With its Bluetooth-based iBeacons turned on in all its U.S. stores, Apple is both attempting to improve customer experience and demonstrate its new location-based notification service. While retail is a natural fit for iBeacons, the teachnology has potential well beyond the store or mall. Here are ten other industries and spaces where iBeacons could deliver killer value.
Google drops KitKat on Halloween (naturally)
For all the weeks of guessing and speculating when Google would release the latest version of its Android mobile OS, it's now obvious that KitKat could only be unveiled on the candy industry's annual holiday, Halloween.
But Pichai had another treat for Android fans: The new Nexus 5, the first smartphone to feature KitKat (formally known as Android 4.4) and a device Google intends to set a new standard for Android phones.
I applied for a review copy, so I should get a chance to test the Nexus 5 over the next week. If it's even nearly as good as my new HTC One, I'll be impressed.
It certainly looks like a great phone in the ad embedded at the end of this article. Pichai calls the LG-built Nexus 5 "the slimmest and fastest Nexus phone ever made."
The release of KitKat is almost anticlimactic for a couple of reasons, the first one being the months-long wait. More significantly, Google has adopted a more iterative approach to platform upgrades since it began integrating more features into the Android core. The company upgraded to Android 4.3 just three months ago, adding enterprise-friendly enhanced security options.
Still, KitKat appears to have some new features based on Google's search technology being embedded within the OS. For example, KitKat device owners will be able to search across their contacts, nearby places and Google Apps such as a company directory from within the phone app, according to Pichai.
KitKat also will allow users of Google's recently upgraded Hangouts video chat app to view their SMS and MMS messages in the same place as video calls and other conversations.
Another useful feature initiates a web search when your phone gets a call from an unknown number in a bid to identify the caller.
In addition KitKat extends Google's search power into apps such as Expedia and OpenTable, which allows users to make restaurant reservations online.
KitKat will be available for download in coming weeks on the Nexus 4, 7 and 10, as well as the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One.
The Nexus 5 (with KitKat) is available now, unlocked and without a contract, on Google Play in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan and Korea (and coming soon to India), starting at $349. The new smartphone also will be sold by Sprint, T-Mobile, Amazon, Best Buy and Radio Shack.
BlackBerry has a lot of hurdles to cross to stage a comeback but one in particular might be especially tough to overcome: the operators. My experience getting started with the Z10 shows AT&T, at least, doesn't seem to find the Z10 a priority.