Archive for June, 2010

Leaked Images of Nokia Handset Confuse N-Series Hopefuls

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

nokia_n900_meegoThe Nokia N-series of handsets have been announced to be the new line of MeeGo devices from the Finnish manufacturer. As of last year, the phone maker announced that they would be dropping the Symbian OS for the N-series and will be adopting the Maemo operating system. With the launch of the Nokia N8 Symbian handset, the company once again affirmed that after this device, all the N-series phones would be using a new OS.

However, it appears that the prototype version of the N9 is not going to be following that rule. In very clear images, the new phone has been shown running the Symbian^3 OS and it has been hinted that the device might be taking on a new designation that would put it in the E-series of handsets.

The device will be packing a 3.5 inch TFT display with a resolution of 360 x 640 pixels, the handset’s slide out QWERTY keyboard will have the typical wide four row button configuration and as one would expect, the device will support GPS, Bluetooth, WiFi, HSDPA and all the usual smart phone capabilities.

Nokia-X6V-5230VIn other Nokia related news, it appears that they have already released the special Virgin Media edition of the Nokia 5230 and the Nokia X6. The two devices have been prepared for the upcoming V Festival that will be held in August and the phones will feature some pretty useful applications for attendees.

Virgin Media is making the handsets very accessible to music fans under special 2 year monthly contracts. The 5230V is available on a 10 Pound monthly tariff and the X6V is free at the 15 Pound monthly plan. Both devices have 3.2 inch touch screens (the X6V has a capacitive touch screen, while the 5230V uses a resistive touch screen), use the Symbian S60 OS and will run on ARM 11 434MHz core processors.

Mobile Ads Might be the Next Big Thing

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

As consumers, people hate ads. Regardless of whether these are the small targeted Google AdSense boxes, to the annoying flash pop-ups that we find on many websites, ads are definitely not the feature that people want to hear about. But when both Apple and Microsoft are paving ways for marketers to get into people’s smart phones more, one cannot help but notice the importance that this may have in the mobile phone industry.

Steve Jobs was pretty proud to announce the new iAds feature on the iPhone 4.0 OS. Despite the fact that this could mean advertising content will be hitchhiking along with app downloads and updates, it provides plenty of ways for marketers to invade the privacy of our mobile phones.

Microsoft has also announced Toast, which will be added to the Natural User Interface (NUI) of the Windows Phone 7 operating system and much like the Apple iAds, it also incorporates ad content into the mobile phone.

In some ways, this will turn some apps from paid to free –as in free with additional advertising content. It would not be surprising to learn that both iAds and Toast will make use of web updates to regularly change the shown or featured advertisements.

For end users, it will be pretty interesting how this new innovation will turn out. Many are already making sure of the opt-in and opt-out features –especially when the packed in iAds will not make the handset any cheaper. What many fear is that the user interface would be littered by advertising content –which could potentially get in the way of the device’s performance. For the Windows Phone 7 OS, the possibility that some of the tiles might get taken over by ads is also quite possible. This is why it is a great relief to know that users can actually opt out of Toast and iAds.

HTC’s Short Supply of AMOLED to be Remedied by Sony Super TFT LCD

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

htc-desireAMOLED has become the Retina Display’s arch enemy. With the number of issues plaguing the iPhone 4’s screen, a lot of Apple fans may be disappointed with their preorder purchases. Actually, the Cupertino giant would have gone for AMOLED technology if not for the lack of units available for use.

That being said, the supply issue is also affecting existing models that already use the super clear display. Makers like Samsung have been having issues regarding the delivery time of the AMOLED technology displays. This problem also affects some HTC manufactured mobile phones out in the market such as the Droid Incredible, Nexus One and HTC Desire. Since a lot of makers go for it, what exactly is so good about AMOLED?

What makes AMOLED so darn irresistible is the number of viewing angles it offers without losing the brilliance, clarity and vibrancy of the displays. It also features, in stark contrast to Apple’s Retina Display, low power consumption. Now, going back to its major drawback (availability), there are now good alternatives for mobile phone manufacturers.

While people were fussing over the AMOLED and Retina Display technology, good old, dependable LCDs have come a long way too. The newer released of LCD technology have more of the same viewing angles, little noticeable difference when it comes to operation under direct sunlight and have very little impact on the device’s battery life.

The solution that HTC have come up with is that they will offer both AMOLED technology displays and LCDs on their mobile phone lines. These Super TFT LCD screens will be supplied by Sony and will be initially available only for their mobile phones that are already out in the market.

It is still unclear whether the units will have some sort of marking on them to help consumers differentiate the two, but they are, reportedly, at par with each other. We will just have to wait to put this to the test.

Sony Ericsson’s New Smart Phone is a WP7 Handset

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Sony-Ericsson-XPERIA-X8It is already understood that Sony Ericsson is working on a Windows Phone 7 handset, but it is always welcome news to hear any form of progress –even if all we are getting is a name. Despite the well established fact that the joint venture is one leaky ship in terms of news, they have managed to keep a pretty tight lid on the progress of the development of the first WP7 SE handset. So far, the only thing they are letting the public know is the name: Sony Ericsson Jolie.

Considering the feminine name being given to the device, many can assume that this is simply a production name for the product (much like the XPERIA Rachel and Shakira), and that the phone will be given a commercial product name once it is ready to be launched. The practice has been done by Sony openly with many of their most recent phones –there is no reason to believe that the Jolie is any different.

Sony-ericsson-cedarAs for what kind of handset the Jolie may be, many are still guessing. The most common accepted theory is that the device will be a type 2 chassis (in terms of the requirements that Microsoft has set for Windows Phone 7 devices), which means that SE’s smart phone will be packing a slide out QWERTY keyboard. The only other confirmed type 2 handset for WP7 is the upcoming LG Panther (which has been revealed to the public not soon after the OS was shown off at the Mobile World Congress last February).

The Jolie is the latest device to be added to the long line of upcoming Sony Ericsson devices coming this year. The lineup already consists of several impressive devices such as the X10 Mini Pro, the XPERIA X8, the W150 Yendo Walkman phone, the Sony Ericsson Greenheart Cedar and a still unnamed Android handset that comes with a 5.5 inch touch screen display.

Android Froyo is Finally Out

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

android-froyoHot on the heels of the Apple iPhone 4 release, Google is also launching the full, open sourced Android 2.2 Froyo to many of their users.

Of course, not all handsets can get the update. According to developers, the update to the latest version of the Android may be complete, but compatibility issues with various handsets will limit how many users can actually use the latest version of the operating system.

And yes, “open sourced” is the big keyword here which means that many developers will have their knuckles cracking away at all the new features and capabilities that have been opened up. Despite the fact that the SDK for the new Android OS has already been released earlier, this latest announcement will certainly bring more app makers working on new Android applications.

This means that owners of Android handsets will certainly have plenty of new app and features to look forward to. According to Google, they plan to start standardizing the Android experience and once version 3.0 Gingerbread comes out, the number of updates will start decreasing in favor of cross system patches.

Sony-Ericsson-XPERIA-X10Just recently, Adobe announced that their Flash Player version 10.1 update for the Android operating system is already available. However, since the player required an installation of Android 2.2 Froyo, only the Nexus One was able to make use of the Flash support. With the release of Android 2.2 for general users, expect to see more people able to access Flash content on their smart phones.

In the meanwhile, owners of high end Android smart phones are still awaiting the individual by-manufacturer updates for version 2.1 to update to version 2.2. Sony Ericsson’s XPERIA X10 owners on the other hand, have a long wait ahead of them as the device is only using 1.6 Donut. The X10 will be update to version 2.1 later this year while a 2.2 update is still not yet confirmed.

Apple Filing Another Case Against HTC

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

HTC-Wildfire-front-back-sideThe lawsuits just seem to keep on coming this year. 2010 has started out with a pretty aggressive move from Cupertino based Apple. The company filed a massive lawsuit against HTC, the Taiwan based maker of the HTC Desire and Wildfire Android phones, regarding 20 patents for software and hardware technologies that they have allegedly infringed upon.

The issue was brought up early this year and has since been a starting point for many other legal disputes that Apple has been having lately. HTC, being a partner in the development of the Android operating system, can be conspired by Apple as much as a rival as Google. The attack on HTC was meant to cripple development of Android systems.

In response, Google declared that they would stand behind HTC in the lawsuit. Most of the devices in the lawsuit covered were Android mobile devices, but none had been proven to be infringing on Apple’s patents. In retaliation, HTC also filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple regarding 5 various patents –one that the HTC has responded to and has began a formal investigation as well.

Now it appears that Apple does not like playing a defensive role and has once again filed a new lawsuit against HTC.

HTC is not the only company that is taking Apple to court however. According to reports, Apple still has a couple of other patent infringement lawsuits to handle as well. The first is from Finnish manufacturer Nokia and the other, from Taiwanese electronics manufacturer, Elan Microelectronics.

Nokia has been embroiled in a legal dispute with Apple since last year and many believe the new lawsuit is a continuation of the two companies’ less than amiable exchange. On the other hand, the Elan Microelectronics case is regarding multi touch technology –a case that Elan has already won against Synaptics in an earlier lawsuit.

Flash Player is Out Android Froyo Still Not Available

Friday, June 25th, 2010

nexus_one_2In a move that can be best described as badly timed, Adobe has finally brought out the Android Flash Player. As impressive as it may be to bring Flash support to Google’s Android operating system, the fact that only the Nexus One has version 2.2 of the OS is a sad reminder to many Android owners who are still eagerly awaiting an update.

Right now, the only smart phone with the new OS is Google’s very own Nexus One. The first third party handset that is confirmed to be getting the update is the HTC Desire which will be getting a patch in a matter of days, for other smart phones; the wait will take much longer.

sony-xperia-x10miniConsidering the Android’s position in the mobile phone industry right now, this is one delay that Google should not allow to continue. Despite recent reports that the patches will be available earlier than expected, they are still taking too long. Take the Sony Ericsson XPERIA handsets. For now, the X10 and the X10 Mini are waiting for a patch to Android 2.1 –so far, there has been no announcement when the 2.2 update will be released. While the original 2.1 patch has been moved from Q4 to Q3 the delay is still significant.

Most of the other handsets are expected a 2.2 update in the next month or by August. Devices such as the Motorola Milestone, Dell Streak and the Samsung i9000 Galaxy S are just some of the Android devices that would need to be updated.

The move from 2.1 to 2.2 Froyo is significant mostly because of the Flash support that it brings. While the additional performance boosts are indeed impressive (up to twice the current UI speed and up to three times faster web browsing), people are more interested in finally being able to see Flash content on their smart phones.

Vodafone Offers Two More Androids

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Vodafone_845It seems that mobile network operator Vodafone is going to keep Android fans happy with a wide range of handsets to choose from. The network operator has already confirmed that they have the HTC Wildfire as part of their Android line up and now, they are also two new devices on the list.

The first is the Vodafone 845. This unassuming smart phone is a basic touch screen device developed by the network operator for anyone who wants to enjoy a straightforward Android user experience. The handset brings a 2.8 inch TFT touch screen display, a 3.2 mega pixel camera and Android 2.1 Éclair. While it is likely that the handset would be getting a Froyo update eventually, no confirmation has been given by Google nor Vodafone.

The other device is the more well known Samsung i9000 Galaxy S. This smart phone is one of the best Android devices to be offered on the market today as it is able to match the specs of the HTC Desire and the Google Nexus One. While the Sony Ericsson XPERIA X10 matches these devices in terms of hardware, the fact that it only uses Android 1.6 Donut places it lower on the bar of the Galaxy S. Like the Desire, the i9000 makes use of the Android 2.1 Éclair operating system.

Samsung-Galaxy-S-I9000-1With a high speed 1GHz CPU, a 5 mega pixel camera and a 4 inch super AMOLED touch screen, there is plenty to like about this Samsung handset. The Korean manufacturer has also added in some special features such as the Samsung Social Hub, SmartLife, ThinkFree and various other proprietary applications.

According to Vodafone, the Samsung Galaxy S is available for free on a 35 Pound monthly tariff for 24 months. This contract will give users about 900 minutes of talk time, 1GB data allowance and unlimited texting.

Apple Says White iPhone 4G is Challenging to Make

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Apple-iphone-4-whiteIf you are one of the unlucky guys who have been tasked by wives, girlfriends or mothers to buy them a white iPhone on launch, you will have to ask them to wait a while longer. Apparently, the white colored iPhone 4Gs are lagging behind their sleek black counterparts in the production process. This means that it will take them longer to leave the factory to go home with you. Or so Apple says:

“White models of Apple’s new iPhone 4 have proven more challenging to manufacture than expected, and as a result they will not be available until the second half of July. The availability of the more popular iPhone 4 black models is not affected.”

Apple-iPhone-4GNow, it is either the white case is using a different finish than the black version or it is simply Apple’s way of prolonging the iPhone 4G’s profit spike. According to the white device’s pre-order page, it is just not possible to reserve one now. So if you simply cannot wait, you can go for a black iPhone 4 and risk being tempted to buy a second unit for vanity’s sake. Otherwise, you may have to make do with your iPhone 3G S for a little while longer.

If you can wait then you will be one of the people making Apple a bit richer when the time comes that they are ready to release the product. Just be sure to be ready if the Cupertino-based mobile product giant decides to release the handsets with a premium price tag. Remember what happened to the iPhone 3G when a white variant was launched in limited quantities? The iPhone 4G may just be a déjà vu of that.

At any rate, it is not as if this marketing stint was not expected. Apple has been known to go for the theatrical when it comes to their devices. Don’t believe it? Just back track to how Apple handled a Gizmodo journalist when they blogged about a “misplaced” iPhone prototype.

Flash Coming to a Whole Range of Mobile Platforms

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

iphoneflashAccording to Steve Jobs, millions of people have bought his products even though they do not support Flash. He considers this as a testament for supporting his argument that Flash is no longer needed. He also seems to forget that he could removed phone call capabilities, text messaging and even taken out the camera and still would have sold millions of the iPad and the iPhone. This is not about Flash at all, but just how powerful the Apple branding is.

For a real measure of understanding where Flash stands in today’s standards: it is still being used. In fact, it is expected that in the span of a year (or even shorter), there will almost be no smart phones that will not support Flash aside from the Apple iPhone.

The Android is obviously getting Flash support; they clearly made their stand and alliance with the developer pretty early on when the argument between Apple and Adobe was just starting to brew. Microsoft also jumped into Flash bandwagon. While support for Flash will not be present in the very first version of the Windows Phone 7 mobile platform, it is expected to appear in one of the first updates for the OS.

It has also been confirmed that other operating systems will also be getting a compatible version of Adobe’s flash player. Among the systems that have been reported to be getting a flash Player update later on are the MeeGo, Linux Mobile, the Symbian OS, RIM’s BlackBerry OS and the Palm WebOS. The only OS missing from the list is Samsung’s Bada and the Brew though it is likely that the Samsung OS will also be getting a Flash update too.

Adobe has already released a downloadable version of the Flash Player version 10.1 for Google Android Froyo –well ahead of the first Android Froyo updates for other handsets aside from the Nexus One.