Nexus 5 and Kit Kat
The Nexus 5 was released a little over a week ago, along with the updated Android operating system – Kit Kat 4.4. The new handset developed by Google with LG is priced at £300 for a SIM free handset, which for a premium smartphone is pretty good! While the specifications and performance are only just shy of the iPhone 5s, there is an enormous difference in price. The Nexus 5 is being touted as the best Android smartphone on the market, and the best smartphone across all platforms in terms of value for money.
The Nexus 5 makes full use of Kit Kat, and Google have ensured that their products have been pushed to the forefront of the operating system. The 'Google Now' voice activated search tool can be used by saying “OK Google”. This feature is always available, meaning you are able to search, hands free, at any time. Another update on Kit Kat sees the messages app done away with in favour of “Hangouts”. Different types of contacts can be accessed via Hangouts, and mass texts and conversations are easily viewed as group chats.
Navigation buttons can be easily hidden when viewing photos, reading or watching videos to give you full advantage of large screens, or maximise smaller displays. There’s nothing too groundbreaking in the update to operating systems, however, the interface has had a facelift and there are some nice little features that have been added. There’s a feeling that the next update will be much bigger.
Microsoft Close in on New Boss
Following the resignation of current CEO Steve Ballmer, Microsoft are drafting their shortlist for his successor. Numerous names have been mentioned, but the search is reportedly almost over as a candidate list of around 40 has been whittled down to just 4. Names on the list are rumoured to include Ford CEO Alan Mulally, and ex-head of Nokia Steven Elop. Steven Elop is a strong candidate for the position as Nokia’s mobile division has recently been absorbed by Microsoft, and with them looking to make headway in the smartphone market, Elop could be the man to take the company forward. There are suggestions however that if Elop was to take the reins, he would do away with a number of divisions within Microsoft.
One department claimed to be at risk is the Xbox division, which is currently a strong arm of the business. This may be sold off, while other sections such as Bing could be scrapped altogether. This is all conjecture at the moment, but it wouldn’t be too far-fetched given Microsoft’s desire to increase their share of the smartphone market. The focus would be to get Office products onto mobile devices, and doing that with their own product would make the task a lot easier. What is unlikely is that they would sell off Xbox, especially given the release of the Xbox One on the 22nd November. Whoever they appoint, it’ll be interesting to see which direction they take the company in.
Bitcoin Tid Bits
Since the closure of Silk Road last month, Bitcoin hasn’t been out of the news! Some predicted that without Silk Road Bitcoin would fade into obscurity. The exact opposite has happened in fact, with the exchange value reaching an all time high of $349.99.The problems and potential benefits of Bitcoin were highlighted recently too via separate incidents. In one case, a man who had bought $27 worth back in 2009, discovered that the volatile market price had increased the value of his 5,000 Bitcoins. The currency that cost him $27 four years ago was now worth $886,000! The value of Bitcoins changes dramatically and fortunately for the man that forgot all about his relatively small investment, he has received a huge return.
On the other side of the (bit)coin, a number of people have had amounts stolen from online depositories. Over $1 million worth was stolen, with the owner of the site saying that reporting the theft to the authorities would be pointless as the anonymity surrounding Bitcoin would make it nearly impossible for them to catch the culprit. A Bitcoin exchange in China has shut down too, leaving investors out of pocket collectively by just over $4 million. Users were suddenly unable to access the site, and when investigated, the company was found to be operating illegitimately. All points of contact have been severed and unfortunately those that had invested in the company are unable to retrieve their capital. Online currency is anonymous and unregulated which in some instances is extremely beneficial, however the risks involved with large sums of the currency have been proved to be great.
Amazon to Deliver on Sundays
While not strictly tech news, this latest announcement from Amazon will be sure to please those of you that love internet shopping. The online store says that it will team up with a private delivery service to ensure parcels are delivered on Sundays! For now the service will only be rolled out in New York, Los Angeles, and London, however there are plans to expand to further cities over the next 12 months. The deliveries will be available to any customer living in these cities, and if the scheme is a success, expect to see nationwide Sunday Amazon arrivals within the coming years.