RBS: Small shareholders demand a say in bank bosses’ pay

RBS

Small investors in RBS are pushing for the bank to set up a shareholder committee to give them a bigger say in areas such as executive pay.

Groups representing small shareholders argue they should be involved in ensuring good corporate governance.

Investors hope RBS will serve as a test case so other companies will consider installing a shareholder committee.

RBS said it had not seen full details but pledged to “look closely” at it once it had.

The way companies are managed – and how much bosses are paid – has been been under particular scrutiny this year following the collapse and loss of 11,000 jobs at BHS and the revelations about pay and working conditions at Sports Direct.

Chief executives of FTSE 100 companies have a median pay package of £4.3m, according to the High Pay Centre, which works out at 140 times that of the average worker.

In November, the government issued a Green Paper to explore improving how companies are run.

It proposed that a shareholder committee could be set up “to scrutinise remuneration and other key corporate issues such as long term strategy and directors’ appointments”.

The UK Individual Shareholders’ Society (ShareSoc) and the UK Shareholders’ Association (UKSA), who represent retail (individual) investors, said: “We suggest that this initiative will significantly benefit corporate governance at RBS, and represents a valuable opportunity for RBS to lead the way in exploring a concept which works well in other countries.”

ShareSoc and UKSA will present RBS with a resolution for the proposal to be included on the agenda at the bank’s annual general meeting in May, where investors would then be given the chance to vote on the measure.

A spokesman for RBS, said: “We have not yet received the final draft resolution. Once it has been delivered we will look closely to ensure that it complies with all corporate governance and listing guidelines.”

 

 

[Source:- BBC]

Apple enhances iOS features for hearing impaired

Tech giant Apple has enhanced its iOS accessibility features for users with hearing impairments, according to a report by Appleinsider.

Features like Bluetooth-based AirPod-style streaming, Live Listen, have been enhanced, focusing on conversations in loud environment for hearing impairments.

Apple first introduced MFi support for Bluetooth hearing aids in iOS 7 and iPhone 4s.

Its latest software expands support for direct streaming of phone calls, FaceTime conversations, movies and other audio to supported hearing aids, without the need for a middleman device known as a “streamer”.

New iOS 10 hearing aid also features integrated device battery life and independent base, treble, right and left volume controls, and supports audiologist-designed presets for handling sound from concerts or restaurants, the report said.

In addition to supporting audio originating on the phone, the new Live Listen feature also allows users to relay focused audio picked up by the iPhone’s mic, enabling clearer conversations when in a loud environment.

 

[Source:- Techrader]

 

How Social Media Has Changed the Game for Customer Service

To understand how some people just have an innate sense for great customer service, you need only look back at Shep Hyken’s job during college. Before Shep became a world-renown customer service expert and best-selling author, he worked at a gas station.

“One very, very cold day…a woman got out of the car to pump gas, an elderly woman,” Hyken explains. “I went out and pumped her for gas for her. My manager got upset with me for pumping this lady’s gas. He says, ‘we’re a self-serve station’ and I thought, well you know, ‘but she could have died, slipped piece of ice, I mean she looked frail’. So I helped her and he says, ‘What is she going to do the next time? She’s going expect the same thing.’ And I said, ‘well that’s fine because there’s three other stations, one on each of the corners [of] the intersection, and I think that I’d love her to come back and always do business with us.’”

Today, Hyken consults with many companies and teaches them how to employ this same mindset to what is becoming the ultimate competitive advantage.

“You’re going to compete on really one of two things: You’re either going to compete on price or something else,” he says. “If you’re not competing on price alone you’re competing on something else and that something else is always going to be part of the customer experience.”

So how has social media changed the game for customer service?

“Customers have a bigger voice than ever before and therefore I believe it raises the bar for every company to do an effective job,” Hyken says, adding that it’s critical that companies respond to every post, whether positive or negative. “That’s why they call it social,” he says. “Because it is. It’s a conversation.”

The other thing social media has done is raise customer expectations. The airline industry especially has set a really high bar for any brand in social media, with response times often in just a few minutes. (See Southwest Airlines, for example.)

“What’s happened is that customer expectations are higher than they’ve ever been, and that is outpacing the strides that some companies are making,” Hyken explains. “When I have a great experience on Delta Airlines and then I go to any other business, I say, ‘Why can’t they be as friendly as the people that took care of me on Delta Airlines?’ If I go to a restaurant and I’m treated well and then I go to a bookstore I’m going to compare the person who’s apathetic, introverted, not outgoing, barely talks to me, barely looks at me, to the friendly server that I had the night before.”

So in other words, that innate sense of great customer service is more important today than ever before. While social media has had a huge impact on overall customer experience, getting the basics right – online and offline – is still critical.

As Hyken looks to the future, he is excited about cognitive computing and how it will ultimately lead to a truly personalized experience.

“What [IBM’s] Watson is doing and some other artificial intelligence systems are doing is they’re not just retrieving information, knowing where to get it, how to assimilate it, and to make it sound good to a human,” he says. “They are actually thinking. They’re truly going to learn about their customers. And every time they interact with us they’re going to get even better and better.”

Hyken graciously talked with me for Episode 45 of the Focus on Customer Service Podcast.

 

Here are some of the key moments of the interview and where to find them:

1:17 How Shep’s childhood shaped his customer service expertise today

6:38 The cost of doing business and the cost of not doing customer service well

7:45 Managing customer expectations

12:06 Are all companies in the customer service and customer experience business?

14:57 Examples of great experiences that don’t cost a lot of money

18:30 How has social media impacted customer service overall?

20:41 Customer surveys and what it means to deliver “10” service

24:46 Why companies should respond to every single comment on social media

29:05 How companies can build relationships with customers in digital channels and raise expectations for everyone else

 

 
[Source:- Socialmediatoday]

Does this type make my design look fat?

featured_typescale

Nothing can ruin a design like typography that doesn’t fit. Whether it’s too big (or too small), improper type scaling is a major problem.

It’s a problem for more designs than you might think. Too commonly you visit a website where the type renders beautifully on a desktop browser, only to revisit later from a phone and find it difficult to read. It happens all the time.

The issue is that the type wasn’t truly scaled for each device. It’s a totally avoidable problem when you consider a typographic scale for projects.

WHAT IS A TYPOGRAPHIC SCALE?

A visual typographic scale encapsulates the sizes, space and proportions of type elements relative to on another in a project. This includes everything from the main body text style to headlines, subheaders, captions and any other text element.

The scale helps determine size and placement of the text elements in relationship to one another. For web design, in particular, the visual type scale often corresponds to tags in your CSS (such as h1, h2, h3, p, and so on).

A type scale helps you create harmony and rhythm in the design. It also keeps you out of stylistic trouble because text elements correspond with CSS elements so that every part of the design uses the same elements and consistency.

The scale should be based on the size of body text. (Always set a typeface and size for that first). Then build the scale around this main typography. Not sure where to start? Google has a solid recommendation:

  1. Use a base font size of 16 CSS pixels. Adjust size based on properties of the font being used.
  2. Use sizes relative to the base size to define the typographic scale.
  3. Text needs vertical space between characters; the general recommendation is to use the browser default line-height of 1.2 em.
  4. Restrict the number of fonts used and the typographic scale.

CREATE HARMONY AND RHYTHM

A type scale does more than just help users move through the copy, it creates harmony and rhythm for the flow of text. This is important on any device.

So where do you start?

UX Matters has some of the best research available on minimum text sizes by device. Note that these are minimum sizes and as body text sizes continue to increase (as does line spacing), you should strongly consider larger point sizes. Steven Hoober recommends starting at least 40 percent larger than the recommended minimums. Further, enhanced content styles can go up to 80 percent above the minimum, but you should be cautious with exceptionally large type as well.

Device Type Minimum Size 40% Recommendation (adjusted for easy use) 80% Maximum (adjusted for easy use)
Small Phone 4 5.6 (6) 7.2 (7.5)
Large Phone 6 8.4 (8.5) 10.8 (11)
Phablet 7 9.8 (10) 12.6 (13)
Tablet 8 11.2 (11.5) 14.4 (14.5)
Laptop/Desktop 10 14 (14) 18 (18)

Once the body text size is set, you can determine how to size supporting text elements. There’s a fine art to that and the eye test is often a good place to start.

There’s almost no such thing as a headline that’s too big. Say what you need to say and size to scale the words in the space. A two-line headline will feel larger than one-line even if the text is the exact same size.

The easiest way to think about scaling up for headlines and other larger test elements is working in percent based on the body text. While every designer has a different starting point, 250 percent larger than the body text is a good ballpark for the headline; 150 percent for h2, 75 percent for h3 and 50 percent for elements such as block quotes. (This is not a rule, just a starting point.)

Here’s why percents, rather than set sizes, are important: Once you set the size of the body type the percents adjust sizes accordingly regardless of screen size. Every type element is relative to the body type.

CHARACTER AND SPACING GUIDELINES

There are some other guidelines that designers look to as well when it comes to type on the screen. When it comes to spacing, one of the rules of thumb has been to look at characters per line to ensure readability.

  • Desktop and large devices: 60 to 75 characters per line
  • Phones and small devices: 35 to 40 characters per line

Note that readability on smaller screens is based on having fewer characters (larger text).

The same idea applies to spacing as well. You need more space between lines of text when the screen size is limited to make it easier for users to read and scan content. Consider adding 25 percent more line spacing on smaller devices than for desktop typography.

The additional size and spacing helps ease that tight or crunched feeling that users can feel when trying to read on smaller devices. Because the canvas is small, reader flow and legibility is vital to keep users scrolling.

TIPS TO GET STARTED

There are plenty of ways to create a typographic scale and ensure that the text does not make your design look fat. How you go about it likely depends on your comfort level with code and development in addition to the design.

The best option is to use a responsive design with media queries. This is the designer-developer option that will provide the greatest level of control over text specifications. (For more go back to those Google recommendations, above.)

Another route is to design different versions. While this is a pretty out-of-date concept, there are still some places using mobile URLs and desktop URLs for their websites. It’s not recommended in most cases, but for some websites where the design is dramatically different or users experience different things, it can be an option.

The easy option is to start with a theme for your website. Just make sure to opt for a fully responsive option. When you use a high quality responsive theme, most of the guesswork is taken out of it for you. All you really have to think about is the body text size. Just make sure to check everything to make sure the mobile type sizes meet your standards.

 

[Source:- webdesignerdepot]

 

This new Microsoft design patent is unlikely to be the Surface phone

Patently Apple goes a bit heavy with the speculation especially since their earlier find from February shared some resemblance of what was eventually Surface Studio. I call that luck as most patent filings rarely become actual products. Back to this patent, no information about the features, hardware, or materials used are mentioned making the filing pretty basic.

Oddly, the Patently Apple author goes on a tangent about pens, Apple, Samsung, and how Microsoft could be bringing inking to Mobile (a forgone conclusion already). They then cite FIG. 7 with the following conclusion labeled in their image:

However, what we can clearly see is that a Surface smartphone is likely to support their Surface Pen. Like the Samsung Note-styled embodiment, a slot has been designed into the body of the design at the top.

Of course, to our eyes, it only looks like a standard 3.5mm headphone jack like the kind you used to find on every smartphone in the world. I’m not sure when we started confusing headphone jacks with pen slots. 2016 is a weird year, and I suppose Apple fans have already moved on from ‘headphone-gate’ by forgetting it ever existed? I dunno.

The bottom of the phone has a single port, which again looks like an old micro USB slot and not quite the symmetrical USB Type C design we are accustomed too.

Frankly folks, I don’t see anything interesting here. This design patent is a generic filing on what could easily be the Lumia 640. In fact, the patent cites Micromax, Sony Xperia, LG Optimus, Lumia 830, and the Lumia 530 – all phones from 2012-2014 – under ‘other publications’ for the patent’s references.

Microsoft has some exciting stuff in the pipeline for sure, but please don’t go spreading this around as ‘proof’ of a ‘Surface Phone.’ Facts and data are still necessary, not a generic drawing based on yesteryear’s inspiration.

 

 

[Source:- windowscentral]

What’s moved money, oil and shares in 2016?

Pound sterling

Massive political events have made 2016 a standout year – what impact have these had on the pound, shares and the price of oil?

The pound

Sterling’s move this year has been dominated by the impact of the referendum.

Against the dollar it is down more than 15%.

Yes, there have been other factors at play. There always are many strands to what happens to financial market process. But the currency fell very sharply in the early hours of 24 June as it became clear which way the vote had gone.

Why a weaker currency? It’s partly about the Bank of England and its policies. The Bank’s governor Mark Carney had signalled strongly that he expected leaving the EU to lead to weaker economic growth.

The markets took that as meaning that there would be cuts in interest rates and perhaps a resumption of the Bank’s “quantitative easing” programme – buying financial assets with newly created money. The Bank duly met the market’s expectation in August.

Lower interest rates mean lower returns for investors in the currency where rates are reduced so its value tends to fall. QE has the same effect, partly because it also tends to drive down interest rates across the economy.

The decline against the dollar also reflects expectations about the US Central Bank moving in the opposite direction.

All year financial markets have been wondering when will the Federal Reserve raise interest rates again – after last year’s move, the first since 2008 at the depths of the financial crisis.

The Fed did eventually take action in December.

The EU referendum has also created uncertainty about the outlook for the British economy, though the most pessimistic expectations about the immediate aftermath of a no vote have been proved wrong. The uncertainty may also have contributed to the decline in the value of sterling.

Top 100 company shares

It has certainly helped the London stock market that the British economy has continued to grow reasonably well this year.

But the fall in sterling was also an important factor supporting shares. It does make it easier for exporters to compete internationally.

For some, the biggest companies on the market there is another advantage. Many of them – miners and oil producers for example – earn a lot of revenue in foreign currency especially dollars.

The fall in sterling means that is worth more when converted into pounds, boosting both the profits and share price of the companies concerned.

So we had a strong gain, 14%, in the FTSE 100 share index. The less international 250 index – gained a more modest 3%.

Oil

The price of crude oil is now about double the low it reached in January. The market has been driven to a large extent by the rather laborious return to the stage of OPEC, group that includes most of the leading oil exporters.

Often in the past a fall in the price of oil led to an OPEC attempt to reverse the development by agreeing to cut production – though it’s another question how effectively the member countries would implement any such deal.

The fall that began in mid-2014 met no immediate response. Saudi Arabia, OPEC’s biggest player, was thought to welcome the pressure that falling prices put on shale oil producers in the United States.

The Saudis also wanted a bigger contribution from other OPEC countries, notably Iran. Eventually though, the response came.

In September the group agreed in principle to act and then in November a new production ceiling was agreed with some non-OPEC members agreeing to take part.

The result: oil prices are still around half the June 2014 level, but a lot healthier for oil exporters than there were a few months ago.

Gold, still golden?

The precious metal is ending the year with a price rise of about 9%.

But it was a lot higher mid-year – more than a third higher than at the start of 2016.

Earlier in the year, things in the US looked rather different.

Expectations of an interest rate rise receded and some even wondered if the Fed might join the European and Japanese move towards negative rates.

The prospect that investors might have had to pay to keep money on deposit made gold look more attractive.

As the US economy gathered some strength later in the year that concern receded and the gold price turned down.

Far from going down, US rates were eventually increased.

Traditionally gold has been seen as an investment offering protection against inflation.

Since Donald Trump won the US Presidential election markets have thought there might be more inflation coming as he seeks to boost the economy with tax cuts and perhaps spending on infrastructure.

The gold price has moved up moderately in the last couple of weeks, though if it was a response to the election it was a delayed one.

In any event inflation in many developed economies is gradually picking up a little from very low levels.

So perhaps that suggests there is more room for gold to gain too if some investors think they want an anti-inflation hedge.

 

 
[Source:- BBC]

Microsoft is bringing the full Windows 10 experience to mobile chipsets

Chip manufacturer Qualcomm and Microsoft have teamed up to support Windows 10 on mobile computing devices powered by Snapdragon processors.

The first PCs running Windows 10 based on Snapdragon processors are expected to be available as early as next year.

“With compatibility with the Windows 10 ecosystem, the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform is expected to support mobility to Cloud computing and redefine how people will use their compute devices,” said Cristiano Amon, Executive Vice President, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., in a statement.

New Windows 10 PCs powered by Snapdragon processors can be designed to support x86 Win32 and universal Windows apps, including Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office and Windows 10 gaming titles.

“Bringing Windows 10 to life with a range of thin, light, power-efficient and always-connected devices, powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform, is the next step in delivering the innovations our customers love,” added Terry Myerson, Executive Vice President, Windows and Devices Group, Microsoft.

 

 

[Source:- Techrader]

How The Internet Revolutionized Offline Retail

How The Internet Revolutionized Offline Retail [Infographic] | Social Media Today

Year after year, the command of retail continues to interest customers. Although numerous consumers are now taking advantage of online deals, the experience a shopper has when they can interact with the product in person is still highly influential. Studies show that 25% of consumers purchase a product or service after they’ve searched locally. In fact, 18% of these purchases are made within one day according to the infographic below from Store Traffic.

Nonetheless, the influence the internet holds over shoppers is intriguing. This can be seen both in the way customers shop and how businesses operate. The landscape of retail has drastically changed. This graphic gives us a summary of how, since its inception, the internet has continued to dominate the shopping experience. It highlights the importance of innovation – if your business doesn’t have at least one digital element in it, you may be left behind.

Emerging trends, such as the Internet of Things, will help to shape the future of retail. Soon, simply having a company website will not be enough. Without social media channels, many businesses are failing to connect with a large portion of the population.

Keep reading the infographic below for more.

 

 

[Source:- Socialmediatoday]

The big interview: Jon von Tzetchner talks Vivaldi

featured_vivaldi

Vivaldi is a browser that’s an alternative to better-known browsers like Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Launched only earlier this year, it has a long way to go before it claims a fair share of the browser market, but that’s not stopping Vivaldi founder Jon von Tzetchner from telling people what’s so exciting and unique about his new project. I recently had the chance to speak to him about everything Vivaldi.

In an in-depth interview, we talk about everything from why Vivaldi is good for web designers to how many users it has and if the Internet of Things is something the company will focus on, going forward.

WebdesignerDepot: Our readers are web designers who are interested in the best or an alternative browser to help with their work and projects. How can Vivaldi benefit web designers?

Jon von Tzetchner: The special thing about Vivaldi is that we designed the browser in the browser, so the user interface of the browser is actually web-based. For all practical purposes, we’re using the same tools as any web designer is using to make webpages. The difference is that we’re making a user interface instead, so we’re using technologies like React, HTML, CSS, and the like; I mean, that’s what we’re using to build the browser. We’re also working on the C++ side of the equation, so we can do things on either side to get the best possible results, but most of the work on our side actually is being done on the HTML side.

The special thing about Vivaldi is that we designed the browser in the browser, so the user interface of the browser is actually web-based

WDD: I’d like to ask you about support for emerging technologies like CSS Grids, for instance. Does Vivaldi currently support that? If not, any plans to?

JvT: I think you just asked a question that I don’t feel comfortable with answering (laughs)—and that’s embarrassing. In general, code-wise, we’re built on Chromium. You’re asking about a standard that Chrome already supports, and we do as well. That’s the standard answer to that. Whether we’re using it in the browser in our own designs, I’m not sure about that at this time.

WDD: A CNET article from earlier this year quotes you as saying Vivaldi has almost a million users per month. Has that number grown? How many use Vivaldi as we close out 2016?

JvT: What I was saying and what I’ve been saying is that we’re well on the way toward a million. People write that in different ways, so that’s the current situation. We’re well on our way toward the first million, but we’re not totally there yet. We’ve had about 5 million downloads so far and an active user base well on its way—between 700,000 and a million is where we are.

WDD: In terms of Vivaldi expansion, what are your projections for the number of users hitting the 5-million mark, which you said was about the number need for profitability? How’s that coming along?

JvT: It’s going well. We need between 3 and 5 million users to break even, and I think that’s a reasonable goal for us to reach in the not-too-distant future. It’s going to take a little bit of time, but that’s the way it works when you’re growing the browser kind of through word of mouth. As an example of that that I’ve mentioned to people: With Opera, my last browser company, it took us 15 years to get our 100 million users, and then 18 months later, we had double that. So it’s kind of exponential growth, but we’re still early days. It’s been 6 months or thereabouts since we launched 1.0, and we continue to come up with new versions, and I think 3 to 5 million is a realistic, relatively short term target, and then we take it from there.

WDD: I’d like to talk about the uptake of Vivaldi. Are these Vivaldi users leaving other browsers permanently and moving full-time to Vivaldi?

JvT: Clearly, anyone that’s coming to Vivaldi has been using other browsers before. We don’t have any statistics that tell us what other browsers are using and things like that. We don’t really have much information, but we know that everyone that comes to Vivaldi has been using other browsers before, and then they make the decision to make the switch. We see the enthusiasm that we see on our website and our communities, and they seem to be extremely happy about the direction we’re going. That’s a very positive thing, but we don’t really have the numbers to say to what extent they’re using other browsers besides Vivaldi, but the impression is that there’s a gradual improvement in the number of people that are using it significantly.

WDD: What are the demographics like of those who are shifting to Vivaldi full-time…? Are there more people perhaps in a certain age group or part of the world who are moving to Vivaldi more than others?

We have a very high Linux usage. I think you’ll find among our users that there’s 10 times more Linux users than what you’ll find on average

JvT: We don’t track anything, and that’s one of the things that we are very…kind of…the only thing—we do know where people are in the world. The number one country for us is Japan, and number two is the U.S., and after that there is Russia and Germany. What you’re already seeing is that it’s already quite distributed, so we can’t really say that there’s one country taking it. It’s distributed, and we’re getting people all across the world. There’s one thing that we’ve seen that’s a bit different, probably: We have a very high Linux usage. I think you’ll find among our users that there’s 10 times more Linux users than what you’ll find on average. Which kind of makes sense: Linux users are more likely to download new software…given that they’ve already taken the steps to move over to a new operating system.

WDD: The latest update of Vivaldi actually lets users control the lights in their home, thanks to integration with Philips Hue color lights. This is a move toward the Internet of Things. Is this a path that Vivaldi will continue to explore and make progress toward?

JvT: Definitely. In some ways, the way this started, we described it in a blog entry—how Henrik kind of had this idea of going…bought himself this Hue, and that’s how it started. The idea of going in the direction of the Internet of Things is clearly interesting to us. I think there’s a lot of potential in the Internet of Things; I think it’s being held back in many ways by proprietary solutions. Personally, I would like to see that we go for open solutions where you find APIs, so that developers can build systems that make use of all the different units out there in a standardized manner. I think that’s something we should expect to see happening, and I think that will open up the floodgates of innovation. For us, obviously, we want to be part of that. We are geeks. We love playing with new technology, and, clearly, the Internet of Things is one of those technologies that 1) is very early days in many ways compared to what you can expect to happen, and 2) it’s just very interesting technology.

WDD: Do you have any ideas of maybe moving to integration with vehicles or other parts of the home, besides just lighting?

JvT: We start in one corner. I think the primary purpose in the short term is to be running toward home items. I think that’s natural.

WDD: As we’re ending the year, we want to get your thoughts on what Vivaldi wants to do in 2017. For example, do you have any plans for 2017, a vision for where you want to take the browser next year?

JvT: I mean, we want to continue to evolve the browser and stretch the limit of what you can expect from the browser. We’re playing around with that a little bit, and there are a lot of details, right?

You see that in some of the latest builds that we’ve been sending out. We have a build where we look outside of the machine—kind of. We change the color of your lights in your home based on your browsing, so this is thinking kind of outside the box. At the same time, we’re also paying attention to details.

In a late build now, there’s a lot of people that like the fact that we’re now showing how many “unreads” you have on sites. So, if you have Facebook up on a tab, we’ll have a clear indicator that indicates how many unread notes you have there, and you can do that even if it’s pages. And that’s the kind of detail that a lot of people get excited about, so we’ll continue in that direction—just focusing on what people want.

Then we have some of the bigger things, which are things like email, which we promised. We’re working on a mobile browser…sync, but what exactly we’ll come up with during the year…it’s really hard to say because, the way we work, we just do things.

WDD: So it seems to me that you listen to your community of users quite a bit, and I guess that informs the process of what new features you want to add into Vivaldi. Is there anything that your user community at this moment is asking for the most…some kind of a theme or pattern that they have always talked about and that they would want to see, perhaps, in Vivaldi in the future?

JvT: Very high on the list for our users have been things like email and sync, so that’s getting the sync functionality in, so that it’s very clearly there. We get a lot of requests from the users, and think most of the requests we get from the users are evolution, and then we try to think out of the box every now and then.

WDD: I’d like to switch gears a little bit to features. What would you say is Vivaldi’s biggest selling point? If there’s one feature that makes Vivaldi better than other browsers, what would that be?

JvT: Well, I think the biggest selling point is that it’s personal. I mean, all the other browsers they just say, “Okay. Here’s a browser—use it.” There’s not much more to it! We adapt to you as a user, and that’s unique. There’s a lot of details to that. There’s a lot of functions to that and saying that one is more important than another—in some ways, you could say that it’s our tab handling, it’s our callers, it’s our zoom handling, keyboard shortcuts. I mean there’s a lot of different things.

The core to all of this—how we’re different—is we see every user as being different, and we see their requirements, and their requirements differ. It’s our job to adapt to your requirements, so whatever your requirements are. Some people—latest one—signal a starting point, like with the speed dials. Others, they have a lot of tabs, and the tab handling becomes extremely important, so there’s really an individual answer to that question.

We’re not a single-feature browser. Our approach is singular. It’s really about every single user and acknowledging that we’re all different. We all have different requirements, and they’re all equally valuable.

That was something that we really didn’t want to be: a single-feature browser. We’re not a single-feature browser. Our approach is singular. It’s really about every single user and acknowledging that we’re all different. We all have different requirements, and they’re all equally valuable.

WDD: Vivaldi’s big draw for our web-design community is that it’s very friendly for designers and developers, but is it geared specifically to that community, or would you say that even just ordinary users could get a lot out of Vivaldi as well?

JvT: I frankly believe—I mean—in many ways, Vivaldi is the best for everyone. The kind of people that find Vivaldi is the people that are spending more time online. That’s definitely the development community. They like the fact that they can play around and change settings and things like that, but that’s also the group of people that tells others what to do. It’s the influencers, and we’re seeing that.

You install it first on your computer, and the next thing that happens is that you install it on your parents’ computer and your brother’s and sister’s and friends’ and all those that are asking for your advice because you’re the person in the know. It’s just like all of us: We have friends that have certain—maybe we have a friend that’s a car mechanic. We go to him, that person, whenever we have a question around cars, but similarly with technology, we’ll ask the people that are in the know and that spend time, and that’s the kind of users we are attracting, and then they go and tell their friends.

WDD: It seems that there’s a big word-of-mouth component to Vivaldi in the sense of trying to get more people to hear about it, to get it advertised. To that extent, I just want to ask if you think there’s one big thing—like one big piece of media coverage maybe or one big announcement—you think that Vivaldi needs in order to kind of put it on the map more, so that it goes beyond the designer or the developer community?

JvT: We’ve been gradually getting a bigger and bigger reach, but obviously the more media coverage, in some ways, the more often it is. The way this works: We get to a certain group of people, and once you have one guy in the group, and that influences the others. Once you have two or three, the group may all turn and start using us because it’s kind of more and more people are seeing what other people are seeing. Obviously, the bigger stakes, the better it is for us, but we see this as a process that we gradually reach out to people.

I think we already have quite a lot of very high-profile articles. If you look both in the tech community…also some of the larger magazines have covered us. I mean, Guardian in the UK, Boston Globe here…and others, so we’re seeing more and more magazines that think it’s a worthwhile story to cover, but obviously it’s only one article, and we over time need more articles to reach. It’s a process, and it’s a process we saw at Opera as well where we would have growth every year and gradually that got us to the number—we said 350 million (reference to Opera users).

 

[Source:- webdesignerdepot]

 

The path to a Surface phone is clearer than ever with Windows 10 on ARM

Why does ARM on Windows 10 matter? What does it mean for a phone running Windows 10? Let’s break down Microsoft’s latest announcement to identify its implications.

Microsoft’s announcement of Windows 10 on ARM is a momentous occasion. Companies like Apple have been rumored since 2012 to be working on bringing macOS to ARM. Even just weeks before the MacBook Pro refresh rumors were swirling that Apple’s new laptops were ARM based. Yet it is Microsoft who is the first to do it for real (and not just for a Touch Bar).

To be clear, Windows 10 on ARM is about PCs and not phones. Nonetheless, the prospect that these two systems will come together is feasible. Here is how a Surface “phone” could happen, but first some background on why ARM even matters.

x86-64 versus ARM

ARM is the architecture used in modern smartphones. Whether it’s Apple’s A10 Fusion chip or Qualcomm’s Snapdragon line, these processors are all based on the ARM architecture. ARM differs significantly from x86 and x64, which is what Intel chips like ATOM, Core M, and Core i are based, as well as AMD’s processors.

Windows 10 Mobile runs on ARM; Windows 10 on x86-64. They share OneCore and UWP, but there’s a yawning gulf between the architectures.

Windows 10 Mobile runs on ARM; Windows 10 for PC runs on x86-64. Both share OneCore and UWP as their center of overlap. The difference is also why you cannot run x86 Win32 apps on your phone. Architecture matters.

Because ARM was made to be efficient for small batteries and reduced thermal loads, it’s ideal for smartphones and slim tablets.

Historically, ARM chips were significantly less powerful than desktop-class x86 processors. That’s been changing in the last few years. Apple’s A10 Fusion chip, found in the iPhone 7, is often compared in performance to the 2013 MacBook Air — which sported a 1.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor.

So, if ARM’s so fantastic, why not just put your desktop OS on it? The task requires a tremendous amount of engineering and work. Microsoft, evidently, has finished it. Apple is likely still working on something.

Why it’s a big deal

The ability to run a full PC operating system on a tablet, two-in-one, or laptop powered by ARM has been the dream. Battery life in such a device gains a few hours with excellent thermals. The PC is now always connected to the internet. It can also be thinner and lighter than any x86-64 system — there’s less battery needed for an acceptable lifespan and reduced thermal dissipation demands.

We already have that with smartphones, but now you can run a full OS for apps and games with minimal compromises.

Such a scenario changes concepts around gaming, using digital inking, productivity, reading, exchanging information, and creativity. It’s the power of a PC but with fewer limits.

To make this tech dream come true, ARM’s performance had to improve, batteries had to get better, and someone had to port their OS. Well, that all just happened and none of us are dreaming anymore. This is the coming reality.

Cost counts too

A performant x86-64 processor is also much more expensive than ARM. This pricing matters to companies trying to create new categories of devices with greater abilities. For example, an Intel ATOM chip is around $37, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 runs about $70. But an Intel Core M processor starts at $281 and a Core i7 can go over $600.

That problem of Core M PC sticks being fantastic, but crazy expensive now disappears.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon SoCs also have everything on board including Wi-Fi, LTE, GSM, Bluetooth, Quick Charge, and camera technology all for a fixed cost. Manufacturers choose which features they want and license it. Hence why your Qualcomm-powered phone might not have Quick Charge 3.0.

On the other end, x86-64 is just the processor. Any LTE modem support is extra, as are all the other radios. Because of this difference, PCs range in feature sets, price, and even size.

The additional components make x86-64 systems hotter, more expensive, larger, and harder on batteries than any ARM counterpart.

Microsoft’s problem is they need something stronger than an ATOM, but cheaper and smaller than an Intel Core M. A processor based on ARM does all of that, plus adds in 4G LTE support, radios, and is significantly more efficient than an x86-64 system.

How to go from Mobile to the phone?

All this news and talk of smartphone components raises the next logical question: Why can’t we run Windows 10 for ARM on a smartphone?

Why Microsoft keeps working on Windows 10 Mobile: ARM, cellular, and the next big thing

In theory, you now can. The reality though is more complicated. Nevertheless, you can bet Microsoft is very much likely working on such a scenario for a ‘Pro’ smartphone experience.

Here are a few reasons why Microsoft has not put Windows 10 on ARM on the phone… yet:

  • Pricing: Such a phone will be more expensive. Additional RAM, a large SSD for significantly more storage, and the license SKU for full Windows 10 will make this “phone” costlier. Full Windows 10 takes around 20GB of storage versus ~4GB for Mobile. Full Windows 10 also ideally needs at least 8GB of RAM, compared to 2GB for Mobile. Most modern flagship smartphones have 4GB of RAM, with a few select Android phones sporting 6GB.
  • Continuum in reverse: The interface experience is not there — even the touch-friendly Windows 10 design isn’t going to work on a screen much smaller than 7 inches. Microsoft needs the Mobile shell (UI) for when the device is acting as a phone, but shows the desktop when docked. It’s Windows 10 Mobile Continuum, but inverted.
  • Phone support: While Windows 10 on ARM supports LTE data, it still lacks proper telephony abilities like phone calls, visual voicemail, SMS, and the like. Presumably, those features from the Mobile system will be incorporated into Windows 10 for ARM, but that still needs to happen.
  • Let the dust settle: Microsoft wants to get Windows 10 on ARM into devices like tablets and two-in-ones first, build out UWP some more and refine the whole experience. Once emulation has improved and deployment has expanded, hardware costs will come down, Windows 10’s power efficiency will improve, the processors will be even faster, and then a phone that can run Windows 10 on ARM makes sense.

There is also the idea of an external GPU (eGPU). That tech becomes an interesting extension for Continuum when docked and using Windows 10 on ARM. That technology, however, hasn’t even been developed yet for ARM.

Windows 10 Mobile for budget

Despite some of these hurdles, it should be evident by now that Microsoft sees Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile scenarios colliding and overlapping.

A device that runs full Windows 10 on ARM can be positioned as a ‘Pro’ device for those who need it all.

Windows 10 Mobile through Continuum and even x86 emulation becomes more like a desktop PC. Meanwhile, the desktop PC becomes more like Mobile. Cats and dogs living together! Windows 10 Mobile can still hit much lower price marks, yet deliver a similar experience, compared to a device running full Windows 10.

When you break it down that way, then Windows 10 Mobile makes sense. It will be the “light” version of Windows 10 both in features and cost. A device that runs full Windows 10 on ARM, however, can be positioned as a ‘Pro’ device for those who need it all. Perhaps someday when even the base ARM processors are powerful enough, then a separate Mobile OS won’t make sense anymore — but that’s still years away at best.

The future is mobile

I think this is where Microsoft is headed. A “Surface phone” would be a Pro device that is high-end hardware, but capable of being a full PC when docked at a desk (or with a Lap Dock). Windows 10 Mobile can still be used for entry level and mid-range phones where such OS overhead is not required or even desired.

I think we also have our answer to why there is no Surface 4 yet and why manufacturers bailed on Windows 10 Mobile tablets. Microsoft obviously had something much bigger in the works that’s more tantalizing to both them and their partners.

There are a lot of dots getting connected here between the realities of today’s technologies and the Surface phone, and it’s becoming obvious how Microsoft’s going to bridge the remaining gaps. Inking, mixed reality, UWP, OneCore, Windows Hello, Windows 10 on ARM, far-field speech-communication, Continuum, and more all promise a world where the device in your pocket can do much more than just run dinky phone apps. You are seeing that world being created right in front of your eyes.

Windows 10 on ARM is game changing. Make no mistake about it: the path to the ultimate phone just became much clearer.

 

 

[Source:- windowscentral]