We're back for another episode of Android in the News - Week in Review. Our 18th weekly episode for April 17, 2015 kicks things off with new smartphones and an intriguing report from Microsoft. Here are the news stories for this week:
We'd also like to share that we upgraded our audio equipment, so sound quality has been improved. We haven't worked out all the kinks yet, but we are very happy with the initial results and once we iron out all the tweaking, the show will have a noticeable bump in quality. Thanks for watching and be sure to tune in next week for something special!
The latest team-up between Disney, Lucasfilm and Twitter might just have Star Wars fans scrambling for the phones to Tweet something. Twitter just released some new Star Wars emoji. For now, the emoji are only limited to a small few, but here's a quote with more of the details,
We've also included a couple of extra (off topic) Star Wars flavored goodies in the thread below. The first video is a new glimpse at the BB-8 (soccer-droid) from the new Star Wars movie. It turns out JJ Abrams' Tweet that he is actually a real practical effect and NOT CGI is true. We actually get to see him on stage at the Star Wars Celebration Con in Anaheim, and he is amazing!
The second video is a funny new meme which mixes the Matthew Mcconaughey Interstellar emotional reaction scene with the newest Star Wars trailer to dramatic and hilarious effect. Enjoy!
You might glance out your window and look for flying pigs and shivering devils... the unthinkable is occurring. Bing has actually continued to gain valuable search marketshare against the behemoth that is Google. Bing's U.S. search market share recently rose to over 20%. Specifically, Bing rose to 20.1% share of all desktop searches last month. This is an increase from the 18.6% share from last year.
In contrast, Google's search marketshare lowered from 67.5% in March 2014 to 64.4% in March 2015. There's even more to the story than just that, though. The dirty little (not so) secret of the search industry is that Yahoo continued their agreement with Microsoft to use the Bing search engine for their searches. This means that if you combine Yahoo and Bing proper, than the Bing search algorithms cover more than 30% of the total market.
Could Microsoft actually pull a "search engine" coup on Google in the coming few years? We can't say that stranger things have happened, but that would definitely be a bizarre turn-around...
Do you folks remember the massive Sony leak which occurred late last year? Hackers release over 30,000 internal documents from Sony's primary corporate database. It turns out some tenacious internet bloggers with a great deal of time on their hands poured through those documents and found some juicy intel, which wasn't yet revealed. What they found may confirm yesterday's rumor that Sony plans to release an all-metal design case and fingerprint power button sensor on their Xperia Z4.
As you can see from the image above (and several in the source link below)an unnamed Sony smartphone has an all-metal body and a conspicuously large power button. What do you think? Does this make you want to hold out for a Sony device later this year?
Samsung just released details regarding their new protection plans for the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. While Samsung doesn't offer up the same FREE protection plan that HTC does for their One M9, the plan Samsung offers does last longer.
The Samsung Protection Plus Mobile Elite plans are available for the Galaxy S6 for $99 dollars and the Galaxy S6 Edge for $129. What you get for your money is a two year warranty for your device, which starts on your first date of purchase.
This replacement warranty includes three repairs of cracked displays or liquid damage. This part of the warranty occurs after the first year and each broken device incident will require an additional $95 dollars. After three accidental damage incidents you will have to replace the device yourself at full cost.
The internet is awash in trolls who lurk in comment sections of blogs ready to jump down each other's throats to "debate" (and debase each other) over Android vs. iPhone. This latest news report coming out of Tulsa, Oklahoma may have just found the two "Idiot Kings" of this behavior.
Two roommates in the Evergreen Apartments were taken to the hospital after stabbing each other over an argument as to which mobile platform was better than the other. The altercation occurred at 1am on Friday morning and devolved into smashing beer bottles on each other and then stabbing each other repeatedly.
Both of the boneheads survived and were treated for their wounds. Police have not yet decided whether they will charge either mobile gladiator. Perhaps they were lucky there wasn't a third roommate who was a Windows Phone user... all three might have ended up with posthumous Darwin awards.
Let this be a lesson folks... it's fine to have a favorite technology, but there's room enough in this world to like multiple platforms, and arguments can obviously be taken way too far. Just remember, if we didn't have the competition between Apple, Google, Microsoft & others, then smartphones likely wouldn't have evolved so quickly and given us such amazing capabilities!
One of the first "big" problems with the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge has been reported. Owners of the Galaxy S6 Edge on Verizon and Sprint's support forums have shared they are having a screen auto-rotate issue. Apparently, for a small few users, the screen becomes stuck after a few hours of use. Supposedly, adjusting the rotate settings, rebooting the phone, and/or doing a factory reset doesn’t always fix the problem. This end up leaving these users stuck in portrait mode permanently.
So far there's no reply from Samsung, but they are more than likely looking into it aggressively. Theories on the cause of the problem range from a hardware issue with the accelerometer, to a software issue which keeps the device from registering the value properly.
Here's a slick bit of Off Topic news for folks who are fans of collectibles or just really like the Iron Man and Avenger movies from Marvel. Comicave Studios and Play Imaginative have developed a new Iron Man Hulkbuster Armor figurine. The "toy" sits at a full four feet tall, which is 1/4 scale of the Hulkbuster we see in the new Avengers: Age of Ultron movie which hits US theaters on May 1st.
We have two videos showing off the collectible. No details on pricing or availability have been revealed yet. The quality of this scale miniature is so good we expect it to sell for thousands of dollars. What do you guys think?
Here's an interesting bit of intel from Japan. Sony's next flagship smartphone, the Xperia Z4 will supposedly be feature a metal chassis and a fingerprint sensor built right into the power button. The all-metal body will be a big departure for Sony, considering they almost always use glass in their case design. The fingerprint sensor is obviously meant to "keep up with the Joneses" considering Apple, Samsung and others are doing it. The idea of putting it in the power button seems a bit odd, but potentially brilliant.
Of course, this is just a rumor, so chew some salt with this report. Let us know what you think of this intriguing news from Sony.
It looks like Samsung wasn't the only Android-focused company to sign a new licensing deal with Microsoft. Word came down this morning that Cyanogen has signed a partnership agreement with Microsoft and will soon bundle a number of products and services from the Redmond based company. These include Skype, OneDrive, OneNote, Outlook, Bing and Office Mobile, and several of these Microsoft apps and services will even come with native integration.
It looks like Microsoft is getting their "Eye of the Tiger" back. They needed to get hungry before they realized how to adapt and evolve in the new mobile generation of computing. Microsoft's CEO has refocused the company on what it has always been good at, providing great software and services. This new focus on getting Microsoft goods included on every platform imaginable is a brilliant move! What do you guys think?