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Will Windows 8 open new Doors?

IS THIS IT? Is this showtime for Microsoft’s Windows 8?

Amidst the anticipation of the next iPhone 5 to be released shortly, there’s some excitement brewing as Microsoft are ready once again with their re-entry into this market with what is promised of being an amazing experience…(Drum Rolls………) enter – Windows 8.

All we’ve been seeing and hearing from quite some time now is only of Apple, Samsung, Android, iPhone, iPad, Google when it comes to mobiles and device operating systems and not much about Windows. Yes Apple devices are everywhere, Samsung seems to be going places with their devices not only by manufacturing some amazing devices (ie. S3, Galaxy Tab…) but also packing new features into their mobiles and tablets…it’s been a while now that I’ve not seen anyone pull out a different phone other than an iPhone but these days I’m sure you would’ve probably noticed yourself, Samsung devices seems to be making ground.

Samsung range of tablets are moving quite fast too and they don’t cost an “arm and a leg” to try one out, whether it’s the “non-apple” fans or the “android-pro’s” there is no choice currently in the market for any other mobile device or operating system.

Image from: http://www.samsung.com/global/ativ/index.html

Samsung have confirmed that they will be carrying Windows 8 on a few of their devices – that includes Samsung mobiles, tablets and TV’s. Check out the ATIV range (as it’s called by Samsung) which carries the Windows 8 across devices – ATIV S for Mobiles, ATIV Tab (Tablets), ATIV Smart PC and ATIV Smart PC Pro.  We couldn’t find much reference to what ATIV actually meant whether it was an acronym for something but seems like it’s VITA spelt reverse…meant life….deep….blah blah…

And NOKIA says…lets hold hands Windows?

NOKIA like Microsoft have a challenge up their sleeves to win back market share and consumer confidence and as users have started to massively adapt to and get accustomed to the Apple and Android eco-system, this will be quite an interesting phase to see if the Nokia & Microsoft Windows 8 combo does it this time around. NOKIA seems to have instilled a lot of faith into their new LUMIA range carrying the Windows 8 Operating System.

NOKIA, once a leader in this space who has seen massive decline in it’s share now confirming that their range of Nokia Lumia range will be carrying the Windows 8 as their operating system.

In the second quarter of 2012, Microsoft’s share of the global smartphone operating system market was a lowly 2.7 per cent, according to tech industry analyst Gartner while Android had 64.1 per cent  and Apple 18.8 per cent. (source here).

The Windows 8 experience blog does promise that this version has a lot that has changed, and yes it would not be fair to say that Windows have been so hung up with so many issues in the past over their operating systems but I guess that’s the kind of extensive user base that the windows have too – more ain’t always the merrier when it comes to technology. All brands these days whether it’s manufacturers such as LG, Samsung, Nokia, HTC or the experience providers such as Apple, Google with their Android operating systems, Microsoft Windows are all undergoing a substantial amount of metamorphosis as the internet has evolved to being something we sat behind a desk and used and or late on a mobile device to being the “internet of things” where even our cats and dogs are connected to a network so we can track where they are and what they are doing when you are out and about!

Apple has undergone considerable transformation themselves as I remember not that many years ago, you could not buy anything but from a special “Apple” store specialist and when not much was going in Apple’s favour – they brought about the iPod and then the infamous iPhone followed by the iPad which made history and seems like they’re having a dream run since then. Who had heard of an “app store” a few years ago? Who knew that you wouldn’t need to run down to the DVD store down the road to book in your copy of the latest movies? Maybe the day is not far when there will be robots around the house which will bring you popcorn automatically when you’re watching a movie! Well, Well, lets get back to talking about Windows 8…there is a pre-release Windows 8 version available for those enthusiasts but we couldn’t find a set date for the Windows 8 date in Australia but news items do hint at it being around the corner!

Windows 8 has a completely refreshed touch integrated experience, and the new improved multi-monitor support, and new Family Safety features, social seems seamless, there’s also new improvements to the Mail, Photos, and People apps and see new Bing-powered Travel, News and Sports appsInternet Explorer 10 also has new capabilities in the Windows 8 Release Preview like “flip ahead” and a fully integrated secure and power-optimised Adobe Flash Player. IE10 is also the first browser to feature Do Not Track “on” by default.

Would you be still willing to give Windows 8 a chance? Have Microsoft got it right this time around? Guess, time will tell but onya’ Windows as they say “You’ve got to be in it to WIN it – All the best!

 

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Commonwealth Bank launches “Kaching” Mobile Payment App

Left your wallet and cards at home and need to pay? Need to make a quick payment to your friends on Facebook…no worries, use your mobile! 

Ok, I’ve said it in the past that I think the banks have been doing well in the way they’re thinking ahead of coming up with mobile apps that are based on providing “on-the-go” utility leveraging the growth in the area of mobile technology. Back in July 2011, we wrote a piece on when we noted that the Commbank updated their App and also another quick blog on the future of mobile payments and why it’s all that important.

Almost all the major banks and the mid-tier ones too such as co-op’s and building society’s have come up with mobile banking apps. Sure you’ve seen that the banks have started to use this in their marketing too, as in – you would have spotted a poster when you entered a St George or a Westpac or any other bank, looked at a bus-side talking about their mobile banking facility. For those who have used the ANZ’s “Pay to Mobile” feature, it does work like a breeze specially from one ANZ to another ANZ customer account. And now – to add to all this, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia have launched their ‘Kaching’ app. For those who are unaware of what ‘Kaching‘ means – it’s a slang thingy meaning to “cash in” or make a lot of money. Sometimes, “rich” this being derived from the sound of an old fashioned cash register – get it? “Kaching” “Kaching”… not a bad thought as the CommBank mobile app is about payments — wonder if the app makes the “Kaching” noise too 😉

 

Here’s the AppStore link to download the Kaching App and here’s a page on the Commonwealth bank Kaching website with a video showing how Kaching works – check it out.

So, what does this CommBank Kaching App do?

  • Send money to someone using their mobile number
  • Make payments using your email contacts or by entering an email address
  • Make payments to your Facebook friends
  • Shop without cash or cards by holding your iPhone4S or 4, using the iCarte case, over the PayPass™ contactless terminal
  • Make payments via BPAY® or with an account number and BSB

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There’s a requirement mentioned too that users first need to be registered for NetBank and have NetCode activated to make payments and purchases using a mobile phone and the Recipients of payments via mobile, Facebook and email need an Australian bank account to claim.

Whilst it’s really early days, both banks and users have a lot of extra areas to be cautious of I guess, in terms of security and how tight the measures are – and it’s great that users are able to do all this but not to forget that we’re in a hyper connected world and now our information is being accessed by multiple applications so yes there are exciting times ahead in terms of convenience and the fact that we are entering another new era of cashless transactions, security is going to be of prime importance.

Android is on it’s way

The Commbank Kaching is compatible with all iPhone’s operating iOS 4.2 and above. The Commbank Kaching for iPhone 4S, 4 3GS and 3G, you can pay anyone via mobile, email or Facebook, make BPAY payments and transfer money between your Commbank accounts. An extra bit of stuff you need to do to set up your iPhone 4S or 4 for contactless payments by ordering an iCarte case from Commbank via the app. When you receive and activate your iCarte case, just hold your iPhone 4S or 4 over any PayPass™ contactless terminal to pay for purchases under $100.

Read more on the App Store description – Link Here – Seems like the Android fans will have to wait for a bit more as per the note on the website but knowing Commbank sure the Android and the tablet version won’t be too far down the track!

The Commbank’s media release section on their website claims this App is the first in the world that you would be able to make payments to your Facebook friends which is an awesome feature I think as you now don’t need to worry about asking your mates that you some beer monies for their BSB and account number details which I’m sure most of us don’t even remember or if we do remember, we need to recheck somewhere on our bank statements or a notepad hidden somewhere.

It’s a New App

One thing I’m still a bit unsure of is when I’ve got the CommBank App which also allows me to login to my mobile banking which I’ve been using for quite a while now, the Kaching is an all together new app that one needs to download. No wonder it does use the same access details but not sure why this is done as an altogether new app, being a customer I would’ve liked to see this integrated into my current mobile banking behaviour.

NFC but still uses external hardware

To use the contact-less PayPass payment you still need to buy a piece of hardware that is in effect your NFC (Near Field Communication) reader by buying an iCarte case (for A$54.95) through Commbank and I tell ya it was quite hard to find where to buy this! Having searched for quite some time on almost all of the Commbank’s websites, we then found the below info on the support page

iCarte cases are available for order within Commbank Kaching. In the ‘Cards’ tab, select the credit or debit MasterCard you wish to set up, press the ‘Set up PayPass’ button and follow the on screen instructions.

It seems like the purchase of the iCarte case needs to be made from within the App itself but I did not have that option showing up of buying the iCarte case…not sure why, maybe the reason being that I don’t have a master card. But would’ve thought that if that was the case, it would’ve been used as an opportunity to sell me one? But, there’s no obvious link from any online site that you can buy the iCarte case from – must be s

We did register interest to hear about this app a few months ago but didn’t hear about this and just a few days ago we came across this App while googling something about the upcoming NFC technology I think it was…or maybe it’s that we jumped the gun and searched for it even before they could let us know. But at the end of the day, Kaching is here and must say Commbank have taken a giant step to try and move ahead in the world of mobile payments.

Sure, as we go on – there will be more and more phones with inbuilt NFC and other mobile payment gateways that we can use so we don’t external cases but for now it’s “KACHING KACHING” time 😉

Cheerios!

 

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Ah, thx my iPhone ;)

Have you had to go through the trouble of copying your contacts from your old phone to the new one or had to spend time copying your contacts manually?

Whether you’ve lost your current mobile, replacing to a flashy new smartphone or just tired seeing your mobile after paying out your Telco for the 24-month contract you had signed up for and everyone around you seems to have a ‘newer’ phone! Every now and then comes a time that we all dread! changing or upgrading our mobiles…

Just like a lot of you – I went through this experience not that long ago. I changed to an iPhone 4 from my 3GS which had been quite faithful and had taken quite a few blows during it’s journey with me. I had the shiny iPhone 4 and needless to say I was too excited to even think of the pain to copy my contacts to some other place, I did not even think twice what would happen to all my fancy apps that I’ve downloaded so meticulously over the past year and a bit and – and not once did I think what if I lost all that? or had to do the traditional way of ‘copy from SIM’ and ‘transfer’ — it’s always a pain those things & sooner than you realise you end up with multiple contacts or no contacts showing up, you loose your settings, your favourites or whatever you were used to and had taken so much time to make your phone that ideal companion that you could call upon….but must say, the switch over from one iPhone to another iPhone was truly a blessing in disguise!

Connect to iTunes to get started...

The customer experience was second to none, easy as the initial screen asks you to plug in your new device – in this case the iPhone 4.

Once I connected my iPhone 4 to my mac, iTunes started up and popped up with a message recognising that I’ve connected a new device and asked me if I wanted to use a back-up from my previous device and there was a selection of two of my previous devices – aka, my iPhone 3GS and the iPad. Obviously, I choose back up from my 3GS.

Of course, there was the option to choose to set it up as a ‘a new device’ and not bother about anything else but I did want my back-up. I wanted my new iPhone to have all the things I was use to on my previous iPhone so I don’t have to go through the trouble of any re-setting stuff etc.

While I had a sip of my pinot noir, the back up restored from my previous iPhone was synced up to my new iPhone and was ready to use. The sarcastic side of me and thinking that ah, it can’t be that simple plugged out my the new device and I was surprised (read = elated!) about the whole experience and really I must say, this is the first time that I didn’t have to bother about any external apps or syncing services or the ‘talk of the town’ these days – the cloud…zillch! all was taken care from my iTunes account and the fact that I regularly back up my iOS devices and everything was fine and in no time I was up and running with all my contacts, SMS message history, Apps and to the extent that I was going to reset my weekly alarm and even that was synced up – now that’s got to be something!

Yes, a few of you would comment that contacts from MS outlook can be synced up but hang on, how many of us really use outlook as the place we store and regularly update our contacts.

Thanks iPhone for making my life so much simpler! that I didn’t have get frustrated copying or syncing my data, specially my contacts from one phone to another. 

How was your experience when you changed to a new phone? Would be great to hear from you…

 

 

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