Tizen makes stealth pitch to Samsung's Android acolytes

SAN FRANCISCO -- Android may have dominated Samsung's developer conference, but that sure didn't stop Tizen from making its quiet pitch.

Samsung hosted it first conference for app makers on Monday and Tuesday in San Francisco. The vast majority of sessions and talks focused on Android-based devices, but Tizen, the open-source operating system being developed by Samsung and Intel, made its own low-key appearance.

That presence wasn't through a high number of presentations or speeches by Samsung -- or really any public mention by the Korean electronics giant at all. Rather, Tizen popped up in discussions between … Read more

This is why there aren't more Samsung Galaxy Gear apps

SAN FRANCISCO -- Wonder why the Samsung Galaxy Gear has so few apps? The answer is simple -- the Gear app store is still invite-only for developers.

Gear debuted last month with about 70 apps. Since that time, one of the biggest criticisms of the smartwatch is that there aren't a lot more apps available. However, Samsung says that for now, it's sticking with its plans to seek out apps instead of opening up the platform to developers at large.

"We've had sort of an an invite-only world," Curtis Sasaki, senior vice president of Samsung'… Read more

Why Samsung needs to woo developers

SAN FRANCISCO -- For Samsung, courting developers isn't just a nice side project. It's a push that's vital to the company's future.

The Korean company is the world's biggest mobile phone and TV vendor. It sells more Android smartphones than LG, Lenovo, Huawei, ZTE, and Motorola combined, and many consumers equate Samsung's Galaxy brand with Google's operating system. As a smartphone vendor, Samsung benefits from the Android ecosystem and the huge Google Play app store.

But being just another Android player is not enough, at least not if Samsung wants to continue its … Read more

Samsung wants Android apps that stand apart, starting now

SAN FRANCISCO -- Samsung on Monday rolled out five software development kits to make it easier for developers to create apps for its various devices.

The new SDKs include one for multiscreen capabilities and another for multiscreen gaming. Samsung also streamlined its mobile SDK, released a new version of its smart TV SDK, and updated its enterprise SDK.

The SDK releases highlight Samsung's push to offer something different from all the other Android device makers. It's also part of Samsung's effort to work more closely with startups and boost its software and service offerings. The two areas … Read more

Nokero launches $6 solar bulb for off-grid users

About 20 percent of the world's population still lacks access to electricity, according to the World Bank. Those who use kerosene as a source of light at night face the danger of fumes and fire.

Lighting startup Nokero has launched what it calls the world's most affordable solar bulb, the N180-Start, which sells for $6 on its Web site.

The bulb has a 5-lumen LED that can shine for about four hours on a full charge after hanging outside in the sun. … Read more

Android signs up for official default setting for texting

The underlying code that powers Android text messaging is about to get a makeover, and that could have far-reaching changes for how people text each other on Android 4.4 KitKat and beyond.

For non-developers, the changes will be practically unnoticeable. As the screenshot above indicates, soon you'll be able to choose a default SMS (Short Message Service) app through the Android operating system itself. Currently, the SMS app developer must make it an option in the app's settings.

The changes to how KitKat will handle text messaging involve altering its application programming interfaces. Google said in an … Read more

Amazon offers perks to customers who buy certain apps

Amazon will give you credit -- in the form of Amazon Coins -- if you buy apps from the company's new Appstore Developer Select program.

The effort is Amazon's latest to kickstart its app store, as it looks for ways to encourage developers to make better tablet apps.

The program, which Amazon rolled out Tuesday, asks developers to build their apps specifically for newer Android tablets, such as Amazon's Kindle Fire line. In exchange, Amazon will promote those apps, featuring them in a special section of its app store to increase the chances consumers will buy them. … Read more

Moto X's unlocked developer editions are back in stock

After selling out in less than 24 hours a couple of weeks ago, Motorola's Moto X developer edition smartphone is now back in stock.

Google's vice president of product management at Motorola Mobility Punit Soni announced on his Google+ page on Monday that the sought-after versions of the phone are once again available.

"We should have enough in stock now for what has been an unprecedented demand," Soni wrote.

Two developer editions of the smartphone are available -- a GSM version that works on AT&T and T-Mobile in the US and doesn't have … Read more

Apple allows developers to restrict old versions of their apps

Earlier this week, a user on Reddit discovered that Apple had adjusted a policy that would let people download older versions of apps that were compatible with previous versions of iOS. Yesterday, Apple walked back the policy a bit, and announced on its developers Web site that it's giving app makers the option of whether to make those older versions available.

Previous versions of your apps are now available for re-download by users who have already purchased them, allowing customers to use your apps with older devices which may no longer be supported by the current version of your … Read more

The Asus Zenbook packs the latest Intel processors and wraps it in a gorgeous, glass-topped body (hands-on)

BERLIN -- You're a smart young professional, flitting between your fancy office and your home in Milan. You have a first-class flight booked and you've got some work to do. What laptop could possibly look as good as you do in the first-class lounge but still packs enough power to let you work?

Asus thinks it has the answer in the form of the Zenbook UX301. Continuing the evolution of its ultrabook range, the 301 packs in the latest Intel processors and an ultra-high-definition display, topping it off with a gorgeous glass lid.

Asus hasn't confirmed pricing … Read more