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Posts Tagged ‘AT&T

For many Android owners, the 4.4.3 update has yet to hit (though it is slowly rolling out — when you will receive the update will depend upon your carrier and device). Although the new feature list isn’t epic in length, what it brings to the table will have a lot of users happy… quite happy, actually. This is especially so for users who frequently snap photos with their device and/or record audio.

Aesthetics get little in the way of an upgrade. There is a slight tweak to the Dialer app, but that’s the only change to the UI you’ll readily notice.

The short list of major changes looks something like this:

  • A tweaked Dialer app with a colored Action bar (this is the UI change)
  • Contact app (sometimes called People) uses placeholder images, similar to those used by Gmail
  • Fixed hissing sound while recording videos (Nexus 5) is fixed
  • Fix for LTE connection dropping bug
  • Wi-Fi improvements
  • Microphone and earphone related changes

There are also a lot of other under-the-hood camera, Bluetooth, and other system-related bug fixes.

The cameras (especially those on Motorola devices) will see numerous improvements. Exposure consistency and flash coloring are dramatically improved. A big change for photo enthusiasts is better low-light handling for the front camera.

Speaking of Motorola devices, Moto X and Moto G owners will find a new app called Motorola Alert. This app will send out periodic messages to select contacts.

Probably the biggest upside to this update is the improvements to security, overall stability, and power profile features. One major update is an optimization to ZRAM support. This allows idle background apps to store data in a compressed RAM partition to free up RAM for applications. There’s also a low-RAM API that improves performance on devices with as little as 512 MB of RAM (by using more aggressive memory management). Finally, an experimental Java runtime (called ART) improves application performance over the current Dalvik runtime.

On the downside, at least for Nexus 5 owners, the mm-qcamera-daemon bug (this is a bug that caused the camera to quickly drain the device battery) has not been fixed. The update also does not fix the LED Notification for missed calls (which has been plaguing many devices for some time now).

Android 4.4.3 is primarily a continuation of bug fixing for KitKat. However, don’t let the lack of UI changes fool you… the 4.4.3 update will go a long way to improve the performance and stability of your device. So, when can you expect the rollout to your device?

  • GPE versions of the HTC One M7, Galaxy S4, HTC One M8, and the Sony Z Ultra should already have the update
  • Sprint users with Nexus 5 devices should be seeing the update soon
  • All other devices should see the update in the coming weeks

As with any Android update, predicting when a device will receive the new software is like predicting the weather — it’s hit and miss (and most often wrong). Every supported device should have the update available in the coming weeks. I can tell you that, as of this writing, Verizon HTC and Motorola devices, as well as AT&T Motorola devices, do not have the update available.

Have you received your 4.4.3 update? If so, has your Android device performance and reliability improved? What would you like to see in upcoming Android updates? Share your ideas in the discussion thread below.

 

Lina Deveikyte

Lina Deveikyte
Lina.Deveikyte@altabel.com 
Skype ID: lina_deveikyte
Marketing Manager (LI page)
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development

Quick, grab all of your devices and check what release of Android they are using. Are they all the same? If so, consider yourself one in a million. The Android platform is plagued with numerous releases on numerous devices — even the same devices from different carriers can suffer from different iterations of Android!

Because of what I do, I have numerous Android devices. The different releases are:

  • 4.0.4
  • 4.1.2
  • 4.3
  • 4.4.2

All of the above are on devices ranging from a Samsung Galaxy Tab to an HTC One Max (and just about everything in between). As I work with one of the various devices, I have to bounce back and forth to remember where something is located on a certain release. Although this isn’t a deal breaker for me, imagine having to support hundreds of devices, all with varying releases. Now, we’re talking about the breaking of deals.

But this issue goes deeper than that. It’s common knowledge that certain providers and certain device manufacturers are quicker to update than others. Motorola, for one, has always been at the top of the heap for updates. My Moto X always has the latest version of Android (almost immediately upon release). Samsung devices? Not so much. And if you’re with AT&T — good luck.

At one point, Google created the Android Update Alliance. That failed, but not because of Google. The blame here lies at the feet of the carriers and hardware manufacturers, including:

  • AT&T
  • Verizon
  • T-Mobile
  • HTC
  • Motorola
  • Samsung
  • Kyocera

This update issue isn’t only widespread, it’s also very counter to rolling out new devices. How can Samsung (or any manufacturer) or AT&T (or any carrier) sell a device with an out of date OS? And with KitKat showing off how much more efficient it is at memory management, it’s become imperative that Android devices are released with the latest version.

I know this is a challenge for all involved. The second you release a piece of hardware, it could quickly become out of date. And each manufacturer has a different spin on the UI:

  • Motorola Motoblur
  • HTC Sense
  • Samsung Touchwiz

When a new release of Android hits, each company has to integrate the underlying platform with its UI, so there’s another slowdown.

Here’s my beef with this — I can go to the Google Play Store and install any number of home screen launchers, nearly all of which play well with whatever version of Android I’m using (with a rare exception). In some cases, these home screen launchers are developed by a single person who must constantly keep up with changes made to the kernel and various stacks that make up the Android platform. And they do it with aplomb and efficiency.

So, how is it that a single developer can manage this, yet a large company cannot? It truly baffles the mind.

Well, I’ve come up with some ideas that might help this along. Some of them are unlikely, and some of them just might actually work. Let’s take a look:

  • All hardware manufacturers drop their in-house home screen launchers and go with vanilla Android (they can offer their versions on the Google Play Store).
  • Google develops a set of standards for all hardware manufacturers to use for developing their home screen.
  • Set up an OS upgrade check during the first run wizard? Out of date? Update.
  • Carriers stop selling out-of-date Android devices that won’t run any version of Android other than the most recent two major releases.

I know it’s a lose-lose scenario. The carriers, the manufacturers, and Google are not going to see eye-to-eye on this issue. But they need to lose their egos and stranglehold on their devices and come to some sort of unified structure that allows Android updates to roll out in a universal fashion. Having carriers selling devices with out-of-date operating systems does no favors to Android. And users not getting the best possible experience, because a carrier or a manufacturer can’t seem to get the upgrade process refined, does nothing but frustrate users.

KitKat is a substantial improvement over an already solid release. Every Android user should be enjoying the speed and features brought about by the latest iteration of the platform. Every entity involved needs to step up and make this happen… soon!

What do you think? Are you one of those suffering from an out of date release of Android? What do you think needs to be done to resolve this problem? Share your thoughts in the discussion thread below.
 

Kristina Kozlova

Marketing Manager

 

altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

E-mail: contact@altabel.com
www.altabel.com

Microsoft may gain a powerful set of partners to help Windows 8 become a success – AT&T and Verizon Wireless, who need leverage against Apple’s onerous demands for subsidies for every iPhone the carriers sell.

AT&T and Verizon are both eying Windows Phone as the Smartphone platform they can promote to push back against Apple demands for high subsidies and royalties. Mobile operators are sick of taking orders from Apple…iPhones are occupying an increasingly dangerous share of mobile operators’ Smartphone sales. In 2011, iPhones represented half of AT&T’s Smartphone sales, and now that Verizon has recently voiced a similar shift in sales, the companies’ fears of an Apple takeover are growing stronger.
There clearly is a danger now that iPhone is going to get a stranglehold of the U.S. Smartphone market, and I don’t think operators are crazy about that. The larger the share of the market that Apple owns, the higher the subsidies it can demand from carriers. Those subsidies eat into carrier profits and fatten Apple’s bottom line.
Apple’s demands for subsidies in order for a carrier to sell an iPhone are legendary. U.S. carriers heavily subsidize all Smartphone hardware, primarily to entice new customers to buy a two-year service contract that costs more than $1,700 over that period. The iPhone 4S with 16GB sells unlocked from Apple for $649 (useful on many GSM carriers with a separate contract), but Verizon, AT&T and Sprint sell it for $199.99 with a two-year contract.
Beyond that, Apple also gets a portion of the monthly revenue that carriers get from each customer who buys an iPhone, and it’s a hefty cut, as much as $600. And that number is on top of the subsidies for the phone itself.

Given all that, it’s no surprise that AT&T and Verizon would see Windows Phone as a possible savior. Microsoft badly needs Windows Phone to succeed, and it also doesn’t have the same leverage to demand high subsidies and monthly royalties. Verizon is particularly interested in pushing Windows 8 phones when they hit. Verizon CFO Fran Shammo hopes to use Windows 8 phones as leverage against Apple:
“We’re really looking at the Windows Phone 8.0 platform because that’s a differentiator. We’re working with Microsoft on it.”

If Verizon and AT&T do make a concerted effort to push Windows Phone, it may finally breathe life into the struggling operating system. As the release of the Lumia 900 shows, Windows Phone devices are just as good as iPhones and Android phones – but by itself, that’s not enough.

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

Marketing Manager

 

altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

E-mail: contact@altabel.com
www.altabel.com

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 read more at http://news.cnet.com/8301-33200_3-57340072-290/windows-phone-7.5-what-will-make-it-a-winner/

Kind Regards,

Natalia Osipchik

Business Development Manager

 

altabel

Altabel Group

Professional Software Development

E-mail: contact@altabel.com
www.altabel.com

The phone main features are an improved camera, faster processor and other improvements. The easiest way to order your iPhone 4S is online. You can upgrade through Apple, AT&T, and Verizon. You can also order straight from your iPhone using the Apple Store app.

But Should You Upgrade to the iPhone 4S? LI members have different opinions on this point.

«Not to me. In my opinion, iPhone 4 is a huge step back in terms of design compared to iPhone 3. iPhone 3 has a nicely rounded shape, and the plastic its case is made of is pleasantly warm to the touch. iPhone 4 with its aluminum band and flat bottom basically feels like a cold brick.
This said, I will be the first to admit that this is strictly a matter of taste.»
Nick Chuvakhin

«This depends entirely on your personal opinion. People like me who has been following the iPhone 4S iPhone 5 news since beginning of this year have been waiting just till recently. All the tensions and rumors have created public hype. Most people don’t read in on the articles, they only focus on the title of the article. For example, you’d see tech blogs like Engadget or Gizmodo publish “iPhone 4/s has similar design”; this upsets most of the public. But in reality, Apple made multiple hardware changes and implemented new features that are worth to upgrade for. Anyways, I’m a little off topic, but the point is… if you value the new hardware and “Siri” (an amazing voice recognition program) then this upgrade is definitely worth it.
Also, I’ve never spend a time after purchasing my very first iPhone, I upgrade my iPhone every time Apple release a new one. To do so, I sell my old iPhone 2 weeks prior to the release date; I literally sold it for more than enough money for me to get the new iPhone.
Anyway, I’d say yes:) »
Han Lien

«It depends on what you have now. If you have the 4 now, I’d say hold off unless you have money burning a hole in your pocket and if that’s the case, please send me some.
If you have the 3 or the 3GS and you enjoy using the iPhone, then I’d suggest upgrading to the 4S. For what it’s worth there are a lot of really awesome Android phones on the market right now. You really have to pick what is best for you (and this is coming from a hardcore iPhone guy).»
Matt Torbin

«The camera on the iPhone 4S is all new, with an 8-megapixel sensor that offers 60 percent more pixels. More pixels mean higher quality. iPhone 4S includes a new custom lens with a larger f/2.4 aperture and an advanced hybrid infrared filter that works to produce sharper, brighter and more accurate images. With the iPhone 4S, Apple said, the camera app launches much faster and the shot-to-shot capability is twice as fast.
Meanwhile, new features in the camera and photos apps give users instant access to the camera right from the lock screen, and users can also use the volume-up button to quickly snap a photo. Optional grid lines help line up the shot and a simple tap locks focus and exposure on one subject. The new Photos app lets users crop, rotate, enhance and remove red-eye, and organize photos into albums.
“The faster processor is going to give way to a lot of new applications that just won’t run well on the older devices. The new imaging and the new voice assistance all make it kind of worthwhile,” Gartenberg said. “What’s nice is that Apple is keeping the old models in the line all the way back to the 3GS. It means that we are going to see new customers coming in at these new price points. So I’d say it’s a pretty successful day for Apple.”»
Samar Patel

What do you think? Will you upgrade your iPhone?

Kind Regards,
Lina Deveikyte
Altabel Group – Professional Software Development


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