April 23, 2011

Sony to Possibly Announce NEX-C3

Sony made a serious breakthrough with their digicam/DSLR type models in their Alpha range of cameras, namely the NEX-3 and NEX-5. However, since the NEX-3 seems to have been discontinued in some parts, it seems that a new “replacement” is to be announced in its place – the NEX-C3.

So far the this NEX-C3 is just a rumour and Sony has made no official announcement about it, but some sources have managed to get some pretty clear images of the device.

The specs point out to the C3 having a 16.2 megapixel sensor which is apparently the same sensor that Sony’s Alpha A55 DSLR uses. It would be equipped to handle full HD video capture (1080p), a pop out adjustable LCD display and an external flash. Unfortunately this is all the information that’s available right now but judging from the quality of the images, it seems like it’s quite possible we just might see this camera make it out real soon.

Acer Reveals 24-inch Web Surf Station

Taiwan based multinational computer technology and electronics corporation Acer announced the DX241H Web Surf Station. It is a 24-inch high-definition monitor that allows users to surf the net, access multimedia content and can be operated without the need of being connected to a PC by using its own operating system and web browser.

Acer says that is the first monitor that lets you surf the web and enjoy your multimedia with no need of a computer!

Using Acer’s Clear.fi technology which is a wireless home network solution which is included on Acer laptops, phones, etc., the DX241H Web Surf Station can play and share music, videos and photos with other devices.

The Web Surf Station can be connected wirelessly using DLNA and it is also fitted with a card reader as well as USB, LAN, VGA, and HDMI ports.  This 24-inch monitor has a full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution, plays 1080p hi-def videos, 16:9 aspect ratio and 80,00:1 contrast ratio.

No further information is available on its operating system and its ability to install applications.

The DX241H Web Surf Station will be available in May in the UK for £299. Acer has not yet announced the date of availability in India but as soon as they do we will let you know.

Nokia C2-06 Touch and Type dual SIM slider expected soon

Photos of a Nokia slider phone have been doing the rounds, what looks to be the Nokia C2-06 Touch and Type phone, running Symbian Series 40 operating system. The slider phone in the below image definitely looks like it was meant for India, but for now, there is no word as to when it will launch or how much it will cost.

The Nokia C2-06 is reportedly a dual SIM phone, packing a 2MP camera, a resistive QVGA touchscreen, a 3.5 mm audio jack, Bluetooth, and a microUSB port. No Wi-Fi or 3G connectivity is expected. Not much else is known at this time, but we'll keep you posted.

April 22, 2011

Dell Launches Updated Alienware Gaming Notebooks

Dell has launched two new models of their Alienware gaming notebook range. The two models being launched are the M14x and the M11x. The M14x uses a 14-inch (1600x900) WLED display whereas the M11x has a 11.6-inch (1366x768) display. Both the notebooks use the new Intel Sandy Bridge line of Core i processors to power them.

The higher end M14x model uses a NVIDIA GeForce GT 555M graphics solution whereas the M11x uses a slower GeForce GT 540M GPU. Dell has used speakers from Klipsch on both the products. The Dell Alienware M14x like the other models weighs quite a bit - a little less than 3 kg in this case. Support for upto 8GB of memory is available on the M14x and up to 16GB on the smaller M11x. Users can opt for the optional WiMax connectivity module which should allow access to wireless high-speed internet connectivity. The M11x also comes in a soft touch Nebula Red finish.

Sony Ericsson W8: First Walkman Android Phone

Sony Ericsson has announced its first ever Walkman brand smartphone running Google Android 2.1 Eclair update in Indonesia. Sporting 3-inch capacitive touchscreen display, the new Sony Ericsson W8 walkman smartphone looks very similar to Xperia X8. There's no word on the pricing and this phone will be available in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Malayasia, Phillipines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam from Q2 2011 in Azure Blue, Metallic Red and Iconic Orange.

New Sony Ericsson W8 has a 3-inch capacitive HVGA (320x480) display and houses 600Mhz processor under the hood. With 128MB memory on board, this handset comes with Android 2.1 Eclair running on it and I doubt if it will get Froyo richness. Kindly forget about the phone getting Gingerbread. Sony Ericsson has layered the Timescape UI on the top of Android.

Branded as a Walkman series smartphone, the W8 will have Walkman Music Player ported to Android, TrackID music recognition, and PlayNow technologies. At the back lies a 3.2 megapixel camera that would give you mediocre quality photos along with Geo-tagging capability.

Being 3G Network compatible, the new W8 Android phone offers 23 hours and 40 minutes worth of music listening time. The phone is connectible wirelessly via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Apart from that, the W8 offers Twitter and Facebook integration in the Timescape UI.

Sounds like a good contender for sub Rs. 10,000 Android based smartphone, the Sony Ericsson W8 does look a bit tacky in Iconic Orange, may be its just me.

Google Doodles in Celebration of Earth Day

It's time for yet another Google Doodle and this time it's in celebration of Earth Day. The day we're supposed to be aware and appreciate the planet. Earth Day has actually gained much political support since the first Earth Day in 1970 in the United States when a senator in Wisconsin called for an environmental teach-in. Senator Nelson got the idea for Earth Day when he saw an oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara in 1969 and wanted to raise awareness of the effects such man-made disasters can have on ecosystems. Thousands of organizations joined in and supported that first Earth Day with events taking place in New York City and Philadelphia. The 20th and 30th anniversaries of Earth Day mobilized the caused to countries around the world and the United Nations has since designated April 22nd as Earth Day.

The Doodle represents a cross cultural garden where all the plants and animals get along in a form of symbiosis. The image starts out with China on the left with pandas and bamoboos. It traverses onto the African jungle with thick trunked trees, a bird that flies out of the tree and a lion, goes over to Antarctica where the penguin jumps into a waterfall, the Australian country with a koala in a tree and finally onto a temperate deciduous forest. The doodle indicates a perfect harmony of ecosystems if left untouched and the need for preservation action for these environments.

Micromax A70 Android Phone Surfaces

Micromax launched a budget Android phone - Andro A60 about three months ago. Now, the company is said to be ready for the launch of Andro A60 successor Micromax A70, as spotted on GSMArena. New Micromax A70 will run Android 2.2 Froyo update. Apparently, this would be a 3G friendly offering from the company and is expected to arrive at a price of about Rs. 7,999.

Though Micromax hasn't announced or hinted about the new A70 smartphone, we believe its launch could take place anytime in the coming weeks. Physically, the new A70 looks like a mashup of Google Nexus One and HTC Desire smartphones.  

Micromax A70 will have 3.2-inch HVGA touchscreen display which is resistive by nature and could be a bit tacky to use. The A70 will have Android 2.2 running comfortably. There's no word on the internal memory as yet. The A70 will support 3G and will also offer Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP connectivity.

At the rear lies a 5 megapixel autofocus camera and in the front rests a VGA camera for video call and chat.

- 3.2 inch Resistive Touchscreen, 320X 480 pixels resolution
- 3G HSDPA, quad-band GSM
- Android 2.2 Froyo
- 5.0 MP Camera (2592x1944 Pixels) with Auto Focus, 0.3 MP front VGA Camera (640x480 Pixels)
- External memory up to 32GB
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, Wi-Fi hotspot
- Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP
- 3.5mm Audio Port
- 1450mAh battery pack

April 21, 2011

Skype Fixes Security Loophole

A few days ago, we reported about the security risks that Skype users faced with their personal data. Apparently, the data that Skype users often stored locally on their Android devices was at risk, if they downloaded malicious third party apps.

Looking at the crucial nature of the problem, Skype got down to work soon after and has now, come up with a fix in the latest version of the Android app. The app now blocks any third party, malicious application from gaining access into the user’s private data. In addition to this, Skype now, also enables 3G calling as against its previous feature where VOIP calls could made solely using Wi-Fi connections over Skype servers.

iOS users may be familiar with this feature introduced by Skype, since for them it was available a year ago. However, it is only now that Android users are being provided with the facility.

Android Tablet from G'Five to be Launched Soon

From projector phones to more basic low end handsets G’Five has made quite a name for itself in the Indian market. Some are even calling them the third largest handset player in India.  The introduction of an Android tablet which is already apparently in the works is sure to boost their status in this running considerably. 

Sources are talking about the Chinese company announcing a new Android based tablet within the next month and a launch soon after. What did seem surprising is that the report stated that the tablet would be running Android 2.1 version. FroYo is already running amok and handset and tablet makers are moving on up as the next version i.e. 2.3 aka Gingerbread is already here and featured on handset like the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play and Xperia Arc. So why bother with a version that’s already outdated? Even other local brands like Spice, Micromax and Videocon are going FroYo. Affordable smartphones from Samsung are also a step ahead. It can’t be to reduce pricing, perhaps we’ll know when the device is officially announced.

G’Five’s offering will feature a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen and possibly a VIA 600 MHz processor. That’s yet to be confirmed. The same report also quoted a G’Five official saying that the product was ready and waiting for a timely launch and pricing being ‘competitive’. It will have to be if they want to be taken seriously.

The company is also planning on lunching about 500 new stores for their brand – Mobispot where they’ll retail their entire range of devices which will include laptops as well as phones and tablets.
An offcial announcement from the company is yet to be made and as of now the device doesn't even seem to have a name or number.

Intex VISION phone for visually challenged

Intex Technologies along with National Association for Blind have partnered to bring a mobile phone specifically designed for visually challenged individuals. The new Intex Vision mobile is a dual-SIM (GSM+GSM) smartphone has a Braille Keypad for recognition of the digits. It also has a talking keypad feature that speaks the digit in English.  Unique SOS feature lets user save up to four numbers and either of them can be called by pressing the SOS button. This mobile phone would be sold for about Rs. 2600 in India.

National Association for Blind (India) and Intex unveiled the phone amongst students and faculty. Intex Vision has been designed by Intex and is capable of supporting two SIM modules in GSM+GSM configuration. The physical keypad of the Vision phone has the digits in Braille for easy recognition. There's also a talking keypad option just in case the users aren't well-versed with Braille.

At the back of the phone lies the SOS button that calls the first emergency number when pressed. Users can store up to four emergency numbers for the SOS button function.

Shailendra Jha, DGM-Telecom, Intex Technologies said, Intex believes that simple and affordable technology can do wonders in enhancing quality of life of differently-abled people. INTEX Vision is just a small gesture to help empower the visually impaired population by bringing connectivity within easy reach.

The Intex Vision IN 2020 mobile comes with wireless FM radio, audio player, auto call record, mobile tracker, and flashlight. One can expand the memory of the phone to a maximum of 2GB, which might be less for users like students, who wish to use the phone for listening to educational material. The phone has an orange tone bearing backlight so that it doesn't affect the individuals with partially impaired vision. 

Your iPhone is Tracking Your Locations

Two researchers, Pete Warden and Alasdair Allan, have found that Apple iPhones store data on their users' locations which they store in a folder, both on their phone and on their computer when they sync with iTunes. Warden says that at first they didn't realize how much data was actually being stored, but when they discovered, it turned out to be a scary amount.

The data is stored in a file called "consolidation.db" and it contains longitude and latitude information along with timestamps. Apple has been recording this data since iOS 4.0 came out, it seems. The researchers believe that the data is collected from information from cell phone tower triangulations. It isn't very exact but it gives a good reference to where your cell phone has been over time. Warden and Allan have created an app that creates a visualization of the users' information on the iPhone 3G or the iPad.

They maintain right now that only the user has access to their location information. If someone else wants to access the information, they'd have to physically have the phone or computer with data backups. It seems to be a security feature you could use to track your phone but if someone already has your phone and they've run away, there's no information you can gather about where they've gone. So what is the point.

April 20, 2011

Facebook for Android gets Friend Tagging

Popular social network Facebook has updated its app for Android smartphones and now it will let you tag your friends in your posts for news feeds. Also, you can search for your friends on Facebook database. There are a number of bug fixes that have been added to the application.

New Facebook for Android v1.5.3 will let you add your friend's Facebook name by the same way one tags them on Facebook web version. All you have to do is use the @ symbol and start typing the friend's name in the status updates. It's quite odd to see Facebook adding such nifty features on a one at a time basis. Check out the other changes that come with new Facebook for Android app.  

- Added the ability to tag friends in status updates
- Added Find Friends feature
- Added the ability to add phone number to your profile
- Number of bug fixes

Several other features are still missing for the Facebook for Android app like Pokes, Tags on photos, Like button for comments and more.

You can download this update directly from the Android Market on your phone or alternatively, you can visit http://market.android.com to choose the update. The Facebook app requires Android 1.5 or higher update running smartphone.  

Apple iPhone 5 to Hit Production in September

Last month, we reported that the Apple is considering an Aluminum back panel for the iPhone 5 and it will have the new A5 SoC processor. AppleInsider reported that the Apple iPhone 5 will head for mass production in September and will bit slightly different from its predecessors. The iPhone 5 will have an 8-megapixel camera and dual-mode Qualcomm chip that will be compatible with GSM and CDMA networks.

Ming-Chi Kuo of Concord Securities issued a note based on his talks with sources in Apply Supply Chain. In the note, Kuo mentioned that according to those sources, iPhone 5 will have same dual-core A5 SoC chip found in iPad 2. With improved antenna design which might place the antenna behind the logo, the iPhone 5 will have 8-megapixel camera sensors. For networks, the iPhone 5 will have a dual-mode Qualcomm baseband radio chip that will make the same hardware compatible with both GSM and CDMA networks.

Considering iPhone 5's production in late in September (due to natural calamity in Japan) means that the company might skip launching the new iPod touch devices this year. All this is just a part of the speculation that's floating around and not a confirmed detail. The iPhone 5 is expected to be shown at the Worldwide Developers Conference on June 6 in San Francisco, California. 

However, the iPhone madness doesn't end here. According to Kuo, Apple is planning to show iPhone 6 in the first half of 2012. Yes, it does sound early but Apple is said to be experiencing fierce competition from the Android based smartphones. Kuo's foresight has turned out to be true in the past.

One thing is for sure that consumers will get to see a new iPhone every year but not globally at the same time. Either they can wait for the device to arrive officially in their respective countries or buy an unlocked handset from select regions. Apple should consider adding more countries at the launch time and that would require ramping up production at heavy pace. Else the entire grey market and jailbreak activities will continue growing. 

HP Plans Cloud Music Locker for TouchPad Tablet

A series of leaked slides over at PreCentral suggest Hewlett-Packard is preparing an ambitious cloud music service for the upcoming TouchPad tablet.
If this service comes to fruition when the TouchPad lands in the hands of consumers in June, then HP would beat Apple and Google, who are also reportedly working on similar services.

According to the slides, which allegedly come straight from the horse's mouth and are marked as confidential, HP's cloud music service would store your media on remote servers and keep in sync on your device via a "smart algorithm," which would ensure your favorite tracks are always on the device.

PreCentral also says the HP cloud music service would allow you to stream music that you don't own yet, and users would be able to stream music to HP smartphones as well, but it is unknown how this would actually work. The technology behind HP's cloud music service is said to come from Melodeo, which was bought by HP last year, shortly after it bought Palm.

If HP manages to ready the cloud music service by the time, it would beat Apple and Google to the game. Both are also said to be preparing similar services. Amazon was the first major player to introduce a cloud music service with the release in March of its Amazon Cloud Player, which allows users to upload and access digital music collections from anywhere.

The HP TouchPad is due to arrive in June, with a 9.7-inch 1024 by 768 pixel display, 16GB or 32GB of storage, and a 1.3 megapixel Webcam. HP is yet to announce exact pricing for the TouchPad, but it is expected to match the iPad 2 at $499.

Asus Says Transformer Tablet, Notebook Sold Out in UK

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer may be hotter than many, including Asus itself, expected, according to the company's press release on Monday. Initial demand for the Android tablet and laptop combo device "has been far beyond our expectations," Asus said, and the first UK batches have completely sold out. Is this a sign that a worthy iPad/iPad 2 competitor is finally around the corner? Or is this merely PR spin to increase interest and manage expectations?

It may be a little bit of both. Our interest was piqued when the Transformer first went on pre-sale: the 10.1" tablet on its own boasts the latest specs (Honeycomb OS, dual-core Nvidia Tecra 2 chipset, HD screen) and offers great laptop-like flexibility with the power-boosting full QWERTY dock.

Competitive pricing further sweetens the deal. The tablet with keyboard may be offered in a bundle in the US for a discounted intro price, according to Tom's Guide, but even when purchased separately at the expected US $399 price tag for the tablet and $149 for the dock, the Transformer may give the $499 keyboard-less iPad 2 a run for its money.

Part of the reason the Transformer has sold out completely in the UK (since its April 6th on-sale date), however, is "stock delays due to additional testing procedures" by Asus on the device. Just as low inventory has fanned desire for the iPad 2 , low availability of the Eee Pad Transformer is no doubt contributing to the high interest and demand Asus is reporting.

Asus says there'll be greater stock availability in the UK at the end of April/early May. Here in the US, we're waiting patiently for the Transformer to land, and should perhaps expect the first units to fly off the shelves around the end of April as well. If the UK demand is any indication, maybe it's time to get in line?

Apple Sues Samsung Over Similarities in Mobile Products

The smartphone patent wars have heated up with Apple's patent infringement suit against Samsung, which claims Samsung's Galaxy line of phones and tablets borrows too much from the Apple iPhone and other products.

The suit, filed Friday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco and first reported by the Wall Street Journal, alleges that Samsung infringes on a number of Apple patents for technology and "trade dress" of its mobile product line.

In exhibits attached to court documents, Apple displays photos of Samsung's thin, black, glossy, rectilinear-with-rounded-corners mobile devices displaying lots of colorful icons, next to photos of its own thin, black, glossy, rectilinear-with-rounded-corners mobile phone and colorful icons.

That's the problem with making insanely great stuff. Everybody else wants to be insanely great too--even companies like Samsung, which are both Apple's competitor and a supplier of microchips for the iPad and other devices. In fact, we reported last year that Samsung intended to use the same chips Apple used in its iPhone and iPad for its own Galaxy product line.

The Cupertino company claims in the suit that Samsung's earlier device and interface designs were entirely different. According to the pleadings, "Rather than innovate and develop its own technology and a unique Samsung style for its smart phone products and computer tablets, Samsung chose to copy Apple's technology, user interface, and innovative style in these infringing products."
Our Jared Newman noted back in March that Samsung was taking a second look at the Galaxy tablet line in the wake of the iPad's success. "It's clear that [Samsung does] not intend to let Apple run away with the category," CCS Insight analyst John Jackson told Reuters.

Apple suffered a setback today in a similar case against HTC and Nokia, Bloomberg reports. The U.S. International Trade Commission recommended to an administrative law judge that Apple's request be denied to ban imports of HTC's Android phones. The judge's ruling is expected on Aug. 5.

Apple says HTC's Android phones, and some of Nokia's devices, infringe five of its patents, according to the Bloomberg story. "HTC is a smartphone innovator and pioneer in the smartphone sphere--they were there long before Apple," lawyer Robert Van Nest said. "The fundamental differences from the Apple patents represent choices made by HTC and Google."HTC has made patent claims of its own against Apple. A different complaint by Apple against Nokia will be decided by late June. An attorney for the Finnish phonemaker says the patents in question are outdated and were "dredged up" by Apple after Ericsson and Nokia approached Apple for royalties.

HTC Sensation to arrive in India by Q2

The HTC Sensation was officially introduced to the world at a press conference in London last week, and now, HTC has confirmed the device will be coming to Asian markets including India by Q2, i.e., sometime in May or June.

HTC has also announced via its Twitter feed that the new enhanced UI introduced with the HTC Sensation, known as HTC Sense 3.0, will only be supported by future devices, and, the current generation of HTC phones will not be upgraded to this. This is apparently due to hardware requirements of the new UI, and if the HTC Sensation is the minimum specification for it, these requirements are quite stellar.

The HTC Sensation has a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, coupled with the Adreno 220 GPU, part of Qualcomm’s latest MSM8260 Snapdragon chipset. HTC Sense 3.0 UI is also supported by the HTC Flyer, which is no slouch either, featuring a 1.5GHz processor. The HTC EVO 3D, bearing a similar 1.2GHz processor (MSM8660) as the HTC Sensation, will also support it.  

April 19, 2011

Bharti Airtel launches Airtel Photo Service

Bharti Airtel has launched a digital photo printing service for Airtel Broadband customers, in association with leading photo-service, Zoomin.com. Called Airtel Photo Service, users will be able upload their photos online, and have them printed, and then delivered to their doorstep.
Apart from printing photographs in matte, gloss and luminous print finishes, Airtel Photo Service gives users many other media to choose from, from T-shirts to mugs, calendars to photo-albums, which can all be customized with personal messages, themes, art clips, etc. Along with online editing tools, users have a handy Organizer to create customized collections.

Users will also be able to store an unlimited number of photos online in their Airtel Photo Service account, and can import albums from Facebook.

The service is available only for Airtel Broadband users, and to make things simple for them, does not require payment online via credit/debit cards. Instead, each item purchased will be billed to the monthly Airtel Broadband postpaid bill, using a ‘pay per instance’ feature to keep track of items. Photo products available on Airtel Photo Service range from Rs. 65 to Rs. 595, inclusive of applicable taxes and delivery charges.

Samsung to launch desktop-replacement 2GHz dual-core smartphone

While the world is still looking forward to the first 1.2GHz dual-core phone to launch with the Samsung Galaxy S II, it seems Samsung is hard at work designing a 2GHz dual-core phone for 2012.

The rumour was apparently sourced from a high-ranking Samsung executive, who said the upcoming smartphone would have "data processing capacities of a regular PC". While nothing has been confirmed, it is more than probable than Samsung would be using a new version of its ARM-based Exynos processors.

As always, the clockspeed is not everything, and a truly polished and optimized UI experience is a must for the advantages of a 2GHz dual-core processor to be apparent, something the world's first dual-core phone,the LG Optimus 2X, didn't do very well.

For now, we simply can’t imagine mobile applications, whether software or hardware, to use 1.2GHz dual-core processors completely, and so, it’s not inconceivable that at least in the near future, a 2GHz dual-core phone is complete overkill for all practical purposes.

Bug in Skype for Android

After dismantling a recently leaked version of Skype for Android, Android Police has discovered a vulnerability in the software that could put users' account balances, names, dates of birth, location information, phone numbers, email addresses, bios, and more at risk.
To test the vulnerability, Android Police wrote a rogue app that could collect user information without special permissions or rooting. It turns out that it's not just the leaked beta; according to the blog, the issue exists in the standard version of Skype Mobile for Android—though not Skype Mobile for Verizon -affecting the 10 million users of the app.

In a blog post, Skype acknowledged that users who "install a malicious third-party application" on Android phones could expose locally stored Skype for Android files.
"These files include cached profile information and instant messages. We take your privacy very seriously and are working quickly to protect you from this vulnerability, including securing the file permissions on the Skype for Android application," Skype said.
"We advise users to take care in selecting which applications to download and install onto their device," the company concluded.

The problem stems from Skype's data directory folder, which stores user contacts, profiles, and instant message logs. Apparently the files include improper permissions, which enable anyone with an app to access them. Because the username is stored in a static location, a hacker could conceivably parse the file, retrieve the user name, and follow the path to Skype's stored data.
And there's a lot of data to be found. The accounts table of one file (main.db) houses sensitive user information, including account balance, phone numbers, and email addresses. The contacts table holds similar information, only for your contacts, not to mention all of your Skype instant messages. A rogue developer could theoretically modify an existing app, distribute the app through the Google Marketplace, and harvest the data as it flows in.
To address the issue, Android Police suggests that Skype do three things: employ proper file permissions; implement some kind of encryption; and have mobile apps reviewed for security issues before releasing them publicly.

Windows 8 to Have Hybrid Booting and Portable Workspaces

As days pass by, more and more news regarding Microsoft’s next big desktop operating system Windows 8 make their way onto the internet. There have been reports of leaked builds being available for download. A few new features have been unearthed in the process. 

Two of more interesting features to be discovered are the Hybrid Boot and Portable Workspaces feature. The Hybrid Boot feature is said to be an evolution of the existing Hibernate feature that allows Windows to shut down into this state so bootup times are reduced dramatically.  The other feature, Portable Workspaces is said to allow users to install Windows into a flash drive that they can carry with them whenever they want. The feature is said to require close to 16GB of space on the flash drive for it to work. The tool should be handy to kickstart broken installations along with being able to carry your OS with you. Clearly, Microsoft has been thinking out of the box with their new OS. Windows 8 is rumoured to launch in late 2012 or early 2013.

April 18, 2011

Sony Ericsson W15 Walkman Branded Android Phone

It was only recently that I asked Sony Ericsson officials why the company has been launching Android handsets in the droves but somehow left the Walkman series out of this range. They didn’t really have an answer for me, but there seemed to be a glint in their eyes like they knew something was coming, but couldn’t divulge information. I always though it would be quite a thing to put these two together and it appears that the alliance just might become a reality.

According to a few sources, a new Android handset with a ‘W’ branding just might be in the works. If we can believe the leaked photo to be real, then this possible W15 device could be the very first Walkman Android handset to make it out. The rumors are talking about the device featuring –

  • A 3-inch touchscreen display with a 320 x 480 pixel resolution
  • a 3.2MP camera (possibly autofocus)
  • and a 600MHz processor

The rumors are also talking about the device coming loaded with a Walkman customized UI. I’m hoping to see a resurrection of MediaScape with a few add-ons. This could also mean a serious boost in audio performance as Walkman devices seldom, if ever, under perform in that department.

We just might see more details make it out soon and perhaps a May release, fingers crossed. I say bring it on!

Samsung Galaxy S Gets the Taste of Gingerbread

It’s official now! Samsung Galaxy S finally gets its Gingerbread update. As per its promise of an update a while ago, it has finally rolled out the 2.3 update to Samsung Galaxy S.

Around this time, the Kies servers of the Korean manufacturer have begun doling out a fresh batch of updates to the smartphone. It first announced the official update’s tentative time, just a few days ago and just as if in a sweep it begins with its promised task. Although, the dishing out of Gingerbread has just begun in Europe and other Nordic countries like Holland and Germany, it should soon spread out for others, too. Samsung, though, has mentioned this update to be a limited edition one. 

Taking cue is the HTC Desire camp that intends to roll out a Gingerbread update by the end of this month, as well.

Google Is Shutting Down Google Video

Google sent out an email to all Google video users saying that the service will no longer be available come May 13th. They said that users who have videos up on Google video will be able to download their videos via a download button that Google will add to the page. On April 29th, videos that are on Google video will not longer be available for playback and users have till May 13th to download their videos. If you don't want to download your video, you, of course, don't have to do anything.
Google recommends users upload their videos to YouTube after downloading. For users who have multiple videos up on Google video, they recommend using the paging controls on the bottom right of the screen. To download your video, go to the video status page, and then click on download video on the right side of the video in the action column.

This shut down has been a long time coming, especially since Google bought YouTube in 2006. They stopped uploads to Google video in May 2009 in their attempt to make YouTube profitable. Shutting down Google video just seemed like the obvious next step.

Google Brags About Android Market Stats

Google said during the company's earnings call on Thursday that more than 3 billion apps have been installed from the Android Market so far, and around 350,000 smartphones are activated every day. The new figures highlight the exceptional growth of Android, but when it comes to app stores, Apple's is still king.

It didn't take Google long to reach the 3 billion downloaded apps milestone for the Android Market. It took 20 months to reach 1 billion apps installed; the second billion took another five months; and then it took only two months for Google to reach 3 billion -- a 50 percent increase from the previous quarter.

However, it's unclear how Google counted the app installs, if it included third-party stores (like Amazon's), or just the Android Market.Electronista's hunch is that all stores were included in Google's count. The balance between paid and free apps is also unspecified.
Impressive Android Market stats aside, Apple's App Store is still at the top. Apple announced earlier this year that its marketplace reached 10 billion downloads, more than three times more than Android's performance. When it comes to the number of apps, Apple rules too: the App Store has more than 350,000 apps, while the Android Market clocks in at an estimated half of that number.

About 35 Intel Oak Trail Tablets to Arrive in May

As reported last week, Intel is working on an all new Oak Trail chipset for the tablets.  At the Intel Developers Forum 2011 in Beijing, Intel showed its Atom family of chip dubbed Oak Trail meant for tablets that will run Android 3.0 Honeycomb. Bill Kircos, GM of Marketing, Intel Netbook & Tablet group, said that the OS, which is code-named Honeycomb, can run on Oak Trail chips. Release of actual products will depend on the device makers.

Kircos added that about 35 tablets housing Intel Oak Trail chips would be introduced next month from leading OEMs like Lenovo, Samsung, Fujitsu and Motion Computing. These new family of tablets would be capable of running Windows 7 and Intel MeeGo operating systems. 

At this moment, Google Android 3.0 Honeycomb runs on, and is available only with the tablets having ARM architecture based chips. In order to compete with rivals like Apple iPad and BlackBerry Playbook, Google aims to expand the support for Android 3.0 Honeycomb on more diverse processor architectures. Andy Rubin, VP of Engineering, Google,wrote in an official blog post that The Android platform has already spurred the development of hundreds of different types of devices - many of which were not originally contemplated when the platform was first created. 

Apparently, both Google Android and Intel are keen to acquire larger market share in tablet spaces in terms of model volumes and number of manufacturers. With advent of Oak Trail, the low-power Intel Atom architecture will compete with the ARM architecture based processors en masse. 

At IDF Beijing, Intel also talked about Oak Trail successor - Cloverview that would be manufactured with 32nm manufacturing process. The company is being ambitious about its plans and claimed that in 2013, new tablets as well as netbooks running on 22nm process based chips would be revealed. 

In next few months, be ready to be bombarded with announcements of new Intel Oak Trail tablets. Competition is going to get meaner and but you'll get loads of options to choose from. However, for Indian audience, it's going to take some time till all major options become available.