Despite being the world’s most popular operating system -- mobile or otherwise -- all is not well for Android. Along with deteriorating profits, “Google’s version of Android faces increasing competition from hungry rivals, including upstart smartphone makers,” Farhad Manjoo writes in The New York Times. “There are also new threats from Apple.”
Android users are rejoicing on the news that HBO Now is coming to Google’s operating system. “The $14.99 subscription service, which gives noncable customers access to live streams of current HBO shows … and catalogs of past shows … will be available for download in the Google Play store, making it available on Android devices,” The Hollywood Reporter writes.
Expected to hit shelves by early 2016, the first Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets will retail for around $1,500. So Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe told attendees of Re/code’s Code Conference, this week. “Over time, he’d like to see that cost come down to under $1,000,” Re/code reports. Facebook dropped $2 billion on Oculus, last year.
Facebook is releasing Security Checkup -- a new feature that prompts users to explore password security options when surfing the mobile Web. “It's a minor update, but an interesting one,” The Verge notes. “For years, the conventional wisdom has been that security should be invisible, interfering as little as possible with user experience … Security Checkup is the opposite.”
Gearing up for its official launch early next year, Facebook’s Oculus Rift unit just bought British start-up Surreal Vision for an undisclosed sum. “The British firm has been working to refine software that can accurately and quickly build 3D maps of physical environments,” The Register reports. “The software matches the data points it can spot with a database of known objects and adapts its model based on what it has seen before, and extrapolates shapes and properties from that.”
Android Police got an early peek at Google’s forthcoming image-sharing service. “The app, like its current iteration, will let users search for specific people, animals, or objects, back up photos automatically, and take care of general photo management,” it writes. “Beyond that, the app gets a revised interface with several ‘views’ to choose from.”
Shedding his existing role as SVP of Design, Jony Ive has been named Apple’s first Chief Design Officer, The Telegraph reports. Taking on some of Ive’s existing responsibilities, Richard Howarth has been named VP of Industrial Design, while Alan Dye is now VP of User Interface Design. Says Ive: “Having Alan and Richard in place frees me up from some … administrative and management work.”
Bing is building a “massive index of apps and app actions” so it can surface content from native iOS, Android and Windows 10 apps within its search results. Bing executive just said so in a new blog post. Notes Search Engine Land: “While Google is already recommending apps in search based on the content within the apps -- they currently only support Android app indexing.”
Potentially delaying its new TV service, Apple is trying to secure access to live programming from local stations around the country. “That would distinguish Apple’s planned offering from those already available from Sony and Dish’s Sling,” Re/code reports. Yet, “Apple’s ambitions have complicated its negotiations with the broadcast TV networks.”
Netflix is readying a new user interface for all its Web-based users around the world. Set to debut next month, “The interface … brings the design of Netflix’s Web site more in line with what users today see on mobile phones, tablets, on gaming consoles and on other streaming media players, like Roku,” TechCrunch reports. “The most notable aspect to the new design is that it eliminates the slower, scrolling carousels for content discovery in favor of an updated look with larger thumbnails.”