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28 Dec 12 Nearly 17.5 million Apple, Android devices activated Christmas Day

It seems Santa’s sleigh was filled with smartphones and tablets this year as more than 17.4 million Android and Apple mobile devices were activated on Christmas Day — setting an all-time record, according to a new report.

Tuesday’s total was more than 2½ times the 6.8 million activations on Christmas Day 2011 and more than four times the average of 4 million activations per day between Dec. 1 and Dec. 20.

The figures were reported Thursday by Flurry, an app analytics platform that tracks more than 260,000 apps. Flurry claims it detects more than 90% of new iOS and Android device activations each day.

PHOTOS: Top 10 tech products of 2012

Broken down, there were more tablets activated on Christmas than smartphones.

Led by the iPad, iPad mini and the 7-inch Amazon Kindle Fire HD, tablets accounted for 51% of the day’s activations. That’s impressive, considering smartphones account for 80% of activations on normal days.

App downloads also saw a Christmas Day spike. According to Flurry, more than 328 million apps were downloaded, with about 20 million downloaded per hour for most of the day. From Dec. 1 to Dec. 20, app downloads averaged 155 million per day.


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26 Dec 12 How to set up your iPhone, iPad, Galaxy S III, Surface, Kindle, Nook

Originally published: December 25, 2012 1:14 PM
Updated: December 25, 2012 1:39 PM


An Associated Press reporter holds up the new

Photo credit: AP | An Associated Press reporter holds up the new iPad during an event in San Francisco. (March 7, 2012)


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First, the good news: Your son, granddaughter or family friend went ahead and splurged to buy you a hot new gadget this holiday season, presumably offering some requisite speech about how your life is about to be changed forever thanks to the device’s indispensable convenience. Nodding your head and smiling, you’ve pledged to try it out, but alas, you don’t know Microsoft from a microchip, Apple from an application.

So here’s a quick guide to user manuals for some of the gifts you may have received that, perhaps, are a bit technologically advanced for folks of an older generation.

Apple iPhone:

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Apple iPad:

Microsoft Surface:

Nintendo Wii U:

Amazon Kindle:

Samsung Galaxy Note:

Samsung Galaxy S III starter guide:

Barnes Noble Nook:

Once you’ve figured out how to use your device, you’ll want to soup it up with some downloadable apps (the hip vernacular for application, or program), many of which can be had for free at the gadgets’ various “app stores.” In most cases, your device will prominently feature an icon advertising apps, but you can also find some online guides here for tips.







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19 Dec 12 Samsung unveils Galaxy Grand smartphone with a 5-inch screen

Samsung has added another 5-inch screen phone to its Galaxy line-up, introducing a new device with a mid-range price.

The South Korean company announced the Galaxy Grand early Tuesday morning. The phone is similar to the Samsung Galaxy Note II, the company’s 5.5-inch-screen phone that is available from most U.S. carriers for $300 on a new contract.

Samsung declined to say how the device would be priced, but mid-range smartphones typically sell for about $100 to $150 with a contract.

Although the Galaxy Grand has a large display, many of its specifications fall short compared with the Galaxy Note II, as one would expect with a mid-range phone.

PHOTOS: Top 10 tech products of 2012

For starters, the phone’s WVGA display isn’t HD, with just an 800-by-480-pixel resolution. The Galaxy Grand’s 1.2 GHz dual-core processor is also less powerful than the Galaxy Note II’s, and the Galaxy Grand doesn’t come with the S Pen stylus.

The phone, however, does run on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, and it features an 8-megapixel rear camera. Additionally, the Galaxy Grand has 8 GB of storage, which can be expanded with a microSD card. 

Samsung did not provide details regarding when the phone might come to the U.S. or which network will carry it.


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10 May 12 Is Facebook’s App Center a Win-Win for iPhone, Android Users and Developers?


After years of leaving users to fend for themselves when scrounging for apps and games like Socialcam, CityVille or Draw Something, Facebook says it will finally launch an application hub to corral social apps in one place. It’s called App Center, and Facebook says developers can (and should) start prepping their apps for inclusion immediately.

Facebook notes that, among other things, developers will be able to charge flat fees for apps up front (like Apple via the App Store, Facebook currently takes a 30% cut). Some developers already charge users for in-app purchases, but allowing them to charge for apps outright is new. And the apps will be accessible through web browsers (on computers) as well as native Facebook apps for Android and iOS devices.

(PHOTOS: Life Inside Facebook Headquarters)

But apps that don’t meet certain quality standards won’t be visible, says Facebook, outlining an intriguing feedback-based rating system that aggregates indices like “user ratings” and “engagement” to score apps in Facebook’s performance metric tool, Insights. “Well-designed apps that people enjoy will be prominently displayed,” explains Facebook, while “[apps] that receive poor user ratings or don’t meet the quality guidelines won’t be listed.” That makes Facebook’s App Center markedly different from Apple’s or Google’s, which drill only on an app’s performance, e.g. “top paid,” “top free,” “top grossing,” etc.

The introduction of a centralized app store comes at a critical moment: Facebook just admitted in an amendment to its IPO filing that its user base’s shift from web to mobile means they’re showing fewer ads per user, threatening their long-term revenues. According to the company:

We do not currently directly generate any meaningful revenue from the use of Facebook mobile products, and our ability to do so successfully is unproven. We believe this increased usage of Facebook on mobile devices has contributed to the recent trend of our daily active users (DAUs) increasing more rapidly than the increase in the number of ads delivered. If users increasingly access Facebook mobile products as a substitute for access through personal computers, and if we are unable to successfully implement monetization strategies for our mobile users, or if we incur excessive expenses in this effort, our financial performance and ability to grow revenue would be negatively affected.

So what does the App Center mean for us as end users (all 900 million, that is)? For starters, it gives us one place to browse for stuff, making app discovery more proactive. Instead of depending on word of mouth, media “best of” stories, third-party ranking sites, or for the right app ads to capture our eye, we’ll be able to rifle through a hub that’s aggregating and ranking stuff based in part on total community feedback.

It also means we’ll be able to learn more about apps before we install them. Facebook says every app must have an “app detail page,” designed to let us “see what makes an app unique” before installing and accessing it. That alone should be cause for celebration, in my view, after years of installing Facebook apps and giving them access to various aspects of our personal dossiers just to learn what they are and do. Facebook notes that even for non-Facebook users, an app’s detail page will become their first-stop when a Facebook app link comes up within Facebook itself (as well as, presumably, independent search engines).

Furthermore, Facebook isn’t pitching the App Center as an Apple/Google competitor. Rather, says Facebook, it’s “designed to grow mobile apps that use Facebook – whether they’re on iOS, Android or the mobile web.” The App Center will let you browse apps compatible with your device, and if one requires installation, Facebook says you’ll be redirected away from Facebook to either Apple’s App Store or Google Play.

So far, I see nothing not to thumbs-up here. A user-related ranking and inclusion system? A chance to investigate an app before installing it? A way for developers to compete on more level terms with Apple and Google with regard to app pricing? Everything in one central location? App agnosticism when it comes to platform and installation? Sure, it means a little extra work for developers and new challenge metrics for getting an app included as well as made visible, but the end benefits for users, at least on e-paper, seem broadly win-win at this point.

No, the App Center isn’t live yet, but when it launches “[in] the coming weeks,” you’ll be able to access it via

(MORE: 50 Best iPhone Apps 2012)

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