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Source: Kai Oberhäuser on Pexels.
DDoS or Distributed Denial of Service attacks are the great bogeyman of the internet - vague and mysterious to many, and all the more threatening for it - but the idea is relatively straightforward when compared to lesser known concerns like cross-site scripting; DDoS attacks launch data at a web service or server until it breaks.
As far as the tools of cybercrime go, DDoS attacks have been around for a long time but it's debatable when they first became a part of the public consciousness. Last year, a DDoS attack involving the Mirai "botnet" -- a horde of zombie devices twisted to the whims of a criminal -- took down half the internet by overwhelming the company responsible for turning domain names into IP addresses - Dyn. Early attacks go back to 1995 though, when an Italian activist group used the technique to protest nuclear policy in France.
So, with online criminals recruiting everything they can get their virtual paws on into botnets, including "smart" security cameras and baby monitors, why isn't the world living in terror of an Android or iOS-based DDoS attack? With around 2.32 billion devices on the market, the attack "surface" (i.e. the size of the space that attackers can exploit) presented by smartphones is enormous but the only major example of what could be deemed a DDoS attack on mobile was, ironically, done by users themselves way back in 2004.
Happy New Year
According to UK website The Register, a glut of "Happy New Year" texts and phone calls sent on the last day of 2004 added significant pressure to mobile phone networks throughout the country, slowing delivery to a crawl. It has to be the most mundane, accidental denial of service attack in history but it's nevertheless indicative of the kind of situation people were scared of just after the turn of the millennium. Experts at the University of Pennsylvania State suggested that "SMS-overload" could disable communications even in huge cities like Washington.
Security is a major concern for any businesses with an online presence and many install web application security solutions and DDoS mitigation to mitigate the threat. For instance, web application firewalls - cloud-based security barriers that stand between malicious traffic and delicate systems - protect against SQL injections, cross-site scripting, and other distinctly modern ills. Botnet protection keeps your router or webcam from launching a DDoS attack.
Source: JÉSHOOTS on Pexels.
Recruiting a phone into a botnet usually requires the owner to download a fake app - a trojan, a type of malware that pretends to be something harmless to trick users into installing it - to give a criminal access. For example, a DDoS Trojan called Android.DDoS.1.origin imitates the Google Play Store but, behind the scenes, it works with a handler to send text message spam or join a larger botnet.
As both Google and Apple vet their apps before adding them to their respective stores, fake software, malware, ransomware, and a range of other concerns usually come from unofficial third-party providers. With that in mind, malware is almost the exclusive domain of the more experimental mobile phone users or people who download pirated apps. So, while it has been true that almost all mobile malware is on Android, only a fraction (0.1%) came from the Play Store; the rest is hidden out in the wilds of mobiledom.
Finally, most internet activity on mobile phones is undertaken in apps. As apps use dedicated connections (Pokémon Go only connects to Niantic while the BBC app only talks to the BBC's servers, for example) they can be more secure than a mobile browser, simply because Chrome and Internet Explorer encounter more potential threats from ad networks and dodgy links. Mobile is more of an exclusive club or "walled garden" than desktop, presenting far fewer opportunities for criminals to take advantage of.
These days, it isn't rare to take our mobile devices with us everywhere. Mobile phones and tablets have expanded their abilities at incredible rates. Now, the power under our fingertips is vaster than the technology that sent the Apollo missions to the moon. That is an incredible leap forward that, along with the Internet's global community has completely changed the way that humans interact and live.
The digital age has made people available 24/7, no matter where they are. People can communicate using cutting edge chat-apps that even 15 years ago would have required a powerful desktop PC (remember AOL?). Now, we can chat to someone in Indonesia from Seattle at the drop of the hat - and then be chatting to someone in Ukraine moments later - all while waiting for a train (thanks to 3G or public WiFi).
Digital Drawbacks & Technological Threats
Sadly, along with the ability and will to be connected, also comes some very serious drawbacks. Modern problems. Digital threats that in some ways make people more vulnerable than ever before in history. Being connected leaves a trail and these digital footprints code for who we are like digital DNA. The data we create is highly personal and for that reason that data is incredibly valuable and people must seek to protect it.
What we actually find is a decrease in the level of scrutiny we apply to our online presence. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and the plethora of other social media platforms are all there for us to use, but that comes at a cost. We share our intimate moments. We share where we are, when we're away from home, when we're going on holiday, and often leave very easy breadcrumbs on exactly what we're doing, and when we're out, and where to find us. We share details that we wouldn't share with friends or family face to face, but saving them in a public forum is acceptable for millions of us. These posts, and images stay there forever. We think so little of our own private information that we give away lots of our information for free, without even thinking about it.
The inter-connectivity of devices also throws up additional concerns. We login to everything, on everything. Our phones have Facebook, our Facebook is used as a logon tool for many other services. We input our date of birth to gain access, our e-mails, our interests, likes, hobbies, names, friends, and more at an increasing rate. Our entire lives are online somewhere. Where people feel more at home with their mobile devices, we also login to our banks, and provide our financial information. The level of trust that we put into our devices, and the amount of digital data that we're inputting to those devices is increasing, drastically.
Governments, Internet Service Providers, advertisers, corporations, organizations, hackers, and cybercriminals, all want a piece of that pie. The technology has crept up on us quickly and only more recently have people come to accept that data should be considered a form of currency.
Whether it be to protect data from cybercriminals - or the government - the only way to be truly secure is for people to take control of their own digital footprints. Due to the value of personal data, everyone should make efforts to protect it. The sad truth is, that because that data is so valuable everyone is trying to get at it, but fewer are trying to protect it.
The first thing that people must realize is that mobile devices are just as vulnerable, if not more so, than PCs. In addition, the gap between Apple and Android has closed and now it is common to find malware for both. In fact, in some ways the Open Source nature of Android (as opposed to Apple's proprietary closed source environment) is allowing for encryption apps to pop up at a faster rate: things change.
These days, malware, viruses, spyware, and trojans all offer hackers methods for intercepting data - and their availability online to ‘script kiddies' means that cybercrime is at epidemic levels. The result is an elevated risk of fraud, loss of earnings - and perhaps worst of all - identity theft. For these reason, people need to take personal cybersecurity seriously and must seek to protect themselves and their devices. The most basic step is to make sure that the apps we install on our devices are secure, and that we always update them with the latest security patches and updates.
Third party and untrusted apps might be tempting, but the reality is that they could be malevolent. For this reason, people should to stick to trusted apps from known vendors and app stores. Even on official distributors such as Google Play Store it is possible to come across malicious apps.
For this reason people should take extreme care when downloading apps. Before you agree to install the app, check the permissions carefully. If the app wants access to things it doesn't really need then think twice before installing it. Why does a torch app want access to your GPS location and all of your contacts? If the requests don't seem reasonable simply don't download the app.
Remember that data is a currency, so if an app says it is ‘free' maybe you are actually paying with your data? In some cases, it might be worth paying a pound for a torch app that only requires access to the light on your phone, than to accept the free one that wants access to your entire device.
The Big Public WiFi Threat
Alongside smart devices, which allow us to be connected non-stop, in recent years there has been an explosion in the availability of public internet hotspots. Those hotspots provide high speed connectivity when people are out and about. The advantage of logging onto public connections is that people get to save their mobile data (if they have data limits).
What many people might not realize, however, is that public WiFi can be a security risk. When connected to public networks people's devices are vulnerable to having their data intercepted by another user that is logged onto the same router. This problem is the same on any WiFi - including shared home networks - so if you live in a big house where a lot of people regularly take the password from the router - you could also be at risk. The best solution for the problem is a VPN service.
A VPN service encrypts all the data between a phone, or tablet, and the VPN's servers. The result is that nobody on a public WiFi (or even on a fake hotspot controlled by a cybercriminal) can ‘sniff' the subscriber's data, as that data is encrypted.
The best VPNs provide strong military grade OpenVPN encryption, but many don't. With different levels of protection, and different services providing different benefits (and disadvantages), what you're specifically looking for can change the VPN service that you are looking for. Do you want faster speed, but are willing to accept a smaller number of geo locations, or do you need security at all costs, including speed and price? As such, it's important to do research about which VPN to use.
Other Levels of Protection
McAfee, Norton, AVG. At the launch of the internet, it's rare that individuals would have been desperate for anti-virus. There simply weren't as much malicious code flying around, but now, with an always-on internet antivirus is no longer seen as that "additional level of security that might sometimes help", or for those who delve more often into virus rife areas of the net. Now, things are different. It's rare for new computers, and new operating systems to not include some form of anti-virus, even for a month's trial while you set your computer up ensuring that you're not infected at this vital stage of life of your computer.
Not only is antivirus an integral part of your computer system, but firewalls are also included in the same package to help keep your computer safe. The problem arises that we're using our PCs, and our Laptops less and less, and using our mobile phones, and tablets more and more. There's a huge disconnect between the level of security on our larger devices, and our mobile phones, but we're still storing our intimate data on unprotected devices.
This could be a bit more understandable if protective services weren't easily available for mobile devices. Antivirus, firewalls, and password protection are just as available for devices, and the larger firms often provide multi-device deals, permitting several devices to be covered by the same services.
As well as more digital based protection, there's a large amount of physical ways to protect the data on our phones as well. Phone manufacturers are constantly in an evolutionary arms race with chancers who find new back-door entrances into devices. This has led to an increase in the amount of protection required to unlock a phone. Rather than just a pin, we now have patterns, passwords, swipe to unlock, fingerprint scans, google sign-ins. These simple methods help to keep that data secure from prying hands.
Our data, and our lives are much more mobile than they were before. Keeping up with that level of change is not only important: it's imperative.
We knew it was coming and now it's official. Qualcomm has publicly detailed the specifics of their latest flagship chip, the Snapdragon 835. It will allow smartphone manufacturers to utilize better technology and equipments in the mobile phones of 2017 in terms of photography, machine learning and displays.
The CPU in the 835 chip is an octa-core, semi-custom Kryo 280 CPU core design with possible ARM Cortex-A73 cores powering it. The Kryo 280 system is divided into four cores with 1.9GHz clock speed for efficiency and four cores with 2.45GHz clock speed for performance. Take a look at the image below to understand some of the differences between the SD 835, the SD 821 and the SD 820.
Apart from providing a boost of about 20% over the SD 820, the SD 835 will also allow for much better battery efficiency. Qualcomm expects that around 80% of all the tasks usually performed by a smartphone will be handled by the comparatively low-powered CPU cores, thereby providing an additional two and a half hour of battery life, as compared to the SD 820. Let's not forget that all of this has a lot to do with Samsung's 10nm FinFET process, on which the new chips are being built.
The Adreno 540 GPU is similar to the Adreno 530 in architecture, but the faster trilinear filtering and GPGPU compute will lead to a 25% performance boost over the older GPU. In terms of display, it can support 10-bit color at 4K resolution with a constant 60fps frame rate. The Adreno 540 GPU can now handle 107.4 million colors (previously 16.8 million) as well. In summary, we would say that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 is the most powerful and revolutionary mobile chip yet. If you are interested in more technical details, check it out here.
Saikat Kar (tech-enthusiast)
Today at CES 2015, NVIDIA has announced a brand new mobile processor for 2015 "Tegra X1". The X1 is the first mobile processor in the world capable of 1 Teraflop floating point performance, which almost puts it in the same league as desktop class GPU and current generation gaming consoles. The X1 has a new octa-core CPU cluster.
On the GPU side, NVIDIA has turned to using its latest generation Maxwell architecture, which we saw on their flagship desktop GPU this year, the GTX 980. Although not quite in the same league performance-wise, the 256 CUDA core GPU in the X1 is twice as powerful as the Kepler-based GPU on the K1. It's also capable of 1 teraflop of floating point performance. To put that into perspective, the Xbox One is capable of 1.3 teraflop while the PS4 can do 1.84 teraflop.
The X1 has a 64-bit wide LPDDR4 memory capable of peak memory bandwidth of 25.6GB/s. It is also capable of outputting 3840x2160, that's 4K @ 60fps, to an internal or external display with support for HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2. X1 also has improved codec supports and can decode VP9, VP8, H.264, H.265 (10-bit) at 2160p60, along with 600 MP/s (megapixels per second) JPEG encode and decode.
Tegra X1 also supports all major graphics standards, including Unreal Engine 4, DirectX 12, OpenGL 4.5, CUDA, OpenGL ES 3.1 and the Android Extension Pack. Mobile devices running Tegra X1 are expected in the first half of 2015 with automobiles leveraging the DRIVE PX and CX in the second half of 2015.
Samsung Mobile announced that it began the mass production of its latest 20nm 4GB LPDDR4 Mobile DRAM memory chips. Using the 20nm manufacturing process, these LPDDR4 chips will be reportedly 50% faster than the fastest LPDDR3 memory on the market, while also consuming 40% less power (1.1 volts).
The 4GB RAM chips will be ready to debut in Smartphones and Tablets by Late 2015. The chances of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 5 rocking 4GB of RAM is quite high.
The I/O data rate is up to 3,200 megabits per second, a whopping two times faster than the DDR3 DRAM used in PCs. As a result, the the new LPDDR4 RAM can support UHD video recording and playback and continuous shooting of high-resolution images with over 20 megapixels.
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Nokia Official Facebook page just posted a Photo saying that it has moved to a new "Home" referring to a new website (microsoft.com/mobile) instead of (nokia.com/lumia).
It looks like Microsoft has already started re-branding it's Mobile device, trying to replace the Nokia brand with its own, So it will soon be "Microsoft Lumia" not "Nokia Lumia" as a way to kill the Nokia brand.
So all we have to say is Goodbye Nokia, you've been a great innovative company.
Latest rumor of the Samsung Galaxy S7 point to an announcement date of late February at it'sGalaxy Unpacked event, same as the dates of the Mobile World Congress 2016 . This would be the same approach of the corporation in previous years, as the Korean consumer electronics giant has utilized the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to announce Galaxy S devices in recent years.
Another rumor that has emerged in recent weeks is the suggestion that Samsung will release three models of the Galaxy S7 simultaneously. The Samsung product range has been a little complicated in recent releases, and it is suggested that the Korean company will simplify the situation by producing a Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge and Galaxy S7 Edge+, and releasing them at the same time.
Network of the Galaxy S7 will likely complete with Cat 12 LTE, and that this mostly likely be supported by both the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 and Samsung's own Exynos 8990 processor. It appears increasingly likely that Samsung will revert to its old policy of releasing two separate Galaxy S units in different regions of the world, with the East Asian marketplace likely to receive its proprietary technology.
Samsung is particularly known for packing its devices with the highest specifications possible, and the company has pioneered numerous innovations in recent years. The most notable of these is the curved screen technology that is now almost indelibly associated with Samsung, we just going to have to wait and see how innovative how Galaxy S7 is.
If you are not a tech-enthusiast, then the chances are that you are probably confused by all that's available in the market and the choices are indeed plenty. This list will help you find the most powerful processors on offer. On the other hand, even if you are a tech-enthusiast, you would appreciate this list as AnTuTu has finally revealed the chipsets that are on the top of the food chain. Keep in mind that most of the processors that are used in mobile phones today were put through the benchmark multiple times before the conclusions were drawn.
As expected, the latest Snapdragon 820 chip from Qualcomm leads the pack with a whopping score of 136383. The Apple A9 chip lags behind ever so slightly at the second position with 132657. The Exynos 8890 chipset powering the international variants of the Samsung Galaxy S7 is in the third position by an even narrower margin with a score of 129865. After that, the difference between the chipsets become much more obvious as the Kirin 950 scored 92746, followed by the older Exynos 7420, which scored 86652. Last year's troubled but powerful flagship processor, the SD 810 still holds its own at the 6th position over the newer Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 chipset. The Apple A8 is in the 8th position with 79100, but the difference between the A8 and the SD 650, which is at number 9 with 78979, is negligible. The Snapdragon 808 from Qualcomm just makes the cut at the last position with a respectable 68508.
As you can see from the list, Qualcomm is absolutely dominating the smartphone market with its mobile CPUs and have even managed to dethrone the mighty Apple A9 chip from its number one position. We will just have to wait and see if Apple can come up with something even better when they release the iPhone 7 later this year.
Barcelona was the site of much interest from Samsung device lovers who wanted to see what the SE Asian company had in store for consumers. A couple of flagship devices and a 360-degree virtual reality camera received much of the buzz at the industry event.
The Galaxy S7 could easily be mistaken for the Galaxy S6. Okay, so it has been updated with a more metallic look and it is sleeker too, but it is unmistakably an S series device. Fans of the S series device will also be pleased to learn that Samsung have been listening and return some of the features removed from the S6. Namely, the microSD card slot has made a welcome return and storage limits are bumped up to 200GB. The water resistance is also back, so if you spill a coffee on the phone, it might just survive. Remember, we didn't say waterproof, it's only water resistant.
The camera drops from 16-megapixels to 12-megapixels, but the larger pixels and f/1.7 aperture lets in more light for improved low-light performance. The autofocus is faster and a front-facing selfie flashes the screen to provide more light. The 5.1-inch Super AMOLED screen and Snapdragon 820 SoC makes the phone hum along.
The Galaxy S7 Edge also gets the 12-megapixel camera and microSD card slot. It also have more curves in the design and space for notifications. The icons and tabs are larger to match its 5.5-inch screen. The processor is the same as with the S7.
Both devices are released on March 11 and will be compatible with the Samsung Gear VR headset which is offered as a bonus for anyone pre-ordering either device.
The Samsung Gear 360 is a 30-megapixel 360-degree camera that uses 2 fish-eye lenses to capture images and video. Its resolution is 3,820x1,920 which is almost the 4K standard. Each f/2.0 fish-eye lenses covers 195-degrees and images can be stitched together using the S7 or S7 edge. The device is not expected for release until the summer season.
Samsung had started to sell a few online-only mobile accessories in South Korea recently, but they have now decided to go global with these exclusive accessories from November. They will still be online-only products, but now you will be able to purchase the accessories from Samsung's own website or other major online shopping sites like Amazon. Many have speculated this move as a direct result of the losses that the company suffered in Q3 2016. If you are interested in what they are planning to sell, take a look at the catalogue below.
In-ear Headphones Rectangle design: Fabric\metal construction, tangle-free cable ($26 approx.)
USB LED Light ($9 approx.)
Wireless Charger Tray design: Support for charging two devices simultaneously ($58 approx.)
Battery Pack Kettle Design: 5,100mAh/10,200mAh ($26/$35 approx.)
Wireless Speaker Bottle Design: wireless charging, 360-degree surround sound, motion sensitive UX ($77 approx.)
Wireless Speaker Scoop Design: Disc design, built-in microphone ($48 approx.)
Keep in mind that the price tags mentioned may differ as they are attained by simply converting each of the product's value from Korean Won to USD.
Saikat Kar (tech-enthusiast)
Samsung announced earlier today it has began mass producing its latest 6Gb LPDDR3 Mobile DRAM chips. They're made using the 20nm manufacturing process and are designed with high performance smartphones and tablets in mind by achieving data transfer rates of up to 2,133Mbps.
A 3GB LPDDR3 package can now be made using four 6Gb LPDDR3 chips is 20% smaller and consumes 10% less energy than existing 3GB packages such as the one found in the Galaxy Note 4. The 20nm process also results in 30% productivity gain compared to the 30nm process.
"Our new 20nm 6Gb LPDDR3 DRAM provides the most advanced mobile memory solution for the rapidly expanding high-performance mobile DRAM market," - Jeeho Baek, vice president, memory marketing, Samsung Electronics.
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Now that Android 7.0 Nougat is official and out on certain Nexus devices already, it is only natural to be inquisitive about whether or not your Android device is going to get updated to the latest OS from Google. While it would be impossible to predict every smartphone that is going o get the update in the future, we have a list for you today that includes quite a few of the devices that will get official updates to Android Nougat 7.0 or later.
The LG V20 leads the pack as it is going to be the first smartphone to run Android Nougat right out of the box, beating even the likes of the Google Pixel and Pixel XL. However, there are certain rumors which point out that the two Pixel phones might just be launched with Android 7.1 Nougat, which is going to be the next version of the OS. Check below to see if your current or next smartphone made the list. Even if it didn't, if it's a high-end upcoming device, it will probably get Nougat sooner or later.
· LG V20
· Google (HTC) Pixel and Pixel XL
· Google Pixel C
· Google Nexus 9
· Google Nexus Player
· Google Nexus 5X
· Google Nexus 6P
· Google Nexus 6
· General Mobile 4G (Android One)
· Samsung Galaxy Note 5
· Samsung Galaxy S6
· Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
· Samsung Galaxy Edge Plus
· Samsung Galaxy S7
· Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
· Samsung Galaxy Note 7
· HTC One M9
· HTC One A9
· HTC 10
· Lenovo Moto Z
· Lenovo Moto G4
· Lenovo Moto G4 Plus
· Sony Xperia XZ
· Sony Xperia XA
· Sony Xperia XA Ultra
· Sony Xperia X Performance
· Sony Xperia X
· Sony Xperia X Compact
· Sony Xperia Z3+
· Sony Xperia Z3
· Sony Xperia Z5 series
· Sony Xperia Z4 tablet
· Huawei P9
Saikat Kar (tech-enthusiast)
According to the latest month web traffic report by NetMarketShare, Android has unseated iOS sometime this July. Google's Android platform accounted for 44.62% of total Mobile Web traffic, whereas iOS trailed a little behind with 44.19%. Apparently, this is the first time Android has taken the lead in this department.
While some may argue that the lead is negligible, it appears that Android's dominant position on the market is finally beginning to pay off for Google. The latest official data from one of the most trustworthy sources, Strategy Analytics, revealed that Android accounted for 84.6% of the smartphone market in Q2 of the current year. Broken down to OS versions, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean contributed for 10.03% of all mobile traffic, Android 4.4 KitKat for 9.28%, and Android 4.2 for 8.77%. Meanwhile, more than half of iOS's result is formed by users, who accessed the world wide web from their iPad tablets.
Two of the other relatively major operating systems, Windows Phone and BlackBerry OS, grasped 2.49% and 1.21% of said market, respectively. Java ME and Symbian, however, stood between them and the leaders, Android and iOS.
In 2014, Android Gained more market share with over than 47% of the whole mobile market Smartphones are running a version of the Android OS.
In an interview with Bloomberg in 2012. Google's Chairman Eric Schmidt said that Android is quite clearly winning its war against iOS. Schmidt compared the rivalry between Android and iOS in the mobile OS space to the Microsoft versus Apple debacle 20 years ago... He was right.
"This is a huge platform change; this is of the scale of 20 years ago Microsoft versus Apple. We're winning that war pretty clearly now." - Eric Schmidt, Google
Since the advent of mobile technology, it has been inevitable that mobile devices would overtake so called ‘fixed devices' in many capacities. The next step in mobile development is expected to be viewing online videos.
Worldwide, consumers spend an average of 19.7 minutes a day viewing online videos through their mobile devices (Tablets and Smartphones) compared to 16.0 minutes on fixed devices such as desktop computers and Smart TVs. Overall, this is a 39% increase for mobile devices on last year where 14.2 minutes were spent viewing online videos through mobile devices. It is anticipated fixed device viewing will remain the same thanks to Smart TVs becoming more accessible to offset the decline of the desktop computer.
The growth in mobile video viewership is primarily being driven thanks to the growing popularity of mobile devices and the increased accessibility thanks to lower cost options becoming available. As the devices become steadily more advanced; so too do the connection options such as much wider spread Wi-Fi coverage and the high speed 4G.
Mobile video consumption will continue to grow by a projected 33% in 2017 and 27% in 2018, according to reports, taking the average viewership to around 33.4 minutes a day which may sound like a lot but it's perfectly feasible when you consider how much you personally view at present. The projections suggest mobile devices will account for 64% of all online video consumption by 2018 but it isn't all bad news for fixed devices as it is anticipated by 2018 the average viewing will be 18.7 minutes as Smart TV's become more common in homes.
You may have noticed, whether you view online video via mobile or fixed devices, that advertising has become much more common and that is down to increased investment from advertisers in the online market. We've all attempted to watch a YouTube channel or playlist and had every video interrupted by an advert as a precursor and this shows no sign of slowing down as video advertising will account for 68% of all online video advertising this year - down from 75% last year which may be a semblance of good news.
Most online video viewership is mobile but the bulk of online video advertising is aimed at fixed devices and will continue to be into 2017. This is more evident in the gambling market where brands such as SBAT explore new channels. Video adverts are believed to be more engaging on larger screens and also more effective so progressively more money is to be invested in fixed video advertising.
Most brands treat online video as a compliment to traditional television rather than competition, most online video providers offer previously broadcast programs as the bulk of their offering anyway. As a by-product of this, online advertising is treated in much the same way as televised advertising: roughly 30 seconds focussing on the brand - such as a bookmaker offering free bets, the central focus of the advertisement will be the brand.
Some brands have found online advertising more effective than others, especially when offering extended content online only as televised advertising is more expensive. Consider Nike's advertising campaign for Euro 2016; the gist of the advert was displayed on television but the full five minute film was only available online.
Mobile devices will dominate online video consumption and may even eliminate the competition before long and most advertising will soon make the move from fixed broadcasts to mobile broadcasts instead. The future is coming, much quicker than many expected.
Smart TVs is the new TV, they are available in HD, UHD and 4K resolutions with endless features on them. Samsung is controlling the Smart TV market with the highest units sales in 2013-2014. Well, 2015 is coming and the speculations about what's New in the upcoming next generation Smart TVs is going around the web.
Samsung is said to focus more on fitness applications and Mobile Integration on its 2015 Smart TVs line-up. Fitness Apps are getting high-demand from users on mobile platforms and wearable devices, using these feature will you to take a Yoga class remotely from home but on a bigger screen and more space to move with a wide-angle camera.
These new Smart TVs is expected to be announced on the CES 2015 next year, we don't have any info about the design or the price of these new TV sets but expect a High-one.
The British company, Hutchison Whampoa, which owns the UK carrier Three "3", is considering a purchase of Telefonica's carrier O2 UK for around 9 billion pounds which is about $13.6 billion, according to a report from The Sunday Times, which also notes that talks are at an early stage, and nothing is yet confirmed.
A deal makes sense for both companies given that Hutchison is looking to expand in Europe, while Telefonica is in need of cash to help pay down its debts. The latter even came close to selling O2 UK to BT last year, but the deal didn't go through as the telecommunications giant eventually agreed to acquire EE.
In addition, Three's acquisition of O2 would also make it the biggest carrier in the UK it is currently the fourth largest network in the country. However, any such deal between the two could cause regulatory concerns as it would bring down the number of major mobile operators in the UK from four to three.
Some of the carriers around the workd has just starte offering 4G services in their regions. Well, Japanese carrier NTT DocoMo is already developing the 5th Generation Mobile Network (5G), Samsung and Nokia will participate in the Test of this 5G Network. Samsung announced that 5G would be ready for the public by 2020 and we will starting to see 5G devices in the market by 2021.
The testing will involve the usefulness of running 5G speeds on high frequency bands above 6GHz. 5G involves data-transmission at a high-speed of 10Gbps, which is 1000 times the capacity of current 4G LTE. The test will determine how well this frequency will support 10Gbps, even if a large number of devices are trying to connect to the network at the same time, in a small area.
NTT Docomo will be testing the 5G Netwrok through this year, inside at its R&D Center in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture. Outdoor trials will begin by next year.
Cyanogen's employee Adnan Begovic dropped quite the bomb over the Seattle Coderush dev event. He claims today Cyanogen has over 50 million users, which is more than Windows Mobile and BlackBerry combined.
And let me stop you before you start digging evidences and reports that this is not true. He is absolutely right, at least technically.
Windows Mobile is the key here the OS is the predecessor of Windows Phone and very few people are still using it today. The golden era of the Windows Mobile has been long over and only few users are still using their WM phones. Most of them probably use the notorious HTC HD2 and may even not run WM, but that's for another topic.
There is a chance Adnan Begovic meant Windows Phone instead of Windows Mobile. This means someone at Cyanogen was too keen to brag before making any proper calculations. Windows Phone had 50 million active users by the end of 2013 as per AdDuplex report, which means 20 months later those should be a lot more. And we are sure BlackBerry users are enough to tip the scales even if the Microsoft platform has been standing still.
When most people think of mobile phones, Apple comes to mind, but did you know that the top selling phone of all time was actually the humble little Nokia? How did this phone we laugh at when we find it stuck in the junk drawer beat the stylish Apple iPhone in total unit sales?
Also, the Samsung Galaxy S4 breaks all records and scored 445 Million sold units in one year. Check the Bestselling Mobile Phones of the Last 20 Years Infographic below.
It's been a little over a month since Apple's new iOS 9 was rolled out. Just a few days later, Apple announced that its new operating system had been installed on more than 50% of active iPhones and iPads, which made it the fastest adoption rate in the company's successful history.
It's undoubtedly an exciting time, not only for Apple fans but gamers at large. Why? iOS 9 introduces a series of game-changing (pardon the pun) features and engines which, if proven as successful as tech experts predict, will have an industry-wide impact. After all, mobile gaming is a $25 billion per year industry on both iOS and Android. It's actually expected to surpass console games in terms of revenue by the end of the 2015.
Let's take a detailed look at the iOS 9 features which will make a difference in the way we play on smartphones, and explore what each one means for end users.
3D Touch: Being Under Pressure is Great
(Image Source: gamezebo.com)
3D Touch is the innovation cornerstone of Apple's iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, as it brings brand new ways to interact with the screen. Since their popularization in the late 2000s and up to now, touchscreens have been registering a set series of gestures: tapping, swiping or pinching. 3D Touch brings new gestures into play, which Apple has named "peek" and "pop." iPhone screens now respond to actual levels of pressure instead of mere touch or finger movement. As demonstrated in the Special Event Apple this September, this technology - dubbed "the next generation of multi-touch enables you to preview an email, by pressing lightly, or make it pop up by pressing harder. Similarly, users can access different interface features and shortcuts by applying different levels of pressure.
There are, of course, many more applications to this haptic technology and gaming is perhaps the most interesting area at least according to Wired magazine, which has welcomed it as "Apple's biggest gaming innovation." These new gesture options will effectively enable game developers to make complex games more intuitive and improve on the shortcomings of mobile gaming controls in comparison to other platforms.
Among the first games to take advantage of 3D Touch was an App Store Editor's Pick, futuristic racing simulator AG Drive. While accelerating and breaking your vehicle used to require tapping and holding different points on the screen, developer company ZORG has now mapped acceleration to 3D Touch, adding new depth to the already acclaimed game.
(Image Source: badlandgame.com)
Another interesting case is multi-award winning platform puzzle BADLAND. Frogmind games recently updated the addictive side-scroller with 3D Touch-based controls which help players navigate stages, as well as new optional "force objects" available in the level editor. Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade, is the first game developed specifically for the iPhone 6s. It is based on the popular tabletop strategy game franchise of the same name. In Warhammer, pressure is mapped to zoom controls to allow players to zoom in on the action.
According to the Entertainment Software Association's annual report, casual, puzzle and card games are the most frequently played genres, reaching an impressive 77% of all games played on mobile devices. After the introduction of 3D Touch, developers within these genres have been implementing the technology in the most creative of ways to make their app stand out. While games like Zombie Tsunami have opted to feature 3D Touch merely in mini-games and menus, the potential is great - and smart, innovative use will prove catalytic in making a game more popular.
ReplayKit: Play it again, Sam.
(Image Source: youtube.com)
Although iOS 9's new ReplayKit is a tool for developers, its implementation has certainly been swift and clear to gamers. ReplayKit easily enables videogame creators to implement game recording and sharing features, so that you can share your accomplishments with friends and social networks.
It seems that Apple has wisely picked up on the latest trends in eSports and the growing popularity of game streaming services, such as Twitch.tv. More people than ever -71 million in 2014, as reported by SuperData Research - watch competitive gaming events while e-gaming revenue predicted to hit $465 million in 2017 according to research firm NewZoo. Replaying your own games and watching others' sessions for enjoyment as well as tips and tricks seems to be all the rage right now, and iOS 9 brings that functionality right to your fingertips.
Many iOS games were already touching upon this trend by providing gamers with detailed history and stats on their previous games, such as PokerStars Mobile. The popular poker app, which recently added a range of games for the casino market, dedicates a whole section of their app to a history feature, giving gamers the chance to follow their progress closely. However, the introduction of ReplayKit technology makes this process more visually appealing, by introducing video and also adds the capacity to conveniently edit and add voice-over commentary.
This feature was welcomed by gaming companies and implemented almost overnight, as a number of games have already been updated to include it. One of the first was Gang Nations, the popular combat strategy game for iPhone and Android. It now enables players to record their battles with rival gangs and share them on social networks. Many more games, such as Breakneck and Playdemic's Sims-like hit Village Life followed suit and more are still to come.
GameplayKit and Model I/O: Under the Hood
One of the three game developer-exclusive kits Apple introduced in iOS 9 is the aptly named GameplayKit. It encompasses a series of tools that handle gameplay logic - randomness, simulation, pathfinding... Similarly, Model I/O is designed to light 3D models in both game and app design. Finally, the pre-existing game-specific SpriteKit, SceneKit and Metal have been updated to developers' delight, allowing for better use of the iPhone's central and graphics processors.
(Image Source: iphonefaq .org)
If all this sounds a bit too technical, but don't worry. All you need to know is that in effect, these tools will help developers create more immersive games with more complex rules and ultimately, better gameplay and more realistic graphics than ever. Apple promises that it will bring "console-grade" games to its devices.
For a taste of Apple's SceneKit, used for powering 3D games, you can check out the free fast-paced game Marballistic, where you control a marble ball frantically jumping from platform to platform.
Game Center: Let your Friends Play
Game Center, Apple's social gaming network, has also received a handy add-on. With the advent of iOS 9, Game Center supports guest players. Device owners no longer have to worry about friends borrowing their phone to try out games and messing up their stats, high-scores and achievements. Said friends can now play as guest players - in fact, up to three players can play real-time games and up to a massive fifteen players can play turn-based games on iOS 9.
Battery life and App Thinning: Every Little Bit Helps
iOS 9 promises to deliver up to 4 hours longer battery life than before thanks to under-the-hood performance tweaks and a new feature called Low Power Mode. By automatically disabling unneeded services, Low Power Mode enables you to conserve juice so there's more there when you feel like gaming. This feature seems similar to Sony's Battery STAMINA mode and brings a much needed update to iPhone's battery life, which is promised to also last longer because of hardware optimization.
On top of that, Apple introduced a new technology named App Thinning. It allows for apps to be optimized for specific devices, so that downloaded packages don't include irrelevant files and are, as a result, less chunky. This way, devices are left with more available space, while games are faster to install and launch.
iOS 9's reviews have been stellar, especially in terms of gaming capabilities. Now it's up to the developers to utilize all that it has to offer. As gamers, all we have to do is explore their efforts and decide for ourselves.
Editor: Mo Cheng
We now live in a mobile world, we all know that. But when it comes to choosing the right mobile medium, companies have a number of factors to consider. While many would assume that the growth of the mobile app market might cause a decrease in the number of mobile websites out there, the opposite is actually true.
According to Statista, there are now more than 1 billion apps on the market. Delving a little deeper into the stats, the Apple App Store alone saw more than 100 billion downloads as of June 2015. Interestingly, however, only a small number of those apps account for people's daily usage. As outlined by Forrester and comScore, of the top 50 mobile apps in the world, the top five are responsible for as much as 90% of all usage.
If this is the case it would seem to suggest that while app market is extremely large, it's not a completely dominant force in the mobile world. Indeed, if people are only using a fraction of the apps they download, then 2 billion smartphones must be using mobile sites at least some of the time.
The battle between mobile apps and websites is one that's raged on for the best part of a decade and while neither has every shown a clear dominance, companies often find themselves faced with a choice. Having a native app certainly gives users easier access to what you have to offer, but it can also limit your market. In contrast, mobile websites can be made available to all platforms at once, but they don't offer things like offline access and push notifications.
Universal Appeal Helps Break Down Borders
Deciding between one or the other partly depends on the type of product or service on offer. If we look at a major mobile operator in the iGaming space, 32Red, the benefits of a mobile site are obvious.
The industry as a whole is worth more than $41 billion each year and that means millions of people around the world are now anteing up via their computers and, importantly, their smartphones. With such a broad demographic to cater for, 32Red decided to create an optimized mobile site that features everything from roulette to slots and works across the board. Indeed, different countries have different preferences as to their favourite brand of smartphone. For instance, the iPhone was the most popular smartphone in Canada back in 2014 while the Samsung brand tops sales in Germany.
32Red understood the need to offer a platform that performs equally well on Germany's most popular device and Canada's favourite phone. Thanks to the operator's mobile site, customers who normally play online roulette at 32Red can now also ante up on the go regardless of the mobile device they own without having to download an app. They just need to log in and start playing one of the 90 or so casino games available.
Offline Options Offer Hands-On Approach
Of course, the iGaming industry isn't simply a collection of mobile sites. It's often the case that native apps offer fewer gaming options than their browser-based peers. For example, Betway has 400+ online games but games such as Hotel of Horror form part of a 120-game mobile offering.
However, while mobile apps often offer fewer features than a mobile site, they do have the benefit of improved access and, importantly, offline capabilities. Indeed, one of the most powerful features of a mobile app that companies can exploit is push notifications.
Sticking with the iGaming industry, an operator like Caesars Casino can utilize this feature by sending users push notifications announcing a new game such as Wolf Run (a five-reel, 40-payline video slot), the latest casino bonus or the status of a withdrawal. This system is great for operators as it allows them to keep their services at the forefront of a user's mind and, importantly, gain more clicks from their calls to action.
Instead of posting an announcement online and hoping people find it, operators can put it right under someone's nose (quite literally) and that's extremely powerful. Essentially, when it comes down to it, the mobile site vs. app argument comes down a matter of acquisition vs. retention.
A Matter of Personal Preference
Mobile sites clearly have a greater reach than apps which is great for a company that wants to maintain a global presence. In contrast, a mobile app has more power to retain customers as its accessibility and ability to offer push notifications help generate more action from existing players.
As you can see, there are positives and negatives on both sides of the equation. While apps might be slicker than sites, they aren't as universal so it all comes down to the goals of the company in question as to which one they choose to invest their money in.
If you haven't heard about Pokemon GO yet now may be the time to wander back underneath your rock as not only is Niantic's Pocket Monster themed app dominating the Android and IOS App markets, it is also helping itself to the lion's share of the global market for in-app purchases claiming a whopping 47% of the market in a single day on July 10th.
In layman's terms, Pokemon GO made more in a single day than all the other mobile apps combined. This is impressive enough in itself but the news doesn't stop there as the app is also reported to be introducing first-time mobile gaming spenders to the market. Unbelievably, less than 53% of users who spent money on Pokemon GO had made one or no mobile game purchases in the last six months.
As it stands, the most popular in-game purchase has been the 100 Poke Coin bundle (the in-game currency for purchasing items). Approximately 37% of all purchases were the 100 Coin bundle but the app has actually profited most from the five dollar (£7.99 in the UK) 1,200 Coin bundle.
In total, it is estimated Pokemon GO has already made $14 million, far outperforming developers Niantic's previous effort: Ingress. Ingress played a big part in the design of Pokemon GO as it relies on the same mapping software and the previously mapped out ‘energy points' are also now the in-game PokeStops where players refill their inventories.
Nintendo's company shares have also risen an incredible 86% in Tokyo as a byproduct of Pokemon GO's success. In financial terms, this translates to an unprecedented $17 billion increase of market capitalisation.
The company have desperately needed a win since falling behind console rivals Sony and Microsoft and the venture into the mobile gaming market has paid off more than could've been predicted. People in the United Kingdom were recklessly abusing their devices to confuse them into thinking they resided in America or Oceania to access the app early - there hasn't be such madness since Microsoft first introduced Xbox Live to the gaming market.
It was a definite risk to allow a third party to develop the app on Nintendo's behalf, the Nintendo logo features only for trademarking purposes, but it has certainly paid off for the Japanese gaming giants. The incredible rise in market stock will stand Nintendo in excellent stead as the world awaits details on its next console: the Nintendo NX and could see them retake their crown as the king of games.
Granted, Pokemon GO isn't for everyone so if you're looking for alternative games such as free casino games, offline gaming or apps without in-game purchases we can point you in the right direction.
There was a time when the mobile devices in our hands were communication devices only. With the changing world of the Internet though, and the increasing speeds that these devices are capable of the world of mobile gaming has taken off, and we tend to spend more time playing games than anything.
A lot of this has to do with the power of the phone themselves. Whether it be the Android devices, or Apple's iPhones, the strive for faster processors and graphics chips have pushed what the phones can do to whole new levels.
What this means for games is that they can do more, and look better than ever. Whether it be on a phone, or tablet, the level of graphics complexity makes these games more welcoming. Looking better than many of the retro consoles, games are now more complex and more addictive than ever. Some even argue that these devices are the future of gaming.
The rise in popularity of social media has seen a rise in the casual games. These are often "free-to-play", and get you addicted before asking for money to "improve" the experience. The ability to not pay anything to play though make it easier for the mobile device user to play these games and to have fun.
Whether you go for online bingo games, Candy Crush Saga or slimmed down strategy games such as Sim City there is a wealth of choice now. All of these games also allow the user to connect to friends, to challenge each other, which adds to the longevity of the gaming experience.
One of the real strengths of mobile gaming though is just how versatile it has become. Games are instantly accessible and can be played anywhere, even social games. Whether you want to play a quick game of online bingo, or a quick game of Candy Crush Saga, the ability is there 24/7.
Your phone is quickly becoming the hub of your technical life. With so much choice, gamers have never been so free to play what they want, when they want. This is why the future of mobile gaming looks very bright, and will continue to grow for a long time to come.
With smartphones becoming more powerful every year, the games which we can play become even more impressive. For those who want 3D adventures, the phones can now handle these, as well as casual games like Candy Crush Saga.
The rise of mobile gaming on not only smartphones but also tablets has taken many by surprise, even appearing to be a threat to the mighty consoles when it comes to popularity. What caused this success, and why are so many companies investing money into this form of gaming? The simple answer is that people are finding it an easy new way to keep on gaming on the move. Looking deeper into it though, there are some signs that highlight the reasons mobile gaming is becoming such a success.
The Mobile Platform and Digital Downloads
Mobile gaming has found its strength in casual gaming and the "free-to-play" model for gaming releases. It is so easy for players to just download a game for free, get a taste of it and then decide if they want to invest money through microtransactions.
While microtransactions may not have been that popular at first, it has slowly become an easy way to make progress in games while on the move. Whether it is adding extra lives to the game, adding cosmetics, or even adding money into an online slots game, transferring money into gaming accounts has never been easier.
The fact that this money is being spent in the billions also means that big gaming companies are starting to take notice. Companies like Activision buying mobile companies like King, the makers of Candy Crush Saga show that things are being noticed. That fact that the sale was made for $5.9 billion also shows just how much money is being spent.
Mobile Gaming is Flexible
Mobile gaming can be done anywhere, and on the move. While this may mean more casual type games that are played in smaller chunks so not to take up the player's concentration, it still means there is plenty of chances for games to be played.
The ability to play games anywhere though is what makes mobile gaming so popular with gamers. It can relieve boredom while having to wait for the bus, or while travelling on the train, or even while waiting for a doctor's appointment. The versatility that this form of gaming provides will always win out.
Mobile Gaming Diversity
While console gaming can sometimes be a little restrictive based on the style of games available, mobile gaming offers more of a choice for a more diverse number of gamers. Whether you are male or female, old or young, there are games available that fit your gaming needs.
Smartphones and tablets offer us choice, and an easy way to start playing games. This makes them a very popular way to game on the move, whatever your taste. Whether you're playing on your favourite iPhone Casino, the latest strategy release, or the latest Candy Crush Saga clone, the choice is yours, and you have plenty to choose from.
While Pokémon Go might have added a new risk factor to online gaming - physical injury - app store safety traditionally revolves around viruses, micro-transactions, and adware. Here are three quick tips for stress-free gaming this autumn.
1. Stay Away from Third Party Stores
Here's a strange fact about smartphones: mobile malware is a growth industry. In the twelve months between 2014 and 2015, the number of malicious programs attacking smartphones jumped nearly 200%. However, the number of viruses, worms, and other nasties hidden in the Play and App stores remained close to zero.
So, how does malware get onto mobile phones in the first place? Viruses and their ilk are a non-issue for the majority of smartphone users; the threat only arises when people try to download apps from third party stores, especially those physically located in the Middle East. In some places, your infection rate can be as high as 1 in 3.
A good example occurred shortly before the release of Pokémon Go, when a malware-infested app called Guide for Pokémon Go appeared on third-party app stores. It was downloaded half a million times before anybody noticed that it was up to no good.
Apple and Google's vetting systems aren't infallible - there's at least one story of an app with no functionality at all becoming a five-star app on the Play Store - but at least the odds aren't stacked against you in the official stores.
2. Permissions are Everything
You might not have realised but every app on your phone has your explicit permission to do certain things. For example, Facebook and Instagram can both access your camera; Pokémon Go can find out your precise location, and Gmail can view your phone's calendar. Apps need these permissions to function.
However, you should always try to ‘connect the dots' before giving a new app VIP access to your phone. For example, Facebook needs to ‘talk' to your camera every time you try to take a photograph from within the app and Pokémon Go uses your location to determine your proximity to monsters; that makes sense. Ask yourself if that calculator app you've just downloaded really needs access to your text messages.
You should also be wary of imposter apps, especially anti-virus tools (Symantec has removed fake ‘Norton Anti-virus' apps from the Play Store in the past), as these can be used by criminals to scam you. Using the above example of the calculator app - a favourite trick is to send thousands of automatic text messages to premium rate numbers, landing you with the bill.
3. Take Care with Online Gaming Apps
Having access to casino games on the go is one of the benefits of smartphone gaming but it's important to find a trustworthy operator, especially if you intend to play cash games. Closing the app and visiting the company's website with your browser is an easy way to determine the legitimacy of a gambling firm, as most casinos have their credentials on the homepage. The Betway app, for example, is regulated by the Belgian Gaming Commission, as well as other bodies such as the European Sports Security Association.
The same goes for apps with micro-transactions. Reports indicate that micro-transactions - small payments for extra lives, in-game currency, or other luxuries - make up 79% of all mobile developer income. They're an easy way to make money from otherwise ‘free' apps and they're not going away.
Ensure that all payments you make on a mobile platform go through the Play Store or the App Store, as the two companies have various safeguards in place to prevent fraud, and you may be able to get a refund if the app doesn't work as expected or somebody else uses your account to buy things. Apple and Google won't share your payment details with the company who created the app.
One final point - you can learn a lot about a mobile game, from compatibility and user experience to the number of micro-transactions, by reading the customer reviews on the two app stores before downloading the app to your phone. It sounds cynical but somebody else's bad luck might just save you from installing a fraudulent or malicious app.
There was a time when all the main gaming you did was played out on a console or a PC, but how times have changed. In line with virtually everything technological, people are now generally looking for a "one device does everything" approach to play in order to enjoy everything from movies and social media to bingo online. This, along with ever more available wireless go-anywhere connectivity, means that smartphones are now becoming many people's first choice for gaming.
The manufacturers are well aware of this fact and are incorporating more and more gamer-friendly features into each new generation of phones. So here are five to get your fingers twitching in anticipation of their 2017 launches.
Apple iPhone 7S
Hard to believe it, but 2017 sees the 10th anniversary of the iPhone and what a long way it's come since its launch. Traditionally Apple make all their big product launches in September and there's no reason why next year should be any different, Rumours are already rife that the 7S may have an OLED screen giving extra-sharp picture quality as well as the phone featuring wireless charging. What will definitely be included are the revolutionary wireless headphones that are great for gaming.
Xiaomi Mi Mix
Due out from January the Xiaomi Mi Mix is proof, as if it was needed, that some of the lesser-known manufacturers have some big surprises up their sleeves. Most notable on this phone will be the big, edgeless screen which comprised over 93% of the total phone size and which promises crystal-clear images. This is married to a super-fast processer and up to 6GB of RAM. For fantastic sound there's also going to be the very technical sounding "cantilever piezoelectric ceramic acoustic technology".
Their preceding model, the HTC 10, was widely agreed to be the model that really put the maker back on the map and the 11 is likely to be an improvement even on this model, due out in April. Sound is likely to include the successful Boomsound speakers and a fast Snapdragon 830 processor will be able to deal with all the gaming action that you need. They're also likely to increase the screen size from 5.2" up to 5.5" and up the battery power which will mean less frequent need for e-charging.
The end of February should see the launch of the G6. It's expected to have a glass front and rear. Of particular interest to gamers are the plans to improve the processor to prepare it for Virtual Reality applications. Wireless charging is also likely to feature as well as an innovative iris-scanning technology to help keep the phone safe from unauthorised use.
Samsung Galaxy 8
Following the disastrous and costly launch of the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung have a lot riding on the 8. They've got till August to get it right and when it is launched we're expecting to have a phone with a large 5.7" screen and a powerful processor ready for VR gaming. Waterproofing is almost certain too - ideal if you're a fan of gaming in the bath.
So of all the phones it's inevitable that the most noise will be made about Apple's - but that doesn't mean it's necessarily the only one for gaming. So maybe look to the Xiaomi if you want the biggest, and best, surprises.
In the last ten years or so, mobile phone technologies have improved rapidly and most games are now as impressive as their PC and console counterparts. When you think that not too long ago, we were all playing Snake on the old-school Nokia 3310...!
Whether you are a football fan playing FIFA 17, a punter betting on French roulette or a puzzle aficionado playing Sudoku, it is amazing to think just how seamless the experience is on a mobile. Eventually, mobile gaming might even overtake console gaming - the sector is already set to surpass revenues earned in the latter stages of 2016, generating $31.9 billion while console gaming will "only" take in $29 billion.
Accessible and Improved Graphics are Key
Accessibility has been crucial to the rise in gaming on smartphones: what could be better than beating boredom while queuing at the store with a quick game of Angry Birds? It is all available at the click of a button or the swipe of a tablet.
One sector which has especially benefitted from the take-up of this new trend is iGaming. In fact, mobile online casino games such as roulette or slots are perfectly suited for smartphone users who like to play in short bursts and possibly win hard cash on your mobile device. Review websites focusing specifically on mobile casinos such as Casino Quest have even flourished in recent times due to the rise in popularity and exposure of these games. Designers have worked on making the gameplay both realistic and quick; and the live casino rooms are just as detailed on a smartphone device as they are on a wider screen.
While it is sometimes more practical to play these games on a wider computer screen, the graphics and feel of gaming on a smartphone certainly appeals to the masses. After all, not everybody can afford to fork out £500 for a reliable computer; in contrast, smartphones give users the chance to get their gaming fix whilst still being able to text, make phone calls and do other daily chores, all on that tiny screen.
Competitive and MMO Play
The one big difference between mobile and console lies in competitive eSports and MMO games. eSports feature worldwide tournaments and events for the very best players on the planet, while MMOs need massive open worlds and a lot of real-time interaction. It doesn't seem that developers and designers are making much effort (yet) to produce engaging MMO games for mobiles. There needs to be a shift in the MMO culture to ensure that the likes of Order & Chaos don't remain a small niche in the mobile world.
As for eSports, games like League of Legends actually have a huge take-up on PC, which is the first step towards mobile adoption. This type of games tends to be favoured by hardcore players, so again studios need to step up to the challenge of creating engaging mobile options. And if we believe Andrew Paradise, CEO of Skillz (which creates eSports infrastructure), the time is ripe. Games like Vainglory have been very popular on Twitch in 2015, with over 150 million minutes watched.
We can't deny that consoles are still very popular but the lure of playing your favourite games on the move has seen a major shift in the gaming universe. With the rise of Augmented Reality (remember Pokémon Go?), mobile gaming is definitely getting a bright future.
The average number of people using their mobile phones to browse the Internet has skyrocketed throughout this decade. What was a costly and fiddly process on the WAP-enabled button phones of the early 21st century is now a fully integrated part of daily life.
The smartphone boom has resulted in the vast majority of people carrying devices in their pockets and bags that are capable of finding and collecting information, playing videos, music and games, and much more.
Businesses in every industry are always looking to make sure that they are doing all they can to put themselves on that handheld screen as much as possible.
It is therefore no big surprise that many online casino websites have invested heavily into making their sites as mobile-friendly as they could possibly be, and the result is people playing casino games on their mobile phones a whole lot more often.
Why so much focus on mobile?
2016 was the year of the ‘mobile first Internet' - the year that mobile searches finally surpassed desktop searches on the search engine powerhouse, Google.
In response to this, Google increased its efforts to ensure that sites which rank well in their search results offer an equally good user experience, whichever device the user happens to be using to access the page.
To this end, since the second half of 2016 Google has been pushing mobile responsive sites ever higher in rankings, offering a tantalising incentive to those web developers who have yet to take the plunge into mobile offering.
The shift from Flash to HTML5
One of the biggest driving forces behind the massive growth in popularity of using mobile phones to browse the Internet is the emergence of HTML5 as the engine behind website content.
Its predecessor, Adobe Flash, was completely eschewed by Apple due to a combination of factors including disagreements between creators as well as security concerns. This meant that iPhone, iPad and iPod users - a huge chunk of the Internet's browsing audience - were all unable to access Flash content. Flash enabled websites to offer a great deal of functionality in the 21st century, but over time more and more exploits were found and well, exploited.
As well as being completely unsupported on iPhone, it was often incompatible with Android phones. With more and more people wanting to access the content on their mobiles, something had to change, and HTML5 came into prominence early in the 2010s.
It is debatable whether the shift from Flash to HTML5 was the cause or the effect of increased mobile browsing - but it is clear that the Internet overall has been moving in the direction of increased mobile-friendliness for several years now.
Major developments from Netent
As one of the main game developers for online casinos, NetEnt have naturally been the trailblazers when it comes to providing games which look as brilliant on mobile phones as they do on desktops.
NetEnt Touch® is the brand of games produced by NetEnt for the mobile market. They work on both iOS and Android devices, and the portfolio of games offered is absolutely massive. Slots, Blackjack, Roulette, Bingo, and lots more are on the menu, all coming complete with superb graphics, and enhanced experience optimised for mobile users.
In-Browser Casinos vs Casino Applications
Playing a game in your mobile phone's browser is convenient as it prevents you from needing to download an application which will take time to do as well as occupy space on your phone. Anybody with a 16GB iPhone will know only too well the constant battle to keep storage space free.
However, if it is a game that you play regularly, or one where progress needs to be saved, applications come into their own. It may take slightly longer to download it in the first place, but once you have, it's there all the time and loads in a matter of seconds, with your progress and preferences to boot. What is more, you may be able to play the game even when away from an Internet connection.
As far as the mobile casino trend goes, the browser version is still useful for ascertaining how much you enjoy playing at that particular online casino. Online casino developers have gone to great lengths to ensure that their games can be played on any device, so whether you decide to go for the app or the website, you're sure to be satisfied.
Compared to five years ago, mobile devices, smartphones and tablets are no longer emerging ideas in the technology community. In fact, they are now considered far less as luxury items and way more as an ingrained part of everyday life.
The number of smartphone users in the United States is expected to reach 223 million by the end of 2017, along with a total in excess of 2 billion worldwide users within the same timeframe. With more people than ever using mobile devices to pay for goods and services, and to deposit and transfer money in a number of ways, we need to talk about security and convenience.
Here's our rundown of three key areas in which mobile payment systems play a huge role, the best solutions out there and how they are currently serving their purpose.
It's no coincidence that the steady rise of the iGaming industry correlates with the growing popularity of mobile devices. From sports bookmakers to virtual poker rooms, many iGaming operators have already started to invest heavily in mobile apps and more secure payment systems that allow players to deposit, play and withdraw money at a moment's notice, wherever they are.
Review websites do a good job of rating and comparing the security and convenience of different mobile casino no deposit bonus payment systems, particularly those based in North America. The range of payment options these days is actually wider than ever, with many casino games offering players the choice between credit or debit card payments, or online payment systems such as Skrill that are typically known for a quicker withdrawal speed.
Small retailers and merchants
Mobile technology has revolutionized the way in which small businesses can take payments for their goods or services. Whether you're a startup T-shirt vendor, a hairdresser or a freelancer, you're ultimately looking for a quick and secure way to bill your customers that is painless for all parties involved.
The two main mobile-friendly options at the moment are Paypal and Square. Paypal is the more well known of the two, and considered to be the industry standard for digital transactions. As well as being secure, it's also easy to create, send and receive invoices. That said, Square has become a key rival to PayPal's success and offers the nifty option to embed payment gateways directly onto a website, as well as slightly better rates for transactions (2.75% compared to Paypal's 3%). Decisions, decisions...
Personal mobile wallets
"Google Wallet at Peet's" (CC BY 2.0) by kennejima
This is very likely going to play a big part in the future of mobile payment systems. While many of us are still getting used to contactless card payments, we're already well on our way to seeing systems like Android Pay, Google Wallet and Apple Pay becoming more and more established in the very near future.
The idea is that, instead of needing a wallet full of cards and cash (if only), all customers need to do is wave their smartphone at the till machine and it will be able to identify their bank account details through a respective Windows, Google or Apple account. At the minute the technology is in its infancy, relatively speaking, and supported by a limited number of merchants on a limited number of devices. However, we definitely expect that number to expand rapidly in years to come. Watch this space!
All of these areas considered, it's clear that mobile payment systems are at a more sophisticated and secure level than they have ever been before.
Whether you're a keen iGamer looking to withdraw quickly and securely from a mobile casino, a budding startup looking to set up a clear transaction process for your products, or even just a regular Joe who likes to keep an eye on the next phase of technology, the landscape of mobile payment options has never been richer. And, in the grand scheme of things, things are only just getting started.
The year started off with Nokia bringing back Snake with the revamped version of the 3310 which was great news for retro gaming enthusiasts. Although many of 2017's best mobile games are yet to come since the much awaited next gen mobile chips have not been released as of now, we have nonetheless seen quite a few awesome games already in 2017. Here's a list of the top 5 mobile games released in the year so far, according to us.
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (iOS)
January saw The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth make its way onto iOS, a game that iPhone users have been waiting with baited breath since 2016. The twin-stick shooter is outright ridiculous, dark, humorous, vulgar and immensely enjoyable at the same time. There's something about playing as a child whose evil mother is trying to kill him and he is trying to survive everything with the help of his tears that both shocks you and enthrals you at the same time. If you haven't played it already, do so now!
Edo Superstar (iOS)
You step in the shoes of Masaru the ninja monkey in this side-scrolling brawler that's entirely controlled via gestures, swipes and taps. Granted that things may get repetitive after a while, it still is extremely fun as long as it lasts. The many challenges of the game keeps you entertained for a good while, although the controls may not always be as reactive as you would want them to be. All in all, it's a game that's definitely worth trying out.
Super Mario Run (iOS and Android)
2017 seems to be the year of the retro games for the mobile platform because after Snake, Mario makes a comeback with Super Mario Run for the iOS and Android (soon to come). The game can be controlled with just one hand as on screen buttons and joysticks have been replaced with tapping and gesture control. The theme is the same as it had been back in Super Mario classic on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES); collect coins, jump on enemies, eat mushrooms and save the princess.
Warhammer 40,000: Regicide (iOS and Android)
Warhammer 40,000: Regicide is an unique take on chess. Apart from adding vivid animations and brutality to each kill on the chess board during Classic gameplay, there's also an additional mode called Regicide. In Regicide mode, the game transcends the traditional rules of chess in favour of advanced special powers and abilities of the units you control on the battlefield. Playing chess online with other players has never been more interesting.
This War of Mine (iOS and Android)
This War of Mine will make you think about each one of your in-game decisions, both before and after you take them. Surviving with your group during a war in a besieged city feels as brutal as it should. You are not a killing machine in this game, but an actual person trying to survive in a war that he did not start, but is paying for in every possible way. Playing the game and surviving will take a toll at your conscience and you will love it!
Honourable mentions include Sky Dancer, Potion Explosion, Dandy Dungeon: Legend of Brave Yamada and MUL.MASH.TAB.BA.GAL.GAL. If you love gaming and wouldn't mind making a bit of money from your favourite hobby, we suggest you try out some of the excellent mobile casino games like Jungle Jim: El Dorado, Sam on the Beach and Planet of the Apes as well. As mentioned before, there's still a lot more to come towards the mobile gamers this year, but these should keep you occupied till then.
NVIDIA has kept its promise and the Wi-Fi-only version of the SHIELD Tablet has already been updated with Android 5.0 Lollipop. Fortunately, its LTE-enabled sibling won't stay far behind in terms of software, as it is also receiving the freshest variation of the confectionery mobile platform too.
Apart from getting all the bells and whistles that Lollipop is known for, i.e. the ART runtime, Material Design, the battery-friendly Project Volta, etc. Apart from treating its LTE gaming slate to Android 5.0, NVIDIA has also added a little something something from itself the new NVIDIA Dabbler app, for example, is a powerful graphics-editing app, which comes with layer support, custom stensils, and various effects.
The update is rolling out over-the-air just reach and grab it from your gaming tablet's Settings menu. If you don't own a SHIELD Tablet, on the other hand, you can get one as a part of NVIDIA's Black Friday bundle deal.
Alongside the new Galaxy Note 4 phablet, Samsung is today announcing a new accessory, the Gear VR. The Gear VR is a virtual reality headset powered by the Note 4. Samsung built it in partnership with Oculus, maker of the Oculus Rift, arguably the best VR headset, and recent Facebook acquistion. The company says the Gear VR will be available later this fall for an unspecified price.
The Gear VR brings to mind Google's Cardboard project, which uses a smartphone and cheap lenses to provide a basic 3D virtual reality experience.
The Gear VR uses the Note 4 (and Only the Note 4, it's not compatible with any other smartphone, Samsung or otherwise) for all of its processing and display features. The Note 4 snaps into the Gear VR, in front of dual-lenses that provide the 3D effect. There's a trackpad and back button on the right side of the Gear VR, and a focus adjustment on top. Samsung tells me that it's compatible with Bluetooth gaming controllers, but there aren't any specific controls for your hands at this time. Navigating menus, exploring worlds, and playing games is mostly done with head movements and taps on the side-mounted trackpad.
Using the Gear VR is very similar to using the Oculus Rift: it's a completely immersive experience that detaches you from your real environment. But unlike the Rift, there are no wires tethering you and the Gear VR to a computer, so you can freely move about and walk around. And since you strap the Gear VR to your head, you don't have to hold up to your face the entire time like Google Cardboard. There is a mode to enable the Note 4's rear camera while wearing the Gear VR, so you can "switch off" the virtual experience and see the real world.
Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime was confirmed to get Android 5.0 Lollipop update and even reported to get the latest Android Build 5.1.1 lollipop that is still on the works but the update is expected to start rolling-out by the end of May (this month).
Sadly... Today, the Grand Prime joins the long list of the samsung Galaxy devices that won't be getting the Lollipop update in the Middle-east region. Just to remind you, Previously, Samsung Gulf confirmed that Galaxy E7 won't be getting the update and also Note 8.0 and TabPRO 8.4 won't be getting the Lollipop update too.
@somasarhan أهلاً بك ، نأسف لن يتم إصدار تحديث Lollipop للجهاز الذي حددته، سنبقيك على اطلاع. شكراً لك— SamsungMobileArabia (@SamsungMobileME) May 13, 2015
Translation of the Tweet (from Arabic to English):
"Welcome, we won't be relesing the Lollipop update for the device you mentioned above (Grand Prime), will keep you updated, thank you".
Now, Samsung Mobile Arabia said via its official twitter account that the Galaxy Grand Prime won't be getting the Android 5.0 Lollipop update in the whole Middle-east region as a reply to a user query about the Grand Prime, this is bad news for the Arab users.
It looks like that Samsung Middle-east firm won't be releasing any lollipop update for any mid-range devices, only latest flagships will get it, however, this is ONLY for the Middle-east and doesn't affect other regions which are confirmed to get the Grand Prime Lollipop update.