Sunday 2 August 2015

Amazon, Flipkart, other players wary of going the ‘app only’ way

e commerce

Ever since online fashion retailer Myntra went ‘app only’ in May, there have been talks whether other e-commerce players, including its parent company Flipkart, would follow suit. However, major players in the market —SnapdealAmazon, Paytm and Flipkart — are currently wary of going ‘app only’.
While for consumers on-the-go, shopping through hand-held devices is a major benefit, the screen size of mobile phones and the app storage space acts as a negative. Also, going ‘app only’ ignores a particular segment of consumers who shop online, because of which companies are taking a cautious approach of not shutting their desktop version.
“We have not decided whether we should go app only or not. But we are thinking seriously about how to win on mobiles. M-commerce will be a huge focus area for us,” Mukesh Bansal, head of commerce at Flipkart, told FE.
Talking about Myntra, he said: “Initially the revenue dropped by 15% after we went app only, but recovered at a later stage.” Myntra had shut its website in May, and customers are now forced to shop through the app.
“The Indian internet market is still evolving and mobile internet is driving growth. As much as 50% of the $7-billion e-commerce business is coming through the mobile. However, this does not mean shutting a particular mode will benefit companies. There are consumers who still prefer to shop through desktop, compare prices online and prefer
a bigger screen. Also, it doesn’t cost much to run multiple platforms,” said Ankur Bisen, senior vice-president, retail and consumer products, Technopak.

At the same time, mobile internet is driving the growth of smartphone use. Yahoo’s Flurry Analytics reports that India’s app usage is growing at a rate of 131% year-on-year, outpacing global growth. As per the report, the phablet is the fastest-growing mobile device globally, with growth in India outpacing growth in the US. According to an IAMAI & KPMG Report, India On The Go: Mobile Internet Vision Report 2017, India is projected to have 236 million mobile internet users by 2016,with the number reaching 314 million by 2017.
As per information provided by ecommerce companies, currently, two-third of the transactions of major e-commerce players happen through app and mobiles. But keeping in mind customer choice and internet penetration in tier-II and III cities and rural areas, companies do not want to shut the desktop version yet.
“Snapdeal has seen robust traffic via m-commerce, with over 75% orders coming through the mobile platform. At the same time, our data shows that there are still many customers who use PCs to shop online. Our belief is that we need to be where users are and, therefore, we do not want to force our customers to use one specific medium to shop on Snapdeal,” said Anand Chandrasekaran, chief product officer, Snapdeal.
Paytm also believes that it would want customers to have a choice in terms of mode of shopping. “We don’t think we will go ‘app only’ for now. We believe that consumers should have a choice as to how they want to shop. Most of our spending would be on the brand, and it would be platform agnostic,” Shankar Nath, senior vice-president, told FE.


IBM to Purchase Up to 200,000 Macs Annually

IBM will soon buy 200,000 Macs for its employees

While iPad demands and sales keep on dropping, the same can't be said for Apple's much-adored Mac.
Amid the last quarter alone, Apple sold 4.7 million Macs. This point to 9% increase from the same quarter a year-back.
Also, now comes the word that Apple's Mac may get a little help from IBM to buy 200,000 Macs every year for its employees.
This news of IBM's new Mac activity comes by the means of video. The video shows the IBM CIO Jeff Smith telling about the conversation he had with the Apple CIO Niall O’Connor.
The various transcripts of the video shows Jeff Smith asking Nial about their largest customer and in response Apple’s CIO indirectly refers to him by saying “Well, that customer has got about 25,000 MacBooks a year.”
In the response Jem Smith proposes the idea of selling around 200,000 MacBooks to IBM per year for all employees.
Apple’s CIO seems excited and responds in a positive way by setting a meeting with the team for next week.
Apart from this video, in a separate video Smith also details the discussion between Tim Cook and IBM Vice President Fletcher Previn.
In this video, Previn showed the activity could see 50–75 percent of IBM workers switching over to Macs from the Lenovo ThinkPads.
While nothing is confirmed now. The partnership is expected to perform wonders in tech world.

Cognizant, Infosys and others may set up call centres for healthcare, insurance services


 You may soon expect call centre services even from healthcare providers. Many metros as well as tier II and III cities like Gurgaon, Bangalore, Nagpur, Nasik and Pune are now attracting business process outsourcing (BPO) firms focused on healthcare. These firms promise to offer a variety of innovations such as reminder calls to patients for consultations, help in fixing up appointments, and even complicated tasks like dealing with insurance firms for claim processing. For instance, if a patient with an insurance policy gets treated at a certain hospital which has a tie up with such a BPO, then the patient's insurance claim payments and paperwork will be managed by the BPO which will coordinate with all three parties. "The healthcare space has been an aspirational space for a very long time for many service providers. However, they have looked at it with a very narrow lens of pure offshoring. What Antworks is doing is looking at being an end to end se ..

Android devices security problems: At risk of hacks through text messages

It used to be that a text message is a way to communicate with people, but now it appears that it can carry malicious files that can hack somebody's phone.
A mobile security team has uncovered a major flaw in Android phones, putting 95% of users and millions and millions of gadgets at risk of hack attacks.
The bug, called "Stagefright" from Android's media library, is dubbed as the popular mobile operating system's (OS) worst security flaw discovered ever, Fortune reported.
The bug, which affects Android phones running on version 2.2 and onwards, was announced last July 21 by Zimperium, a mobile security company, during the annual BlackHat conference.
The malicious program that would attack Android is embedded in a short video, which will be sent to a person through a text message, according to a report from NPR.
As soon as the receiver gets the infected text, Stagefright features prepare the video for viewing.
But apparently, as the program processes the video, that would be the time that hackers take the opportunity to take control over the phone, hijacking it and stealing data.
The worst part is that the user won't even know that a hack attack has already happened.
According to Zimperium Vice President of Research and Exploitation Joshua Drake, the attacker can even delete the infected message before the victim notices.
"These vulnerabilities are extremely dangerous because they do not require that the victim take any action to be exploited," Drake stated in the company's blog post.
In a blog post from Twilio, there were tips that can lessen the risk of being vulnerable and these commonly point to disabling the automatic download of files sent through Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS).
However, doing the abovementioned step will only "partially" solve the problem. Android devices remain vulnerable to attacks as long as the bug exists. The complete solution will only come from a patch intended for the device.
According to CNET, Zimperium told National Public Radio that hackers have not taken advantage of the Android flaw so far.
Nevertheless, disabling the auto-download or auto-retrieve features should help in the meantime.

Nvidia Releases Android 5.1.1 OTA Lollipop For Shield Tablet But Recalls Some Tablets To Avoid Battery Fire Hazard

Nvidia Shield Tablet

Nividia has rolled out the Android 5.1.1 Lollipop for Shield Tablet users. However, at the same time, the company has recalled certain Shield Tablet devices in order to prevent a possible battery fire hazard.
According to CNET, Nvidia is recalling all the Tablet Shield devices featuring Y01 type batteries that were purchased between July 2014 and July 2015. The reason is that the battery of the device, which is known to overheat quickly, can cause a fire hazard.
In the U.S., Nvidia has recalled 83,000 sold tablets and in Canada, it has recalled 5,000 sold units. Nvidia has decided on the recall when it received four complaints that batteries were overheating. The company has alerted its customers not to use recalled tablets. Users have also been advised to back up their data and fill out an online form to get a replacement unit.
To find out whether a Shield Tablet is susceptible to fire hazard, users are must navigate to Settings > About Tablet > Status to see the model number of the battery. Nvidia is recalling all Shield Tablet devices that feature Y01 batteries, but the ones with B01 batteries are not recalled.
While users of affected models are required to file a replacement, owners of unaffected units can go ahead and install the latest Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update. The new firmware brings the Software Upgrade 3.1 for the Shield Tablet users.
According to Android Central, the 5.1.1 OTA Lollipop update not only brings its new features and performance enhancements but also brings a fix for an ongoing screeching audio issue while starting certain games. The size of the update is 767 MB. Users are recommended to use a Wi-Fi connection to install the OTA update. In order to successfully install the new build, the device should have at least 50 percent of battery power.
The news about Android 5.1.1 Lollipop had first begun in April this year. At that time, the update was expected to arrive within few weeks. However, it has been made available now. Since it is being rolled out in phases, it would take more time for all users to receive the update.

Google Opens Beta Testing Capabilities For Android

Open and closed beta testing now offered in the Google Play Developer Console
Google is expanding how app developers can test their apps among Android users.
Google launched app alpha and beta testing through the Google Play Developer Console out of its Google I/O conference in 2013. Developers could ship alpha and beta tests to employees and select users through Google+ Communities and Google Groups. At the time, Google also announced staged rollouts for testing, allowing users to test different versions of an app and provide feedback directly to the programmers.
This week Google announced that it is extending the functionality of its beta testing capabilities for Android in the Google Play Developer Console. The ability to perform closed beta tests with Google+ and Groups will remain and Google is adding two new features:
  • Open beta testing: Any user that has the link will be able to join a beta test group with one click. This allows developers to roll out betas on a larger scale to lots of testers around the world. Developers will be able to set a maximum number of testers in open beta groups.
  • Closed beta testing with an email address: Restrict which users can access the beta testing by sending the app version via email. Users can be added individually or in a group through a .csv file.
Google beta practices with Android have been well ahead of Apple’s with iOS. Apple acquired beta testing management platform TestFlight (through a broader acquisition of a company called Burstly) in early 2014. TestFlight capability from Apple came as part of iOS 8 and Apple later closed TestFlight itself to restrict it to just iOS apps built and shipped through iTunes Connect.
Google has had various forms of beta testing functionality for Android developers since 2013. Google also does not let users of beta versions of apps or early versions of new Android builds (such as the forthcoming Android M) leave public reviews of an app. Rather, beta testers send their feedback straight to the developer instead of as a comment in the Google Play store.

Taylor Swift's intimacy and infectious pop anthems wow fans at BC Place

Taylor Swift's intimacy and infectious pop anthems wow fans at BC Place

Downtown was flooded with cheerleaders Saturday evening as roughly 45,000 Taylor Swift fans flocked to BC Place to catch the Vancouver leg of her 1989 Tour.
The cheerleader is the perfect symbol for the 25-year-old country turned pop star who is as well known for her enthusiasm as she is for her commanding stage presence. She's not the kind of popstar who wallows, preferring instead to turn heartbreak and hardship into infectious pop anthems with just enough repetition to stick in the brain of even the most casual listener.
Rather than the hint of danger pop stars like Justin Bieber have tried to cultivate, the heart of Swift's carefully constructed public persona is the contradiction between refinement and that enthusiastic kid who shows a bit of an overbite when she smiles. Even down to the videos that came before the show Saturday night, the heart of Swift's image seems to be the beautiful popular girl who is a nerd at heart.
This double persona allows her to construct an intimacy with an audience that seems to be very much in the same place.
But how does that intimacy translate to a stadium show that takes 10 busses to set up and attracts a crowd of 50,000? Pretty well, as it happens.
Surrounded by a troupe of good looking male dancers, she started the evening on a theatrical note with Welcome to New York before sliding into the new wave tinged New Romantics.
The light from the open roof of BC Place worked against the light show early on. But that worked itself out around the third song--a massive re orchestrated I Knew You Were Trouble that got just a little Magic Mike (in the best way possible), though it stayed on the safe side of PG. Swift is herself not a particularly strong dancer, but that awkwardness is part of what makes her presence so endearing.
Pop stars often bring their personal narrative on stage, but Swift takes it to another level. Amidst theatrical pop set pieces, things got personal with an interviews with her best girlfriends who happen to be wildly famous people like Lena Dunham and model Jaime King and rock band Haim.
Not only does her move to New York provide the narrative thread for the show, but over and over she addressed the audience as if they were old friends just catching up after a two year absence.
"We live in different parts of the world, but with Twitter and Instagram I can keep up with you... ," she told the massive crowd. "The things that make me feel the most connected to you are when you just talk about what's going on in your life."
Then she laid down some relationship advice and everyone loved it. That's just the kind of friendship she has with her fans.
The trick, of course, was to work her older stuff into her newest narrative. This meant bringing a gothy 80s keyboard into Love Story from her first album, Fearless (2009).
Throughout the evening, she was hinting at a surprise which made the stage near the end. Contrary to expectations that she might bring back her friends Tegan and Sara, in the end, Norwegian hip hop duo Nico and Vinz appeared, joining Swift for a very bouncy rendition of their 2013 single Am I Wrong? off their album Envy.
Though the show was not short in spectacle, the sound had some rough stops, particularly in Out of the Woods. But Swift made up for it with the explosive finale of Shake it Off, appearing not as a cheerleader after all, but in a green faux-grass skirt and matching halter, proving that you don't need a uniform to spread cheer.

Microsoft Arrow Launcher for Android Beta APK Hands-On Preview: Clean and Simple, but Still Missing Some Vital Features


Microsoft's new cross-platform mobile strategy continues after the official release of Windows 10 with a new Android launcher called Arrow.
Last week on Tap That App, we took a tour of Cortana for Android, which was leaked a few weeks ago when Microsoft began beta testing its AI assistant for the world's largest mobile operating system. Well, another week, another (leaked) Microsoft beta for Android: Here's everything the Arrow Android launcher features so far, and everything it doesn't.

The Basics

"Basic" is the keyword for Arrow launcher, as Microsoft has obviously tried to find ways of simplifying the sometimes overly-complicated Android ecosystem into just three screens.

The three home pages each have a specific category and function assigned to them, which definitely makes for fast navigation, though many will immediately feel that this takes away a good amount of the rich functionality of Android Lollipop.


First is the Apps page, which is the second (middle) pane of Arrow launcher. Rather than allow users to pin apps all over the screen, Arrow takes a automatic, contextual approach to organization, putting four of the most "Recent" apps at the very top and filling the rest of the home screen with "Frequent" apps.
This understandably will take a little time for the launcher to tweak, but even considering it was a beta, I was disappointed that none of the Recent or Frequent apps were used recently (or frequently) at launch. Nevertheless, given enough time to get your usage patterns down, the most important apps will always be at the front and center of your Android experience, automatically.
And Microsoft understood there might be some apps users absolutely wanted to pin, so they included a double-sized navigation bar (just swipe up to see the extra slots) to cram in a few choice favorites below the usual Android-looking bottom row. Under that extra row, you'll also find another row with your five most recent contacts for good measure.

(Photo : Robert Schoon)
This swipe-up quick-panel is also where Microsoft hid Arrow's settings button, which was unintuitive and took a while to find. When I did find it, there was little to customize other than the wallpaper, but it did helpfully include a menu link directly to Android's default launcher setting, making it easy to switch back from Arrow to plain Android.


Second, there's a People page placed where the Google Now launcher puts its pane -- just one left swipe from home. Similar to the organization of the Apps page, you'll see only your most-used contacts along with the most recent up top.
Tap on the phone icon to immediately connect, or click the contact for other available options like email and texting. You can also access the Phone app from the top right dialer icon, and the hamburger menu next to it opens your Contacts app.

Notes and Reminders

Finally, there's the best idea (but worst-implemented, so far) of Microsoft's Arrow launcher in the third pane, which is one swipe to the right of your home page: "Notes and Reminders."
There you'll have one input field up top and a list of reminders, with or without alarms clearly displayed. Each automatically has a checkbox that also works to dismiss the reminder to "Completed" at the bottom, so you can get that singular satisfaction after you finish a task.
But this section doesn't have a voice-input button, as Google Now has with its "add a reminder" page, which slows down the process of adding tasks to the third page. In addition, Google keyboard's word selection feature was missing while Arrow was running, making adding a correctly-spelled task to your list all the more arduous.

(Photo : Robert Schoon)
But that's probably just a beta bug that will hopefully be squashed.
After testing Cortana for Android, it's interesting to see the Notes and Reminders pane on the Arrow launcher -- especially how basic the feature is. It makes you wonder if there will ever be any interaction between this pane of Arrow and the Cortana app, or if Microsoft's cross-platform enthusiasm ends right at the point where it could actually replace key functions on Android provided by Google Now.
From any of the three Arrow home panes, you can access all of your apps using the traditional Apps button in the middle of the navigation bar down at the bottom. It's nice to see Microsoft keeping this essential part of Android (it's kind of like Android's "Start Button" isn't it?), but Arrow enhances it with vertical organization and an alphabetical quick-scroll on the right-hand side.

Tap That App?

That's a welcome bit of simple organization, and I think the concept of Frequent and Recent apps and contacts will work for many as a way of taming Android. For example, using this launcher would probably help convince a basic iPhone user to switch to Android.
But for those used to widgets (there are none), more custom app-pinning spaces (only five), or most importantly, the Google search bar (fat chance!), Arrow will probably be a nice curiosity that's not worth investing too much time into.
That is, unless Microsoft can manage to glean the data it needs for an instant setup to recent and frequent apps, the way it does with Contacts. In that case, Arrow could find its place even with advanced Android users the go-to "Simple" launcher for day-to-day or on-the-go, especially if inputting notes and reminders gets easier after beta.
Arrow Launcher for Android is currently in closed beta, but you can request an invite through Arrow'sGoogle+ community page.

This Chinese giant just surpassed Microsoft

The U.S. company is no longer the third-largest phone maker.

Huawei is now the third-largest mobile phone maker in the world, beating out Microsoft  MSFT -0.38%  for the number of items shipped in the second quarter of 2015, according to Strategy Analytics.
Engadget reported Friday that Huawei shipped over 30 million phones during the year’s second quarter, which is roughly a 50% increase from the same period in 2014. Microsoft, meanwhile, sold 27.8 million phones worldwide in the quarter.
According to the publication, Huawei now has a 7% global market share, which trails Apple’s  AAPL -0.67%  10%, and Samsung’s 20%.

“Huawei is rising fast in all regions of the world, particularly China where its 4G models, such as the Mate7, are proving wildly popular,” Ken Hyers, director at Strategy Analytics, told Engadget.
Neil Mawston, the executive director at Strategy Analytics, added that “Microsoft’s 6 percent global mobile phone marketshare is sitting near an all-time low.”

Microsoft reveals some unexpected plans for Windows 10

Satya Nadella Microsoft
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
In its annual corporate report to the SEC, Microsoft laid out its unexpected plans for how it expects Windows 10 to drive the company's growth.
"Our ambition for Windows 10 is to broaden our economic opportunity through three key levers: an original equipment manufacturer ('OEM') ecosystem that creates exciting new hardware designs for Windows 10; our own commitment to the health and profitability of our first-party premium device portfolio; and monetization opportunities such as services, subscriptions, gaming, and search," reads the report.
The first two points are somewhat contradictory, and show Microsoft hedging its bets a little.
The big question for Microsoft around the Windows 10 release cycle is whether or not the operating system is still relevant amid a shrinking PC market.
If it's looking for "exciting new hardware designs" from OEMs (industry-speak for hardware manufacturers like HP and Dell), Microsoft is signalling that it sees Windows 10 as moving beyond the desktop, into smartphones, tablets, and whatever else.
A man is silhouetted against a video screen with the Microsoft logo in the background as he poses with a Nokia Lumia 820 smartphone in this photo illustration taken in the central Bosnian town of Zenica September 3, 2013. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic
Thomson Reuters
The Microsoft Lumia 820
Meanwhile, the second point seems to indicate some degree of Apple envy. The Microsoft Surface tablet product line has become successful, with big revenue growth reported this last quarter. And Microsoft insists that the Lumia line of flagship Windows Phones isn't done yet, despite the fact that it's got very low low market share.
It's also worth noting that the Xbox One video games console is expected to get an update to Windows 10 that would turn it into a similar flagship device: A combination desktop computer-slash-lean, mean, games machine, at a budget price of $349.
But the last point - "monetization opportunities such as services, subscriptions, gaming, and search" - is equally crucial.
Microsoft sees Windows 10 as being the impetus for customers to open their wallets for subscription services like Microsoft Office 365 or Xbox Live, that then also work on iPhones and Androids, too.
The goal is to win more cash from every customer by providing useful services, no matter what device they're on, with Windows 10 being the preferred way to access them.
The Microsoft of the future is looking like one that doesn't care about the PC market as much as getting Windows and a bunch of its other services on as many devices as it can.

Mozilla lashes out at Microsoft, says Windows 10 deters user choice


Mozilla, the company behind the web browser Firefox, is accusing Microsoft of discouraging users from changing default applications in Windows 10. Microsoft's latest operating system, released this week, changed the way to set preferred applications for Internet browsing, calendar and other apps. Now a user has to work through more options and pages to make basic changes.

The move drove Mozilla CEO Chris Beard to pen an open letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, urging the company to respect user choice.
"It now takes more than twice the number of mouse clicks, scrolling through content and some technical sophistication for people to reassert the choices they had previously made in earlier versions of Windows," he said in the letter. "It's confusing, hard to navigate and easy to get lost."
Microsoft released a statement of its own, asserting that they give users ample chances to set their preferences.
"During the upgrade, consumers have the choice to set defaults, including for web browsing. Following the upgrade, they can easily choose the default browser of their choice,” the company told Mashable in an emailed statement.
But a Mozilla video tutorial underscores how much harder it is to change preferred apps.

In previous versions of Windows (and currently in Mac OS X), it asks if you want to set it as default the first time you use a browser different from the built-in one. All you have to do is click yes, and the change is made.
But now, if you click yes, you’re taken to a settings page where you’ll have to manually designate a different browser as default.
Microsoft has tremendous incentive to prevent users from using third party apps. The company's new Edge browser launched alongside Windows 10. The company also now leans on its own apps and services more than ever, going so far as putting them on competing platforms like iOS and Android too. If people don't use and depend on Microsoft services on Windows, they might leave for other apps or platforms.
Mozilla isn’t your usual tech company; it's a nonprofit which promotes free open-source programs on the web.
"Mozilla exists to bring choice, control and opportunity to everyone. We build Firefox and our other products for this reason," said Beard in the open letter.