Entries in Smartphones (15)


Twitter's Vine App Comes to Android

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Android phone owners, your time to shoot and share six-second video clips has come. Twitter on Monday announced that its Vine app, which allows users to capture six seconds of video and then share it with friends on Twitter or within the app, is available for Android phones.

Released four months ago for the iPhone, the app has quickly became one of the most popular apps in the Apple App Store and has become a widely used social media tool with over 13 million people. President Obama has even joined the service.

The Android app has many of the same features as the iPhone app. Users can easily shoot video, share it and then explore others’ videos. Twitter has added a special feature though to the Android app called zoom. Other features, like hashtags and being able to shoot video with the front-facing camera, which was added to the iPhone app a few weeks ago, are on their way, Twitter said in a blog post today.

“Of course, this is only the beginning -- we have exciting plans for features that could exist only on Android,” Twitter’s Sara Haider wrote in a blog post.

Despite Android phones now outnumbering iPhones, Twitter and other companies have continued to develop apps for the iPhone first and then for Android.

The company also released Twitter Music in April for the iPhone. It said at the time the Android app wouldn’t be far away. Last month Apple announced that 50 billion apps had been downloaded from its store; Google announced that 48 billion Android apps had been downloaded from its Google Play Store.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Apple's App Gap May Disappear

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Apple faces challenges on two fronts in the near future -- from Google and in the courts.

The tech company’s big competitive advantage may soon disappear. Within months, Apple may no longer be the world’s most popular platform for smartphone apps.

The Financial Times reports Apple “has used its superior apps presence to retain a competitive edge over smartphone rivals.” But with recent gains in popularity for Samsung and Google-owned Motorola phones more developers are creating new apps for Android devices.

About 50 billion apps have been downloaded for Apple’s mobile devices. Last month, Google reported an all-time total of 48 billion downloads for Android phones and tablets.

Additionally, the government and Apple are set to square off over accusations of e-book price fixing. The Justice Department sued Apple last year, claiming it conspired with five major book publishers to raise prices for electronic books shortly before the introduction of the iPad in 2010.

The government says comments from former Apple CEO Steve Jobs help prove their case. Apple lawyers argue the allegations are based on “faulty assumptions and unfounded conclusions.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Majority of Shoppers Use Their Phones to Research Products

Goodshoot RF/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A smart shopper uses a smartphone before making a purchase.

In a survey conducted by mobile video and media company Vuclip, 62 percent of respondents said they look up information on their phones when considering an important purchase.  That's much more than the 10 percent who instead use their home computer to research a product.

It seems that the younger you are, the more likely you are to rely on a smartphone when shopping.  Eighty-two percent of respondents under the age of 18 say they use their mobile device to look up info.

A few other nuggets from the survey of more than 120,000 respondents around the world:

  • 56 percent of respondents name their phone as the first thing that people notice about them, before clothing, cars, or watches.  For those under the age of 18, the number rises to 82 percent.
  • 58 percent say they've never been criticized by friends for using their phone in a social setting because their pals also frequently use a mobile device; it's 80 percent for those under the age of 18.
  • Forty-eight percent say they have been ashamed in the past to let people see their phone because it was too old; it's 78 percent for those under the age of 18.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


New York City Successful in Smartphone Booth Venture

A mock-up of City24x7's new New York City phone booth. (City24x7/New York Department of Information of Technology and Telecommunications)(NEW YORK) – Seven months after New York City and a company called City 24 x 7 announced that the city’s phone booths were finally going to enter the 21st century, it turns out that the 25 updated booths were a hit.

The city is now setting up 250 of the high-tech telephone booths around its five boroughs. The booths, or “SmartScreen” stations, which are made in partnership with Cisco and LG, feature 32-inch multi-touch displays with apps that let you search for local restaurants or information. Just walk up to the screen and tap it. The booths will also broadcast a Wi-Fi signal.

“To me, the more exciting piece involved local communities. The overriding thing we heard, and the testing and research confirmed, was that local information was incredibly important to people. The more local our info, the more connected people felt. In turn, the more connected and in touch with the community they felt, the more embedded the network became,” Tom Touchet, CEO of City 24×7, told ABC News.

Local issues are going to be an even larger part as more booths are deployed in New York. A percentage of the ad money made from advertising on the booths will be given to speed recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy.  Touchet said the mission of the booths is to “inform, protect, and revitalize.” The booth’s screens can also display emergency and safety information.

New York City is one of the first cities to get the smart booths, and others will have them soon. The company, along with Cisco, plans to expand to more than a dozen U.S. locations, including Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, and Washington.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Apple Seeks Ban on Samsung Galaxy S III, Note 10.1

PARK JI-HWAN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The jury might have handed Apple a win in the U.S.-based intellectual property trial, but the Apple v. Samsung battle is far from over.

Early last week Apple requested an injunction on eight of the Samsung phones that were at the center of its intellectual property trial with Samsung, including the Galaxy S 2. But because the law moves slowly many of those phones are no longer on the market.

Apple’s on it though. Late on Friday, Apple requested that Samsung’s latest Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note 10.1 and others be banned. The Galaxy S III was released in the U.S. in June and the Galaxy Note 10.1 just a few weeks ago. The complaint filed by Apple actually comes in a separate case from the one that was just ruled on a few weeks ago; this suit deals with different utility patents, including ones that over slide to unlock and universal search.

“Since then, Samsung has continued to release new infringing products, including its current flagship device, the Galaxy S III,” Apple wrote in the amended complaint. “While Samsung’s new products infringe many of the same design patents, utility patents, trademarks, and trade dress rights that are at issue in the earlier case, Samsung’s new products also infringe additional utility patents, some of which issued after Apple filed the Earlier Case.”

On Aug. 24, a California jury found that the majority of Samsung smartphones and tablets violated patents held by Apple and recommend Apple be awarded $1.05 billion. Other courts around the world haven’t been as certain of Samsung’s willful patent infringement: respective courts in Japan and South Korean recently rejected Apple’s claims against Samsung.

Last week, Bloomberg reported that Apple and Google, maker of the Android software used in these Samsung phones, have been meeting to discuss an end to the ongoing disputes.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Apple Seeks a Ban on Eight Samsung Smartphones

PARK JI-HWAN/AFP/Getty Images(SAN JOSE, Calif.) -- After its big court win on Friday, Apple, as anticipated, is seeking an injunction on the sale of eight Samsung smartphones.  In a court filing, Apple requested a ban on the sale of eight of the 28 Samsung phones and tablets that were discussed in the trial.

The products include the Galaxy S 4G, Galaxy S2 (AT&T), Galaxy S2 (Skyrocket), Galaxy S2 (T-Mobile), Galaxy S2 Epic 4G, Galaxy S Showcase, Droid Charge, and Galaxy Prevail.

Since the law moves slowly, though, some of the products in question aren’t on the market anymore. The Galaxy S 2 is still on shelves at some stores, but it has primarily been replaced by the Galaxy S 3 and Galaxy Nexus. Those two phones  hadn’t been released yet when the suit was filed, and were not considered in the case.

The verdict “will lead to fewer choices, less innovation, and potentially higher prices,” said Samsung in a statement on Friday. “It is unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners, or technology that is being improved every day by Samsung and other companies.”

A hearing on the request for injunction is set for Sept. 20.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


T-Mobile to Offer Unlimited 4G Data for Phones Starting Sept. 5

T-Mobile(NEW YORK) -- While AT&T and Verizon move to shared data plans, which allow users to share a bucket of data across multiple devices, T-Mobile has a different approach.

On Wednesday, the U.S. carrier announced that it will begin offering unlimited 4G data plans for smartphones starting on Sept. 5.  The plan will cost $20 a month when added to one of T-Mobile’s value voice and text plans, and $30 when added to a classic voice and texting plan.  T-Mobile will offer an unlimited calling and text plan with the unlimited data for $69.99.

T-Mobile’s unlimited data plan offers unlimited Web surfing and app usage over T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network.  There are no data caps or speed limits.  The plan is only for smartphones, not tablets, laptops, 4G connection cards or mobile hotspots.

In comparison, AT&T’s plans start at $40 a month for just 1GB of data to share across 10 devices and unlimited voice and texting -- and every additional phone you add to the plan costs $45 a month.  AT&T’s highest offering, which includes a cap of 20GB of data, costs $200 a month with unlimited texting and calls.

Since introducing its respective data share plans in July, AT&T and Verizon do not offer unlimited data for new customers.  Sprint offers unlimited 4G, texting and talk for a base of $100.

“AT&T and Verizon are in the costly and confusing camp and Sprint’s offering is limited since their 4G coverage is limited,” T-Mobile’s vice president of marketing, Kevin McLaughlin, told ABC News.

Sprint began offering a limited LTE network this summer in Baltimore and other cities. T-Mobile’s 4G network is not LTE, though it covers much of the country.

T-Mobile plans to roll out its LTE network in 2013, though it notes that its HSPA+ network is faster than even some LTE networks in parts of the country.

T-Mobile has taken a hit in the last couple of years in large part because of the fact that it doesn’t offer the iPhone. The carrier is hopeful that this plan will help pull customers from other networks, even if it doesn’t have Apple’s popular phone.

“We are trying to serve the customers and there is a lot of need in the market with Verizon and AT&T’s new plans,” McLaughlin said. “They are frustrated with the fact that they cannot get unlimited data.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Apple Victory Over Samsung

Tony Avelar/Bloomberg via Getty Images(SAN JOSE, Calif.) -- Apple was given a victory on Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh when she blocked the U.S. sales of Samsung Galaxy Nexus, one of the biggest competitors in the Smartphone business, according to the LA Times.

Apple argued that the Galaxy Nexus phone had too many similarities to the iPhone including the user interface, packaging and the shape of the hardware and believed this to be patent infringement.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


TVs and Cameras' Life Spans Greater Than Other Electronic Gadgets

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(YONKERS, N.Y.) -- How long will your favorite electronic gadget continue to function before the digital reaper calls it to the junk heap?

According to a recent survey by Consumer Reports, the answer differs widely, depending on what kind of gizmo you have.  The repair rate -- meaning failure rate -- for laptop computers three to four years old, for example, is 36 percent.  That’s higher than the rate for desktops (32 percent), LCD televisions (15 percent) or plasma TVs (10 percent) of comparable age.

Laptops, says the magazine, are “among the most repair-prone products you can buy” -- on par with the most troublesome appliances, including riding lawn mowers and side-by-side refrigerators (The survey looked at other kinds of goods besides consumer electronics).

“TVs and cameras are pretty reliable,” says Mark Kotkin, Consumer Reports’ director of survey research.  “Computers less so.”

Digital cameras, he says, typically live eight years before they break, making them among the longest-lived of any gadgets surveyed.

Respondents labeled Gateway’s desktops repair-prone, but Apple’s as reliable.  Reliable, too, were Toshiba and Acer laptops.  LCD TVs made by Panasonic, Sanyo and Sylvania were less likely to die than those made by Westinghouse, Polaroid and Mitsubishi.

Anthony Scarsella, chief gadget officer of, a website where consumers can resell their broken, outmoded or otherwise cast-off electonics, says Apple’s products are among the best made and least likely to break.  The reason people sell old iPhones through Gazelle isn’t so much because the phones break as because owners want to upgrade to a newer model, Scarsella says.

Even the life cycle of an iPhone, though, is limited: Its built-in battery, according to website eHow, can take only so many rechargings and begins to die after several hundred chargings, or two or three years.  At that point, the owner faces the choice of paying Apple to put in a new battery or buying a new phone.

It’s easier to buy a new model, says Scarcella, and the cost, especially if you resell your dead phone, is not significantly higher.

“The iPhone, the iPad, the MacBook Air, the Macbook Pro -- all hold their value very well,” he says.  “When you sell them, you can get a pretty good return.”

He says he does see dead and broken gadgets, but fewer all the time, since consumers, having wised up to their gadgets’ resale values, are taking better care of them.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Poll: 40% of Smart Phone Owners Have Never Paid with Device

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Many Americans apparently don’t feel smart or secure enough to use many of their smart phone’s capabilities. A new Harris Poll of 2,056 adults finds 40 percent of owners admitting they have never scanned their mobile device for any reason.

The survey also finds 63 percent of respondents say they are either not comfortable or not at all comfortable with using a mobile scan as an admission ticket to movies, concerts or live theater performances.

Fifty-eight percent of those polled say they are not comfortable or not sure about using a mobile scan as an airline, train or other transportation ticket.

Five percent of Americans say they have scanned their phone for admission to a movie or as an airline ticket while three percent and fewer say they have done so to pay for clothing or electronics, admission to a concert, live theater or performance or to pay for a convenience item such as coffee.  Younger adults are more comfortable than those older with scanning each item listed.  Men are more comfortable with each item than are women.

The United States marks the 150th anniversary of its paper money this month.  With that in mind, the Harris Poll asked Americans if they thought information stored on mobile phones will one day eclipse cash payments for a majority of purchases:

  • 3 percent think it will happen within the next year.
  • 13 percent think it will happen in one to less than three years.
  • 18 percent think it will happen between three and five years.
  • 21 percent say it will happen in five to less than ten years.
  • 15 percent say it will happen in ten years or more.
  • 30 percent say it will never happen.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio