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Opera claims 56% of users are mobile-only Web surfers

Opera may not be the biggest name in the world of browsers, but when you hone the focus into mobile browsers, it begins to sing a different tune. The software company has revealed some interesting statistics about its users, which provide some fascinating insight into what kind of person the average Opera mobile user is. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that these numbers are on a global scale.

Obviously, in the US, we’re quite a long way from the notion that the only place we’ll ever connect to the Internet is on a mobile device. In other territories, though, smartphones are seen as computers. Just look at this stat from Opera – of those who use the company’s mobile Web browser, 56% said the only place they access their Web is from their mobile device. Among all survey participants, including those who don’t use Opera, 43% said mobile browsers are their sole browser experience.

So in other words, among those who don’t have a fancy desktop or laptop, they are finding Opera’s Web browsing solution to be more ideal. A lot of Web developers probably dismiss Opera as not being worth the extra time and effort to optimize for, but those with an international reach and a wide base of mobile viewers may want to rethink that strategy. This study looked at 34,000 users across 22 different countries spanning four continents. The study spans from November 2010 to November 2011.

[via Web Monkey]

Opera claims 56% of users are mobile-only Web surfers is written by Mark Raby & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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Halo 4 Web series will premiere in the fall

Microsoft may have bungled the opportunity it had to turn Halo into a multi million-dollar theatrical movie success, but the highly successful Xbox shooter franchise will be getting transformed into a live-action masterpiece nevertheless. Microsoft will be debuting a Web-based TV series in the hopes of achieving two goals – strike up as much publicity for Halo 4 as possible, and wrangle in new fans who haven’t necessarily played a Halo game yet.

The man at the helm of the Halo franchise, Frank O’Connor, was quoted as saying that the Web series will help “people to get on board this universe without feeling intimidated.” Unlike the Halo movie, however, which would have been designed to have mass market appeal in its own right, this Web series is geared mainly to drum up business for the new game and will provide an extensive back story for Halo 4.

In Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, Master Chief will work with a cadet who is ends up becoming a leader on a UNSC spaceship. Each episode will be 15 minutes and new episodes will be added on a weekly basis. The Halo franchise is one of Microsoft’s biggest cash cows. Since its initial launch in 2001, more than 40 million Halo games have been sold, generating more than $2 billion in sales. The failed attempt at a big screen adaptation was reported to be at its apex in 2005.

[via VentureBeat]

Halo 4 Web series will premiere in the fall is written by Mark Raby & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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U Prepaid Coming Soon To A Walmart Near You From Alltel and US Cellular

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Just like Straight Talk, which was the result of Walmart teaming up with TracFone back in ’09, Walmart is teaming up with a few regional carriers to offer a new no-contract cellphone service for thrifty consumers. “U Prepaid” will be the fusion of both Alltel and US Cellular in collaboration with Walmart to offer wireless service with an emphasis on easy to understand service plans, minus the contract.

U Prepaid will be available in 500 Walmart locations, spanning across 18 states. Depending on where you live, will determine whether or not you’ll be able to receive service from either US Cellular or Alltel. Pricing for plans hasn’t revealed just yet but the handset lineup will include the Samsung Repp powered by Android as well as a few feature phones like the Samsung Chrono, LG Attune and LG Saber. U Prepaid is expected to go live next month. Full press release below.

CHICAGO AND LITTLE ROCK (April 30, 2012) - U.S. Cellular (NYSE: USM) and Alltel Wireless have joined together to begin offering U Prepaid, a no contract wireless service, in select Walmart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) in local communities across 18 states beginning in May. The alliance, the first of its kind in the industry, offers customers flexible payment options without signing a contract.

“Teaming with Alltel to gain distribution in Walmart gives us another opportunity to be where our customers want to shop and to offer more customers a prepaid service that helps them control their monthly budgets,” said Carter S. Elenz, executive vice president of sales and customer service for U.S. Cellular. ”U Prepaid customers with U.S. Cellular will be backed by our high-speed network, which has the highest call quality and network satisfaction of any national carrier.”

The new alliance provides Walmart customers simplified, easy-to-understand service plan choices. Depending on where customers live, the U Prepaid service will run on either U.S. Cellular’s high-speed national network or Alltel’s advanced coast-to-coast network.

“Alltel is proud to bring the strength and equity of our U Prepaid brand to U.S. Cellular to create this unique alliance,” said Lesa Handly, chief marketing officer for Alltel Wireless. “Together, we can leverage our position as the “local” wireless carrier offering a hometown alternative in the communities we serve.”

Customers will be able to select one of four U Prepaid devices that best meets their personal needs. The Android-powered Samsung Repp is a touchscreen smartphone for customers who want to stay productive while on the go. The LG Attune/LG Exchange and LG Saber make staying connected to friends and family easy with full QWERTY keyboards, and the Samsung Chrono provides the features and functionality for customers who prefer to use their phone for calling and texting.

Customers will be able to choose from a variety of value-packed plans to match how they use their phones. There are multiple data options and plans that include unlimited talk and texting. All of the plans are nationwide with no roaming charges.

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Sony Tablet S pushed to Ice Cream Sandwich

The latest version of Android is now landing on Sony’s Tablet S. Version 4.0, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich, is now being rolled out to device owners in the US. Ice Cream Sandwich is one of the biggest updates to Android yet, and includes such features as scanning your face to unlock the phone, a much more robust speech-to-text software program, and an entire platform of data sharing that focuses on Near Field Communication (NFC).

Several other manufacturers have pledged support for the new update, and a bunch of phones currently running an older version of Android will be eligible to upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich beginning in the coming months.Sony is betting big on Android. The company’s tablets are only part of its new-found mobile strategy. The company is also about to delve more powerfully into the smartphone market than it ever has before.

Sony bought out its mobile partner Ericsson last year, meaning it now has full control over the design and implementation of future Sony-branded handsets. Expect that many of Sony’s services, like Music Unlimited, will be integrated into its smartphones very soon. And the biggest potential deal is Playstation connectivity, as Sony tries to be the #1 player in mobile gaming hardware.

[via PC Advisor]

Sony Tablet S pushed to Ice Cream Sandwich is written by Mark Raby & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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SlashGear Evening Wrap-Up: April 30, 2012

Happy Monday, everyone. It may be the beginning of the week, but it’s the end of the month and we’re going out with a lot of technology news to round off April. For all you Skype lovers out there, check out the new Skype 4.0 update that just hit iOS. And moving on to more universal mobile news, you’ll never believe this. Or maybe you will – Angry Birds Space now hottest mobile game in history. Also, Microsoft secures Windows 8 tablet ebook future.

Featured: So sticking to the subject of ebooks for a moment, we have an interesting article for you bookworms out there – Apple, not Amazon, is Microsoft’s Nook motivation. And in the reviews department, we go to the one home goods store that no mall can do without – Brookstone Bluetooth Keyboard Pro for iPad review. And finally, get ready movie fans because an epic sci-fi alien flick is on the way. Prometheus Week: Facehuggers

Google, Oracle, & SiriusXM: Do you ever sit up at night wondering what new service Google will launch next? Luckily you don’t have to, because there are people down in Mountain View, CA who do that for you. The latest creation – Google’s bank, credit card comparison service. But before that goes live, Google might need to go to its own bank. The Oracle lawsuit still looms high – Oracle’s final rebuttle against Google. And finally for today, we have news from a company that frankly isn’t in the news enough these days – SiriusXM updates Internet radio app for Android.

SlashGear Evening Wrap-Up: April 30, 2012 is written by Mark Raby & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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Slow Windows 8 downloads indicate low interest

If you rushed to download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview the minute it was available, this story probably isn’t for you. If you simply went “meh” when it became available and updated your Windows 7 security definitions, then apparently you’re in the vast majority. According to the analytics firm Net Applications, just about .11% of Internet users connected from a Windows 8 device last week, showing flat growth numbers from March. When compared with the same numbers during Windows 7′s Beta period in 2009, they’re at about the 40% mark.

This implies (but doesn’t assure) that people are less excited for Windows 8 than they were for Windows 7. There are many possible reasons for this. One, all the exciting changes in Windows 8 seems to be centered around the new ARM version called Windows RT. This version of the operating system still hasn’t been made available to the public – Microsoft is keeping it pretty tight between its OEM and design partners, since these machines will be sold more like appliances than computers, at least according to leading developers on the project.

But perhaps the biggest hurdle for pre-release Windows 8 adoption is the fact that Windows 7 is so solid. Even by the time Windows 7 betas and release candidates started popping up, the bad taste of Vista lingered in consumers’ mouths, giving them ample reason to try something that the previous version should have been. Windows 7 is indisputably the most solid, safe and easy to use consumer-facing operating system that Microsoft has ever produced – having a two-year beta named “Vista” will help with that. Could Windows 7 become the Windows XP of this decade, with a majority of desktop users refusing to upgrade for fear of losing their comfortable OS? We’ll see when Windows 8 machines begin hitting shelves this fall.

[via PCWorld]

Slow Windows 8 downloads indicate low interest is written by Michael Crider & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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KegDroid proves ICS and NFC beer-drinking prowess

There’s nothing like an awesome implementation of Android to get you pumped up about the potential of the software platform, especially when it involves beer. What we’re looking at right here is a beast called KegDroid, and what it does is serve beer with the help of Android. All you need is an NFC-laden smartphone and a Google+ account – this machine uses a Motorola XOOM tablet for its basic Android interface and collects your info via NFC to check that you’re at least 21 years of age. If you’re verified, you get beer!

This is of course one of a litany of odd and awesome implementations of Android we’ve seen over the few years Android has been on the scene – and it’s very likely the most delicious. Created by Google employee Paul Carff, this machine goes by the name Betsey and currently resides down in California at Carff’s home. You’ll get the whole lo-down from Carff himself in the video he’s had filmed in his own home-brewing abode.

We’re likely going to see facial recognition in the future, different sized droids for those who love more than two kinds of beer, and of course a root beer iteration. We’re hoping to see one of these masterpieces down at Google I/O this year if at all possible! Unfortunately though at the moment it appears that Carff will be keeping the tech to himself – make one yourself!


[via Android Community]

KegDroid proves ICS and NFC beer-drinking prowess is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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Apple hands Gatekeeper keys to developers

Apple has begun to encourage the developer masses to begin preparing for OS X Mountain Lion by working with new Developer IDs and Gatekeeper in advance of its ultimate final product. This program will allow users to gain greater trust in Apple-distributed software through the Mac App Store as each piece of software downloaded in the future will contain a Developer ID certificate. This Developer ID certificate lets Gatekeeper verify (like magic!) the app to make sure it’s not any sort of known Malware so that the user can download without worry.

This program was introduced in a basic way back when OS X Mountain Lion was introduced some week ago. The Gatekeeper element here will above all else give confidence to the masses hoping to turn off the idea that there is such a thing as a virus in the Apple world. Apple hopes to use this program to not only assure users that Apple-distributed software is safe to use, but to actually make sure the software is, in fact, really safe for the public to use.

The Developer ID program here will connect software to its maker, this allowing the user of the software to keep that all-important bond between user and developer as strong as it’s going to get in our modern mobile world. Gatekeeper verifies each app, and the Mac App Store retains the confidence users are supposed to have in it. As Apple notes:

“The Mac App Store is the safest place for users to get software for their Mac, but we also want to protect users when they get applications from other places. Gatekeeper is a new feature in OS X Mountain Lion that helps protect users from downloading and installing malicious software. Signing your applications, plug-ins, and installer packages with a Developer ID certificate lets Gatekeeper verify that they are not known malware and have not been tampered with.” – Apple

The call to action today came in the form of an email (as you see in the lead image here in this post) and Gatekeeper will be live in the next full version of Apple’s OS X: Mountain Lion. Have a peek at the timeline below to see all the Mountain Lion action you can handle!

[via Mac Rumors]

Apple hands Gatekeeper keys to developers is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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Oracle’s final rebuttal against Google

This afternoon we’ve seen another set of updates coming from the Oracle vs Google case as the former continues to assert that the latter did indeed infringe on JAVA patents they’ve held for some time, with closing arguments being the final bits of info we’ll get today. We’ve had a look at what Google has delivered to the jury as their final argument, now we’ll have a peek at what Oracle has used to bring the jury back on their side of the fence. It’s Oracle’s lawyer Mike Jacobs we’ll be seeing on the soap box here.

When attempting to turn around what Google presented a bit earlier today Oracle’s Mike Jacobs referred to Google’s touting of former Sun CEO Schwartz. This man, said Jacobs, was never the boss in charge of the copyrights and legal business of the company, he was answering to board chairman Scott McNealy, another personality who took the stand this week and one who has this week defended Oracle in the idea that Google never had the right to the JAVA they used in Android. Now that Google is defending themselves with the argument that the code they’ve used was included under fair use, Oracle had to prove that this possibility was simply out of the question.

“If Google can just take the APIs and be forgiven under fair use, that licensing falls apart. That is the deep threat that Android represents to the entire Java community. … “A blog post is not permission. A blog post is not a license. Google knows better than to claim a blog post is official permission.” – Oracle’s Jacobs

Noting that even if Sun did not defend their right to own the codes that Google used in Android back when it was first compiling them, Oracle certainly should have been expected to, and definitely is here and now. Oracle’s closing statement took what the case had presented to the jury and laid it all out with a simple questioning of the jury, asking whether or not they saw Google’s actions as lawful.

We’ll continue to follow this case to completion of course, given its monumental consequences one way or another there’s no knowing how long it will take for the final verdict to be passed down – and when its passed down if it will be allowed to rest here in 2012. Stay tuned!

[via ZDNet]

Oracle’s final rebuttal against Google is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2012, SlashGear. All right reserved.

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Motorola DROID Bionic soak test underway

The Motorola DROID BIONIC looks poised to receive a software update soon as users have begun receiving notifications regarding a soak test. As usual, there’s no telling what these tests will bring but as we haven’t heard about Ice Cream Sandwich updates for some of Motorola’s most recent devices, it’s hard to imagine that the DROID Bionic is getting a special early nod. But, again, anything can happen. [Thanks Aaron!]

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