News came a day before Google I/O, Google’s annual developer conference, that Blackberry will release versions of its popular Blackberry Messenger for Android (and iOS) this summer. For many Blackberry users, BBM was one of the main reasons, and perhaps the only reason, to remain loyal to the platform through lackluster devices, poor OS updates, and a shrinking market share being eaten away by Apple, Samsung, HTC and Motorola. Sensing this, industry pundits have been calling on Blackberry to finally port BBM to other devices for years. Now, it’s years too late.
At one point a few years ago, Nigel McGuinness was one of the greatest professional wrestlers in the world. But unless you were willing to expand your horizons beyond WWE, you probably didn’t know it.
Astute readers of this column know that I wholly dislike in-app purchases in mobile gaming. My thought is that the game itself should be the selling point, not simply a means to siphon more and more cash from end users. That said, I completely understand why the IAP model has thrived in the mobile marketplace. Selling a game without IAPs means you only get money from a customer once; give someone a reason to keep pumping money into the game and the opportunity to do so quickly and easily, and you may get them to essentially pay for the game three or four times. It’s the same logic that applies to casinos, minus the glitz, the shame and the endless supply of bottom-shelf cocktails. It therefore makes sense that more and more free games would include IAPs. (more…)
Yesterday we were all sad to learn of the passing of Sherman Hemsley, best known for playing George Jefferson on All In The Family and The Jeffersons. He’d already made his mark on Broadway in the musical Purlie by the time Norman Lear asked him to appear as the bigoted Archie Bunker’s cantankerous black neighbor, but in addition to his stage and screen successes, Hemsley was a fan of psychedelic and progressive rock.
I knew I liked him. (more…)
At their I/O developers’ conference last week, Google announced and unveiled the latest version of its Android OS, v4.1 – Jellybean, as expected. Of course, given I/O’s position as a developers’ conference, Google saw fit to get it into as many hands as possible right away. This way, apps can take advantage of the new features as soon as the OS is released to manufacturers and Nexus device owners in a few weeks, so an emulator image was included in the latest software development kit. And, as expect, hackers have taken that SDK image and have started porting it to phones, the Galaxy Nexus being the first one.
A developer preview of a new OS that isn’t 100% optimized for my phone? I’m in! (more…)
My wife and I like to go to Cape Cod at least once a summer, if we can. She grew up in Boston so, for her, riding with her family down to Wellfleet wasn’t much different than any of us who grew up in the NYC area going to Jones Beach, Coney Island, Long Branch or Asbury Park – it’s an opportunity to unwind and unplug from her stressful job as a social worker. For me, as technology has become more pervasive, the chance to unplug has gotten smaller and smaller, to the point that a friend of mine once e-mailed me while I was on vacation and opened with “If you’re checking your e-mail, and of course you are…” (more…)
It was an unseasonably mild day on Long Island when the death knell for unlimited data finally sounded. Dan Imperiale sat in my dining room eating breakfast, and I made my way to the Verizon store to pick up my Samsung Galaxy Nexus. It was the last of the three most anticipated 4G/LTE phones on Verizon’s network, the other two being Motorola’s Droid RAZR and the HTC Rezound. Sure, Verizon had released several LTE phones before then, but the Nexus, RAZR and Rezound were heavily hyped for months. The success of these three phones, as well as the Droid RAZR MAXX that came out a few months later, put a strain on Verizon’s 4G network infrastructure. For the most part, Verizon has done an acceptable job of responding to that strain. I haven’t noticed any dropouts on the scale of AT&T’s 3G network when the iPhone 3GS came out, for example. But, clearly, someone at Verizon has worries. Those worries were apparent when Verizon did away with unlimited data for new contracts last July, but those of us who were already on unlimited data plans were safe. Bonus: Upgrading to a 4G phone grandfathered us lucky folks into unlimited 4G data. (more…)