Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sony's Tablet S to Get Ice Cream Sandwich

Sony Tablet SIf you bought Sony's Tablet S when it was released, or you happened to get one for Christmas, you can count yourself lucky because it has just been confirmed that the tablet PC from Sony will be getting the old Ice Cream Sandwich treatment. The only thing is that nobody really has any idea when you may get it though, not even Sony.

A Sony representative posted on the company forums last week confirming that Android 4.0, otherwise known as Ice Cream Sandwich, will be available for the Sony Tablet S. In addition to that, the rep stated that the timing of the update, as well as other details, will be "announced in due course".

The Tablet S is already pre-loaded with Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) and hit the tablet market back in September. The 9.4" device is a little more expensive than most tablets, costing $499 for only a 16GB version and $599 for the 32GB. In addition to that it is WiFi only, at least in the United States, which means your smartphone better have WiFi hotspot if you want to use this thing literally wherever you go.

The good news is that the Tablet S does come with a lot of features designed to expand the use of the tablet, including PlayStation certification for mobile gaming, DLNA video and music streaming and an integrated universal remote control, just to name a few. Aside from the Tablet S, Sony is also poised to release the Tablet P, an Android-based clamshell device complete with a hinged pair of 5.5" screens, much like the Nintendo DS. Sony announced this device back in April but has yet to show it off in physical form.

A software development kit was released for the Tablet P in the middle of December in hopes of drawing in potential developers. Aside from that, however, the company has been pretty tight-lipped on the whole thing. The forthcoming Ice Cream Sandwich update for the Tablet S, however, follows recent news that a bunch of Sony Ericsson's Experia smartphones will also receive the Android 4.0 update beginning in late March. Whether that time frame is anywhere near that of the Tablet S remains to be seen.

Source: CNET - Ice Cream Sandwich update to flavor Sony S Tablet

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Why is the Windows Phone OS a Flop?

Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS was hyped up quite a bit, but honestly, it simply hasn’t really been all that popular. It has fantastic reviews and is available on all four of the major U.S. carriers, so what is the problem? According to Gartner, a company that offers global technology research, Microsoft’s phones were only able to haul in 1.5 percent of the market in the third quarter.

Tech analysts have been thrown off guard by the Windows phones. They seem like great phones, but consumers simply don’t seem interested in them. It just does not make sense that reliable, feature-packed phones, produced by a successful, leading company, aren’t selling. Well, Charlie Kindel, an employee at Microsoft for 21 years and the Windows Phone’s chief developer has offered his opinion as to why the phones are not a slam-dunk success.

Kindel posted a blog post that stated that he believed that the phones and the Windows OS have been unsuccessful because he believes that Microsoft has worked to alienate itself from both phone manufacturers and wireless carriers. He feels that with both its required hardware specs and tight upgrade policy, Microsoft is severing relationships by limiting the freedom of both carriers and manufacturers. “This is why, despite being a superior PRODUCT to Android, Windows Phone has not sold as well,” Kindel wrote.

“Google has been wildly successful with Android (at least in terms of units) because Android was built to reduce friction between all sides of the market. It ‘bows down’ to the device manufactures AND the carriers. It enabled device manufactures to do what they do best (build lots of devices). It enabled carriers to do what they do best (market lots of devices). It enabled users tons of choice,” he wrote.

“WP (Windows Phone) raises its middle finger at both the device manufacturers and mobile carriers. WP says ‘here’s the hardware spec you shalt use’ (to the device manufacturers). And it says ‘Here’s how it will be updated’ (to the carriers).”

"Thus both of those sides of the market are reluctant. Especially the carriers, but also the device manufacturers. Remember that end users just do what they are told (by advertising and RSPs [salespeople]). Carriers own the marketing money and spend billions a year," Kindel wrote.

Right now, carriers and manufacturers are still willing to make and sell Windows phones; however, it may be due to the fact that they are afraid of becoming too attached to Google or Apple, not necessarily because they enjoy producing Windows devices.

Some of Kindel’s readers did not share his views and felt that he wasn’t necessarily considering the role of software developers and apps.

"Android and iOS are 'safe' because that's where the apps are. Anything else? Not safe. Every conversation, every ad, and every Techcrunch post, er, Verge post, will remind them of where the apps are," blogger Robert Scoble said.

"I agree with you that the relatively weak app ecosystem in WP7 also plays an important part. I do not believe it is the most important reason," Kindel responded.

Microsoft has been saying recently that it is making a major push with Nokia; however, there have been some very mixed reviews about the Nokia 800 Windows phone in the six countries that is has debuted in so far.

"Analysts said there was nothing particularly wrong with the sleek-looking handsets, other than a software glitch on some models affecting battery life, but consumers were just not biting," a Reuters report said.

Kindel said, “The question in my mind is whether Microsoft’s continued investment in WP and close partnership with device manufacturers such as Nokia will eventually enable a breakthrough here. I know that MS can be very persistent & patient; it’s been so in the past. We will see. In the meantime, Android devices will continue to sell like hotcakes and fragmentation will continue to get worse and worse.”

Sources: cek.log - Windows Phone is Superior; Why Hasn’t it Taken Off? and PCMag - Former Microsoft Exec Scopes Windows Phone's Failure

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Android Tablet from Google Said to Give Apple Some Competition

This week, the chairman at Google, Eric Schmidt, said that in the next six months the company will be producing a tablet that is of the “highest quality” and will offer some serious competition to Apple’s iPad. I think that we have heard that story at least once before.

Schmidt recently did an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that was published on Monday, December 19. In the interview he called Steve Jobs "the Michelangelo of our time," however, despite this, he claims that Google will be truly offering Apple some “brutal competition.”

Google translated Schmidt’s interview with Corriere della Sera. Jobs was "[a] friend of mine and a unique character, able to combine creativity and visionary genius with an extraordinary engineering ability," Schmidt said. "Sometimes you find people who have one thing or the other, but not the two together. Steve realized the revolutionary potential of the tablet and created an amazing product [in] the iPad.”

"But our companies compete ... in the next six months, we plan to market a tablet of the highest quality. And in mobile communications and the smartphone market, you will see brutal competition between Apple and Google Android. It's capitalism."

It is not exactly clear as to whether the tablet that Schmidt was talking about will be built by Google. Some techies seem to believe that Google will build the device and then label it with Google’s Nexus brand. So far, this brand has only been used with Android-based smartphones, but the brand could definitely expand to tablets as well.

Right now, Google’s Android OS can be found in a variety of devices including Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, Asus’s Eee Pad Transformer Prime and Xoom and Droid Xyboard devices. The company will also be introducing its mobile OS, Android 4.0 (also called Ice Cream Sandwich) in different smartphones and tablets that will be released next year.

According to Schmidt, Google currently has "the best voice translation software" available but they “must develop it” in order to “use it to do things similar to Siri,” which is the iPhone 4S’s digital assistant.

In the interview Schmidt also discussed Google’s YouTube business.

"YouTube will be more profitable because it will have more publicity," Schmidt said. "But it will not be televised. ... [T]he business model of YouTube is different [from television], it's to help people make money with content that is produced and distributed independently, but on the Internet. Even the new channels that we are creating are for the Web.”

"Of course, it's true that people often prefer to follow these channels on the Web instead of watching television, but they are two different things. We have a strategy to allow the user to combine them together, but that's part of Google TV, which will arrive in Europe in the first half of 2012."

Sources: The Economic Times - Google to Debut New Android Tablet to Win 'Brutal Competition' with Apple and PCMag - Google Promises Highest Quality Tablet in 2012

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Carrier IQ Disabled on All Sprint Devices

Carrier IQIf you own a Sprint smartphone, you may be interested in this news. Rumors have started floating around that the carrier has asked manufacturers to remove Carrier IQ's software from every single device that it carries. Naturally, Sprint doesn't comment on rumors, though the company has confirmed that it is indeed shutting down Carrier IQ software on all of its mobile phones and will no longer be collecting data from it.

The first to stumble across the news was, who reported that "Sprint has ordered that all of their hardware partners remove the Carrier IQ software from Sprint devices as soon as possible." What isn't clear is whether or not Carrier IQ software will be removed completely or just partially. However, Sprint is doing its part to stop the Carrier IQ software from ever functioning again.

According to an email from Sprint to website Mobile Burn, "We have weighed customer concerns and we have disabled use of the tool so that diagnostic information and data is no longer being collected. We are further evaluating options regarding the diagnostic software as well as Sprint's diagnostic needs." Sprint claims that it was not using the software to spy on its customers, like going through text messages and things of that nature. In addition to that, Sprint also stated that Carrier IQ was not used for any advertisement spamming or customer profiling.

Sprint has told the public that the data was purely used for reporting network deficiencies and to allow the carrier to improve its network and service it for existing customers. Sprint has completely stopped collecting the data obtained by the software and has also reported that it disabled it on devices on the carrier's network. However, it is still hazy as to whether or not the software will be removed by future software updates for existing phones or if it will be installed on new devices going forward.

Source: - Sprint orders all OEMs to strip Carrier IQ from their hardware
Mobile Burn - Sprint: Carrier IQ has been disabled on our devices

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Flipboard App for the iPhone

The new Flipboard app for Apple’s iPhone has reached more than one million downloads a mere week after it was released.

paidContent is also saying that Flipboard is not one of those apps that people download and then never use again. According to paidContent, the Flipboard app for iPad has been bringing in around 650 million flips per month, and after Apple added the app for the iPhone, numbers are on course for the app to bring in more than 2 million flips per month.

Jill Duffy, a junior software analyst for PCMag, brought up the potential issue that "one might worry that the comparatively cramped screen space might bog down the experience, but our first impressions are that design still reigns even on the smaller device," she wrote. "The usability and 'flipping' motion of paging through the app are just as graceful and pretty as they are on the iPad version."

So, some of you may be interested in what on earth the Flipboard app is. Well, it is a social reader app that offers feeds for formal news sources, as well as social networking sites, and presents them in a magazine-like format. The app seems to be a hit, as it has been receiving incredibly positive feedback from the press and Apple App Store reviews.

If this sounds like something that you would be interested in, you should definitely check it out!

Sources: PCMag - Flipboard iPhone App Logs 1 Million Downloads in a Week, - Flipboard’s Phone Flips Beating iPad 2:1 and Mashable Tech - Flipboard Has 5 Million Users, iPhone App Gets Million Downloads in First Week

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Samsung's New SCH-W999 Dual-Screen Flip Phone

Samsung SCH-W999Remember flip phones? You know, the phones everybody had before smartphones, touch screens and all that jazz? Instead of pressing a button to light up a screen, you flipped the phone open to reveal a screen on top and a keypad on the bottom. Those were the good ol' days and, apparently, days many phone enthusiasts have missed because that seems like the most logical reason Samsung would create a flip phone for this generation.

That's right, not too long ago Samsung introduced its second-generation dual-screen Android clamshell phone and it has finally arrived, announced in partnership with China Telecom. This SCH-W999 flip phone comes with two 3.5" 480 x 800 Super AMOLED panels back-to-back, as well as a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm MSM8660 processor. In addition to that, this device comes with Android 2.3 with TouchWiz, HyperSkin back cover (the same one found on the Galaxy Nexus for grip and anti-smear), 5 mp camera, Bluetooth 3.0, WiFi and WAPI, China's rendition of WiFi.

As is the case with most of the phones on China Telecom, the W999 comes with dual SIM slots, as well as dual-mode connectivity in the form of GSM and CDMA2000 with CDMA2000 offering EV-Do 3G, though it does come with support for pentaband radio for those who fancy traveling the world.

If you are looking to get your hands on one, you are looking at a 2012 release date, though there is no word yet on any specific pricing. However, if you want a comparison, the previous model, Samsung's W899, starts at $1,410 so be prepared to spend quite a bit of money if you honestly can't live without it. The phone does look pretty cool and I do have fond memories of my own flip phone from days gone by, but don't expect to see me dropping that kind of cash for nostalgia.

Source: Engadget - Samsung's two-faced SCH-W999 Android plays the dual core, dual SIM game

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

AT&T Gets Fired Up About the Report Released by the FCC

On Thursday, December 1 AT&T spoke out about the recent staff report that was released by the Federal Communications Commission about the AT&T and T-Mobile merger. AT&T definitely did not hold back about its feelings that the report was hypocritical and one-sided.

"The document is so obviously one-sided that any fair-minded person reading it is left with the clear impression that it is an advocacy piece and not a considered analysis," wrote Jim Cicconi, AT&T's senior vice president of external and legislative affairs, in a blog post.

The report was released by the FCC on Tuesday, November 29. That was the same day that the FCC announced that AT&T had withdrawn its merger application. AT&T said that it withdrew the application because the FCC had said that the merger was not in the interest of the public and needed to be looked at by an administrative law judge.

The FCC claims that it released all of the data that it had collected concerning the merger for the public’s sake; however, AT&T believes that the release of the information was unfair.

On Thursday AT&T thoroughly articulated its displeasure with the way that things have been handled concerning this whole situation.

"In our view the report raises questions as to whether its authors were predisposed. The report cherry-picks facts to support its views and ignores facts that don't," Cicconi wrote. "Where facts were lacking, the report speculates, with no basis, and then treats its own speculations as if they were fact. This is clearly not the fair and objective analysis to which any party is entitled, and which we have every right to expect."

There were several issues that were brought up in the FCC report that Cicconi went on to address.

AT&T made the claim that if the company were to acquire T-Mobile it would help improve its 4G LTE network; however, in the report that was released, the FCC said that AT&T will “build out” its 4G whether it acquires T-Mobile or not.

Cicconi countered this writing, “The report apparently assumes a high enough level of competition exists in rural areas to compel billions of dollars in investment. Yet the report elsewhere argues that the level of wireless competition in more populated areas of America is so fragile that the merger must be disallowed. At the very least, these conclusions show a logical inconsistency. T-Mobile has no clear path to LTE," he said.

There has also been a huge debate about whether or not the merger would create or kill jobs. The FCC claims that there will be a large amount of layoffs if the merger were to occur, but Cicconi disagrees.

"This notion—that government spending on broadband deployment creates jobs and economic growth but private investment does not—makes no sense," Cicconi wrote. "Conversely, if the FCC had applied to its own broadband fund the same analysis it used for our merger-related investments, the result would be similar—zero new broadband, zero jobs, zero growth."

Cicconi was also frustrated with the fact that the report from the FCC “barely” made mention of spectrum. "Surely, it is neither fair nor logical for the FCC to trumpet a national spectrum crisis for much of the past year and then draft a report claiming that two major wireless companies face no such constraints despite sworn declarations demonstrating the opposite."

It is clear that AT&T is thoroughly frustrated with the FCC. "We believe that the utter absence of balance is clear and demonstrates that the document lacks all credibility," Cicconi wrote. However, despite these bumps in the road, it seems as though AT&T still wishes to take whatever steps are necessary to move forward with the merger. "We understood the issues such a combination might raise, and we made clear, publicly and privately, our readiness to address those concerns. We are still ready to do so," he said.

As expected, AT&T’s rival, Sprint, seemed to agree with the report from the FCC. The company called the report “a careful, substantive analysis."

"Rather than accept the expert agency's Analysis and Findings, AT&T has chosen to make baseless claims about the FCC's process," said Vonya McCann, Sprint's senior vice president for governmental affairs, in a statement. "Let's not forget that it was AT&T who tried to game the process by requesting to withdraw its merger application in the pre-dawn hours of Thanksgiving. AT&T can't have it both ways: either it wanted to have an application that would be judged on the merits or it didn't. We agree with AT&T on one point however: the public should read the Analysis and Findings on AT&T's proposed takeover."

Sources: The Washington Post - AT&T slams FCC report on T-Mobile merger, sees bias and cherry-picking and PCMag - AT&T Slams FCC Merger Report as One-Sided

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Monday, November 28, 2011

China Ships More Smartphones Than the U.S. in the Third Quarter

According to a report from Strategy Analytics in terms of the shipment of units in the third quarter, China has surpassed the United States and become the largest smartphone market in the world. Strategy Analytics reported on Wednesday, November 23 that almost 24 million smartphones were shipped to China during the third quarter. During the same time period, the United States came in a close second with just over 23 million units.

"Smartphone shipments grew 58 percent sequentially to reach a record 23.9 million units in China during Q3 2011," Strategy Analytics Analyst Linda Sui said in a statement. "In contrast, smartphone shipments fell 7 percent sequentially to reach 23.3 million units in the United States. China has overtaken the United States for the first time to become the world's largest smartphone market by volume."

Nokia became the market leader in China during the third quarter, shipping more than 6.8 million smartphones to the country or 28.5 percent of all units that were shipped. Samsung came in second with a 17.6 percent market share and shipping more than 4.2 million smartphones. According to Strategy Analytics, all other vendors made up the other 12.9 million devices unaccounted for which is 54 percent of the smartphone market in China.

"China is now at the forefront of the worldwide mobile computing boom," said Strategy Analytics Executive Director Neil Mawston. "China has become a large and growing smartphone market that no hardware vendor, component maker or content developer can afford to ignore."

"In the coming one or two quarters, it's going to be a seesaw game," Strategy Analytics director Thomas Kang said. "But going into next year, China will outstrip the U.S. market continuously. China is going to be larger every quarter."

In the United States it was HTC that came out on top, shipping the most smartphones in the third quarter. The company shipped more than 5.6 million units throughout the United States, 24 percent of the smartphone market. Apple came in second shipping more than 4.8 million iPhones, 20.6 percent of the market. All other smartphone manufacturers shipped a combined 12.9 million units, taking 55.4 percent of the smartphone market.

"China's rapid growth has been driven by an increasing availability of smartphones in retail channels, aggressive subsidizing by operators of high-end models like the Apple iPhone, and an emerging wave of low-cost Android models from local Chinese brands such as ZTE," said Kang.

Although China did take the spot as largest smartphone market in the world in terms of units shipped, Strategy Analytics did note that the United States remained the largest smartphone market in the world in terms of revenue.

Source: PCMag - China Passes U.S. as Top Smartphone Market by Volume and PCWorld - China Overtakes U.S. in Smartphone Shipments, Says Research Firm

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Sunday, November 27, 2011

AT&T Withdraws Merger Application

On Thursday, November 24 AT&T announced that it withdrew the application that it submitted to the Federal Communications Commission in order to acquire T-Mobile. With this withdrawal there will be more than $4 billion in “break-up” fees.

AT&T made sure to clarify that although it did withdraw the application which was submitted to the FCC, the deal is not dead. The company claims that instead it will focus on the antitrust lawsuit that the Department of Justice brought forward. The lawsuit is seeking to block the merger, due to the concern about competition issues.

"AT&T Inc. and [T-Mobile parent company] Deutsche Telekom AG are continuing to pursue the sale of Deutsche Telekom's U.S. wireless assets to AT&T and are taking this step to facilitate the consideration of all options at the FCC and to focus their continuing efforts on obtaining antitrust clearance for the transaction from the Department of Justice either through the litigation pending before the United States District Court for the District of Columbia ... or alternate means," AT&T said in a statement. "As soon as practical, AT&T Inc. and Deutsche Telekom AG intend to seek the necessary FCC approval."

The decision to withdraw the merger application came just two days after Julius Genachowski, the chairman of the FCC, suggested that the merger was not in the interest of the public and advised the other commissioners to send the merger application for review to an administrative judge.

"The record clearly shows that—in no uncertain terms—this merger would result in a massive loss of U.S. jobs and investment," said a senior FCC official.

The chairman basically recommended that the deal be rejected; however, it is important to note that the FCC cannot technically block a deal. The FCC only has the ability to approve, approve with conditions or refer to an administrative law judge. When the FCC was reviewing the deal, they said that if AT&T and T-Mobile were to merge, the result would be massive layoffs. The case will go to trial in February.

There are several different consumer groups that feel that the withdraw of the merger application is meant as a last effort to save the merger.

"After today's actions, the chances that AT&T will take over T-Mobile are almost gone," President and Co-founder of Public Knowledge Gigi B. Sohn said in a statement. "While you can never count out AT&T entirely, the fact that they pulled their FCC application speaks volumes about the company's lack of confidence that it could prove in a legal setting at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the claims it spent millions of dollars to make about job creation and rural deployment of broadband, among other issues."

Sohn said that she believes that AT&T is attempting to "prevent the FCC from making public its many, well-documented findings that the deal is not in the public interest."

The Senior Vice President and Policy Director of Media Access Project Andrew Jay Schwartzman said that this decision from AT&T is an "act of desperation." "It is time for vainglorious managers at AT&T to accept that there is no way that this deal can obtain approval of the FCC and the courts," he said.

Source: PCMag - AT&T Pulls T-Mobile Merger Application From FCC, Will Take $4B Charge

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Galaxy Nexus Users Deal with "Phantom Volume" Issue

Random glitches seem to plague every high-profile smartphone that is released these days. Maybe smartphone manufacturers are working so hard at getting them to the public as quickly as possible that they aren’t testing them enough and catching these glitches. Whatever it is, there have been some major smartphone issues. Recently, we had the issue concerning the iPhone 4S battery, and now the Samsung Galaxy Nexus has a “phantom volume” issue.

According to various reports from Galaxy Nexus users, their Android 4.0 phone’s volume will randomly move up and down on its own. Some users seem to be pretty fed up with the issue.

"Got my Galaxy Nexus on Friday night and so far I've been pretty impressed on the whole, however, the volume seems to have a ghost which makes it go up and down at its own accord!!" a user named finchilla wrote on the forums for U.K. wireless carrier O2. "I don't even have to be touching it and when it happens you have to wait for the volume bar to disappear before you can use the screen!!"

Finchilla even went so far as to post a YouTube video that demonstrates the issues that they have been experiencing with the smartphone.

DrGed, another Galaxy Nexus user, said that he also was having difficulties with the volume glitch. However, he did mention that he only experienced problems when he was making a phone call on 2G. "It makes phone calls pretty much impossible when on 2G!" he wrote.

On the forum, there have also been Galaxy Nexus users that have reported issues with the phone.

"I just received a phone call and the volume rocker I had to fight with to try and get it full volume. Phone won, call was quiet," wrote her0n.

"This morning the volume went down on its own. I actually saw the volume bar appear and decrease, as if I was pushing down on the rocker. It happened twice," wrote jonnyguitar. "Both times I was hammering the phone so perhaps it's related to RAM? The first time I was moving six 400mb avi files from one folder to another using a file manager app and listening to MP3s at the same time."

“I've got the volume problem too. Picked up my phone today and it’s done it about 5 times in the past hour or so while I've been playing with the phone. Usually coincides with me sending/ receiving a text message. Really annoying problem as I don’t know I have received a text most of the time,” wrote dumb donkey.

O2 was asked about the volume issue via Twitter. The company’s response this morning was that "unfortunately we don't have a fix, it has been reported to Google & Samsung though. Sorry!"

The glitch has reportedly caused Vodafone to hold off on releasing the device. "We're continuing to test the Galaxy Nexus software to ensure our customers get the best possible experience of the device," wrote Vodafone community manager Tom in a forum post on Thursday. "We'll provide concrete details on availability of the device once the testing process has been successfully completed."

The Galaxy Nexus is set to debut in the United States on Verizon Wireless; however, Verizon has not announced when it will be releasing the smartphone. Hopefully, all of the glitches will be worked out by the time the device hits the U.S.

Sources: PCMag - Samsung Galaxy Nexus Users Report 'Phantom Volume' Bug and xdadevelopers - Issues After 24 Hours

Friday, November 18, 2011

Archos Reveals Budget-Friendly Arnova 9 G2 Tablet

Archos Arnova 9 G2Tablets are amazing pieces of technology. They offer convenience and portability and also offer lots of fun interaction with touch screens and apps. However, while tablets are cool, you are going to have to fork over a nice piece of cash if you want to get a good one worth having. Thankfully there are companies out there, like Archos, that still put an effort into more low end devices, like the company's new Arnova 9 G2 tablet.

While Honeycomb may be on the minds of recent tablet developers, Gingerbread is on the mind of Archos, as that is the operating system implemented into the all new Arnova 9 G2, a 9.7" device with tablet-friendly modifications to Android. However, despite being on the low end of the spectrum, the Arnova 9 G2 does have some respectable hardware, mainly in the form of a 1GHz ARM processor and 8GB of built-in storage.

In a rather strange move, the Arnova 9 G2 tablet has a 4:3, 1,024 x 768 LCD screen, just like the one on Apple's iPad and HP's Touchpad. This is a definite departure from the "status quo" screen of most Android devices, which primarily use a 16:9 or 16:10 ratio. Due to the lower pixel density for a panel of this size and resolution, it is probably a lot cheaper to manufacture than the ones that are more prevalent on the market today.

In a not so strange move, WiFi is the only wireless option, though Archos has continued its tradition of expandibility with a microSD card slot, micro and full-size USB ports. Like many Gingerbread tablets currently on the market, Google services and Android Market access are absent.

The fact that this device users Gingerbread may be an big detriment, especially considering the fact that Ice Cream Sandwich is more or less here. However, Archos does have quite the community of modders, so you can definitely expect to see an ICS ROM show up once this tablet is officially released. Speaking of release, there has yet to be any official pricing or availability released by Archos, but I would expect the price to be considerably less than the already cheap G9 Honeycomb tablets. Keep checking back for updates as they come.

Source: Android Community - Archos Arnova 9 G2 budget-friendly tablet revealed

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

T-Mobile Reports An Increase in U.S. Customers

It was announced on Thursday, November 10 that T-Mobile has been able to increase its number of U.S. customers during the last quarter. This is the first time that the company has been able to do so in over a year.

"A decline of 186,000 contract customers in the third quarter was offset by an increase in prepay customers of 312,000," Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile's parent company, stated during an earnings report.

Deutsche Telekom seemed to be very surprised by the progress that T-Mobile had made. They said that T-Mobile had "reported somewhat more positive development than in past quarters."

Deutsche Telekom went on to say that, on average, T-Mobile brings in about $14 per customer in revenue. This is a 13 percent jump from this time last year. Although T-Mobile is the only carrier out of the four major U.S. carriers to not offer the iPhone, it reported that the number of its customers with smartphones has increased by 40 percent, reaching 10.1 million customers.

"The improvement in earnings was largely attributable to successful savings initiatives and new rate plans without subsidized handsets," Deutsche Telekom said.
So, the big question is whether or not these improvements will affect AT&T’s efforts to purchase T-Mobile. One of AT&T’s main points during a recent Department of Justice lawsuit was that T-Mobile is going downhill and can only be saved if a company like AT&T saves it.

In September, in response to the DOJ, AT&T said that different rivals like Sprint are unable to "explain how T-Mobile, the only major carrier to have actually lost subscribers in a robustly growing market, provides a unique competitive constraint on AT&T."

"For the past two years, T-Mobile has been losing customers despite growing demand, and, without the spectrum to deploy a 4G LTE network such as that deployed by the other carriers, there is no reason to expect a change in its undifferentiated competitive significance," AT&T continued.

There is also a major debate about if the AT&T and T-Mobile merger were to occur whether or not it would create or kill jobs. The Communication Workers of America put out a report on Tuesday that said that the merger would create thousands of job, and the Economic Policy Institute said that a merger between the two mobile carriers could create somewhere between 55,000 and 96,000 jobs over the next seven years. They did, however, mention that this would only occur if AT&T followed through on its promise to invest $8 billion into its infrastructure over the seven year period.

However, the director of the Center for Economics and Public Policy at the University of California at Irvine, David Neumark, said in a report released in August that "AT&T has actually told investors and the federal government that the merger would lead to reduced capital expenditures on net. If you take EPI's own logic and apply that net reduction in capital expenditures to the data, you predict fewer jobs, not more jobs."

Who knows what will happen? AT&T is clearly the stronger company, but it is also apparent that T-Mobile is taking steps towards being a much more successful mobile carrier. Who knows if T-Mobile has enough time to save themselves though? One successful quarter does not mean that they are necessarily heading in the right direction overall. We’ll just all have to wait and see how it goes.

Source: PCMag - T-Mobile Adds Customers as Battle Over AT&T Merger Continues

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Friday, November 4, 2011

Smarter, Stronger, Indoor GPS Technology Coming Soon

Almost all of the smartphones that are available these days feature GPS navigation, as well as different location-based apps; however, that doesn’t mean that you want to use them all of the time. Using these features can drain the life right out of your phone. There are also issues with using such features indoors. Most of the time you cannot even get a GPS satellite to find you when you're inside.

These are all issues that could definitely use some good solutions. CSR announced that it is working on its next generation of GPS functions for cell phones, portable navigation devices and car systems. The company has announced three main new types of technology that they will be focusing on: SiRFstar V, SiRFusion, and SiRFprima II. These will improve some of the problems that there have been with GPS navigation and smartphones.

"Traditionally, when trying to solve satellite navigation problems [on a technical level], it's been in the car—such as with urban canyons and sight line issues," said Kanwar Chadha, CSR’s chief marketing officer and founder of SiRF. "To most extents, we have solved this problem [with SiRFstar V]. However, we're still in a very early stage of what I call the indoor navigation experience, when using Wi-Fi or cellular connections, for example."

Basically, the issue right now is that developers need to find a way to make location awareness available everywhere. They also need to figure out how to provide users with a seamless experience when they transition from being outside to inside. This technology will be especially useful in places like museums, malls, hospitals, university campuses and airports.

"We're seeing a fundamental shift in how devices will be built and how content will be made available," Chadha said. He went on to say that most manufacturers tend to focus on cloud computing; however, he prefers to spend his time looking into “cloud contenting.” This has to do with individual sensors and radios in different devices including accelerometers, gyroscopes and compasses.

The technology that Chadha likes to focus on would help with the battery draining issue. Instead of draining your battery every time that you utilize location-based features, something within the device would be able to take care of supervising and optimizing battery use when using the features, while also adding precision.

"Let's say you're sitting at a desk inside with your mobile device," Chadha said. "We can keep the location engine off until we receive a signal from the accelerometer that there is a movement. The device is still location aware, but until that happens, we aren't consuming any power."

Chadha also said that CSR is looking to make improvements to its automotive systems. He said that the plan is to move from self-contained systems to systems that are more connected through things like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and different links to the cloud.

"We're also trying to bring the cost factor down," Chadha said. "The idea is that a complete, connected automotive infotainment system with augmented reality should cost just a few hundred dollars, rather than a few thousand dollars like current in-car navigation systems."

These will all be some great improvements to both mobile devices and automotive systems. Hopefully, it will not take CSR too long to figure all of this out, because I know that I sure can’t wait! These upgrades could make a big difference in the way that we use GPS navigation.

Source: PCMag - Indoor GPS Coming Soon to Cell Phones

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Amazon Ships Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 Plus Early, Available Now

It appears as if Amazon has jumped the gun much sooner than Samsung expected it to on the company's new round of tablet PCs. The all new Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 Plus was made official by Samsung in late October with a shipping and availability date of November 13. However, Amazon has been offering pre-orders since the early part of October and appears to be shipping already, with overnight delivery also available.

The Galaxy Tab 7 Plus is the replacement to the original 7" Galaxy Tab, and this device gives us Android 2.3 Honeycomb as opposed to Gingerbread as well as a pumped up dual-core processor and some other nice additions. The Galaxy Tab 7 Plus gives us a 7" 1,024 x 600 resolution display, complete with 3MP camera on the back of the device and a 2MP camera on the front for video chatting. All of this is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and Android 3.2.

In addition to that, this device comes with either a 16GB or 32GB variation and, according to the picture on Amazon, is available right now, with shipments beginning yesterday. Users should expect their device any time now and overnight delivery is also available for anybody interested. Pricing begins at $399 for the 16GB version and $499 for the 32GB version, though some are thinking this to be a bit high, especially considering the prices of the Transformer and Kindle Fire that are coming out soon.

Regardless, this is still a very portable and very powerful tablet and if you are good with the price, you should probably buy one quickly because Amazon has already started selling and there is no telling when they will sell out. I wonder what Samsung thinks about all this?

Source: Android Community - Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus shipping early from Amazon, get one today

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Battery Issues with the iPhone 4S

Just recently, there have been some issues discovered with the battery of the newest version of the iPhone. Apple engineers have been spending their time contacting iPhone 4S owners to make them aware of the problem.

The iPhone 4S became available to consumers just over two weeks ago, and ever since its release users have been raising concerns about unexplainable battery loss on the device, even when the phone is on standby. One individual dealt with a ten percent drop every hour according to The Guardian.

"I then got a call from a senior [Apple] engineer who said he had read my post and was 'reaching out' to users for data and admitted this was an issue (and that they aren't close to finding a fix!) and asked lots of questions about my usage and then asked if he could install the file below and that he would call back the day after to retrieve the info," he told The Guardian.

When the iPhone 4S was first released, the CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, promised that the device would feature a much longer battery life; however, some of the devices are obviously not fulfilling that promise. According to Sascha Segan, a lead mobile analyst at PCMag, the Sprint iPhone 4S got 7 hours and 33 minutes of continuous 3G talk time, while the Verizon iPhone 4 only got 6 hours and 17 minutes. This would make it seem like the iPhone 4S does follow through with the promise that Cook made, but there are still the incidents surrounding battery issues.

Although Cook promised longer battery life, he did add that “it delivers on Apple's promise of longer battery life - as long as you have strong wireless signal." There’s the catch!

If you’re having issues with your iPhone 4S’s life, there are things that you can do to reduce the loss of battery life. You can drop push e-mail, lower the brightness of the screen, turn off all calendar notifications and shut down the Wi-Fi when you aren’t using it.

Hopefully, the issues will be worked out soon, because there is nothing more frustrating than having a phone that dies on you all of the time. Knowing Apple, they will have it worked out sooner than later.

Sources: PCMag - Report: Apple Investigates iPhone 4S Battery Issue and PCWorld - Apple iPhone 4S Battery Drain: Guessing Game Continues

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Friday, October 21, 2011

Android Ice Cream Sandwich to Add Native Stylus Support

Android Ice Cream SandwichAndroid OS 4.0, adorably nicknamed Ice Cream Sandwich, has just let loose information on another new feature that will be gracing your Android devices when this highly anticipated operating system update hits handhelds in the future. The newest feature to be revealed is native support for smartphones and tablets with a digital stylus, a feature confirmed by Google.

This new feature will include pressure recognition, hover tracking and nib-tilt with a differentiation between pen and finger use. In addition to that, a specific stylus API, which was discovered by Reddit, will be able to differentiate between stylus, finger, mouse and eraser and will even support pens with up to three buttons. Before this, devices like the HTC Flyer and Samsung Galaxy Note required custom pen-control systems to be created in order to handle their digital styli.

Google is expecting big things from this feature including its capability to be used to improve Android phones and tablets in drawing and sketching applications. Google also hopes that it will help in boosting precision for gestures as well. Handwriting and shape recognition are also a few possibilities, even though Android currently lacks a native handwriting recognition engine.

In addition to all of this, Google has added a basic painting app, known as TouchPaint, to its API demo code. This allows developers to become capable with the different elements of the new functionality. However, it is still unknown what HTC and Samsung will do in regards to their own custom APIs. Samsung released the Galaxy Note source code on October 20 as a part of its strategy to get third-party developers to produce apps for the S Pen stylus. The HTCdev team has also stated that it too was prioritizing the Flyer, as well as the Jetstream, pen API in its developer outreach.

Source: SlashGear - Ice Cream Sandwich adds native stylus support to Android

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Ever Wonder How Much It Costs to Make the iPhone 4S?

How much do you think it costs to make the iPhone 4S? Apple is charging anywhere from $199 to $399 for the device, but obviously it doesn’t really cost that much to manufacture it…does it?

According to a breakdown that was released by IHS iSuppli on Thursday, October 20, all of the materials for the 16GB iPhone 4S come to a total of $188. Then if you also add in the manufacturing costs, the total goes up to $196. If you add gigabytes to the device, the price will increase further. A 32GB device costs $207 and a 64GB phone costs $245.

Although the outside of the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S are completely identical, iSuppli said that the inside of the iPhone 4S offered a "wealth of innovation." "Key among these changes is a custom part from Avago that helps give the iPhone 4S its unique capability to be used in multiple wireless systems globally, while still keeping costs down," Andrew Rassweiler, senior director of teardown services for IHS, said in a statement. "In another surprise development, the 4S employs a Hynix NAND flash memory device. While IHS has already confirmed multiple suppliers for this part, it does mark the first time that IHS has identified a Hynix NAND flash in an iPhone, as opposed to devices from Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. or Toshiba Corp. seen in all previous iPhone and iPad teardowns."

The wireless parts incur a chunk of the cost, totaling $23.54 in all versions. The phone also possesses a dual-mode design which iSuppli said was "a unique design approach compared to that used by most cell phone makers, which use different models with unique wireless subsystems to support various wireless carriers' standards."

It also has the Avago component that allows the device to support 2G and 3G technology across multiple different bands. "This is a very special converged approach that gives Apple a real technology lead over most other manufacturers, further reducing the complexity of the radio frequency/power amplifier (RF/PA) section of the iPhone line beyond Apple's already highly-integrated design," Rassweiler said.

Other costs for the production of the smartphone include: $23 for the 3.5-inch display, $14 for the touch screen, $17.60 for the 8-megapixel camera, and $15 for the Qualcomm baseband processor.

"Qualcomm obviously is a big winner in the 4S, with the company now taking sole ownership of the baseband processor position with its MDM6610 device," said Wayne Lam, a senior analyst for wireless communications at IHS. "While the Qualcomm MDM6600 was in the CDMA version of the iPhone 4, the Intel (formerly Infineon Technologies AG) PMB9801 was used in the HSPA model. In the iPhone 4S, Qualcomm no longer has to share the iPhone 4 baseband design win with Intel. It will be interesting to see how Intel responds in terms of winning back this socket in the next design cycle."

Another incredibly expensive aspect of the phone is the memory subsystem. For the 16GB phone it is $19.20, $38.40 for the 32GB version and $76.80 for the 64GB phone.
I don’t know about you, but I personally was surprised at how expensive the phone really is to manufacture. Apple is still making plenty of profit off of it I am certain, but I never would have guessed that it was so expensive to make. I guess it makes sense when you have such a well-made product though. Now I can better understand why the iPhone is so expensive.

Source: PCMag - How Much Does it Cost to Make the iPhone 4S?

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Monday, October 17, 2011

T-Mobile's New Dual-Screen Smartphone

On Monday, October 17 T-Mobile unveiled the “ultimate multi-tasking handset,” the dual-screen LG DoublePlay.

The DoublePlay smartphone has some amazing features. It offers a 3.5-inch touchscreen at the top of the phone as well as a 2-inch bottom touchscreen when you slide out the keyboard, which is a QWERTY keyboard that is split on both sides of the bottom display. The smartphone also comes standard with Swype, which allows for easy texting. T-Mobile said that it "allows users to perform multiple tasks at once such as updating their Facebook pages while simultaneously surfing the Web, texting or checking email." The DoublePlay runs a 1-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor as well as Android 2.3. It also features a fantastic 5-megapixel camera with an LED flash and 1080 HD video recording.

"Whether sending texts or emails, checking in on social media sites, or browsing the Web, consumers are looking for fun and easy ways to stay connected to the people and things that matter most to them," said Kim Swanson, director of product management at T-Mobile USA. "With the introduction of the LG DoublePlay and its unique dual-screen design, we are bringing the ultimate multitasking tool to our customers."

Unfortunately, T-Mobile has not yet announced when they will be releasing the DoublePlay and how much it will cost customers. However, there have been recent reports that the device will launch on November 2 and will cost users $149.99.

Just as a side note, the DoublePlay will be the device that is used for the 2011 U.S. National Texting Championship. The competition seeks to find the fastest texter in the United States and rewards whoever can text the fastest with a grand prize of $50,000. Obviously, if the DoublePlay is being chosen for a national texting competition, it has to be a great media phone. If you’re a constant texter, this could be the phone for you!

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Saturday, October 15, 2011

iPhone 4S Sales Are Going Well

On Friday, October 14 Sprint and AT&T were both able to boast about their sales and activation numbers for the iPhone 4S. The numbers prove that consumers are extremely excited about the latest version of Apple’s iPhone.

The weekend before the iPhone 4S’s release the preorders for the device sold out on Apple’s online store, and on Friday sales continued to boom.

"Sprint today reported its best ever day of sales in retail, web and telesales for a device family in Sprint history with the launch of iPhone 4S and iPhone 4," said Fared Adib, Sprint's product chief, in a statement. "We reached this milestone at approximately noon CT/1pm ET. The response to this device by current and new customers has surpassed our expectations and validates our customers' desire for a truly unlimited data pricing plan."

Three of the four major U.S. mobile carriers began selling the iPhone 4S on Friday: AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. Although the lines outside the stores were smaller than the lines for the launch of the iPad 2, there were still plenty of consumers that were hyped about the latest version of the iPhone. Sprint announced earlier in the week that they had already sold out of its cheapest version of the iPhone 4S, while Apple said that they had sold 1 million devices via preorders. Obviously, these devices are selling well.

AT&T reported that it had "record activations," although they did not attach a number to that statement. "As of 4:30 pm ET today, AT&T had already activated a record number of iPhones on our network – and is on-track to double our previous record for activations on a single day,” was all that the carrier said.

However, all of these record sales numbers do not mean that the activation process was a breeze.

All of the devices required a two-year contract with either AT&T, Verizon Wireless or Sprint, unless the customer wanted to pay almost an extra $500 for an unlocked iPhone 4S. Once buyers, especially AT&T’s customers, attempted to power up and activate their new phones, there were some reports of the activation process being slow.

"Seven iPhone 4s activation attempts in a row... #ATTFail," tweeted one buyer.
There have been different delays and glitches with the whole process, but hopefully the issues will die down in the next few days so that customers can enjoy their latest version of the iPhone.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Apple Unveils New iPhone 4S

iPhone 4SThe second coming of the iPhone 4 has arrived, led by none other than new Apple CEO Tim Cook. This adds a new milestone to Apple, being the first to launch three new handsets in 2011.

Aesthetically the iPhone 4S looks identical to its predecessor but the real changes are on the inside. Inside the new device Apple has added a dual-core A5 CPU alongside a new dual-core GPU that apparently boosts graphics performance 7x. On the front of the device is the same old 3.5" Retina display that has become quite the Apple fan favorite with a glass plate on the back.

The side antennae, which caused many problems during release, have been upgraded as well and iOS will now intelligently switch between two different sets on the fly to avoid dropping calls. In addition to that, those antennae are connected to a dual-mode GSM and CDMA radio that will allow Apple's handset to roam the globe while still enjoying either 14.4Mbps HSPA+ or EV-DO Rev. A.

The back of the iPhone 4S also sports a new 8 megapixel camera with a backside illuminated CMOS sensor for better low-light performance. In addition to that, the lens also comes with a new 5-element assembly with a hybrid IR filter and also sports aperture down to f/2.4.

The revamped visuals also extend to the video performance. The 4S can now record 1080p video and also has a new image signal processor for image stabilization as well as facial recognition. The camera itself is also a little faster, requiring only 1.1 seconds before being ready to take the first picture and only 0.5 seconds between successive images.

The new iPhone 4S is also Apple's first handset to feature a Siri virtual assistant tech built in. All you have to do is tap the mic on the keyboard and start talking into your phone, which will then convert your voice into text, check the weather, get directions or even perform web searches.

A typical eight hours of talk battery life can be experienced over 3G and 14 hours over 2G while web browsing over 3G will drop you down to six hours. You should get somewhere around nine hours of web when using WiFi and 10 hours of video playback with music topping out at 40 hours.

The 4S will come in both black and white colors for a starting price of $199 for a 16GB model and $299 for a 32GB model. However, both of those pale in comparison to the newly announced 64GB model which will run you a hefty $399. Pre-orders will become available Friday, October 7th with a shipping date of October 14th in the United States, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan.

Oh, and if that isn't enough, you should also be happy to know that Apple has now added Sprint to its family in the United States with Vodafone, O2, Orange, T-Mobile and Three holding down the fort in the UK.

Source: Engadget - iPhone 4S officially announced: lands October 14th starting at $199 in sizes ip to 64GB, coming to Sprint

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Most business class projectors will do a good job displaying your PowerPoint presentation. If you have a small presentation group, a 2000 lumen LCD projector will be able to produce a nice and clear picture. For larger audiences you should consider a 5000 lumen LCD projector.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

New Photo Session App from Flickr

On Thursday, September 29 Flickr unveiled an official Android app that will allow users to share their photostreams in real-time via a new feature called Photo Session.

The Android app is now available, and it lets users quickly snap photographs, enhance them with one of the optional filters and post them on social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. Sound easy? It is!

The app gives you a variety of different options that allow you to adjust your camera settings. Options include flash, shutter focus and ratio selection. Once you have taken the pictures, you can then view them by swiping through the images or tapping the screen to allow you to view them in full screen or slideshow modes.

"Browsing and navigating has been custom designed for Flickr to make use of maps, tags, and activity around your photos," Flickr said in a blog post. "You can stay up to date with the latest comments and activity on your photos and take advantage of gorgeous full screen browsing and slideshows."

The app also allows you to control how private you would like your pictures to be. You will be able to choose who will be able to download your images.

The new app also lets you and a small group of family or friends view and interact with the pictures that you take in real-time.

"Just got back from your African safari? Invite your friends to a Photo Session and inspire wanderlust in one and all. It's a girl? Congrats! The whole family is dying to meet her," Flickr said. "So set up a Photo Session to show off the latest pics of your newest member of the family and fill them in on every gurgle."

To access this, all you have to do is select all of the photos that you want to publish. Then invite up to 10 family members or friends to share them with. "Seamlessly flip through images as you doodle on your photos with the drawing tool and chat with each other, all at the same time. You can also pause or scroll through the photos at your own pace," Flickr said.

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

BlackBerry Curve 9360 Available at T-Mobile September 28

BlackBerry Curve 9360T-Mobile announced on Wednesday the upcoming availability of the BlackBerry Curve 9360. The Curve 9360 is said to combine powerful new BlackBerry features with an attractive price point according to the company.

This new device will be available in two different color variants, black and merlot. In addition to that, it will also be running the latest BlackBerry 7 operating system and utilize the powerful BlackBerry 7 Webkit-browser. This is good for those tech junkies out there that absolutely cannot live without their CrackBerry...I mean BlackBerry.

The new Curve is also designed to address a large, important segment of the global mobile phone market with consumers looking to upgrade their existing phone or current BlackBerry Curve by getting a more affordable, easy-to-use, full-featured and socially-connected phone.

The new BlackBerry Curve comes with an all new sleek design, including a 2.4" screen, full QWERTY keyboard and navigation trackpad, making it perfect for mobile communication via call, text or email. In addition to that, it is also equipped with essential smartphone features like a 5-megapixel camera with flash, video recorder and WiFi connectivity.

The new Curve also comes with the latest edition of BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) pre-loaded and extends the real-time BBM experience to a host of other applications like Foursquare, allowing you to easily stay connected with all of your friends via your social networking sites.

The BlackBerry Curve 9360 is available in an exclusive pre-sale for T-Mobile business customers right now and will be available in the black color finish at T-Mobile retail stores and select dealers beginning on September 28 for $79.99 on a new two-year agreement and after a $50 mail-in rebate. The merlot finish is expected to hit stores on October 12.

Source: Engadget - T-Mobile's BlackBerry Curve 9360 available for $79 on September 28th, swanks it up with a merlot variant

Power Point Projectors
Most business class projectors will do a good job displaying your PowerPoint presentation. If you have a small presentation group, a 2000 lumen LCD projector will be able to produce a nice and clear picture. For larger audiences you should consider a 5000 lumen LCD projector.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Apps from Nintendo? Not Any Time Soon!

The biggest app category in Apple’s App Store is games. However, according to The Loop, Nintendo does not plan to capitalize on that any time soon. Although Nintendo has been pressured by investors to begin designing games for iOS devices like the iPhone, the iPad and the iPod, according to comments made by Nintendo President Satoru Iwata, there are not any plans for games for iOS devices in the company’s near future.

“This is absolutely not under consideration,” Iwata told the Japanese news site Nikkei after a 3DS press conference. “If we did this, Nintendo would cease to be Nintendo. Having a hardware development team in-house is a major strength. It’s the duty of management to make use of those strengths. It’s probably the correct decision in the sense that the moment we started to release games on smartphones we’d make profits. However, I believe my responsibility is not to short term profits, but to Nintendo’s mid and long term competitive strength.”

However, tablets are on the rise. Will Nintendo need to change their stance in order to remain competitive?

“Collectively, iPad gamers are showing slightly decreased involvement with gaming on home consoles, mobile phones, and Nintendo handheld consoles,” Interpret analyst Jason Preston said in a statement. “These facts imply that iPad game developers and publishers can definitely reach a new audience on the iPad.”

Nintendo has already been going through some rough waters with the 3DS. In August the company had to drastically drop the price of their 3D hand-held device from $249.99 to $169.99. Nintendo felt that this was necessary to boost the sales numbers for the console a mere six months after its release.

On top of all of these issues that Nintendo is having, games sales are also down. In the July earnings report, Nintendo reported its first quarterly loss in its entire history. Despite this, Iwata does not seem to be concerned. He believes that Nintendo has a successful business model that will show its worth when the holiday seasons rolls around a little later this year.

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Droid Bionic Now Available

Droid BionicWith absolutely no lack of enthusiasm, Verizon Wireless has officially announced the release of the much anticipated Droid Bionic by Motorola. This much talked about device was first announced and unveiled all the way back in January during CES and eager Verizon customers have been waiting ever so patiently to get their hands on it.

The device, which looks stunning in my opinion, is physically available today at any Verizon retailer or online store for $299.99 with a new two-year agreement as is customary with Verizon.

The Droid Bionic is a 4G LTE device that runs the latest Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread OS. It is powered by a dual-core 1GHz processor and comes with a beautiful 4.3-inch qHD display. What's more, this beautiful screen is scratch resistant thanks to Corning Gorilla Glass. The screen also has a dual-layer anti-reflective coating to make it all the more special.

Full specifications of the Droid Bionic include:

  • 1GB of RAM

  • 32GB of memory with 16GB on board and 16GB on a pre-installed microSD

  • Front-facing camera that allows for video chatting via 4G LTE, 3G or WiFi

  • 8 megapixel auto-focus rear camera with flash and full 1080p HD video capture

  • Mirror Mode with HDMI out that supports full 1080p HD video playback

  • MOTOPRINT application allowing you to print through a WiFi-enabled printer

  • Multi-window options for easy multitasking

  • Adobe Flash Player pre-installed

  • HTML 5 capabilities

  • Wireless charger support

  • Business ready with advanced security features

In addition to the Droid Bionic, Verizon is also offering all the bells and whistles that one might want or need when using this device. Verizon is also offering the Lapdock for $299.97, the HD Station for $99.99, the Webtop Application Adapter for $29.99, the Car Navigation Dock for $39.99 and the Battery Dock for $49.99.

Needless to say, this definitely looks like the device everybody has been waiting for. I'm just mad that I don't have an available upgrade on my Verizon account for another 9 months. But by then, something bigger and better than this will probably have already come out.

Source: TFTS - Verizon Wireless Makes It Official: Motorola Droid Bionic Coming September 8th is news of, for and by SMBs! The Small & Medium Business Magazine!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Samsung Announces Galaxy S II LTE and Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE

Samsung Galaxy S II LTE and Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE
Samsung has just announced the LTE editions of the Galaxy S II and Galaxy Tab 8.9, both of which offer high-speed 4G connectivity in addition to increased power, portability and screen technology.

According to President and Head of Samsung's Mobile Communications Business JK Shin, "With the introduction of Galaxy S II LTE and Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE, we will take the capabilities of these devices to a whole new level. LTE redefines the user experience made possible by these devices and opens entirely new possibilities in terms of content viewing, sharing, quality and connectivity. This is a milestone in our commitment to lead the charge in 4G mobile telephony around the world, both in terms of back-end network solutions for service providers and the development of powerful consumer handsets."

LTE technology, when connected to a 4G network, allows portable devices to download high quality files at speeds of up to 100Mbps. In addition to that, it also allows these devices to upload information at 50Mbps, five times faster than the fastest HSPA+ connection. What this means is that a four minute MP3 song can be downloaded in 0.3 seconds or a full length movie in under two minutes.

The enhanced connectivity that comes with LTE technology broadens the range of possibilities for the user. You can enjoy a plethora of features seamlessly, including social gaming, video conferencing and high-quality media streaming. In addition to that, 4G technology also allows you to seamlessly and instantly share multimedia content with anybody, anywhere, anytime.

Unfortunately, the announcement about these two devices is all there is at the moment. Samsung has yet to release any sort of pricing or availability information though it is rumored that both the Samsung Galaxy S II LTE and Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE will both debut at IFA.

Source: Engadget - Galaxy S II LTE and Galaxy Tab 8.9 LTE announced, set to debut at IFA

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Friday, August 12, 2011

Samsung's Super Fast 6Gbps SSDs

Samsung 6Gbps SSDSamsung Electronics has just announced volume production of SSDs that support the Serial ATA Revision 3.0 interface with data transmissions at 6Gbps. These new high performance PM830 SSDs are also available in up to 512GB volumes.

According to Executive Vice President of Memory Sales & Marketing, Device Solutions for Samsung Wanhoon Hong, "Samsung's new lineup of advanced SSDs will raise the performance bar to the next level for ultra-slim notebooks and tablets and accelerate growth of the market for high-performance SSDs."

These new high-speed SSDs from Samsung are perfect for use in high-performance OEM notebooks and tablets. Sample production of the SATA 6Gbps 512GB SSDs started back in May with volume production initiated earlier this month. The new drives are expected to take over for the SATA 3Gbps-based SSDs by the end of the year.

Hong went on to say, "The industry is expected to quickly embrace SATA 6Gbps-based SSDs, which also will help increase market interest in 256GB and higher densities significantly."

The SATA 6Gbps SSD shortens system boot times to nearly 10 seconds while the high-performance allows you to download as many as 5 DVD files in under a minute. The 512GB SSD will utilize the most advanced 20 nanometer class 32Gigabit multi-level cell NAND memory chip that Samsung has to offer, which incorporates the toggle DDR interface. In addition to that, a proprietary NAND controller facilitates high-performance levels that take full advantage of the architecture of the toggle DDRas well as the SATA 6Gbps interface.

On top of that, this new SSD doubles the performance of a SATA 3Gbps drive with sequential read speeds of 500Mbps and a sequential write speed of 350Mbps. The drive also features the industry's highest security level, which uses an AES 256-bit encryption algorithm in order to protect all of your data from any and all unauthorized access.

The new 6Gbps SSD will be available in 128GB, 256GB or 512GB volumes and is targeted for use in premium OEM notebooks and tablets.

Source: Engadget - Samsung's speedy 6Gbps SSDs shreds bits, blows minds

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Friday, August 5, 2011

Skype Video Calling Now on Android Devices

Do you own an Android device? If you do, then most likely you now have the ability to use Skype Video Calling. On Wednesday, August 3 Skype released an update to its Android app that brings video calling abilities to 17 more Android devices.

It was just earlier this summer that Skype added video calling capabilities to its Android app; however, it originally only worked on the Google Nexus S. Now, after this latest update, dozens of Android devices, including the Samsung Galaxy S and the HTC Incredible, will be able to enjoy video calling as well.

Skype said that the update also fixed a few bugs that the app was experiencing and included some performance enhancements. (If you have a Sony Ericsson Xperia Mini and you were having some issues with a faulty microphone, the update should have taken care of the issue.)

The updated version of Skype for Android, Skype 2.1, is now available in the Android Market or via “For those of you using Android 2.2 (Froyo) and above, you should…be able to enable video calling in your Skype settings. Just go to ‘Skype settings’ after launching the app and select ‘enable video calling’, said the Skype Blog.”

“Unfortunately, if you cannot see the video calling settings, it means your Android phone does not meet the minimum requirements needed to make Skype video calls,” the blog continued. “Please be aware that video call quality may not be as good as on a certified Android device and only the back camera of the device will work if your device is running on Android 2.2 (Froyo).”

“We are really excited that video calling with Skype for Android with video calling is now available on the majority of Android handsets, so you can easily share moments wherever you are with the people that matter most to you.”

Here is the complete list of devices that can now use Skype Video Calling:

• Acer A5
• HTC Desire (2.2)
• HTC Desire HD
• HTC Evo 3D
• HTC Evo 4G
• HTC Flyer
• HTC Incredible S
• HTC Sensation
• Samsung Galaxy S
• Samsung Galaxy S II
• Samsung Galaxy Tab
• Sony Ericsson Xperia mini pro
• Sony Ericsson Xperia PLAY
• Sony Ericsson Xperia ray

U.S.-only phones getting the update include:

• HTC Thunderbolt - Verizon (2.2)
• LG Revolution - Verizon (2.2)
• Samsung Droid Charge - Verizon (2.2)

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Apple Brings in Great Second Quarter Numbers

According to the International Data Corporation, Apple has more than doubled the number of smartphones it has sold compared to the same quarter last year.

Strategy Analytics said that in the second quarter, Apple shipped 20.3 million iPhones, which is up 8.4 million phones from last year’s second quarter. They continued saying that this means that Apple has 18.5 percent of the global smartphone market, which is up from 13.5 percent last year.

"We had previously reported on Apple becoming the largest smartphone vendor in terms of revenue and profits. Now, just four years after the release of the original iPhone, Apple has become the world’s largest smartphone vendor by volume with an 18 percent market share," according to Strategy Analytics.

Samsung wasn’t far behind Apple. In the second quarter, they shipped 19.2 million smartphones grabbing 17.5 percent of the smartphone market. That was also quite a big bump from their numbers the previous year. Last year, Samsung only shipped 3.1 million smartphones and had a 5 percent share of the market. The success of Samsung and Apple caused Nokia’s numbers to drop however. Last year, they had snatched 38.1 percent of the global smartphone market, but this year their numbers dropped to 15.2 percent.

When it comes to the overall shipment of smartphones and feature phones, Nokia is still the number one phone provider. During the second quarter, Nokia shipped 88.5 million phones globally, down 20 percent. Samsung was number two, shipping 74 million units, a 16 percent boost. LG came in a close third right in front of Apple. They shipped 24.8 million devices, but were down 19 percent. Apple was so close to coming in third place. Strategy Analytics said that this is "the closest Apple has ever been.”

The IDC confirmed the numbers that Strategy Analytics released naming Nokia, Samsung and LG as the very top mobile phone providers. The firm also did say that Apple’s “record” quarter helped to close in on the gap and bring the company much closer to the top.

Apple "easily posted the highest growth rate of the worldwide leaders despite the fact that its flagship iPhone 4 is now more than a year old," IDC said. "The triple-digit shipment volume growth allowed Apple to more than double its share when compared to the same quarter last year."

IDC agreed with Strategy Analytics and reported sales of 20.3 million iPhones in the quarter. It gave Apple a 5.6 percent market share in the global handset market, as well as a 141.8 percent boost from the same time period last year.

"Apple’s ability to bring its smartphone momentum to developing economies, where it’s less successful, will help dictate the company’s smartphone fortunes in future," IDC said. is news of, for and by SMBs! The Small & Medium Business Magazine!
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