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Gmail Receives Updated Interface on Mobile Browsers

Back in December, Google updated the user interface on its Gmail app for iOS. Today, the company has also updated the Gmail experience on mobile browsers, featuring the same new look and improved functions as the app. According to Google, the changes are a response to positive feedback from users.

“Since launching the rebooted Gmail app for iPhone and iPad in December, we’ve heard from many of you that you like the redesigned UI, along with new features such as improved search and integration with Google Calendar,” reads a post on the Gmail Google+ account. “Today we’re rolling out a similar refreshed look to the Gmail mobile web app.”

Gmail for Mobile Web

The December update to Gmail for iOS brought a streamlined look to the app, and added new features such as better auto-complete searches and a more streamlined Calendar. According to today’s post, most if not all of these improvements are now available on the mobile web version.

Additionally, Google has brought the same updates to its Gmail Offline Chrome extension. Gmail Offline allows users to access their inbox and email archives, even when disconnected.

Granted, there’s still a very real question as to why anyone would want to use the mobile web version of Gmail over the iOS app, but to each their own. You can check out the update right now in the iOS browser of your choice.

Follow this article’s author, Matt Clark, on Twitter.

Image Source: Gmail Google+


Sonico Mobile Debuts Touch-Optimized Files App for iOS

Files AppFor all the simplicity of iOS, many users still dream of an OS X-style Finder for Apple’s mobile operating system. That dream may never be fulfilled, but until then, Files App might just fit the bill.

Sonico Mobile has announced the release of Files App, a 99-cent universal app that makes it simple to manage and view files of just about any kind using your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.

Judging from the app website, Files App is a model of simplicity — the UI is essentially a + button for adding files from almost anywhere, icons for grid or list view and an Edit button manage and organize files.

From the + button, users can import files from Mac or PC, Camera Roll, email, web URLs, Dropbox, Box or Google Drive, or create new folders. Everything else is done via touch, which includes collecting files inside iOS-style folders. Drag a file over another to create folders, tap to rename files — Files App gets it done with simplicity and style.

Sonico has also made importing files from desktop computers a snap. Using any modern web browser, the Files App screen is replicated on the desktop, where files can be moved around or even dragged and dropped onto the screen. (Chrome users can also drag files from iOS to desktop in the same way.)

Files App is now available from the App Store for 99 cents and works with all iPhone, iPod touch and iPad models running iOS 5.0 or later.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter


Overnight Recap: RIM Now BlackBerry, Backblaze Mobile, SMC Firmware Updates

Backblaze MobileBold move or suicidal jump? BlackBerry maker Research in Motion kicked off its global launch of new handsets on Wednesday by announcing the company is changing its name to match that of its once-iconic brand, a move that seemed to impress more people than the actual handsets it introduced. It remains to be seen if BlackBerry’s big bold move will be enough to get smartphone users back on its side, but clearly the company isn’t afraid to roll the dice and see where it takes them.

Research in Motion No More: Company Rebrands as BlackBerry

Yesterday was the big day for BlackBerry maker Research in Motion, as the company finally launched its new devices powered by BlackBerry 10. To solidify the new platform’s commitment, CEO Thorsten Heins announced that RIM is changing its name after nearly 30 years to match that of its once market-leading smartphone. “From this point forward, we are BlackBerry,” Heins announced. “One brand. One promise. Our customers use a BlackBerry, our employees work for BlackBerry, and our shareholders are owners of BlackBerry.” The company won’t start shipping its latest handsets until mid-March here in the U.S., by which time other countries, including our neighbors to the north in Canada, will have already tired of them.

Backblaze Mobile for iPhone Brings Cloud Access to Mac Files

Online backup service Backblaze announced an upcoming new addition to its product lineup with Backblaze Mobile for iPhone. Available in “just a few short weeks,” the iOS app will allow Backblaze users to access, download and share files backed up from your Mac or Windows system with anyone. Best of all, Backblaze Mobile for iPhone is absolutely free. To be notified when the app hits the App Store, head over to the Backblaze Blog and sign up with your email address.

Apple Releases SMC Firmware Updates for MacBook Battery Issue

MacRumors is reporting that Apple posted three different SMC Firmware Updates on Wednesday night — one each for the MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Although the release notes don’t specify which models the updates are intended for, an intrepid forum member took a peek inside the files and found they’re meant for models released from mid-2010 through late 2011, so if you have anything newer or older, don’t be surprised if the update doesn’t work. According to Apple, the update “addresses a rare issue on some Apple notebooks where a battery that has accumulated more than 1000 charge cycles may unexpectedly shut down or stop functioning.”

Twitter Introduces Larger Photos, Video Content to Web View

The Twitter Blog announced a couple of changes to its web-based service on Wednesday aimed at improving media viewed on profiles and search results. Clicking photos in those places will now pull up an even larger version of the image than before, all without leaving the page. Media galleries also now include videos from Vine, YouTube, Vimeo and other partners whose videos appear in expanded tweets. While it’s nice that Twitter adds such functionality, how many of us are really using the web-based Twitter in the first place?

FxFactory Adds Bounce, Shatter Transitions from Nattress

Noise Industries is back with two new sets of FxFactory video transitions from partner Nattress, this time for Final Cut Pro 7 or X, Motion 4 or 5, Adobe After Effects CS5 or higher and Adobe Premiere Pro CS6. Bounce Transitions is a set of four fun and bouncy transitions that use realistic motion algorithms for a natural bounce or spring movement. Shatter Transitions is a package consisting on two plugins: Shake N Shatter and Shatter Basic, each of which create dynamic transitions that break apart outgoing video or bring together incoming video. As always, free trial versions of both plugin packages are available from the Nattress website and OS X Lion or OS X Mountain Lion is required to use them in FxFactory.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter



Research Firm Claims Apple Now Top U.S. Mobile Phone Vendor

Apple logo on grayTake that, Samsung: Based on its Q4 2012 data, a research firm has crowned Apple as the top mobile phone vendor in the United States for the first time ever — but its Korean rival isn’t far behind.

Strategy Analytics announced Friday
that Apple is now the number one mobile phone vendor in the United States for the first time ever with a record 34 percent share of the market.

The claim is based on estimates that Apple shipped 17.7 million iPhones in the fourth quarter of 2012, a sharp increase from 12.8 million in the same quarter a year ago, when the iconic handset captured only 25 percent of the market.

Overall, mobile phone shipments in the U.S. grew four percent in 2012, from 50.2 million units in 2011 to 52 million last year. The growth is attributed to the ever-increasing demand for 4G smartphones and 3G feature phones.

Apple may not have long to gloat about the numbers: Former top performer Samsung is still nipping at its heels with 16.8 million units (32.3 percent) shipped in Q4 2012, while LG is a distant third with 4.7 million (nine percent) and all other manufacturers combined made up the remaining 24.6 percent for another 12.8 million units.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter



Apple CEO Tim Cook Meets with China Mobile Chairman

Chinese flag on iPhoneWhile Apple has an ever-increasing presence in China, the world’s largest cell phone carrier based there is still curiously deficient on offering an iPhone — but that may change as executives from the two companies sit down for a chat.

Reuters is reporting that Apple CEO Tim Cook is in China this week, where he sat down Thursday for a one-on-one pow-wow with China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua to discuss “matters of cooperation,” a spokesman for the carrier told the news agency via email.

That’s about all we’re likely to know about the meeting thanks to signed confidentiality agreements and Apple’s notorious penchant for secrecy, but it’s not hard to imagine that a key topic was how to get the iPhone onto the last remaining carrier holdout in China.

While Apple already has lucrative deals in place with China Unicom and China Telecom, China Mobile is by far the largest carrier in the country — let alone the entire world — with 703 million subscribers. That’s a significant number of potential iPhone users, even for a device that’s sold more than 250 million units to date.

The problem, however, is China Mobile’s 3G network is incompatible with the rest of the world, which many believe is the reason Apple has not created an iPhone specific for that region and instead appears to be waiting for the carrier’s network to be “commercially viable.”

A deal with China Mobile is said to be a shot in the arm for the iPhone’s future growth at a time when many Chinese users have switched to smartphones offered by competitors Samsung and Lenovo.

Cook also noted that Apple currently has 11 stores in the Greater China region in addition to a number of resellers, but the company plans to expand further in the future, with more than 25 stores in total.

Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter



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