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opinion

Google may well be best known for its search engine, but the company has plenty of strings to its bow including Gmail - the free email service that has exploded in popularity over the past few years. As with many other online services, there is a mobile version of the Gmail website that you can use to access your inbox from your phone or tablet, so why would you want to use an app?

The recent update to Gmail — both its Android app and the website  — means that this seems like a good time to take a closer look at Google’s email service. This is something I use daily, and have done for years. There are aspects I love, aspects I hate, but I think it’s continuing to make moves in the right direction.

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When it comes to Twitter clients I bounce around a lot — on all platforms. Heck on the desktop I use TweetDeck even though I’m not a huge fan of it. I haven’t really found a free app that I really like and I really don’t want to pay a ton of money for a client when the service itself is free. On Android, I’ve run the gamut: Twitter’s official app, Twicca, Carbon, Tweetlanes, Falcon, Tweetdeck, and more. Each, while good, left me wanting something more. Then I found out about Robird.

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Before I entered the social part of the Internet, I was reluctant to share any kind of information. I can’t really remember how it all changed, it’s funny, because it wasn’t even that long ago — four or five years. Now I’ve got an account basically on every website I visit on a daily basis, including social sites. This means Facebook, Google+ and let’s not forget about twitter. At first, I was attracted to the idea of micro-blogging: sharing things you do as they happen, without the need of logging them or remembering them at the end of the day was different, and quite intriguing. Even though news sites and blogs use Twitter to spread the word about their published articles, it is still that micro-blogging service that we all know and love.

As with all services out there, Twitter has an API (Application Programming Interface) that enables application developers to create countless applications for viewing feeds and analyzing data. Devs have done just that and there are numerous clients on the Play Store that cater to different types of users. The one that caught my attention was Twitter’s own application and today I’ll try and share with you why I use it and not any other third party application.

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When Facebook bought Instagram last month for the cool price of $1 billion, my Twitter feed showed nothing else for about six hours after the announcement. It was big news, especially seeing as it was the biggest acquisition Facebook had ever made. It also caused instant chatter in the tech world, including those jokes (“Why did Zuckerberg pay $1 billion for Instagram when he could have downloaded it for free?”) which raised a slight chuckle the first time you read them but started to grate slightly when every third person was retweeting them.

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There are quite a few things that I want to see announced for mainstream smartphones sooner rather than later. Huge leaps have been made in what portable technology can do these last few years: it can pay for groceries and recognise faces. Am I too optimistic and hopeful with this list…?

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I’ve been a fan of Android phones ever since my first contact with one a couple of years ago – and yet, at the time I didn’t even realise Android was an operating system. These days I’ve got a much deeper understanding, and am up to date on almost all of the latest news as it comes out – in fact, if something happens and I’m not aware of it almost instantly, I feel rather embarrassed.

But I was a happy smartphone user even before I was an Android geek, so I have to wonder: are smartphones only for tech geeks, or are they targeted to everyone?

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The analytics company comScore Inc keeps track of many aspects of digital technologies, such as the sales and market shares of TVs, broadband packages, tablets, and… smartphones! Here is a little before-and-after of smartphone OS market share and manufacturer popularity from May to October this year. How did Android do?
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Suppose you were to design a smartphone with the aim of being adored by its owners. What would you include? Here’s my list of dream features…
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Google’s Chrome OS has been in public circulation for over six months in the form of Chromium, and is now available bundled with hardware as “Chromebooks” from Samsung and Acer have hit the market. The single function computing platform has caused quite a stir concerning its lackluster power and prowess when compared to the likes of machines running Windows, Apple’s OS X or even iOS and Android devices.

So, how is Google splitting their focus between two separate operating systems?

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Back in March, there were several rumours that BlackBerry’s Messenger service would launch on both Android and iPhone in an effort to maintain the service’s popularity, even if the device market share shrinks. I’ve always puzzled over the exact attraction of RIM’s smartphone platform. I don’t get it. Why are these things so darn popular? It turns out their popularity amongst teenagers comes mainly down to this service, so I did a little research. (more…)

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