Apple Focused On Boosting Location And Navigation Services

steve_jobs_maps

In the wake of the criticism faced by Apple Inc. for its below par location and navigation services on the iOS 6, the popular consumer electronics manufacturer is pulling out all the stops to ensure that such eventualities won’t arise when its operating system in its latest iteration (iOS 7) is made available this fall. This past week, Apple acquired two online mapping services – Locationary and HopStop.

The mapping service on iOS 6 didn’t meet expectations as many users were left with wrong directions and misplaced landmarks. Users were left with no option but to rely on Google’s mapping apps for the iPhone and iPad. These apps quickly went on to become some of the highest grossing apps at Apple’s very own App Store.

Last week’s  acquisitions were made to give a much needed boost to Apple’s own mapping app – Apple Maps 2.0 (expected this fall along with iOS 7) so that it could pose as an alternative to the now default choice – Google Maps.

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Apple Maps.

Officials at Apple Inc. did not hail this move with much fanfare by stating that,

Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans, company spokesperson, Kristin Huguet.

A Look at the Acquisitions

Toronto based Locationary collects and analyses data to help create more accurate maps. It is a user edited database of popular restaurants, hotels, tourist attractions, etc. there-by focussing on business location maps. Locationary will also allow Apple Maps 2.0 users to gain access to detailed and comprehensive information on surrounding hotspots of interest. It specializes in geo-location and discerning the nature of the particular hotspot in question. Whether it is a fast food joint, restaurant, hotel, bar and the like.

HopSpot, on the other hand is a New York based enterprise that is more of a transit based app that provides detailed information about various subways, buses, trains, taxis, walking and even biking directions. It also features real-time transit information via the HopStop Live service.

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Hopstop on the iPad

The HopStop service has been made available in more than 600 cities throughout the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, also including 140 major metropolitan areas. HopStop is a highly recommended app in replacement to Apple Maps and is the 7th highest grossing free navigation app at the App Store.

As per the Company’s website, HopStop allows you to:

• Get directions or find nearby subway stations and bus stops with our free mobile apps
• Send directions by email directly from our website
• Plan a trip with multiple destinations
• Estimate travel time and cost for a taxi
• Get estimates for calories burned and carbon emissions savings for your route
• Find wheelchair accessible and stroller friendly routes
• Check out Real-Time Alerts and Planned Service Changes
• See Transit Maps and Schedules
• Do Nearby Station searches

Apple’s officials have remained tight lipped on the terms of these acquisitions but at the moment these moves by Apple seem to be attempts at addressing the issues faced by users and provide them with hassle free navigation solutions.

Blackberry’s Flop Show Continues : BB10 Disappoints In Q1 Results [Report]

Blackberry

Miseries of Canadian smart-phone maker don’t seem to be coming to an end. Company’s change of name from Research In Motion to BlackBerry couldn’t stop the decline of its fortunes. Although company has managed to stem the steep decline, it’s revenue results have not been as per market expectation. BlackBerry reported a loss of $67 million. Sales of Q10 & Z10 are not that promising and company would have to come up with better and enhanced pro million, 13 cents per share. Company also revealed a drop of four million subscribers.

Highlights  of Q1 Results

  • Blackberry Q1 Loss of $84 million-16 cents per share
  • Net Q1 Loss of $67 million-13 cents per share
  • Blackberry Q1 revenue up by 15% to $3.1 billion
  • Blackberry Shipment for Q1 – 6.8 million devices, only 40% of these are BlackBerry 10 devices
  • BlackBerry shipped 100000 PlayBook tablets
  • BlackBerry reports drop of four million subscribers

(Source: BlackBerry Result )

BlackBerry’s total shipment of 6.8 million smart-phones was way below the sales of rivals. It’s rival Apple which sold more then 37 million iPhones while Samsung sold more than 60 million smart-phones. What was more disappointing for BlackBerry was the shipment of a mere 2.7  million BlackBerry 10 devices during the three month period. BlackBerry had launched two BB10 devices this year : full touchscreen Z10 and the more familiar Q10. But the two new comers contributed only for 2.7 m shipments. This quarter was supposed to be first full quarter when the both new devices were sold all around the globe. Disappointing sale of BlackBerry 10 and fact that it sold more of it’s old devices  doesn’t augment well for BlackBerry.

Blackberry Figures- The Verge

(Statistics- The Verge)

The problem with these results is that , they came up after a full quarter sale of Blackberry’s new devices across all the Globe.BlackBerry had pinned high hopes on sale of it Q10 and Z10  phones and was hoping for a turnaround-on sale of these devices. But with it’s trump card turning out to be a fluke, BlackBerry’s future doesn’t look as promising as it was at the start of the year.

Although company has been able to stop the steep decline of its fortunes, but its revenue results have not been as per market expectation. With it’s competitors Samsung and Apple way ahead and other player’s surging ahead,future doesn’t look  that bright. BlackBerry once the leading Smart-phone maker stands way behind at rank 10.

WM3rpCH( Top 10 Smart-phone maker)

BlackBerry’s turn around from maker of an excellent e-mail sending device to modern day multi-purpose smartphone has not been as per its expectations. Company has to do some thinking quickly to survive, otherwise it would join the long list of companies that changed the World, but couldn’t survive the change.

The kid who hacked Apple into pieces now works for Google

Nicholas Allegra - Comex.

Nicholas Allegra – Comex.

Apple’s loss is Google’s gain. Nicholas Allegra, the teenager who in 2011 was responsible for the iPhone hacking tool JailbreakMe has landed an internship with the rival camp.

“I didn’t think anyone would be able to do what he’s done for years. Now it’s been done by some kid we had never even heard of. He’s totally blown me away.” – Charlie Miller, former analyst, National Security Agency.

For the uninitiated Allegra who calls himself Comex had hacked Apple’s iOS – unarguably the world’s most secure and restricted consumer operating system in 2011 and did it all on his own. He created JailbreakMe – a hacking tool for the iPhone and the iPad products. And within a month of the launch of its update – JailbreakMe-3 about 2 million users had used it to remove download restrictions on the iPhone and iPad.

And he did it while he was on leave from studies.

Nicholas_AllegraHe tweeted about his new role at Google through his twitter handle named @Comex. What makes this more interesting is the fact that Allegra was working as an intern for Apple after Apple authorities were left awe-struck and jaw-dropped by his feat. As a matter of fact the internship would have resulted in a permanent position for him at Apple if he had responded to the e-mail sent by Apple Human Resources. But in true happy-go-lucky nerd style he forgot to respond in time and Apple withdrew the offer.

“Comex is from the future.” – Dino Dai Zovi, CTO, security research firm – Trail of Bits.

Google’s internship offer followed and this time he promptly reverted back to accept the offer and avoided becoming the butt of jokes among his hacking circles.

Allegra didn’t disclose on what Google product he has been roped in to work at. Well if ever they assign him under Sergey Brin and make him sit on the Google Glass project we sure hope he contributes to make them look a little less-clumsy and more happily-wearable.