The Facebook Messenger app for Windows Phone features the usual bells and whistles available on iOS and Android platforms, including stickers. You can also send photos privately, as well as have group conversations and share your location so people know where exactly you are.
We noted before that it seems Microsoft can only keep Facebook in one of its platforms at a time. The company is attempting to merge the Windows and Windows Phone stores, but that’s still a long way off. Facebook Messenger for Windows was released in March 2012, following a limited beta test in November 2011.
➤ Facebook Messenger for Windows Phone
Thumbnail image via Brandon Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
Microsoft rolls out Xbox One March update with improvements to party chat, multiplayer, friends, and more
Following the February update, Microsoft today began rolling out the Xbox One March update, which features “many new features and improvements, most significantly to our party and multiplayer systems.” The new version is meant as preparation for the launch of the high-anticipated title Titanfall, which goes on sale on March 11 in the US and on March 13 in Europe.
Here’s a long list of what’s new:
- Get to your friends list faster: The friends list is now front and center on the homepage of the Friends app. Click the Social tile on Home, or say “Xbox, go to Friends” to see who’s online and what they’re up to. From there you can quickly send messages and get into a party.
- Party chat: When you party up, chat audio will be turned on by default.
- Chat with friends playing different games: Party chat is now separate from people playing your game, so you can chat with your friends who are online or you can chat with everyone playing the game.
- “Invite friends to game” option has been added to multiplayer titles. Similar to Xbox 360 titles, this will appear inside a games’ menu and offer a simple and quicker way to set up your multiplayer battles. Selecting “Invite friends” will let you invite friends to your game and party.
- “Recent Players” has been added to show you Xbox Live members you’ve recently played with, making it easier to stay in touch with people, add new friends after your multiplayer sessions, or report a player for bad behavior.
- Dolby Digital sound: Optical out now supports 5.1 Dolby Digital, enabling devices such as sound bars and headsets with only optical in. Support for Dolby Digital surround sound over HDMI has also been added.
- Support for 50Hz output to Xbox One: You can set the live TV app to display at 50Hz for full or fill modes, fixing the frame rate issues some users in Europe have been experiencing while watching live TV on Xbox One.
- Volume up/down adjustments: You can now tailor the number of volume increments when using “Xbox volume up” or “Xbox volume down” voice commands.
- SmartGlass: Receive notifications for Xbox Live messages, check out what your friends are doing, and see their latest highlight clips. You can even unsnap apps with the tap of a finger – all from your mobile device.
- Support for new Xbox One accessories: Xbox One now supports the recently announced Xbox One stereo headset and adapter, Xbox One media remote with a dedicated OneGuide button, as well as third- party headsets.
- Browser improvements: When you’re searching for content, there’s now a direct link to IE to see related results on the Web. New gesture and controller features let you directly zoom and pan Bing and Google Maps. You can now just highlight a phrase on a page and press the menu button to search Bing.
- IR blasting of power and volume to TVs/AVRs is now available in all regions.
- Easy sound bar setup: You no longer need to type in the model number for most sound bars or AVRs when setting up TV on Xbox One.
- General improvements: Last, but not least, a few miscellaneous update the ability to view Game Clips while in Snap mode and a new passkey feature to protect user settings.
One thing that you will notice missing from this list is Twitch TV live streaming support; that’s coming on March 11 with the new Twitch app: just say “Xbox broadcast” to start sharing. As for other features, Microsoft mentioned it is working on external hard drive storage support and friends notification improvements, but no telling when those will arrive.
With Revel, you can touch up photos with an assortment of filters, a crop tool, red eye correction and more. You can also invite friends to create a collaborative group library and share those photos and videos privately. You control who can view, add, organize, and edit photos in a group library.
Photo credit: Robert Giroux/Getty Images
BlackBerry confirms sponsored content in BBM Channels, promises no ads in BBM chats and to respect user privacy
BlackBerry recently started to push sponsored content to some of its external beta testers, but after users started to notice, the Canadian company has decided to set the record straight. Ads will be limited to BlackBerry Channels, to help brands drive community growth, will not touch BBM chats, and BlackBerry promises it will respect user privacy.
BlackBerry further says sponsored content is a “premier opportunity” and it will be “very strict about the amount of content we would ever allow to be pushed to our BBM community.” That being said, there are three ways that BBM Channels sponsored content will be promoted in the BBM app:
- Featured Placements: BBM Channel owners will have the ability to secure space on the Featured Channels tab to help promote their channel. This is the landing page for BBM Channels and will likely be considered prime real estate.
- Sponsored Invites: Channel owners can invite BBM users to join their channel by defining certain characteristics like age, location, and interests. These invites will appear in the invites tab of BBM marked as sponsored invites. As with invites from contacts, BBM users can accept the invite from the channel owner (subscribing them to that channel) or decline the invite. If a BBM user declines an invite they will not receive invites from that channel again. BlackBerry will further limit these invites to a maximum of three per month.
- Sponsored Posts: Within the Updates tab in BBM, BBM Channel owners will be able to place “clearly labeled” sponsored posts alongside updates from BBM Contacts and already subscribed BBM Channels. BlackBerry will dynamically determine how frequently Sponsored Posts appear in the Updates feed. Users will also be able to filter updates to only show Contacts, so they won’t see any Sponsored Posts.
While that doesn’t sound that great, BlackBerry does have some good news: the company promises not to insert “sponsored content of any kind” into BBM chats. This is all about BBM Channels, which only include brands and businesses.
Last but not least, the Canadian company emphasizes that “protecting user privacy remains a top focus.” When you first open BBM Channels, you’re asked for your age, location, and gender. The company promises that such personally identifiable information will not be viewable by any channel owners or advertisers.
In short, BlackBerry is finally trying to monetize its messaging platform. The company is working to find the tricky balance between what users want with what advertisers want, but BBM is no longer the dominating player that can afford mistakes.
Top mage Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images
The Google Play store is celebrating its two-year anniversary on March 5 and to coincide with the milestone, Google is finally offering TV shows to customers in Australia.
As Ausdroid reports, many popular shows, including The Walking Dead, Downton Abbey and The Vampire Diaries, are already available, although HBO content is reportedly absent, unlike in the US and the UK.
Update: Jason Murray from Ausdroid tells me that multiple HBO shows including Game of Thrones, True Blood, The Sopranos and Girls are now available in the Google Play store for Australia customers.
While the new content is already visible on the front page of the Google Play store website, Ausdroid notes that it’s only appearing intermittently in the Google Play Movies & TV app. Although Google is yet to make an official announcement, it’s already listed in one of the company’s support pages. We expect it’s only a matter of time.
Australia is the fourth region to receive TV shows in the Google Play store, following Japan, the US and the UK. If Google wants to make its storefront the go-to place for purchasing and renting digital content, it would be wise to quickly expand its global offerings even further.
Image Credit: Shutterstock
If you’re the type of iPhoneographer who loves to shoot but hates toggling between apps to get your photo looking just right, JellyBus Rookie, a new universal iOS app will cover all the bases.
Rookie first presents itself as a shooting app, though you can easily import any photo from your camera roll into it. The beauty of Rookie is that it automatically adjusts important parameters that help you take your best shot.
Now, there are many shooting apps out there the give you more than just the good old tap and shoot. But a crowded plethora of controls can be a challenge to operate quickly, even if you have mastered them, and especially on a small smartphone screen. That’s why many folks wind up relying on Apple’s plain-jane camera because they know immediately how to use it when a fawn crosses their path on a hike. While Apple’s default camera app is no slouch, it doesn’t give you much control. With Rookie, you get the benefit of a higher level of functionality, with the app attending to the details.
Fire up Rookie and just move your phone around the landscape: you’ll notice that some specs you care about, like ISO, shutter speed, and white balance adjust automatically. When you turn the phone to landscape orientation, the controls actually rotate to that view too, a very convenient feature, and something that is becoming increasingly rare among mobile camera apps these days.
The phone version of the camera features familiar focus and exposure adjustments that you tap to set, and they are very easy to find and figure out. The iPad version is missing the tap to focus and the flash.
In addition to the basic controls, the camera’s Gear icon reveals additional critical components including a composing grid, square photo, timer, geotag control, and front reverse. An Anti-Shake utility won’t let you shoot until everything is still, assuring a sharp picture. The Leveler shows you on-screen whether or not your image is straight. Save Original saves both the original and the edited shot for comparison and history later on. Several built-in filters can be applied before you take the shot.
It’s after you tap the shutter button that a full edit becomes available. Or you can go straight to the editing module and pull up a photo from your camera roll.
In editing mode, the Adjustment button gives you the classic controls you’d expect from a photo editing app: brightness/contrast, hue/saturation, vibrance, color temperature/tint, fade, crop (which includes a selection of aspect ratios), and rotate. Everything operates interactively with buttons, sliders, and real-time previews. A history button at the top left and an original button at the top right give immediate information about the edit.
A type module filled with decorative display fonts lets you place labels on your images, complete with tracking and opacity adjustments. A slider lets you choose color, with a choice of solid or soft drop shadows, and a range of stroke thicknesses. An assortment of stickers for which you can adjust size, rotation, and color is also included. When you’re done, you can share everything to your favorite social network.
Filter freaks also get the Rookie love. While there are a few native filters you can apply before you shoot, it is nothing compared to the madness that you can indulge in after the fact. JellyBus offers four extensive sets of filters, suitable for almost any kind of photo, with the free version of the app. But in-app purchases make many more available.
Rookie is simple to use, easy to learn, and has both high end and consumer oriented elements that are guaranteed to make almost every shooter smile. Check it out for free. If you like what you see, several in-app purchases will give you more filters, stickers, shapes, and fonts for your viewing pleasure.
Pros: Complete shooting and editing environment, controls are easy to decipher quickly, lots of automatic and manual choices, cool extras like designer fonts, artistic stickers, filters, and shapes, a fun app.
Cons: Some photo controls on the iPhone are missing from the iPad version; can’t adjust the intensity of filters after applying them.
Facebook released an update to its news reader iPhone app Paper Tuesday, allowing users to more easily share the stories via Facebook messages, text or email.
The app has been well-liked among those who use it, earning an overall rating of 4.5 stars (out of 5). However, AppData download estimates show that Paper has fallen flat.
- Turn off sound effects and enjoy the silence
- Create stories in languages that use multi-stage input, including Chinese, Japanese and Korean
- Experience other improvements that make Paper even more reliable and—hopefully—that much more fun to use!
We’ll see if these enhancements help, but so far, iPhone users have been slow to download Paper, even with shining reviews. On Feb. 4, one day after release, AppData estimates pegged Paper as the top free social networking app in the U.S. (in terms of downloads). Today? It’s the 28th-most downloaded free social networking app in the U.S., and 285th in terms of U.S. free apps.
Reddit today updated its site with a few neat features. In addition to being able to give each other a Reddit gold subscription for a comment (called “gilding” a comment), users can now gild a user who submitted a link or self-post by just clicking the “give gold” link below the submission. Gilding submissions can only be done from the comments page, and the gold star showing which submissions have been gilded will only be visible on that page, in order to avoid having gilded submissions receive more attention solely due to being gilded.
All Reddit users can now save comments as well as submissions, and view their saved items based on which subreddit they came from. Users with Reddit gold, which previously had this feature exclusively, now get another tool for organizing their saved items with an option to save to a custom category. While still not profitable, the company continues to offer new features to its subscribing members before eventually transferring these features to all users.
See also – Reddit will donate 10% of its advertising revenue in 2014 to the top 10 non-profits chosen by its community and Reddit’s 2013 stats: 56 billion page views, 731 million unique visitors, and over 40 million posts
Image Credit: Eastop
Facebook began prepping brands on how to adapt to its new campaign structure, which it began rolling out Tuesday, offering a video detailing best practices, as well as an introduction and resources, in a post on its Facebook for Business page.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Entrepreneurship is pretty darn tough.
Quitting your job to start a venture is like abandoning a sailing ship in the middle of the ocean looking for adventure, seeking an island sailing on a dinghy. It looks fascinating and adventurous, but not everyone’s cup of tea to face storms, possible capsizing and navigating through shark-infested waters.Identify the reasons for starting your own business
If the following are your reasons for quitting your job to start your own business, then save yourself some grief and look for a better job or stay put.
Unhappy at your job or with the boss
Is this the trigger to start thinking of going your own way? If so, then first, look for a job that makes you happy.
Once you secure one, then think about starting on your own and see if you still want to give up your job to startup.
You’ve got friends who’ve started up and every other person you hear from friends of friends are starting businesses. That gets your juices flowing, but just because someone is doing it doesn’t qualify you to do it as well.
Glitz and glamour
So you watched The Social Network at least three times and got so inspired by the fancies that come with starting one’s own venture that you want to take the plunge. Let me break your dream-bubble here: entrepreneurship is nothing like that.
Co-founder of LinkedIn Reid Hoffman best describes the entrepreneurial journey: It’s like jumping off a cliff and assembling an airplane on the way down!
You have an idea
My neighbor has an idea, my friend has an idea, his kids have an idea. An idea makes not a business. And that doesn’t make all of them entrepreneurs.
Did you know that only 1 to 3 percent of ideas become a company – and a fraction of them successful at that? So, merely having an idea is not enough reason to start a business.
Rather, think about the execution, how will you execute it, where will you raise funds for it, how long can you go without any earnings, how will you market, how will you sell, who will manage your finances and if you fail, will you give it up?
These are not words of discouragement, but a reality check. For all that is entrepreneurship, one has to really know what you’re getting into. It is, by no means a destination, but a long, crazy journey.The entrepreneurial journey
So what does the journey entail? These are just some of the paths you have to cross when you embark on an entrepreneurial journey.
Little or no income
Before you can pay yourself, you have to take care of all the expenses related to the business including salaries of your employees, if you have any.
Before you’re able to do that, your business first needs to generate money and enough to sustain itself and then the entrepreneur. Are you prepared to give up your salary and have a meager earning for the next few years?
Chances are that once you launch your product or service, you will fail. Because that is what happens to almost all entrepreneurs. No product is successful the day it is launched and it has to go through several iterations and failure before it gets traction.
The only difference between the successful ones and others is that the successful entrepreneurs are passionate, persistent, flexible to change and adapt, open to pivoting and want success as bad as they want to breathe when dunked head down in water. It takes ten years to become an overnight success.
If you feel you can take your idea to a VC even before you have your own skin in the game, you have absolutely no clue then about entrepreneurship. VCs invest in companies with traction and proven potential. Do not start to daydream hearing about those few companies that got funded.
There are hundreds of thousands others that didn’t get any funding. You only hear about the deals that go through in the media.
The three P’s
Passion, persistence and a problem. If you don’t have either or all, you’re doomed as an entrepreneur.
Let me elaborate. You need a problem to start with, a problem that your business will solve, which is such a great problem that someone would pay you your price to help solve it. You need to be passionate about solving that problem. Because, if you’re not passionate about it, you’d lose interest the moment you’re faced with a challenge.
You have to be so persistent, that you last the next five to ten years running the company through failures and changes in the dream of making a difference.
Once you’ve identified that you’re starting up for the right reasons and the problem you’re trying to solve gives you many sleepless nights that you spend every waking moment thinking only about how you will solve the problem, that, my friend, is your moment to validate your idea and take that leap into entrepreneurship.
So ask yourself again, are you truly ready?
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
The service was announced last month, but for its official release 500px has slipped in a huge change related to how much photographers are paid. Instead of 30%, the company has flipped its offer and will giving shutterbugs a 70% cut of each sale instead.
Given that each photo is sold at a flat rate of $250, that bumps up the photographer’s commission from $75 to $175 every time one of their images is licensed. ”We think this is fair,” 500px founder and chief product officer Evgeny Tchebotarev said. “We want to give all photographers, amateur and professional, an opportunity to be fairly compensated for their work.”
500px Prime is still in beta, so for now you’ll need an invite code to sign up and access the site.
Roku tackles Chromecast with a new Streaming Stick, will let you stream content from your PC in future
Roku has announced a new wireless HDMI dongle that lets users access streaming TV services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer without the need for a separate box.
Revealed today and due to start shipping in the US and Europe from next month, the small device costs around $50/£50 and unlike previous versions integrates an HDMI connector into the unit itself, removing the need for any additional cables. Previous Roku Streaming Sticks required collaboration with device manufacturers to develop them to work with specific models of TV.
As with normal Roku boxes, the new Roku Streaming Stick comes with the familiar Roku controller to allow users to easily navigate the UI and access the Roku Channels Store. However, don’t go expecting the volume socket or motion-controls found on higher-end Roku boxes.
Also like with Roku’s streaming boxes, the iOS and Android apps can be used to navigate and control the Streaming Stick directly from a mobile or tablet. Timed to coincide with the release, there’s also an update for the app that will let users search for specific content but this will be arriving earlier in the US than it will for the UK market, as is often the case.
The company added that app users can also ‘cast’ Netflix, YouTube and personal media from their devices to their TVs too. In time, Roku said it would add additional mobile features such as the ability to cast content from a computer to the TV directly from your mobile but wouldn’t be drawn on exactly how this would work. We’re expecting updates on this issue in “summer or fall”, according to Roku’s Director of Product Marketing Lloyd Klarke.
The release of a new streaming stick might not seem particularly noteworthy, but allowing a product to be retrofitted to slightly older technology potentially opens the door to a huge number of new Roku users – particularly at the lower end of the price scale. The release also dovetails nicely with news that Roku’s first embedded TV products will ship in the US “this Fall” and will come from Hisense and TCL, again showing how the company is looking to embrace markets beyond the reach of a set-top box.
It seems that the company is making some headway too. Klarke told TNW that in 2013 nearly 2 billion hours of content was streamed by Roku users, and that the average platform user streams about 13 hours per week. With the number of ways to access Roku set to increase, we can only see that number set to increase.
First video of Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana leaks, shows initial setup, ‘quiet hours’ option, and more
The first video of Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana has leaked, courtesy of UnleashThePhones, running on what appears to be a pre-release build of Windows Phone 8.1. Microsoft describes the tool as “a personal assistant on your phone, ready to help with reminders, suggestions, tasks and lots more.” While YouTube user Yash Maheshwari doesn’t say anything, it’s fairly easy to see what he’s testing based on the responses Cortana displays:
We’ve already seen rumors of what Cortana will be able to do, based on leaked screenshots and industry sources, but this is the first time details have shown up on video. Above you can see the initial setup process for Cortana, including the requirement of a Microsoft account, as well as a “quiet hours” option that ensures whether or not Cortana can bother you (it lets you pick which types of notifications are allowed). Most interesting is probably the fact Microsoft has decided it is best to ask the user a set of questions before Cortana can be useful, unlike Apple’s Siri or even Google Now which asks questions after the fact.
Image Credit: Vernon Chan
Evernote is rolling out an update for its Windows app today that will give users the ability to annotate photos, images and screenshots featured within their notes.
While hovering above an image, Evernote aficionados will notice a new Annotate button in the top right-hand corner of the frame. Once selected, it’ll bring up the Annotation Tool with a range of markup options brought over from its Skitch apps.
These include arrows and other shapes, text notes, stamps and marker pens. Evernote already offers this toolset as part of the Evernote Web Clipper, but should users want to add any additional notes at a later date this should prove useful. Once the user hits Done, the annotated image will automatically replace the original one.
As an aside, Evernote is also promising faster note syncing with its updated Windows app.
Image Credit: TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images
However, Sean Percival, the head of marketing at Bitcoin firm Blockchain and also a venture partner at 500 Startups, says that the fall of Mt. Gox is actually a positive development for the Bitcoin industry.
I think that Mt. Gox’s (fall) was a good thing, because that was an issue that was going on for a long time…
I think it’s actually good for Bitcoin itself, because this was looming and it was always a blemish. Think about Silk Road, it was always hanging and always out there, and someone knew that eventually that was going to come to an end — and when it did, everyone was happy, because most Bitcoin users don’t care about buying drugs and all that stuff.
Mt. Gox’s sudden shutdown and subsequent filing for bankruptcy protection were rumored to have stemmed from a series of missteps and irresponsible handling of Bitcoin funds. Pre-empting such a response, the heads of six of the world’s biggest Bitcoin exchanges, including Blockchain CEO Nicholas Cary, earlier penned a letter in response to reports of Mt. Gox’s impending insolvency, noting that “as with any new industry, there are certain bad actors that need to be weeded out.”
Despite Mt. Gox’s plans to restore its business so it can repay debts to creditors, Percival tells us that he thinks the exchange will fade into nothingness. He says:
Mt. Gox is the Friendster of Bitcoin right now. They will relaunch, and they will get sold, and they will come back five times, but nobody will care. It eventually will become a very niche website that nobody uses. Just like Friendster still exists and it’s big in Indonesia, but that’s it. Friendster will never come back and be a big website in the US.
Even as the Bitcoin industry bids goodbye to the black sheep, other companies are building up their arsenal.
Blockchain, which started as a Web wallet to store Bitcoins, has now expanded to developing wallet apps for both iOS and Android (though the iOS version was recently pulled from Apple’s App Store) and even publishing charts and statistics for economic buffs interested in following the Bitcoin economy.
Today, Blockchain announced that ZeroBlock, a Bitcoin service which it owns, has acquired trading platform RTBTC. The move comes as Blockchain is seeking to provide a more holistic approach for its users. “It allows us to have more functionality, more access, more data to be a very complete suite of services,” Percival tells us in an interview.
Since launching last July, RTBTC has facilitated over $150 million in trading volume across multiple exchanges. It works by allowing traders to link their exchange accounts to the platform via APIs. Now, RTBTC will power ZeroBlock’s new trading platform. On top of that, ZeroBlock’s proprietary news feed will be embedded in the trading platform, so traders get access to market-moving news before anyone else.
What does the future of Bitcoin look like to Percival?
He predicts that Bitcoin will stabilize within the year, and that the role Bitcoin plays in speculation will eventually go away — evolving into more of a convenient payment method than just a mere speculative currency.
If that volatility goes away, then it will be looked at as a stable currency, or better yet, it’s a technology, a protocol. The interesting thing is the technology and protocol behind it…
Just like a credit card, when you swipe a credit card, a lot of things happen, but you don’t know and you don’t care and you don’t need to know. And the same thing needs to happen to Bitcoin, where the technology is what’s the big focus, not speculation, not security, not encryption, not two-factor authentication, not all these very complex things. You just open your phone, you scan a barcode and you’re done. That’s what it needs to get to.
Percival also notes that the efficiency of Bitcoin technology effectively means the remittance market will get a huge boost in terms of saving money for consumers. Given that Western Union’s charges can go up to 10 percent for sending money from the US to India for example, Bitcoin can disrupt the industry by charging just a mere 1 percent. “That (extra) money could actually help their family a lot — the extra 9 or 8 percent they save could mean the family has more to eat, to go to school,” he says.
Percival acknowledges though that consumer adoption of Bitcoin needs to be improved — as it’s pretty low right now, with an estimated 500,000 to five million holders of Bitcoin across the globe. Only with more users can Bitcoin gain recognition as a valid currency.
As for governments, Percival thinks that eventually Bitcoin will need some form of regulation so they can feel they have some control over issues linked to the cryptocurrency, such as money laundering. “Right now, they probably think it’s cute, and they’re not too worried about it. But in the end, yes, most governments are going to want to tax it. They’re going to want to have accountability,” he says.
Already, Singapore has become probably the first to recognize Bitcoin trading and lay out taxation rules governing transactions made in the virtual currency, while Japan is gearing up to impose regulations on the cryptocurrency, including taxing citizens for Bitcoin purchases.
It seems like the Bitcoin industry is rooting for the cryptocurrency to fulfill a role of being an alternative currency for use in the global economy, instead of merely being speculative, but whether or not that goes through remains to be seen. After all, Bitcoin has already been occupying the role of an investment commodity, with many making big bucks out of turning it over, and to change people’s mindsets could be tough.
Android KitKat hits 2.5% adoption, Jelly Bean grabs 62%, but a third of Play users still on ICS or Gingerbread
Google today updated its Platform Versions page for Android, revealing that KitKat has hit a 2.5 percent adoption rate. Meanwhile, Jelly Bean continues to steadily grow, maintaining its dominance on Google Play. All other Android versions have lost share.
Breaking down the numbers more specifically, 62 percent of Android users are using Jelly Bean, 15.2 percent have devices powered by Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), 0.1 percent are on Honeycomb, 19.0 percent are stuck with Gingerbread, and 1.2 percent unfortunately still have Froyo. Here’s how the current Android landscape looks in graph and table form:
Between February and March, Android 4.4 grabbed an additional 0.7 percentage points (moving from 1.8 percent to 2.5 percent), Android 4.3 increased 0.7 percentage points (from 8.9 percent to 9.6 percent), Android 4.2 gained 0.8 percentage points (from 16.3 percent to 17.1 percent), and Android 4.1 slipped 0.2 percentage pionts (from 35.5 percent to 35.3 percent). Android 4.0, meanwhile, continued its slow decline: it dropped another 0.9 points (from 16.1 percent to 15.2 percent).
Gingerbread took the biggest hit, dropping 1.0 points (from 20 percent to 19 percent), Honeycomb didn’t budge at 0.1 percent, and Froyo lost 0.1 percent points (from 1.3 percent to 1.2 percent). Despite all this, the bigger picture hasn’t changed: the Jelly Beans (June 2012, November 2012, and July 2013) are first, Gingerbread (released December 2010) is second, ICS (October 2011) is third, and KitKat (October 2013) is fourth.
For reference, here’s the data from February:
As always, we have to remember that back in April 2013, Google tweaked its algorithm in regards to how it counts users for these figures, measuring when users visit the Google Play Store instead of checking-in to Google servers. The change skews the data by giving an inaccurate picture of Android fragmentation, but at the same time it helps developers target users who are actively using Google Play.
Right now it appears very unlikely that we’ll see Android 4.4 KitKat in a leadership position in 2014. We’ll see it pass ICS and Gingerbread, but it likely won’t steal the crown from Jelly Bean – the next Android version will come first.
Top Image Credit: suhakri_hsu / Flickr
Japan is gearing up to impose regulations on the bitcoin cryptocurrency, according to a report from local business paper Nikkei Asian Review.
With the new rules, Japanese citizens would be taxed for bitcoin purchases and the protocol would be treated as a commodity, similar to gold, rather than an actual currency.
Governments have been unsure of how to handle bitcoin as it grows in popularity. Japan emerges as one of the first to take direct steps to control the currency.
➤ Japan to regulate Bitcoin trades, impose taxes [Nikkei Asian Review]
Thumbnail Credit: George Frey/Getty Images
Overstock.com has surpassed $1 million in sales generated from Bitcoin transactions. The retailer partnered with Coinbase on January 9 to let consumers purchase items with the digital currency, meaning the milestone was achieved in less than two months.
As you can see in the charts above shared by Coinbase, more than 4,000 customers made purchases with Bitcoin on Overstock.com in some 50 days. The average order size for a Bitcoin customer ($226) was 34 percent greater compared to customers paying in USD ($168), and over half of all customers paying in Bitcoin were new to Overstock.com (58 percent), having never purchased goods from the site before. Those are impressive results, but the real test will be to see how those numbers hold up.
See also – WordPress.com criticizes PayPal, credit card firms for restrictions, now lets you pay with Bitcoin and Shopify adds support for Bitcoin, letting more than 75,000 of its merchants accept the virtual currency
Top Image Credit: zcopley/Flickr