Posts tagged Been
If you have been looking for a new Android Nexus 4 smartphone from Google and LG, you have probably been banging your head against the wall in frustration. The Nexus 4 has been scarce both through the official Google Play store and carriers like T-Mobile in the United States. The unavailability of the latest flagship Android smartphone has been a debacle for both Google and LG to the detriment of enthusiastic consumers across the globe.
Who is to blame?
The answer is not straightforward. Dan Cobley, managing director of Google UK, told commenters on his Google+ page on December 15th that, “supplies from the manufacturer are scarce and erratic, and our communication has been flawed.”
So, that puts the onus on LG as the manufacturer had underestimated the demand or could not keep up with it. On the other hand, an LG official speaking to Korean publication Chosun Ilbo earlier this week said that there were no supply issues with the Nexus 4 and that one of its manufacturing plants was building the device as planned.
The month between Cobley’s statement and the official speaking to Chosun Ilbo could be telling. Maybe there were supply issues win November and December that have been resolved in January. That does not really help consumers that have been waiting (not so patiently) to get their hands on the device.
T-Mobile, the U.S. carrier for the Nexus 4, said earlier this week that Nexus 4 would be available in-store nationwide by the end of this month and available to purchase from its website as of January 23rd. As of today, both 8 GB and 16 GB versions of the device were sold out on Google Play. T-Mobile will also be releasing a data-enabled version of the Nexus 7 tablet this month.
Before the release of the Nexus 4, many Android consumers were hoping for new blood in the Nexus series. The Nexus One (the first in the series) device was built by HTC while the next two (Nexus S and Galaxy Nexus) were built by Samsung. Many applauded the decision to go with LG, a manufacturer that has been underrated among smartphone analysts while creating quality Android devices. The Nexus 4 is one of the first quad-core smartphones to reach U.S. shores and boasts impressive hardware specifications.
Complicating factors in Nexus 4 availability include the distribution strategy. The Nexus 4’s primary distribution channel has been Google Play, where consumers can order it directly without going through T-Mobile. Google had tried this route before with the Nexus One and sales were minimal. The Galaxy Nexus that was released at the end of 2011 had marginal sales figures compared to the rest of Samsung robust Galaxy S figures.
So, expectations were probably tempered for both Google and LG that likely suppressed initial orders from the manufacturer. The difference is that Samsung, the largest and most agile smartphone manufacturer in the world, would have been able to ramp up its supply if there had been robust demand.
So who’s to blame? Everybody. Google for its choice of partner that could not meet demand, and LG for the scarcity of supply and failure to meet expectations. In the end, it has been a failure of logistics that all parties are responsible for.
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We first alerted you to the coming iteration of the new NEW Myspace last fall when the preview video was first released. At the time all you could do was watch the super cool video and leave your email address in hopes of getting an invite to Justin Timberlake’s hot media party. So far only [...]
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Evernote 5 for iOS is out, and it’s the upgrade fans of the life-organizer apps have needed for a long time. Everything is faster, smoother, more capable and prettier, right down to the new, classier icon. And it just gets better from there.
The most important change is that the app is now much better organized. Evernote users are organized people, but the old Evernote apps for iOS were crazy and disorganized. Even worse, they weren’t even remotely similar between iPhone and iPad versions.
The small version was basically a least-common-denominator iPhone app organized in nested lists with lots of forward and back buttons. The iPad version, frankly, was a skeuomorphic monstrosity, a flat grid of fake piles of paper that all looked the same sprawled out to the full width of the screen. In both versions, it was incredibly difficult to find what you needed.
The new Evernote 5 has a uniform look and structure, with tabbed navigation that lets you see every section at once and smoothly swipe between them. The iPad version shows nice, swipe-able previews of notes along the top. Both sizes have new Quick Note buttons, and this is such a needed feature. With one tap from the app’s main screen, you can instantly open a new text or photo note or launch the Page Camera to scan a document. Evernote is for capturing information as well as storing it, and it needed to be fast and painless. Now it is.
The update makes the note views you’re used to even easier to use, and it also adds a new Places view. Evernote has geo-tagged notes for a while, recording the places they’re created. Now there’s a tab to display notes on a map, which is a neat way to organize certain kinds of records and memories.
There’s a tab for Premium Features that you can’t remove, which free users might find annoying, but let me tell you, if you want to seriously get into Evernote, you are going to upgrade. Not only do you get a bigger storage and upload allowance, text search within PDFs, shared notebooks and other such perks, you get to store your notebooks offline, so you can access them without a connection. That is a huge benefit.
Once you’ve upgraded, the Premium Features tab lets you manage your offline notebooks and set a passcode lock for the app. You can’t make it go away and access it from the settings menu, which you get by tapping your name in the upper left corner. I wish premium users had that option, so the main screen would be cleaner. But this is a very minor gripe about an otherwise amazing update.
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Apple did something Tuesday it has not been able to pull off for a couple of years: It surprised the smack out of us. Sure, we all expected the iPad Mini and what Apple produced was right in line with our expectations. The kick in the head? Apple’s brand new fourth-generation iPad. Looking at timing and specifications, one has to wonder: Why did the third-generation “new” iPad released in March ever exist in the first place.
How Good Was The New iPad?
The “new” iPad (never, ever the iPad 3, of course) was released in March. It was supposed to be a marvel of modern engineering, mostly because it incorporated Apple’s Retina Display and came equipped with a better processor than the iPad 2. Yet, the third-generation was not without its warts. It was thicker than the iPad 2 and many people noted that it “ran hot” when using screen-intensive functions like video or games.
When I first got my hands on the third-generation iPad, I was a little surprised at how thick it was. Since the launch of the original iPhone in 2007, Apple had never released a new product in its iOS line that was thicker than the previous iteration. Being thin is as much a part of Apple innovative design as are those vaunted bezels. But the new iPad was thicker and, despite the Retina Display and smoothness of its iOS iteration, it felt a bit clunky. This was not what I was expecting and at the time I saw no reason to pony up the money to upgrade from my iPad 2 (which is still a respectable device).
The question was immediately asked: would Steve Jobs have approved? I do not like putting words in a dead man’s mouth, but the new iPad did seeme to lack a certain polish that had been present in the first two iterations.
Maybe Apple felt the same way. Here we are, a little more than six months later and the third generation is being replaced by a fourth. It is the same thickness as the third generation (0.37 inch) and is equipped with a new processor (A6X with quad core graphics) that is more powerful than that of the A6 in iPhone 5. The Wi-Fi and LTE receptors have been improved as have the camera sensors.
Why Did Apple Do A Refresh?
It is not a huge upgrade, really. The dimensions are almost exactly the same, the Retina display is exactly the same and the price is exactly the same. So, why bother with the refresh? The third-generation iPad was a perfectly acceptable device. Right?
There are two theories here. The first and most pertinent is that Apple knows how much it relies on the holiday shopping season for its profit. Apple does well every financial quarter in past years, but the revenue from the holiday quarter is staggering. It behooves Apple to refresh the iPad, call it a brand new product and sell the hell out of it to holiday shoppers. “The new iPad is even newer!”
Apple touted during Tuesday’s event that the iPad outsold all competitors in the laptop market in Q2 this year. So, a spring launch of the iPad also made sense, even if the particular device may not have been up to Apple’s standards.
Technology vs. Marketing
These are all marketing concerns. Apple deftly plays the timing of its device launches – every launch is timed for maximum impact. From a technology perspective though, if Apple figured it would refresh the iPad later in 2012 anyway, why bother releasing the third-generation in the first place?
Apple has made consumers wait before. There was a 15-month period between the launch of the iPhone 4 and the 4S. If Apple had not released the “new” iPad in the spring and waited until today, it would have gone 19 months between iPad updates. Speculation would have been rampant and consumer expectation ready to explode. Would that have led to higher overall sales? Maybe, but not likely. Samsung has proved that releasing multiple versions of a product in a short term can be very beneficial to its bottom line.
The fourth-generation iPad is not so substantially different from the third that Apple needed to do anything at all. Today’s announcement is Apple implying that it made a mistake with the “new” iPad in March, that it could have (and probably should have) waited the extra months to polish the innards. The fact that the third-generation iPad is being discontinued speaks to that notion. Instead of discontinuing the iPad 2 and lowering the price of the third-generation, the iPad 2 is still on the market.
The bottom line for Apple in this particular snafu is… well, its bottom line. The third and fourth generation iPads are almost exactly the same product except for some performance improvements. By releasing new iPads twice in the same year, Apple gets to drum up more excitement for its tablet and sell more units.
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Microsoft said Thursday that its latest Office suite has been released to manufacturing, although consumers won’t find it under their Christmas tree.
In fact, the timing of the Office release will be spread out over at least two months, which Microsoft said was necessary to allow various market segments to enjoy the best experience.
Specifically, customers who purchase a Windows RT tablet Oct. 26 will receive a free preview version of Office, with only the core apps — Word, PowerPoint, Excel and the oft-overlooked OneNote.
In mid-November, volume-licensing customers with Software Assurance will be able to download the Office 2013 applications as well as Office products including SharePoint 2013, Lync 2013 and Exchange 2013.
That’s also when IT professionals and developers will be able to download the final version via TechNet or MSDN subscriptions, and when the new features will be available Office 365 subscribers.
But consumers? Microsoft isn’t saying with any precision. A standalone download of Office will have to wait until the first quarter of 2013.
Microsoft indicated the staggered rollout is deliberate.
“Microsoft’s bringing their technologies to market through a wide variety of channels for organizations, IT pros, developers, and consumers and as on-premises products as well as cloud services available in retail, online and from partners,” a company representative said in an emailed statement. “The company is taking time to make sure that the experience customers get through each of these channels is excellent.”
Still, the company has traditionally released its software early to developers via MSDN and TechNet; Microsoft released Windows 8 via MSDN and TechNet Aug. 15 — 69 days before the scheduled launch Oct. 25. Adding 69 days to Oct. 25 would put the Office launch on or about Jan. 2, just in time for the Consumer Electronics Show — except that Microsoft has said it won’t participate in CSE anymore.
“This is the most ambitious release of Office we’ve ever done,” wrote Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president of the Office division, in a blog post. ”It spans the full family of Office applications, servers and cloud services. The new Office has a fresh, touch friendly design that works beautifully on Windows 8 and unlocks modern scenarios in social, reading, note-taking, meetings and communications. We are proud to achieve this milestone and are eager to deliver this exciting release to our customers.”
The Office Versions
Microsoft will sell three versions of the traditional Office suite: Home & Student ($139.99), Home & Business ($219.99), and Professional ($399.99). The first two versions will be licensed forever for either one Mac or PC, except for the Professional version, which is PC-only.
Office 365 will be sold in two versions: Home Premium ($99.99 per household per year) and Small Business Premium ($149.99 per person per year). Each household that buys Office 365 Home Premium can install it on some combination of five Macs and PCs. Small businesses pay by employee – that’s just under $300 per year for two, and up from there. (Check out our earlier post on exactly what each Office version offers for what price, as well as our advice on what version to buy.)
Koenigsbauer said there are more launch details to come. In the meantime, consumers can continue to try out the consumer preview before the launch, whenever it is.
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Just as many companies won’t hire the unemployed, new research suggests workers may tend to avoid jobs that have been open too long. A look at high-growth areas like Silicon Valley reveals some big disconnects between the expectations of tech job employers and job seekers – leaving many positions open and many professionals unemployed.
Finding a tech job these days should be as easy as shooting fish in a barrel, right? Not since the dot.com boom of the late 1990s have so many companies sprouted up with a mission to create software and provide online services to the masses. Heck, even jobs in general seem to be making a comeback. The U.S. Labor Department’s national numbers on unemployment claims dropped to 7.8% from 8.1% last week.
That optimism might be overheated, however. Information technology-related jobs (IT jobs) saw reductions of 1,700 workers last month, according to research released this week from Foote Partners Research Group. That’s the first monthly drop in IT industry jobs that was not labor related since 2010. Compared to earlier this year, unemployment for IT workers mostly befell Web developers, network architects, computer systems analysts and software developers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Not Time To Panic For Tech Workers
While not cause for full-scale panic, the decrease hints at a broader industry problem: Employers can’t find enough qualified employees even as job seekers can’t find qualified openings.
In a perfect world, every manager fills open positions as quickly as possible. But even as many workers can’t find appropriate positions, the market for technology professionals in certain geographies and skill-sets is remarkably tight.
Some 45% of surveyed hiring managers and recruiters told Dice.com it was taking longer to fill positions relative to last year (June 2012 compared to June 2011). The number one reason, according to Alice Hill, managing director of Dice.com: an inability to find qualified professionals. That was followed by hiring managers being more discerning waiting for the perfect match.
The problem is that waiting for the ideal candidate may mean job postings remain open for longer than some job seekers are comfortable with. The longer a job is open, the less likely it will get filled, according to Randstad Technologies a technology recruiter based in the U.K.
Does A Job Posting Have A Shelf Life?
To test its theory that employers should not keep job postings open indefinitely, Randstad contracted a survey of 2,001 people asking, “How many working days does a vacancy for a permanent job have to be open before it starts to look like a bad job that no one wants?”
Technology professionals in the U.K said they thought a post that was vacant an average of 67 days was most likely a job that no one wants. The survey did not indicate what kinds of employers had postings that lasted that long, nor what kinds of jobs could not be filled in more than two months time. Typically, online job posting websites like Dice.com, CareerBuilder.com and SimplyHired.com keep each posting for only a month. Most fill up in two weeks time, according to Dice.com’s Hill.
Just as important, there could be many reasons why it’s taking longer to fill a particular position and not necessarily because it’s a “bad” job.
“There are instances where consulting or staffing companies are constantly in need of certain professionals,” Hill says. “The job may appear to be the same, but it’s really a unique role with similar qualifications and experience needed.”
Testing The Theory In Silicon Valley
Does this theory really hold true – especially in the hyper-competitive market of Silicon Valley? To find out, we took a look at job listings for tech positions listed on four well-known job-search sites for in Cupertino, Calif., the home of Apple.
It seems that some employers do have a hard time filing software developer jobs. A simple search turned up the following un-filled positions posted for more than a month:
- Software Developer & Report Writer – posted September 5
- .Net Software Developer – posted September 7
- CloudSystem Software Engineer – VI for a high-profile company in Palo Alto – posted 3 weeks ago
- Software Developer at a lesser-known company – posted 3 weeks ago
- Sr. Software Dev Engineer Wireless at a high profile company in Seattle – posted 29 days ago
- Software Development Engineer in Test Framework at a high-profile company in Seattle – posted 17 days ago
- SW. Developer – Music Apps at an unknown company – posted September 8
- Senior C/C++ Software Developer at an unknown company – posted September 7
Job Postings Are Like Real Estate Listings
“Recruiting for a tech post is like trying to sell your house. Leave it on the market too long and, for whatever reason, people start to think there is something wrong with it,” said Mike Beresford, managing director of Randstad. “That leads to fewer applications and increased pressures on the rest of the staff left trying to cover the empty position.”
While IT jobs continue to be in high demand, the nature of employees and those looking for work in tech remains a dance between employers looking for skilled workers and skilled workers looking for better opportunities.
It may seem that in this economy, just posting an open position should be enough to get it filled. But as the research shows, it’s also important to manage expectations – and to refresh job listings left up too long – if we want to get those positions filled and people back to work.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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With a constant parade of new ad features being rolled out by Google AdWords, the importance of ranking in the top 3 ad positions becomes more evident. Here’s some advice for advertisers who want to ensure the continue seeing optimal ad performance.
View full post on Search Engine Watch – Latest
With a new iPhone on the way, most likely by the end of the month, do you ever wonder what’s going through the minds of folks who are shopping for iPhones right now? And what happens at the store if they ask about the new model? It turns out that not all retail representatives have been giving shoppers a clear picture of what everyone seems to know is right around the corner.
Retail intelligence company GoSpotCheck did a survey of 182 retail locations over three days in 27 states to answer the question of “What happens when you go to buy a new iPhone less than a month before the rumored new release?”
Amazingly for a comission-driven retail industry, more than half of surveyed retail agents (52%) advised shoppers to wait until the iPhone is released. Most of the rest (38%) acknowledged that a new iPhone might be coming, but advised shoppers to buy now anyway. Only 10% said they didn’t know a new iPhone was likely on the way. (Not sure what rock they’d been hiding under – or if they were just feigning ignorance to close the sale.)
Of course, those responses were not evenly distributed across various retailing chains. Troubled electonics giant Best Buy was the most likely to tell shoppers to buy now, while AT&T stores were most likely to tell shoppers to wait. Workers at Apple stores, obviously very well coached, had little to say either way.
Bottom line: Don’t count on your phone retailer to keep you up to date on the big thing coming along.
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Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky one said, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” Well, search is skating toward the Mobile Social Semantic Intent Web 3.0. Make sure your website is skating right in that direction.
View full post on Search Engine Watch – Latest