Monday, December 31, 2012

Great game deals to kick off the new year How about Halo 4 for $34.99? Or Far Cry 2 for $2.49 (with a $5 Amazon credit)? Those deals and more...

Welcome to my last post of 2012. Hope you all had a wonderful holiday, and I wish you the best as we head into what will hopefully be a saner, safer new year.

Personally, I'm hoping to find a little more time for fun -- more books, more sports, and more gaming. Especially cheap gaming, which makes it even more fun in my book. Today I've rounded up some pretty spectacular game deals for consoles and PCs; take a look:

1. While supplies last, Newegg (via Ebay) has an Xbox Live Gold 12-month Membership Card for $37.99 shipped. Typical price: $59.99. Xbox Live Gold lets you play games online and stream content from the likes of Hulu and Netflix.

2. While we're on the subject of Xbox, Newegg also has Halo 4 for $34.99 shipped when you use coupon code EMCYTZT2716 at checkout. (You need to be a Newegg newsletter subscriber to use the code.) Buy it at retail and you'll pay $59.99 (plus sales tax, natch). That's the lowest price by far I've seen on this smash-hit sequel.

3. Switching gears to PCs, Amazon has Far Cry 2: Fortune's Edition for $2.49 -- and if you buy it by the end of the day, you'll get a $5 credit good toward any "Editor's Choice" game download you purchase in January. By the way, ignore the negative reviews; they're mostly griping about the game's DRM. Get the more accurate scoop in GameSpot's full Far Cry 2 review. By the way, this download includes the Fortune's Pack add-on.

4. Got younger gamers in the house? For my money you can't beat the LEGO series, especially when they're priced like this: Green Man Gaming has LEGO Batman: The Videogame (PC) for $4.75 when you apply coupon code GMG30-DPLIM-DN831 and the much newer LEGO Batman 2: DC Heroes for $8.40 with the same code. (The latter still sells elsewhere for the full list price of $29.99.) Tremendous bargains, both.

5. Finally, Steam continues to serve up some great holiday deals, today focusing on franchises like BioShock, Grand Theft Auto, and Far Cry (you can get that same $2.49 deal on Far Cry 2, but without the Amazon credit), and Galactic Civilizations. These are available until around noon tomorrow, at which point they'll be replaced by other deals.

Have a safe, happy, and fun-filled new year, cheeps!
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Samsung to sell first Tizen smartphone next year, report says Tizen is an alternative Linux-based operating system seen as a more open platform that will rival Google's Android and Apple's iOS.

Samsung at the Consumer Electronics Show.
(Credit: Samsung)

Samsung Electronics will be the first to sell a smartphone running on the Tizen operating system through Japanese carrier NTT Docomo and other partners next year, according to Japan's Daily Yomiuri.

Samsung, NTT Docomo, and their partners hope to build a platform that will rival the major operating systems from Apple and Google. Other carriers interested in Tizen include the U.K.'s Vodaphone and France Telecom, according to the report.

CNET has contacted Samsung for comment, and we'll update the story when the company responds.

Tizen is a Linux-based operating system that emerged from the death of Nokia's MeeGo. Intel, which originally worked with Nokia on MeeGo, and Samsung took over the development of the operating system, which is also overseen by the Linux Foundation. It is seen as more open than Google's Android, which despite its claims of openness, has irked some partners with certain restrictions, including the inability to make massive changes to the underlying platform.

The various companies involved with Tizen see the platform as a potential alternative with both Android and the closed iOS operating system from Apple getting too powerful. Samsung has seen its market share and dominance over the smartphone industry soar with Android, but is hedging its bets. Samsung is also juggling Microsoft's Windows Phone operating system as well, but so far the platform hasn't taken off for the company.

Beyond phones, Tizen could be used for other devices, including televisions and tablets. Samsung has been quick to add platforms capable of running apps in devices such as televisions and even appliances.

NTT Docomo, meanwhile, is the only major Japanese carrier to not sell the iPhone, and Daily Yomiuri said that the carrier hopes that Tizen will help reverse the subscriber losses.
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Thursday, December 6, 2012

HTC Said To Be Prepping Its New “M7″ Flagship Android Phone For A Q1 2013 Launch

Financially speaking, HTC hasn’t had the best track record this year. Even after promising to focus on hero devices in 2012, the company has had to deal with rough quarter after rough quarter. It seems that HTC is already working to make 2013 a bit brighter though — recent report from Focus Taiwan points out that the company is currently slaving away on its next flagship smartphone, tentatively named the “M7.”

There’s very little known about the device at this point, but a little digging from the folks at HTC Source seems to have unearthed an early spec sheet. If true, the M7 could ship with a 5-inch display running at 1080p, an aluminum unibody chassis, a 13-megapixel camera, and (most importantly) a Qualcomm APQ8064 quad-core processor.

On some level it seems like HTC is rushing into things — after all, the Taiwanese company just launched a pair of 1080p display-toting phones in Japan and the United States within the past two months, though it doesn’t seem like either of them will land in Europe any time soon. Then again there’s not a whole lot of time for players in the wireless industry to sit around and catch their proverbial breath. Rivals LG and Samsung are both widely expected to launch followups to their own respective flagship phones (complete with 1080p displays as well) within the first half of 2013. The eventual announcement may not be the most welcome news for customers who have just taken the plunge on another device, but hey — that’s just the nature of the beast.

If this thing really is in the works, then I imagine it won’t be too long before it makes its grand entrance — HTC usually shows off some impressive new hardware (the One series, anyone?) at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and that’s less than three months away. Couple that with some analyst chatter about a March 2013 launch and the company’s track record with employees’ loose lips, and we have all the makings of a potential leakfest sooner rather than later.

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Sony reveals 3.5-inch Xperia E single or dual-SIM Android phone, coming early next year

Sony has just announced the new Xperia E smartphone sporting a 3.5-inch HVGA 320 x 480 display and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (though the specs indicate ICS), available with single or "Xperia Edual" mode SIMs. It's touting the new handset as a way to "stay on top of your data and battery usage," sporting special software that disables WiFi and data traffic when the screen has been asleep for more than a few minutes. With the dual-SIM option, you'll also be able to switch between carriers with a single touch "to stay on the most cost effective plan." It'll come with HD Voice and Walkman xLOUD technology for optimal sound quality, according to Sony, and other specs include a 1GHz processor, wireless DNLA connectivity, a 1500 mAh battery and black, white or pink color options. Pricing has yet to be announced, but it'll launch in Q1 2013 according to the PR, which you can find along with a video right after the break.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Gangnam Style Onslaught Continues With An Official Live Wallpaper For Android Devices

It’s been, what, five months since PSY’s Gangnam Style first made its YouTube debut? You’d think that Gangnam fever would’ve died out long ago, but it just keeps chugging along — the video recently beat some Justin Bieber garbage to become the most-watched thing on YouTube, and some expect it to hit 1 billion views in short order. If all that weren’t enough, there’s now an official Gangnam Style live wallpaper for Android-toting K-Pop fanatics to throw their money at.

Sure, it’s not the first one to worm its way into the Google Play store, but it’s by far the best. To wit: double-tapping the wallpaper causes the otherwise dull background image to slide apart and reveal the infamous elevator thrusting scene (accompanied by brief snippets of the song, naturally). It’s funny enough, but Gangnam Style purists will probably be miffed when they discover that none of the snippets actually match up with what’s happening visually.

What’s more, each new email or text message you receive also causes the wallpaper to spring to life. Jaded though I may be at this point, watching PSY gallop about like a ninny whenever I got a new message still manages to elicit some giggles. To top it all off, an audio file called “sexy_lady” is automatically set as your device’s default notification sound once the live wallpaper has been enabled — you can probably guess exactly what happens, but here’s a video just in case your imagination is a little lacking:
Terribly obvious visual gags aside, the live wallpaper will occasionally display PSY’s latest tweets, as well as upcoming concert dates and tour stops. If all this sounds like a recipe for a good time, you may want to mosey on over to the Google Play Store to see for yourself. Be warned, though — most reviewers didn’t seem to have much trouble with it, but I found that the live wallpaper would occasionally force close on my Nexus 4. If you’re thinking about shelling out the $1.99 for this thing, do yourself a favor and take advantage of the 15-minute return window if things turn sour right out of the gate.

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Google Maps On The Wii U Lets You Wander The World’s Streets With Your GamePad Beginning In January

While I’ve managed to resist the call of the Wii U so far, neat tricks with the GamePad like the newly-announced Google Maps app Street View integration have me sorely tempted. Nintendo announced today that Google Maps will be arriving on the Wii U gaming console in early 2013, delivering a unique Street View mode for the GamePad touchscreen controller that allows users to pan around various locations as they view satellite map imagery on their television.

Initially, I might have questioned the need for a mapping app on a home gaming console, which tend to be stationary, but the ability to take essentially walking tours from the comfort of your living room in a way that’s much more immersive than just panning around on a computer screen or mobile device makes this very interesting. Japan’s Wii U owners will be able to grab the Google Maps app beginning in January, where it will be available free at least through March.

Nintendo also discussed a special Panorama View app, which will feature 360-degree videos, not just static imagery, that users can pan around using the GamePad. This app was originally unveiled at E3, and will arrive in Spring 2013 in Japan. U.S. releases of both features are expected to follow their Japanese introductions.

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Nokia Unveils Latest Windows Phone 8 Device: Lumia 620 Packs 3.8 Inch ClearBlack Display, NFC, Costs $249 (Before Taxes)

Marko Ahtisaari, Executive VP of Design, Nokia, has unveiled its latest Windows Phone 8 device: the Nokia Lumia 620. The product design chief was speaking at the LeWeb conference taking place this week in Paris.

The phone is smaller (and cheaper) than other Windows Phone 8 Lumia devices — with a 3.8 inch screen, 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor and Nokia’s ClearBlack display to improve the viewing experience outdoors in bright sunlight. (Full device specs can be found here.)

Nokia is also adding some new casing colours with this Lumia device — overlaying one translucent colour layer over an opaque layer to produce new “bold blends” with a “depth effect” — such as lime green and orange. Seven colours are being offered in all, with exchangeable shells — in gloss and matte finishes.

“We knew there was space in the portfolio for something more compact,” said Ahtisaari. “Something that fit beautifully in the palm of the hand. But something that still had the camera, a solid camera, and the signature apps that Nokia is noted for. And as well we wanted something that would take our pure colour story and just give it a burst of playfulness — mix it up a little bit.”

The more compact form factor of the Lumia 620, means Nokia has opted for a “softer, rounder” form factor than for its other two — larger — Windows Phone 8 devices: the Lumia 920 and 820, noted Ahtisaari.

The Lumia 620 also includes NFC for linking up with accessories such as speakers, an “especially loud speaker” on the back of the phone, a “very fast” five megapixel camera and Nokia-specific Windows Phone 8 apps/features — such as SmartShoot, Cinemagraph, City Lens, Lenses, Maps, Music, Drive and Transport. Also on board: a front-facing camera for video calls.

The design chief said the phone will cost $249 (before taxes) — its cheapest Windows Phone 8 device by far — and is set to ship in January, to Asia-Pac, Middle East and Africa first, with Europe and Canada following “soon thereafter”.

View the orginal article here

Samsung to ship more than 60M smartphones in Q4, says analyst The Korean smartphone maker could ship as many as 61.5 million smartphones, a 5 percent gain from the prior quarter, says a UBS analyst.

Samsung should enjoy a profitable quarter if one analyst's smartphone projections are on the money.

The company is expected to ship 61.5 million smartphones in the fourth quarter, said UBS analyst Nicolas Gaudois, as reported by the Yonhap News agency. That number would prove a 5 percent gain over the 58 million estimated shipments for the third quarter.

And the figure could grow as high as 63 million, the analyst forecast, depending on how many units are actually sold to consumers. The gain in shipments will be triggered in large part by the Galaxy Note 2, which Samsung released in September.

"The Galaxy Note 2 has shipped 3 million units in its first five weeks of sales, with sell-through strong in Asia and Europe, and the U.S. gathering pace post-launch," Gaudois said in his investors note, according to Yonhap. "We hence forecast 7 million Galaxy Note 2, compared to our initial expectation of 5 million for the fourth quarter."

Samsung's Galaxy S3 will also be a major factor in the higher shipments.

Unveiled in May, the new Galaxy S flagship brought in unit sales of more than 5.5 million just in October. Despite concerns that the iPhone 5 might steal away some business, the analyst sees little effect on S3 sales.

"We see a limited ramp-down, if any at all, for the Galaxy S3, and we feel comfortable with our 15 million estimate for the fourth quarter of 2012," Gaudois added.

Samsung and Apple virtually own the smartphone market. The two have been duking it out for the top spot, but recent reports from IDC and other research firms show Samsung still clearly in the lead over its archrival.

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Facebook hopes new Messenger app will outpace SMS The big social network is angling to replace text messaging with a new Facebook Messaging service requires a phone number but no Facebook account.

PARIS -- Facebook revamped its Facebook Messenger service today in an attempt to get people to dump mobile-phone text messaging in favor of something more sophisticated.

Facebook Messenger today is essentially an instant-messaging network, complete with separate apps to use the service. But with the new incarnation, people need only a phone number, and no Facebook account, said Peter Deng, Facebook's director of communications product management, at the LeWeb show here.

The service is available initially in South Africa, India, Australia, Argentina, and Venezuela, he said, and in India's case in partnership with a carrier. Many young people have shown a major preference for text messaging over e-mail, and Facebook hopes they'll get opt for a more elaborate option from Facebook rather than the ordinary Simple Message Service.

"The SMS protocol has been around for 20 years. It's designed for old phones, and it don't take advantage of location or rich features like picture taking," Deng said. "We want to let people connect to each other."

Facebook isn't the first to try to replace SMS. There are innumerable instant-messaging applications, including Microsoft's Windows Messenger, which is to be replaced with Skype, and Apple is working to extend SMS itself with iOS and OS X.

The service has no ads and works on a wide array of feature phones, not just higher-end smartphones, he said.

And though it doesn't require Facebook use, the company unsurprisingly hopes Facebook Messenger will lead to it, particularly in developing markets.

"It could lead to other parts of the Facebook product -- post a status message or share an album," Deng said.

With its Web site geared for use on personal computers, Facebook has struggled to cope with the onset of mobile technology. Now, though, the company has put mobile devices in the center of its development plans.

"We're thinking about mobile first," Deng said. "It turns our development philosophy on its head. We've gone native."

And it's not easy. Developers have a pile of feature phones available to ensure their mobile apps and mobile site features work, he said, but there are innumerable compatibility challenges.

"Every single day, Facebook is accessed by 7,000 different types of devices," Deng said.

View the original article here

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Verizon's Motorola Droid RAZR HD and RAZR MAXX HD Getting Android 4.12 Upgrades this Week

When the Motorola Droid RAZR HD and Droid RAZR MAXX HD came out this fall, they debuted running Android 4.0, an out-dated version of Google's operating system. These two Verizon smartphones will soon be receiving upgrades, though not to to latest version of Android.

Motorola's newest will be getting upgrades to Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), which is about a year old. Version 4.2 debuted this summer. Still, few devices from any company are running this version yet.

4.1 brings some new features, including Google Now, expandable notifications, Android Beam (letting users share media with other users), and new widget capabilities.

Verizon says that the Motorola Droid RAZR HD and Droid RAZR MAXX will start going out in phases this week. This is a standard practice for smartphone system software upgrades -- rather than everyone getting it at once, groups of users are given access to it in a schedule spread out over a few days.

Customers can visit Verizon's support page for more information about the Android 4.1 upgrade.

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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Zapstreak Goes Global With Public SDK Launch For Its AirPlay For Android Solution

Poznan, Poland-based startup Zapstreak has just brought its AirPlay-style media streaming solution for Android out of beta, making the SDK it provides available to developers worldwide after a six-month extended testing period. The company’s tech allows Android developers to build music, video or picture-streaming right into their app. Because the tech is built on the DLNA standard, it doesn’t require devs to worry about additional hardware capabilities in consumer devices, and it should work out-of-the-box with a variety of existing TVs, receivers and other home AV equipment.

DLNA is built in to most connected TVs on the market, and it also works with audio-only devices like stereo receivers and even some game consoles (Xbox 360 and PS3 both support DLNA streaming). Developers can build in support for DLNA streaming on their own, but Zapstreak’s SDK is designed to make things much easier, taking away additional work and development costs and giving devs a plug-and-play solution they can integrate easily. Ease of use was what Zapstreak beta partners musiXmatch and video2brain cited as key to their decision to use Zapstreak as their means of providing DLNA access through their apps.

Back when Zapstreak debuted its product in April, founder Stefan Bielau explained how it originally wanted to build just a single app for streaming media, but recognized that there was a clear gap in the Android ecosystem with this type of tech, one which Apple was actively expanding on its own platform. Apple brought expanded AirPlay capabilities to the iPad first with full system mirroring, a feature which later also made it to iPhone devices. AirPlay video and desktop streaming is now also available from Mac OS X computers, features which alone make the Apple TV an attractive purchase to users heavily engaged in the Apple hardware and software ecosystem.

But times have changed. In the ensuing six months, Google has introduced and revoked its own Android media streamer (the Nexus Q), and Google wants to build media streaming right into Android with an open AirPlay standard that will be available cross-platform, according to a recent report from GigaOm. Many Android handsets also now ship with Miracast built in, which is a Wi-Fi Alliance-certified standard manufacturers are now putting into televisions as well as smartphone hardware. Android 4.2 brings official system-level Miracast support to Google’s mobile OS.

Zapstreak is offering free access to its SDK for a month after sign up for new developers, but after that, it starts at $29 per month. That might be a lot to ask developers looking for a service that could soon be provided by Google for free, but DLNA has the advantage of working with existing home theatre setups, and it’s available now, not planned for the future. Zapstreak is also working on similar SDKs for both iOS and Windows developers, though there’s no firm timeline on when those will make a public appearance just yet.

View the original article here

Apple Will Reportedly Start Selling Unlocked iPhones As Early As Tonight In The U.S.

Apple has yet to release the unlocked iPhone 5 in the U.S., even though early on they let images leak depicting pricing of that device on its website. Now a new report from 9t05Mac claims that the company will start selling unlocked iPhones as early as tonight via its online store, with physical retail availability coming shortly thereafter. As we reported at launch, unlocked pricing for the iPhones will be $649, $749 and $849 respectively for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB versions.

9to5Mac’s generally solid retail sources say that the phone will be made available unlocked beginning around 9 PM PT tonight at the earliest, and that physical stores will have them “soon,” but haven’t received a firm starting date for sales as of yet. The report does claim that unlocked device inventory is already making its way out to retail locations, however, in advance of being put on sale. Finally, their sources also indicate that customers will start being able to reserve devices ahead of time anytime, rather than just after 10 PM, as is the current practice.

Unlocked devices are on the market through Apple in other markets, like the Canadian store. These come SIM-unlocked, meaning you can use them with the carrier and plan of your choice. Customers still have to ensure that the version of the iPhone they pick up is compatible with the network of their choosing. In the U.S., Apple offers two versions of the iPhone, one that works with Sprint and Verizon 4G networks, and one that works with AT&T frequencies. It’s unclear from this report whether both versions will be made available unlocked, but hopefully we’ll find out later this evening.

View the orginal article here

HTC Won’t Sell The Entry-Level Windows Phone 8S Smartphone In The U.S.

The HTC 8S is a Windows Phone 8 handset that’s lightly specced compared to its more powerful sibling, the HTC 8X. The 8X is HTC’s flagship phone based on Microsoft’s mobile OS, and apparently the only one the U.S. market may ever see, according to an official statement from HTC issued late Friday afternoon. The budget 8S won’t make it to U.S. shores, an HTC official told Engadget, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

The HTC 8S is a not a bad-looking piece of hardware, based on the versions I saw at CTIA MobileCon before they were allowed to be displayed running a live version of Windows Phone 8. But inside it’s a device built for a budget: It lacks a front-facing camera, has a much lower resolution display, a weaker rear camera, less RAM and a slower processor than its big brother. The Verge reports that delays in carrier testing of the 8S had already pushed back its retail availability (where it was targeted for T-Mobile), but the new statement from HTC indicates we probably won’t ever see the phone on sale stateside.

The Windows Phone 8X is now said to be HTC’s area of focus on the Windows Phone side for the U.S. market, where it’s sold at AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless. While Windows Phone 8 sales are said to be exceeding the launch performance of Windows Phone 7 devices, no one’s putting any firm numbers behind that as of yet. It’s possible that what HTC saw regarding sales of its 8X indicated that the wise course would be to focus on promoting a single WP8-based device in the U.S. market, rather than splitting their focus between two handsets.

View the original articele here 

Apple Gains On Samsung In U.S. Mobile Phone Market Share, Lands Second Overall For The First Time

For the first time in the history of comScore’s MobiLens U.S. mobile market share report, Apple has come in second overall among handset OEMs. Apple grew its U.S. market share by 1.5 percentage points from 16.3 to 17.8 percent in the three-month period ending October 2012, according to the report. During the same period, Samsung also saw its share grow, but only by 0.7 percentage points, from 25.6 to 26.3 percent. Apple seems to have begun narrowing the gap on the back of the iPhone 5, which went on sale in the U.S. towards the middle of the period covered by comScore’s latest report.

Screen Shot 2012-12-01 at 8.34.07 AMApple climbed to second over LG, which saw a dip of 0.8 percentage points from 18.4 to 17.6 percent during the period. Motorola and HTC rounded out the top five, both experiencing slight drops and finishing the quarter with 11 and 6 percent of the market, respectively. Another key metric comScore found, and one which helps explain what finally pushed Apple into second place, is nearly 52 percent of all subscribers in the U.S. were on smartphones, up 6 percent from the previous quarter. Apple only sells smartphones, so its fortunes rising in lockstep with the decreasing popularity of feature phones makes perfect sense.

As mentioned, Apple also released the iPhone 5 during the quarter covered by this report. We’ve already seen from Kantar Worldpanel that the iPhone 5 propelled Apple back to the top of the U.S. smartphone charts, and it’s likely that device is also the reason Apple now comes in at number two overall among handset makers of all stripes.

Platform market share still shows Google with a commanding lead, and one which grew during the period, from 52.2 percent of subscribers to 53.6 percent. Apple also gained, rising 0.9 percentage points from 33.4 percent to 34.3 percent, while RIM was the biggest loser among the top five with a decline of 1.7 percentage points. Microsoft and Symbian round out the top five, both with minor drops in overall share.

The next quarter will be an interesting one to watch for. It covers November through January, which means that we’ll see the holiday effect on all OEMs. It also should include LG’s sales of the Nexus 4 device, which seems to be remarkably popular, or at least in very short supply. Depending on how LG allocates supply among its Optimus G and Nexus devices, we could see it claw back into second, since the gap is still quite narrow, but it has to contend with Apple’s holiday iPhone sales, which are generally very strong.

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

A First Look At The 2012 21.5-inch iMac, And How It Compares To Generations Past

The new iMac all-in-one desktop computer from Apple goes on sale today, and it includes a significant hardware redesign. Apple has cut bulk and thinned out the edges with a tapered design that is only 5 mm thick at the edge. Leaving aside what’s new under the hood, the case itself is impressive enough that it merits a good look. Here’s what the new 21.5-inch version of the iMac looks like, and how it stacks up to other Apple hardware, past and present.

21.5-inch 2012 iMac, front view. It’s hard to tell in pics, but the screen is very impressive. Images sit so close to the glass.

 21.5-inch 2012 iMac, side view. you can see here how it tapers out to a relatively thick point where the hinge attaches to the stand.

21.5-inch 2012 iMac, from the back. Not much has changed here from the last generation. Ports, power button, etc all in the same place.

Thickness comparison, 2012 iMac and 13-inch 2012 Retina MacBook Pro. You can see the edge of the iMac is just slightly thicker than the MacBook’s lid.

2012 iMac next to 2012 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro. Apple’s design aesthetics are definitely still in tight lockstep between notebooks and desktops.
 Edge comparison, 2011 MacBook Air and 2012 iMac. At its thinnest point, the MacBook Air is still thinner than the iMac’s edge, but just barely.

 2008 20-inch iMac (left) next to 2012 21.5-inch iMac. My old kitchen workhorse comes out to showhow much has changed in four years. Note the thickness of the stand on the older machine.

 2008 iMac (right) and 2012 iMac (left) thickness comparison. The difference here is almost absurd.

2008 iMac (right) and 2012 iMac (left) top thickness comparison. That taper accounts for all the saved volume on the newer machine.

2011 iMac (left) thickness comparison to 2012 iMac (right). This is a comparison with the 2011 iMac released last summer. At their thickest point they’re close, if not the same at around 1.5-inches thick.

Close-up of Mail icon on 2012 iMac screen. It’s not a Retina display, but the further distance from the screen a user sits makes the difference harder to spot than on, say the iPad mini.
Close-up of Mail icon on 2012 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro. Here’s the comparison shot from Apple’s HiDPI Mac screen.

 2012 iMac edge close-up. You can tell this is a precision-crafted machine.
iPhone 5 and 2012 iMac thickness comparison. Thinner than iPhone 5 at the outer edge.

Pad mini and 2012 iMac thickness comparison. These are pretty close, too.

iPad (3rd generation) and 2012 iMac thickness comparison. The iPad’s starting to look positively hefty in this context.

We’ll have more on the new iMac in a proper review once I’ve had a chance to put it through more thorough day-to-day testing.

View the original article here

NeoMedia sues SpyderLynx as scanning figures rise

Rating: W7 Mango users bottom of scanning list

As mobile barcode scanning expert, NeoMedia Technologies, announced its performance figures for Q1 2012, the company also let slip that it had started another law suit over its patent portfolio. This time the supplier on the wrong end of NeoMedia’s lawyers is SpyderLynx. That’s interesting because SpyderLynx itself is trying to patent the use of embedding a log into a QR code. See our previous story here. For the lawyers amongst our readership, we decided to publish NeoMedia’s Press release on the who legal action bit here. Meanwhile, NeoMedia is staking its claim to be the leading purveyor of QR code scanning software. It says that 20 million handsets use its NeoReader barcode scanning service worldwide (representing 227 countries). Significantly, Android smartphones account for the majority use of the NeoReader app and 56 per cent of all scans.Current NeoMedia Technologies’ CEO, Laura Marriott, commented, “The numbers are in. The growth we’ve seen over the past year proves that NeoReader is becoming one of the most popular QR code readers amongst mobile users worldwide.”

Overall, the number of unique NeoReader users grew 148 per cent between Q1 2011 and Q1 2012, with users being predominantly male and under 35 years of age.

Compared to the first three months of 2011, NeoMedia has seen a 138 per cent growth in QR code scanning in the first three months of 2012.

The number of mobile barcodes generated through NeoMedia’s NeoSphere platform during this quarter finished at 73,000.

Smartphones using the Android OS accounted for 56 per cent of scans, followed by iOS, Symbian, Blackberry and then, (finally) Windows Phone 7 (W7 Mango).

Broken down, 1D scanning has grown 27 per cent and 2D scanning is up 212 per cent. The total number of QR codes scanned grew 13 per cent.
About admin
Tony Dennis is now editor of GoMo News. It was previously owned by founder - Bena Roberts until she sold her shares recently.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean Coming to Select HTC One Handsets, Confirmed

Today HTC confirmed rumors that Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) will definitely be coming to several of the handsets in the manufacturer's One series.

"We know HTC fans are excited to get their hands on Google's latest version of Android," HTC said in a statement. "At this point in time, we can confirm that we have plans to upgrade our HTC One X, HTC One XL and HTC One S to Jelly Bean."

Besides confirming an impending roll out of Google's latest operating system, HTC remained mum on other details, like specific dates, and told users to "stay tuned" for more information regarding the upgrades.

In addition to the global One X, One XL and One S models, national carrier versions of the handsets for AT&T and T-Mobile will also get a taste of Jelly Bean. Though there's been no word yet on whether other devices, such as the One V and Evo 4g LTE, will be included in the upgrade plans.

After delays due to a patent battle with Apple, the HTC One X finally launched in the U.S. via AT&T earlier this year. With a 4.7-inch 1280 x 720 resolution display, the smartphone boasts an excellent overall performance, as well as a great camera.

While the HTC One S sports a smaller screen, measuring in at 4.3-inches with a resolution of 960 x 540, the device offers a slim design and great performance.

Yet, when powered by the latest version of Android 4.1, both devices will provide a smoother user interface, making it easier to add application icons and widgets to homescreens, as well as a more interactive notification system.

For more information on the sweet new features of Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), check out Brighthand for all the details.
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Nokia Survivors Give MeeGo Another Go

Americans who have been cut loose from their jobs have likely never experienced a layoff like they do in Finland. Nokia, which is consolidating its workforce as it shrinks in scope, has been extremely generous in letting people go, even to the point of helping set up a competitor.

Nokia often tried to help furloughed employees find their next job, and in some cases, people went straight to a new job without any interruption. The thousands of Symbian developers moved to Accenture alone. Or, Nokia would let small teams get a loan to start up a new business.

Nokia isn't just shedding employees, it's also dropping operating systems. One of these is MeeGo, which the company put on just a handful of devices before dropping it in favor of Microsoft's Windows Phone.

Four departing Nokia staffers working on the MeeGo project took a loan from their former employer and teamed up to start their own company, Jolla Mobile, to continue MeeGo development for Nokia phones. They scored 100,000 Euros total from Nokia and have a staff of 50, all ex-Nokia, working on their project.

Jolla means 'dinghy' in Finnish. The name was meant as a figurative reference to the lifeboat they offered people jumping off the good ship SS Nokia.

Jolla's staff is working come from Nokia's smartphone group where they worked on MeeGo and its predecessor, Maemo. This group will take the Nokia N9 phone -- the forerunner of the Lumia 900 that runs Windows Phone -- and build something new from that technology.

The company doesn't even have a Web site yet. Its mission statement, posted on LinkedIn, says "Nokia created something wonderful - the world's best smartphone product. It deserves to be continued, and we will do that together with all the bright and gifted people contributing to the MeeGo success story."

The company added in a statement that "together with international private investors and partners, a new smartphone using this MeeGo based OS will be revealed later this year." The company already has its first customer: L D.Phone, China's largest smartphone retailer.

But with BlackBerry imploding, Windows Phone stalled out of the gate, and the world seeming to consolidate around Android and iOS, Jolla faces a huge uphill battle, argues Jack Gold, president of J.Gold Associates, a mobile market research firm.

Intel, which has some involvement in MeeGo development, declined to comment on Jolla.

"The only chance they got with MeeGo is in very niche environments if they do a special device or put it in a car. No one is going to look at yet another phone OS in any seriousness. Who's going to build handsets around them? MeeGo when it was Nokia and Intel pushing it couldn't make it," he points out.
Gold said he understands why they are doing it, but this project won't have any major tailwind without handsets and carriers.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

HTC Droid DNA Launches from Verizon

Today, Verizon has begun offering its new high-end smartphone, the HTC Droid DNA. The new handset is available exclusively from Big Red.

The Droid DNA is most known for its incredible smartphone. The device offers a 5-inch display with a 1920 x 1080 (1080p) resolution, putting it at 440ppi which is the highest pixel density seen to date. The screen itself is comprised of Super LCD 3 Corning display with a protective Gorilla Glass 2 coating.

Besides an impressive display, the new high-end handset also offers a 1.5GHz quad-core processor, with 2GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal memory with microSD compatibility. The phone houses a 2,020 mAh battery, and runs on the Android 4.1.1 (Jelly Bean) operating system, along with HTC Sens 4+. The device also offers an 8-megapixel rear facing camera and a 2.1-megapixel front-facing camera. It has 4G LTE, plus Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and much more.

The HTC Droid DNA is available starting today exclusively from Verizon Wireless. The handset can be purchased for $200 with a two-year service contract and is available nationally both in retailers and online.

Interested? Don't miss out HTC Droid DNA preview.

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Inside Source Says Windows Phone 8 To Be Launched In November

Coming shortly after Microsoft's announcement that Windows 8 will be available to the general public on October 26, rumors have now begun to surface that the next version of the company's mobile OS, Windows Phone 8, will be available on its first wave of devices sometime in November.

An inside source informed ZDnet's Mary Jo Foley about WP8 being made available to the general public in November, along with a number of other supposed general availability launch timeframes, including Office 15 (February 2013), Microsoft Dynamics NAV (October), Visual Studio 2012 (September), and the latest Windows Azure updates (September).

The only confusing part about this news is that Nokia CEO Stephen Elop recently told the New York Times that the Windows Phone 8 OS would be released in October. This may seem like conflicting information, but as Foley pointed out, it may just mean that it's being released to phone makers during that time, or perhaps Nokia will be allowed to release WP8 handsets before other manufacturers. There's also the fact that there have been times in the past when Microsoft has technically "launched" products without them actually becoming available to the public immediately, so this could be one of those cases.

For more information on Windows Phone 8, check out our preview of this upcoming operating system.

Source: ZDNet

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Palm-sized Star Trek tech may be closer than you think

In the Star Trek universe, the tricorder is a handheld device used by Kirk, Spock, and various red-shirted crew members to make detailed scans of unfamiliar planets and even less familiar life-forms. It can be used in sick bay to diagnose intergalactic patients, and in engineering to find which part of the warp core is missing.

One small device that can do all that must be total science-fiction, right? Well thanks to recent advances in x-ray technology, the tricorder might be much closer that you think.

[Hey Tweeters! Like this video? Here's a short code: Don't understand what that last sentence meant? Go find a neighborhood kid and ask them. could click here.]

When many of us hear of X-rays, the first thing we think of is a visit to the doctor's office.  We're led into a big room, covered with a lead apron while the intended area is shot with those powerful, yet invisible rays.  Or perhaps we think of a trip to the airport, where X-rays are used to check baggage and passengers before boarding a plane.  But aside from that, X-rays tend to be - literally - out of sight, out of mind.

But that may be changing.  The scientists at Tribogenics have found some creative ways to advance a technology that doesn't seem to have evolved much in the past 130 years.  CEO Dale Fox and Chief Scientist Dr. Carlos Camara are taking advantage of an amazing scientific phenomenon similar to what occurs when light energy is created as an adhesive is peeled (try it yourself with some Scotch tape in a dark closet).  They are harnessing that energy to create usable and portable X-rays.
For us non-scientists out there the technology is quite complicated, but the implications are not.  Since the X-ray source is small, that means devices can be made smaller as well.  Contrast this with the big and bulky machines we're used to seeing.  These new machines are portable enough to carry around in a pocket and focused enough to limit dangerous, unnecessary exposure.  Simply put, the possibilities are endless.  X-ray devices could soon be used to scan virtually anything.  It could suddenly be much easier to find a wall stud, diagnose a bone fracture in the battlefield or even detect the metallic composition in jewelry.  From making everyday tasks easier to literally saving lives, this technology has tremendous potential.

The Tribogenics team says they're on the verge of making these possibilities become a reality.  And if they do, they won't just be changing the way we think about X-rays, they might be changing the world too.

Video produced by Will Lerner and Jennie Josephson. Production by Chun Ming Huang, John Boyd, and Mike Baum. Editor: Nolan Cooper. Sound editor: John Adams. Graphics by Todd Tanner, Matt McDonald and Howard Kim for Yahoo! Studios.

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Amazon's mobile ambitions grow

By Alistair Barr

SAN FRANCISCO | Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:02am EDT

(Reuters) - Inc (AMZN.O) plans to expand its mobile platform and broaden its offering of devices beyond e-readers and the Kindle Fire tablet, analysts, developers and retail partners said ahead of results next week from the world's largest Internet retailer.

Amazon is to introduce up to five or six tablet SKUs, or stock-keeping units, according Demos Parneros, president of U.S. Retail for Staples Inc (SPLS.O), which sells the Fire.

The tablets will be different sizes, including a 10-inch model, Parneros said. Amazon spokespeople declined to comment on the company's plans.

Amazon is making its own tablets to help the company sell more digital goods, such as MP3s, movies, TV shows, apps and games. Physical versions of these products, such as CDs and DVDs, were a big business for Amazon, but they are now in decline.

Having its own devices sitting atop a software platform that offers digital content to more than 100 million, credit-card-wielding customers already programmed to buy, could help Amazon become a major mobile platform player, challenging Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Google Inc (GOOG.O), Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) and Facebook Inc (FB.O).

"You're seeing the Apple play book recreated by everyone else who wants to play in the mobile device ecosystem. Amazon is the latest entrant," said Niccolo de Masi, chief executive of Glu Mobile Inc (GLUU.O), which develops mobile games for the Fire.

"The Kindle Fire is off to a great start," he added. "We will be supporting all new devices that have promise. They are trying to build on the foundations they have."


Amazon launched the seven-inch Fire in September, so the company has almost a year of data on the spending habits of these tablet owners. If they have increased purchases of digital goods through the device, that may embolden Amazon to introduce other devices, such as a larger, more expensive tablet and even a smart phone, analysts and others said.

"Amazon will keep working on this path of providing mobile devices and tablet devices," said Giordano Contestabile, an executive at PopCap, a unit of Electronic Arts (EA.O) whose games include: Plants vs. Zombies, Bejeweled and Peggle on the Fire. "We're all waiting," he added.

Purchases of Amazon e-books surged after the company introduce the Kindle e-reader in 2007, Citi Research analyst Mark Mahaney said.

"If a device can do that to their oldest, stodgiest category, imagine what else can benefit from a smart phone," he said. Mahaney's Taipei-based colleague Kevin Chang told Citi clients in November that an Amazon smart phone would be launched in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Amazon is expected to report second-quarter results on July 26. During a conference call after first-quarter results in April, Evercore analyst Ken Sena asked what traction the company was getting from the Fire and what the thinking was around a Kindle smart phone.

Amazon Chief Financial Officer Tom Szkutak dodged the smart phone question, but said the Fire was spurring purchases of "a lot" of digital content.

"We are very pleased with what's happening," the CFO added.

Since the Fire came out in September, Amazon's share of the video market has climbed to 13 percent from 10 percent, according to The NDP Group. In music downloads, Amazon's share rose by one percentage point to 14.4 percent, NPD data show.

"They haven't grown exponentially but that's a healthy gain post the Kindle Fire," said Russ Crupnick, senior entertainment industry analyst at NPD.


Recent job postings by Amazon's Lab126 research and design center in Silicon Valley suggest the company is working on new mobile devices that will run on wireless carrier networks.

Gregg Zehr, a former hardware developer from Apple and Palm, heads Lab126, which is based a short drive from Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California.

Lab126 had just over 500 employees listed on the LinkedIn (LNKD.N) professional network in September, when Amazon launched the Fire. That has grown to 865 as of mid-July , including 792 in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to LinkedIn. An Amazon spokesman declined to comment about Lab126.

"Amazon's Lab126 development center has grown a lot and has a pretty enormous staff now - much more staff than is needed to handle a few e-readers and the Kindle Fire tablet," said Robert Brunner, founder of Ammunition, which has helped Barnes & Noble (BKS.N) design its Nook devices.

"They are there to develop other devices," said Brunner, who helped develop the first Kindle e-readers. "Knowing what I know about Jeff Bezos and Amazon, it's likely they are doing a smart phone."

Seven job postings by Lab126 in recent months sought hardware and software engineers who have experience with cellular products including cell phones and smart phones.

One posting for a Hardware Validation Engineer told candidates they may be responsible for adhering to carrier requirements for Lab126's products.

Another for a Field Quality Engineer said candidates would coordinate with carriers to fix problems. "Prior wireless or related field test experience that covers smart phones or smart devices a plus," Lab126 added in the job posting.

"That clearly means they will put out a device that needs to function on carrier networks," Brunner said. "They are either planning on building that functionality on to tablets or a smart phone."


Ed Liljegren, a hardware developer from Apple and Nokia (NOK1V.HE), joined Lab126 in May 2011 and became a manager of Emerging Technology in April, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He described his new job as "Future Concept Development. Watch Out World for what we are doing next!" Liljegren added on LinkedIn.

Amazon also hired two Windows Phone managers from Microsoft in recent months, according to their LinkedIn profiles. Robert Williams is now director of Amazon's App Store and Brandon Watson is director of product management for Kindle Cross Platform.

In early June, Watson blogged about his first few months at Amazon.

"I'm lucky that I get to work on a product that I really love, and loved before coming on board," he wrote. "I can't really say much about some of the things on which I am working. I can say that the goals of some of the teams are huge. Huge."

Watson then recounted what an Amazon senior vice president told him during the recruitment process.

"He said, 'the goal of Kindle was to enable a system to allow someone to buy any book ever published, and have it delivered anywhere in the world in 60 seconds. It's time to think bigger.'"

Neither Liljegren, nor Watson, nor Williams returned calls or emails seeking comment.

(Reporting By Alistair Barr and Dhanya Skariachan and Malathi Nayak; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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Apple heads into choppy waters as new iPhone awaited

A man shows a photograph he took on his iPhone of an Apple store in Beijing June 6, 2012.
Credit: Reuters/David Gray

By Poornima Gupta

SAN FRANCISCO | Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:06am EDT

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc faces an unusual phenomenon when reporting earnings this time around: low expectations.

Few are expecting the world's most valuable technology company -- which surpasses Wall Street expectations with near regularity -- to deliver a bumper quarter once more on Tuesday.

The main reason: consumers holding out for the new iPhone.

Apple may still surprise market watchers, but many Wall Street analysts and investors remember how chatter over the launch of a new iPhone last year caused Apple to miss quarterly expectations in the fall, for the first time in years.

The iPhone 5 is only expected to hit store shelves around October -- just in time for the holidays -- with a thinner, larger screen and fine-tuned search features. Couple that pre-launch lull with slowdowns in Europe and China, Apple's biggest markets outside of North America, and sentiment on the Wall Street darling is more muted than many can remember in a while.

"No longer is Apple the company that beats every time," said Tim Lesko, portfolio manager at Granite Investment Advisors, which owns Apple stock. "I expect Apple to beat Apple's guidance, but I don't know whether they will beat Wall Street's guidance."

Tony Sacconaghi, analyst with Bernstein Research, sees a reasonable chance Apple will miss expectations on revenue, citing "macroeconomic weakness in China and Europe, a product cycle lull in the iPhone, a later than expected introduction of the new iPad into China, and the late quarter introduction of new Mac notebooks."

Any hiccup in demand for the best-selling smartphone can have a big impact on both revenue and profits as the five-year old device accounts for nearly 50 percent for Apple's revenues. And it comes at a time Samsung and other manufacturers that use rival Google Inc's Android software are chipping away at its market share.

Apple is expected to report fiscal third-quarter earnings of $10.35 a share on revenue of $37.2 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Top Wall Street analysts are betting the numbers will undershoot that. Apple may miss the average sales forecast by about 0.2 percent, according to Thomson Reuters Starmine's SmartEstimates, which places greater emphasis on timely forecasts by top-rated analysts.


But some analysts also think the Street is underestimating the impact of a late iPad launch in China, a focal point of intense expansion for the company and a huge driver of growth.

Apple began selling the tablet there on Friday, but many had expected it to ship last quarter.

Sales in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan jumped threefold to $7.9 billion in the second quarter, accounting for about 20 percent of Apple's $39.2 billion in total revenue.

The company typically introduces a new iPhone every year, but has yet to reveal any details on the next model.

However, people familiar with the situation have told Reuters the new iPhone will have a bigger display and that Apple has begun to place orders for the new displays from suppliers in South Korea and Japan.

Meanwhile, Apple's iPhone 4S is just three quarters old, which is relatively new by any standard. But many fans of the phone now see it as a cyclical product with somewhat predictable launch timeframes, preferring to wait a few months to buy the new model, analysts said.

Wall Street estimates Apple sold about 29 million iPhones, down from 35.1 million sold in the March quarter. Sales of the new iPad, expected to be 14 million to 15 million, is likely to offset part of the anticipated sequential drop in iPhones sales.

Apart from concerns about iPhone purchases, Wall Street is worried about the rising prominence of Google and in the mobile market, particularly with the launch of Google's smaller and cheaper Nexus 7 tablet, which is gaining popularity.

Still, no one is bearish in the longer term on the world's largest technology company by market value and most Apple watchers believe the company will make up any lost iPhone volume during the holiday season.

"Big picture, it doesn't matter," said Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu. "They are still the share gainer in the larger scheme of things. This is clearly a timing issue."


Wall Street expects that the outlook for this year's holiday season will be enormous for Apple as it may include the launch of a new iPhone as well as a potential new "mini iPad."

Apple has been working on a smaller tablet, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

It is unclear when Apple will launch such a tablet, but some clues are emerging on the timing of the new iPhone.

When Verizon -- one of the wireless carriers that work with Apple -- was asked on Thursday why customers have been holding back on handset upgrades, CFO Fran Shammo said: "There is always that rumor mill out there with a new phone coming out in the fourth quarter and so people may be waiting."

Investors will pick apart executives' comments for clues to new product introductions. While Apple has a policy of never giving advance details or timings on new products, Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer has often hinted of "product transition" in earnings conference calls preceding a launch.

Wall Street estimates Apple sold about 4 million Macintosh computers as the PC market saw growth sputter in the quarter.

The lackluster expectations do not appear to have affected Apple's stock, which is up nearly 50 percent so far in 2012. The stock has been choppy since a high of $644 in April. It closed Friday at $604.30 on the Nasdaq.

"Of all the quarters, this is the one that seems to have widest range of opinion," said Granite's Lesko.

(Reporting by Poornima Gupta, Editing by Gary Crosse)

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Nokia Has 'Something Amazing' on the Way in September

Nokia's partnership with Microsoft may not have produced any resounding success yet, but it appears that the Finnish company may still have something up its sleeve. Come September 7, Nokia promises to unveil something "amazing" to its customers.

Photos of a sign outside a currently-closed Nokia store in Helsinki have surfaced on MyNokiaBlog, telling customers "Something amazing is coming," with the September 7 date next to it. There is also a QR code on the ad that, when scanned, takes users to a website that features similarly vague hype like, "Prepare to be amazed at all the things in your new Nokia store." The timing of the announcement is interesting, since it comes right on the heels of Nokia World, which is scheduled to take place in Helsinki on September 5 and 6.

But what exactly Nokia will be unveiling is a mystery. One possibility is an announcement of a new lineup of Windows 8 Lumia phones, as it was recently announced that Windows 8 will be released not long after on October 26. Another possibility is that the announcement may have something to do with Nokia's efforts to become a leader in the field of location-based services.

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop recently stated that the company's goal is to become the "Where?" company, much like Google and Facebook have become the "What?" and "Who?" companies, respectively. He stressed the importance of smartphones and mobile devices, saying, "The mobile device will become the nucleus for collecting real-time data from sensors," including location, orientation, speed, social media preferences, etc.

When it comes to location-based services, "[Nokia] could be a leader," said Elop, specifically mentioning the potential behind the releases of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. "We expect the launch of Windows 8 for tablets and PCs, and Windows Phone 8, to be a catalyst for Lumia."

Source: CNET and SlashGear

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Samsung Galaxy S III Sales Break 10 Million

Maybe Samsung is right and the next big thing really is here: sales of the company's Galaxy S III smartphone have officially broken 10 million units.

Though he was unable to provide specific numbers, the head of Samsung's information technology and mobile communication division, Shin Jong-Kyun, told the Yonhap News Agency that the company has moved more than 10 million Galaxy S III units since its initial launch in the EU and Middle East at the very end of May.

This outstrips the pace of its predecessor, the Galaxy S II, which took five months to reach 10 million units in sales. And the company's executives are likely satisfied with the news, as Samsung previously stated that, despite fighting component shortages, its goal was to hit the 10 million mark by early July.

Sales in the United States have surely contributed to this figure, as Samsung's new flagship phone is available from all of the top carriers in this country.

To learn more about the Samsung Galaxy S III, have a look here at our review of the US version, or here for our review of the international version

Source: Engadget

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