Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Boot up: Gmail spam warning, LG's Flex-ibility, Apple's medical meeting, and more

LG G Flex The LG G Flex smartphone went on sale in South Korea.

A burst of 10 links for you to chew over, as picked by the Technology team

If you use the Gmail app on your iPhone or iPad, it might be sensible to check your Trash and Spam folders before Valentine's Day.

That's not because there might be an ecard waiting for you from a secret admirer, but due to Google accidentally deleting or marking as spam some users' messages.

See a later link for how to do this effectively.

So much for Intel's bid to get hip with our app-filled times: the company is shutting down its consumer-facing AppUp, its app store for Windows-based PC apps. "The world's largest app store that nobody's ever heard of," in the words of AppUp boss Peter Biddle, a description that in hindsight may have been tempting fate.

Launched in January 2010. You remember, when.. um, anyway, Biddle was certain in July 2011 that Apple and Google had app stores "exactly backwards". And the thing about the apps stopping working? Delightful.

tl;dr: Search Gmail for "is:spam -label:^os" to find messages that you manually marked as spam (as opposed to ones that Gmail automatically marked for you).

But do read the lot, because it is clever.

Long piece on how the LG Flex got its curved screen:

"I think LG has great potential," [Lois] Fagen [Sprint's director of wireless devices] said. "This helps LG garner some additional attention."

We constantly yearn for the unique and new, but often recoil with skepticism and caution when something genuinely different arrives at our front door.

Which is a central dilemma facing the G Flex: Will consumers take a chance on something new, or stick to their comfortable - and reliable - iPhones and Galaxy S smartphones?

Fagen acknowledged that the $650 off-contract price and $300 contract price were on the high end, but noted that there's always an initial investment into new technology, and prices for these kinds of devices will fall over time. While the focus has been on the designs, critics note the screen resolution and camera are less competitive, and LG's software touches aren't much of an improvement over stock Android.

Does having a curved screen really add that much more to the usefulness of the phone?

The 18–24 year-old age group is still the largest, and the absolute reach increased by 39.33% across the same period. Again, a great result for Facebook as this emerging, affluent segment is staying loyal to the network, despite the market fragmentation from new platforms that are competing for our attention everyday.

Our data shows the growth of audience and interactions on Facebook, and while teens are undoubtedly using multiple platforms (as we all are), they are also sticking with Facebook.

A group of senior Apple executives met with directors at the United States Food and Drug Administration in December to discuss mobile medical applications, according to the F.D.A.'s public calendars that list participants of meetings.

Among the participants from Apple were Jeff Williams, senior vice president of operations; Bud Tribble, vice president of software technology at Apple; Michael O'Reilly, who joined Apple last year; and an employee from Apple's government affairs department.

On the F.D.A. side of the table were Jeff Shuren, the director of the agency's Center for Devices and Radiological Health, and Bakul Patel, who drafted the F.D.A.'s mobile medical app guidance and is a staunch advocate for patient safety when it comes to apps and medical gadgets.

How did Lenovo first get interested in Motorola?

Right after Google bought Motorola [in 2012 ], I invited [Google executive chairman] Eric Schmidt to have a dinner at my house. I told him, "If you think you want run the hardware business, you can keep the business; but if you are not interested in the hardware business, we definitely can handle that, take over that."

He remembered that, and two months ago, he sent me an email. I called him back, and he asked me, "Are you still interested in Motorola?" I said, "Definitely." We started to discuss it. I went to Silicon Valley many times. [Google CEO] Larry Page invited me to his house to have a dinner. Very quickly - in just two months - we closed the deal.

At the time, Google was negotiating to buy Nest.

Vringo has a patent that seems to be infringed by AdWords:

In the Order, the Court held that the appropriate ongoing royalty rate for defendants' continued infringement of the patents-in-suit that "would reasonably compensate [I/P Engine] for giving up [its] right to exclude yet allow an ongoing willful infringer to make a reasonable profit" is a rate of 6.5% of the 20.9% royalty base previously set by the District Court.

So is that 1.35% (6.5% of 20.9%) of AdWords revenue? The release is unclear.

Paul Thurrott reckons there are about 50m Windows Phones in use in total worldwide, and explains the fall in quarterly sequential sales for Lumias (from 8.8m to 8.2m):

Like most hardware makers, Nokia registers a sale when it one of its handsets is purchased ... by the channel. (Since, you know, that's when it gets paid.) So a big part of the record 8.8m Lumias sold in Q3 was devices that were sitting in retailers and distributors, waiting to be sold to actual consumers. Those consumers purchased the phones in Q4 and in many cases delivered them to others as Christmas presents.

This theory was bolstered when Windows Phone's Joe Belfiore attempted to detune concerns about a supposed Windows Phone fall-off in Q4 in what is unfortunately a typically cryptic and incomplete way: He tweeted that "folks who think [that] holiday sales of [Windows Phone] declined are incorrect ... Activations more than doubled last holiday [quarter] and increased [over] each holiday month."

Notable in the stats is that the top-end 1020 model and 920 models don't have above 3% of install base; the biggest-selling is the low-end 520. (The 920 model is the second-biggest at 7.9% - thanks @tylosin.)

PC shipments to East Africa increased 3.0% year on year in the final quarter of 2013 to total 140,251 units, according to the latest insights from global market research and advisory firm International Data Corporation (IDC). Strong gains in the markets of Uganda, Tanzania, and Ethiopia helped offset the poor performance seen in Kenya, where the introduction of new VAT legislation resulted in a significant downturn in PC shipments.

Portable PC shipments were 91,599 units (love the accuracy) - so 65% of the total. Expect that to rise.

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