Opinion: One thing Android Wear desperately needs to take from Apple Watch

I love my Android Wear smartwatch—it’s a great extension to the Nexus 6 I use daily. But not many people I know have an Android Wear device, even fewer have reason to use one every day, and basically no one (outside of my circle of geeky friends) really understands why they’re useful when I try to explain what they do. My LG G Watch R is seen as cool, because I can flip between a couple dozen watch faces and reply to texts with my voice, but these things don’t really make my peers feel like they’re missing out. It’s cool, but that’s about it.

The Apple Watch was shown off again today—this time in a bit more detail—and it’s clear that the device is going to be competition to the half-dozen-or-so Android Wear devices that are on the market. It’s priced a bit higher, and that’s typical when it comes to Apple products, but there are definitely things that this device offers that Google hasn’t yet introduced. The big one—in my opinion—is Digital Touch, which Apple describes as a “fun, spontaneous way to connect with other Apple Watch wearers, wrist to wrist.”

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Google among hundreds of businesses urging US Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage

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Apple, Google, Microsoft and hundreds of other businesses have joined together to urge the US Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage across the country.

The companies have filed what’s known as an amicus brief, a way for parties not directly involved in a case to make an argument for or against a particular decision by the court. The brief argues that there is a sound business case for consistency across the country, explained counsel Susan Baker… Read more

Google said to be planning iOS support for Android Wear, could debut at I/O conference

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Last month a developer managed to hack together a solution that enabled iPhone users to see their notifications on Google’s Android-powered wearable operating system, but at the moment there is no official way to use the two competing platforms together. That could change at Google’s annual I/O conference later this year, if new rumors are to be believed.

According to French tech blog 01Net, Google is developing an update to Android Wear that would enable it work with Apple’s iOS devices…

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Gartner: iPhone sales led Q4 2014, but Samsung won year where 1b smartphones were sold

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Gartner is out with its latest report tracking smartphone movement during the previous year and more specifically the holiday quarter.

Headlining the report is news that over 1 billion smartphones were sold in 2014, a data point IDC first said was hit in the previous year, adding that two out of three phones sold last year qualified as smartphones.

Gartner’s data shows Apple topped Samsung in worldwide smartphone sales with 74,832,000 units shipped during the holiday quarter, just 1.8 million units more than Samsung, giving Apple 20.4% market share for the quarter, a virtual tie with Samsung’s 19.9%.

Coming up behind Apple and Samsung is Lenovo (which includes sales of Motorola-branded phones), Huawei, and Xiaomi with single digit market share. The collective group of others which amount to 42.4% of the holiday quarter sales. Read more

New profile details tensions within Samsung as it continues to struggle

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It’s no secret that Samsung has been struggling recently, even going so far as to freeze salaries for all of its employees. In the wake of these issues, Business Insider has just published an extensive profile of the company and its struggles. The profile, which comes in at 3,000 words, details all of the highs and lows for the company, as well as its performance against companies like Apple and Xiaomi.

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Google’s Android and Chrome lead comments on Apple relationship, China, Google Play ads

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Google’s Sundar Pichai recently sat down with Forbes to talk about the Mountain View company’s ambitions in China, its relationship with Apple, and what its overall vision looks like. Some interesting quotes from Google’s Android and Chrome head have surfaced as a result, and among other comments, Pichai took a moment to respond to constant criticism from Apple that Google is in the business of monetizing its users. Pichai also touched on Google’s aspirations in China as well as the sponsored ad program it is testing in Google Play…

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Samsung acquires Apple Pay competitor LoopPay to accelerate its mobile commerce effort

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Samsung announced in a press release this evening that it has purchased LoopPay, an Apple Pay like mobile payment company. LoopPay turns existing magnetic stripe card readers into secure, contactless receivers. This means that, in an ideal world, LoopPay would be available in nearly every retailer that accepts magnetic strip cards. A specific acquisition price is unclear at this point.

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IDC: Xiaomi’s growth tops Samsung in China, but Apple is making a dent too

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According to the latest numbers from IDC, Xiaomi—the rising star of the smartphone industry—has managed to pass up Samsung in China. In 2013, Xiaomi trailed Samsung’s almost 19% market share by a solid 13 percentage points (at just 5.3%), and was only the 5th largest maker of smartphones in China. Things changed in 2014. Last year, Xiaomi finished off with 12.5% of the market, almost a half-point more than Samsung at 12.1%, taking the top spot and passing not just Samsung, but Lenovo, Huawei, and Coolpad as well…

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Apple CEO Tim Cook on Google Glass: ‘We always thought it would flop’

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As Apple prepares to bring its new smartwatch to the market, an extensive profile of Jony Ive from The New Yorker (you can find more over at 9to5Mac) has revealed how the Cupertino company sees Google Glass. But it wasn’t Ive, Apple’s design head, that made the comments. Rather, Apple CEO Tim Cook was very straightforward in saying that Google’s head-mounted display was putting a wearable in “the wrong place,” and that “glasses were not a smart move.” Read more

Google removes Sparrow email client from iOS and Mac App Stores

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Google acquired the popular email client Sparrow back in 2012 and announced that the entire team would be joining Google to work on Gmail. Since that acquisition, Sparrow apps received only a handful of updates and have been seemingly neglected in favor of Google’s new Inbox initiative. Over the past few days, however, Sparrow appears to have received the final nail in its coffin as it has been removed from both the Mac App Store and iOS App Store (via TechCrunch).

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