Google+ Joins the Photo-Editing World

Enhanced Photo Editing capabilities makes Google+'s update worth looking at. In addition to expanded photo editing features, Google+ has added a more robust library of filters and editing tools that reside inside the app. Taking advantage of enhancements provided by Snapseed, users are now able to rotate and crop pictures and add popular filters such as Drama and Retrolux. Improvements include adjustments to saturation, contrast and other levels. A refresh added to the content stream of the Android app is a handy improvement that simplifies the editing process.

The posts have undergone a transition as well. They now include more room for text content and images usually do not require cropping. Activities such as re-sharing, commenting and +1 enjoy more spacious amenities per post. Users can also spend more time sorting through a collection of photos with a lot fewer click-troughs.

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Twitter App Joins Windows Design

After months of delay, Twitter has announced the release of its updated app for Windows Phone. The app now provides full support for Live Tiles, a feature that is exclusive to Windows Phone. Moving forward, Window's Phone fans will be able to access their preferred Twitter account and pin it specifically to the phone's home screen. This enables users to access tweets from the phone's home screen without activating the account directly. This provides quick access to the Twitter account should you choose to delve deeper. The Tweet and Search icons grace each of the apps pages making a specific search easy to accomplish. Tweets can now be sent out from anywhere.

In addition, features will include Share charms, Snap views, Live tiles and Notifications that is native to the app's platform. The Share charm on Windows 8 permits the sharing of photos. Links and other apps as well as Internet Explorer 10 sync directly to Twitter. The twitter app provides a “Snap” view that displays a single column of tweets when its docked. That means multitasking users will be able to participate in Twitter conversations, watch streaming video and read the news simultaneously. The Snap view gives users the option of adjusting screen size to 1/3, 2/3's or full screen format.

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When Marketing Strategy Matters

According to results from a study conducted by BIA/Kelsey, mobile ad revenues are being boosted significantly by local business participation in online marketing campaigns. Of the anticipated $4.2 billion dollars generated by mobile phone campaigns, half will be derived from local campaigns. This represents the first time that locally generated mobile phone revenue will outpace revenue spent by national advertisers. Additionally, BIA/Kelsey predicts that local mobile ad growth will continue to grow over the next several years. It’s anticipated that local mobile ad growth will exceed $5.8 billion by 2016. That's an increase of 58% over that time period.

In response to this robust growth, many start-ups are appearing on the marketing landscape to justify the investment that is pouring into localized markets from local as well as national brands. What they are quickly learning is that the mobile device user has high expectations from his smart phone merchants. These sophisticated electronic shoppers demand real-time relevance from his merchants. Retailers expect high conversion rates and a cultivated audience of loyal customers.

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Mobile Devices Take A Splash

Smart phones prefer cool, dry places. Yet very often, they find themselves in a hostile environment where danger lurks everywhere. More cumbersome than the pocket-fitting cell phones of the past, mobile devices are often exposed to the elements. When a task requires two hands, the mobile devices are often carelessly put aside in locations where accidents do happen. Many are buried at sea by distracted fisherman. Still others fall victim to clumsy owners who spilled the water goblet on it. Many learn that its not a good idea to operate a mobile device while exposed to inclement weather. Essentially, liquid environments are Kryptonite to smart phones.

Fortunately, the industry is responding to the sound of splashing smart phones echoing through cyberspace. In an effort to save smart phone users from themselves, manufacturers are designing rugged smart phones with water-proof capabilities that will save on the cost of replacement phones. Some of the fortified devices were introduced at the recent Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The water proof models demonstrated that a water resistant smart phone does not have to have to be ugly in order to be waterproof. Sony displayed a stylish-looking device dubbed Xperia Tablet Z. The device's sleek designed belied the added benefit of knowing that an accidental dunking will not impair performance. Other Sony models are currently enjoying the water-resistant features such as Acro S and Advance.

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Tension on the Rise

Samsung and Apple continue to dominate the the lion's share of the smart phone and tablet market with an impressive array of mobile devices from which to choose. For years, Apple has enjoyed a reputation as the ultimate standard for mobile devices. However, the landscape has changed over time and Apple is finding itself in a heated battle with its Asian-based nemesis. It appears that Samsung is beginning to beat Apple at its own game.

Apple's early success triggered a slew of knock-off devices that were shamelessly copied and integrated to a number of Apple wanna-be's. Ironically, Apple's and Samsung's future may be more dependent on the court of law rather than the court of public opinion. Currently, both companies are participating in bloody litigation over who has the right to technology that is incorporated into many of the mobile devices that are on today's market. In fact, the technology has become so ubiquitous that the issue is no longer about manufacturing a device as good as Apple, but one that is superior to it.

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