platform Stories March 30, 2016

Skype launches ‘Bots’ feature & developer platform for Android app

As part of announcements at Microsoft’s Build 2016 conference today, Skype announced a new ‘Bots’ platform that it’s launching today in preview mode for developers and users in the Android app (as well as the iPhone, iPad and Windows apps).

platform Stories February 9, 2016

andy-rubin

Wired has an excellent profile on Andy Rubin and his latest ventures post-Google. As creator of the original Android operating system that Google would eventually acquire and later a long-time Google employee on various Internet efforts at the company, a lot of people are waiting to see what Rubin does next since leaving Google over a year ago. 

In 2013, Rubin discussed his restlessness with Larry Page, and—as Rubin recounts it—the two men agreed it was time for a change. That March, Rubin stepped down from Android… For a year, Rubin spun up Google’s new robotics division, but he quickly realized that Google’s goals, which reportedly involve creating humanoid assistants, would take a decade of basic research.

We already knew that Rubin’s new company, Playground Global, would provide support and hands-on engineering assistance to hardware tech startups it’s investing in, but Rubin elaborated on the company’s plans, including describing what he hopes will eventually become an open platform for all companies building AI into their products:

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platform Stories October 6, 2015

symphony

According to recent reports from both Re/code and The Wall Street Journal, Google is in the later stages of talks to invest in Symphony, a startup building a secure messaging platform. While the exact terms of the investment, including its value, have not been determined, WSJ’s report said that the deal will value Symphony at $650 million… expand full story

platform Stories June 24, 2015

Beleaguered media darling Medium, a platform for anyone to write and share stories amongst its large community, has finally released its Android app to Google Play. The app works on devices running 4.4 KitKat and above, and features all the Material Design goodness you’ve come to expect since Lollipop – so it wasn’t just a port of the company’s iOS app.

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platform Stories May 29, 2015

Google's Tango tablet

Google’s Tango tablet

Earlier this week, Google made its Project Tango tablet available to everyone via the Google Store for $512. While many expected this price drop and public availability to lead to a successor at Google I/O, the company kept quiet and didn’t address its Tango initiative. Nevertheless, Qualcomm this evening has taken the wraps off of its own Tango smartphone platform powered by the Snapdragon 810.

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platform Stories March 1, 2015

david-besbris

TechCrunch:

…confirmed with Google, that David Besbris [above] has left his role as the head of the company’s social and identity product. He has been replaced by Bradley Horowitz, a longtime VP of product for Google+.

Google Plus seems to be in tumult and it sounds like it is being dismantled for its good parts including Photos and Hangouts. Perhaps the feed will turn into a more Twitter-like product. Who knows at this point—we’ll likely get a roadmap at Google I/O in May.

As for new lead Bradley Horowitz, he never really left Google+ through Vic Gundotra’s departure and will probably oversee the split of the units which are said to have already been reduced by half.

Screenshot 2015-03-02 03.29.24

platform Stories April 24, 2014

20091110VicGundotra (1)

Earlier today longtime Senior Vice President of Engineering and head of Google+ Vic Gundotra made a surprise announcement that he was leaving the company. While there was no hint that anything at Google would be changing other than a possible promotion within the Google+ team to replace Gundotra, TechCrunch is out with a report claiming the executive shift will come alongside big changes for the Google+ service Gundotra helped create.

The report doesn’t offer much in the way of specific changes you can expect, but it does say that Google will be shifting the Google+ team under the Android team and “building “widgets, which take advantage of Google+ as a platform, rather than a focus on G+ as its own integral product.” It also says that Google will no longer require all products have Google+ integration: expand full story

platform Stories December 3, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 10.47.30 AM

As Google releases its newest platform version numbers for December we’re giving a warm welcome to Android 4.4 KitKat and its first appearance. Arriving on the board at 1.1%, it’s an impressive feat for Android’s newest software considering it’s still only on a handful of the devices it’s actually available for outside of the Nexus 5. When Ice Cream Sandwich debuted back in December of 2011, it was only at 0.6% at the end of January. Jelly Bean saw a similar result as it released in August of 2012 and made its debut at 0.8%.

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platform Stories September 19, 2013

Last time we checked in with Kamcord, the free SDK that allows developers to easily implement in-game recording functionality in their iOS games, it had just hit 1B videos recorded, announced a brand new user community, and picked up an additional $1M in funding. At the time the company told us it was planning Android support, and today Kamcord becomes the first major platform to make in-game recording available free to Android developers.

Kamcord is today starting to accept signups for its new Android beta through http://kamcord.com/android, and in the coming weeks will make the SDK available to download for anyone.

kamcord-ipad-01

Kamcord’s in-game UI for sharing recorded gameplay on iPad

We spoke with CEO Matt Zitzmann this week who told us all about the company’s plans to break into the Android world after having success on iOS. With next generation Xbox and PlayStation consoles bringing new in-game recording features to the mainstream, Kamcord has the opportunity to be the go-to solution for similar functionality in mobile games, and Android is a big piece of that puzzle. Zitzmann tells us that the company hopes the new Android SDK will help “to more easily drive adoption within Asia” where Android is thriving.

Kamcord’s biggest rival, Everyplay, is yet to introduce Android support for its similar platform, and today’s release of the Kamcord beta for Android could give the company a big jump on its competitor.

CEO of Djinnworks Robert Szeleney, a publisher with over 140 million app downloads across iOS and Android, is excited to bring the Kamcord platform to its Android titles: expand full story

platform Stories June 28, 2013

Research firm comScore is out today with its usual report covering U.S. smartphone subscriber market share for the three month period ending in May. Over the last three months Apple has gained in both categories including ‘top smartphone OEMs’ and ‘OS usage’, continuing its lead as the top smartphone manufacturer and growing its share of the market by platform.

The previous three month period had Apple at 38.9% of the market, making it the number #1 smartphone vendor in the US over second place Samsung. In May, Apple continues that lead by increasing its share 0.3 percentage points to 39.2% of the market. That’s significantly higher than the 23% Samsung grabbed despite growing 1.7 percentage points during the quarter. In a close race for third place is HTC with 8.7%, Motorola with 7.8%, and LG with 6.7%, all of which dropped less than a percentage point since last quarter.

When it comes to the market by OS usage, Android is still on top, growing 0.7 percentage points to 52.4% this quarter. Apple experienced slightly less growth at 0.3 percentage points to capture 39.2% of the market up from its 38.9% share last quarter. That means the majority of the growth, once again, comes at the expense of BlackBerry and Microsoft. expand full story

platform Stories May 14, 2013

BlackBerry-BBM-iOS

Although BlackBerry has been rumored to bring its BBM messaging platform to iOS and other devices before, today the company has made things official announcing at its event that support for both iOS and Android will be arriving in the coming months. The service, which BlackBerry says currently has about  60 million monthly active users, will come to devices running iOS 6 and Android 4.0 or above when it’s launched as a free app sometime this summer in the App Store and Google Play.

The company said that it would be bringing messaging and groups functionality to new platforms first but also has plans to introduce voice features, screen sharing, and its just announced “social engagement platform” dubbed ‘Channels’ in future releases. BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins said the company is “committed to making the BBM experience on other platforms as fully featured” as possible: expand full story

platform Stories April 12, 2013

Earlier today we told you that Facebook had updated its Messenger app for Android with the new “Chat Heads” feature from its Facebook Home platform. Today also marks the official launch of Facebook Home for the initial list of supported devices and now the app is finally live on Google Play and available to download.

Facebook Home is the mobile experience that puts your friends at the heart of your phone. From the moment you turn it on, you see a steady stream of friends’ posts and photos on your home screen. Upfront notifications and quick access to your essentials mean you’ll never miss a moment. And when you download Facebook Messenger, you can keep chatting with friends when you’re using other apps.

In addition to the new HTC First, Facebook Home is currently supported on the HTC One X, One X+, Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note II, and eventually the HTC One and the Galaxy S4.

You can learn more about Facebook Home from our coverage of the launch event here and check out a gallery of screenshots below: expand full story

platform Stories March 22, 2013

Im Watch (Android wristwatch 001)Update: The Korea Times reports that LG too is developing a smart watch and even testing products similar to Google Glass:

A source familiar with the matter told The Korea Times Friday that the Yeouido-based firm’s development of the next-generation watch, along with an innovative smart product similar to Internet giant Google’s Glass, was part of its long-term strategy to keep its competitiveness in the volatile information technology (IT) industry

While Apple and even Samsung have been at the heart of the rumors that new smart watch devices could be the products to keep an eye out for in 2013, Google too might try its hand at bringing a wearable computer in wristwatch form. According to a new report from The Financial Times, citing “a person briefed on the project,” Google’s Android unit is working on a smart watch platform of its own:

Google’s latest venture into wearable technology was more an attention-seeking gimmick than a serious new venture. But with the search giant ploughing significant resources into Google Glass, which embeds a screen, camera, microphone and other sensors into a pair of futuristic spectacles, it’s another indication that Google is serious about moving from the digital to the physical.

While Glass is being created in its X Lab, home to experimental “moonshot” projects such as the self-driving car, Google’s smart watch is being developed by its Android unit, according to a person briefed on the project

The fact that the device is reportedly being developed by Google’s Android unit, and not its experimental X Labs like Google Glass, could be an indication that Google plans to bring its watch product to the masses sooner rather than later. FT’s source also confirmed that the project is separate from the recently announced smart watch project from Samsung that is rumored to run a new operating system called AltiusOS and not Android.

Bloomberg reported in February that Apple had around 100 product designers working on its smart watch, and many analysts expected the product to be released by Apple as early as this year. Today’s report from FT doesn’t provide many details on what exactly Google has planned, but it’s a sign that Google isn’t betting on Glass as the be-all and end-all of wearable platforms. The report did note that Google is developing its smart watch “to act as an extension to the smartphones using” Android.

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