Nokia opens pre-orders for its Steel HR hybrid smartwatch, shipping starts in December

Pre-orders for the Nokia-branded Steel HR hybrid smartwatch have just kicked off. The Finnish company took to Twitter to announce the latest developments:
The wait is over
Nokia Steel HR is officially here. Be one of the first to experience our new heart rate and activity tracking watch. By pre-ordering today, your watch will ship early December, just in time for the holidays: https://t.co/bgH5ox0JWD #NokiaSteelHR pic.twitter.com/XvOizP14CJ— Nokia Health (@NokiaHealth) November 14, 2017
In case you’re not familiar with the Steel …


Microsoft removes restrictions, opens up Edge for iOS Preview to everyone

On Thursday, we told you that Microsoft was going to make its Edge browser available to iOS and Android users. While the Android Preview version is coming soon, the iOS Preview version was available only for Windows Insiders. The latter is Microsoft’s beta testing community. You’ll note that we used the past tense. That is because Microsoft has made a change and has now opened up the preview so that it can be installed by all iOS users.

A tweet from Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore disseminated on Friday evening revealed the change. To apply for access to the Edge for iOS Preview, you should simply …

Apple Store opens in Reno, Nevada after relocating; new Apple store 2.0 design is open and airy


You might remember a very old BlackBerry Storm commercial from 2008 that focused on the SurePress clickable keyboard that was supposed to make typing on the phone’s glass display more accurate. While the Storm user on screen was typing out the name of a city, the off-screen announcer was saying, “And lookee here…it’s typing Reno, Nevada instead of Rino Fertada or Emo Pinata.”

We bring that up because yesterday, Apple opened up its newest Apple Store in Reno, Nevada. Note that the store was not opened in Rino Fertada or even Emo Pinata. The new store opened in the Summit Reno Mall, …

Sprint opens Twice the Price store, trolling Verizon in the process

Sprint today opened a very unusual pop-up store in New York, calling it Twice the Price. The main purpose of this store is to inform customers that Sprint is offering unlimited monthly data, text, and calls for just $22.50 per line (with 4 lines), while Verizon is charging twice the price for that. You can go here to see exactly how Sprint’s Unlimited plan compares to similar plans from Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile.

Sprint’s Twice the Price store can be visited at 69-43 Grand Avenue, Flushing, New York, 11378. The store is open only today, July 21, until 7 PM, …

Galaxy S8-exclusive New Release Radio opens to all Play Music users, here's how to access

Google just made the New Release Radio station that launched as a Galaxy S8 exclusive available for all of its Play Music service users. The station uses AI to learn your listening habits, and constantly scouts for newly released tunes or albums that are in sync with your music preferences, streaming them via the Play Music app on your phone. You know, like Spotify, Deezer and the like, but going back just two weeks in time to dig up the freshest content. 

That’s a pretty easy way to follow what’s new in your musical neck of the woods without spending too much time …

Google opens Android to other search engines in Russia under out-of-court agreement

The lengthy battle that began in 2015 between Google and Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) has finally concluded with Google complying. An out-of-court settlement was reached between the search giant and Russia’s anti-monopoly watchdog, that foresees Google to allow Android OEMs, as well as end users, to change Android’s default search engine.

Up until now, Google required Android smartphone manufacturers to ship their devices with Google search as the default search engine. That is, if they wanted to retain access to the Play Store and other essential …

Europe opens antitrust investigation into Android

The European Commission has been examining Google’s Android operating system for nearly three years, and it is now ready to launch a formal investigation into claims of unfair app bundling. Google services and apps like Maps, Chrome, and YouTube are often bundled with Android devices, and competitors have complained that it’s giving Google an unfair advantage. Regulators previously questioned telecom companies and phone manufacturers, to see whether Google forces them to bundle apps or services at the expense of competitors.

Europe-antitrust-investigation-Android

THREE KEY AREAS OF FOCUS FOR EUROPE’S ANDROID INVESTIGATION

“The investigation will focus on whether Google has entered into anti-competitive agreements or abused a possible dominant position in the field of operating systems, applications and services for smart mobile devices,” says the Commission. The European Commission will focus on three key areas for its investigation. The first is whether Google has hindered the development and market access of rival apps and services by requiring or incentivising smartphone and tablet makers to exclusively pre-install Google’s own apps and services. The Commission will also investigate whether Google has prevented smartphone and tablet makers from creating modified versions of Android that run Google’s apps and services. A final key area will focus on whether Google is tying or bundling its apps and services on Android devices with other Google apps, services, or APIs.

Google has been increasingly adapting Android and its own APIs to bundle more of its own apps and services into the core benefit of Android, meaning forks like Amazon’s own Fire OS do not always have access to the latest features and changes without access to the key Google Play Services APIs. Members of the Open Handset Alliance are forbidden from producing Android devices based on forks of the OS, so the majority of smartphone makers use Google’s own version. The European Commission is clearly focusing on all of the intricacies of Google’s smartphone agreements, and the Android investigation will run separate to the Commission’s investigation into Google’s internet search behavior.

GOOGLE DEFENDS ANDROID

Google has responded to the Commission, defending Android in a number of ways. Google claims anti-fragmentation agreements ensure apps work across all Android devices, and app distribution agreements “make sure people get a great ‘out of the box’ experience with useful apps right there on the home screen.” Google’s VP of Android engineering, Hiroshi Lockheimer, argues that the company’s app bundling “helps manufacturers of Android devices compete with Apple, Microsoft and other mobile ecosystems that come preloaded with similar baseline apps.” Lastly, Lockheimer compares Google to Apple, noting that “there are far fewer Google apps pre-installed on Android phones than Apple apps on iOS devices.”

While Google’s comparison to Apple may be valid, recent IDC figures show that Android dominates smartphones shipments with 81.5 percent marketshare, a huge lead over Apple’s 14.8 percent. Together, Android and iOS made up 96.3 percent of all smartphone shipments in 2014. “We are thankful for Android’s success and we understand that with success comes scrutiny,” says Lockheimer. “We look forward to discussing these issues in more detail with the European Commission over the months ahead.”