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.
View the original article here

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.

View the original article here

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.

View the orginal article here

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

View the original article here

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.

View the original article here

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)

View the original article here

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)

View the original article here

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

View the original article here

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

View the original article here