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Archive for December 2011

If you’re in the market for a new Smartphone, you’re probably comparing Apple iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy Nexus. But which one is better? Bellow you may find some information that I hope will help you to choose the right one.

Place these handsets next to each other and it immediately becomes obvious that much more thought has gone into the design and execution of iPhone 4S. This phone continues to be one of the very best offerings in terms of appearance and construction. Not only does it look beautiful, but it’s also made from premium materials like glass and steel – no plastic whatsoever.
Meanwhile, Galaxy Nexus is a typical Samsung phone, being made from plastic, and having this characteristic bump on the bottom of its back side. It is pretty light for its size, but this doesn’t make up for the fact that the handset doesn’t have a classy feel when held. Thankfully, it doesn’t feel cheap either. One of the most obvious differentiating factors in terms of design are the dimensions of Galaxy Nexus and iPhone 4S. Honestly, if you don’t like having to carry around a very large Smartphone, iPhone 4S will be the better option due to its significantly more compact body.

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on the Nexus is of course the livelier software experience thanks to such elements like Live Wallpapers and various 3D transitions and effects, whereas the experience on iPhone 4S’ iOS 5 is much more static and simplified in terms of visual presentation. Until now, Android has been struggling to offer a truly well-made user interface, but with ICS, we’re happy to report that the platform now looks very, very good. However, the differences in the way they operate have remained, with Android allowing the user to place various widgets, which deliver information right on the home screen, while with iOS users will still have to jump between apps in order to gain access to different kinds of info. Speaking of performance, both the Galaxy Nexus and iPhone 4S are exceptionally fast.

If you’re used to typing messages with one hand only, you won’t find any difference between the two smartphones. However, due to the larger screen of the Nexus, its landscape QWERTY keyboard is slightly more comfortable for typing out long emails.

iPhone has been the undisputed kind of mobile browsing ever since its launch due to its incredibly well-performing Safari browser. Android’s browser, on the other hand, has never been as smooth or accurate in its operation, but with Ice Cream Sandwich, it’s closer than ever.

What matters most is the actual picture quality, and in this respect, iPhone 4S is definitely the better choice. Images from its 8MP camera enjoy more details and better exposure, whereas the 5MP snapper of Galaxy Nexus tends to overexpose certain things at times. Color reproduction however, is slightly more natural on the Nexus, since iPhone 4S’ photos are a bit on the warmer side. Anyways, it’s safe to say that both handsets take good pictures outdoors; however, the situation with indoor shots is very different. While both devices record 1080p video, the one from Apple’s handset is noticeably better.

As a whole, in-call quality on the receiving end is better with Galaxy Nexus, as it manages to emit some decently-sounding and loud enough tones from its earpiece. On the other hand, iPhone 4S is very loud, but not as clear.

While battery life in stand-by is claimed to be equal on both phones, talk-time should be longer with iPhone 4S. Of course, this will vastly depend on your usage patterns.

Thanks to Google making one giant leap forward with Ice Cream Sandwich, the software experience on Galaxy Nexus can easily rival the one on iPhone 4S. Both handsets are extremely capable and very fast, which makes issuing final verdict a very hard thing to do. If you expect to hear which phone is better overall, – there isn’t a better phone. However, one of these is certainly better for Jerry, and the other will surely be better for Katy. What I mean is that it all boils down to your personal preference🙂

Kind Regards,
Lina Deveikyte
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

2011 was an explosive one for the mobile industry. The industry was rife with action, growth, progress, conflict, winners, and losers. We saw the birth of the Android tablet; the rebirth of the Android, iOS, and Windows Phone platforms; the death of webOS-based phones and tablets; the failed AT&T-T-Mobile merger; and all sorts of industry records for apps, downloads, sales, and much, much more.
Here are the five biggest stories of the year.

1. Android domination. Android’s success is unparalleled. It had zero market presence three years ago, and has since ousted every major platform to become the number-one Smartphone system sold. Google revealed its best work yet in Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, the newest version of Android. Right now, Android 4.0 is available only in the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, but that is sure to change in 2012. Android has seeped into all sorts of devices beyond phones, including media players, tablets, watches, and more. The year 2011 belonged to Android and 2012 probably will, too.

2. AT&T/T-Mobile merger. Whether you were for it or against it, AT&T failed to acquire T-Mobile USA. The acquisition plan was first revealed in March and played out all year long, step-by-step as the process unfolded. The deal was an attempt to consolidate the second- and fourth-largest U.S. wireless carriers into a single behemoth that would have wielded enormous market power. The Department of Justice and Federal Communications Commissions, after reviewing the deal for months, decided it was a bad idea.

3. Good tablets, bad tablets, ugly tablets. During this year electronics companies introduced 50 new tablets. Few of them were successful. The tablet field started the year crowded with hopefuls, but in the end, only a few struggled to remain. The stand-outs are the Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab, Apple iPad 2, Research In Motion PlayBook, and the HP TouchPad. The Apple iPad 2 is by far the dominant tablet player in the tablet space, selling in the tens of millions. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab is a distant second. The bad news is that RIM has nearly sunk its own ship attempting to sell the bombed PlayBook. Worse, HP killed off its TouchPad tablet after it had been in the market for barely a month. Steve Jobs was right about 2011: It’s the year of the iPad 2–at least as far as tablets are concerned.

4. Four-G fight. Mobile and wireless technologies have come a long way. Right now, the wireless network operators are racing to build out their fourth-generation mobile broadband networks. This strength of their respective 4G networks will play a major role in how each of the carriers moves through 2012. Beyond the networks themselves, some of the year’s most exciting and advanced devices included 4G in one form or another.

5. iPhone 5. I know there is no iPhone 5. As Google noted in this year’s Zeitgeist, the iPhone 5–something that doesn’t exist–was the sixth-most searched item on Google this year. “Consumers and analysts alike anticipated the release of Apple’s newest Smartphone many months prior to its arrival,” said Google. “Rumored features included a larger screen, edge-to-edge glass, an 8-megapixel camera, and extensive voice controls. Many believed the phone would be called the iPhone 5.” And yet it didn’t happen. Instead, we got the iPhone 4S, an iPhone 4 with a spec bump and a talking assistant.

Best Regards,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Twitter has begun to rollout a major redesign of its website, and has released updated versions of its iPhone and Android apps, as well as its TweetDeck client, which match the site’s new look.

Let’s have a look what changes are in the new Twitter app for iOS and Android:

1. Keep tabs on important topics with Discover
Perhaps the most obvious change, the new “Discover” tab is a revamped portal for hash tags and trending topics. Trending hash tags–which were initially created by users–and popular topics are now bundled together in a new tab that provides a snapshot of the hottest news on Twitter.
It looks like news-related trending topics are listed at the top, under “Stories,” while the more random trends are listed below. The Discover portal is also where you can do a general search on Twitter.

2. A little problem with saved searches…
Even though Twitter wants you to discover more, it removed the function to save searches on the go. This option was useful for users who wanted to keep tabs on any given topic without having to search for it each time. Now, the only way to save searches is in the Web interface.

3. Tug down to view more
Check out this hidden, but seriously useful new feature. If you’re replying to a tweet and want to reference that tweet while you’re typing your reply, just drag down and the original tweet will appear at the top.

4. Tweets & retweets
One of the most frustrating things about the previous Twitter app was the inability to see how many retweets you got on any given tweet. Now it’s easier than ever to see when people are retweeting you. You can see who’s mentioning, following, and retweeting you in real time.

5. Tweet forever
I mean, the Compose Tweet button, which stays in the top right of the app, no matter where you are. Twitter wants you to tweet without hesitation. So, if you’re browsing a trending topic in the Discover section and want to express your opinion, the compose button is at your immediate disposal.

The website design is currently being rolled out to all users, so you may have to wait a while to see the changes. The redesigned iPhone and Android are available right now.

Kind Regards,
Lina Deveikyte
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

We know that Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Both are real blockbusters, and we don’t need to find any reason why they can’t simultaneously thrive for years to come.

At the moment, with WebOS undergoing an open-source reboot and RIM’s next-generation BlackBerry OS apparently nowhere near completion, only one other phone platform has an immediate shot at being a contender: Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.5. It isn’t there yet. According to Gartner’s latest worldwide market-share numbers show Windows Phone capturing a piddling 1.5 percent of the market, behind five other rivals.
We came up with some factors to prove it:

Great software. Last year’s Windows Phone 7 was tantalizing but decidedly unfinished. Windows Phone 7.5 is just plain pleasing–utterly original, easy to figure out, and both efficient and fun to use. In terms of overall pleasantness, it’s iOS’s most serious rival. (Google’s Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is easily the best version of Android to date, but it still comes off as a nerdier, clunkier echo of iOS.)
Apps. Lots of them. iOS still has the most programs and the best programs. Android is giving Apple increasingly fierce competition. Both platforms have app selections that number in the hundreds of thousands.
And Windows Phone? Well, it certainly isn’t floundering. After a little over a year, it’s got 40,000 third-party apps to its name, which sounds like at least modest momentum to WPh users.

Of course, Windows Phone doesn’t just need lots of software; it needs the right software. So far, its roster of high-profile apps is spotty. It’s got Netflix and Spotify, for instance, but not Hulu and Pandora.
Support from carriers. Most Americans buy their phones from AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon Wireless. At the moment, AT&T has five Windows handsets, T-Mobile have two, and Sprint and Verizon have just one apiece. These companies don’t necessarily need to stock gazillions of models–hey, the iPhone is available only in one new version and two older ones–but they need to go out of their way to tell shoppers what Windows Phone is and why they might prefer it over an iPhone or an Android handset. Wireless merchants don’t have a fabulous track record, however, when it comes to handling products that require a bit of explanation.
Buzz. Windows Phone won’t surge unless people get excited over it. And one survey showed that Windows Phone 7 owners were happy, or at least happier than Android users. But with Windows Phone sales so meager to date, there simply aren’t enough consumers out there showing off their handsets to their buddies and raving about them.

We remain cautiously optimistic that Windows Phone will catch on. For one thing, Microsoft can afford to be patient with it–and the world’s leading software company really can’t afford to abandon the smartphone software market.
More important, Windows Phone 7.5 is a fine operating system that deserves to be successful. Sooner or later, good products usually do okay. If Windows Phone doesn’t, it might be a sign that the dynamics of the smartphone business aren’t going to let anything that isn’t iOS or Android do well anytime soon.

You could

Kind Regards,
Natalia Kononchuk
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Microsoft might have sold hundreds of millions of Windows 7 licenses, and Apple might be managing to persuade tens of millions of people to buy iOS-powered devices every quarter, but the real winner when it comes to operating systems in 2011 as been Android, Google’s mobile operating system.

Based on the Linux kernel, Android is a wildly successful platform. By November of this year some 200 million Android powered devices were in use. If that sounds impressive, consider that this number is growing by some 550,000 daily (or 3.85 million a week, 16.5 million a month). Also, last quarter Apple sold 17 million iPhones and 11 million iPads over the three month period.

Despite Google not charging handset makers a dime for Android, the mobile platform is a huge money spinner for the company. Android pulled in some $2.5 billion for Google during its last financial year (all from ads), and this number is set to double during this financial year. As the number of Android devices out in the wild increase (and the number of eyeballs looking at the ads increase), then this figure will keep on growing.

Then there are the 10 billion app downloads. That’s a staggering number, and at the equivalent point in the Apple App Store’s life cycle, it had only managed around half this number of download. What’s more impressive is realizing that Google only broke the 3 billion mark back in March of this year, so that’s 7 billion in around 8 months (it took Google 20 months to hit the billion download mark in July 2010).
There may be issues that Google need to address when it comes to Android, but we can’t allow this to take away from the successes achieved by the mobile platform. Apple might be grabbing the limelight with iOS and the iDevices it is installed on, but Android is the platform for the masses.
Android is, without a doubt, the most successful Linux distro out there. And it’s only going to go from strength to strength come 2012.

Reed more at

Kind Regards,
Natalia Kononchuk
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Entrepreneurs and small business are always looking for creative ways to accomplish more of their business goals for less money. One strategy that can help you save time, money and frustration when you start and build your business is to outsource as much work as possible to skilled, but cost-effective, external service providers.

Outsourcing success depends on how well you manage the process before and after the outsourcing contract is signed. Hope the following outsourcing tips will help you to achieve the results you desire.

Clearly define the scope and schedule for your project
Define your project requirements up front. Give vendors as much information as you can about what you need to be delivered and the way in which you need the work done. Also, be clear and realistic about your schedule requirements – project schedules can have a huge impact on project costs.

Evaluate a service provider like you’d hire a full-time employee
When you’re evaluating proposals from service providers, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Look for specific experience fit
Ideally, the service provider you select should have specific experience with the type of project that you’re undertaking.

Don’t choose a vendor based solely on price
Never select a vendor based solely on price. Experienced buyers who have outsourced many projects and evaluated hundreds of proposals almost always recommend discarding the highest-priced and lowest-priced bid.

Review portfolios and samples
Examine the vendor’s previous work and make sure that their previous work meets your expectations for quality and style.

Start small
When engaging with a service provider for the first time, start with a project that is relatively small and simple in scope. This will give you a better idea of the provider’s style and capabilities before you entrust a “mission critical” project to them.

Tie payment to clearly defined project milestones
Just as you should be clear about project scope, make sure that you define a work plan for your outsourced project with clearly defined milestones. A good guideline for IT and software development projects is to pay no more than 20% to 30% of the total project price up front, with the rest of the payments based on the completion of 3 or 4 milestones.

Negotiate ownership of work before
For any type of outsourced project, make sure that you are clear about who owns the resulting work product and any important components of that product. Make sure the service provider understands how you intend to use the deliverables that they provide.

Don’t forget about support after the project is complete
For technology projects, it’s a good idea to specify a warranty or support clause so that you are assured of some amount of continuing support from the vendor after the project is complete. It’s much easier to negotiate a support clause before the service provider begins work, rather than after the completion of the project.

Get it in writing
Make sure that you clearly communicate any schedule, scope or payment changes to your service provider and get confirmation from them – in writing – that they understand and agree to the changes. Similarly, keep a record of any agreement changes requested by the service provider and whether you accept or reject those modifications. Save copies of any email exchanges that you have.

Before you ramp up your outsourcing services, learn these outsourcing ABCs from Kevin Gregson, chief executive officer of Sherwood Solutions, a business advisory firm.

Alignment: Is outsourcing the right move for your business? Business case: Have you taken all costs into consideration? Culture: Can you bridge the cultural difference between your company and the outsourcer? Delivery: How will you define success?

It might take a bit of time to get right, but the benefits of outsourcing can be enormous.

Best Regards,
Kristina Kozlova
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Market research firm IDC predicts a large number of transactions and purchases in 2012. This is due to the fact that companies want to increase their presence in cloud computing, social networking and online content. Among other IDC predicted past Thursday that Microsoft would buy Netflix to give it a stronghold in online video entertainment and LinkedIn to get into social networking.

The same prediction for a Microsoft-Netflix deal was made last year, but chief analyst Frank Gens said it makes even more sense now, given Netflix’s diminished market value and expected losses next year from growing content licensing bills.
“In 2012, part of Microsoft’s challenge is to counter what Apple and Amazon have done and what Google is building up – a really strong media and content marketplace,” Gens said. By offering movies, music and other content, Apple, Amazon and Google are aiding their mobile device ecosystems, including tablets and smartphones.
“Without a media and content cloud, the competitiveness of Microsoft’s mobile platforms could be greatly diminished,” Gens predicted.

The research firm also predicts that major information technology providers will make big “statement-type acquisitions” in social technologies. They’ll do these deals to show customers that they understand that social tech will be a big part of IT’s next growth platform.
Microsoft is likely buying LinkedIn and then acquiring a company like Taleo to enhance the social recruiting capabilities of the service.

A LinkedIn acquisition makes a good deal of sense. As Facebook shows, social networking has begun to replace search as the Internet’s dominant technology, and puts its tentacles into every part of people’s lives. People increasingly use it not just to find friends, but to find information, reviews, entertainment and more – everything that search used to do. It would be a way for Microsoft to do an end-around Google search.

Kind Regards,
Lina Deveikyte
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

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