Operating Systems

Samsung Boosts Tizen

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TizenUnder increasing pressure from Android-based smartphone vendors, especially in China, Samsung is rumoured to be increasing its range of Tizen-based phones in an apparent attempt to take greater control of its platform.

Samsung was the only major smartphone vendor to experience declines in YoY shipments in Q1 2015, with IDC reporting a drop of 7%, from 88.5 to 82.4 million. This decline can be partly attributed to Apple, and the strength of its iPhone 6 launch and momentum, and partly to the plethora of Android-based phones from other vendors, in particular from China. These include Lenovo (now boosted by its acquisition of Motorola), Huawei and Xiaomi, as well as a growing number of strong regional players, such as India’s Micromax.

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Google I/O: More Android, Everywhere

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Google confirms its ambitions to put Android in just anything at this year's I/O conference-- not only smartphones and laptops, but also TVs (Android TV), wearables (Android Wear) and even cars (Android Auto).

Android I/OThe  keynote opened with a preview of the next generation of Android, version 5.0 or "L" (probably stands for "lollipop"). The updated smartphone OS gets an animated look the company calls "Material Design", as well as performance improvements, battery-saving measures, enhanced notifications and 64-bit support.

Google says Android users clock at over 1 billion.

Confirmed at the conference was the new Google take on TV space-- Android TV. First leaked last April, Android TV turns TVs into, well, an Android device. It shares the same API as mobile devices, runs apps from the Google Play store and features "Cast" capabilities just like the Chromecast dongle allowing users to mirror content from mobile devices to their TVs.

Google says Android TV will appear in Sony and Philips TVs, as well as streaming boxes from Razer and Asus.

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WWDC 2014: All About the OS Updates

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WWDC OpeningThe Apple Worldwide Developers' Conference (WWDC) has never been a hardware show, but rarely has it been so focused on operating system updates-- both OS X and iOS are getting new versions packed with tweaks and features later this year.

As these things tend to do we also got the latest Apple user numbers, from the Mac installed base (80 million) and the percentage currently using Mavericks (51%) to big iOS numbers (2013 saw 135m customers buying a first iDevice) and overall satisfaction totals (97%).

Opening proceeds before the traditional keynote was "Apps We Can't Live Without," a video celebrating the users' favourite apps and the developers behind them. After all, WWDC is a developers' event-- and registered Apple developer numbers now total 9 million, a 47% increase in 12 months.

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Google Tailors Android for Wearables

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Android already powers a number of smartwatches, but now Google announces a version of OS tailored specifically for such devices-- the perhaps self-explanatory Android Wear.

Android WearAs seen in a typically slick demo video, Android Wear pushes location-based data from smartphones to smartwatches together with the usual bevy of message and social network notifications. It features a Google Now-style UI users and allows natural language input via the "OK Google" prompt.

According to Google it also handles functions such as health tracking and connectivity with other devices, such as summoning a playlist from a mobile device or pushing a video to a TV, while being extremely power efficient.

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More Companies Join Tizen

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The Tizen Association gets 15 more Partner Program members, adding the support of mobile game publishers, operators, developers, mobile software vendors and telcos to the nascent operating system.

TizenLaunched back in November 2013, the Partner Program counts 36 members. Recent additions include AccuWeather, Baisu, CloudStreet, Gamevil, Sprint and ZTE, among others.

Tizen Association members can join relevant working groups and take part in association meetings to gain more access, insight and input into Tizen OS development.

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