Published on January 30 2013

Microsoft today announced the launch of its latest Office software suite, updating its applications for Windows machines to new 2013 versions and launching a new Office 365 subscription option.

While the $99-per-year Office 365 option allows for installation on up to five computers, Mac users will continue to receive Office 2011 applications until an updated version of Office for Mac becomes available. Office for Mac versions typically follow about 12-18 months behind their Windows counterparts.

Office 365 Home Premium is available in 162 markets in 21 languages and includes the following:

- The latest and most complete set of Office applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher and Access

- One license for the entire household to use Office on up to five devices, including Windows tablets, PCs or Macs, and Office on Demand available from any Internet-connected PC

- An additional 20 GB of SkyDrive cloud storage, nearly three times the amount available with a free SkyDrive account

- 60 free Skype world calling minutes per month to call mobile phones, landlines or PCs around the world

- Future upgrades, so you always use the latest time-saving technology

Microsoft Launches Office 365 Subscriptions Alongside Office 2013

Office 365 Home Premium is priced at $9.99 per month or $99 per year, while college and university students, faculty, and staff are eligible for Office 365 University priced at $79.99 for a four-year subscription.

Aside from the Office 365 subscription plans, Windows users are also offered the option of standalone Office 2013 packages including Office Home & Student ($139.99), Office Home & Business ($219.99), and Office Professional ($399.99). There are no ongoing costs with the standalone installations, and a version of Office typically remains current for three years.

Office for Mac 2011 also remains available as a standalone purchase, and users who purchase Office 2011 for Mac between October 19, 2012 and April 30, 2013 can shift over to a one-year Office 365 subscription free of charge.

Reference: Microsoft launches Office 365

Microsoft Office 2013 launches with new subscription option

Microsoft Launches Office 365 Subscriptions Alongside Office 2013, But Macs Still Stuck on Office 2011

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Published on January 29 2013

Alongside the release of iOS 6.1 on Monday, Apple announced that there are now a massive 300 million iOS devices running iOS 6 or later. Considering that there are now about 500 millon iOS devices in use worldwide, that’s a pretty impressive adoption rate (around 60%)! If you judge by developer stats, the number may be more like 80%!

iOS 6 now runing on nearly 300 million devices, 60% of all iOS devices ever

Of these, perhaps the most impressive is that 300 million devices are currently running iOS 6. That is, as EdibleApple points out, roughly 60 percent of all iOS devices ever sold:

During Apple’s most recent earnings call, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that Apple to date has sold over 500 million iOS devices. If we put those pieces together we see that over half of every iOS device ever sold is now running the most recent version of Apple’s mobile operating system. Contrast that of course to Android where a scant minority of users are ever caught running the most recent iteration of Android.

iOS 6 now runing on nearly 300 million devices, 60% of all iOS devices ever

The Next Web notes that Apple sold some 75 million iOS devices in the December quarter alone, all of which are running iOS 6, plus 100 million upgrades to iOS 6 in its first week of availability back in September.

Apple has clearly been successful in keeping devices upgraded to the latest version of iOS, particularly through the over-the-air update feature that was introduced last year in iOS 5. This keeps iOS devices secure, and keeps users up to date with the latest new features to come out of Cupertino.

The iOS 6 Maps app was Apple’s first attempt in this field, and having displaced the de facto master in this field in Google, the pressure was most certainly on. Unfortunately, Apple Maps wasn’t as accurate as it might have been, and after a public outcry, CEO Tim Cook was forced to apologize, and subsequently, users jumped on Google’s third-party offering when released over at the App Store just before Christmas.

iOS 6 now runing on nearly 300 million devices, 60% of all iOS devices ever

But despite the drama, iOS 6 is Apple’s most successful to date, and that 300 million figure accounts for 60% of the total number of iOS devices in circulation. As well as that, some nine billion photos have been uploaded to Photo Stream, 450 billion iMessages have been sent between users, while a mammoth four trillion notifications – albeit not always welcome – have been received.

Considering some of the older iOS devices don’t even run iOS 6 – the original iPad, iPhone 3G and earlier, and pre-4th gen iPod touch – the 300 million mark is mightily impressive. With Tim Cook having recently claimed his company has shifted over 500 million iOS devices since 2007, one needn’t be a scholar in mathematics to work out just how swiftly consumers have sought to adopt iOS 6.

iOS 6 now runing on nearly 300 million devices, 60% of all iOS devices ever

As well an impressive range of new features (save the aforementioned), one of the key reasons why adoption rates have been so high will have been OTA updates. Those on iOS 5 will have been notified over-the-air that their device was ready for the new software, and with no inconvenient syncing required as with previous releases, it’s unsurprising that most iOS 5 users have been compliant.

As well as software updates, Apple has sold tens of millions of iOS devices in the past couple of months, with consumers rushing out to grab the new iPhone 5 and iPad mini devices.

Reference: iOS 6 is now on 300 million devices, 60% of all existing iOS gadgets

Nearly 300 Million Devices Running iOS 6, 60% of All iOS Devices Ever

Apple Confirms: There are Now 300M iOS Devices Running iOS 6 or Later

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Published on January 20 2013

Bangalore: Contradictory to the expectations on iPhone repeating its history, Apple’s charming device, this time, went under the waves of presidential elections, as “election” came up as the most searched term of 2012.

The report on popular search items of 2012 was released by Yahoo, which considered everything users’ type into the search bar, including information on gadgets, Olympians, memes, sports teams, songs, music lyrics, TV comedies, "what is" searches, how-to searches, "obsessions," recipes, and several others.

Yahoo's Popular Searches of 2012

According to Yahoo, even though politics saturated top headlines of almost all information channels, people still searched online to see what’s happening in the presidential election. The second place for iPhone searches are fuelled by the initial rumors and the anticipation of the new device. "iPhone was No. 1 last year, and the fact the iPhone made it back on the list is incredible," Vera Chan, a Yahoo Web trend analyst, told CNET.

After Elections and iPhone 5, the next one in the list was reality star Kim Kardashian, followed by Kate Upton, and then Kate Middleton, the wife of Prince William. According to Yahoo, Kim Kardashian has been a permanent "search" term in the top 10 since 2009.

In the gadget section, no one was able to block the supremacy of iPhone 5, as it scored the top, followed by iPad 3, iPad Mini, Samsung Galaxy S3, and Kindle Fire. Even iPhone's previous iteration, iPhone 4 nabbed the No. 6 spot.

Here are the top 10 searched items on yahoo in 2012.

#1 Election

#2 iPhone 5

#3 Kim Kardashian

#4 Kate Upton

#5 Kate Middleton

#6 Whitney Houston

#7 Olympics

#8 Political polls

#9 Lindsay Lohan

#10 Jennifer Lopez

And here are the top-searched gadgets

#1 iPhone 5

#2 iPad 3

#3 iPad Mini

#4 Samsung Galaxy S3

#5 Kindle Fire

#6 iPhone 4

#7 Nook

#8 iPod Touch

#9 Samsung Galaxy Tab

#10 Samsung Galaxy Note

Article Source: Yahoo's Popular Searches of 2012

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Published on January 18 2013

Reuters reports that Sharp, one of Apple's primary display panel partners for its mobile devices, has slashed production of iPad displays at one of its plants. Sources did not indicate the reasons for the dramatic cut, but it appears to be a combination of a shift in consumer interest to the smaller iPad mini and a natural seasonal slowdown coming out of the holiday quarter.

Sharp Corp has nearly halted production of 9.7-inch screens for Apple Inc's iPad, two sources said, as demand shifts to its smaller iPad mini.

Sharp's iPad screen production line at its Kameyama plant in central Japan has fallen to the minimal level to keep the line running this month after a gradual slowdown began at the end of 2012 as Apple manages its inventory, the industry sources with knowledge of Sharp's production plans told Reuters.

Sharp reportedly cutting iPad display production amid shift in consumer interest to iPad Mini

Apple also obtains iPad display panels from Samsung and LG Display, with a source at Samsung indicating that there has been no production cut there and a source at LG suggesting that any production cuts there were in line with typical seasonality.

Reports of cutbacks in iPad component production come close on the heels of reports that Apple has slashed orders for iPhone 5 parts, although there have been significant questions about the figures cited in those reports and whether the decline actually represents a weakening of demand.

Article Source: Sharp reportedly cutting iPad display production amid shift in consumer interest to iPad Mini​

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Published on January 17 2013

YouTube is set to make another big investment in a content partner. This time around it’s Vevo, the music video site.

Google, through YouTube, is in the final stages of investing in video site VEVO, reports AllThingsD. Vevo has been a YouTube content partner for a while now and hosts many celebrity channels on the video sharing platform.

YouTube decides to invest in Vevo music video site

If it happens, it will be the second time in the last year that Google has invested directly in a video company that relies on YouTube for distribution. In May, Google put money into Machinima, the Web video network aimed at gamers.

VEVO was founded in 2009 and is a joint venture music video website operated by Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, and Abu Dhabi Media with EMI licensing its content to the group without taking an ownership stake.

YouTube decides to invest in Vevo music video site

According to the report, the deal will see VEVO possibly handover one-third of its revenue to YouTube and more than half to the music labels. The company brought in US$150-million in 2011 with a 2012 estimate of US$280-million. VEVO’s original deal with YouTube was previously set to expire at the end of 2012.

This investment is also noted to be considerably larger than the one the video-sharing site made on Machinima last year last year, which was reported at US$35-million.

Though both companies have signed off on the deal and have also agreed to a renewed distribution deal that includes long-term licenses for the videos, there could still be some hiccups along the way.

“For starters, the deal is supposed to get done at the same time that YouTube signs separate agreements with Sony and Universal, which cover subjects like user-uploaded videos that incorporate music the labels own. And relationships between the two labels — and between the labels and YouTube — have been rocky at times,” says AllThingsD.

Reportedly, VEVO is also exploring alternate distribution deals with Facebook and MTV.

The company has grown immensely to become YouTube’s top content partner with an estimated 52-million unique viewers and 592-million videos watched, according to comScore. VEVO.com is currently available in 10 countries, and its videos are accessible in more than 200 countries through its YouTube partnership.

Reference: Are YouTube investing in VEVO?

YouTube and Google investing in VEVO

YouTube Is Ready to Invest in Vevo, but the Deal Isn’t Done

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Published on January 16 2013

Apple's former CEO John Sculley says the company will have to make a cheaper iPhone if it wants to compete with the likes of Samsung.

So it looks like our own Gareth Beavis is in good company.

Sculley told Bloomberg that Apple needs to change its high-end approach, because of greater market saturation. "Apple needs to adapt to a very different world," he said. "As we go from $500 smartphones to even as low, for some companies, as $100 for a smartphone, you've got to dramatically rethink the supply chain and how you can make these products and do it profitably."

A budget iPhone is a must for Apple

Greater competition

The problem is that the competition is now so fierce, according to Sculley. Rivals like the Samsung Galaxy S3 are viable alternatives to the iPhone now, whereas before Apple's UI was light years ahead.

Android's huge (and growing) market share is down to the fact it offers handsets at a range of prices, too. And considering the fact most of the growth in mobiles will be in developing markets, with low-end devices, Apple would be wise to start offering a budget alternative, Sculley reckons.

"Samsung is an extraordinarily good competitor," he said. "The differentiation between a Samsung Galaxy and an iPhone 5 is not as great as we used to see."

Questions about Apple’s “budget” phone plans reignited earlier this month, with reports that the company was planning a “cheaper” version of the iPhone to better compete in developing markets such as China. However, the company’s marketing chief was swift to deny chatter of a low-cost model, arguing that such a handset “will never be the future of Apple’s products” and reiterating that Apple’s focus is on premium devices.

Nonetheless, Schiller’s denial still gave room for speculation, with suggestions that – just as the company did with the iPad mini – Apple could pursue a distinctly separate device from the existing iPhone, rather than make a cheaper copy. That could involve a return to the plastic chassis of the iPhone 3G/3GS, notorious rumor-monger DigiTimes suggests; the Taiwanese whisper merchant – which has such a mixed track record that we recommend great fistfuls of salt – claims to have heard from the supply chain that Apple will adopt an unusual mixed plastic and metal casing with some visibility of the internal components possible. That could arrive on store shelves by the second half of 2013, it’s claimed.

The chatter of cheaper iPhones follows reports that Apple slashed display panel orders in recent weeks, indicating lower than expected production of the iPhone 5. However, there are mixed opinions as to whether – if true – that’s down to reduced demand or continuing bottlenecks in manufacturing caused by ongoing production difficulties.

And according to related news, the production of the iPhone 5S is expected to begin in March in preparation for a June release date

Reference: Ex-CEO John Sculley says a budget iPhone is a must for Apple

Apple must cut costs says ex-CEO amid plastic iPhone rumors

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Published on January 12 2013

The Windows Phone platform seems to have caught on in the last month or two, most likely coinciding with the launch of Windows Phone 8. Greg Sullivan, Microsoft's Senior Marketing Manager says that Windows Phone 8 units are "selling like hotcakes" in China, and in the U.S. sales are strong for the Nokia Lumia Windows Phone 8 line. We also passed along to you the word last week that the HTC Windows Phone 8X is doing brisk business in the States. As a result, Sullivan says that Windows Phone models now control 5% of (the global, presumably) smartphone market.

Windows Phone hits 5% global market share

Sullivan repeated something his boss said the other day. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that sales in the last week of last month were five times higher than the total rung up in the same week a year ago. Sullivan not only pointed out the sales trends, but also noted the momentum in the Windows Phone Marketplace which now is the home to 125,000 apps. That still trails the 775,000 apps in the Apple App Store, and a similar amount in the Google Play Store.

"The sales trends are there for Windows Phone," Sullivan said. "They are going in the right directly absolutely and strongly. There’s sales momentum, carrier momentum, and app momentum, with 125,000 apps."

"With Windows Phone 8, we’re in this for the long haul. We used to think about Windows as software on a PC, but it’s also on the server and in the cloud and in Skybox and other services even Xbox. Windows is not only Windows and Windows Phone. It’s across all parts of Microsoft."-Greg Sullivan, Senior Marketing Manager, Microsoft

In China recently, the Nokia Store in Shanghai faced long lines twice while putting the Nokia Lumia 920 up for sale. The second time, the yellow variant was sold out in twenty minutes.

Article Source: Microsoft marketing executive Sullivan says Windows Phone now has 5% (global) market share

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Published on January 10 2013

Do you know what's the fastest processor, dual-core or quad-core? No, none of these. Believe it or not, the fastest processor in the world is 8-core processor. And soon we will seen 8-core processor to come.

Samsung unveiled an eight-core mobile processor during their keynote at CES that uses a unique design to boost performance across the board without increasing battery life demands.

The Exynos 5 Octa features a high-end quad-core processor for CPU-intensive tasks like gaming alongside a midrange quad-core chip geared more towards e-mail and texting, according to president of Samsung Electronics’ component business Stephen Woo.

Samsung unveiled 8-core Exynos 5 Octa processor at CES 2013

The package contains four Cortex-A15 cores on the high end and four Cortex A7 cores for more mundane tasks, using ARM’s big.Little architecture to make everything play together nicely. All said and done, Samsung claims the chip is 70 percent more efficient with regards to energy consumption compared to current designs.

A reference design of the Exynos 5 Octa was able to load a restaurant’s webpage, download an app to place a reservation and pull up the device’s location using GPS all at the same time. In another demonstration, Woo showcased the chip running a 3D-based video game albeit not without an awkward hiccup at the beginning that stalled the game for roughly 30 seconds.

As you might expect, the eight-core chip will be destined for high-end smartphones and tablets and is expected to compete with Nvidia’s Tegra 4 processor and Qualcomm’s 800 series chips. Both of those chips are scheduled for release sometime in the second half of this year, although the Korean electronics giant didn’t say when their new Exynos chip would be ready for production.

Reference: Samsung shows 8-core Exynos 5 Octa processor during CES keynote

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Published on January 7 2013

As the gradual adoption of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich continues, its successor Jelly Bean is also picking up steam. The latest numbers from Google show that 29.1 percent of Android devices that recently accessed Google Play were running Ice Cream Sandwich, compared to 15.9 percent last August and a mere .6 percent this time last year. Jelly Bean 4.1 and 4.2 combined, meanwhile, are now on 10.2 percent of devices, up dramatically from the .8 percent we saw in August. Jelly Bean passed the 10 percent mark a couple of months earlier than Ice Cream Sandwich, which officially did so around the launch of the Nexus 7 in July.

Jelly Bean occupies 10% of Android devices

The update between Android 2.3 Gingerbread and 4.0 was more dramatic than the change from 4.0 to 4.1, and juggernaut Samsung has been pushing Jelly Bean to its flagship phones, so it's not necessarily surprising that adoption is a bit faster so far. Even less surprisingly, Gingerbread has maintained a substantial 47.6 percent — though this is actually the first time we've seen it drop below half the Android install base according to Google's numbers.

Some smartphone and tablet owners may still be waiting for Android’s Jelly Bean update, but statistics from Google indicate that the number of devices running Android 4.1 and 4.2 is continuing to grow each month.

Over the past month in particular, traffic in the Google Play store from Jelly Bean devices has seen a sharp increase. Data collected during a two-week period that ended on Jan. 3 shows that Jelly Been usage has risen to 10.2 percent. This is a significant milestone for the operating system considering it only measured in at 6.2 percent when it was measured at the same time last month.

The Jelly Bean statistics include a mix of Android 4.1 and Android 4.2 traffic in the Google Play store over the past month. Despite this climb, Android 2.3 Gingerbread is still the most widely used operating system by a long shot. Gingerbread accounted for a whopping 47.6 percent of all Android usage from Dec. 3 through Jan. 3. Android 2.3 and 2.3.2 claim most of this market share with 47.4 percent, and Android 2.3.3 through 2.3.7 contribute .2 percent.

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is the second most popular operating system claiming 29.1 percent of Android users, and Jelly Bean has impressively bumped its way up to third place.

This increase in Jelly Bean usage follows what seems to be a trend in growth for the seven month old operating system. The statistics that came in from last month showed that Jelly Bean more than doubled its usage compared to the same period measured in October. To be exact, this number grew from 2.7 percent to 6.7 percent during a two-week time frame two months ago.

Google introduced the Jelly Bean mobile software at its I/O developers’ conference last June, with its Galaxy Nexus-branded devices receiving the update just after it launched. Since then carriers have made moves to roll Jelly Bean out on a more massive scale, and this surge could be attributed to a significant end-of-the-year push. Google also unveiled its second generation of Jelly Bean, Android 4.2, in mid-November alongside the release of its Nexus 10 tablet and Nexus 4 handset.

Samsung recently introduced its own line of enhancements to pair with Google’s Jelly Bean operating system on its Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note devices. Labeled as the Premium Suite features, these additions bring more multitasking and social functions to the Galaxy S3, Note and Note 2.

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Published on January 5 2013

According to Strategy Analytics, a analyst firm that, Samsung's smartphone sales is predicted to grow by 35% in 2013, increasing its lead over Apple.

Samsung was one of the biggest success stories of 2012, and it doesn’t look like the company is slowing down anytime soon.

Reuters scored an interview with Strategy Analytics executive director Neil Mawston, who projects that Samsung’s smartphone sales will increase by 35% this year, thus helping the company “slightly extend its lead over Apple .

The analyst firm believes that Samsung’s wide range of devices will sell over 290 million smartphones, compared to last year when it believed that Samsung would sell about 215 million devices.

From the Galaxy S III mini to the Galaxy Note, Samsung ships smartphones in a wide variety of shapes and sizes to appeal to as broad a range of consumers as possible.

Samsung smartphone sales is predicted to increase over 35% in 2013

Strategy Analytics also predicts that worldwide smartphone sales will reach 875 million sales in 2013, which is a 27% increase over 2012. That means Samsung would have a 33% market share. The firm also believes that Apple will only see its share rise by 1%, totaling 21% in 2013.

Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics, says,

We think Apple will have to launch an ‘iPhone Mini’ at some point over the next three years to address the hundreds of millions of prepaid users worldwide that cannot afford the current iPhone. The iPhone 5 is growing fast and profitably right now, so there is little incentive for Apple to launch an ‘iPhone Mini’ this year. We expect the iPhone Mini to be more likely next year, in 2014 when … Apple will be forced to discover fresh growth streams.

Strategy Analytics may not be too far off with its predictions. Samsung’s getting ready to launch its Tizen OS devices this year, and its Samsung Galaxy S IV will be a great hit. We’re most likely to see Samsung’s momentum build up throughout 2013 and we may even see it surpass the 290 million smartphone sales prediction.

So what do you think of Android smartphone market in 2013? Nobody knows, we just wait and see.

Reference: Samsung Projected to ‘extend its lead over Apple this year’ with 35% Samrtphone sales growth

Analysts Predict That Samsung’s Smartphone Sales Will Grow 35% Over 2013

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