Facebook invites us to check out its ‘new home on Android’ on April 4th

Facebook has something big up its sleeve planned for April 4th. In an invitation it sent to the press, the company invites us to “come see our new home on Android.” While it’s not immediately clear what the “new home” will be, it’s possible that the company could be taking the wraps off a long-rumored HTC handset featuring its own customized version of the open source OS.

If a July Bloomberg report is to be believed, the project has been in work for some time, originally slated for a 2012 release, but eventually pushed back to make way for HTC’s other product releases. While the companies’ previous collaboration, the HTC ChaCha, failed to find an audience, 9to5Google reports that the pair is hard at work on a major ad campaign “designed to focus on the potential user of the device, not on the hardware or software.”

It’s anyone’s guess what kind of deep integration Facebook might have planned for its own platform, but we know that it’s already begun pushing updates to its existing Android app outside of Google Play’s own distribution mechanism in order to test new features on the platform.

Last summer, when rumors were heating up about a possible Facebook-HTC collaboration, CEO Mark Zuckerberg insisted that the company was not working on co-branded hardware, saying that it “really wouldn’t make much sense.” Instead, he pointed to deeper integration with mobile platforms like the built-in sharing tools in iOS 6. Since that time, Facebook has expanded its mobile service to include free voice calling over Wi-Fi and cellular, and the company has even announced plans to offer free and discounted data for people using its apps on European carriers.

On the surface, it seems like Facebook potentially has a lot to bring to its own platform, and Amazon’s Kindle Fire model shows that it’s possible to build success outside the Google-stewarded Android mainstream. Hopefully, next week, we’ll see whether the company’s new “Android home” is worth moving into.

BlackBerry Preview: Don’t expect clarity on Z10 sales

BlackBerry’s first earnings report since dropping the “Research in Motion” moniker is on tap for Thursday, and analysts aren’t expecting much during this transitional period.

The name change, announced during the January launch of the long-delayed BlackBerry 10 operating system, is meant to signal a new era for BlackBerry. But this quarter won’t tell much about BlackBerry 10’s success or failure. The first phone built around the operating system, the Z10, went on sale in only a few countries less than a month before the quarter ended.

The Z10 launched in February in Canada, the U.K. and the United Arab Emirates. Reports on sales in those countries have ranged from “they’re solid!” (Canada) to “uh-oh” (UAE).

The U.S. got the Z10 just this week, which means it won’t play into the company’s financial report on the quarter that ended March 2. Analysts are already concerned about stateside sales, though. Goldman Sachs declared U.S. Z10 sales “tepid,” while Citi called the American launch “disappointing.”

Those are harsh words for any device launch, but they’re particularly cutting for BlackBerry. The new OS is meant to be the linchpin of the company’s turnaround.

The Z10 sales concerns have spooked investors, who sent BlackBerry shares about 11% lower over the past week. Shares have been extremely volatile recently throughout the company’s transitional stretch. BlackBerry stock is up 91% over the last six months on hopes that the new OS will help the company rise from the ashes.

Some investors think that run-up is overblown. As of March 15, nearly one-third of shares were held by short-sellers betting that BlackBerry stock will fall. That’s a whopping percentage, and it has contributed to BlackBerry’s volatility as “shorts” are occasionally forced to buy up shares in order to cover their positions.

Those shorts could get squeezed if BlackBerry beats Wall Street expectations, which are very low. Analysts polled Thomson Reuters are estimating that BlackBerry lost 29 cents per share in the fourth quarter, and that revenue fell by nearly one-third over the year.

Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu thinks BlackBerry (BBRY) could vault that low bar, but he’s not sold on the stock. In a note to clients Monday, he expressed concern about the company’s growing river of red ink, and whether it has the ability to reverse those declines.

Meanwhile, rivals Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) and Google (GOOG, Fortune 500) continue to storm the smartphone market. Wu isn’t convinced BlackBerry 10 can “regain broader acceptance against iOS and Android.”

BlackBerry’s fourth-quarter results won’t really answer that question. Investors will be looking to the company’s first-quarter outlook to see if bluer skies are ahead for BlackBerry.

Samsung Racing With Apple To Bring Wristwatch Gadget

In the last couple of months, we have heard a lot about Apple’s interest in the wrist-watch based gadgets powered with iOS systems. Apple has been rumored continuously on digging into the wristwatch industry, and many of us have spotted several reasons behind such curiousness by Apple. It is rumored that Apple is pretty ready to launch a wristwatch gadget in the public. On the other side, we have also seen leaked screenshots coming from Samsung, which suggests that Samsung is also digging on the similar product.

In addition to these rumors, Bloomberg reported that both Apple and Samsung are working on the similar products while Apple is digging the product from last several years, but after taking a look at Apple, Samsung is also pretty interested to launch something similar to Apple’s rumored ‘iWatch’. Bloomberg report mentioned that both companies are racing to bring this product quick in the market.

Apple iWatch

Apple iWatch

Here is the excerpt from the Bloomberg’s report:

Samsung Electronics Co. (005930) is developing a wristwatch as Asia’s biggest technology company races against Apple Inc. (AAPL) to create a new industry of wearable devices that perform similar tasks as smartphones.”

We’ve been preparing the watch product for so long,” Lee Young Hee, executive vice president of Samsung’s mobile business, said during an interview in Seoul. “We are working very hard to get ready for it. We are preparing products for the future, and the watch is definitely one of them.”

After all these rumor series, we are yet to pin-point the main features of wristwatch product coming from both tech giants. There are some analysts who are claiming that Apple’s ‘iWatch’ to be running on the iOS system and it will feature all the basic features that an iOS device brings to users hand. In the past, we have heard that Apple is facing an issue with iWatch battery in prototype model, and they are looking to drop some features of iOS system to make the final product more reliable for users in real market.

The interesting point of the story is that both Samsung and Apple are capable of pushing out something crazy and interesting in the market. Apple already has Jony Ive to bring crazy designs, and impressive models for the iWatch, while Samsung got the best display screens technology to enrich the users end.

See On: http://www.bizzlenews.com

Top 10 Best Android Apartment Hunting Apps

While moving is still an incredibly difficult task, it has gotten quite a bit easier over the last few years, thanks in large part to the continuous adoption of smartphones. It use to be that you’d have scour the newspaper to find an apartment to move into. No newspaper that day? Too bad. Now, however, there are numerous apps available for your Android device that can make the apartment shopping experience just a little less stressful. Keep reading, and we will countdown the Top 10 Apps for Apartment Hunting, in yet another Android Headlines Top 10 Android Best Apps List.

10. Apartment Finder

ApartmentFinder

Apartment Finder is an app that has been available for a while now, which is both good and bad. The main complaint among users is that some of the listings have not been updated for a while, meaning that prices are rather out of date. For newer listings, however, the app offers a very nice interface and search process that allows you to break it down by number of bedrooms/bathrooms and more.

9. MyApartmentMap Apartments Tool

MyApartmentMap

MyApartmentMap is an app that queries multiple databases for apartments available in the United States. The app can break down apartments available by those on sale, which is great for those of us who are budget minded. You can also save listings to view later and even receive notifications when a new apartment that meets your criteria becomes available. You can also create a “wishlist” of apartments, by saving ones you like to look at later.

8. cPro Craigslist Client

cPro

Now, I know you may be wondering why a Craigslist app is in our Top 10 Apartment Finder Apps list, and we have an explanation. Despite all of the horror stories you may have heard about the online service, Craigslist is actually an incredibly useful service. While it may not offer many of the apartment specific features as other apps, the cPro Craigslist Client is a great app for finding things available both near you and on the other side of the United States.

7. Apartment Rentals In Canada

Apartments In Canada

Developers love to center themselves and apps around the United States, and therefore, people in other countries are often given the shaft when it comes to location based apps. Apartment Rentals In Canada is an, you guessed it, for finding apartments for rent in Canada. It lets you view nearby apartments that are available and if you like it, you can even view the street view for that area, assuming it is available for the neighborhood in question. It also offers the ability to contact the owner/landlord to inquire about the apartment.

6. HotPads Rentals & Real Estate

HotPads

HotPads branches out from apartments and searches homes for sale in your area, but thankfully, you can narrow it down to apartments. It’s a location based app, meaning that it can show you places available near your current location. For families, you can also view information about the school district the home is located within. Pictures are a big HotPads thanks to a nice gallery interface.

5. Apartments.com

Apartments.com

Apartments.com is an app that also lets you search for available places with your GPS. One thing that sets it apart from the competition is that you can view video tours of select apartments, perhaps eliminating a pointless walkthrough of something you hate. It also offers the ability to filter your results by radius, bedrooms, bathrooms, price, pet policies, parking availability and more. You can also get directions to an apartment directly within the app.

4. Apartments by Rent.com

Screen Shot 2013-03-16 at 1.29.32 PM

Apartments by Rent.com is yet another location based app, but with several more features than its competitors. For one, you can zoom in on the images and floorplans of apartments, which is nice, as I was shocked to discover that most other apartment apps do not offer zooming. Also, if you happen to be out and about looking for apartments, you can snap a picture of one you like and add it to the app for feature reference. This is nice, as it lets you compare apartments not in the app to those that are listed in the app.

3. Apartments

Apartments

While not the most cleverly named app, Apartments is one of the best apps for finding a rental place on a budget. It lets you view the houses on sale that day or week and offers some other budget incentives, as well. It also supports voice search, so you don’t have to type in those pesky addresses any more. Like several other apps, Apartments also supports the ability to view the street view of the neighbor an apartment is located in.

2. Zillow Rentals – Houses & Apartments

Zillow

Zillow is another app that includes homes and apartments available, but yet again, you can completely eliminate the house searching part. One of the coolest features about Zillow is that you can draw your own boundaries on location. It doesn’t have to be a city line. It could be a road, state, or whatever you want. You can also view listings side by side, making comparing features a very easy process.

1. Trulia – Apts & Homes for Rent

Trulia

Trulia is truly the jack of all trades for apartment hunting. It takes all the features we liked about the other apps and combines it into one. Trulia offers an incredibly simple, yet feature-rich Holo-inspired design, making the pictures of the apartments look either really good or really bad. It supports nearly every city in the United States and lets you filter results by location, the number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, amenities, and much more. It also supports push notifications, so you never miss an apartment that fits your needs.

See on: androidheadlines.com