Four days before the purported launch of Samsung's cloud service, Korea's other technology giant has unveiled LG Cloud. The eponymous service offers 5GB free space as standard, while owners of LG's Smart TVs or smartphones will get 50GB free for six months. It'll push content between your devices, appropriately compressed for the medium, so high definition images on your TV will be slimmed down to save your phone's data cap. The free beta begins in South Korea and the US from May 1st, with a global rollout pencilled in for next year.
Monday, April 30, 2012
Microsoft and Barnes & Noble on Monday announced the formation of a new partnership that will spin the bookseller’s digital Nook and College businesses into a new unnamed subsidiary. Microsoft’s investment of $300 million will bring it a 17% stake in the newly formed business, which is valued at $1.7 billion, and Barnes & Noble will own approximately 82.4% of the new company. “The formation of [this new subsidiary] and our relationship with Microsoft are important parts of our strategy to capitalize on the rapid growth of the NOOK business, and to solidify our position as a leader in the exploding market for digital content in the consumer and education segments,” said William Lynch, CEO of Barnes & Noble. “Microsoft’s investment in Newco, and our exciting collaboration to bring world-class digital reading technologies and content to the Windows platform and its hundreds of millions of users, will allow us to significantly expand the business.” Share of Barnes & Noble stock surged 80% in pre-market trading on the news.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Grab yourself a spoonful of Morton's and get ready for another supposed leak of a gadget. This time around, you're looking at what's said to be one of Research In Motion's BlackBerry 10 "Development Alpha" devices that are set to be handed out during next week's BlackBerry Jam -- just like the company promised a month ago. Images of the device first surfaced over at Crackberry's forums and, as the site points out, the touchscreen candy bar seems to share its design DNA with the PlayBook. Keeping in mind that it's likely to remain a testing device for devs, don't bank on it ever hitting store shelves. That said, we're now curious how pivotal a roll RIM's famous tactile keyboards will play on its next-generation phones if any.
Windows 8 isn’t expected to drop until the end of 2012, but HP may already be preparing to shop around one equipped with Microsoft’s upcoming OS. An internal slide cleverly titled “The Right Business Touch” acquired by reveals what appears to be a device quite clearly aimed at the enterprise crowd, touting security features that include HP ProtectTools and support for HP’s Computrance.
In addition, the alleged HP Slate 8 will integrate with Windows 8 and come with both multi-touch and stylus support. Other information includes a 9.22mm frame (thinner than the iPad) and an 8-10 hour battery life.
HP CEO Meg Whitman previously said back in February that the company “has big plans to get back into market,” with Windows 8 being HP’s preferred OS. Whitman also said the device would run on an x86 and, wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly what claims the device above will have.
While this is most likely just a render, if the information being reported turns out to be true then HP certainly does have big plans indeed.
Apple is reportedly in talks to stream films owned by EPIX — a joint venture among Paramount Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and Lionsgate — across a variety of devices, including the long-anticipated iTV, according to a report from Reuters. Two people with knowledge of the negotiations told the publication that the talks are in the preliminary stages and no agreement is considered near. The Cupertino-based company is reportedly looking to beef up the content offered through its Apple TV set-top box and upcoming devices. An agreement could prove troublesome, however, due to EPIX’s $200 million agreement with Netflix, which gave the company exclusive streaming rights through September.
It is just short of two years since Best Buy launched its broadband service, Best Buy Connect. Apparently, Best Buy has decided to abruptly pull the plug on the service completely.
New activations will cease effective immediately and the service will be shut down completely on June 1st. Obviously, all early terminations fees will be waived. WiMAX customers will have the option to transition their service to CLEAR.
Existing customers whose accounts are in good standing will receive a $125 or $150 gift card, depending on their service, by on April 27th to help offset the cost of finding a new provider. Those with overdue accounts that address the balance will receive their gift cards on June 20th.
Best Buy simply states that it feels it “can achieve greater growth by delivering mobile broadband support in ways other than an exclusive Best Buy-branded service.”
Our friends over at TMoNews have unearthed a roadmap with some tasty morsels of info about what's coming down the pipe from T-Mobile USA in the next few months. Of course, none of this is set in stone or even confirmed, so take it with a grain of salt.
Most interesting is a pair of dates for Ice Cream sandwich updates, with Magenta's Galaxy S II slated to receive Android 4.0 on May 14th, followed by the Sensation 4G and Amaze 4G getting ICS (with Sense 3.6, presumably) on June 16th.
A bunch of device launches from Samsung and Huawei round up the list of dates, with no sign of HTC's One X, Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S III, or T-Mobile's rumored Galaxy Note variant. Sadness. Check out the entire bounty below.
- May 9th: Huawei Astor (low-end phone for 7-Eleven)
- July 11th: Huawei Buddy and Phoenix (myTouch QWERTY and slate, respectively)
- July 11th: Samsung Gravity TXT (new color)
- Aug 1st: Samsung T159 Cacao (low-end handset)
- Aug 15th: Samsung Apex Q (mystery device)
Apple in February acquired the San Francisco-based company Chomp, a startup that develops application search and discovery software. Apple went forward with the acquisition in an attempt to improve the application search and discovery features within its App Store — the company’s Genius recommendations are a little half-baked. The service was previously available for both Android and iOS, but a recent visit to Chomp’s website has revealed that you can no longer search for Android applications. The app has also been removed from Google’s Play marketplace. It is unclear what will become of Chomp’s earlier partnership with Verizon, which used the service to powering its own app store marketplace.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Clearwire is preparing to upgrade its 2.5GHz WiMAX network to support a variant of LTE, TD-LTE, that it's co-developing with China Mobile and the broadband wholesaler has just announced that it'll kick off that upgrade in 31 "hot zones" where wireless service is most crunched. Most of those markets have yet to be announced, but it has teased five today: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle, all of which are expected to start going live in early 2013; "remaining markets" will come online by the middle of the year.
Sprint, which owns a significant chunk of Clearwire, is underwriting a portion of the company's LTE upgrade costs and is expected to take advantage of the service once it's available. In the meantime, it's using both 1900MHz and freed 800MHz iDEN spectrum for its initial LTE deployment (which is using the more common FDD flavor shared by Verizon, AT&T, and others).
The news comes as Clearwire has announced its Q1 2012 earnings which tell a mixed tale it wasn't long ago that the company nearly missed making interest payments on its debt, and it's got a long way to go to become a profitable organization. Revenue is up 36 percent year over year to $322.6 million from 11 million subscribers, up from 6.1 million a year prior; that's good, but revenue is actually down about $39 million from Q4 2011. Overall, it chalked up an operating loss of some $422.9 million, slightly better than last quarter's $433.1 million. Importantly, cash on hand is on an upward trend: it's now at $1.433 billion between cash, cash equivalents, and investments, likely thanks in no small part to a capital infusion from Sprint.
Opera Software announced the beta version of Opera 12 today, codenamed “Wahoo”. The company says that Opera 12 is “smarter and faster” than older versions, and introduces some new features.
First, the team have added the ability to add themes to the browser. Opera will be offering a whole host of themes via its website, and the company says that they’re easy to create as well. Plug-ins are now hosted separately, so if they crash they won’t take the browser with it. It’s the same that Chrome and Firefox have had for a while now, but it’s nice to see it make an appearance in Opera too.
Ubuntu 12.04 LTS has landed today, offering enterprise users a secure and stable Linux operating system for their work environment. LTS stands for Long Term Support, with five years of guaranteed updates for the OS, as well as the option to purchase commercial support. The latest version of Ubuntu brings support for Microsoft’s Remote Protocol 7.1, plus desktop virtualization for Citrix and VMWare.
That gives enterprise users flexibility for office productivity. They can use desktop applications remotely, use browser-based solutions such as Google Docs, or use the pre-installed LibreOffice which is compatible with formats. Canonical believe Ubuntu makes a good choice for those faced with expensive Windows 7 upgrades.
Today Nintendo‘s next gaming console Wii U has been tipped to be running Android applications right out of the box. This situation is not unfounded, as Android apps have been integrated into other systems, sort of, in the past, but this time it could be much more simple than what we’ve seen before. Where before we’ve seen systems such as BlackBerry attempt to integrate Android by making the process to port apps over to their system appear relatively easy, this time Nintendo may be building Android into their system, for real, to work right alongside their own user interface and software.
Looking for something a bit more solid than a third-party benchmark? We can do that. "Already in production the Exynos 4 Quad is scheduled to be adopted first into Samsung's next Galaxy smartphone that will officially be announced in May," the horse's mouth reveals. Samsung boasts that the new 32nm 1.4GHz quad-core processor flaunts twice the processing power over its predecessor, thanks to its High-K Metal Gate (HKMG) low-power technology. The net energy savings? About 20-percent. "The application processor is a crucial element in providing our customers with a PC-like experience on mobile devices," explains Hankil Yoon, Senior VP of Product Strategy Team at Samsung, "Samsung's next Galaxy device, which will be officially announced soon, offers uncompromised performance and ground breaking multitasking features, thanks to Exynos 4 Quad's powerful performance and efficient energy management technology." Sammy says it's shopping the new processor around to other handset manufacturers (like Meizu), noting that the Exynos 4 Quad is pin-to-pin compatible with the Exynos 4 Dual (the brains behind the Galaxy S II and Note), which gives designers the ability to update product designs with minimal costs.
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Research In Motion today announced that it has redesigned its BlackBerry Beta Zone based on the feedback from Beta Zone users. According to RIM, the Beta Zone has a brand new user interface that it believes is more engaging, intuitive, and interactive. Beta Zone has also been split in two, with consumer and enterprise apps clearly separated with their own Beta Zone URLs. The Beta Zone site now has a blog that accepts user feedback and comments. Last, the Beta Zone's mobile site has been improved with a revised layout and simplified download process. BlackBery Beta Zone is free to join, and lets BlackBerry users test beta software and provide feedback to RIM before final release.
Sprint said today during a call with reporters that it intends to offer its WiMax 4G network to its Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA pre-paid businesses. Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said that the service would launch for Boost and Virgin later this year, though he didn't provide specific details regarding timing nor the handsets involved. Sprint has a number of WiMax handsets still in service while it transitions to LTE 4G. Sprint has already made several LTE-capable handsets for sale, though its LTE network isn't expected to launch until mid-year. Sprint mentioned earlier this year that it will no longer sell WiMax handsets to its own customers.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Google on Tuesday unveiled its new “Google Drive” cloud storage solution, taking direct aim at Microsoft’s SkyDrive, Dropbox and other similar services. The new offering includes 5GB of free cloud-based storage and allows users to store, collaborate on, and share documents and other files. At the same time as its new Google Drive service was rolling out across the Web, Google also quietly gave Gmail users a capacity boost of more than 35% according to reports. Gmail launched in 2004 with 1GB of free storage and that figure has been increasing steadily to just over 7GB as of earlier this week. On Tuesday, Gmail’s free storage climbed to 10GB according to a report from Engadget. We haven’t seen the storage boost hit our inboxes yet, but a number of users reportedly have. Google has not formally announced the update.
It looks like the 6.12.181 upgrade is now making its way out to customers. The 6.12.181 update includes tweaks for improved device stability and enhancements to help extend battery life, among a number of other changes, so this definitely looks like something that RAZR and RAZR MAXX owners will want to check out. If the update has yet to make its way to your neck of the woods and you just can't wait for it any longer, you can check for it manually by heading into Menu > Settings > About phone > System updates.
Facebook took to its own Facebook page for Windows Phone to announce a forthcoming update to its Windows Phone app. The revised app (v2.5) will include significant changes, such as threaded messaging, the ability to tag friends, the ability to delete posts and comments, active links in posts, an overhauled photo comment tool, and the ability to "Like" comments. Facebook said that the app is in the final stages of testing and will be delivered to Windows Phone handsets soon.
Google today made the GSM variant of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus available for purchase directly through the Google Play Store for $399. The device is being sold unlocked and without a carrier contract. The GSM version is compatible with the networks run by AT&T and T-Mobile USA. It is listed in a new section of the Play Store labeled "devices."
Monday, April 23, 2012
Verizon Wireless today revealed the HTC Droid Incredible 4G through its Droid Does web site. As the name implies, the Incredible 4G is an Android 4.0 smartphone that supports Verizon's LTE 4G network. The Incredible 4G runs HTC's Sense 4.0 user interface, and is powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz processor with 1GB of RAM. It features a 4-inch qHD display, 8-megapixel main camera and VGA user-facing camera, Beats Audio, mobile hotspot for up to 10 devices, support for 32GB microSD cards. The HTC Droid Incredible 4G costs $299.99, but availability was not immediately announced by Verizon.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
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Skype's fledgling Windows Phone app broke out of beta today, adding contact searching and landline calling to it's VOIP repertoire. The update comes just shy of two months of the Beta's introduction in February, and boasts a handful of minor improvements that should keep your calls connected. You'll still be making those calls yourself, however, as the full version doesn't yet have support for receiving calls in the background -- if the app isn't running, your phone isn't ringing. Hit the source link below to update.
Samsung's latest marketing ploy kicked off with a string of nonsense that could just as easily have come from the Sunday morning jumble: "Destination: tgeltaayehxnx," declared the Samsung Mobile Twitter account. Anagram wizards will read that as, "the next Galaxy," and wouldn't you know it, it's also the URL for a auspicious countdown clock. Sammy promises to let visitors take "the next step" in about 17 hours and counting. Bonafide internet sleuths can find an extra carrot strung up in the site's source, reading, "discover how Samsung is about to challenge the way you view the Galaxy once more." Is Samsung about to break its own May 3rd unveiling? We'll let you know in 16 hours and change.
Last year HP rolled out a new version of Maps for webOS devices that was powered by Microsoft's Bing. A homebrew developer named Jan Herman didn't love the change — nor did he find the languishing official Google Maps app to his liking — so he rolled his own, and it looks like it may be better than either of the other two offerings. webOS Nationreports that Herman's app, simply titled Google Maps, features multiple viewing options, directions, live search suggestions, current traffic conditions, and even Google Maps Street View. It's actually Herman's first webOS app, built initially for his own Pre Plus, but in the weeks since debuting an early version he has been iterating at a rapid pace, adding a number of new features and ensuring compatibility with all devices running webOS 1.4.5 or higher. There are a handful of known issues, particularly on the Pre3, and Herman still has a long list of features he plans to add to the app. At the rate he seems to be going, however, both should be taken care of sooner rather than later. If you're a webOS user and would like to try his handiwork out for yourself, the app is available for download now.