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Office for iPad team does Reddit AMA, says Ballmer greenlit release


Riding high on the news that the Office for iPad suite of apps has already surpassed 12 million downloads in its first week of availability, the Microsoft development team responsible participated in a Reddit AMA yesterday.

After promising that print functionality was coming “in due course,” the team shed some light on the development of the apps. One revelation: while the Office for iPad suite features a custom UI and iPad-specific features, the code base is actually shared with Office for Mac (the Office for iPad team is in fact also the Office for Mac team). Also of note was the admission that, despite how well Office for iPad fits Satya Nadella’s “a cloud for everyone on every device” strategy, it was former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer who approved plans to ship the suite of apps for iPad.

The whole AMA is worth a read and can be found at the source link below.



Jony Ive now completely owns Apple’s software design group, Greg Christie reportedly out


9to5Mac is reporting that Apple Human Interface VP, Greg Christie, is out at Apple following a dust up with design luminary and Senior VP, Jony Ive. Citing sources familiar with the matter, word is Ive will completely subsume Apple’s software design group by taking over Christie’s responsibilities as head of Human Interface Design. Ive has been providing direction to the team since 2012, but Christie had reported directly to Software Engineering Senior VP Craig Federighi. With Christie’s departure, all software designers will now work under Ive with the rest of the industrial design team rather than within Federighi’s engineering group.

Ive had reportedly clashed previously over the design direction of iOS7, after which Ive was said to have circumvented Christie’s leadership. Christie’s departure comes a few months before the release of iOS 8 this fall, and just a few weeks after Apple trotted him out to press as part of the company’s most recent lawsuit with Samsung. Christie is notable for his longtime service at Apple, and role in the development of the Newtown and the original iPhone.

Christie’s departure, following Scott Forstall’s recent exit and the death of Steve Jobs, makes it clear that Apple’s design identity now completely rests in Ive’s hands.


Toronto’s Green P parking to test smartphone payment option this summer


Toronto Parking Authority and its 130 Green P parking locations across the city will soon be making it easier for customers to pay.

Green P currently accepts coins or credit cards, but coming this summer is a test that will introduce smartphone payment. Certainly not revolutionary, but definitely useful and convenient.

Many cities have already gone live with this option. The Calgary Parking Authority launched their “Text to Park” option back in 2012 and Montreal’s P$ Mobile Service app went live last year and saw an immediate uptake in usage and payments within the first few months ($1.8 million payment transactions and 200,000 registered users). The Green P will operate in a similar manner as users will be able to purchase time and top up via their device. Apparently the app, which will probably be an extension of their iPhone and Android app, is still in development and will warn you top up when your time is about to expire.

TPA’s vice-president Ian Maher said users will have to sign up via their website and register their licence plate and credit card number to use the service. As for stats, The Toronto Parking Authority is estimating about 5 million transaction in the first year and initial testing will begin sometime this summer, with a full rollout planned for the fall.

If this all goes smoothly the goal is to eventually expand to all street parking spaces.

Source: The Toronto Star


Dropbox for Business now available, Microsoft Office collaboration features coming soon


Dropbox quickly became a staple for small businesses looking for a cheap (i.e. free) way to easily share files between coworkers, despite predominantly being more of a prosumer application than a true enterprise app. With the flurry of announcements today, Dropbox is hoping to establish the service’s enterprise bonafides as it surpasses 275 million global users.

First up is the public release of DropBox for Business, a product that the company has been testing in private beta for awhile now. Users can now connect their personal Dropbox accounts to a Dropbox for Business account and access both from any device, saving the need to log in and out when jumping between business and personal data. Dropbox for Business also provides IT admins more control over corporate data, allowing for remote data wipes, account transfers, and sharing audit logs to track data access.



Dropbox announces its “next chapter” in mobile with Carousel, brings Mailbox to Android


Dropbox held an event today to announce a couple of consumer-facing products aimed at creating “the next chapter” in the company’s mobile future.

In addition to an expansion of Dropbox for Business and a collaboration with Microsoft Office called “Project Harmony,” the company is launching a photo-sharing app for iOS and Android called Carousel, and a version of its Mailbox app for Android.

To understand the former, you have to go back to Dropbox’s push for automatic photo sync. The company understands that nearly every one of its 275 million customers has uploaded at least one photo to the service, be it through a synchronized desktop folder or automatically via an iOS or Android background process. Carousel attempts to find “a single home for all your life’s memories.”



Motorola’s new President and COO is the guy behind the Moto X


The man that introduced the Moto X to the world is now its President and COO. Rick Osterloh, former VP of Product, has taken over the highest role at Motorola during its transition period, after CEO Dennis Woodside stepped down following its acquisition by Lenovo.

If you recall, Motorola is in the midsts of being acquired by Lenovo, the Chinese OEM who will take over most of the company’s operations, leaving Google with the patent library (which Lenovo will lease) and the Advanced Technology and Projects group, which is responsible for Projects Ara and Tango. (more…)


Leaked Gmail and Calendar for Android screenshots offers glimpse of Project Hera (Update)


Google is reportedly working on a new look for its first-party Android apps in a quest to bridge the gap between web, Android and iOS.

Dubbed “Project Hera,” Google is using colour as a differentiator in this new set of apps, but unlike previous leaks which showed a huge divergence from the current style sheet, the new version of Gmail (above) looks to be a slight change from its current incarnation.

According to an anonymous Reddit tipster, the version on the left is the real deal, looking far more like the current version than the original screenshot leaked by The tipster acknowledges that it may be an early version of the product, but Google is certainly making big changes to its UI in an upcoming Android release. (more…)


Bell launches Quebec-only $80/month plan with Unlimited calling, texts and 4GB data


Quebec continues to be a hotbed of competition and the carriers are volleying back and forth for consumers hard earned dollars.

Bell is the latest carrier to launch a promo plan that entices people to sign-up or switch. The “Voice and Data Plus 80″ is a Quebec-only plan that costs $80/month and includes unlimited nationwide calling, unlimited text, picture and video messaging, voicemail, call display, 10-hours of MobileTV and 4GB data. According to the internal doc we received it seems the promo lasts a few days as its only available until April 14th – which might be good for those considering buying the new HTC One M8 or the Samsung Galaxy S5.

Quebec-based carrier Videotron has a competing plan that offers similar features with 4GB data for $74.95/month.

This should be online shortly.
(Thanks tipster!)


Pocket 5.4 for Android adds Immersive Mode for KitKat users


Pocket for Android, one of the best apps in which to read longform content, has received a nice little update that lets KitKat users hide the top and bottom navigation bars for a fullscreen experience.

Immersive Mode was one of the best features added to Google’s newest iteration of Android, and it’s slowly being added to various apps and games that are better served with a full-screen experience. Not to entirely leave out users of Jelly Bean, Pocket now hides the status bar in Android 4.1 to 4.3.

Also in this update are improvements to the way text is automatically formatted, making the translation engine more reliable, and a number of translations to languages like Dutch, Korean, Chinese, Polish and Portuguese.


Air Canada rolling out in-flight WiFi on North American flights in May


Air Canada has been testing Wi-Fi on select flights between Toronto, Montreal and Los Angeles with GoGo for a number of months now.

The service is currently available on two A319 planes, but according the latest release the two companies are planning “to begin rolling out connectivity across its North American fleet in May,” which will bring “Air-To-Ground Wi-Fi connectivity” to a number of aircrafts (Airbus A319, A320, A321, Embraer 190, Air Canada Express CRJ-705 and Embraer 175).

The current cost on the A319 is $9.95 USD for connectivity on your laptop or for $7.95 USD for handheld devices on one-way travel. No word on if the pricing will change when the Wi-Fi service goes live next month, but Air Canada noted that “pricing will be competitive with other in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity offerings.” The installation process of in-flight Wi-Fi will start next month with the goal of complete 29 aircrafts by the end of 2014, then aiming for “a targeted completion date of December 2015 for the designated 130 narrow-body aircraft.”

Source: CNW