Carbon for Twitter app now available for Android

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Feb 032013

It has been a while in coming but Dots & Lines have at last launched their Carbon for Twitter Android app. It features a timeline design that aims to put everything on one screen to cut down on having to switch between views to get all your information.

The idea behind the design in Carbon has always been giving our users access to all of their Twitter content in one screen without the need to drill down to different screens to get them. Timeline, Mentions, Messages on the home screen, an extended Lists, Favorites, Trends as an extended screen to the main screen. All there.

Carbon for Twitter

Despite being an initial release, it appears to be full-featured already. It supports a number of features including threaded direct messages, support for multiple accounts, filters for hashtags, users, and keywords, and more. For now, there is one limitation that may keep you from installing this first version on some of your devices: There is no tablet support yet. It looks like Dots & Lines will develop a tablet-specific app but there is no ETA yet.

Future updates will add more customisable options and settings and non-Twitter options. Best of all and as promised, Carbon for Twitter is available for free. That includes no ads, this is the full version of the app.

Here’s hoping that Carbon for Twitter puts an end to the revolving door of Twitter apps on Gadgetorama’s smartphones.

Read more: Google Play

Google extends Exchange ActiveSync support to July 31, 2013

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Jan 312013

Today was to have been the day that Google’s Sync service would stop being available to new Windows Phone devices. Fortunately, Microsoft yesterday announced that Google was extending their support for new Windows Phone connections to July 31st, 2013. The extension will allow Microsoft to build into their software support for CalDAV and CardDAV, the protocols to be used to connect to Google’s Calendar and Contacts services.

At the same time, the Windows Phone team is building support into our software for the new sync protocols Google is using for calendar and contacts—CalDAV and CardDAV. These new protocols, combined with our existing support for the IMAP protocol for email, will enable Windows Phone users to continue to connect to Google services after July 31, 2013.

It’s likely that Microsoft will push out a new update before July 31st to add the necessary functionality to Windows Phone devices. While devices now using the service will find that the Google Sync service will continue to work past the deadline, it’s unclear how much longer Google will support it. An update would future-proof devices against a future shutdown of the service.

Read more: Windows Phone Blog

Microsoft ‘disappointed’ by Google’s Exchange ActiveSync decision

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Jan 022013

In a statement to The Verge, Microsoft said today that it is “surprised and disappointed” with Google’s decision to stop offering its Google Sync service to new devices as of January 30th, 2013.

Like many, we are surprised and disappointed that Google wants to make it more difficult for customers to connect their accounts to their devices. If you want better email, especially for your phone or tablet, now is a perfect time to join the millions who have already made the choice to upgrade to Windows Phone users will still be able to sync their Google email via IMAP.

Microsoft’s new service supports Exchange ActiveSync.

Today’s statement suggests that Microsoft will not support Gmail contacts and calendar sync at this time. It also remains to be seen if Microsoft will support CardDAV and CalDAV on Windows Phone to allow for such synchronization.

As for Google, it will continue to support existing Google Sync connections. It will also continue to fully support Google Sync for Google Sync for Google Apps for Business, Government and Education.

Read more: The Verge

Google extends free Gmail calling in Canada and U.S. through 2013

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Dec 272012

Google yesterday announced that it will continue to offer free domestic calls in Canada and the U.S. through Gmail through 2013. The service that lets Gmail users call standard phone numbers has been free since it launched in 2010.

Many of you call phones from Gmail to easily connect with friends and family. If you’re in the US and Canada, you’ll continue to be able to make free domestic calls through 2013. Plus, in most countries, you can still call the rest of the world from Gmail at insanely low rates.

As the Gmail team also indicated, international Gmail users will also continue to benefit from low rates to make international voice calls using Google Voice. For example, Google indicates that the “leading internet telephony provider” charges US$0.20 per minute to call France whereas it charges only US$0.10.

Google may be keeping its Gmail calling service free for another year in a bid to catch up to other voice and video services such as Microsoft’s Skype. To do so, it will need to continue to improve it as it seems more prone to poor transmission quality issues than its competitors.

Now if Google would only integrated Gmail calling with Google Voice or Google Talk…

Read more: Official Gmail Blog

BBM Video with screen sharing coming to BlackBerry 10?

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Dec 262012
Leaked slide about BBM Video

Not only is the recently introduced BBM Voice coming to BlackBerry 10 but leaked slides that first popped up in the CrackBerry forums suggest that Research In Motion’s new operating system will also offer BBM Video, a new Apple FaceTime-like service.

According to the leaked documents BBM Video will let BBM users “chat with a colleague or customer then transition to a video call for improved collaboration and share a presentation or spreadsheet instantly to help get the message across more clearly – all at the push of a button.”

Leaked slide about BBM Voice in BlackBerry 10

Leaked slide about BBM Voice in BlackBerry 10

A closer look at the screenshots shows that a video of the person you are talking to will take up most of the display with your own image at the bottom in a status bar. BBM Voice will also work with BBM Groups.

Expect more to be revealed about BBM Voice along with the first BlackBerry 10 devices on January 30th when RIM holds a number of worldwide launch events (including ones in Toronto and New York).

Read more: CrackBerry

Google dropping Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync support for new devices

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Dec 142012

GoogleGoogle today announced that its Google Sync service would no longer be available to new devices as of January 30th, 2013. The service allowed users to access Gmail, Calendar and Contacts through the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync protocol.

With the recent launch of CardDAV, Google now offers similar access via IMAP, CalDAV and CardDAV, making it possible to build a seamless sync experience using open protocols.

Microsoft currently does not support CalDAV and CardDAV in Windows Phone 8. It remains to be seen if it will come up with a workaround to this development. New Windows Phone 8 users may want to look at Microsoft’s new service (which supports Exchange ActiveSync) instead of Gmail.

Fortunately for current users, Google will continue to support existing Google Sync connections. Google will also continue to fully support Google Sync for Google Sync for Google Apps for Business, Government and Education.

Google made the announcement as part of a larger announcement. It is also shutting down “several less popular Google Calendar features” such as Appointment slots and Smart Rescheduler and Add gadget by URL. The Punchd Android and iOS apps, used to keep loyalty punch cards on smartphones, will be shut down on June 7th, 2013 along with merchant support for these.

Read more: Google Official Blog

RIM BBM 7 with BBM Voice now available for download

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Dec 102012

Research In Motion today announced the availability of BlackBerry Messenger 7. It is the first version of BBM to come with BBM Voice, a feature which lets BBM users make free voice calls over Wi-Fi from within the app to their BBM contacts. BBM Voice comes with a number of features:

  • The ability to switch from BBM text chat to talk and back
  • Split-screen supports talk and text at same time
  • Visual indicator to indicate when contacts are available for voice calls
  • Compatibility with various accessories including Bluetooth or wired headsets

Aside from BBM Voice, BBM 7 comes with new BBM upgrade notifications to notify you of new updates, an integrated BBM ID that makes it easier to switch devices, and 16 new emoticons.

BBM 7 is now available in BlackBerry App World for devices running BlackBerry 6 OS and higher. RIM also plans to release a version support the older BlackBerry 5 operating system sometime “early next year.”

Read more: BlackBerry App World (Source: Inside BlackBerry)

Microsoft merges Skype with Windows Live Messenger

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Nov 062012

Microsoft today announced that its Windows Live Messenger (also known as MSN Messenger) service is being rolled up into Skype. The latest versions of Skype for Windows and Mac will let users sign in with their Microsoft account and find all their Messenger there.

Our goal remains to deliver the best communications experience for everyone, everywhere. We want to focus our efforts on making things simpler for our users while continuously improving the overall experience.

Messenger users will find a number of new features in Skype including:

  • Broader device support for all platforms, including iPad and Android tablets
  • Instant messaging, video calling, and calling landlines and mobiles all in one place
  • Sharing screens
  • Video calling on mobile phones
  • Video calling with Facebook friends
  • Group video calling


Microsoft will need to migrate some 100 million accounts, something that will not be completed until early 2013. At that point, it will retire Messenger worldwide in the first quarter of 2013 with the exception of mainland China where it will remain available.

Read more: Skype

Upcoming Carbon for Android to be free

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Jul 142012

Developer Dots & Lines shared a promising preview of the upcoming Carbon for Android Twitter client back in March. Since then, there’s been little news and no release date. Yesterday, the developer took to Google+ once more to provide an update.

Dots & Lines, based in UAE, put the project on hold for nearly two months after finding out that they would not be able to publish it to Google Play as a paid application because of their location. They hoped that Google I/O 2012 would have some good news for them on this front but they were disappointed once more. Instead of letting the project , they have now come to a decision most will like. Carbon for Android will be a free app!

So, we finally decided to make it a free app. Yep, a premium free app. No Ads(we believe that Ads cripple the experience no matter how efficiently done, it’s just wrong on an app that users use all day long). Going free, doesn’t mean watering the app down, but a mean to get the app that we’ve been working on for a long time, designs that went through endless iterations and tweaking to be experienced out there by our eager friends who’ve been waiting for months.

And more good news: Dots & Lines expects to have Carbon for Android available in Google Play the week of July 22nd. This will not be a beta version either but the full first version.

Anyone else marking their calendars?

Read more: Carbon for Android [via Google+]

Rumour: BlackBerry 10 BBM images leaked

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Jun 262012

Alleged images of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) for BlackBerry 10 have been obtained by N4BB. The leaked document shows BBM both on the touchscreen-based L-Series and the keyboard-based N-Series devices. Aside from the pictures, few details are revealed except to add that users will be able to customize their BBM theme.

Rumoured BlackBerry 10 BBM

RIM is also paying close attention to battery life with the design of the new themes. It found that a simple black theme could reduce battery consumption by as much as 25%. With further optimization for the first N-Series device’s OLED screen could reduce battery use by as much as 75%.

Rumoured BlackBerry 10 BBM

It will be interesting to see how RIM has integrated its new Flow paradigm into BBM.

What do you think?

Read more: N4BB

RIM wins legal battle over BBM trademark

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May 312012

Research In MotionLate last year, Research In Motion was hit with a lawsuit alleging trademark infringement over the use of the name “BBM” by Canadian company BBM Canada. Today, RIM got some good news as a Canadian Federal Court ruled in its favour in the case. While BBM does own the trademark, the court found that the two companies operate in different industries and that the trademark was not infringed upon as a result.

Needless to say, RIM was quite pleased with the outcome. According to RIM spokeswoman Tenille Kennedy: “We are pleased that the Federal Court of Canada sided with RIM and confirmed that RIM’s use of BBM does not infringe the trademark rights of BBM Canada as they had alleged.”

For its part, BBM Canada has not yet decided whether it will appeal the ruling or not.

Read more: The Globe and Mail

Google Translate for Android updated with new UI

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May 312012

Google today released an update for Google Translate for Android. The main enhancement is a new design with a new icon and the Holo theme that Google introduced with Android 4.0. Also included are:

  • Esperanto translation
  • Many new text to speech languages

Google Translate now supports text translation between 64 languages, speaking text translations in 17 languages, and translations spoken back to you in 40 languages.

Google Translate for Android

Google’s machine-driven translation still leaves something to be desired but at least the app is now easier to use.

Read more: Google Play

Rumour: RIM puts BBM development on backburner to focus on new devices

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May 242012

RIM BlackBerryBBM is synonymous with BlackBerry and remains very popular even as RIM’s fortunes have soured. Along with RIM’s famous QWERTY keyboards, it has allowed RIM to hang on to more than a few customers as it has some 55 million BBM users. Rumours earlier this year suggested that Research In Motion was making good progress in porting its instant messaging service over to Android and iOS. The project was known internally as “SMS 2.0” and would allow RIM to open up its network and license BBM to other device manufacturers and carriers.

According to The Wall Street Journal, relatively new CEO Thorsten Heins has put an end to the project after deciding that RIM should not pursue licensing deals. One person familiar with the matter added that “It was not up for discussion.”

The report adds that, while RIM is not abandoning BBM, it will put further development on the backburner to focus on the BlackBerry 10 OS and device launch later this year. While BBM will be offered on its BlackBerry 10 devices, it does not appear that there will be any new features added at least within the immediate future.

Read more: The Wall Street Journal (Source: N4BB)

Is Facebook replacing text messaging?

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May 122012

While Canada’s love affair with text messaging continued on strong in 2011 with 78 billion messages sent, there are signs that the love affair may be waning in other parts of the world. A report by Strand Consult, a telecommunications consulting firm, found that the amount of time smartphone users are spending on Facebook is increasing. It suggests that a growing number of messages are being exchanged through that platform rather than text messages. “Many operators are seeing an increasing number of customers moving their SMS traffic over to Facebook, resulting in their SMS cash cow getting thinner and thinner,” Strand Consult wrote in its research note.

It’s not the first time that Facebook is tied to a decrease in text message volumes. A report earlier this year attributed decreases to newer instant communication tools such as Facebook, Twitter and platform-specific tools such as BBM and iMessage.

A separate report by Chetan Sharma, an independent mobile analyst, found a similar trend in the Philippines, one of the top texting nations. Text messages sent by an average cellphone user dropped from 660 per month in 2010 to about 400 per month in 2011. Again, the drop was attributed to alternative communication tools such as Skype, iMessage, and Google Voice.

Are you texting less and using other communication tools such as Facebook instead?

Read more: The New York Times

Skype 1.0 for Windows Phone now available

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Apr 222012

Skype for Windows Phone has gone gold with version 1.0 hitting the Windows Phone Marketplace today. In beta since its launch in February, the new version adds the ability to search for and add new contacts and calls to landlines. It also comes with some additional optimization and minor improvements.

Skype 1.0 for Windows Phone

Skype for Windows Phone still lacks background running support, thereby limiting its usefulness. Without being able to run in the background, calls will only be received when the user is in the app.

Skype for Windows Phone is slowly turning up in Marketplaces outside of the U.S. It is available in Canada’s as well as some other countries. If you don’t see it yet, it should only be a matter of time.

Skyp 1.0 for Windows Phone requires Windows Phone 7.5 and is a free download.

Read more: Windows Phone Marketplace (Source: WPCentral)