Black Friday’s Record Sales Driven by Mobile Devices, Finds Report

Black Friday's Record Sales Driven by Mobile Devices, Finds Report
HIGHLIGHTS
Adobe’s survey estimated sales of $3.05 billion on Black Friday 2016
Mobiles drove the majority of retail sites visits at 56 percent
iOS continued to drive larger sales than Android
In a first, online shopping on Black Friday is estimated to have hit the $3 billion mark in the US with a major chunk of the total sales coming from mobile devices, a report said on Saturday.

Adobe Digital Insights, which has been tracking e-commerce transactions, estimated sales of $3.05 billion (roughly Rs. 20,918 crores) on Black Friday 2016 – up 11.4 percent from the same day last year.

A TechCrunch report, citing the Adobe survey, noted mobiles had a significant impact on the record e-commerce sales on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday.

“Major retailers, like Amazon, Walmart, Target and eBay, noted that mobile traffic and sales were on the rise,” the report said.

Walmart and Target said the website traffic on Thanksgiving for mobile stood at over 70 percent and 60 percent respectively.

“This trend continued into Black Friday, as the sales event is currently tracking to bring in $1.13 billion (roughly Rs. 7,751 crores) in revenue, which is up 25 percent year-over-year,” the report noted.
In retail stores also, mobiles drove the majority of retail sites visits at 56 percent – most of that (47 percent) was from smartphones, as opposed to tablets (9 percent).
“The negative impact on online shopping we saw following the election has not been fully made up, but consumers are back online and shopping,” Tamara Gaffney, Principal Analyst and Director, Adobe Digital Insights, was quoted as saying.

“As spending ramps up on Black Friday, we are back on track. We still expect Cyber Monday to surpass Black Friday and become the largest online sales day in history with $3.36 billion,” she added.

In addition, iOS continued to drive larger sales than Android. The average order value on iOS devices was $144 compared with $136 on Android.

Adobe also noted this year’s top-selling electronics were Apple iPad tablets, Samsung 4K TVs, the Apple MacBook Air laptops, LG TVs, and Microsoft Xbox consoles.

Tags: Black Friday, Black Friday 2016, Electronics, Mobiles, Smatphones, Tablets, E Commerce, Black Friday Sales

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Google Pixel Phone Users Report Screenshots From iPhone 7 Plus Devices Are Being Distorted

Google Pixel Phone Users Report Screenshots From iPhone 7 Plus Devices Are Being Distorted

Photo Credit: Android Police
HIGHLIGHTS
Only screenshots received from iPhone 7 Plus are distorted
The issue does not crop up when screenshot is shared by Pixel with iPhone
Home screen screenshots are not distorted
After being plagued by Bluetooth pairing and LTE connectivity issues, Pixel phone users are now reporting another bug. According to user reports, screenshots sent from an iPhone 7 Plus to a Google Pixel or Google Pixel XL phone are getting distorted automatically.

The distorted screenshot issue is being discussed on a Google Product forums page extensively, and users are reporting that only a screenshot received from an iPhone 7 Plus is affected. The iPhone 7 Plus is Apple’s latest most expensive iPhone offering in the market. The issue appears when a screenshot is sent via hangouts or any other SMS/MMS app. Furthermore, sending a screenshot of the home screen does not cause any distortion, but a screenshot from within any app – be it first-party or third-party – gets distorted.

(Also see:Google Pixel Phones Make Android’s Fragmentation Problem Worse)

The issue is said to only occur when a screenshot is shared by an iPhone 7 Plus user with a Pixel phone user, and not vice versa. This means screenshots sent through a Pixel phone to an iPhone 7 Plus user are received without any hiccups. Apart from Pixel phone users, some Nexus 6 users running on Android 7.1 Nougat have also taken to the forum to report the same issue. As Nexus 6 has not got the Android 7.1 Developer Preview yet, these phones might have presumably installed it via a custom ROM. However, this hints that there is some issue in how image processing is handled on Android 7.1 Nougat. There is no word on if Google intends to roll out a fix for this or not.

Just to recap, Pixel phones were earlier plagued with a connectivity issue particularly on the LTE band 4 frequency, which seems to have been fixed with the latest security patch rolled out last week. However, some users are still reporting that Bluetooth pairing issues with their cars through their Pixel phones.

Tags: iPhone 7 Plus Screenshot, Google Pixel Glitch, Google Pixel XL Screenshot, Mobiles, Android, Google

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Juice Your Apple Devices with this Fun Juice Box Charger

apple juice charger main

What’s the best way to give your iPhone some battery life? With the 100 percent Energy Apple Juice Power Pack, of course.

Apple Juice Power Pack juice box charger

This compact backup battery pack is a charming and playful way to charge your USB-powered devices.

Created by and sold on Photojojo!, it is designed to look like an apple juice box, making it the perfect accessory for your Apple gadgets.

Apple Juice Power Pack juice box charger

The product description for the 100 percent Energy Apple Juice Power Pack reads:

“As your phone slowly drifts off after a busy day, plug it in with your charging cable and get back to business. Each box contains 2-3 full servings (a.k.a. full charges) of phone juice. Next time your battery decides to throw a low-battery temper tantrum give it a hug and a juice box.”

Apple Juice Power Pack juice box charger

Grab your juice box and get charging!

juice-box-battery-5

Images: Photojojo

More in: Publisher Channel Content

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

8 Innovative Devices, Gadgets and More for Small Business

When you’re on the road, whether locally or internationally, sometimes you just need that little device, gadget or thingamajig to make your work life easier.  These tools are not just for road warriors, but for anyone who appreciates elegant lifehacks.

Here are eight of my favorites:

Breffo spiders are absolutely amazing. Simple, but super cool. You can mold one into a stand for your iPad, iPod, Droid, mobile phone or whatever else it can wrap itself around. My only advice: Do not play around and set one up to look like a giant spider to scare your friend on a dark night. It will scare them, and you won’t like the outcome (nor will your friend).

LoJack for Laptops.  When my laptop was stolen a few years back, how I wished for LoJack-type technology to get the data back–never mind the laptop. Now it’s here. Instead of a silly cable lock that can be easily snipped, load the LoJack software if you are wandering around anywhere where your machine is out of sight.

Skype Mobile has saved my neck a bunch of times. Last year, Skype sent me a DroidX to test and play with, and having VOIP on a mobile phone simply rocks. When I’m close to my call minute maximum or I just feel like making a free call, the Skype Mobile app via the Verizon cell network cannot be beat. You can IM, call Skype-to-Skype and make international calls at Skype rates (not higher cell phone rates).

iTwin looks like a USB-drive, but it is really a device to set the world free from cables. You plug one half into your computer and the other half into any other computer and you can access your files from your home network or the Internet. Pretty sweet.

ioSafe Rugged Portable Hard Drive just commands respect. Rodney Dangerfield could have gotten respect if he had one of these. You can bake ’em, submerge ’em, drive over them with your Ford F150 pickup truck and still get the data out. We gave a couple away after testing them last year. I used a nonportable one as a boat anchor, an anvil, a meat tenderizer (don’t ask), and a spoof on Will-It-Blend where I crushed a blender. Plus, you can bolt them to the floor and make them hard to steal. But the little portable hard drives from ioSafe are amazing and sleek.

iGo provides a variety of eco-friendly chargers and battery boosts. This iGo device has to be one of my favorites for mobile devices (not laptops). You plug it in and charge it up, then if you’re not near an outlet it will continue to run your device on its internal battery. Hat tip to Matt Kostanecki of Archon Systems.

If you need a portable hard drive with above-average security, check out ROCBIT FXKT.  This device has one of the most secure encryption modes available and is both bus-powered and bootable with key-token technology. What does that really mean? The hardware itself is doing the encryption, which makes it more effective and less “hackable.”

The last item I want to share is a neat little compound called Sugru invented by Jane ni Dhulchaointigh. Sugru is like modeling clay, but made from silicone. Once it’s exposed to air, it cures to a tough, flexible silicone overnight.

sugru

It is designed to stick to as many other materials as possible. It forms a strong bond to aluminum, steel, ceramics, glass and other materials including plastics. A friend of mine used it to pad the corners of his new iPhone. Another made a thin power cord adapter more “grippy.”  Trust me and check out the Sugru site for more ideas.

What are your favorite gadgets and devices to enhance your productivity, protect your devices, or just plain help you in your work?

When you’re on the road, whether locally or internationally, sometimes you just need that little device, gadget or thingamajig to make your work life easier.  These tools are not just for road warriors, but for anyone who appreciates elegant lifehacks.

Here are eight of my favorites:

Breffo spiders are absolutely amazing. Simple, but super cool. You can mold one into a stand for your iPad, iPod, Droid, mobile phone or whatever else it can wrap itself around. My only advice: Do not play around and set one up to look like a giant spider to scare your friend on a dark night. It will scare them, and you won’t like the outcome (nor will your friend).

LoJack for Laptops.  When my laptop was stolen a few years back, how I wished for LoJack-type technology to get the data back–never mind the laptop. Now it’s here. Instead of a silly cable lock that can be easily snipped, load the LoJack software if you are wandering around anywhere where your machine is out of sight.

Skype Mobile has saved my neck a bunch of times. Last year, Skype sent me a DroidX to test and play with, and having VOIP on a mobile phone simply rocks. When I’m close to my call minute maximum or I just feel like making a free call, the Skype Mobile app via the Verizon cell network cannot be beat. You can IM, call Skype-to-Skype and make international calls at Skype rates (not higher cell phone rates).

iTwin looks like a USB-drive, but it is really a device to set the world free from cables. You plug one half into your computer and the other half into any other computer and you can access your files from your home network or the Internet. Pretty sweet.

ioSafe Rugged Portable Hard Drive just commands respect. Rodney Dangerfield could have gotten respect if he had one of these. You can bake ’em, submerge ’em, drive over them with your Ford F150 pickup truck and still get the data out. We gave a couple away after testing them last year. I used a nonportable one as a boat anchor, an anvil, a meat tenderizer (don’t ask), and a spoof on Will-It-Blend where I crushed a blender. Plus, you can bolt them to the floor and make them hard to steal. But the little portable hard drives from ioSafe are amazing and sleek.

iGo provides a variety of eco-friendly chargers and battery boosts. This iGo device has to be one of my favorites for mobile devices (not laptops). You plug it in and charge it up, then if you’re not near an outlet it will continue to run your device on its internal battery. Hat tip to Matt Kostanecki of Archon Systems.

If you need a portable hard drive with above-average security, check out ROCBIT FXKT.  This device has one of the most secure encryption modes available and is both bus-powered and bootable with key-token technology. What does that really mean? The hardware itself is doing the encryption, which makes it more effective and less “hackable.”

The last item I want to share is a neat little compound called Sugru invented by Jane ni Dhulchaointigh. Sugru is like modeling clay, but made from silicone. Once it’s exposed to air, it cures to a tough, flexible silicone overnight.

sugru

It is designed to stick to as many other materials as possible. It forms a strong bond to aluminum, steel, ceramics, glass and other materials including plastics. A friend of mine used it to pad the corners of his new iPhone. Another made a thin power cord adapter more “grippy.”  Trust me and check out the Sugru site for more ideas.

What are your favorite gadgets and devices to enhance your productivity, protect your devices, or just plain help you in your work?

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Nokia Releases In-App Advertising Solution for Multiple Devices

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The Nokia Ad Exchange (NAX) is thanks to a partnership with mobile advertising platform inneractive, which helps developers monetize their apps by allowing them to choose from more than 120 different advertising providers.

For businesses and entrepreneurs that want customers to use their apps, offering a free app can help attract consumers that might not necessarily want to purchase apps. But putting a lot of work into a project that won’t create any direct revenue can be frustrating or even unfeasible for some small businesses, and not all businesses have the resources to integrate their own advertising or monetization solutions.

So the purpose of NAX is to make monetizing apps as simple as possible. Once developers sign up for the service and choose the advertising provider that best fits with their app, all it takes is one line of code to start earning in-app advertising revenue.

The advertising solutions are compatible with most major mobile platforms, including Android and iOS. Revenue from advertising is split, with 70% going to the developer and 30% going to the ad exchange.

Nokia is not exactly at the forefront of many people’s minds when it comes to innovative features for mobile technology, but the intent behind this new ad network is to take a step in the right direction, focusing more on developers building quality mobile features.

There are other platforms available to help app developers host in-app ads, but some such as Microsoft’s in-app advertising solution for Windows phones, don’t work on a wide range of devices.

And not all apps are intended to necessarily be revenue streams. For example, many businesses that create apps just want to help create brand awareness and loyalty, or give customers easier access to products or services. In those cases, businesses might not want to clutter their apps with ads that frustrate or turn off customers.

But for those that are looking to monetize their mobile apps, NAX does offer some helpful features – not just monetization, but also analytics and discoverability tools.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Android Marshmallow Now Running on 15.2 Percent of Active Devices: Google

Android Marshmallow Now Running on 15.2 Percent of Active Devices: Google

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Android Marshmallow adoption has risen 1.9 percent in a month
  • Android Lollipop saw a 0.4 percent rise in adoption
  • Google Play distribution data is for a 7-day period ending on August 1

Google has updated its Google Play distribution data, providing figures for the seven-day period ending August 1. The data shows Android Marshmallow is now running on 15.2 percent of active devices.

In July, Android Marshmallow was seen to be running on 13.3 percent of active Android devices – indicating a rise in adoption of 1.9 percent in a single month. To recall, Android Marshmallow in June was running on 10.1 percent active of Android devices.

While the growth in adoption of the Android Marshmallow version, whether in the form of updates or new devices running the version out-of-the-box, has been steady, it has also been very slow – to compare, Android 6.0 Marshmallow finally made it to 1 percent of active devices in February, five months after its release to Nexus devices. This factly is more sharply highlighted when one considers that Android 7.0 Nougat, the next Android version, is expected to release soon.
android_distribution_data_august_2016.jpg
August’s Google Play distribution data shows that Android Lollipop has a total share of around 35.5 percent of active Android devices (with Android 5.0 Lollipop running on 14.1 percent of devices and Android 5.1 version at 21.4 percent), compared to 35.1 percent last month – indicating a rise in adoption of 0.4 percent. In the meanwhile, Android KitKat version 29.2 percent of the devices, dropping 0.9 percent from 30.1 percent last month.

As for Android Jelly Bean, it is seen to have a combined share of 16.7 percent, dropping 1.1 percent from July’s 17.8 percent. Android 4.0.x or Ice Cream Sandwich in the meanwhile was seen on 1.6 percent of active devices, down 0.1 percent from 1.7 percent in July.

Android Gingerbread (v2.3.3-2.3.7) is seen running on 1.6 percent of active devices, dropping from 1.9 percent, while Android 2.2 Froyo’s device distribution share is at 0.1 percent – the same as last month. To note, the figures are gathered from devices visiting the Google Play app, which supports Android 2.2 and above.

The Android distribution data also reveals that OpenGL 2.0 now runs on 46 percent of active Android devices, while OpenGL 3.0 runs on 42.6 percent, and OpenGL 3.1 on 11.4 percent.

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Tags: Android, Android 5.0 Lollipop, Android 6.0 Marshmallow, Android Distribution, Android Distribution Numbers,Android Froyo, Android Gingerbread, Android Jelly Bean, Android Marshmallow, Google, Google Play Store, Mobiles,Tablets

[“Source-Gadgets”]

BlackBerry Hub+ Suite of Apps Now Available for Android Marshmallow Devices

BlackBerry Hub+ Suite of Apps Now Available for Android Marshmallow Devices

HIGHLIGHTS

  • BlackBerry Hub+ now available on Android Marshmallow devices
  • After free trial, you can pay $0.99 for ad-free version
  • Services might soon come to Android Lollipop and iOS devices

In the tech industry, companies that have failed to adapt quickly to changes have often seen their fortunes change in no time. Nokia, for example, was once the biggest name in mobile phone industry, but has seen its depletion in last decade. BlackBerry has faced a similar downfall due to the dominance of Apple and Google in the smartphone market, however, the company now wants to make certain amends in its strategy and be more adaptive.

As part of this strategy change, the company has now made its BlackBerry Hub+ suite available to the Android devices that are running on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. BlackBerry Hub+ consists of various apps by BlackBerry like Calendar, Password Keeper, Contacts, Tasks, Device Search, Notes, and Launcher.

All you need to do to avail BlackBerry’s services on Android is download the app from Google Play, and install the services you need on an individual basis.

You will get a free trial period of 30-days initially, after which you can either pay $0.99 per month to use the ad-free version of the services or continue using the services loaded with ads but without any payment.

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“We’re looking to expand access to Hub+ to customers running Android 5.0 Lollipop, and also investigating how best to deliver the BlackBerry experience on iOS devices, too,” the company said in itsofficial blog.

Even though this move cannot be seen as a positive for the mobile devices developed by the company, as it was sort of a strong selling point for many of them till date, the software offered by BlackBerry is likely to get a much wider audience as a result of this change.

Share a screenshot and win Samsung smartphones worth Rs. 90,000 by participating in the #BrowseFaster contest.

Tags: Android Marshmallow, Apps, BlackBerry, BlackBerry Apps, BlackBerry Hub+

[“Source-Gadgets”]

satisfactory food Apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices: Recipes and greater

epicurious_app.jpg

if you revel in cooking, you possibly already recognise just how outstanding mobile devices are forcoping with recipes or simply teaching you how to cook. in this week’s function, I examine theexceptional meals apps available, ranging from recipe managers to full blown cooking educational apps.

1) Paprika
Paprika is an high-quality recipe supervisor and organiser for chefs. It lets you store recipes fromwebsites fast with a pleasant in app browser, vehicle sorts your groceries, lets you plan your food for theentire month, and greater. exceptional of all, it has move platform sync throughout iOS, Mac, home windows, and Android, so you can maintain tweaking your lists no matter which device you are on.

paprika_app.jpg
download Paprika for iPad | Paprika for iPhone | Paprika for Android (Rs. 300)

2) Veggie Weekend healthful Vegan and Vegetarian Recipes
this is the first of Filibaba apps featured in the listing. Veggie Weekend is a properly-designed app that has diverse beneficial information for recipes. The recipes are all available offline and packs are availablethrough in-app purchase, for the reason that app is loose to download.

i really like the high decision photographs used and the in app cooking timer. Veggie Weekend also has atremendous Apple Watch app for short get right of entry to to timers and recipes. there’s no excuse to notget Veggie Weekend due to the fact it is loose and in case you find the 18 recipes blanketed useful,keep in mind buying a number of the recipe packs to be had internal.

veggie_weekend_app.jpg
down load Veggie Weekend for iOS (loose)

3) Allrecipes – Dinner Spinner
Allrecipes has an notable series of recipes and scores in its vibrant community and Dinner Spinner offersyou a pleasing window into that. It syncs with Recipe field on Allrecipes and has masses of videos that will help you cook that excellent meal. assist for seasonal recipes which includes new ones each day,guarantees that you’ll in no way run out of factors to do. Allrecipes – Dinner Spinner is a terrific allspherical app in your cell tool. provide the powerul seek a pass as nicely.

allrecipes_dinner_app.jpg
down load Allrecipes – Dinner Spinner for iOS | Allrecipes – Dinner Spinner for Android (free)

four) inexperienced Kitchen
green Kitchen is the fine app for vegetarians. It has a ton of truly super vegetarian recipes to be had in itslovely interface and has the whole thing one might need from a modern-day iOS nine app. i’mcontinually impressed with how speedy cooking apps adapt new functions available inside the workinggadget. Apple Watch help is just icing at the cake.

green_kitchen_ios.jpg
down load green Kitchen for iOS (Rs. three hundred)

five) Allthecooks Recipes
Allthecooks Recipes does everything I want from a recipe app and has some particular capabilities. i lovethe categorization of recipes with the aid of issue and by means of practise time. On Android Allthecooks Recipes seems actually pleasing and this units it aside from a number of the opposite famous apps on the platform.

at the same time as the app can also depend upon a web connection, the buying cart characteristichelps you to add recipe elements to an offline buying listing for get admission to later. Allthecooks Recipes is some thing you need to download proper now. Bonus factors for the stunning avocado icon.

allthecooks_app.jpg
down load Allthecooks Recipes for iOS | Allthecooks Recipes for Android (free)

6) Basil clever Recipe manager
Basil 3 is a greater toned down alternative to Paprika, with a far higher interface. It doesn’t have all of thecapabilities Paprika has, however it helps saving recipes from any website via a Safari extension, usesincredible typography for recipes, and also helps cut up view on iPad.

in case you‘re simply seeking out an awesome and easy recipe dealing with app for iOS, look no furtherthan Basil. i really like the auto tagging it does with key elements and the potential to indicate more healthy alternatives for elements in a recipe.

basil_app.jpg
down load Basil for iOS (Rs. 300)

7) Sara Jenkins’ New Italian Pantry
Mizaplas has evolved this app along side the famend the big apple chef and cookbook writer, Sara Jenkins. With it, you will learn how to inventory up your personal pantry for the best Italian meals. There are over 80 recipes here and i really like how it lets you make stuff from what substances you have already got, or makes use of that to tell you which of them elements you will need to shop for. everyrecipe looks like a beautiful mag cover with the styled text and pics and there even are masses of moviesto be had within the app.

italian_pantry_ios.jpg
download Sara Jenkins’ New Italian Pantry (Rs. 250)

8) pleasure of Cooking for iOS
joy of Cooking is one of the maximum well-known cookbooks and it’s far now available in app shape. It has lots of recipes all within the app with digital timers, short bookmarking, and a purchasing planner. Mysimplest actual complaint with pleasure of Cooking is the interface.

it’s far overwhelming and cluttered on the smartphone and in some regions feels cluttered even on theiPad. Being capable of upload notes to recipes to personalize them for yourself is some other greatfeature it has that few other recipe apps offer.

joy_of_cooking_app.jpg
down load pleasure of Cooking for iOS (Rs. 490)

nine) Epicurious Recipes and purchasing listing
The maximum 9aaf3f374c58e8c9dcdd1ebf10256fa5 cooking app, Epicurious has been downloaded greaterthan 10 million times, and keeps getting better with every update. It already has lots of recipes and the brand new appearance makes it more intuitive.

there’s also Apple Watch help and recipe seek from well-knownfamous guides for free. The seasonalfactor finder is a pleasing touch.

epicurious_app.jpg
download Epicurious for iOS | Epicurious for home windows telephone | Epicurious for Android (free)

10) prepare dinner for iPad
cook is an app that helps you to create, keep, and percentage your recipes in virtual cookbooks with others using the app. you may personalize the whole lot from the font to the colors in your cookbooks.cook dinner makes superb use of the big display at the iPad with its interface. give it a move if you fancy a social element with recipes and cookbooks.

cook_ipad_app.jpg
download prepare dinner for iPad (free)

Which cooking apps do you operate at domestic? tell us via the feedback.

download the gadgets 360 app for Android and iOS to stay updated with the state-of-the-art tech news, product opinions, and distinctive offers at the famous mobiles.

Windows 10 Now on Over 200 Million Devices; Lumia Q4 Sales at Just 4.5 Million, Surface Going Strong

Windows 10 Now on Over 200 Million Devices; Lumia Q4 Sales at Just 4.5 Million, Surface Going Strong

Like a friendly but persistent sales rep, Microsoft has a message for anyone who owns a personal computer: If you haven’t yet upgraded to Windows 10, the company highly recommends it.

So highly, in fact, that in coming weeks, PC owners who have set their machines to automatically install important updates – like security fixes – could find the new operating system already downloaded and ready for activation.

Microsoft’s aggressive campaign to promote Windows 10 has led to its deployment on more than 200 million devices since its July release. It’s part of a multi-pronged strategy, along with a push to expand in “cloud” computing, that analysts say is driving the early stages of a financial turnaround, as evidenced by Microsoft’s latest earnings report on Thursday.

The Redmond, Washington-based tech company reported $5 billion in profit on nearly $24 billion in sales for the quarter ending December 31. Revenue and profit were both down from a year ago, but after adjusting for deferred revenue and one-time costs, the numbers were better than Wall Street analysts expected.

Microsoft beat Wall Street’s estimates for sales in key segments. Those include its cloud-computing segment, which lets commercial customers run their businesses on Microsoft’s servers, and the division that sells PC software, Surface tablets and Xbox gaming consoles. Adjusted earnings amounted to 78 cents a share, while analysts polled by FactSet had expected adjusted earnings of 71 cents a share.

“All around, this looks like a quarter that (Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella) can frame and put in his office,” FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives said. Microsoft’s stock rose more than 3 percent in extended trading after the results came out.

Microsoft only sold 4.5 million Lumia phones in the recent quarter, compared to the 10.5 million sold last year.

Long a dominant seller of PC-based software, Microsoft has seen its profit decline as consumers and businesses buy fewer PCs, cutting into licensing fees Microsoft gets from computer-makers. The last major upgrade of its operating system, known as Windows 8, was widely viewed as a flop, which hurt PC sales even more.

Nadella, who was named to the top job in 2014, has been pushing Microsoft to adapt to a world where people are increasingly using mobile gadgets, and where businesses are moving more of their operations to remote data centres, accessed via the Internet.

Microsoft broke with tradition last July by releasing Windows 10 as a free upgrade for older PCs, with no charge for future updates. It’s also redesigned other popular products, such as the Office word-processing and spreadsheet programs, to work as mobile apps for devices running operating systems made by its rivals, Apple and Google.

The goal is to get people using Microsoft’s latest products, no matter what kind of device they prefer, said Frank Gillett, a tech analyst with Forrester Research. He said that should give Microsoft more opportunities to make money by selling premium features or apps, such as online storage, Skype minutes or music and games.

The company is already seeing an increase in sales of apps and online advertising, tied to new features in Windows 10, Nadella told analysts Thursday.

But it’s a gradual process, Gillett cautioned. Microsoft’s personal-computing division reported $12.7 billion in sales for the December quarter, down 5 percent from a year earlier. Within that division, Microsoft said revenue from licensing Windows to PC makers was also down 5 percent, although the company noted that was better than the 8.3 percent decline in overall PC sales that market researchers have estimated for the October-December quarter.

(Also see:  PC Sales Fall Again)

Meanwhile, analysts say Microsoft is also rapidly transforming its commercial-computing division by encouraging corporate customers to use its data centres. Microsoft’s commercial “cloud computing” service is now the industry’s second-largest, after Amazon’s.

The potential for that business “is massive – larger than any market we have ever participated in,” Nadella said Thursday.

Revenue for Microsoft’s cloud division rose 5 percent, to $6.3 billion, for the December quarter. The company has had more success in that business than other established commercial tech giants like Hewlett-Packard and Oracle, according to Ives, who called cloud computing a “bedrock” element of Nadella’s strategy.

As for the company’s aggressive promotion of Windows 10, those promotional nudges have drawn a few complaints from PC owners who don’t necessarily want to upgrade their software. But in coming months, Microsoft says the Windows 10 upgrade will be re-categorised from “optional” to “recommended,” which means people who use the automatic update feature on older Windows PCs could find the new software has downloaded automatically.

Microsoft says users will still get a prompt asking if they want to accept or decline the upgrade. They can also revert back to their old software if they change their mind within 31 days.

Download the Gadgets 360 app for Android and iOS to stay up to date with the latest tech news, product reviews, and exclusive deals on the popular mobiles.

Tags: Gaming, Internet, Laptops, Lumia, Microsoft, Microsoft Xbox, Mobiles, PC, Surface Tablet, Tablets, Windows 10,Xbox
[“Source-Gadgets”]

Amazon Tap, Echo Dot Alexa-Powered Devices Launched

Amazon Tap, Echo Dot Alexa-Powered Devices Launched

Amazon.com is introducing two devices designed to amplify the role its voice-controlled assistant Alexa plays in people’s homes and lives.

The products unveiled Thursday are echoes of Amazon’s Echo, a cylinder-shaped speaker with Internet-connected microphones that became Alexa’s first major showcase when it debuted in late 2014. Set these gadgets up and they’ll listen for your voice and respond to commands – for instance, to read the morning’s headlines.

Both new devices, called the Amazon Tap and Echo Dot, cost less than the $180 Echo and offer slightly different features in an attempt to plant Amazon’s Internet-connected microphones in more homes and other places.

In doing so, Amazon hopes to outmaneuver rivals Google and Apple in their battle to build hubs in “smart” homes that are being furnished with appliances, electronics and other accoutrements that connect to the Internet.

Alexa is competing against other voice-controlled services such as Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google’s search engine that are built into the operating systems of smartphones and other devices that do more than the Echo.

The interest in smart homes appears to be rising as more people become enamored with their smartphones. A recent online survey of more than 4,600 adults in the US by Forrester Research’s Technographics found 57 percent of them either had used or were interested in using a smart home device.

Alexa, a riff on the Library of Alexandria, initially didn’t do much but answer trivia questions, play music and order stuff from Amazon’s website. The device’s limited range raised the prospect that it might be a passing fancy or little more than a cute party trick for consumers who could afford to indulge in a curiosity like the Echo.

amazon_tap_ap_474.jpgBut the assistant has become increasingly versatile as Amazon.com Inc. learned more about what customers want. Last summer, the company gave outside programmers the ability to build applications that work with Alexa in a move that expanded service’s skillset. Alexa can now perform more than 300 tasks, such as hailing car rides, turning on lights and controlling home thermostats.

The Echo now ranks among Seattle-based Amazon’s top-selling items in consumer electronics, although the company hasn’t specified how many have been sold so far. “The response has been nothing short of incredible,” boasted David Limp, Amazon’s senior vice president of devices.

The 6.25-inch Amazon Tap is a slimmed down “grab and go” version of the 9.25-inch Echo that sells for $130. Unlike the Echo, the Amazon Tap doesn’t need to be plugged in.

To conserve battery power, however, the Tap requires people to touch a button on the front of the device to prompt Alexa to awaken and listen for a question or a command. The Echo operates on more energy-intensive technology that allows people to summon Alexa with spoken words that can be heard from as far as 25 feet away. The Tap connects to the Internet through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi signals.

amazon_eco_dot_ap_473.jpgThe Echo Dot, priced at $90, represents Amazon’s attempt to expand Alexa’s household presence beyond the kitchen or another room where the Echo typically remains anchored.

The Dot is shaped like a hockey puck because it doesn’t have cylinder with a large speaker. Instead, it offers an option for people to plug into other sound systems to provide better audio than the speaker built into the Echo. Interactions with Alexa through the Dot can be started with a voice command from across the room, just like the Echo.

Both devices can be ordered on Amazon.com beginning Thursday. Anyone can buy the Tap, but sales of the Dot initially are being confined to Amazon Prime subscribers who have already bought an Echo or the company’s Fire TV device. Shipments will begin by the end of March.

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Tags: Alexa, Amazon, Amazon Tap, Echo Dot, Home entertainment, Internet
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