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It's not everyday that a company with no reported revenue receives a multi-billion buyout offer, but that's exactly what happened to photo sharing app Snapchat. Earlier this week, Facebook publicly announced a $3 billion offer to purcase Snapchat, making it one of the largest social acquisitions of the year -- if it went through. What's even more shocking, however, is that Snapchat turned down the offer. So, was this a smart business move on their part? And do they really think they'll receive a higher offer in the near future?

Originally launched in 2011 (yes, it's that new) by Stanford frat brothers Evan Spiegel, 23, and Bobby Murphy, 25, Snapchat is a mobile application that takes a fresh approach to photo sharing. While photo sharing apps are a dime a dozen on the Android and iOS marketplaces, Snapchat is unique in the sense that it automatically deletes images after 24 hours. If you happen to send a picture that you don't want floating aorunf in cyberspace for all of eternity, using Snapchat will offer some protection to keep your photos private.

Even with the 'cool' factor of Snapchat's auto-delete feature, this recent buyout offer still begs the question -- why would Facebook pay $3 billion for a company that's only a couple of years old and with no revenue? Facebook is known for scooping up other social companies. Not long ago, they acquired Instagram for $1 billion to help boost their portfolio. Some analysts, however, believe this latest buyout attempt was to regain their popularity with teens and young adults. Facebook's numbers have declined with the younger demographic, and incorporating Snapchat into their portfolio would likely help them regain some of their lost momentum.

Click on the links below to download Snapchat to your smartphone or tablet computer. The app is completely free (hence the $0 revenue), so you don't have to worry about micro transactions or other fees. Of course, there's a good chance we'll see in-app advertisements in the near future as a means for Snapchat to generate some revenue since they didn't take the $3 billion offer from Facebook. There's really not much to Snapchat -- you can take photos and videos and send them to your friends -- but some users will enjoy the unique auto-delete feature it offers.

About Jeff Gwaltney:
Jeff Gwaltney is president of Kreative Solutions Group, a custom software development company located in O'fallon, Missouri. Specializing in mobile, web and desktop applications, Jeff believes the key to any successful business is relationships. He strives to build a lifetime of success with every client.
Posted in: Business | Mobile
Thanks in part to the company's latest acquisition of smartphone maker Nokia (deal estimated at $7.2 billion), Microsoft is now gaining momentum in the ever-growing smartphone industry. While Google Android and Apple iOS are the largest contenders (by a landslide), there's hope on the horizon for PC pioneer Microsoft, as recent numbers are showing a significant bump in their smartphone presence.

A recent report published by IDC found that Google Android smartphones represent approximately 81% of the industry, while Apple maintainins roughly 12% for a combined total of 93%. This is a stunning statistic that emphasis the sheer impact of Google's Android operating system on the entire smartphone industry. But where does Microsoft fall into this study? While they still aren't achieving the numbers of Google or Apple, Microsoft is steadily gaining headway on their Windows-based smartphones. And if this activity keeps up, there's a good chance we'll see more and more next-gen Windows smartphones being released.

Just a year ago, Windows-based smartphones accounted for only 2% of the marketplace. Microsoft made some critical errors during their initial launch into the smartphone industry, such as failing to provide users with 'functional' apps that were readily available for Android and iOS. However, I think it's safe to say they've learned from their mistakes, as Microsoft is now working with third-party developers to help port their apps over to Windows

In just over a year, Microsoft's presence in the smartphone arena grew from 2% to 3.6%. 3.6% isn't exactly a huge chunk, but you have to realize that Microsoft has doubled their market share in just one year. Assuming they follow this pattern, Microsoft could easily wedge themselves into the Google/Apple dominant smartphone arena.

One of the areas where Microsoft has really excelled recently is their smartphone technology development. In the past, their phones were lackluster in comparison to Android and iOS models. However, with their acquisition of Nokia, Microsoft has launched some seriously powerful smartphones, such as the Lumia 520 and Lumia 1020.

"Android and Windows Phone continued to make significant strides in the third quarter. Despite their differences in market share, they both have one important factor behind their success: price. Both platforms have a selection of devices available at prices low enough to be affordable to the mass market, and it is the mass market that is driving the entire market forward," said IDC Research Manager Ramon Llamas.
About Jeff Gwaltney:
Jeff Gwaltney is president of Kreative Solutions Group, a custom software development company located in O'fallon, Missouri. Specializing in mobile, web and desktop applications, Jeff believes the key to any successful business is relationships. He strives to build a lifetime of success with every client.
Posted in: Business | Mobile
If you own an Android-powered smartphone or tablet, you may have noticed a prompt for a new update. We talked about this update, named "KitKat," in another blog post here at KreativeSolutionsGroup.com. Of course, not all Google devices are compatible with the latest Android KitKat 4.4 operating system, but if you're device is running this OS, you'll want to adjust some of the settings to improve its battery life and overall function. For more Android KitKat 4.4 tips and tricks, keep reading.

Check The Device Manager

Let's hope this never happens, but in the event that your smartphone is lost or stolen, enabling the Device Manager will give you the peace of mind knowing that your data is safe -- well, safe in the sense that you can completely wipe it from your smartphone. If you haven't done so already, launch the "Settings" app from your Android smartphone and select the "Android Device Manager" option at the bottom.

With the Device Manager option enabled, you should now visit https://www.google.com/android/devicemanager from your desktop computer (note: make sure you are logged into your Google account with the same username as your Android account). From here, you can wipe your phone's data, track it's GPS location, or even choose to send a remote ring (especially helpful when your phone is stuck down in the couch cushion).

Can't Seem To Hold a Battery Charge? Find Out Why.

It's downright frustrating when your phone constantly dies after being unplugged for just a couple of hours. If this a problem with your new Android KitKat 4.4 smartphone, find out what's causing the issue with the battery tool. Under "Settings," click on the battery icon to display which apps are eating through the most power. WiFi is a serious battery killer for most smartphones, so consider switching over to data-only if it's a problem.

Another key feature with Android KitKat 4.4 is a new "battery-saving" GPS mode. Since most of the features with Google's latest operating system require GPS, you probably don't want to completely disable it on your device. Instead of using the traditional GPS, however, you can choose the battery-saving option to save some power.

Other KitKat Android 4.4 Tips:

  • Turn off Near Field Communication (NFC) in the settings.
  • Take advantage of the new built-in photo editing app.
  • Customize your background with a personal photo.
  • Turn off auto-sync of photos to save data and battery power.
About Jeff Gwaltney:
Jeff Gwaltney is president of Kreative Solutions Group, a custom software development company located in O'fallon, Missouri. Specializing in mobile, web and desktop applications, Jeff believes the key to any successful business is relationships. He strives to build a lifetime of success with every client.
Posted in: Mobile
Several reliable sources are saying that Apple will soon offer in-store screen repairs on the iPhone 5S and 5C. As some iPhone users are well aware of, Apple typically replaces your phone with a new or refurbished model if you happen to break crack the screen (for a fee, of course). This is a downright nightmare for users with customized, decked-out phones loaded with apps. If these sources are correct, though, you'll be able to keep your phone since Apple employees will simply replace the screen.

News of Apple's new stance on iPhone screen repairs was first reported on 9to5Mac.com. According to the article, their sources claim that Apple is gearing up for repairs and maintenance on the new iPhone 5S and 5C, with a focus being on screen repairs. There's nothing more frustrating than dropping $499 (or more) on a brand new iPhone, only to crack the screen after dropping it on your hardwood floor. Some people automatically bite the bullet when this happens by purchasing a brand new device. Unfortunately, replacing the screen on a standard iPhone is both pricey and difficult.

Apple's solution to cracked iPhone screens in the past has been to replace the device, typically with a factory refurbished model. And when you turn you cracked iPhone over to Apple, you essentially lose all of your contacts, apps and preference settings. You can always re-download and install these apps (assuming you have access to your Apple account), but this is rather monotonous and time-consuming. With Apple's new service, however, they'll take your iPhone, replace the screen with a new one, and hand it back over to you.

The article posted at 9to5Mac.com claims that new screen-replacement machines are being shipped out to Apple stores throughout the country. These machines are designed to streamline the process of replacing an iPhone screen. With the screen removed, this machine aligns and presses the new one into place.

Cracked iPhone screens, unfortunately, aren't covered under Apple's warranty. If you happen to crack your screen, you'll have to pay Apple $149 for a new one. Considering the fact that a new iPhone runs about $500, though, this is a rather affordable alternative to buying a new model. And if these rumors prove true, you can keep your actual iPhone by having an Apple store replace the screen. Of course, I still advise iPhone users to use extra caution to prevent cracks from occurring. If you haven't done so already, invest in a professional-grade case that's capable of withstanding drops, falls and everything else you have to throw its way.
About Jeff Gwaltney:
Jeff Gwaltney is president of Kreative Solutions Group, a custom software development company located in O'fallon, Missouri. Specializing in mobile, web and desktop applications, Jeff believes the key to any successful business is relationships. He strives to build a lifetime of success with every client.
Posted in: Business | Mobile
Earlier this month, Google released its highly anticipated Nexus 5 smartphone on the 'Play Store.' If you've been keeping up with our blog here at KreativeGroupSolutions.com, you're probably well aware of the new KitKat Android operating system Google has been working hard to develop. Well, the search engine giant/tech mogul has implemented the KitKat Android operating operating system in their Nexus 5 smartphone, but this is just one of the key selling points that's forced the Play Store to sell out of the Nexus 5. To learn more about the Nexus 5 and how it fairs in comparison to other smartphones like the Galaxy S4 and iPhone 5S, keep reading.

Size and Dimensions

First and foremost, let's talk about the Nexus 5's size and overall dimensions, as this will undoubtedly be a huge selling point for many users. If you compare the Nexus 5 side-by-side with the Samsung galaxy S4, you'll notice the two next-generation smartphones are strikingly similar in appearance. In fact, they both look nearly identical, only with a few minor nuances. The Nexus 5 features a 4.95-inch display screen, however, will the Galaxy S4 features a full 5-inch screen display. How much of a difference does 0.5 inches make? Truthfully, it's such a small amount that very few users will notice.

In terms of weight, both the Nexus 5 and Galaxy S4 are the exact same size: 130 grams. This is an incredibly light feel that's comfortable to hold and use, especially for a device with a 5-inch screen (well, almost 5 inches).

Processing Power

Now that you know a little bit about the cosmetic side of the Google Nexus 5, you're probably wondering how much processing power it holds. Regardless of which model you choose, all the Nexus 5 devices currently available for sale feature a powerful quad-core 2.3GHz processor. Many industry analysts claim the Nexus 5 processor is nearly twice as fast as the Samsung Galaxy S4, making it a serious contender in the smartphone industry.

Price

So, how much does the Google Nexus 5 cost? The entry-level model, featuring 16 GB of internal memory, is currently being sold on the Google Play Store for $349, and that's without a contract. You can choose to double your internal memory to the 32 GB for $399. This price is certainly enticing considering costly price tag attached to the new Galaxy and iPhone. However, the one advantage of choosing a Galaxy S4 over the new Nexus 5 is the option to install and use a MicroSD card (which isn't available in the Nexus 5).
About Jeff Gwaltney:
Jeff Gwaltney is president of Kreative Solutions Group, a custom software development company located in O'fallon, Missouri. Specializing in mobile, web and desktop applications, Jeff believes the key to any successful business is relationships. He strives to build a lifetime of success with every client.
Posted in: Mobile | Technology
If you've kept up with the recent tech news, you've probably heard of an ominous Google-owned barge floating off the coast of San Francisco. People who've tried to get close were immediately stopped by security, whom were conveniently wearing Google shirts. This obviously leaves many people to speculate just what exactly Google is hiding inside it. Is it some massive floating fortress of data servers? Or maybe it's some new green energy device that's Google's been secretly developing for the past decade? Well, we may finally have some answers regarding the mysterious Google barge floating in San Francisco Bay.

As you can see in the image to the right, the floating Google barge is built with a dozen or so containers stacked four tall. It was originally discovered towards the end of October, and ever since then, people from around the glove have speculated over its contents. Of course, Google has remained quite about their barge, offering very little information as to its contents or purpose. Some people have even stated that it's all a publicity stunt by Google, twisting the public's hand to place the limelight back in their direction. While this scenario certainly sounds possible, the fact of the matter is that Google really doesn't need any help in the PR department, so I think it's safe to rule this option out.

So, what's inside the barge? According to the local San Francisco CBS news affiliate, they feature several different levels of showrooms topped with a 'party' room at the very top (yes, a party room). Although the showroom/party paradise is still being manufactured, the news agency reports that several reliable sources have revealed its true objective. Once the barge is complete, Google will quietly bring in selected individuals to view some of their next-gen products, some of which includes Google Glass, Google Self-Driving Cars, and other devices.

This project was designed and launched by the secretive high-tech research branch of Google rightfully named 'Google X.' If this is your first time hearing about Google X, well, they've successfully accomplished their job of keeping a low profile. This secret branch is responsible for researching next-gen products and devices without leaking details to the media or other competing tech companies.

San Fransisco Google Barge Video



Check out the following video for a brief look at the Google barge floating in San Fransisco Bay.
About Jeff Gwaltney:
Jeff Gwaltney is president of Kreative Solutions Group, a custom software development company located in O'fallon, Missouri. Specializing in mobile, web and desktop applications, Jeff believes the key to any successful business is relationships. He strives to build a lifetime of success with every client.
Posted in: Business
The revolutionary new optical computer system 'Google Glass' that's expected to retailers by the end of 2013 is already causing a heated debate as to whether or not they're safe to use while driving. According to the San Diego P.D. they are not safe to use while driving. Earlier this week, a woman driving through the San Diego was ticketed for 'driving while distracted' as a result of her Google Glass. With the release date of Google Glass just months away, many people are questioning the legality of them on the road.

Californian native Cecilia Abadie was driving in San Diego this past Tuesday when she was pulled over by the local police. To her disbelief, Abadie was then ticketed for wearing driving while wearing Google Glass. She even snapped a photo of the ticket to publish on her Google account.

Abadie posted the following update on her Google account, "A cop just stopped me and gave me a ticket for wearing Google Glass while driving! The exact line says: Driving with Monitor visible to Driver (Google Glass). Is GoogleGlass  ilegal while driving or is this cop wrong??? Any legal advice is appreciated!! This happened in California. Do you know any other GlassExplorers  that got a similar ticket anywhere in the US?" There's already 500 comments to her post, with most people advising her to fight the ticket.

CNN.com also published an article regarding Abadie's run in with the law. According to them, California law prohibits drivers from watching television while driving. And a similar provision to this law states that all monitors must also be turned and facing away from the driver. Under this California law, it looks like Abadie might end up losing her case (if she chooses to fight it).

It's important to note that Abadie claimed her Google Glass device was turned off when the officer pulled her over.

Traffic laws vary from state to state, so Google Glass users really need to do their homework before getting behind the wheel in a pair of these futuristic next-gen glasses. While Abadie's case has garnered a lot of attention this week, we're bound to see similar cases of tickets handed out to Google Glass drivers in the months to come. Until then, however, it's somewhat of a gray area that needs to be defined before drivers can legally wear their Google Glass while driving.
About Jeff Gwaltney:
Jeff Gwaltney is president of Kreative Solutions Group, a custom software development company located in O'fallon, Missouri. Specializing in mobile, web and desktop applications, Jeff believes the key to any successful business is relationships. He strives to build a lifetime of success with every client.
Posted in: Technology
We're less than a month away from the release of the new Xbox One. And while there's been some controversy regarding its used game policy, Microsoft appears to have listened to gamers' demands by easing up on these restrictions. With the next-gen console's release fast approaching, Microsoft has released a demo video showcasing the new Xbox One dashboard. Whether you're loyal Xbox gamer or Sony PlayStation gamer, you'll want to check out this impressive video.

Disclosure: I've always been a Microsoft Xbox fan when it comes to gaming. They've revolutionized console gaming through their cloud-supported Xbox Live system. And it looks like they are trying to take it up a notch with the Xbox One (no shocker, right?). Rather than focusing the Xbox One console strictly on games, they want to turn it into a full multimedia device that's capable of gaming, music, web browsing, chatting, television, movies and more. They've attempted similar aspects with the Xbox 360, such as integrating Netflix, Hulu, Crackle and other apps into the system; however, the Xbox One is a completely revamped system that appears to be superior in every way.

Xbox One Demo Video

Here's the short one and a half-minute video showcasing the upcoming Xbox One dashboard. One of the first things you'll likely notice in the video is the use of voice commands. Currently Xbox 360 users are forced to manually locate their desired app or program with a controller. The Xbox One comes with a built-in voice command system that allows users to change from app to app by speaking commands into the microphone.

The video starts with the user speaking "Xbox, turn on" into his headset, at which point the Xbox One dashboard fires up, welcoming back Archie Earnest (assuming that's his name). You'll get the feeling that Xbox One took a note or two from Windows 8, as the dashboard looks strikingly similar to the Windows 8 Metro theme. There's a screen consisting of several individual 'blocks' representing apps along with various tabs for the Store, Pins and Marketplace up top. Users can scroll to different screen by going to the far left or right, opening up even more options on the new Xbox One dashboard.

Even with all of these impressive features, one of the coolest things with the Xbox One is the Skype application. Since all Xbox One consoles feature built-in video cameras, you can chat with your friends, family members or gaming acquaintances face to face.

About Jeff Gwaltney:
Jeff Gwaltney is president of Kreative Solutions Group, a custom software development company located in O'fallon, Missouri. Specializing in mobile, web and desktop applications, Jeff believes the key to any successful business is relationships. He strives to build a lifetime of success with every client.
Posted in: Business
In keeping up with the company's tradition of constantly reworking their products with new 'generations,' Apple recently announced a November 1 launch date for the iPad Air. Just as its namesake suggests, the iPad Air is a lighter, more portable version of the previous iPad 4. But this begs the question -- are consumers really going to spend another $499 (lowest price model) just for an iPad that weighs slightly less than its predecessor? Here, we're going to take a closer look at the upcoming iPad Air, revealing some its key features along with possible disadvantages.

iPad Air Specs and Features

According to the official Apple.com website, the new iPad Air weights just a single pound and is exactly 7.5 millimeters thin. When compared to the previous iPad 4, that's approximately 20% thinner and 28% lighter. Okay, that's not a huge improvement but noticeable nonetheless.

The screen size of the new iPad Air is exactly the same as other models (9.7 inches). This near-10-inch display seems to be a popular choice among tablet computer manufacturers, as it's large enough to comfortably watch movies and videos, yet still small enough to easily carry around. Of course, Apple also has 'Mini' iPad available with a 7-inch screen.

So, what kind of processing power is the new iPad Air packing under its slimmed down shell? Apple has stated that the new iPad Air will feature the same A7 processor that's used in the iPhone 5S. This is a huge boost in processing power that makes the Apple iPad Air nearly 72 times faster than the company's original iPad.

Another key selling point with the new iPad Air is the extended battery life. iPads have always done an exceptional job at maintaining their battery, but the Air provides an impressive 10-hour battery life on a full charge. If you're the type of individual who's constantly watching Netflix, streaming YouTube videos or performing other hardware-intensive operations, you're sure to appreciate the iPad Air's extended battery.

Apple iPad Air TV Ad



Check out this innovative television commercial marketing the upcoming iPad Air produced and released by Apple. The commercial compares the physical size of the new iPad Air to a standard pencil. And as you can see, the two objects are nearly identical in terms of thickness. Other than that, however, the commercial really doesn't provide any other information or features about the iPad Air.
About Jeff Gwaltney:
Jeff Gwaltney is president of Kreative Solutions Group, a custom software development company located in O'fallon, Missouri. Specializing in mobile, web and desktop applications, Jeff believes the key to any successful business is relationships. He strives to build a lifetime of success with every client.
Posted in: Mobile | Technology
Microsoft touted its first generation Surface as the "all-in-one" solution to a traditional desktop computer and tablet. With Apple's iPad winning over the majority of consumers in this industry, Microsoft hoped the Surface would convince some of them to switch over. While it offered several key advantages over the iPad, including USB support and attachable keypad, sales were minimal at best. In an effort to regain consumer confidence in the tablet arena, Microsoft made numerous improvements to their second generation Surface tablet, which is now available in both UK and US markets. So, how does the second gen tablet fare?

The Surface 2 features a beautiful 10.6-inch full-HD touchscreen display running the full version of Windows 8.1 (yes, that's the new updated versions of Windows 8 that was just released a week ago). And since it's running the new versions of Windows 8, users can choose to toggle between the default 'Metro' theme with all the customizable tiles and apps, or users can choose to launch straight to the desktop. This was one of the major concerns among consumers running Windows 8, as they couldn't launch straight to the desktop. Thankfully, the latest update of Windows 8.1 solved this issue among other usability features.

In terms of size, the Surface 2 features the same 10.6-inch screen as its predecessor; however, the second generation tablet is slightly thicker than the first generation. Don't let this fool you into thinking its any less ergonomic or comfortable to hold. On the contrary, this increased thickness (1.35cm) provides a solid yet comfortable feel that most consumers are sure to enjoy. And while the Surface 2 is thicker than Microsoft's original Surface tablet, it's also lighter. The Surface 2 weighs just 907 grams, which is considerably lighter than the heavier Surface 1.

While all of these features are interesting, the real beauty of Microsoft's Surface 2 tablet is the upgraded processor. The original Surface tablet came equipped with a third generation Ivy Bridge processor, while the Surface 2 features a fourth generation Haswell i5 processor, offering a substantial boost in speed and performance. In bench tests, the Surface 2 was clocked at 1.6GHz/2.6GHz. This upgraded processor not only boosts the overall performance of the Surface 2, but it also increases its battery life.

The only real complaint that some consumers have regarding the Surface 2 tablet is its price. The entry-level32 GB model starts at $449, while the 128GB costs $999.
About Jeff Gwaltney:
Jeff Gwaltney is president of Kreative Solutions Group, a custom software development company located in O'fallon, Missouri. Specializing in mobile, web and desktop applications, Jeff believes the key to any successful business is relationships. He strives to build a lifetime of success with every client.
Posted in: Business
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