The Starbucks app on Android has always been on the forefront of mobile payment and technology features, and this evening, the app has received an update making it even more useful for customers. Bumping the app to version 2.7, the update today adds a handful of new features, including the ability to pay tips digitally and shake your phone to pay.
Looks like HTC has gone on the defense with Apple and the announcement of the iPhone 6. As mentioned in a tweet by HTC, “Bigger screen. Better performance. Elegant design. Welcome to the party
#iPhone6.” The tweet showcases that simple message and a photo of the HTC One M8 next to a pixelated photo of Apple’s new iPhone 6.
Amazon seems to have finally accepted that access to Amazon Instant Video still isn’t going to make anyone want to buy a Fire Phone. As of today, Amazon Prime members in the U.S. can watch Instant Video on any Android device using the updated Amazon app.
Prime members in the US can stream unlimited Prime Instant Video from inside the Amazon app using the Prime Instant Video player, including HBO shows The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, Six Feet Under, and The Wire …
Is the Amazon Fire Phone simmering out? Recent estimates reached by The Guardian pegged the device at having sold less than 35,000 units and today Amazon and AT&T are bringing down the price to 99¢ on a two year contract less than two months after launch. The device was previously priced at $199 for 32GB with a two year commitment, which many observed was a rather high price point for a not-so-remarkable handset mostly differentiated by its 3D effect and Amazon Prime services… Read more
Hugo Barra (@hbarra) September 02, 2014
Chinese Android manufacturer Xiaomi may be trying to compete at the high end of Android devices with it’s iPhone-inspired Mi 3 handset and unsubtley-named Mi Pad, but it isn’t neglecting the low-end of the market. Its Redmi 1S just launched in India and, according to a tweet by former Google exec and now Xiaomi Global VP, sold 40,000 units in 4.2 seconds … Read more
If you want to learn what happened behind the scenes in the tumultuous world of Motorola in the past decade, Chicago Mag does an excellent in-depth feature of the company that is awaiting approval of its sale from Google to Lenovo. Some excellent bits:
Meanwhile, in arguably one of the worst decisions ever made by a major corporate CEO, Zander struck a deal with his Silicon Valley friend Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple. Together their companies created a Motorola iTunes phone, the first phone connected to Apple’s music store. “We can’t think of a more natural partnership than this one with Apple,” Zander said at the time. Named the Rokr, the phone launched in the fall of 2005. Jobs, who introduced it, called it “an iPod Shuffle right on your phone.”
Ouch, a Shuffle… Read more
Samsung has put together a blog post extolling the virtues of the metal frame, curved corners and finish of the handset it created to go head-to-head with Apple’s iPhone, the Galaxy Alpha. It follows an earlier post on the making of the phone.
The prose is best described as stilted, but the general idea is that every element of the design has a reason behind it. Metal, we are told, offers “thinness, style and a comfortable grip.” And just in case anyone should accuse them of copying the iPhone in switching from plastic to metal, Samsung is quick to point out it started making metal phones back in 2006 – a year before the first iPhone … Read more
“Know your competition, but don’t copy it.” Those words of wisdom come from the image above accompanying a message put on the entirely original – not a copy of Facebook – Google+ by Google executive chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt. Schmidt is promoting his new book with Jonathan Rosenberg called How Google Works due out next month where the billionaire lays out the principles that made Google what it is today.
Included with the lemonade stand image and ‘don’t copy’ caption is another Schmidt line on originality and competition. “Playing catch-up with the competition will never help you get ahead by creating something new,” Schmidt says. Google would be the “hard” boozy lemonade to the competitions’ fresh lemonade. In the case of Google Plus, the booze could be the hangouts or perhaps the photo editing features or integration with other Google products.
Now picture this tidbit from Walter Isaacson’s biography of the late Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs:
“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs said. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”
It’s hard to deny that Android started looking a lot more like iOS after the iPhone’s introduction, and iOS has clearly borrowed its fair share of features from Google’s mobile operating system, but there’s no denying that Schmidt’s message could be challenged. File this one with the rest under Talking Schmidt.
The popular transportation service Uber has quickly been growing this year with new features like adding your destination right on the smartphone app when requesting a ride and poaching long time Apple engineering manager Chris Blumenberg who managed the Maps team. The service is even integrated into the Google Maps app on iPhone and Android, and check out the Uber care package the company sends new employees.
Today Uber is taking a major step toward integrating its service into even more apps and services as it introduces an API for developers to use in their own apps and a list of partners already planning to take advantage of it.
As of today, we officially open—to all developers—access to many of the primitives that power Uber’s magical experience. Apps can pass a destination address to the Uber app, display pickup times, provide fare estimates, access trip history and more.
Last month Samsung ramped up the anti-Apple rhetoric with a new ad campaign that depicted iPhone users as “wall huggers,” constantly tethered to a power outlet due to the inferior battery in their non-Samsung smartphones. Today Cnet reports that the company has taken its campaign one step further by trolling real-life iPhone users at power outlets throughout major airports.
The new ads take the form of posters near power outlets that read, “Samsung Galaxy S5 with Ultra Power Saver Mode,” followed by a tagline that appears to poke at Apple’s own recent ad campaign: “So you have the power to be anywhere but here.” If you’d like to take a gander at the latest salvo in the ever-escalating flame war between Apple and Samsung, you’ll be able to do just that very soon at JFK, O’Hare, and Midway airports. Samsung says even more airports could be getting the ads if they’re successful in the first three.
Apple is currently planning to announce the iPhone 6 on September 9th, though rumors say it doesn’t look like the new model will provide much hope for the “wall huggers.”