the process is similar, and revolves around the user’s Touch ID.

Apple’s retail locations will support such payments, alongside other major retailers, including Bloomingdale’s, Disney Store (and Walt Disney World Resort), Macy’s, McDonald’s, Sephora, Subway, Staples and many others.

iOS 8 will be available as a free software update, while new iCloud pricing will start at $ 0.99 per month for 20GB of storage. Plans increase from there, to a maximum of $ 19.99 per month for 1TB of storage.

(All images courtesy of Apple)


Inside Mobile Apps

Samsung Galaxy S5 vs iPhone 6 vs Samsung Galaxy Note 4

bannerfans_13442379

With Apple having announced their latest iPhone 6 handset and Samsung revealing the Galaxy Note 4 at their recent event, we can now see the latest offerings from both sides of the platform pond and how the biggest competitors in the iOS and Android market stack up.

We’ve stacked up the Galaxy S5, iPhone 6, and Galaxy Note 4 against each other to see just how they compare.

But that’s just specs, what do you guys think? Drop us a comment in the section below.


AndroidGuys

Intel and Fossil partner for Android Wear

Intel, a leader in chip-making and powering technology, and Fossil, a leader in fashion accessories, are partnering up for future smartwatches and wearable technology. While they plan to build all kinds of wearable technology, Android Wear devices are a certainty since they both are listed as partners on Android Wear’s official website. This partnership is… Read more »

The post Intel and Fossil partner for Android Wear appeared first on SmarterWatching.

Read the rest at SmarterWatching.com!


AndroidGuys

Alcatel Pop 2 the first 64-bit Windows Phone

Published by at 14:49 UTC, September 9th 2014

Seen at IFA, the Alcatel Pop 2 is a Windows Phone 8.1 version of the Android handset of the same name, with 4.5″ 854×480 resolution screen and 1GB of RAM. Crucially, it comes with the Snapdragon 410 processor, making it 64-bit (and not 32-bit). Other specs are modest, with 8GB storage plus microSD, and a ‘4MP’ camera (an odd figure!). LTE is present though, plus the Pop 2 is quoted at only 119 Euros, making it rather good value.

WMPU broke the news:

Pop 2

To the benefit of the Windows Phone, this means the device comes with 1 GB RAM as standard, despite only having a 4.5 inch FWVGA screen, and the latest Snapdragon 410 processor running at 1.2 Ghz, which in fact means it is the first Windows Phone with a 64 bit processor and the Adreno 306 GPU.

The device otherwise features 8GB storage, a 4 megapixel rear camera with LED flash, VGA front camera, 2000 mAh battery and most importantly LTE support, which for the 119 Euro price point makes it a steal over the Nokia Lumia 635, which is 40 euro more expensive.

The handset is 9.9mm thick and weighs 147g and will be available in white, blue, purple, green, red and yellow. It will also be available in Dual-SIM.

The Android version has capacitive controls in that large bottom bezel and it seems that the Windows Phone version simply omits these – with the on-screen controls now, the device looks a bit unbalanced. Given that the (right number of) capacitive control spots were already in place, could they not have been re-used, changing the functions/assignments as needed?

All a little odd, plus it’s unknown at this point quite what difference a 64 bit processor will make to Windows Phone, especially down at this low end of the spectrum.

There’s a video demo, too, by Drwindows.de and in German:

Source / Credit: WMPU

Filed: > >

Platforms: Windows Phone 8
Categories: Link of Interest, Hardware
 

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All About Windows Phone

Purported Motorola Nexus X specs found on benchmark

nexus_x_logo-mockup

The Nexus X will be manufactured by Motorola and will feature a 5.2-inch display with 2560 x 1440 display, reports AndroidWorld. According to benchmarks discovered by the blog, the device will pack a 2.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 CPU with 3GB RAM, 32GB internal storage, and Android L. Additionally, the handset will feature a 12-megapixel rear camera, 2-megapixel front-facing camera, NFC, and a host of other sensors. Expected to launch in October, the Nexus X is also rumored in a 5.9-inch variant.

AndroidWorld


AndroidGuys

Watch out for NFC in Apple’s product announcements

Finally to do a U-turn about a technology it didn’t invent

Until today, Cupertino-based Apple has been pretty vocal in its dismissal of NFC [Near Field Communication] as a key technology in the mobile space. GoMo News has always maintained that Apple was instead keen on pumping up its AirDrop (Wi-fi based) technology instead. Comments by Apple’s Phil Schiller have always been taken to mean that the company has on intention of incorporating it. But the rumour mill insists NFC will be inside the iPhone 6 and maybe even an iWatch. According to Ovum, Apple might complete a full U-turn and make the NFC sector its own!

Eden Zoller, a principal analyst, with Ovum, commented, “If Apple is forming alliances with major card schemes and riding on contactless rails then embracing NFC is a pragmatic move.”

She continued, “We would expect Apple to prove highly effective at marketing NFC to consumers, creating awareness and excitement around NFC capabilities in a way others have so far failed to do.”

Zoller added, “This is turn could help ignite merchant interest in NFC, that so far has remained cool due to lack of consumer uptake.”

Now Apple is rumoured to have been in discussions with major financial institutions to make mobile payments are more widespread. Presumably by using NFC.

The list includes Visa, Mastercard and Amex.

However, GoMo News believes the original clue came some time back when Brightwire reported a a deal between Apple and China UnionPay so that customers could use the latter’s ‘QuickPass’ POS machines in China. Using NFC, of course.

Tony is currently Editor of GoMobile News. He’s a veteran telecoms journalist who has previously worked for major printed and online titles. Follow him on Twitter @GoMoTweet.

This article was published in Apple, NFC, mobile news, mobile payments and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


GoMo News