Archive for March, 2011

March 31, 2011

One month later, Honeycomb has just 50 native apps

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Motorola’s Xoom tablet is the first promising alternative to Apple’s iPad, but the sickly condition of Android’s tablet app ecosystem may end up stalling the platform’s progress.

One month after its launch, the Xoom currently has about 50 native apps available for Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Google’s version of Android optimized for tablets.

That’s pitiful compared with the iPad, which was released last year with approximately 1,000 native apps on launch day. The Xoom debuted with a paltry 15 Honeycomb-native apps available for download in its catalog

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March 23, 2011

Firefox 4 doubles IE9’s 24-hour download tally

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Firefox may be under fire from Microsoft’s newly competitive browser, but with more than twice the downloads in its first day, Firefox 4 today soared over its rival by one measurement.
Microsoft, not without reason, boasted that IE9 was downloaded 2.35 million times in the first 24 hours after its release last week. And that is indeed a big number, especially for a browser that tech enthusiasts had scoffed at for years.
But less than 24 hours after its own launch, Firefox 4 cleared 4.7 million, according to the Mozilla Glow site that logs downloads.

That’s a lot less than the 8 million copies of Firefox 3 downloaded in that version’s 24-hour debut in 2008, but that event was a heavily promoted “Download Day,” and it should be noted that Firefox 4’s full day hasn’t finished yet.
And it does signal that at least a very sizable chunk of the Net-connected population is, in Firefox’s apt phrase, choosing to “upgrade the Web.” New browsers bring new Web standards, new performance, and often a new auto-update ethos that likely will lead to browsers staying continuously updated. That could simplify lives for Web developers who constantly wrangle with the difficulties of supporting old browsers.

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Firefox 4 brings a raft of new features–new security and privacy options, faster loading and JavaScript, support for a variety of new standards including WebM video and WebGL 3D graphics, and 3D acceleration that extends even to Windows XP.
Mozilla expects that its arrival will lead to an increase in usage. The browser maker said it has 400 million Firefox users and counting, but as a percentage of worldwide browser use it has lost share to Chrome, which now accounts for more than 10 percent of usage worldwide

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March 22, 2011

Nokia releasing yet another cheap Symbian smartphone

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Nokia announced today that it is launching the Nokia Astound in the United States, a low-end smartphone geared toward first-time smartphone owners running the company’s Symbian mobile operating system.

The device is purposely built with slightly weaker technical specifications — including a 620 megahertz processor (compared to 1 gigahertz dual-core processors in most phones today) and around 300 megabytes of memory (compared to 512 megabytes in most phones), according to Nokia representatives. It keeps the phone simple and drives the price down, which is the device’s main selling point, said Mark Slater, vice president and general manager of Nokia.

“It’s their first smartphone, they’re not looking for $199, they’re looking for something under $99,” Slater said. “We’ve set this up so the apps and the way it’s built, it’s best for a feature phone user that wants to jump for a smartphone for the first time.”

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The phone is designed to be used as-is and runs on Symbian 3, the latest version of Nokia’s oft-maligned smartphone operating system. It has a number of pre-loaded applications like Slacker Radio, an online streaming music service similar to Pandora. Astound owners can still download applications off the Ovi mobile application store.

The device will cost $79.99 along with a $10 data plan that gives users up to 250 megabytes of data each month. Most light users who buy a smartphone for the first time typically use around 180 megabytes a month across online music services and email, Slater said. The phone also sports an 8-megapixel camera that can shoot high-definition video and has an SD card slot to boost its storage up to 40 gigabytes.

Nokia has already agreed to work with Microsoft and will serve as Microsoft’s flagship Windows Phone manufacturer well into the next generation of smartphones. But Nokia does not plan to load Windows Phone 7 on the Nokia Astound, and is actually quite bullish on Symbian for the near future, he said. Nokia expects to sell about 150 million Symbian 3 devices like the N8, he said.

“(Windows Phone 7) is a whole new world for us, but it won’t be this device,” Slater said.

The device is exclusive to T-Mobile and will run on that phone network’s mobile broadcast spectrum. Slater wouldn’t indicate whether the device would also work on AT&T’s network in the future after the telecom giant purchased T-Mobile for $39 billion on Sunday.

By comparison, some of the cheapest smartphones running Google’s Android mobile operating system cost between around $80 to $100. It’s an uphill battle for Nokia because Android is more popular than Nokia’s smartphone operating system. The price point is competitive, but it isn’t clear if the software and hardware can compete with some of the cheapest Android phones on the market.

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March 21, 2011

Facebook to Acquire Mobile App Developer Snaptu

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Facebook has made yet another plunge in  mobile platform to spread its wings. One of the  popular social network has finally confirmed  the acquisition of mobile platform app  developer – Snaptu. Israel based Snaptu which  develops apps for feature phones as well as  smartphones disclosed the deal on its official blog. As part of the deal, Facebook will pay Snaptu about $60-$70 million and Snaptu would be working as part of Facebook team.

Snaptu develops applications for the feature phones – the phones which aren’t smart but possess mobile Internet connectivity and allow installation of Java ME or BREW based apps. Facebook, along with Snaptu, had launched the new Facebook App for popular features phones that consisted of about 2,500 different models.

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Facebook service already has been visible with tighter integration inside the Android OS for INQ handsets and also HTC ChaCha as well as Salsa handsets. That’s evidence enough to see how series Facebook is about intoxicating every user with the service.

With acquisition of Snaptu, we’ll get to see the social network’s deeper integration in feature phones as well. It won’t be surprising to see Facebook centric features phones being launched by year end. In fact, the feature phones segment has large volume of users who don’t wish to or can’t spend a lot on a smartphone. It’s not the first time Facebook has addressed the feature phone segment as earlier the company introduce the 0.facebook.com which was basically image-less version of the service. Let’s hope this deal brings us better mobile web experience of the service.

 

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March 20, 2011

Galaxy S II I9103 to Sport Super LCD Display

Samsung unveiled its next generation high-end Galaxy series smartphone – Galaxy S II GT-I9100 at the Mobile World Congress 2011 last month in Barcelona, Spain. This new Galaxy S II GT-I9100 has a dual-core Samsung Exynos 4210 SoC processor and flaunts a gorgeous 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display. Samsung would be introducing a substitute of Galaxy S II with model number GT-I9103 which will have Nvidia Tegra 2 processor. It is expected to sport Super Clear LCD display, reported Samsung Hub.

Samsung is expected to introduce a Galaxy S II variant with a different processor and screen technology. The Galaxy S II specifications page itself notes that the Exynos processor may not be applicable to some regions. Call it dearth of Exynos CPUs or different strategy, the Galaxy S II variant with model number GT-I9103 is close to reality. The Galaxy S II GT-I9103 will have dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor and will sport Super Clear LCD display. At this moment, it’s unsure whether this model would have more differences compared to the original Galaxy S II GT-I9100 mo

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Lately, Samsung has quietly introduced the Galaxy S LCD 4GB (GT-I9003) in India to meet up the popularity and demand of the Galaxy S (GT-I9003). The new Galaxy S LCD is basically a toned down version of Galaxy S with Super Clear LCD, a different processor as well as graphics and a couple of other differences. Hence, there’s a price difference between both the models. You may read our review of Galaxy S LCD 4GB GT-I9003 here to know more about it.

We expect Samsung to make an announcement regarding the Galaxy S II in India by next month. Let’s hope that Samsung introduces both Galaxy S II models at the same time or at least with a short time gap between them.

[source]

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March 19, 2011

Motorola Xoom with Sprint insignia, Nexus S 4G logo leak out

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If you’ve been following these here pages closely, you’ll know that a little device named the Nexus S 4Gis coming to Sprint’s network, with the expectation being that it’ll be announced at CTIA early next week. Fueling our previous info on the matter, we’ve now gotten ahold of an image purporting to be the logo that Sprint and Google will be using to represent their new WiMAX-equipped collaboration. That can be found after the break, but what you’re really eager to learn more about is that image of a Motorola Xoom with a Now Network logo on it, right? Well, it comes from the same source, whose record of revealing Sprint pre-release hardware (and not getting fired) is quite exemplary, so we’re willing to credit it as the real deal. We’ve no launch dates or pricing details to share as yet, but it’s not unreasonable to expect Sprint will be disclosing all that juicy info during its extra-long CTIA presser. And if not, we’ll keep tracking down these leaks and get it to you anyway!

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March 18, 2011

Enhancements to Google News for smartphones

Last November, we redesigned Google News for mobile access on smartphones including Android, iPhone and Palm Pre. Today, we’re globally rolling out new usability and visual enhancements that we hope will make browsing news on your smartphone easier.

We expanded the story space to make tapping on articles easier and more accurate. Tapping anywhere on an article headline or snippet opens it up, and clicking on a section heading opens up that topic section on your screen.

In addition, the default view of stories is now collapsed which reduces scrolling time. You can ‘expand’ a story by tapping on ‘More sources’, which brings you to related stories from other sources. The screenshots below show the collapsed and expanded view of a story.

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So, pick up your smartphone, point your browser to http://news.google.com, and catch up on news on the go.

[source]

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March 17, 2011

New connection bar in Gmail for iPhone

Using Gmail in Safari on your iPhone gives you access to fast search, conversation view, stars, labels, and more. But it’s sometimes frustrating not knowing whether your email has been sent or whether your phone has a functioning internet connection at all. To address this, we recently introduced the “connection bar.” The connection bar appears at the bottom of the screen when needed to give you the info you want— and then gets out of the way.

The connection bar appears when the app launches and is checking for new mail:

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It also appears when your phone is offline, back online and sending, and then again when it finishes sending all messages:

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You can see this improvement by visiting gmail.com from your iPhone or iPod Touch’s browser (iOS4 only). Don’t see the new changes yet? Try clearing your cache and refreshing the page. And if you like using Gmail in mobile Safari, get to it faster by tapping the “+” at the bottom of the screen and then “Add to Home Screen.”

[source]

March 16, 2011

Google Releases New Search App

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Google believes its latest iOS app  redesign is so noteworthy, it  changed the app’s name. The  new Google Search app includes a  new UI, improved search  capabilities, and a new toolbar.

The app, formerly Google Mobile,  has really become a one-finger  wonder, since most searches can be  done using either your thumb or  index finger.

Searches can be started using the  traditional search box, using the  microphone button to do a voice  search, or by tapping on the camera  icon to search through Google  Goggles.

A new Apps button located at the bottom of the screen makes accessing your other Google apps easier. Plus, the improved toolbar makes filtering your searches based on your preferences more seamless. For example, if you only want images, tap “Images,” and the results will update

note: The new Google Search app is available now in the App Store.

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March 14, 2011

Nokia launches new business smartphone, Nokia E7

Smartphone manufacturer Nokia launched its new business smartphone, Nokia E7, which features Nokia Communicator.

The Nokia E7 comes with Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync support alongside a four-inch AMOLED touchscreen display.

Viral Oza, head, Activation, Media and Online Marketing, Nokia India, said, “Consumers today, seek a device that allows them to do a lot more – both in their personal and professional lives. Nokia E7 is an all-in-one business smartphone that offers a superior ‘mobile office’ experience coupled with compelling entertainment options.”

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Nokia has tied up with Vodafone to offer 2GB data per month free for six months. The offer is applicable on 3G and 2G (for both pre-paid and post paid consumers).

The Nokia E7 also features applications such as Mail for Exchange, IBM Lotus Notes Traveler, Quick office Dynamic Premium, Vlingo, Adobe PDF reader, World traveler App, F-Secure anti-theft software for mobile and Nokia Ovi Maps with free GPS navigation.

[source]