Watch Nokia’s Lumia WP8 Event And Motorola/Verizon Event Live Here

September has turned out to be major tech month with quite a lot of big companies holding major tech events. Samsung started September by announcing the Galaxy Note 2 and the first Windows Phone 8 handset, the Ativ S. Today, Nokia will be announcing its hotly anticipated next-generation WP8 running Lumia handsets with PureView technology.

Along with Nokia, Motorola is also holding an event today to announce the much leaked RAZR M and RAZR HD. Tomorrow, Amazon will be holding an event to announce a new version of the Kindle Fire.

Next week, the mobile industry will see new standards being set when Apple announces the next-generation iPhone along with iOS6.

Motorola will once again be holding an event in New York on September 18th, this time with Intel, to announce a new Intel powered Android smartphone. This will be the first time a major Android OEM will be using an Intel SoC in their Android smartphone.

On the very next day, i.e. on September 19th, which is again a Wednesday, HTC also has an event scheduled in New York where the company will presumably announce some new WP8 handsets. There is still no confirmation whether the Taiwanese maker will be announcing some new Android based devices or not at the event.

While Apple and HTC won’t be live streaming their events, Nokia and Motorola will be doing a live webcast of their events today. The Nokia Lumia WP8 event can be watched live from here, but make sure your browser has the required Silverlight plugin installed.

The Motorola event, thankfully, will be streamed live on the company’s YouTube channel. The event is scheduled to start in 11 hours from now, and can be watched live from here.


iOS App Store Deals: Galaxy On Fire 2 HD, Asphalt 7 and More Only For $0.99

Thought it was only Google that had an ‘End of Summer Sale’ on the Play Store? The iOS AppStore is also filled with some great deals all thanks to the labor weekend. The discount on some of the apps and games are just too good to ignore.

Galaxy On Fire 2 HD from Fishlabs is available for only $0.99 for new iPad owners, compared to the usual price of $9.99 of the game. The game has stunning graphics and is perfect to show-off the Retina Display on the new iPad. Gameloft has also put some of its popular games on sale including Asphalt 7, Modern Combat 3 and N.O.V.A 3 for only $0.99.

If a dollar is too much for you on iPhone/iPad games, then Atari has you covered for the weekend with its pack of 99 games available as a free download. The pack of 99 games, known as ‘Atari’s Greatest Hit‘ is available as a free download down from its usual price of a whopping $9.99. The offer is only valid until 1st September so better hurry up and download the pack of 99 games before the sale ends.


Flurry: iOS and Android Growth Exploding in International Markets

Flurry has released its research on the smartphone space, and the numbers seem to be very encouraging. According to the Flurry Analytics, iOS and Android adoption has exploded internationally. Devices powered by iOS and Android are being adopted by users at a much faster rate than than the PC, the Internet or social networks were, at their peaks.

The total number of iOS and Android devices in use jumped to 640 million in July 2012. While the U.S. and China lead when it comes to active user base numbers, international markets like South Korea, Japan, Germany, France, Canada, Spain, and Brazil continue to see user growth.

While the U.S. user base grew by 30 million in the last year, China’s users increased by more than 100 million, and could soon overtake the U.S. in terms of total active users.

China is the fastest growing iOS/Android market, growing at more than 400% very year, while other markets like Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Iran, Vietnam, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, and India are growing at near 200%.

While the U.S. accounted for more than half of all iOS and Android activity in terms of active sessions in July 2011, its share has decreased to just slightly more than a third, while the rest of the world has gained.

Android and iOS penetration in the U.S., may be close to its peak, but both platforms are poised to continue growing at an explosive rate in the coming years, as the global demand for smartphones keeps increasing.

via Flurry

Facebook Releases Much Faster iPhone App

Today, Facebook released a completely rewritten iOS app, which took more than six months of work to build. The brand new app is a native app and is twice as fast. Facebook engineers have also dumped the HTML5-based app and rebuilt it using Objective-C programming to make it perform more like a native iOS app. It was built from the ground up using Apple’s iOS SDK. The app update has already been made available.

“Up until now we’ve looked at scale,” iOS Product Manager Mick says, “but we’ve become aware that while we have a great mobile website, embedding HTML 5 inside an app isn’t what people expect.”

In addition to significant speed improvements, Facebook has also added a bunch of features and tweaks straight from the iOS SDK. New animations and gestures are a nice touch too. One new feature is a “New Stories” banner that pops up at the top of your screen while you browse the News Feed. Another new feature is a gesture that enables easier one-handed browsing when you are browsing a photo.

I have been testing out this brand new version and can already notice significant improvements. Finally! Facebook for iPhone is available for free via the App Store. [Direct Link]

Today, Flash Player For Android Dies!

Back in 2010, the Flash Player plugin for Android was released with quite a lot of media publicity and hoopla. The iconic Motorola Droid was among the first Android handsets to fully support the plugin, and offer PC like web browsing experience. While the first generation Android phones struggled to load heavy Flash based websites properly, the problem was fixed to a certain extent with dual-core processors touting Android phones and some enhancements to the plug-in from Adobe.

Fast-forward to today, and Flash for Android is dead. Today, Adobe will un-publish the Flash Player from the Play Store, which means that going forward no one can download and install the plugin from the Play Store. Adobe had also announced earlier that it would not release any more updates for the plug-in, except for security patches.

So why exactly did Flash die? After all, the plugin was, and still is, being used by millions of users and developers to create content on their websites?

Flash is not meant for mobile devices. It is simply a resource hogger and battery drainer. But the biggest reason behind the death of Flash Player is that one of the world’s largest mobile platform — iOS — did not support it. Steve Jobs had openly stated that iOS will never support Flash, and that the plug-in will die sooner than later. At that time, Adobe and others criticised Jobs for his views, but the late legend has proved himself right after all.

So what’s next?

If you are a web developer, make sure you don’t use any Flash based content on your websites. You can use HTML5 to embed videos and other media content on your websites.

What if I still want to install Flash Player plugin on my Android device?

Well, if you still want Flash Player on your Android device, you can manually install the plugin by following these steps. But keep in mind that it is just a matter of time before web developers ditch Flash as well.

Apple’s ‘Unbreakable’ iOS Device Encryption Highlighted

Technology Review highlights the evolution of security that has occurred on the iPhone. The article notes how Apple has been able to gain acceptance among the government and enterprise by overcoming its initially loose stance on device security  to roll out industry leading encryption options. These options help defeat essentially all attempts at accessing properly protected devices.

At the heart of Apple’s security architecture is the Advanced Encryption Standard algorithm (AES), a data-scrambling system published in 1998 and adopted as a U.S. government standard in 2001. After more than a decade of exhaustive analysis, AES is widely regarded as unbreakable. The algorithm is so strong that no computer imaginable for the foreseeable future—even a quantum computer—would be able to crack a truly random 256-bit AES key. The National Security Agency has approved AES-256 for storing top-secret data.

In a a recent white paper (PDF), Apple has highlighted this hardware security. Such hardware security involves the incorporation of a unique AES-256 key fused into each iOS device and which can not be directly read. In addition, access to the device’s software can be restricted via a PIN passcode. In fact, to break iOS passcodes, brutal force attacks are required and needing the device to be run at 80 milliseconds per.

Most of the information in the article is not, but the article does offer an overview of the layers of security Apple has built into its products.

Dead Trigger For iOS Receives Major Update And Is Now Available As A Free Download For Reasons Unknown

Over the last couple of week, Madfinger’s latest game — Dead Trigger — sparked off a discussion that piracy in Android is still a major concern. The developer had initially released Dead Trigger for a $0.99, instead of its usual price of $6.99 on both iOS and Android, so as to make the game more affordable and curb piracy.

A few days later, Madfinger rolled out a major update for the Android version of the game and made it available as a free downloaded. The company stated that due to the high piracy rate of the game in the Android ecosystem, the company has decided to make the game free to download and play with In-App purchases for Android users.

Today, Madfinger has released a new update of Dead Trigger for iOS users that brings with it a bunch of new weapons, environments, gameplay enhancements, bug fixes and much more. Surprisingly, Madfinger has also made Dead Trigger available as a free download for iOS users with this update.

Madfinger has not provided any reason as to why it decided to make the game free to download on iOS as well. It certainly cannot be piracy since iOS users are known to pay for their apps. The company will, however, reward users who paid for the game with 25 golds and other credits.

On a serious note, Madfinger should really grow up and stop blaming piracy on Android as the reason they decided to make the game free. Dead Trigger is filled with In-App purchases, and reports do suggest that IAP bring developers more money than the outright purchase of a game from the store. If anything, the company should apologize for blaming the high level of piracy in the Android ecosystem.

Android Loses U.S. Smartphone Market Share to iOS in Q2

Strategy Analytics just released its quarterly report on the state of the U.S. smartphone market in Q2 2012. The overall market shrunk as smartphone shipments fell 5% year-over-year to 24 million units during Q2. Google’s Android lost market share to Apple’s iOS, and saw its market share decline to 56%.

The decline in quarterly shipments could be attributed to a volatile macroeconomic environment, tighter upgrade policies by operators, and the near saturation in smartphone subscribers in the U.S.

The number of Android device shipments were around 13.4 million, while the number of iPhone shipments were 7.9 million. Blackberry device sales dropped further to 1.6 million units, while other smartphones had aggregate sales of 1 million units.

Android lost 4.3% market share, while Blackberry and other platforms lost 4% and 1.6% each. Apple was the major beneficiary, and saw its market share increase from 23.2% to 33.2% year-over-year.

While Q3 2012 might not be as kind to Apple, Q4 will again see Apple’s market share skyrocket as the iPhone 5 is launched in late September or October.


Facebook Acquires Acrylic, Maker of iOS and Mac Apps

There have been so many acquisitions this week, that it’s getting hard to keep count. Oracle acquired Involver and Skire, Google acquired Sparrow, and now Facebook has acquired Acrylic Software, a Mac and iOS app development studio. Acrylic makes apps like Pulp, a news reader, and Wallet, a security app.

Facebook has acquired Acrylic primarily for its team, not for its products, which makes this a talent acquisition. Pulp and Wallet will remain available for download, but the team will stop further development on them.

Dustin MacDonald of the Acrylic team says:

“Facebook is an invaluable service that we all use daily, and a company I believe is one of the most innovative and important around today. After visiting late last year, I discovered that we shared many of the same core product design goals and principles, and it soon became obvious that it was a natural fit. Simply put, there’s an opportunity at Facebook to have a big impact in many people’s lives. More importantly, Facebook is full of extremely talented people who will be able to help realize its full potential in the years to come.”

Facebook has made a number of acquisitions in the last couple of months, most of them related in one way or another to its mobile ambitions. Notable among them are Instagram, Spool, Lightbox, etc.

Not being able to properly monetize its rapidly growing active mobile user base has been one of Facebook’s greatest shortcomings in the last couple of quarters. With these acquisitons, it might be able to finally crack that puzzle and reach that much hyped $100 billion valuation.

via Acrylic

Google Acquires Popular Mac and iOS Mail Client – Sparrow

Sparrow, possibly the best email client available for Mac and iOS, have just announced that they have been acquired by Google. The company’s CEO announced that they are “joining the Gmail team to accomplish a bigger vision.”

Below is Sparrow’s CEO, Dom Leca’s full statement about the acquisition -:

We’re excited to announce that Sparrow has been acquired by Google!

We care a lot about how people communicate, and we did our best to provide you with the most intuitive and pleasurable mailing experience.

Now we’re joining the Gmail team to accomplish a bigger vision — one that we think we can better achieve with Google.

We’d like to extend a special thanks to all of our users who have supported us, advised us, given us priceless feedback and allowed us to build a better mail application. While we’ll be working on new things at Google, we will continue to make Sparrow available and provide support for our users.

We had an amazing ride and can’t thank you enough.

Full speed ahead!

The acquisition by Google does not mean that Sparrow will be dis-continued. The developers will continue to provide support to its users. Google had earlier acquired a popular IM client earlier, Meebo, and with Sparrow’s acquisition, it looks like the big G is finally working hard on merging Gmail with its chat (Talk/Hangout/Messenger) services. Considering how talented the Sparrow team is, it will be really interesting to see what new features they bring to Gmail, and perhaps to the email?