Latest Posts
Latest Technology, Samsung

Samsung Expands Galaxy Note 3 Line with New Color Accents

As part of its continued commitment to deliver innovative technologies along with premium design, Samsung Electronics announced new color editions of the Galaxy Note 3. The Galaxy Note 3, which launched in September, now comes …
Intel, Latest Technology

Android in China: An Undiscovered App Market?

A new report from Chinese search engine company Baidu this week revealed mobile trends with Android users in China. A few of the most intriguing stats:

  • There are now over 270 million active daily Android users in China
  • This reflects a 13% overall growth in Q3 2013, as compared to a 55% growth rate in the same quarter a  year ago
  • Most Android device sales (52%) come from users upgrading to new Android phones; 48% are users purchasing a smartphone for the very first time
  • A large part of Android growth (45%) is focused in rural areas and small cities
  • Android owners spend upwards of 150 minutes a day on their smartphones (this is an increase of 26 minutes from the previous year), checking their devices an average of 53 times a day)
  • 44% of Android users in China use Wi-Fi for their access to the Internet, especially for video. 31% get their information from 2G networks, and 23% use 3G.
  • App downloads for Chinese Android device owners are growing exponentially: the average user downloaded 10.5 apps per month in Q3 2013; the previous year, it was 8.2 apps monthly
  • 15% of Android users in China install at least one new app a day vs. 11% in Q3 2012
  • 59%  use app stores to download their apps, while 13% use online app searches and 21% use their PCs to sideload apps onto their Android devices

It’s worth pointing out that Chinese smartphone data is infamously difficult to obtain, mostly because a centralized app store (such as Google Play) does not work in the Chinese market and most Android devices don’t use Google services, therefore there is very little data for Google to work with. According to Chinese Android app store Wandoujia, more than 70 percent of Android smartphones in China do not offer Google Play services, which makes this data from Baidu quite valuable.  China and SE Asia are considered by most data measurement services to be the world’s largest smartphone markets; with over one billion Android devices being activated worldwide, the numbers coming out of  both China and SE Asia are mind-boggling when compared to global usage:

From January to September 2013, consumers from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines spent $10.8 billion on nearly 41.5 million smartphones, according to a new report from market research agency GfK Asia. Last year, they spent $7.54 billion on 25.8 million smartphones. – “Smartphone sales surge in SE Asia”,

However, since the road to app publishing and app stores is quite different than what most developers are used to,  it might be prudent to target third-party app distributors (such as the afore-mentioned Wandoujia).

Lost revenue?

The lack of a centralized app store in China is potentially damaging to developer revenues simply because of lack of access:

"Reports estimate that China’s game industry brought in $9.7 billion in revenue last year across all segments, and the figure could grow to $21.7 billion by 2017. However, a latest report released by Chinese Android app store Wandoujia – which monitors trends in China’s mobile market based on its downloads — notes that foreign games, even if they are popular in China, are losing out on potential revenue by linking up with Google’s billing system. Wandoujia estimates that more than 70 percent of Android smartphones in China lack Google Play services. This has led to Chinese users being unable to make in-app purchases when playing foreign games such as Clash of Clans, which use Google’s in-app billing system." -  “Foreign games in China lose potential revenue by using Google in app billing”, The Next Web

The sheer numbers of smartphone users – especially Android users – in China are enticing for developers looking to expand into new markets.  But it’s not just a matter of “getting in there”; there are many more factors that influence a successful app in the Chinese market as a recent article from Venture Beat  points out:

  • China’s feature phone market has dropped dramatically in the past 18 months, and 90%+ of those consumers are upgrading to entry-level Android smartphones. Since the capabilities of most Chinese smartphones still trail behind their EU/US counterparts, developers should expect to re-optimize their apps to run well on them.
  • China has several hundred Android app stores, many devoted to specific kinds of apps or users, while others hawk knock-off or hacked apps. However, just around 20 of all these app stores count as major players in the overall ecosystem. 
  • Many Western developers opt to work with a third-party company with a local presence in China and focus their distribution efforts only on China’s very largest app stores. 
  • For foreign developers operating without a local partner, it can be quite frustrating to contend with monetization, let alone the Chinese government’s 30% tax hit.

In addition, while developers are used to certain app publishing/development guidelines, in China, things are very different. For example, each app must not only be localized for language, but also customized for Chinese social media products and cloud services. Between Chinese publishers and the government, developers should expect a hit of at least 30% off the top of their revenues. There are many, many rules and regulations you’ll have to follow, and each app store has their own specific guidelines. And how about getting paid? has this to say on the subject:

“In many ways, China is still a cash-based society. This makes it difficult for developers to make money through app store purchases. In a similar way, Google Play is not easily accessible in China, which hampers Android app monetization. This means you’ll need to integrate the local online payment options that are popular, such as Alipay. You’ll also want to work directly with China’s three mobile carriers—China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile—because allow in-app payments directly billed on the consumer’s carrier payment plan. About 75% of app payment in China comes through direct carrier billing. International digital payments processor Fortumo has a relationship with all three carriers, which creates a doorway for Western developers.” – “7 things developers don’t know about the China mobile market but should”,

Before you decide that it sounds like too much trouble to get an app into the Chinese market, consider these recent stats from App Annie:

  • According to Niko Partners’ 2013 Chinese Mobile Games Market Report, in 2012 there were 192 million mobile gamers in China. This year there will be 288 million. In 2014 there will be 390 million.
  • Mobile gaming is the fastest growing segment of the entire Chinese games market.
  • Even in smaller cities where not everyone owns a phone, the ratio of phones to people is more than 125%.
  • Mobile app users are spending 40% more time on their devices playing games in 2013 than they did in 2012, and they visit their favorite games 41% more often than in 2012
  • The official App Store is the only legitimate point of entry for iOS games, but for Android there are so many options that it is difficult to know where to turn.

Have you made the move to the Chinese app market? What was your experience? Please share your knowledge here in the comments.

Apple, Latest Technology

TV Broadcaster Speeds Up Telenovela Production With Final Cut Pro X

Azteca — one of Mexico’s leading broadcasters — produces some of that country’s most popular soap operas, known as telenovelas. To help satisfy growing worldwide demand, Azteca recently rolled out a fast-paced, all-digital video workflow based on Apple’s Final Cut Pro X. Because of the large number of shows produced, editors ingest huge amounts of footage and must make fast turnarounds — and Final Cut Pro X makes the workflow quicker and more efficient. Encouraged by the rollout, Azteca is looking to take Final Cut Pro X beyond telenovela production and into other divisions. “We’re a really big corporation,” says Azteca’s Rubén Centineo. “So we’re looking to establish an all-digital workflow that other groups can use as well. And the products that Apple is offering today are the products we need to get there.”
Latest Technology, Logitech
Android, Latest Technology

The value of openness in Android security

If you use an Android phone or tablet, there are a lot of benefits that come from Android’s open nature--customization and choice are the most obvious. But an often overlooked benefit of openness is security: by developing in the open, anyone can check Android’s code to verify that it’s trustworthy or discover areas where it can be improved. Furthermore, the security community can even write code to make Android stronger and protect it against unrealized attacks.

Google has always worked closely with the security industry to make the products you use safer and more secure, and we wanted to highlight a few recent examples of that cooperation on Android:

  • Android, now part of the Google Patch Reward Program: That’s right, Google actually pays developers when they contribute security-related patches to popular open source projects, and Android is now a part of this program. As a user, this means that you have the broader security community looking out for you and preventing possible threats, before they are acted upon. 
  • Security improvements in Android 4.4, from the community: In Android 4.4, we reinforced the Android sandbox (which prevents applications from extending outside of their own area and damaging other parts of a device) by putting SELinux into enforcing mode, providing one of the strongest security systems available. The core of SELinux, as well as many of the Android specific extensions have been contributed by third-parties through open source, an example of real security improvements from the community you can use today. 
  • Pwn2Own Mobile, with Android: Android was a contributor to the bounty in this year’s PacSec Security conference, where teams of security researchers tried to exploit popular mobile devices. And while no exploit was found in Android on the Nexus devices provided, we were ready and waiting to create a patch in the event of an exploit! 
The Android team works very closely with the security research community at large to foster public discussions and implement improvements such as the ones above. This openness has helped make the Android phone or tablet you carry with you everyday much more secure.

Posted by Adrian Ludwig, Android Security Engineer
Google, Latest Technology

The State of Colorado Puts Innovation First

Posted by Kristin D. Russell, Secretary of Technology and State Chief Information Officer, Governor’s Office of Information Technology, State of Colorado

Editor's note: Colorado has enticed all sorts of pioneers since its Wild West beginnings. We’re excited to highlight a handful of these trailblazers - the intrepid entrepreneurs, aspiring micro-brewers and ambitious thought leaders - who have helped create the adventurous and innovative culture the Centennial State is known for. Today, we hear from Kristin D. Russell, Secretary of Technology and State Chief Information Officer for the State of Colorado’s Office of Information Technology.

The Colorado Governor’s Office of Information Technology (OIT) is leading an effort to transform government through the use of shared information technology services. As we shift from “business as usual” processes and tools towards innovative solutions that enable the efficient, effective, and elegant delivery of services, we look more and more to cloud-based services and solutions. In fact, we have published a “Cloud First” strategy for Colorado.

The move to Google Apps for Government in Colorado allowed us to replace our 15 siloed and disparate email systems, and the 50 servers supporting them, into a single, cloud-based solution. Now, not only do our more than 26,000 employees have a common email, calendar and collaboration system, they have the ability to work together on Google Docs, allowing teams to work together and share information across departments. This accessibility has also helped to enable a BYOD (bring your own device) program that lets employees work the way they want to work – even when they’re not sitting at their desks.

We are also taking advantage of Google Sites. Since Google Sites doesn’t require extensive web development skills, state agencies are now empowered to create helpful resources, both internally and externally, for a number of programs., for example, was built on Google Sites and provides information on the effects of second-hand smoke and resources on quitting smoking. When unprecedented flooding devasted many areas of Colorado in recent months, we built a Google Map to help organize recovery efforts and then set up the website to provide the latest updates and provide an interactive way to assist flood victims as they rebuild.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper often talks about the “three E’s” – making government more efficient, effective, and elegant. In Colorado we in the Governor’s Office of Information Technology are in the business of using innovative technology to accomplish just that.
Latest Technology, Misc. Mobile Phones

PlayStation 4 opening weekend sales hit 250K in the UK

Sony’s latest gaming console, the PlayStation 4 saw great reception in the UK. According to a report from The Telegraph, Sony managed to sell 250,000 units of PS4 in about 48 hours after the launch of the PS4 in Britain.

The PS4 sales resulted in revenues of $1.4 billion for Sony, which is far better than what the previous edition of the console had managed. The opening weekend sales of PS4 also surpassed the Xbox One sales by about 100K units.

In other gaming news, Steam announced that for the first time it has managed to hit over 7 million active users yesterday. According to the company, Dota 2 is the most popular game that accounts for 500,000 daily concurrent players. Other popular entertainers include Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Team Fortress 2 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

Source 1 | Source 2

Latest Technology, NVIDIA

SHIELD Experience Gets Better Still with Latest Software Update

shield-threequarterSHIELD, our revolutionary gaming portable, is the best way to play Android games. It lets gamers take their favorite PC games and play them on their couch. And it’s a multi-faceted entertainment device that can blast music from its built-in speakers or stream Netflix movies to its built-in 720p touch display. Mastering all these capabilities… Read More
Latest Technology
Gaming Technology, Latest Technology

PS Plus: GRID 2 Free for PS Plus Members

Hop in to the driver’s seat with GRID 2 on PS3, coming to you free for PS Plus members to kick off the month of December. In addition to GRID 2, you’ll also note the start of the PlayStation Store Holiday Sale! The first week brings in some of this year’s best titles including Ni No Kuni, Remember Me, and Terraria; all at really really good prices.
Latest Technology
Latest Technology, Lenovo

AMT on a Server? Really?

Lenovo ThinkServer TS440

Lenovo ThinkServer TS440

Guest blog by Ken Timmons, ThinkServer Technical Marketing Manager  -- Yes, really! In fact, Lenovo was the first server vendor to deliver entry-level servers with Intel’s Active Management Technology (AMT) for out-of-band server management – the ability to manage servers regardless of their state. This is the same management functionality found in laptops and desktops with Intel vPro technology, such as Lenovo ThinkPad products. We believe this is the perfect systems management technology for customers that have little or no IT staff available, are using managed service providers to manage their overall environment (including PCs), or that need to manage servers located in remote locations.

Principled Technologies, a technology assessment company, recently evaluated our ThinkServer TS440 tower server to see how effective AMT 9.0 was at supporting the tasks an IT administrator performs on a regular basis. Their conclusion? They found “… the Lenovo ThinkServer TS440 with Intel AMT 9.0 supported each of our eight use cases with ease.”  And, “Leveraging Intel AMT 9.0, the ThinkServer TS440 proved to be well suited for businesses with constrained budgets…” You can read the full report here.