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13 Jun 12 Samsung TecTiles Automate Android Tasks Via NFC


10 Ways To Get More From Your Android Device
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)

Hoping to increase interest in near-field communication (NFC) technology, Samsung Mobile on Wednesday plans to introduce TecTiles, programmable NFC tags that can be used to automate actions on NFC-enabled Android phones.

The company plans to sell TecTiles in packs of five, online and in-store through ATT, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile stores, for $15. The Android app required to program TecTiles is available at no charge in the Google Play store.

The tiles are not much to look at–glossy little 2″ squares–but their affordability and flexibility could help hasten the arrival of the much anticipated Internet of Things.

[ Read Apple WWDC: New MacBooks, iOS 6, Mountain Lion. ]

Dale Sohn, president of Samsung Telecommunications America, said in a statement that Samsung sees “an opportunity to expand the value of NFC beyond mobile payments.”

Samsung suggests that TecTiles have the potential to transform how businesses engage with customers. A store using a TecTile could, for example, program the tag to send a text message, load a Web page, launch an application, display a notification, or perform some other marketing or social networking function. A cinema could post a TecTile on a wall to offer customers the chance to mute their NFC-enabled Android phones as they enter the theater.

TecTiles could also be used for personal convenience. A TecTile on the table beside one’s bed could alter phone settings to prevent calls from interrupting one’s sleep. A TecTile in one’s car could disable texting. A TecTile in one’s office could enable access to the office Wi-Fi network.

Such tasks can be accomplished without NFC, using automation apps like AutomateIt and Tasker. But for people disinclined to create automated tasks, TecTiles offer a way to make pre-programmed commands accessible.

TecTiles do not work on metal surfaces and at present work only with these NFC-enabled Android phones: Samsung Galaxy S III on ATT, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular or Verizon; Samsung Galaxy S II on T-Mobile; Galaxy Nexus on Verizon, Sprint, and GSM Unlocked;
Nexus S 4G on Sprint; and Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G on T-Mobile.

Apple does not yet offer NFC technology with its iOS devices, though some industry watchers expect that to change when the iPhone 5 arrives later this year.

At this year’s InformationWeek 500 Conference C-level execs will gather to discuss how they’re rewriting the old IT rulebook and accelerating business execution. At the St. Regis Monarch Beach, Dana Point, Calif., Sept. 9-11.

Article source: http://www.informationweek.com/news/development/mobility/240001946

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11 Jun 12 New Safari takes a page from Chrome


The new version of Safari combines the search and location bar, and adds gesture support for tabs on Mac TrackPads.

(Credit:
James Martin/CNET)

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple unveiled a new version of
Safari today at the company’s World Wide Developer’s Conference here. The browser takes some visual cues from the competition but manages to maintain its unique take on browsing.

Not unlike Google’s Chrome, Safari 6 ditches its search bar in favor of a unified search-and-URL location bar. As with Chrome, and optional in
Firefox, the search-location bar clears up a significant chunk of the ever-dwindling browser screen real estate. You’ll have more room for extension icons, basically.

During the WWDC keynote this morning, Apple’s new head of
Mac software engineering, Craig Federighi, said Safari 6 has the fastest JavaScript engine of any OS, though he didn’t provide any comparison benchmarks.

The new Safari also synchronizes tabs from iCloud, so you can easily open tabs from other iCloud-enabled devices. Tab syncing has been available in Firefox, Chrome, and Opera — albeit through their own proprietary syncing systems.

Unlike those browsers, the new Safari will also let you “flip” through your tabs on the Mac TrackPad with new gestures. The Tab View feature lets you scroll through your open tabs in what appears to be a style similar to Cover Flow. When you use it on a Mac, though, the TrackPad gestures will let you use pinch-to-zoom to jump from an open tab to the Tab View, scroll around, and then jump into a different tab.

The new Tab View in Safari 6.

The new Tab View in Safari 6.

(Credit:
James Martin/CNET)

It’s not clear at this time whether the TrackPad tab gesture feature works only in Mountain Lion, or on previous versions of OS X as well. While this could be a very effective way to navigate a dozen or so tabs, it’s not apparent yet how well it will handle three or four dozen tabs.

Federighi described the new scrolling architecture to the WWDC audience as “awesome.”

Safari 6 for Macs will ship with Mountain Lion in July. Apple has not yet said when the update will be available for Windows, or which features will work in pre-Mountain Lion versions of OS X.

Apple’s WWDC 2012: iOS 6, Mountain Lion, and more (pictures)

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57450467-37/new-safari-takes-a-page-from-chrome/?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=

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11 Jun 12 Apple's new Safari takes a page from Chrome


The new version of Safari combines the search and location bar, and adds gesture support for tabs on Mac TrackPads.

(Credit:
James Martin/CNET)

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple unveiled a new version of
Safari today at the company’s World Wide Developer’s Conference here. The browser takes some visual cues from the competition but manages to maintain its unique take on browsing.

Not unlike Google’s Chrome, Safari 6 ditches its search bar in favor of a unified search-and-URL location bar. As with Chrome, and optional in
Firefox, the search-location bar clears up a significant chunk of the ever-dwindling browser screen real estate. You’ll have more room for extension icons, basically.

During the WWDC keynote this morning, Apple’s new head of
Mac software engineering, Craig Federighi, said Safari 6 has the fastest JavaScript engine of any OS, though he didn’t provide any comparison benchmarks.

The new Safari also synchronizes tabs from iCloud, so you can easily open tabs from other iCloud-enabled devices. Tab syncing has been available in Firefox, Chrome, and Opera — albeit through their own proprietary syncing systems.

Unlike those browsers, the new Safari will also let you “flip” through your tabs on the Mac TrackPad with new gestures. The Tab View feature lets you scroll through your open tabs in what appears to be a style similar to Cover Flow. When you use it on a Mac, though, the TrackPad gestures will let you use pinch-to-zoom to jump from an open tab to the Tab View, scroll around, and then jump into a different tab.

The new Tab View in Safari 6.

The new Tab View in Safari 6.

(Credit:
James Martin/CNET)

It’s not clear at this time whether the TrackPad tab gesture feature works only in Mountain Lion, or on previous versions of OS X as well. While this could be a very effective way to navigate a dozen or so tabs, it’s not apparent yet how well it will handle three or four dozen tabs.

Federighi described the new scrolling architecture to the WWDC audience as “awesome.”

Safari 6 for Macs will ship with Mountain Lion in July. Apple has not yet said when the update will be available for Windows, or which features will work in pre-Mountain Lion versions of OS X.

Apple’s WWDC 2012: iOS 6, Mountain Lion, and more (pictures)

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57450467-37/apples-new-safari-takes-a-page-from-chrome/?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20

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11 Jun 12 Android hits 900k activations per day


The announcement came from Rubin after rumors surfaced that he may be planning to leave Google. In the message, the Google executive said that he has “no plans” to do so.

Apple and Android have been wooing developers as it’s become increasingly apparent that the company that can command the widest, most useful breadth of mobile applications will have the edge in the smartphone war.

A study released last week by the team at the analytics firm Flurry revealed that developers still prefer Apple’s iOS to Android by a large margin. Of new project starts, 69 percent of developers went with Apple’s system over Google’s, though that was down from 73 percent in the previous quarter.

Fragmentation in Android seems to still be a big problem for Google, with 70 percent of user sessions still on Gingerbread, an older version of the operating system. Google is trying to fix this with the introduction of Ice Cream Sandwich, which better unifies tablets and smartphone, but has had less than a year to get its latest push underway. Samsung is clearly the most popular Android handset maker, with six of the top 10 Android devices, the study showed. Motorola and HTC make up the rest of the list, with one exception: the Kindle Fire from Amazon has 4 percent of Android’s market share.

Another problem that’s popped up for Android has been the simple fact that Apple applications seem to return more money per user. According to the study, Android developers earn just 24 cents for every dollar they get from iOS.

The combined effect of fragmentation and lower revenue, the study said, is likely why developers still like Apple.

“In short, Android delivers less gain and more pain than iOS, which we believe is the key reason 7 out of every 10 apps built in the new economy are for iOS instead of Android,” the study said.

Google’s own developers conference, Google I/O, runs from June 27-29, and Slashgear reports the company is rumored to make a tablet announcement.

Related stories:

WWDC 2012: Apple’s iOS 6, Mountain Lion, MacBooks, Macs

Bloomberg: Apple aims to remain apps leader

Nasdaq’s post-Facebook plan is panned

Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/android-hits-900k-activations-per-day/2012/06/11/gJQA1tlfUV_story.html

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06 Mar 12 Add a 'pull to refresh' gesture to Chrome, Safari


You can add the “pull to refresh” feature commonly found in iOS apps to either Chrome or
Safari by installing a small extension.

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The “pull to refresh” feature that is now a staple of any great iOS app has found its way to your desktop via a Chrome and Safari extension. There is one caveat, however: you will need to be using OS X Lion in order for it to work.

Originally covered by Lifehacker, but brought to my attention by Twitter follower @StephToThe, the pull to refresh browser extension only takes a few seconds to install and set up.

  • Head on over to the developer’s GitHub page.
  • Download the ZIP file containing the Chrome and Safari extension.
  • If you are using Chrome, simply drag-and-drop the Chrome version into your browser. Follow the prompts to complete the installation.
  • If you are using Safari, you will need to download the compiled version of the extension from here (third comment down).
  • Drag and drop it into Safari, and follow the prompts to finish the installation.
  • Once either extension is installed, restart your browser.

(Credit:
Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET)

Going forward, when you want to refresh a Web page, scroll to the top of the page, then pull down. Once you have pulled the page down far enough, the text will change to “Release to refresh.” Upon release, the page will refresh.

With the influence iOS has had on OS X Lion and the upcoming Mountain Lion, it makes you wonder why Apple hasn’t implemented this feature into Safari. Perhaps it’s on the whiteboard for Mountain Lion.

Article source: http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-57390673-285/add-a-pull-to-refresh-gesture-to-chrome-safari/?part=rss&tag=feed&subj=

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16 Feb 12 Surprise! OS X Mountain Lion Roars Into Existence (For Developers Today …


ml2

Confirmed: Apple can still surprise.

On July 20 of last year, Apple began a journey. With OS X Lion (aka OS X 10.7), the company started taking some of what they had learned from iOS, and the iPad specifically, putting in their more mature OS. Today, that transition continues with OS X Mountain Lion.

Yes, Apple is already ready to show off the next version of OS X — technically 10.8 — just seven months after the last version was released.

Actually, it hasn’t even been a full seven months. But given how quickly iOS development is moving, Apple wants to make sure OS X can keep up.

For the past week, I’ve been using an initial demo version of OS X Mountain Lion. To be clear, it’s not quite complete yet, but it’s already fairly polished. With that in mind, Apple will be releasing a developer preview of Mountain Lion today to Mac developers. And the plan is to release the new OS sometime this coming summer.

So what’s new?

The best way to think of OS X Mountain Lion may be to think back to OS X Snow Leopard (10.6). If you recall, Apple positioned it to be a smaller upgrade to OS X Leopard (10.5), hence the naming convention. My sense is that the same is true here — and again, hence the naming — but Apple isn’t really positioning it that way. Instead, they view it as the next step towards a more unified Apple ecosystem.

To be fair, while Snow Leopard mainly focused on improvements in speed and size, Mountain Lion actually packs a bunch of new features. Much like they did with OS X Lion, Apple is focusing on ten key ones (though there are dozens of other changes).

I’ll give the rundown of those first.

iCloud

Apple says there are now over 100 million iCloud accounts. With Lion, iCloud had a number of points of integration. But they were tacked on after the initial release. With Mountain Lion, the connection is much deeper. Actually, from the first screen in the setup assistant, you’ll now be asked to set up iCloud.

One key addition is Documents in the Cloud. In iOS 5, apps like Pages take advantage of automatic saving to iCloud. With OS X Mountain Lion, the circle is complete as all documents in the iWork suite of apps will save this way as well.

In Finder, you’ll actually now see a realtime list of all your documents stored in iCloud sorted by application. And you can create folders of documents simply by dragging one on top of another. Again, very iOS-like.

And the editing process between Mountain Lion and iOS 5 is seamless. You can change something on your Mac and almost instantly, the change will happen to an open document in iOS as well. Very nice.

Messages

This is a new app built right into the OS itself. It technically replaces iChat, but with some tweaks, you can find that old interface as well. But the focus now is on a unified dashboard of all your messages, meaning yes, iMessages as well as IM messages.

Heavy iMessage users are going to love this. Apple says there are already over 100 million registered iMessage users and that 26 billion iMessages have been sent since the iOS 5 launch in October.

The best elements of iMessages now come over to Messages, including delivery and read receipts. You can drag and drop both photos and videos from OS X to send them to iMessage users on iOS. You can also FaceTime right from within the app. And there’s group messaging.

Yes, the good old IM protocols still work as well. You can still hook up AIM, Google Talk, Jabber, and Yahoo Messenger by default.

One thing you can’t do is message between the various services to iMessage. So, for example, you can’t send an iMessage to an AIM users and hope to continue that coversation on your phone later. And, of course, SMS won’t work with Messages, it’s iMessage-only.

Good news: Apple is actually releasing Messages as a public beta today in the Mac App Store. The final version will ship with Mountain Lion in the summer.

Reminders

If you’re using iOS 5, you know what Reminders is — it’s Apple’s to-do list app. Now it’s coming to OS X as a stand-alone app. Previously, these were awkwardly baked into Calendar in OS X, not anymore.

As you might imagine, thanks to iCloud, all of your Reminders will stay in sync between iOS and OS X Mountain Lion.

Notes

Same deal as with Reminders, Apple has taken an iOS app and built a stand-alone OS X version. But the new version is beefed up, you can include photos. And you can pin a note to your desktop (like a sticky note — “Stickies” still exists as a separate app too, FYI).

This works with iCloud too, obviously. And yes, Notes has been removed from its former awkward home in the Mail app in OS X.

Notification Center

One of the hallmark features of iOS has long been Push Notifications, now they’re coming to OS X in Mountain Lion. And to make them manageable, the OS is getting a Notification Center, not unlike the one iOS gained in version 5.

The Notfication Center in Mountain Lion resides to the right of any screen you’re on. Hidden by default, you trigger it by hitting the dot-within-a-circle button in the upper right hand side of the menu (or by doing a two-finger swipe on a multi-touch trackpad — though this wasn’t working yet in the version of Mountain Lion that I tested). Doing this will shift your desktop to the left to show all your notifications in a way very similar to iOS.

There are also two types of Push Notifications you can get in Mountain Lion: Alerts and Banners. Alerts pop-up and give you the option to “close” or “show”. Banners show up for five seconds in the upper right of your screen then fade away (think: Growl). These notification types are configurable (and you can choose not to receive notifications for any app).

In the version of Mountain Lion that I used, only Apple apps (Calendar, Safari, Reminders, Messages, Mail, App Store, and Game Center — more on that in a bit) could receive Push Notifications, but fear not, there is a developer API. This means that all third-party apps will potentially have access to the feature as well — or at least those sold through the Mac App Store, I believe.

Share

In iOS, it’s easy to share something from just about all of the core apps. In OS X, it hasn’t been. With Mountain Lion, you’ll now see a Share button (the right-facing arrow you’ve see in iOS) in many of the apps.

In Safari, for example, you’ll now be able to send any website you’re on with two clicks to Mail or the new Messages app. You’ll also be able to AirDrop it from the drop-down. You can do the same for photos, videos, and documents as well.

One nice touch is that Share isn’t limited to Apple apps — Apple has worked with Vimeo and Flickr so that you can send videos and pictures to those respective services from the drop-down.

And there will also be a developer API for the Share box. Though my understanding here is that this will only be on a per-app basis. Meaning a Facebook app, for example, could include a “share to Facebook” link in the Share button drop-down but only for that app. System-wide sharing options will require dealing with Apple — again, as Vimeo and Flickr did.

Long story short, no, Facebook isn’t in the system-wide drop-downs. At least not yet.

But another app is…

Twitter

Just as with iOS 5, Twitter integration is coming to OS X Mountain Lion as well. And again, this is system-wide, meaning you can share just about anything from anywhere to Twitter with two clicks.

If you’ve used the integration in iOS, the Tweet Sheet will look familiar to you. Geotagging will work from here as well. And, of course, attachments. You’ll be able to attach photos, web links, and even Mac App Store links.

You’ll be able to sign in to your Twitter account from the settings area in Mountain Lion (technically, it’s under Mail, Contacts Calendars). However, unlike iOS, I’m told that you won’t be promoted to download the Twitter for Mac client. Instead, Twitter is mainly meant to work in the background for when you want to socially share something. (Meaning there is no built-in way to view your Tweet stream.) But Tweet notifications for @replies and DMs should eventually come into the new Notification Center in Mountain Lion, I’m told.

Third-party developers will be able to take advantage of this Twitter integration as well, just as they have been with iOS. And you’ll be able to update your Contacts app with Twitter profile pictures.

Game Center

As I alluded to before, another app making the jump from iOS to OS X is Game Center. Apple says that their gaming social network now has over 100 million registered users. And there are over 20,000 Game Center-enabled games for iOS. That should get a considerable shot in the arm now that there will be Mac support as well.

What’s really promising about Game Center in Mountain Lion is that it’s not just about Mac-to-Mac gaming, it will enabled Mac-to-iPhone, Mac-to-iPad, and Mac-to-iPod touch gaming as well. Obviously, this is going to require game developers to custom tailor their apps for seamless gaming, but I’ve seen it in action — someone playing a racing game on a Mac versus someone on an iPhone — and it works very well.

You can probably expect a rush of iOS games being ported to the Mac by this summer.

AirPlay Mirroring

AirPlay is maybe my favorite feature of iOS right now simply because it seems like it’s magic. You can not only push things like movies to the Apple TV from your iPad or iPhone, you can push your entire iOS experience as well.

And with Mountain Lion, you can push your entire OS X experience as well.

In the menu area of Mountain Lion, you’ll see a new option to push your entire desktop to an Apple TV via Airplay. This will essentially turn your television inot a massive monitor.

I’m told there will be no limit on content that can be pushed, though developers may have the option to block certain content down the road (HBO is an example of one iOS app that doesn’t work with AirPlay, which is lame). There’s resolution matching to 720p HD video.

Gatekeeper

This is an entirely new security feature in Mountain Lion. While Apple feels like they’ve largely avoided some of the major malware problems out there, they acknowledge that the threat is still very real. With Gatekeeper, they offer a solution. And it’s going to be controversial.

Essentially, Gatekepper gives you control over the kind of apps that can be installed on your computer. There will be three options: allow apps from anywhere (the way it works today), allow only Mac App Store apps, allows Mac App Store apps and identified developers.

The reason why this will be controversial is because the final option will be the default one. To be clear: this means that by default, you won’t be able to install any app from the web on your machine.

Now, hold on for a second. Calm down. You can easily change this in the settings (it’s actually not all that different from Android’s default setting, oddly enough). And the truth is that this is likely to be a good thing for many people who might otherwise download bad by accident.

Apple is not requiring that all apps go throught he Mac App Store (though, again, this is an option), but the Mac App Store + Identified Developers option gives them a way to still offer a higher level of protection to the average user.

The other controversial element will be the way you become an “identified developer” — you’ll have to sign up to be a Mac app developer (which is $99 a year). Again, this doesn’t mean you’ll have to sell your software through the Mac App Store — nor will your apps be pre-screened by Apple — but it will make it so Apple can know who you are as a developer. And if they find out one of your apps is bad, they’ll quickly pull your credentials.

China

Apple is thinking a lot about China. And it’s hard to blame them — it’s the area accounting for their fastest growth. With Mountain Lion, there are a number of new features specially tailored for Chinese users.

First, there are improvements around the Chinese input methods. Apple notes that the Chinese language is evolving quickly, so they need to be able to update it quickly for things like word suggestions. And they also now have the ability to mix Chinese and English words (without switching keyboards), which apparently is a popular thing to do.

Apple is also integrating the Chinese search engine Baidu, into Safari by default for Chinese users. This makes sense as it’s by far the market leader in that country. Along those lines, they’ve added Tudou and Youku support for video uploads. And they have Sina weibo (sort of the Chinese Twitter) integration for microblogging. And there are several popular Chinese email providers as options in Mail now as well.

I’m told these special Chinese features have nothing to do with blocking any kind of information that would otherwise be a part of OS X — though I still wonder if the Twitter integration will fully work, for example.

Other Things

While the things above are the 10 key new features that Apple is highlighting in Mountain Lion right now, there are dozens more not mentioned. A few of the ones I’ve found so far:

A unified search/URL bar in Safari. Yes. YES!!!! (And yes, like Chrome.)

A “VIPs” area of Mail to mark your favorite contacts. (Yes, sort of like Priority Inbox for Gmail.)

A search box in Launchpad (to see for apps if you have a ton).

Better date editing in Calendar (a calendar drop-down finally).

A much better way to add/remove widgets in Dashboard (more app-like).

There’s a new galaxy background (!).

Running “Software Update” now re-directs to the Mac App Store. It’s not clear if that’s the way all updates are going to come from now on or if that’s just due to the preview status of Mountain Lion.

AirPlay Mirroring will require an Apple TV software update.

Running “Shut Down” and “Restart” now remembers your last-used “Re-open windows” setting (finally).

There wasn’t a noticiable different in real-world use speed between Lion and Mountain Lion. I ran both on a 1.7 GHz MacBook Air with 4GB of RAM.

Startup and shutdown speed was noticably slower with Mountain Lion (but again, this is the first release, that may change).

Battery life doesn’t seem to be altered by OS X Mountain Lion versus Lion. If anything, it’s maybe a little better (though the machine was also newer).

Apple says that over 19 million copies of Lion have now shipped (including both Mac App Store and new Mac numbers). This means the software makes up about 30 percent of the total OS X user base in under seven months. They say that it took Windows 7 twenty-one months to reach that milestone.

Now the next race is on. Microsoft will release the first Windows 8 beta in two weeks at Mobile World Congress. The final software is due out before the end of the year. Apple beat them to the punch with the Mountain Lion preview. And they should beat them to the punch with the release this summer as well. (No word on the exact price of OS X Mountain Lion just yet, but Apple says it will be very competitive, just as Lion was — Lion was just $29.99. As you might expect, Mountain Lion will also be distributed exclusively through the Mac App Store.)

If the initial developer preview is any indication, Mountain Lion won’t be as big of a sea change as Windows 8 will be. Instead, it’s more of a continuation of what Lion started. Apple has far more iOS users than OS X users at this point. Now it’s about getting everyone on the same page. This early build is a great start.

UpdateAs OS X Mountain Lion Proves, Twitter Is Apple’s Social Network


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Started by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne, Apple has expanded from computers to consumer electronics over the last 30 years, officially changing their name from Apple Computer, Inc. to Apple, Inc. in January 2007.

Among the key offerings from Apple’s product line are: Pro line laptops (MacBook Pro) and desktops (Mac Pro), consumer line laptops (MacBook) and desktops (iMac), servers (Xserve), Apple TV, the Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server operating systems, the iPod (offered with…

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Article source: http://techcrunch.com/2012/02/16/os-x-mountain-lion/

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