Random Three- Microsoft + AMD?, Microsoft’s New Groove, & Twitter Approves of Birthday’s

Microsoft and AMD Sitting in a Tree

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Image Credit – ZDNet

Rumors are swirling that Microsoft is interested in purchasing the struggling chipmaker AMD. Currently AMD makes the System-on-a-Chip (SoC) used inside the Microsoft’s Xbox One, and Sony’s PlayStation 4. Currently, both companies pay about $100.00 for each SoC on their respective consoles. Buying AMD would save Microsoft a ton of money. Let’s not forget HoloLens. AMD could be used to further Microsoft’s efforts in virtual reality by designing chipsets for the gear.

Slam dunk, no?

Maybe not. AMD has other business attached to it that are not doing so well. It’s Computing & Graphics division is losing money, and lets not forget Intel. Intel licenses its x86 chip technology to AMD. Toss in the the Department of Justice, and you got yourself a Spanish soap opera.

Microsoft’s New Groove

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Image Credit – Engadget

Something has happened in Redmond, and it might be a part of Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella’s doing for big changes in the company. Microsoft has replaced its Xbox Music app with a service called ‘Groove Music.’ No one outside some inner circle at Microsoft knows what’s going on. This could be a rebranding effort, buying of the app, or a possible selling of/ spin off of the service. Time will tell.

Curiously, there is a service already called Groove that is available on iOS and Windows Phone (oddly enough) You can check out the companies page here for a detailed explanation of the service.

‘Twitter now allows users to add birthdays to their profiles’

#coolstorybro. This one pretty much explains its self. According to CNET, “The social networking service said Monday with the new feature, users are now able to share and celebrate their birth date along with other users — complete with colorful animated balloons on that special day.

Users can opt whether to share their B-day with the public, their followers, who they follow or “only me.” They can select the “edit profile” option on Twitter and include the birth month and day or the birth year separately.”

Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog, and follow me on Twitter @delrealest! Please leave you comments, as well. I look forward to reading them.

Blackberry’s Shot at Redemption and iPhone 6s Expectations

Blackberry Folds

At Mobile World Congress this year, Blackberry showed off it’s first ‘Blackberry 10 Slider’ device, codenamed ‘Venice.’ According to N4BB, The Blackberry ‘Venice’ slider specs are:

  • 4-inch Quad-HD display
  • 18 MP rear-camera
  • 5 MP front-camera
  • 8 GHz Hexa-core (Snapdragon 808 chipset) 64-bit
  • 3 GB RAM

The kicker is that it will be running Google’s Android operating system. Even Blass, currently a freelance editorialist at Mashable first tweeted a tantalizing picture of the lower part of a never before seen Blackberry device that sports a QWERTY keyboard. He later retracted from that image, and posted this one.

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Image Credit – Twitter @evleaks

This device is certainly eye-catching. Additional corrections were that it should be expected to launch in November. Blackberry has struggled against Android and iOS, mostly because of a lack of useful apps. It now commands a sad 1% of the mobile OS market, behind Windows Phone!

iPhone 6s- What can we Expect?

I will not be talking about the iPhone 7 because that is still too far way to be of concern. What will be coming soon is the iPhone 6s, if Apple continues its current cycle of every other release. MacRumors has posted a page dedicated posting what we know so far and what we can expect from the new device. As expected, we can anticipate that a new device will launch in the fall, just in time for the holiday shopping season. A summary of features include:

  • Expect screen sizes to remain the same
  • Possibly a new ‘rose gold’ iPhone option
  • Possibly stronger aluminum to avaid another ‘bendgate’
  • Force Touch technology (available on the new line of Mac Book Pro’s
  • 12 MP camera
  • ne microphone will be added near the speaker to enhance voice quality;
  • A9 processor upgraded with 2GB LPDDR4
  • Improved recognition rate of Touch ID to promote Apple Pay;
  • Gesture control support

These are welcomed upgrades, and I can’t wait to find out if they are true, or not.

Please remember to leave me your comments and follow me @delrealest on Twitter! I look forward to what you all have to say.

Worldwide Beats

Worldwide, and always on. One of the biggest differentiators between Apple Music and Spotify, and other streaming services is that Apple has in a dedicated radio stations through its Beats 1 channel. According to Apple, “It broadcasts 24/7 to over 100 countries from our studios in Los Angeles, New York, and London.”

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Image Credit – Engadget 

You can think of Beats 1 as you would Pandora. You will be able to created tailored radio stations based on a song, artist, album, or genre.  Once you do that, that station will play similar music it feels you would enjoy. You are also able to like songs so that Apple Music will play more like it, and rate down the ones you don’t so that it will play less of that music.

Apple has tapped DJ, record producer, and television personality Zane Lowe to host the stations flagship music show. He’ll be dropping his music knowledge on listeners, as well as host interviews, and play new music. In true fashion, his first guest was Eminem. Dr. Dre will host his show “The Pharmacy” every other Saturday. “The Pharmacy” aired today at 3PM PST. Killer Mike and El-P launched their radio show “Run The Jewels” on July 3rd. Drake, Pharrell, and more will be acting as hosts on the station in the coming days or weeks.

Membership to Apple Music allows you to skip as many tracks as you like. Nice. Apple has a full programming schedule available for listeners through Tumblr. Julys line up includes personalities such as Ellie Goulding, Elton John, Jaden Smith, and The Fat Jewish. If you look hard enough, you will be able to find programming to satisfy your taste.

Listening to Beats 1, there is definitely variety. I just tuned in to “The Pharmacy” and was really taken in by the awesome mixing of all of those hip-hop songs together, but I had to turn it off after 15 minutes because Dr. Dre, or whoever was announcing kept interrupting to tell me I was listening to the “The Pharmacy.” Thanks, buddy; I think I understand that.

Don’t forget to follow me in Twitter @delrealest, and leave you comments about Beats 1. Happy 4th!

Microsoft Edge- Potentially Your Next Favorite Browser

Internet Explorer has had quite the life span. It brought down Netscape, and was one of the reasons for the almost split of Microsoft. Unfortunately, the dominance was the reason for its downfall. Microsoft feel complacent and forgot to update IE after Internet Explorer 6. After uproar following numerous security vulnerabilities, and fresh competition from Mozilla, Microsoft updated Internet Explorer, but it was too late; The damage was done in consumer’s mind.

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Image Credit- Slate

When Microsoft announced Project Spartan (Edge’s codename), the reaction from the tech sphere was one of excitement and surprise. Internet Explorer will still be around in Windows 10, but only to appease businesses using legacy applications. Edge was introduced at Microsoft’s BUILD conference. The logo is the familiar E from Internet Explorer, but with a different color scheme.

Edge is completely redesigned, and uses no code from IE. This ensures that performance will be adequate for todays web. Microsoft recognized, “… some enterprises have legacy web sites that use older technologies designed only for Internet Explorer, such as custom ActiveX controls and Browser Helper Objects. For these users, Internet Explorer will also be available on Windows 10. Internet Explorer will use the same dual rendering engines as Spartan, ensuring web developers can consistently target the latest web standards.” The new EdgeHTML engine is rendering engine that replaces the Trident engine used by IE. 200,000 lines of code from Internet Explorer were removed for Edge, as well as 300 interfaces removed.

Edge is the first browser with a personal assistant, Cortana. She provides you with voice control, search, and personalized information. One note integration, and annotation is introduced into Edge. This feature will span through the desktop, and mobile Windows 10 devices. Mobile devices will allow you to draw with your fingers, or stylus. PC users can use their mouse. Nice.

Edge will be the default browser in Windows 10. Edge will be a formidable rival to Mozilla Firefox, and Google Chrome, and will be one of the highlights of Windows 10 once it launches. It is exciting to see Microsoft bury the hatchet with Internet Explorer and come back full force with Edge. The ultimate winners here are consumers. You will be provided with a more secure, and faster internet experience.

New Mission Statement form Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

A company’s mission statement is the foundation of what drives to move forward, and gives it a sense of purpose. CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella has just given Microsoft new purpose by changing the companies mission statement. We have already seen much change come out of the software giant, such as embracement of other platforms through the offering of Microsoft apps, and collaborations with once arch enemies, (salesforce).

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Image Credit- Microsoft

After reading the mission statement, one can only assume that there is massive, even potentially radical change coming to the company. This can be felt after reading this excerpt from the latter to employees:

“We will need to innovate in new areas, execute against our plans, make some tough choices in areas where things are not working and solve hard problems in ways that drive customer value.”

Areas that aren’t working could point to Windows Phone, or the Surface line of tablets. The Windows Phone team has been integrated into the Windows team, and has faces massive layoffs. Microsoft was not seeing its vison of what a PC should be, which is what compelled it to start the Surface line, but bow Microsoft has had input on devices such as HP’s Spectre x360 convertible laptop. Other computer manufacturers have taken to developing hardware with more sex appeal, and usability, such as the Dell’s incredible 13 and 15 inch XPS laptop’s.

Another key point in the e-mail was the reaffirmation of ‘mobile-first, cloud-first:

“Strategy and ambitions. Our strategy is to build best-in-class platforms and productivity services for a mobile-first, cloud-first world. Our platforms will harmonize the interests of end users, developers and IT better than any competing ecosystem or platform.”

Nadella has only been at the helm of Microsoft for sixteen months, but the changes in the company’s practices and how it approaches its competition has changed drastically. These changes have moved a once stagnant share price, and has made Microsoft relevant and newsworthy once more. A great leadership quality is being able to look at what works, and what doesn’t, and making the tough choices necessary to focus on what does work. I hope that Nadella is able to successfully implement whatever changes need to happen to grow, and move the company in the right direction.

The full transcript of the e-mail to employees can be found here. Please remember to comment and leave your feedback, as well as to follow me on Twitter @delrealest.

Coming to an iPhone Near You- iOS 9 Part 3

Welcome to the last portion of my iOS 9 preview. Listed below are the last items with respect to iOS 9. As you will see, there are some welcomed additions for current, and future users of iOS devices. Lets start off with the iPhone companion I love to hate.

Siri

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Image Credit- MacTrast 

Siri gets smarter in IOS 9. Siri will be able to better understand you (lets hope so), deliver results faster, and offer suggestions before you ask it a question. What is it that you are able to ask Siri now? Well, according to Apple:

  • You can “Ask Siri to search through your photos and videos based on dates, locations, and album titles. For example, say “Show me photos from my trip to Aspen in January” and you’ll get exactly what you’re looking for.” and,
  • “Siri can remind you about things you’re looking at in your apps — like Safari, Mail, and Notes — and want to follow up on later. If you’re halfway through an email, you can say “Remind me about this tonight.” Or if you’re looking at a place in Maps where you want to stop later, you can ask for a reminder when you get to your car.”

Just like Google, Siri will now prepopulate results as you type in the search field. Nice. Lastly, Siri will also make suggestions based on your app usage, and times you use said apps.

Behind the Scenes Improvements

Apple promises better responsive performance, easier updates, better battery life, and tighter security.

Improvements to the OS allow it to save power whenever possible. An example of this is when your device is facedown on a table, iOS prevents the screen from turning on. This is putting those sensors to excellent use. Changes such as this equate to about an hour of additional battery life.

Smaller Updates

You will not need such a massive amount of free space to be able to update your iOS device. Currently, updates need about 4.58 GB to be able to update, but with IOS 9, you will only need 1.3 GB. Finally. This will be welcomed news for those people that make the mistake of buying a 16 GB iPhone.

Security

Given the last year of security challenges Apple, and the industry have faced, Apple is stepping its game up in keeping its customers more secure. Enhancements to security include six-digit passcodes. Those prying eyes will have a harder time breaking in to your device. Two-factor authentication will also prompt (using a verification code) when signing to a browser, or unrecognized device. I am glad to see Apple make an effort in this important field.

Android Migration

This is the icing on the cake. According to Apple, iOS 9 will make it easier for Android users to make the jump by providing them with a migration tool that will transfer “…contacts, message history, camera photos and videos, web bookmarks, mail accounts, calendars, wallpaper, and DRM-free songs and books. Additionally, it will help you rebuild your app library, too. Any free apps you used — like Facebook and Twitter — are suggested for download from the App Store. And your paid apps are added to your iTunes Wish List.” This would have been really handy for all those users that ditched their Android devices when the iPhone 6 launched.

Overall, these evolutionary updates to iOS and its apps will remind users why they made the right choice when they picked their iOS device over the competition. I hope you enjoyed my preview of iOS 9. Please leave your comments or questions in the blog post. Please follow me on Twitter @delrealest.

Coming to an iPhone Near You- iOS 9 Part 2

This is a continuation of my last blog post. Here I go more in depth to other iOS devices an features. Part 3 coming soon!

CarPlay

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Image Credit – 9to5mac

According to Apple, “If your car supports wireless connection to iPhone, you can use CarPlay without plugging in. CarPlay also plays audio messages, so you can hear from people in their own voices. If you use your car’s knobs to control CarPlay, you can now take full advantage of the way they tilt and spin to scroll through lists or pan around in Maps. And apps developed by car manufacturers are supported, too — so you can control more of your car’s features without ever leaving CarPlay.” Pretty neat!

Multitasking!

FINNALY; But its only in the iPad. The once had an iPad Air, and I sold it because of a lack of multitasking. I may end up buying one again. Multitasking comes with three features:

  • Slide Over
    • This allows you to open a second app with out closing the one you are currently using. If you’ve ever used Windows 8 its like summoning the charms bar. I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing.
  • Split View
    • I’m sorry to reference Windows 8, but that’s exactly what it reminds me of! Both apps are running side by side. You can also drag the border in the middle to change the side of whichever app you are using.
  • Picture in Picture
    • This one is awesome. While FaceTiming with someone, simply press the Home button and your session will scale down to the corner of the display. This makes it easy to continue working while using FaceTime.

QuickType

According to Apple you can, “Shape up your text in no time with an all-new Shortcut Bar, convenient editing tools, and a handy new way to select text with Multi-Touch gestures. And now when you use a wireless keyboard with your iPad, you can enjoy even more keyboard shortcuts.” And “Bold, italicize, or underline — even copy and paste — with just a couple of taps from your keyboard. The Shortcut Bar can also be customized for third-party apps, so the tools you need are always right where you need them.” This will be handy for those that use an iPad a their primary computing device, and may compel other to do the same.