We've come to the end of another year, and as we wave goodbye to 2010, we figured it was only fitting that we share the most popular stories published on Gear Live in 2010, as determined by our readers (we've also got the top ten most read stories regardless of publish date!) These are the ten stories that were read the most, and when you consider that fact, it's pretty surprising to see what made the list. Let's kick it off with our most read story of the year:
Fring App Brings Skype Video Calling to iPhone 4 over Wi-Fi and 3G:
Sure, Skype just formally announced video calling in the Skype 3.0 iOS app, but Fring brought us Skype video calls months ago! The thing is, Skype pulled that feature from Fring with the quickness, but that didn't stop this from being the most read story we published in 2010!
Droid Life on Tuesday posted photos of the HTC Thunderbolt, which it says will be Verizon's first 4G LTE device. The site didn't have any details on specs except to note that it looks a lot like the Desire HD. The device features a kickstand and Google branding.
Verizon said it has no comment.
Samsung has apparently confirmed that they will be showcasing the very first handheld Android media device (read: not a phone) at CES in a couple of weeks. Complementing its popular Galaxy Tab tablet, the familiar looking device (likely called the Galaxy Player) will feature a front facing camera, come in 8 GB, 16 GB, and 32G models, with a WVGA screen, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a 3.2 MP camera. It will run Android 2.2 and will have a long lasting 1200mAh removable battery. The Samsung fan blog Samsung Hub has apparently confirmed the device, along with pictures that look quite similar to an iPod touch. It's clear that Android has been good for the company lately with devices like the Galaxy Tab and Galaxy S. This will bring yet another form factor to the market. There's no word yet when this new PMP will be available for sale, but those details are right around the corner.
Read More | Samsung Hub
Many people take the security of their smartphones for granted. As the amount of private data communicated through smartphones increases, so does the threat of attacks from viruses and hackers. Choosing to act now rather than wait for a security fiasco, phone companies such as AT&T, are hiring security researchers to focus on strengthening the security of mobile phones from attacks. Since security has previously not been a major concern on mobile devices it will take some time (years) for these security measures to fully implement.
"Everyone is realizing that this is an uncontrolled environment," said Edward G. Amoroso, chief security officer of AT&T Inc. "We don't want to have the same problems that we had with PCs."
Read More | Wall Street Journal
While 'PlayStation Phone' seemed to be the way to go for what is essentially a PlayStation phone, the device is most likely going to be branded 'Xperia Play' by Sony Ericcson.
This comes after learning of a number of .com, .net, and .org domain names registered as XperiaPlay by a PR agency known as Jung Relations, whose long list of clients includes Sony Ericcson.
Xperia Play is set to launch at MWC this February, but won't reach retail store shelves until April.
Read More | Xperiax10
Last night Paul Buchheit, the former Google employee who created Gmail, tweeted his rather bold prediction that Chome OS was doomed:
"Prediction: ChromeOS will be killed next year (or "merged" with Android)"
He then added on the FriendFeed thread that Chrome OS has "no purpose that isn't better served by Android" and asking "is this too obvious to even state?" As Google started to ship CR-48 preview devices, with tech blogs reviewing them endlessly, people found themselves in front of a new type of system, one that provides much less than Android, or any other OS has provided before. Google is hoping that the web is all that many people need, and targeting Chrome OS at them. But as people started to plug in devices and finding that they don't work, being unable to do simple things like save photos from their digital cameras locally, or write a document without having to be online, it seems that the company still has a long way to go to convince people that Chrome OS is a good idea, for any market.
Read More | FriendFeed
Microsoft, along with various hardware partners, entered the tablet market a decade ago, but it was never a big success for them. Now that the iPad has taken off, and with Android tablets also looking strong this Christmas, the New York Times has an exclusive report saying that Microsoft is about to release a series of new tablets at CES early next year. According to inside sources, Steve Ballmer will introduce devices from Samsung, Dell and others, and try to get Microsoft back in the race. However, unlike the iPad and Android tablets, they will run Windows 7 or 8, a full desktop OS, and include a slide out keyboard.
Of course the fact that they will run a full OS brings questions like how much battery life they will have. Also, some of the marketing points will be for people to "work on Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint while doing work”. This seems very similar to what the UMPC and previous Windows tablets were about, and it seems like a repeat of previous attempts--including last year at CES where Ballmer announced their new tablet initiative.
Read More | New York Times
One common source of complaints from Android users is how the Market app can be somewhat tricky to use. I've always found the user experience to be not that great compared with the Apple App Store, for example. Thankfully, Android developers have been hard at work, and have launched a new version of the Market app. They are adding a new 'carousel' in the home screen which will make discoverability of apps easier. They are also adding some categories for Widgets and Live Wallpapers, and promising to add more in the weeks ahead for popular apps and games. The way information is shown about each app is also changed, with everything being shown on a single page. Finally, the refund window will drop from 24h to 15 minutes, since apparently people typically uninstall applications they don't like only minutes after installing them. The update will be rolled out over the next two weeks to devices running Android 1.6 or above.
Read More | Android Blog
The Google Nexus S is officially the next Google phone, as Google confirmed it this morning, throwing up a product page for the upcoming smartphone. What's so special about it? Well, for starters, it's the first phone to ship with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and Google says that owners of the Nexus S will be the first to receive future software and app updates. It's got a 4-inch WVGA display, tri-band HSPA (but no HSPA+ to take advantage of those faster T-Mobile speeds,) a 5 megapizel camera, front-facing VGA camera, and near-field communication built-in. It has 16GB of storage built-in, and 512MB RAM with a 1GHz Hummingbird processor. Other interesting tidbits include the contour display, which kind of shapes to your face, integrated VoIP support, and gyroscope.
You'll be able to purchase the Nexus S on December 16th at Best Buy locations for $199 with a two-year T-Mobile contract, or $529 unlocked. On December 20th, it'll be available in the UK at Best Buy UK and Carphone Warehouse.
A couple of days ago was the infamous Cyber Monday, where online stores see massive surges in sales, and eBay is one of the prime destinations people go to buy goods. Today they reported that their mobile sales for the Monday after Thanksgiving were up 146%. Also, eBay released a visualization tool that shows mobile shopping trends across 6 countries. The company reported that the use of its mobile platforms went up 3 times since 2009, with its iPhone app leading the way, followed by Android and Blackberry. In the US, cars and trucks were the biggest mobile trends, with cell phones, PDAs, women's clothing and other accessories leading the number of transactions done. It's clear that eBay is pushing its mobile apps, having recently released an updated version for the iPhone which includes a bar code reader, to bridge the in-store and online shopping experience.
Read More | eBay