Apple Updates App Store, Hopes to Combat Antitrust Claims

Apple is hoping that its new App Store website will help curb accusations regarding antitrust and anti-competition practices. Ahead of next week’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, California, the company launched a new App Store site with details about how apps are carefully reviewed and curated, and the different business models that are available to app developers. “We created the App Store with two goals in mind: that it be a safe and trusted place for customers to discover and download apps, and a great business opportunity for all developers,” the company detailed on the site. Continue reading Apple Updates App Store, Hopes to Combat Antitrust Claims

Amazon, Microsoft Introduce Integration of Alexa and Cortana

Amazon and Microsoft gave a public demonstration of the integration of Alexa and Cortana into all Echo speakers and to all Windows 10 users. That means that a user can ask Windows 10’s Cortana to open Alexa, and ask Alexa on Echo speakers to open Cortana. This integration is now available to most users but will completely roll out around the country over the next week, said a Microsoft spokesperson. Some features, such as streaming music, audiobooks and news flashes will not be available at launch. Continue reading Amazon, Microsoft Introduce Integration of Alexa and Cortana

LinkedIn Unveils Language Translation Tool and QR Codes

LinkedIn is introducing two new features: the ability to use QR codes for quickly sharing profiles and contact details, and a “See Translation” button that will translate posts into different languages. Currently available for iOS and Android, the QR codes offer users a quick option for accessing someone’s profile or sharing their own code via messaging apps, email, websites or printed materials such as business cards, conference badges and company brochures. The translation tool, available for more than 60 languages, is offered through LinkedIn’s desktop and mobile web versions (and soon via iOS and Android). Continue reading LinkedIn Unveils Language Translation Tool and QR Codes

Microsoft, Harman Kardon Debut New Speaker With Cortana

Microsoft and Samsung Electronics’ Harman Kardon division have married digital assistant Cortana with the Invoke speaker to create a new voice-enabled device priced at $199. The smart speaker, the first for Microsoft, comes three years after Amazon launched Echo, the first product to pioneer a now-burgeoning space. The Invoke has a similar form factor to Amazon’s original Echo, and can play music, answer questions about sports scores and perform other tasks typical of digital assistant-powered speakers. Continue reading Microsoft, Harman Kardon Debut New Speaker With Cortana

New Google App “Inbox” Serves as Personal Gmail Assistant

Google’s Gmail team launched a new app called Inbox to help users manage their email. Inbox sorts your mail as an assistant might by categorizing incoming messages into Bundles. While this may not be a new concept, the Highlights feature is compelling. Highlights will pull the important information from a message and push it to the top (for example, flight times in a confirmation email from an airline). It even has the ability to update that information (think gate changes or delays). Continue reading New Google App “Inbox” Serves as Personal Gmail Assistant

Microsoft Makes Opera Default Browser on Android Handset

Microsoft has unveiled its first Android smartphone, the mid-range Nokia X2 Dual SIM, and has made Opera the handset’s default Web browser. The $135 Linux-based device features a 4.3-inch WVGA display, 5-megapixel camera (with LED flash and autofocus), 1GB of RAM and a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor. With a tiles-based home screen similar to Windows Phone, the X2 comes with preloaded services such as Skype, Outlook, OneDrive, HERE Maps and the ad-free MixRadio. Continue reading Microsoft Makes Opera Default Browser on Android Handset

Nokia to Release its First Windows-Based Tablet This Week

Nokia will offer its first Windows-based tablet, the Lumia 2520, for as little as $199 through AT&T in the U.S. starting November 22. Verizon also plans to carry the new tablet, but has yet to announce a launch date. The tablet is equipped with a 10.1-inch HD screen and LTE technology. Nokia opted for Windows RT rather than the full version of Windows 8.1 to boost battery life and keep the device thinner. So far, however, Windows RT tablets have been a tough sell for some companies. Continue reading Nokia to Release its First Windows-Based Tablet This Week

BlackBerry Calls Off Company Sale, CEO Heins to Step Down

BlackBerry announced yesterday that it will abandon a sale of the company, following two months of talks with potential buyers including Facebook, Lenovo and private equity firms. Instead, the struggling smartphone maker plans to raise $1 billion by issuing convertible notes to long-term investors including Fairfax Financial Holdings, the company’s largest shareholder. Additionally, BlackBerry said CEO Thorsten Heins will step down. The news resulted in a 16 percent drop in share price. Continue reading BlackBerry Calls Off Company Sale, CEO Heins to Step Down