Exploring the Future of Computing
Updated: 1 hour 1 min ago
While we're on the subject of Swift:
Fans of Apple's Swift language can now use their newly developed skills to write software for systems supporting both .NET and Java, including Android.
The Silver compiler, currently in beta, compiles Swift programs to run in the .NET and Java runtimes. It can also produce native binaries to run on OS X. With Silver, Swift developers can share their business logic and non-interface code across the different platforms.
It's a bit of an Apple news day today, isn't it?
Today Swift 1.2 was released as part of Xcode 6.3 beta. This beta release includes a significantly enhanced Swift compiler, as well as new features in the Swift language itself. For the complete list of changes, read the release notes. This blog post will focus on the highlights.
If you're into Apple development, you might as well get used to Swift.
For 2015, iOS 9, which is codenamed Stowe (after the ski resort in Vermont), is going to include a collection of under-the-hood improvements. Sources tell us that iOS 9 engineers are putting a "huge" focus on fixing bugs, maintaining stability, and boosting performance for the new operating system, rather than solely focusing on delivering major new feature additions. Apple will also continue to make efforts to keep the size of the OS and updates manageable, especially for the many millions of iOS device owners with 16GB devices.
Very reminiscent of what Palm did with the Palm V (something Apple also did with Mac OS 10.6): no new features, but a huge focus on stability. From what I can gather from my friends using iOS, it's sorely, sorely needed.
The latest numbers from Canaccord Genuity reveal that Apple accounted for 93% of mobile profits during the fourth quarter, leading the financial services company to raise its price target on Apple shares from $135 to $145. The firm also predicted that iPhone adoption could grow to 650 million users through 2018 as more smartphone owners upgrade to the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
That's just crazy impressive for a single company to achieve.
Microsoft has been heavily focused on low-end Windows Phone hardware over the past two years to grow market share, but its upcoming Windows 10 update wonât be finely tuned for these devices with low specifications. Microsoftâs Joe Belfiore revealed on Twitter yesterday that the software maker is working on Windows 10 for phones with 512MB of RAM, but that "features may vary."
This is the other side of the coin of focusing on low-end devices.
With the first Tizen device, the Samsung Z1, shipping and reaching the hands of customers, it might be a good time to take a look at what kind of development options you have if you want to build a Tizen application. While you can code in HTML5, the real deal is, as always, native development.
Native applications can utilize a greater range of device features and can provide better performance than other applications. This is because native applications use a wide range of device APIs and are particularly lightweight. However, creating native applications can initially be complex if you are not familiar with the native API layout, application architecture, and life-cycle. In addition, you must become familiar with the Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL) that are required to make scalable and fast graphics.
You can also delve deeper into Tizen development.
Meanwhile, AndroidCentral has taken a look at the Z1 as well, concluding:
If we're ever to see Tizen on a high-end phone, with a proper global marketing push behind it, chances are it'll look drastically different to what we see on the Samsung Z1 today. For now, what Samsung has is a lower-cost, slightly more modern replacement for its older Bada devices, not a potential successor to its vast Android lineup.
The letter S appears nowhere in the word "dollar", yet an S with a line through it ($) is unmistakably the dollar sign. But why an S? Why isn't the dollar sign something like a Ä (like the former South Vietnamese dong, or the totally-not-a-joke-currency Dogecoin)?
There's a good story behind it, but here's a big hint: the dollar sign isn't a dollar sign.
It's a peso sign.
Fascinating little bit of history. Us Dutch used the 'rijksdaalder' (where the suffix '-daalder' is the Dutch transliteration of the same word 'dollar' comes from) from the late 16th century all the way up until 2002, when we moved to the euro.
Ars Technica reviews the Samsung Z1, the very first Tizen smartphone. The conclusions are... Well, it's a piece of crap.
Similar to when Samsung started making modern smartphones, its first swing at building an OS boils down to a lesser copy of the market leader. Tizen is just a less mature version of Android with no apps and no major ecosystem player supporting it. The OS feels like it's straight out of that Dilbert comic where the Pointy-Haired Boss suggests "If we work day and night, we can match our competitors' features within twelve months." Tizen seems to have done a good job copying an OS from several years ago, but it never evolved while its competitors did. For now, the conclusion of any Tizen-based smartphone review will always say "this would have been a better product if it ran Android."
Tizen: a bland, outdated, pointless operating system nobody is asking for except Apple bloggers.
Canonical has announced the first actual Ubuntu phone, which will go on 'flash sales' in Europe over the coming days.
The Ubuntu handset can run apps written in either the HTML5 web programming language or its own native QML code.
However, its operating system effectively hides them away. Instead of the traditional smartphone user interface - featuring grids of apps - it uses themed cards that group together different facilities.
Canonical calls these Scopes, and they are reminiscent of the swipe-based card system used by the Google Now personal assistant.
I'm curious about this new approach. It seems a bit cumbersome to me - configuring your own 'Scopes' - but I'd love to try it out.
Late last year, Open webOS was renamed to LuneOS, and they've released a new version. The post is dated 9 January, but for some reason, it only showed up for me today (no idea why).
Initial support for IM and SMS messaging
Mobile data usage is now functional but needs an unlocked SIM card and be manually enabled through the settings app
Extended dashboard support
Location service with WiFi based position source only (using Mozillaâs location service; see https://location.services.mozilla.com/)
Charger status on Nexus 4 is now correctly detected
Improved image quality in some apps and the card shell
Screen recording support (see https://github.com/webOS-ports/luna-next/pull/93 for details)
Backend support for MMS messages but not yet integrated with LuneOS services
Several metadata cleanups
As far as I can tell, it's still limited to the Nexus 4 and HP TouchPad for now.
A bunch of screenshots have been obtained by ITHome.it, a Chinese website, claiming to show off Windows 10 Build 10009, although the build information is covered up in the images, we'll just have to take their word for it.
In the images it can be seen that many more standard icons have received the flattened treatment, among them: the Recycle bin, Control Panel and Drive icons. New icons have also appeared, but the images are rather small, but embedded for your enjoyment below.