Monday, July 30, 2012

Samsung updates ChatON with Olympic buddy feature, tells the latest on London 2012 games


Who needs real life friends when you have all your virtual buddies online and available to chat with 24/7, right? If you’re rather partial to Samsung’s ChatON instant messaging app, the phone maker has just updated the app with more features and bug fixes.
The first thing you probably notice when you load the app is the new ChatON logo, but the other changes do go beyond skin deep. Being one of the major sponsors of the 2012 Summer Olympics, it’s only natural for the company to try and bring the excitement over to customers. Hence, you can now befriend an Olympic buddy on ChatON to get the latest on the epic competition.
From checking for daily schedules, and seeing which country is on top on the medal tables, to getting breaking news when Michael Phelps breaks yet another world record – leave it all to your Olympic buddy to bring them to you.
If you’re running ChatON on a phone, here’s what else you can expect to see on the new version:
Walkie-talkieSkin/Bubble downloadTyping statusEdit buddy’s nameImage zoom-in/out
And here’s the rest of the change log for tablet owners:
Animation EmoticonsBuddy SuggestionSend documentsApp Lock
Samsung’s ChatON doesn’t discriminate when it comes to people’s choice of mobile platforms. The app works on iOS and BlackBerry devices as well, so feel free to share the Olympic excitement with all your Android and non-Android buddies. Get the app now from Google Play Store.

SOURCE: View the original article here

SandroProxy: Increasing your privacy and security when Web browsing on Android


Whether we’re on a trip, at work, or even at home, Web browsing has become a part of our daily life. Mobile phones have allowed us to keep connected to the Internet wherever we go. Browsing, however, has a few perils. You could come across harmful malware or viruses that could damage your device, or worse, steal your log-in credentials. It’s only natural for us to seek something that could improve our browsing security and data protection. The more crucial our data are, the more reason we need to tighten their security. Let’s take some time to check out a new Android app for privacy and security when Web browsing.
SandroProxy, a free app developed by XDA Developers member SandroBSupp, is here to help you achieve tighter browser security. It is simple and easy to use since it’s based on the WebScarab Project, patterned from a plug-in architecture that focuses mostly on security.

Once you open SandroProxy, you will see three tabs namely Log, Data, and Apps. On top of these tabs are icons such as the Play arrow, Wrench, and Information icon. The Play arrow, as the name implies, starts the proxy service. The Wrench opens the settings, while the Information icon processes a request for user permission, which then allows you to view your network information. The Log tab is responsible for tracking all relevant actions you do and making sure that they are displayed properly on screen.
You also don’t need to worry even if your phone is not yet rooted since SandroProxy doesn’t require it. All you need to do is to hit the Play button and the app will serve as an SSL MITM proxy (Secure Socket Layer Man-In- the -Middle-proxy). Your HTTP/HTTPS requests will be redirected through a web server, making your sent and received data invisible and, thus, protected.

If your phone is rooted, on the other hand, you will be given the chance to access a transparent proxy, a network layer proxy which, in turn, redirects the traffic needed by your phone for proxy identification. The only traffic that this proxy modifies are those which are absolutely necessary for proxy identification and authorization.
Understanding the process of networking will be an advantage in using this app, but this doesn’t mean beginners can’t access SandroProxy. They might, at first, have a hard time understanding the concepts involved in the app, but they sure would not have a problem in accessing its basic services.

SandroProxy is a free app but comes with ads. Nevertheless, the app proves to be a very reliable tool for protecting your browsing data. If you’re concerned with your privacy while browsing the Internet and want to take your phone’s privacy to the next level, then SandroProxy is worth checking out.

SOURCE: View the original article here

Patent smackdown: Apple teams up with Microsoft to bid against Google and Android OEMs for Kodak’s patents


The patent arms race is reaching a feeding-frenzy stage. Over the past months, we’ve witnessed a series of high profile legal spats between the technology companies that make our beloved gadgets. A quick recap of the most visible battles includes the Oracle vs Google trial, the Samsung vs Apple global conflagration, the Microsoft vs Motorola case that caused the ban of all Motorola devices in Germany, and the Apple vs HTC debacle, which affected the availability of the One X and the EVO 4G LTE in the USA.
Tech corporations are suing each other like madmen, but unfortunately, their actions mostly affect consumers. We get fewer products on the market, and the products that are available are made dumber. The war is likely to continue for the foreseeable future and the players are accruing weapons at a staggering rate.
A new stash of patents is about to be sold to the highest bidder. On Monday, the patent portfolio of Eastman Kodak, the legendary photography company, will be sold in an auction. Two major forces emerge as potential winners – on one side, Apple allied with Microsoft and patent troll aggregation firm Intellectual Ventures. On the other side, Google got together with the biggest Android OEMs – Samsung, HTC, and LG – along with a patent troll of its own, the RPX Corporation.
The two consortiums will try to win the battle over Eastman Kodak’s 1100 patents, most related to photographic technology. Kodak has a great deal of intellectual property that could prove essential for anyone manufacturing a product that incorporates a digital camera. According to WSJ, alliances are still made and broken, and the situation is still in flux.
As a reminder, it wouldn’t be the first time Google would square off with the Apple-Microsoft team – last year, Google lost the auction for Nortel’s patent trove, which eventually went to the Apple-Microsoft consortium for $4.5 billion. It’s unclear how valuable Kodak’s portfolio is, but experts seem to agree that it is far less valuable than Nortel’s stash.
We’ll keep you posted on any new developments next week.

SOURCE:View the original article here

Hackers can exploit NFC, Chrome browser to take over your Android phone


Despite Google’s valiant attempt to make Android a safer playground for its users by introducing the anti-malware Bouncer service last February, which helps scan apps on Google Play Store for malware and keep them out, experts are still finding security loopholes that can wreak havoc on your Android device.
The first threat we’re going to talk about today comes from the Near Field Communication (NFC) feature on certain Android devices, which is becoming more ubiquitous these days. Though the technology was already used in older phones like the Google Nexus S, released back in 2010, newer devices like Samsung’s Galaxy S3 seem to be finding more uses for it, as NFC is being promoted beyond wireless payment – such as for transferring pictures and other files.
Charlie Miller, a consultant from security firm Accuvant, has recently demonstrated how easy it is to push through malicious code to an Android device. He did it with the help of a device as small as a postage stamp, also known as an NFC tag, by placing it within close proximity to where people would be using their NFC-equipped device the most. This enables the code to be beamed over to the handset, thus allowing hackers to gain full control of the device.
So what you can do to avoid the worst from happening? When it comes to NFC, enabling the feature in combination with Android Beam on your device does leave you with no choice but to accept any incoming transfer – malicious or not. There is currently no mechanism in place where you can select to approve or reject the transfer from other NFC devices. This is obviously something that Google and manufacturers need to address.
The second threat is a security flaw that was found in Google’s Chrome browser for Android. Demonstrating it back in February, Miller, alongside Crowdstrike’s Georg Wicherski, used a piece of software to infect the device through the loophole. The flaw has since been fixed by Google, and those who have updated the browser to its latest version should be relatively safe from such attacks.

SOURCE:View the original article here

Colorful (back) pictures of Sony Xperia J leaked

We first learnt and got a glimpse of the Sony Xperia J – known also as the ST26i – about two weeks ago. If the first round of leaked pictures of the J wasn’t good enough in satisfying your Xperia craving, we have more photos of Sony’s upcoming mid-range phone out in the open.
Bringing the goodies this time is ePrice, where several pictures of the phone – albeit only its backside – has been posted there. But no biggie, since we’ve already seen what the front of the Xperia J looks like anyway.

It looks like the Xperia J will come in white, pink and black colors. It might be the lighting, but the phone appears to have a soft, matte finish on the back.  As previously noted, Sony has finally shed the green liquid energy ball that adorns its past phones, as we now see a much cleaner look on the back.
Specs-wise, the Sony Xperia J comes with a 4-inch display of 854 x480 resolution, single-core 1GHz MSM7627A processor, and possibly a 5MP rear camera with LED flash. This time around, it looks like there won’t be any dedicated camera button. The mid-ranger is expected to ship with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
If the specs of the Xperia J fail to take your breath away, your best bet is to go with the Sony Xperia Mint. We suspect all these new crops of Xperia phones will all be officially announced on August 29 just before IFA 2012 starts.

SOURCE: View the original article here

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Google may deliver broadband for cheap to your area


On the heels of the successful release of the much hailed Nexus 7, comes exciting news from Google: cheaper gigabit broadband coupled with TV. This may not seem like much, but to be honest, in the monopolized realm of US ISP’s, it’s big news. Google just launched its first rollout in the Midwest region and is using an old marketing trick of growing their customer base.
Remember the old Gmail and Google Wave invite?  They plan to use the same idea for this new service in order for it to “go viral”. Google is asking potential customers to tell their neighborhood (Google calls it a fiberhood) so as to minimize visits to your fiberhood and maximize customer base. This results in savings to the customer and thus potential profit to Google. The other great thing about Google’s network is its sturdy and reliable infrastructure: they build their own stuff. Instead of the usual rental broadband equipment (which can go stale in a matter of months) in this fast-paced industry, Google is making its own network on its own production merits, as it were. This can only spell success down the road.
An additional good item to note: Wi-Fi and TV set tops will probably get quick releases because they are Google-made  equipment on the home network. This is unlike the slow release syndrome we’ve seen from smartphone manufacturers.
Overall, this appears to be a giant leap of calculated risk on Google’s part, since they will be going up against other tech companies like Comcast and AT&T. Unlike those two, they will not be relying on the traditional buyout of lower end providers to extend their network, and possibly using dated hardware, and outdated field equipment to deliver promised gigabit speeds. If you are interested to know more details about the HDTV side, you can read up on Google Fiber TV.
If your city is selected, would you be a Google missionary so as to get gigabit goodness on all of your devices? Let us know in the comments below.

SOURCE:View the original article here

BBC Olympics: Bringing the Olympic games to your Android device


BBC is one of the best news channels that keeps us abreast of all the important events around the globe, from local news up to the events of international significance. With the London Olympics now in motion, BBC also prepared something for Android users–the BBC Olympics app for Android–to keep them updated on the important happenings of this long-awaited international event.
The app lets you stream videos of the Olympic games right to your Android live or on demand, along with news updates, commentaries, and interviews from BBC journalists themselves.  It’s
Get exclusive Olympics news fast and easy through the app, so you won’t need to miss out on spectacular Olympic moments and highlights free of charge. It would make things easier, particularly for die-hard fans who want to keep track of their favorite athletes.

Upon launching the app, you are instantly welcomed by a neat and clean interface, intuitive and user friendly, not to mention classy yet simple with the yellow and black color combination.
When you tap the Menu icon on the upper right of the screen, it then reveals to you all the underlying options. The Menu contains starting points for your close monitoring of the Olympics coverage from BBC, so from the Menu, you can go to the schedule of games, live broadcasts, news on all sports, medal winners, a special section for the U.K. team, BBC’s coverage of the games, and more.

Aside from providing you with news to digest, the app also includes several extra perks for you to enjoy. For instance, you may opt to read about the top stories during the Olympic games, read daily text commentaries by BBC journalists, or watch video highlights of the games.
You can watch the Olympics live with up to 24 live video streams on either 3G or Wi-Fi connection. It’s also worth mentioning that the app includes relevant Olympic contents for every Olympic event, and information on competing countries and every participating athlete.

If you find interesting stuff — news and feature stories, videos, or game results — you can easily share them via popular social networks or email. Judging from the features and the interface of this app, it does make quite an impression especially with the fact that it’s developed just for such a short, though big, Olympic event.
On the other hand, upon reviewing this app, I noticed a few flaws that could potentially sour the moods of some users. Based on Flash instead of HTML 5, the BBC Olympics app sometimes plays videos erratically, or not at all in some instances (can dampen a fan’s Olympic spirit, you know), but considering that it’s dedicated to that one event (i.e., the Olympics), it’s quite a handy app and a must-have for fans of the Olympic games.
The games have begun, but if you have not done so as yet, download BBC Olympics free from the Google Play Store, and let the Olympic games begin on your Android device.

SOURCE:  View the original article here

Ourcast: Community-driven weather forecast app for Android


It’s always wonderful to spend time with your loved one but a mild drizzle can definitely spoil the moment. If you’ve been in situations when you’re forced to delay or cancel important appointments because of bad weather, then you might want to check out this new weather forecast app for Android. With the Ourcast app available on both Android and iOS devices, you’re already a step ahead of  unpredictable weather changes.
Never fall prey to inconvenient weather changes again. Simply download the app from the Google Play Store and check your area’s weather forecast and prepare yourself for potential rain, sun, or clouds.

One great thing about Ourcast is that it doesn’t only provide you with weekly or daily weather forecasts, it also provides 10-minute split forecasts for the next two hours, making it easier to track whether or not a drizzle could turn into a downpour. With this, you don’t need to worry about being caught in a heavy rain while on your way home or to an important event.
The app is also equipped with an interactive map, which helps you track weather conditions in certain places. For instance, if you’re on vacation but want to check how the weather is at home, all you need to do is to locate the area on the app’s interactive map. The selected region’s weather condition, complete with graphic indicators, will appear on your phone screen.

This app encourages interactivity among users through its crowdsourcing tools. It lets you post weather-based status updates anonymously or through your Facebook profile. This way, you’ll be able to help other Ourcast users who are looking for the latest weather updates in a certain place.
For you to track the weather conditions of a certain location, all you have to do is to tap the Forecast button at the top of your phone screen. If you want to check on the weather forecast for the last 10 minutes, you just need to tap the left or right arrow keys and the information you want will appear on the screen.
Aside from the app’s interactive map, Ourcast also offers another easy way of looking into the weather updates of a location. Ourcast has its built-in search utility which allows you to go directly to the location of your choice. You can also bookmark your favorite location and share weather information with your friends via Facebook, Twitter, and email.

Ourcast pulls the latest weather information from Wunderground.com. You can get by-the-minute reports on temperature, precipitation levels, and rain changes, including the relevant icon for the interpretations.
The app has an Ourcast community, which allows users to interact and share their weather experiences with other Ourcast users. With the app’s community, you can verify weather information directly from people living in the same area.
With the Ourcast app, bad weather conditions will be a worry no more.

SOURCE: View the original article here

Simplify Wi-Fi Manager: Simplifies management of Wi-Fi and mobile network connections on Android


An easier way of connecting to the Internet is now available for Android devices. Armed with an Internet connection management interface, the Simplify Wi-Fi Manager app makes it easier for you to connect to the best network anywhere. Be it a Wi-Fi connection or cellular data connection, the app provides you ease by automatically switching to the available connections.
The app has built-in Zero Touch and Eco Surf technologies, making it not only a great connectivity companion but also an eco-friendly app. Zero Touch remembers your connection preference at a certain place, so every time you’re there, it automatically connects to the Internet without the need for extra fiddling.

Eco Surf, on the other hand, eliminates unnecessary networks and allows you to connect to the Internet on the first try. Do you want to check for Wi-Fi hotspots near your location? Simplify’s Discovery toggle will be of great help in showing such places via Google Map.
Topping it all is the app’s Drag to Connect feature which allows you to drag any available network in order to connect to the Internet. This will save you time in switching from mobile data to Wi-Fi. With this feature, everything happens in a single place.
Simplify is not the only app of its kind. In fact, several apps off the same type, like WiFi Booster Easy Connect, are available on the Google Play Store. What makes Simplify unique and interesting is the fact that it’s one of the most comprehensive apps of its type. It offers a simple interface matched with handy options for free.
With Simplify, you don’t need to worry about fiddling with options to manage your Internet connectivity. With a tap on your preferred connection, everything will be as smooth as butter.

If you want instant Wi-Fi profile sharing with your friends on Facebook, all you need to do is to tap your phone against your friend’s phone using NFC Beam and you’ll be able to securely transmit your Wi-Fi settings. This will save you time writing down or reading your passwords aloud when sharing your connection settings.
Simplify’s amazing feature, Circular Dial, provides users direct view of and access to all connectivity toggles of their device. Toggles, such as Offline, Always On, Wi-Fi- Only, Eco Surf, and Discovery, are all presented on the Simplify homescreen widget. This way, you don’t need to shift to different menus and tap on many buttons to select your connectivity choice. In fact, once you set up your connectivity preference, you will need no more than the Simplify widget to get the best connection for you.

Feeling hyped up to try this app? Visit the Google Play Store and install Simplify Smart Wi-Fi Manager app for free. Connecting to the Internet will be a breeze.

SOURCE: View the original article here

Analysis: Apple sounds warning bell for smartphone industry

If Apple Inc's weaker-than-expected quarterly result is anything to go by, the global smartphone industry is a lot more vulnerable to economic shocks these days than during the 2008-2009 financial crisis.In developed markets, every other person already owns a smartphone. In emerging markets, penetration rates are much lower, but cheaper phones that cost under $100 are squeezing profit margins.
That was not the case during the last recession, when Apple's iPhone and Google Inc's Android were still in their infancy. Smartphone demand remained strong even as sales of other electronics declined because consumers felt it was worthwhile to upgrade to a device with so much to more to give - touchscreens, email and full Web browsers.
Without a technology breakthrough such as touchscreen - made popular by the first iPhone in 2007 - people are in far less of a hurry to upgrade their phones this time around, analysts said.
That was evident from Apple's June quarterly results, which showed a much bigger hit from the European debt crisis than Wall Street expected.
"The economy is having an impact on all electronic goods. Even Apple, which did defy gravity in the last recession, is not escaping now," said Hudson Square Research analyst Daniel Ernst.
Smartphone users, who typically upgrade their phones every 18 to 24 months, are now holding on for three months longer than usual, according to Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi.
"The reason to upgrade is less urgent" she said.
PRICE PRESSURE
Overall smartphone shipments rose 32 percent in the second quarter, their slowest pace since 2009's 16 percent increase, according to Strategy Analytics. The research firm forecast annual smartphone shipment growth would slow to 40 percent in 2012 from 68 percent in 2011 and ease further to 23 percent in 2013.
Analysts say demand from emerging markets will support smartphone shipments even if the global economy takes a turn for the worse, but a growing supply of lower price devices from vendors such as Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp will pressure prices even if the economy improves.
"We're forecasting ASPs (average selling prices) to dip in 2013 and accelerate from there on," said Strategy Analytics analyst Neil Mawston. "If the economy continues to flat line or dip that will accelerate the move to lower cost models."
The popularity of Apple's iPhone and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd's Galaxy S will give these companies some pricing insulation, analysts said.
But there could be much more pressure for price cuts at already struggling smartphone vendors, such as LG Electronics Inc, HTC Corp, Nokia Oyj and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd.
"Apple and Samsung's ownership of the high-tier and intense price erosion means the fight among others will be cutthroat," said CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber.
The tough road ahead for smaller vendors became more apparent this week, when market leader Samsung reported its best quarterly smartphone sales in history as it outsold Apple and won customers from smaller rivals. Samsung's bigger size allowed it to drive down costs and still make a profit on phones that would generate a loss for smaller rivals.
Some of Apple's earnings miss was attributed to consumers postponing purchases in anticipation of a new iPhone model hitting store shelves this fall. LG did not have that excuse - its cellphone division, which accounts for around one-fifth of sales, posted a quarterly loss as competition forced LG to spend more on marketing for cheaper phones.
LESS PURCHASING POWER
According to Gartner, about 35 percent of an estimated 1.9 billion cellphones sold this year will be smartphones. Between 20 percent and 25 percent of people in the world already own smartphones, with the penetration rate rising to 50 percent to 55 percent in the United States.
"The first wave is selling expensive models to affluent buyers. The second wave is selling lower cost models to less affluent buyers," Strategy Analytic's Mawston said.
Gartner's Milanesi said Huawei and ZTE are in the best position among the lower-tier smartphone vendors.
"If price is the first driver I'm going to pick the Chinese," said Milanesi, who said LG and HTC are most vulnerable to price declines as they "need more to stand out."
Also putting pressure on handset makers are the wireless service providers on which they are heavily dependent in many regions such as Europe and the United States for promotions. Carriers often subsidize phones to encourage their customers to commit to long term contracts.
In Europe, some operators such as Telefonica have been dropping subsidies entirely. The top three U.S. operators, Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc and Sprint Nextel Corp have all been improving profit margins because they cut down on their subsidy costs by offering customers upgrades less frequently.
If consumers do have to cut spending because if the weak economy, IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said: "There's smartphone available for just about every single budget out there."

SOURCE: View the original article here

Apple, Samsung take patent fight to crucial California trial

An Apple retail store is seen in Carlsbad, California April 6, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Blake
1 of 2. An Apple retail store is seen in Carlsbad, California April 6, 2012.
Credit: Reuters/Mike Blake
By Dan Levine and Poornima Gupta
SAN FRANCISCO | Sat Jul 28, 2012 12:13am EDT
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd take their battle for mobile supremacy to court on Monday in one of the biggest-ever technology patent trials, a case with the potential to reshape a fast-evolving market they now dominate.
The tech titans will lock horns in a federal courtroom in San Jose, California, just miles from Apple's headquarters. The stakes are high, with Samsung facing potential U.S. sales bans of its Galaxy smartphones and tablet computers, and Apple in a pivotal test of its worldwide patent litigation strategy. Both sides are seeking financial damages from the other.
Samsung has rapidly overtaken Apple, creator of the iPhone and iPad, and Nokia to become the world's largest smartphone maker. Together, Apple and Samsung account for more than half of smartphone sales globally.
Apple sued Samsung last year in San Jose, claiming its smartphones and tablets slavishly copied the iPhone and iPad. The South Korean company countersued. Since then, the two have expanded their fight to courtrooms in nearly a dozen other countries.
At this trial, Apple is seeking at least $2.53 billion in damages, though U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh could triple that figure if she finds Samsung willfully infringed Apple's patents.
The dispute has reached deep into the tech sector, with companies including Microsoft Corp, IBM Corp, Nokia and Research in Motion Ltd filing court papers this week to try to keep their own patent licensing agreements from being disclosed during the trial.
A loss for Samsung could lead to permanent sales bans against products including the flagship Galaxy S III phone, said Nick Rodelli, a lawyer and adviser to institutional investors for CFRA Research in Maryland. While the S III is not at issue in the trial, if Apple prevails the company could later ask Koh to block sales of that product.
Upward of 20 percent of Samsung's global consolidated profit could be affected if it loses this case, he said.
"Samsung is a big company with operations all over the world, but this is actually a needle-mover for them on the bottom line," Rodelli said.
Apple will try to use Samsung documents to show its rival knowingly violated the iPhone maker's intellectual property rights, while Samsung argues Apple is trying to stifle competition to maintain "exorbitant" profit.
In a statement Friday, Samsung said Apple has been "free-riding" on its technology "while using excessive legal claims against our products in their attempt to limit consumer choice and discourage innovation."
An Apple spokesman reiterated the company's previous statement that it wasn't a coincidence Samsung's latest products looked a lot like the iPhone and iPad, and that Samsung blatantly copied its products.
A loss for Apple could be significant, not only if it were ordered to pay financial damages but also because of the competitive threats. That is because the Galaxy S III is a better phone than the latest iPhone 4S, said Michael Yoshikami, chief executive of Destination Wealth Management.
"Apple is all about slowing Samsung down," said Yoshikami, whose fund holds Apple shares. "Apple will try to buy time until iPhone 5 launches," which is expected in October.
Apple shipped 26 million iPhones in the quarter ended in June, fewer than in the previous quarter and well below the 28 million to 29 million that Wall Street had predicted.
Samsung is estimated to have increased sales to around 50 million smartphones. That helped the South Korean giant to report a record quarterly profit of $5.9 billion on Friday.
FINANCIAL DATA COMES TO LIGHT
In the past few days, the companies have supplied some detailed financial data in court filings, such as a disclosure on Thursday that Apple's gross margins for its iPads are about half of those for the iPhones. The information was included in newly unsealed papers and was not previously known, giving Wall Street a rare glimpse into Apple's financial breakdown for specific products.
The companies had initially sought to keep many documents from public view, but Judge Koh rejected the bulk of the requests on July 17. Her order came hours after Reuters filed court papers opposing the companies' efforts to seal the documents.
The lawyers on both sides are well known: Apple is represented by law firm Morrison & Foerster, which led Oracle Corp's patent case against Google Inc earlier this year over the Android operating system. Samsung, whose products run on Android, hired lawyers from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, which also represents Google and which led Yahoo Inc's short-lived patent lawsuit against Facebook this year.
A 10-member jury will hear evidence over at least four weeks, and it must reach a unanimous decision for Apple or Samsung to prevail on any of their claims.
Apple says Samsung violated four of its design patents, which cover the look and feel of its products. It also says Samsung has infringed three patents for technology such as how the phone distinguishes between scroll and multi-touch gestures.
Meanwhile, Samsung says Apple violated patents on mobile communications systems, as well as features like taking a photo on a phone and seamlessly emailing it.
In a last-ditch attempt to avoid a trial, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook and Samsung Vice Chairman Choi Gee-sung participated in a mediation on July 16. But a settlement prior to trial is unlikely, sources have told Reuters.
It has been tough going so far for Samsung in the case. Koh halted U.S. sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1, giving Apple a significant early win. This was followed by a pretrial ban on the Galaxy Nexus phone. Samsung has appealed both orders.
The stakes for Apple are also high due to competitive threats from other Asian phone makers such as China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, Rodelli said.
"It's arguably the most commercially and doctrinally significant U.S. patent case in the modern era," he said.
The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, is Apple Inc v. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd et al, 11-1846.

SOURCE: View the original article here

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Smartphones power record Samsung profit of $5.9 billion during Apple lull

A man standing on an escalator passes Samsung Electronics' new Galaxy S III smartphone advertisement boards at a Samsung Electronics store in the company's main office building in Seoul July 27, 2012. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji
Samsung Electronics Co, the world's top technology firm by revenue, reported on Friday a record operating profit of $5.9 billion for the June quarter, as rampant Galaxy S handset sales helped stretch its lead over Apple Inc.September quarter mobile profits are expected to forge further ahead as the latest Galaxy model enjoys a sales boom before the next iPhone launch, widely expected in October, driving Samsung's profit to a record of nearly 8 trillion won ($7 billion). The mobile business brings in around 60 percent of Samsung's earnings.
Profits of the handset division more than doubled from a year earlier and the flat-screen business swung to a profit as LCD prices stabilized.
Shares in Samsung, which also makes TVs and other appliances, flat-screens, and chips, jumped as much as 4.7 percent to a five-week high after the results, outperforming the wider market.
"Solid results from the TV division show its resilience to the euro zone crisis, while the mobile division has become a strong cash cow on the back of strong Galaxy sales," said Seo Won-seok, an analyst at Korea Investment & Securities.
"Weak memory chip prices remain the biggest concern for Samsung in the third quarter, but it will again fare better than rivals as its reliance on Apple, which tends to squeeze suppliers quite a bit, is small compared to the likes of Hynix and Toshiba. It'll have less margin pressure."
JK Shin, head of Samsung's telecoms business, told Reuters on Sunday that sales of the Galaxy S III, the most aggressive competitor to the iPhone, were better than his initial forecast of at least 10 million units in the first two months after its launch in late May.
It is also preparing a sequel to the popular phone-cum-tablet Galaxy Note later this year to counter Apple's new product releases.
Samsung, which earlier this year ended Nokia's 14-year reign as the top global handset maker, is estimated to have increased smartphone shipments to 50.5 million in the June quarter, nearly double the 26 million iPhones sold.
Apple shipments in the June quarter tumbled 26 percent sequentially as the European economy sagged and consumers held off on buying ahead of the release of the iPhone 5.
"Regardless of Apple's performance, Samsung will be strong in the third quarter," said Byun Han-joon, an analyst at KB Investment & Securities. "Actually, for Samsung, Apple's stumble is a chance."
Analysts estimated that Samsung, which now controls more than a third of the global smartphone market, will sell 15 million to 20 million of its Galaxy S III in the September quarter.
PATENT BATTLE
Samsung, valued at $160 billion and the world's leading maker of TVs, said April-June operating profit totaled 6.72 trillion won ($5.9 billion), in line with guidance it issued earlier this month.
That is up 79 percent from a year ago and 15 percent from the previous record - 5.85 trillion won in the March quarter.
Still, its net profit of 5.2 trillion won ($4.5 billion) is only half of the $8.8 billion Apple returned in the last quarter from its iPhone, iPad and Mac computer sales.
Samsung's gross margin of 37 percent also lags Apple's 43 percent.
The two technology giants, locked in bruising patent battle globally, will begin a jury trial in federal court in San Jose, California on Monday. Apple seeks roughly $2.5 billion in damages, plus permanent injunctions on some Samsung phones and tablets, while Samsung is demanding patent royalty payments.
Samsung said it expected its third quarter - July to September - to be marginally positive as demand for consumer electronic goods, including smartphones and tablets remains strong.
However, it said it expected weak demand for PC DRAM to continue in the third quarter.
Song Myung-sub, a senior analyst at HI Investment & Securities, said chip earnings might pull back slightly in the third quarter.
"But the increase in demand for its products from Microsoft Windows 8 release in September and the iPhone in October will bring demand higher than supply," Song said.
Profit from the telecoms division more than doubled to 4.19 trillion won from a year earlier 1.71 trillion won, with sales of 50.5 million smartphones - or 380 every minute.
Its semiconductor business showed a small decline in profit to 1.1 trillion won from 1.79 trillion won, following weak demand for NAND memory chips and computer memory chips.
Prices of NAND flash memory chips tumbled 46 percent in the first half of this year following a 34 percent plunge last year, forcing Toshiba Corp to cut output by 30 percent.
The flat screen division swung to a small profit of 750 billion won from a year earlier loss of 210 billion won after a global fall in LCD (liquid crystal display) prices stabilized.
The TV and home appliances business returned 760 billion won, up from 470 billion won. Analysts have said the business has been buoyed by solid sales of high-end TV models with 3D and Internet connectivity features.
While the next iPhone will likely slow Samsung's handset earnings growth, it will boost the Korean firm's semiconductor earnings as Samsung is the sole producer of processing chips used to power the iPhone and iPad, and also supplies Apple with mobile memory chips, NAND flash and display screens.


SOURCE: View the original article here

Samsung unveils limited edition Team GB Galaxy S3 phones, to start selling on August 1


Right as we fervently waited for the official kick off of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, Samsung made our day even brighter by unveiling two special edition Galaxy S3 phones. These will be available for sale in the UK soon and target British tech users who want to show their support for their Olympian heroes.
The Games’ grand opening ceremony might start in just a few hours, but the Olympic fever won’t be easily quenchable across England for the next 17 days. That’s why, even if the two limited edition Galaxy S3 models won’t actually start selling until August 1, they should still prove fairly successful all around Great Britain.
The two special S3 versions look very similar to the Olympics-branded Notes released some time ago – they have the same hardware and software as the “normal” phones, but come with a different casing. You can go for either the Pebble Blue model with UK’s flag slapped on the back, or the Marble White version with the beautiful Team GB lion on it.

Either way, you’ll be offered both the special Team GB cover and a regular S3 one, so as to choose when or for how long to show your passion for sports and support for your nation’s athletes. The best thing about Sammy’s special phone is that you have the liberty to bundle it with your carrier of choice (Vodafone, Orange – T-Mobile, O2, Talk Mobile, or Three), and you can get the handheld for free by signing up for new two-year contracts starting at £28 a month.
More details about specific plans and network offers will be made available on August 1, when the special S3 should start selling from Carphone Warehouse, both online and in retail stores across the UK. Look for the phone then, or get back to our website to find out more.
In the meantime, tell us your bets for the Games. How many medals will Team GB bring home? How about Team USA? And who will be the biggest star of them all? Could it be GB’s Andy Murray? Michael Phelps? Usain Bolt?

SOURCE: View the original article here

Apple says Google told Samsung that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 looked too much like the iPad


The Apple vs Samsung patent-based U.S. case is set to start on July 30, but until then we already have various tidbits to show you from the cases each company will try to prove in court in this legal clash of the titans – and they surely have a complex relationship.
The two companies are fighting for market share and profits in the smartphone and tablet business, but they are also bound by a multi-billion dollar component supply partnership. Also important is the fact that they are facing each other off in more than 50 cases spread across 10 countries, and they’re all mobile-related.
Apple argues that Samsung Galaxy-branded smartphones and tablets are violating its iPhone and iPad patents and designs, while Samsung says that Apple is infringing with various iOS products its own 3G patents – which happen to be FRAND, or standard essential patents.
Apple has scored a few victories against Samsung in pre-trial rulings including a couple injunctions in the U.S. against the Galaxy Nexus and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 – albeit the Galaxy Nexus is still selling in the region after a second Samsung appeal succeeded to stay the initial decision, but also an adverse inference jury instruction. The company also won a few days ago a EU-wide injunction against Galaxy Tab 7.7 sales but also lost an injunction in the UK against the Galaxy Tab 10.1.
What’s worth remembering is that while all these verdicts came out in the last few weeks, Google decided to officially help Samsung in its fight against Apple, especially after the Galaxy Nexus sales ban was obtained in the U.S. by the iPhone maker.

But it turns out that Apple lawyers may also use Google against Samsung, at least according to Apple’s brief which mentions some Samsung interesting documents:
“Samsung’s documents show the similarity of Samsung’s products is no accident or, as Samsung would have it, a ‘natural evolution,’” Apple argues in its brief. “Rather, it results from Samsung’s deliberate plan to free-ride on the iPhone’s and iPad’s extraordinary success by copying their iconic designs and intuitive user interface. Apple will rely on Samsung’s own documents, which tell an unambiguous story.”
Apparently these documents reveal that the Search giant warned Samsung in the past that some of its Android products are too similar to the iPhone and iPad:
 In February 2010, Google told Samsung that Samsung’s “P1” and “P3” tablets (Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Tab 10.1) were “too similar” to the iPad and demanded “distinguishable design vis-à-vis the iPad for the P3.” In 2011, Samsung’s own Product Design Group noted that it is “regrettable” that the Galaxy S “looks similar” to older iPhone models. As part of a formal, Samsung-sponsored evaluation, famous designers warned Samsung that the Galaxy S “looked like it copied the iPhone too much,” and that “innovation is needed.” The designers explained that the appearance of the Galaxy S “[c]losely resembles the iPhone shape so as to have no distinguishable elements,” and “[a]ll you have to do is cover up the Samsung logo and it’s difficult to find anything different from the iPhone.”
These are all points that Apple will make in court, and we’re certainly interested what the jury will think.
This sort of evidence is all the more intriguing in this case as Judge Lucy Koh, who presides the U.S. case, famously asked Samsung counsel in one of the early U.S. face offs to recognize the Galaxy Tab from two tablets she was holding, one being an iPad. The lawyers were not able to identify the tablet of their client “from that distance” – or about 10 feet away – although they finally managed to provide the right answer.
We’ll be back with more news from this battle of giants in the near future.

SOURCE: View the original article here



MetroPCS-bound Samsung Galaxy S Lightray 4G leaks, to be released in August


Dominating the high-end part of the smartphone world doesn’t seem to be enough for Samsung, which is constantly looking to strengthen its presence in the low-end and mid-range niches as well. One phone that could place itself right between these sectors is the Galaxy S Lightray 4G, supposedly headed to MetroPCS in August.
The information comes via a Howard Forums leak and is not yet confirmed, but the fistful of high-quality “spilled” photos and the almost complete spec sheet guarantee that we’re not dealing with a bogus rumor.
That said, the Galaxy S Lightray 4G seems like a pretty bizarre device, starting with its name. I’m sure that most of you tuned in to this article because of the “S” branding in the phone’s title, which made you hope the phone might have something to do with the Galaxy S2 or S3. Well, it doesn’t, as far as we can tell, neither in terms of design, nor in hardware.

The exterior is actually very similar to that of Verizon’s Samsung Droid Charge, a 2011 LTE-enabled phone which hasn’t exactly been a winner. As far as specs go, we don’t know all of them just yet, but the ones we do know place the Lightray ages behind the Galaxy S3 and quite significantly behind the S2, too.
Sporting a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display with an unknown resolution, the Galaxy S Lightray 4G is set to come with an 8 MP rear-facing camera with flash, an 1.3 MP front-facing webcam and 4G LTE connectivity, which ain’t too shabby. However, the phone is rumored to be only packing a 1.3 GHz single-core processor and that’s clearly below par even for mid-rangers these days.

Furthermore, based on the leaked photos, the 4.3-incher might only run Android 2.3 Gingebread upon its release, which would be terribly disappointing. An included 16GB microSD card, HDMI port, TV antenna for “Mobile TV”, and mobile hotspot capability complete the rumored spec sheet of the Lightray, making it one tough nut to crack. Will it be a low-end device? A mid-range one? Something in between?
We should find that out pretty soon, considering that MetroPCS has supposedly scheduled the new Samsung handheld for a mid-August release. If that’s true, an official unveiling is quite imminent. Is anyone excited about the Lightray?

SOURCE: View the original article here



Mark Zuckerberg: No Facebook phone from us


Over the past few years we’ve been hearing rumors every now and then about a possible Facebook phone. However, Mark Zuckerberg has just crushed that idea in Facebook’s recent earnings call saying: “Building out a whole phone really wouldn’t make much sense for us to do.”
And indeed it doesn’t. There are now close to 800 million Android and iOS devices in the market, and Android phones are now growing at a rate of 1 million per day, or 365+ million per year. Plus, there’s a Facebook  app for these devices, that does a pretty good job, or at least it should (if it’s horrible, it’s Facebook’s own fault) at delivering the Facebook service to anyone using such a device.
So why would Facebook go into the hardware business, to build a phone around a single app? There’s not that much more they could offer to users to warrant buying a “Facebook phone” instead of any other phone from another company that also has access to Facebook.

For some reason HTC got the crazy idea last year to make a “Facebook phone”, the HTC Cha Cha, which was basically just  a regular Android phone, with a special hardware button for Facebook. But that’s hardly a reason for anyone who uses Facebook to want to get that phone over other ones.
There are now rumors of HTC working with Facebook yet again for a new “Facebook phone”, which implies some kind of a successor to the HTC Cha Cha, rather than a phone made by Facebook. I doubt this new phone will be any more successful than the HTC Cha Cha, unless HTC makes it one of their flagship devices. But then, people would simply buy it because it would be such a great overall phone, rather than because it would be a “Facebook phone”.

SOURCE: View the original article here

Rumors: AT&T to cut HTC One X price by half, red Galaxy S3 to start selling



Although it was hailed as HTC’s comeback and it supposedly started off more than decently, the One X couldn’t stand the Galaxy S3 charge and saw its sales rapidly drop. No, that’s not an official story, but earlier rumors, combined with a new one, certainly make the scenario trustworthy.
The new rumor comes from an XDA-Developers forum user, who supposedly got his hands on an AT&T e-mail announcing the upcoming price slashing of the One X. “Surflamj”, a junior member of the forum, has stated that he works “for AT&T as a sales rep”, and says that the One X’s discount won’t be part of a temporary “special or deal”.
That means that, starting this Sunday, July 29, anyone with a passion for high-end Android technology will be able to get a spanking new HTC One X for just $99.99 with a two-year contract, and no (other) strings attached.
AT&T’s discount, if it proves to be real, will reduce One X’s price by half (from the current $199.99 price tag), which would be one of the most generous offers made by the carrier in… probably ever. Sure, it wouldn’t be the first time to see a high-end phone discounted this way, but HTC’s flagship is not even three months old.

The rumor should be taken with one large grain of salt, as it’s almost impossible to check if Surflamj is in fact an AT&T employee, but fortunately we will learn about its accuracy fairly soon. One thing is certain, nevertheless, and that is if you’re considering getting a One X from AT&T, you should wait for a few more days.
The supposed internal e-mail makes some light on the red Galaxy S3’s coming, too, which will be scheduled on the exact same day as the One X’s price slashing. The “beast” will be available for some sort of “special order” on Sunday, which is not exactly news and has been confirmed by AT&T officials a while back. However, it remains to be seen what will that “special order” mean. Could it possibly be another discount?
Which one of these two deals sounds more tempting to you? Would you rather go for a $99 HTC One X or a likely $199 snazzy red Samsung Galaxy S3?

SOURCES: View the original article here

Amazon Q2 2012: Kindle Fire best-seller device, net income down 96%


All the main companies in the tech business are posting their financial details for the second quarter of the year, ending on June 30, and after we looked at various players in the mobile business – including Google, Apple, AT&T or Samsung – we now have Amazon’s financial report for Q2 2012 to inspect.
As expected, the most important product for the company remains its own tablet, the Kindle Fire, a device that’s sold at cost, as the giant retailer tries to make money off the digital content purchased on the tablet by its owners.
But Amazon’s numbers weren’t necessarily good for a company that’s fairly interested in turning in a healthy profit each quarter. The company reported $12.83 billion in sales for the period, a 29% increase in sales, but net income dropped 96% compared to the year-ago quarter to $7 million.
Sure, that number was affected by a $65 million “of estimated net loss related to the acquisition and integration of Kiva Systems, Inc.” but also by a “$272 million unfavorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter. But $7 million is still a very low number for such a retailer.
It is not clear how many Kindle Fire units the company sold in the second quarter of the year, but those numbers must have surely been affected by the launch of the new iPad, which made Apple discount the iPad 2 by $100, but also by the Nexus 7 rumors that hit the web during the time – the Jelly Bean tablet has only been unveiled in late June, and started selling on its announcement day at Google I/O.
What we’re mostly interested to see from Amazon is its new generation of Kindle Fire tablets, which may be announced and launched in the following months – the company is rumored to have quite a few models in stock soon, with the most recent report suggesting that Amazon will release six different Kindle Fire versions this year.

SOURCE: View the original article here

Friday, July 27, 2012

Apple U.S. margins for iPad about half of iPhone: filing

An Apple logo is seen at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2012 in San Francisco, California June 11, 2012. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Apple Inc earned gross margins of 49 to 58 percent on its U.S. iPhone sales between April 2010 and the end of March 2012, while gross margins on the iPad were much lower during much of that period, according to a court filing.
The information was revealed on Thursday in a freshly unsealed statement from an Apple expert witness, filed in the company's patent battle against Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.
An Apple representative declined to comment on the court filing.
Between October 2010 and the end of March 2012, Apple had gross margins of 23 to 32 percent on its U.S. iPad sales, which generated revenue of more than $13 billion for Apple, the filing said. Apple does not typically disclose profit margins on individual products.
U.S. iPhone sales between April 2010 and the end of March 2012 generated revenue of more than $33 billion for Apple.
Apple and Samsung, the world's largest consumer electronics corporations, are waging legal war around the world, accusing each other of patent violations as they vie for supremacy in a fast-growing market for mobile devices.
A trial is scheduled to begin in federal court in San Jose, California, on Monday. Apple is seeking roughly $2.53 billion in damages, plus permanent injunctions on some Samsung phones and tablets.
The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, is Apple Inc v. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd et al, 11-1846.
(Reporting By Dan Levine; Editing by Leslie Adler)

SOURCE: View the original article here

Want to know how much Motorola’s patents are worth? It’s $5.5 billion


When the news broke about Google’s intention to acquire Motorola Mobility last year, the move was put down mainly as a way for Google to access Moto’s extensive list of patents. However, the industry was left to wonder how much out of the $12.4 billion deal can be attributed to said patents.
Hopes of finding out details of the deal were squashed when the acquisition was finalized on May 2012, but no information was shared with the rest of the world. A recent regulatory filling made by Google now sheds some light on the dollar value of Motorola’s patents.
It turns out that barely half of the money spent to acquire Motorola went to its patents. To be more specific, Google paid $5.5 billion to Moto for its “patents and developed technology”, which Google hopes will help shield the company and Android from patent infringement litigation, and probably allow it to start its own if provoked. We doubt Google would be actively pursuing this option, but sometimes you got to fight fire with fire.
As for how the rest of the purchase price, the money was distributed like thise: $2.9 billion was for cash acquired, $2.6 billion for goodwill, $730 million for customer relationships, and $670 million for other net assets acquired.
Patents-aside, it’s too early to tell whether the acquisition will greatly benefit either sides. During Google’s Q2 earnings call, which was delivered last week, we found out that Motorola has made a worthy contribution to Google’s bottom line. The maker of the RAZR series contributed $1.25 billion in revenue to its parent company. The search giant’s Q2 revenue topped $12.2 billion.
With Google reportedly showing an increasing interest in the hardware business, it is likely we will see the company getting more involved in Moto’s hardware development activity, but that won’t  happen soon. Google CFO Patrick Pichette said that, while people can expect things to change at Motorola, Google has no announcements to make regarding what strategic moves have been planned for Moto.
It looks like Motorola will be left to its own device for now.

SOURCE : View the original article here

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bolls: Android strategy game of cute, algae-eating balls


Bolls is a turn-based Android strategy game that not only involves fighting off your opponent’s own Bolls but also gathering resources for them. That isn’t a typo you’re looking at. Bolls are the eponymous creatures of this online multiplayer strategy game. These creatures are circles with faces, mouths, and occasionally, hands, fangs, wings, or gills.
The aim of the game is to pit these cute creatures against your enemy’s own army of Bolls. Don’t forget that you’ll need to make sure that your troops have sufficient nourishment. They eat Algae which can be collected in the river. Each Boll in your army can consume 1 algae a month so make sure that you can feed your troops.

Though you receive a Boll from your Queen Boll each month, these critters can also breed. To produce one baby Boll, you’ll need one light Boll, one dark Boll, and three Twigs. What makes breeding the more preferable choice of producing Bolls is that baby Bolls can inherit characteristics from each of its parents. Say you mate a light Boll with hands (or call it light hand-Boll) with a dark Boll with fur (or call it dark fur-Boll). The resulting offspring will have both fur and hands.


The Boll you receive from your Boll Queen, on the other hand, is only one of the 6 types available. Though you can choose, their attributes are pretty limited. You can choose from a fur-Boll or a hand-Boll.
There are two more types you can choose from: a Boll with gills which can swim and collect Algae and a Boll with wings which can fly to gather Twigs. Both these Boll types can also reach the island in the middle of the river to collect Shrooms.
You can also choose a Boll with fangs that may help you out in battles with its strength or a Boll with a shell whose defenses will protect it against Bolls with fangs. Each Boll is vital to your winning against your opponent.
Why are these Shrooms so vital? Shrooms are used for buying upgrades such as increasing the defense of your Queen’s den. This is especially important because if your Boll Queen dies, then you lose. Though the Queen is higher ranked than most Bolls, if she’s attacked enough, her health will be whittled away and she’ll eventually die.
To win the game, you must place your Bolls on the hill in front of your enemy’s den to directly attack their Queen. But, don’t be lax in your defenses. There are two other places where battle can take place.

The island in the middle of the river where Shrooms can be found is a battleground, because your enemies will also want to purchase their own upgrades. Your enemy will also want to attack your Queen so make sure that the hill in front of your den is well-protected.
Once you’ve put all your Bolls in their positions, from gathering resources, to mating, and to defending your den, the month will end and so will your turn. You’ll then have to wait for your enemy’s turn before the game can continue. When your Bolls face off and there are more than 2 Bolls facing off your enemy’s troops at a single spot, you’ll need to decide which ones of the Bolls will fight on the front line.
If you get bored waiting for your opponent’s turn, you can engage another opponent, either a friend or a random Bolls player, to a match. You can have several matches going on at the same time.
Bolls certainly keeps players busy and makes them consider their fighting force and the resources necessary to sustain it. The battle field is also subject to change, such as the water levels rising or dropping. If the water levels are high, only Bolls with gills can collect Algae, but if the water levels are low, even Bolls without gills can collect Algae.

If it’s all so confusing for you, you can tap on the Singleplayer Tutorial. The game will then guide you on what you need to do and will have you fight against enemy Bolls to get a feel of the controls.
Because Bolls is free, it’s also ad-supported. While normally I don’t mind ads, the ads in Bolls can sometimes show up at the bottom of the screen, right over the settings icon. Ads also appear in the middle of the screen. Bolls also frequently shows the loading screen, although, in my test, it doesn’t take long to load.
I found the music actually rather catchy, easily immersing me into the vast fields of green and it really connects to nature when you start hearing the birds tweeting. When your Bolls face off in battle, the battle music plays. I highly appreciated that it sounded tense, giving you a sense of some serious business about to go down.
You can get Bolls Free from the Google Play Store. The pro version of this Android strategy game is still on the way, promising features such as world ranking, monthly rewards, and changeable Boll color.
 
SOURCE: View the original article here

Intel plans to port Jelly Bean to Atom-based gadgets, no ETA announced just yet

The Verge

Intel, the world’s number one supplier of PC processors, has neglected getting in the Android game until a few months ago, thus allowing ARM to easily dominate the market. The Santa Clara-based company is now finally looking to make a push in the Android world, and, while its first steps might seem a bit hesitant, its future plans are pretty bold.

There might not be many Intel-based Android gadgets available for sale right now, but, according to official claims, they will soon get Jelly Bean updates. The news comes from the guys at PCWorld, who’ve had a very short talk with Suzy Greenberg, one of Intel’s spokespersons.

According to Greenberg, “Intel continues to work closely with Google to enable future versions of Android, including Jelly Bean, on our family of low power Atom processors.” Naturally, Intel’s spokeswoman “neglected” to announce any kind of timeframe for the Android 4.1 updates, which should help cool off some of the enthusiasm generated by the news.

It’s also worth noting that before current Intel-based gadgets will be able to take the leap to Jelly Bean, they’ll first need to be upgraded to Android 4.0 ICS. Both the Lava Xolo X900 and the Orange San Diego are running Gingerbread for the time being, which seriously affects their chances to get Jelly Bean by the end of the year.

Ironically, it’s possible some unreleased Intel-based Android devices would get Jelly Bean before the Xolo X900 and the San Diego. We know that Motorola and Vizio have plans to launch Android-based smartphones and tablets powered by Intel’s Medfield platform soon, and there’s a shot, albeit a slim one, that these new devices will come with 4.1 JB out of the box.

As far as Intel’s next-generation Atom chip, Clover Trail, goes, it has zero chances of ever being paired with Jelly Bean, for one simple reason. The new processor will only be powering Microsoft Windows 8 upcoming slates, if we are to believe PCWorld’s usually trustworthy sources.

To recap, Intel is saying that is currently working on Jelly Bean ports for gadgets that haven’t yet received ICS updates, all while tech users don’t seem very interested in the respective devices, due to their limited availability and unattractive specs. On top of it, there’s no news about a next-generation Intel chip for Android gadgets. Okay, can I reconsider that “bold future plans” claim made in the article’s opening paragraph?

SOURCES PC World

TAGS Android 4.1intelIntel AtomIntel MedfieldJelly BeanJelly Bean UpdateOrange San DiegoXolo X900



View the original article here

Sony might unveil new smartphones in Berlin on August 29, Hayabusa and Mint could lead the line-up


The CES, MWC and IFA electronics tradeshows used to be the events where new trends were made and products were unveiled. But lately some of the big manufacturers have shifted their strategies. Samsung, Sony, and Asus have all started to hold exclusive events of their own, to ensure that all the spotlight is on their products.
The Samsung Unpacked event from May, when the Galaxy S3 was unveiled, was probably more popular than both this year’s CES and MWC together, and now Sony is trying to do something similar with an exclusive Berlin press conference and “booth unveiling”.
Sony’s special announcement will take place just two days before the beginning of IFA 2012 (also set to be held in Berlin), and, while we haven’t yet got an invitation from the Japan-based tech giant, we’ll cover the event extensively, right from the “crime scene”.

The guys over at GSM Arena have received one of the first invitations from Sony, but unfortunately it doesn’t say much about what products are to be revealed in Berlin. The invite doesn’t specifically mention the company’s mobile division, but the fact that it was first sent to a website like GSM Arena is a clear indicator that we’ll see one or several new Android smartphones.
There are only a few likely suspects for the headline title of the event, but Sony might also be prepping a surprise. The LT29i, a.k.a. Hayabusa, a.k.a. the global version of the Japanese Xperia GX, could well be made official on August 29, although we frankly expect it to come much sooner.

The LT30 Mint is another high-end Sony smartphone expected to be launched quite soon, with rumors from January stating that it could start selling in September. That possibility seems pretty slim right now, but it’s not impossible that we’ll see the Mint unveiled in Berlin and made available a few weeks later.
Towards the lower end of the range, there are two other Sony smartphones leaked in that launch schedule from January, but both of them are still wrapped in mystery. We haven’t heard a thing about the “AFFM” or the “Atlas” over the last six months, so there’s a good chance they have been either postponed or canceled altogether.
The August 29 event, which is set to start at 16:15 and end at 17:00 (CET), could also be the perfect occasion for the unveiling of  a non-smartphone Sony product. We might see a new Walkman or even the much awaited Playstation 4 get some attention.
No matter what devices Sony is planning to unveil next month in Berlin, it’s pretty clear that we’re all in for a treat, so don’t forget to check back to our website to find out what this event is all about.


 SOURCE: View the original article here



Jelly Bean OTA update for WiFi Motorola Xoom now available, soak testers get it early



Getting jealous seeing those jolly jelly beans on the Nexus 7, Galaxy Nexus, and Nexus S?
The official Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean update for the Motorola Xoom will be rolled out soon, but you can try your luck by downloading and installing the OTA file yourself, which has been uploaded by Google on its website.
Manually flashing the Jelly Bean OTA file on your Motorola Xoom will be quite a challenge though, because the file is meant only for “soak testers” and it may still contain bugs and the likes. Those who tried (and failed) have reported a “space issues” error while trying to install the update.



But if you’re brave enough and up for the challenge, the folks at XDA-developers have come up with a workaround. It’s worth noting that, at this point, it’s not guaranteed to work 100%. The workaround involves the use of CWM, a USB drive, and an OTG cable. You can head to the original thread at XDA for more details and instructions on how to make that leap to Android 4.1.1.
If this sounds like too big of a hassle, we suggest that you wait for the official rollout of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean on your trusty old Motorola Xoom.  The time to flick away those floating jelly beans on your WiFi Xoom will come soon enough.





SOURCE: View the original article here

Want Adobe Flash on your Jelly Bean-running device? Find out how to install it and make it work


As expected for quite some time, Google has broken all  ties with Adobe Flash and ceased offering support for the web technology in the latest Android version, Jelly Bean. And while many users are probably doing fine without the multimedia platform, there surely are a few nostalgic ones who would like the chance to install Flash on their new Android 4.1-running gadgets.
Fortunately, a couple of XDA-Developers forum members have already thought about that, so you can now easily and safely install Flash on any gadget with JB. Those who own a 4.1-running device with Android’s native browser app, like the Galaxy Nexus or the Nexus S, will have the easiest time.
If you have a Nexus and would like to get a taste of how Flash works on Jelly Bean, you’ll only have to go to recognized XDA contributor Stempox’ thread here and follow the simple instructions. The same goes for those who are currently using any of the numerous custom ROMs based on JB and have a device running Android’s native Browser (Flash won’t work with the Chrome browser, which doesn’t support plugins).

For Google Nexus 7 adopters, the road to installing Flash is a bit bumpier, due to the fact that the new 7-incher doesn’t come preloaded with Browser. What you’ll have to do in this case is go to senior XDA member Censura_Umbra’s thread here and download Android’s native browser. There are a couple of permissions and folder names you’ll have to change after installing the app, but, overall, you should get everything done pretty quickly, even if you don’t have much experience in installing unofficial APKs.


After installing Browser, which supposedly works like a charm, with no bugs reported until now, your Nexus 7 Tablet will have to be taken through the same “treatment” like any other JB-running device. You’ll have to go to Stempox’ thread as well and follow his six short steps.
Has anyone tried installing Flash with Steampox’s APK and guide? Does it work? Do you recommend other users to go for it as well, or is it as glitchy as one would expect? Let us know in the comments section below.

SOURCE: View the original article here

Box partners with Qualcomm to preload app on Snapdragon devices, users to get free 50GB storage



The cloud storage competition on mobile devices is heating up, as Box goes on the offense against other established players in the market. The cloud storage company has struck a deal with Qualcomm, one of biggest SoC makers in the Android ecosystem, as well as with Microsoft for its Windows Phone devices. We figure you’ll be more interested in the former, so here are the deets.
The Qualcomm partnership means that select devices powered by Snapdragon processors will come preloaded with the Box Android app. The main perk for users is that they will get 50GB of free Box storage. The deal doesn’t necessarily mean that the Box service is mandatory, but phone manufacturers will be given the opportunity to opt in on the offer.
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors are prominently featured in recent top offerings from major Android manufacturers. The North American variant of the Samsung Galaxy S3 and the HTC One X, for example, are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 chip. Both Samsung and HTC, interestingly, have already inked deals of their own with Box’s rival Dropbox. Sony Mobile, on the other hand, has taken Box’s side — the Xperia Ion LTE comes with a free 50GB Box storage.
According to the company, the Box Android application has been downloaded 2.2 million times since it was made available back in September 2010. With Qualcomm on its side, the annual number of downloads is expected to triple.

SOURCE: View the original article here

Wi-Fi standard 802.11ad will offer up to 7Gbps over small distances



The 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard promises gigabit speeds in the under 6 Ghz spectrum, with a focus mostly on the 5 Ghz band. It’s meant to replace today’s still quite fast 802.11n standard, but we can’t argue with improvements can we? The 802.11ac standard can massively increase speed, but also the energy efficiency, which is important for mobile devices.
But while we’re waiting for the 802.11ac Wi-Fi specification to start being implemented in devices, the Wi-Fi alliance has almost finished another Wi-Fi standard called 802.11ad. The new standard will complement, not replace the 802.11ac spec. The 802.11ad standard uses much of the same technology, but operates on the 60GHz band, which means it will provide a much shorter range, but also a much fatter bandwidth.
Where 802.11ac can [carry] up to three lightly compressed video streams, 802.11ad can deliver uncompressed HD video and cable-free docking at multi-gigabit rates, with very low latency,” says Wi-Fi Alliance spokesperson Kevin Robinson.
That sounds very intriguing, but its usefulness must be validated by some real use cases.  The reason I’m a little skeptical is because 802.11n is already fast enough indoors, faster than pretty much any existing Internet connection at 150-300 Mbps, while 802.11ac promises an even faster 1 Gbit connection.
Plus, 802.11ac will be much better at transferring data through walls and over longer distances, so it’s generally a much better Wi-Fi standard. So, if the 802.11ac is perfectly adequate in all use cases, what is the point of 802.11ad then? Maybe the group behind the standard has some use cases in mind that are not immediately obvious. We’ll see when it arrives within a year.
Marvell has announced a partnership with Israeli startup Wilocity to make tri-band chips, that include the 2.4 Ghz, 5 Ghz and 60 GHz bands, so 802.11ac and 802.11ad will be integrated on the same chip. Wilocity has announced a similar deal with Qualcomm a year ago, so we should expect this kind of chip from Qualcomm as well. Two other startups, Beam Networks and Peraso Technologies, will announce their own 802.11ad chips within 6-9 months.

If it comes integrated in new chips (without inflating the price), it might not matter whether the new 802.11ad standard is that useful or not. But personally I wish that the Wi-Fi Alliance focused their attention elsewhere. I’d be much more interested in a low-frequency Wi-Fi standard that has a range of a few miles, maybe a few tens of miles, which could completely disrupt the centralized LTE technology that carriers are using. Give us that in an unlicensed space like regular Wi-Fi, and we’ll get a ton of innovation out of it, not to mention lower prices from carriers, and that’s if they are still relevant in such conditions.
There is such a technology, called Super Wi-Fi, but it has nothing to do with regular Wi-Fi besides its name, and it’s not developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance. This wireless standard is supposed to work in “white space” (former analog TV broadcasting space), which is in the lower frequencies of the radio spectrum. However, we probably won’t see commercial Super Wi-Fi for at least a few more years, if the standard is even finalized.


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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Logic Labyrinth: Android game app for strategic thinking and logic


Puzzle games and brain teasers are a great way to spend your breaks between classes or at work. Some people play solitaire on their computers or with real cards, others try to make as many words as they can with word boardgames.
Logic Labyrinth, developed by eetayo, looks deceptively easy. The goal of the game is to get one of the two balls you’re provided into the hole in the labyrinth.
The balls you’re given each stage are random but I highly enjoyed the balls’ 3D look against the level’s wooden background. On the HTC Sensation that I played this on, the balls in the first world have a beautiful marble texture.
To navigate the balls around the labyrinth, you’ll need to make use of the directional arrows located on the labyrinth. The balls move together, so when you tap up, both balls will move up. Tap right and to the right both these balls will go.
What makes this game challenging is that you can’t really control where the balls go. Whenever you tap on a direction, the balls will keep moving in that direction but won’t stop until they hit an obstacle, such as the wall or each other. This also means that if the hole is located near a wall but not actually next to it, the balls will roll over the hole.

When you first launch Logic Labyrinth, you’ll see a window with a number 1. This is the first world you’ll be visiting, consisting of 20 levels. There are five levels all in all, with 20 levels each, making a grand total of 100 levels to keep your mind working.
The first level looks simple enough and you only need to move your ball to the right of the screen. When you get to the second level, however, you’ll see obstacles. Rather than seeing them as hindrances, you can use these obstacles to your advantage. Remember that balls won’t stop moving until they hit something? Use the second ball you have and the obstacles to get a ball into the hole within as few moves as possible.


At the top of the screen, you’ll see the buttons for Pause, Restart, and Exit. You can also see the Movements counter. Below it is Record and a specified number. Your goal is to get the ball into the hole in the same number of moves specified. If you get the ball into the hole in the specified number of moves, you get three stars. If you go over the number of moves, you get two stars. The more unnecessary moves you make, the fewer stars you get until you get no stars at all.


Logic Labyrinth has sound effects, such as when the balls move across the labyrinth, when a ball falls into the hole, and when you open the window for a level, but the levels do not have any background music. Some players may find this disappointing but personally, I was thankful. You can focus on accomplishing the level without having to turn the sounds off.
You can listen to the sounds that matter without being bugged by background music. Accessing the menu on the main screen lets you toggle the sound and music, so if you want to play Logic Labyrinth and you don’t have headphones with you, you can just switch the sound and music off.


While doing this Android app review, I initially had some trouble installing Logic Labyrinth on our stock Galaxy S2 and rooted HTC Sensation. The game went smoothly until I played the first level. Once the ball fell into the hole, the game stopped responding and force closed. It did, however, work on a Galaxy Note, a Galaxy Y, and a stock HTC Sensation. We’re not sure what this could mean, but it may have been a snag on our end.

Logic Labyrinth is a straightforward game that will definitely challenge you. You’ll spend levels figuring out how to get the ball into the hole and once you succeed, you’ll want to play the level again and get the ball in using fewer moves. The levels are short enough that you can play a few during your breaks to stimulate your brain.
You can download Logic Labyrinth Lite for free from the Google Play Store but it only gives you access to two of the five 20-level worlds available. You can also purchase the Logic Labyrinth pro version if you want to play all 100 levels.


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Next-gen Xiaomi phone to have quad-core S4 Pro chip and 720p display


Xiaomi is the Chinese company behind the popular MIUI ROM.
Last year, they launched their own Xiaomi phone with the MIUI ROM on top, and it seems they’ve been fairly successful with it, as they’ve just announced a $216 million investment in their company. Moreover, leaks are pointing out to a next-gen quad-core smartphone with a 720p display, coming soon from them.
The chip on the rumored phone comes from Qualcomm, and since the only quad-core processor they’ve announced for this year is the S4 Pro with the Adreno 320 GPU, that’s most likely what the high-end Xiaomi will have. The device doesn’t seem to have a front-facing camera, but the pricing might make up for it. The rumored price is just $300, which would be significantly cheaper than Meizu’s $480 quad-core phone (Exynos 4 Quad chip), Meizu being Xiaomi’s main local rival.
The OS version will most likely be Android 4.0, but if they won’t release the new quad-core device soon, it’s possible that Xiaomi will be able to upgrade it to Android 4.1. Even if it’s released with Android 4.0, i’m sure Xiaomi will release the Jelly Bean upgrade soon after, because they just love playing with custom ROMs and the latest versions of Android.
From the pictures, we can see that Xiaomi is following a trend that not many manufacturers have adopted yet – making stylish, yet colorful phones. I think that people want to have different colors on their phones, but so far, most manufacturers are still only choosing the safest colors, like black or white. Actually, not too long ago they probably thought the white color is pretty “daring”, but now it almost seems necessary for all phone models.


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