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Fresh Funds Help BorderX Open Chinese E-Commerce Market to West
May 10, 2018
BorderX Lab, which was founded in 2014 by three former Google computer scientists, has raised $20 million in a financing round led by Kleiner Perkins. BorderX Lab offers the Beyond App mobile marketplace solution to facilitate cross-border e-commerce for global brands and merchants seeking access to the burgeoning Chinese consumer market. Beyond App is available for Android and iOS.
Android P Tackles Phone Addiction, Distraction
May 10, 2018
Google has revealed some major new features in the next version of its Android operating system for mobile devices. Now in public beta, the OS known as "Android P" includes features designed to address growing concerns about phone addiction and distraction. For example, a dashboard will show users how often, when and for how long they use each application on their phone.
Could BlackBerry Displace Apple?
April 30, 2018
I spent a day with BlackBerry last week and it brought back memories of how Apple displaced the company around a decade ago. I, like a lot of folks, thought what Apple was attempting was impossible. However, after the fact, it didn't even look difficult. BlackBerry largely has completed its pivot to software and services, but a wave of new phones from its partners suggests new possibilities.
Curves, Gestures May Be in iPhone's Future
April 5, 2018
Gesture control and a curved body may be in the iPhone's future. Apple has been experimenting with those features for the iPhone, and they could be ready for prime time in two to three years. Gesture control would allow a user to execute tasks without touching the screen. The technology could be used for more than just answering phone calls and opening apps, noted Gartner analyst Tuong Nguyen.
Many Small Businesses Take DIY Path to Mobile Apps
April 4, 2018
Nearly half of all the small businesses that participated in a recent survey said they handled their mobile application development in house, in part to cut costs and speed time to deployment. Forty-six percent used in-house staff to develop critical mobile applications in an effort to drive new business. Forty-one percent used freelancers or consultants to develop mobile apps.
FTC Signals Tougher Stance on Mobile Privacy Protection
March 29, 2018
Mobile device makers and telecom service providers need to make significant privacy protection improvements for their customers, says the FTC. Its recent report could become the basis for agency enforcement actions -- not only for smartphones, but also for other mobile devices. "The report is a clear signal to the industry to focus on this issue," said Gerard Stegmaier, a partner at Reed Smith.
Facebook Phone-Scraping Takes Users by Surprise
March 27, 2018
Facebook on Sunday confirmed that its Messenger and Lite apps for Android smartphones routinely collect call and text histories. The call and text history logging are opt-in features for people using Messenger or Facebook Lite on Android devices, the company said in a post. The feature is designed to help users stay connected, and it improves the Facebook experience, according to the company.
Google Makes It Super Easy to Subscribe to Premium Content
March 23, 2018
Google has launched Subscribe with Google and several other journalism initiatives. Subscribe with Google lets consumers store credit card information with Google, which can be used to access participating publishers' subscription services. Google takes care of billing, payment security and account management. Subscribe with Google soon will be available for use with several launch partners.
5 Steps to a Painless Checkout Process
March 21, 2018
Checking out is the heart and soul of the e-commerce experience. When it goes well, you've got happy customers who are likely to return. "Checkout is not only key to driving revenue -- it's key to user satisfaction, order size and retention," said Zephrin Lasker, head of ecommerce at Viber. "A good process can allow for optimal conversion, data collection and speed."
Fitbit Highlights Versatility in New $200 Smartwatch
March 14, 2018
Fitbit on Tuesday added a new smartwatch to its wearables line with a pricetag of $199.95. The Fitbit Versa, which will reach global retail outlets in next month, will be the lightest metal smartwatch in the U.S. market. It includes a new dashboard that simplifies the way health and fitness data is accessed on the device. Versa mixes health and fitness programs.
Galaxy S9 and S9+ May Shine Brightest as S6, S7 Replacement
March 8, 2018
Samsung's new Galaxy S9 and S9+ handsets claimed the spotlight on Thursday as the first reviews of the smartphones surfaced. The general consensus appears to be that these new models successfully built on past designs, yet fell short in numerous areas. The new phones are good -- but anyone expecting revolutionary functionality may be disappointed.
Mobile Pay, Smart Speaker Brand Confusion Means No Winners
March 1, 2018
Google Pay launched last week, becoming the latest entry in the world of master-brand confusion. The new Google Pay combines features of Android Pay and Google Wallet, brands that each had different brand relationships with customers. That means the master brand message, which should be simple and clean, and which Google should have been building all along, is shaky at best.
New Uber Service Focuses on Getting Folks to the Doctor
March 1, 2018
Uber has introduced Uber Health, a new service designed to provide reliable transportation for healthcare-related needs. The program will offer healthcare providers a way to order rides for their patients to help them keep their appointments. Uber Health addresses a growing problem, especially with seniors and others who lack good transportation options for visits to doctors or clinics.
Disaffected Social Media Users Flock to Vero
March 1, 2018
Vero, a relatively unknown social network, has been enjoying a surge in user engagement in recent weeks, a trend that may be tied to growing user discontent over recent changes to Instagram's algorithm, along with an assortment of other objections that have been driving users away from the leading social platforms. Vero has rapidly moved up in the App Store and Google Play rankings.
FutureProof Retail President Di Di Chan: Combine Your Strengths
February 27, 2018
FutureProof Retail aims to redefine the in-store checkout experience. "From the consumer point of view, when you go shopping you have people who help you and service you, and you walk away happy," said President Di Di Chan. "What we're doing is bringing the online offline, to centralize that service. It's not just the top VIP shopper who can enjoy that experience -- everyone can."
Camera, Audio Star in New Galaxy Phones
February 26, 2018
Samsung has raised the curtain on the latest models of its flagship Galaxy smartphones, the S9 and S9+, featuring improved imaging and audio performance. Two standout features in the 12-megapixel rear-facing camera are improved low light performance and super slow-mo video. By adding dual aperture capabilities to the camera, Samsung has boosted the unit's performance in challenging lighting conditions.
Google Pay to Challenge Apple, Amazon
February 21, 2018
Google has launched its long-anticipated Google Pay app, which combines the features of the former Android Pay and Google Wallet into one platform, with new benefits designed to accelerate mobile payment use and retailer participation. The change, first announced last month, represents a bid to expand the use of Google's growing ecosystem to take on both Apple and Amazon in the e-commerce space.
Vendors Await $50B 'Tsunami' of US Telecom Contracts
February 20, 2018
The U.S. government has modernized telecom and supporting IT twice within the last 20 years -- but not without controversy, delays and costly project management. A third modernization currently is under way, under the direction of the federal GSA. The potential value of contracts issued to vendors under the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions program is $50 billion over 15 years.
Nimble Mobile CRM Gets Desktop Browser Features
February 15, 2018
Nimble has released Nimble Mobile CRM 3.0, its contact and pipeline manager for mobile sales teams and professionals. Nimble Mobile CRM 3.0 unifies contacts from mobile, cloud-based and desktop records into one comprehensive relationship manager that surfaces the histories of conversations and provides social context. It is available for iOS now. An Android version will be released this spring.
Leak of Stale iOS Source Code Could Trigger Fresh Problems
February 9, 2018
Apple lawyers have sent a copyright violation notice to Github, following the publication of leaked iOS 9 source code on the site. Though iOS 9 is dated, it's possible that the leaked code could be used to jailbreak older devices or worse. Publication of the code violated Apple's rights under the DMCA, the attorneys wrote, demanding that the iBoot source code be removed.
Amazon Makes Free Whole Foods Deliveries a Prime Perk
February 9, 2018
Amazon has begun offering same-day delivery of grocery items from Whole Foods Market to Prime members in four select markets. For a minimum order of $35, Prime members get free two-hour delivery between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. One-hour delivery is available for a $7.99 fee. Among the items customers can order for delivery are fresh produce, meat and seafood; flowers; and some alcoholic beverages.
Feds to Probe Apple's iPhone Performance Disclosures
February 1, 2018
Both the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission have launched investigations into Apple. The company has said that it will respond to the federal inquiries. Apple faces allegations that it may have misled investors when it decided to throttle performance on older iPhone models while introducing two pricey new ones, including the thousand-dollar iPhone X.
Alexa Now Can Dash Off Text Messages to Android Phones
January 31, 2018
Amazon on Tuesday introduced new functionality that enables its Alexa virtual assistant to send and receive SMS messages on devices running Android 5.0 or higher. Carrier charges may apply. Alexa, the software that powers the Echo line of smart speakers, can play and send personalized messages from contacts for users who have set up voice profiles.
Apple May Be Gearing Up to Crack E-Books
January 31, 2018
Apple reportedly has been working on a redesign of its e-book app for iPhones and iPads, in what could be the biggest upgrade to its e-book service in years. The new app reportedly is undergoing testing and will be released in the next few months. It will have a simpler interface that better highlights books currently being read in a section called "Reading Now."
The Ironic Weirdness of Apple and Intel vs. Qualcomm
January 29, 2018
I am not remotely religious, but recently it has become harder and harder to ignore that things have become incredibly ironic of late -- as if a divine being with control over the world decided to prank us. For example, take President Trump. During the campaign, everything he made fun of others for doing -- including drinking water badly, playing too much golf, slacking off and slurring words -- he has done himself, in glorious living color.
Google's Ad Mute Option Could Be a Valuable Messaging Tool
January 26, 2018
Google on Thursday announced a new feature that will let users mute so-called "reminder ads" in third-party apps and websites that are powered by its ad engine. It plans to expand this feature to its own services, including Gmail, YouTube and Google Search, in the coming months. The new tool is the latest addition to Google's dashboard for ad controls.
Apple Spotlights Key iOS 11.3 Features
January 25, 2018
Apple has unveiled new features that will become available when iOS 11.3 is released this spring. The company released the developer preview to members of the iOS Developer Program, and a public beta is expected shortly. The update will provide new ways to experience AR on the iPhone and iPad, offer new Animoji on the iPhone X, and give users a consolidated view of their health records.
Don't Discount the Business Power of Emotions
January 23, 2018
What accounts for the amazing success of Apple and Starbucks? They both connect with users on an emotional level. This "secret" is evident to anyone who looks closely, and you can apply it to succeed with your own company and improve your own life. Apple was a struggling computer maker until the 1990s, when Steve Jobs returned. Jobs connected with the user base in a new way.
Google to Ding Sluggish Sites in Mobile Search Rankings
January 19, 2018
Google has announced that page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches, starting in July. Speed already has been a factor in desktop search rankings. Soon, as part of Google's new "Speed Update," page loading time will be factored in when ranking mobile search results as well. The change will affect only pages that deliver the slowest experience to users, according to Google.
Namogoo CEO Chemi Katz: Malware Can Ruin the Customer Journey
January 12, 2018
When all goes well, the customer journey "ends with buying a product," said Chemi Katz, CEO of Namogoo. "Hijacking interferes with the customer's journey. It can be a pop-up that the company didn't put there, or something that will lead a customer out of the website. It's any interference that doesn't come from the e-commerce business itself, but from a third party."
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What should be the role of adaptive accessories, like Microsoft's Xbox Adaptive Controller, in video game competitions?
Anyone should be able to use them in any context, including in competitions.
Only people with physical limitations should be allowed to use them in competitions.
They should be banned entirely in competitions due to the potential for unfair advantage.
Their use should be limited to special competitions set up for gamers with disabilities.