Saturday, March 31, 2012

Google Drive Leak Now Suggests 5GB Of Free Storage

Rumors surrounding Google’s cloud storage service are ramping up as we move closer toward the product’s rumored release date. The service will apparently be called Google Drive and is similar to Dropbox, which allows users to store files on cloud servers and access them from computers and mobile devices. According to a leaked screenshot obtained by TalkAndroid, Google Drive will offer 5GB of free storage instead of the previously rumored 1GB. The image also reaffirms that files can be accessed through computers, mobile phones, tablets and via a web browser, and it will allow users to edit a document in one place that will automatically be updated in all locations. Google Drive is rumored to launch the week of April 16th.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Sony Says Some ICS Updates Beginning in Mid-April

Sony today indicated via its web site that it will push the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update to the Xperia arc S, neo V, and ray starting in mid-April. The update will be distributed over the course of four to six weeks. Sony said the next batch of updates, slated for the Xperia arc, neo, mini, mini pro, pro, and active, will commence in late May or early June. The update will only be available for download and installation via Windows or Mac computers, and won't be pushed out over the air. Sony won't deliver Android 4.0 to the Xperia S line of devices until the latter part of the second quarter.  It's worth mentioning that the scheduling of Android 4.0 updates for some devices will vary by market and carrier, which is something that Sony takes care to note in its announcement. Still, it's good to see Sony keeping us up to date on its ICS rollout plans, and I'm sure owners of all of these 2011 Xperia handsets are glad to have an idea of when they'll be getting a taste of Google's latest dessert.

Sony Offering Android 4.0 Beta to Xperia Play

Sony has made a beta version of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich available for the Xperia Play smartphone. Sony cautions that the beta software is not a final build of Android 4.0, and those who download and install it may encounter bugs. This software is for unlocked variants of the Xperia Play, and is likely not compatible with versions of the Play sold by AT&T and Verizon Wireless. Sony has made similar betas available to a handful of its other phones. It hopes those who install the beta will share feedback so that it may fine-tune the code for all devices. A word of warning, though -- Wifi connectivity is apparently not functional in this beta, and there are no Google apps included either, apparently due to licensing issues. The latter can be solved by finding, downloading and flashing the apps yourself, but the lack of Wifi will probably be a deal-breaker for many. That said, we expect enterprising Android hackers to have a workaround for that before too long.

Google Tweaks Wallet for Select Android Phones

Google has released a minor update to Google Wallet, its mobile payment tool. The updates include user interface changes, improved management of Citi Mastercards, and more flexible prepaid card top-ups. The update is compatible with the Sprint Nexus S 4G and unlocked versions of the Galaxy Nexus running with AT&T SIM cards. The updated software is free.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Google To Begin Selling Tablets Directly To Consumers This Year

We've been hearing rumors that a Google Nexus-branded tablet was coming, but Mountain View may have even more ambitious plans in store. The Wall Street Journal reports that Google will open up its own online store, where it will market and sell tablet devices directly to consumers. In an interesting twist, it's said that the company won't actually manufacture any of the offered hardware itself, instead leaving that duty to partners (Samsung and Asus are both named). The tablets will reportedly feature official Google co-branding, however. Google is even said to be considering subsidizing the cost of the tablets, in order to make them price-competitive with the Amazon Kindle Fire.
The move comes in attempt to counter the massive success of both Apple's iPad as well as the Fire, the latter of which has achieved success not seen by other Android tablets. Of course, Google tried a similar strategy when it offered the original Nexus One directly to consumers, an approach that didn't work in the company's favor. While there's no exact launch date provided, the WSJ states that Google hopes to open the new store within the calendar year.

T-Mobile Could Sell Its Tower To Raise Money

In an aggressive move to raise money, T-Mobile is looking at selling some of its cell towers to help finance its ambitious vision of an LTE 4G network.
Apparently, the fourth largest cell phone company in the United States has gotten the ball moving already, obtaining the services of TAP Advisors to explore a sale, according to Bloomberg. A potential sale could garner as much as $3 billion.
Although this move makes much sense, T-Mobile has yet to come out and make any word of a tower sale official, as the company stated to AllThingsD “A tower sale remains under consideration.” The company also added, “T-Mobile USA continues to evaluate a tower sale as part of its self-funding strategy, but [we] have no specific plans to detail at this time.”
Reading between the lines, the Bloomberg report might not be off base. Ultimately, we may not know if T-Mobile is indeed planning to sell off some of its towers, but it does bring the suspicion of them working behind the scenes to raise cash.
Regardless, after AT&T failed to buy T-Mobile, the company has been refocused on vastly improving its network. This ramped up dedication grew when parent company Deutsche Telekom signed off on a $4 billion investment to help upgrade the T-Mobile network to support LTE. This caused the company to layout details of its 4G LTE expansion.
Thanks to AT&T’s botched deal, DT will be able to reuse current spectrum as well as spectrum gained as part of the breakup fee.

Novacom USB Communication Toolset Released To Open Source

Novacom USB communication toolset released to open source
Today saw yet another release along the Open webOS roadmap, with Novacom and Novacomd finding their way onto GitHub. The two pieces comprise a generic communication toolset used to communicate between a host (your computer) and embedded device (your webOS device) over USB. It's what allows the webOS SDK and programs like WebOS Quick Install to access the device over a USB connection without having to put the device into USB Mode. Plus there's the fact that USB mode doesn't allow access to the file system.
Novacom has been distributed as part of the webOS SDK and webOS Doctors since what seems like the beginning of time, and was released as a separate downloadable executable a while back as well. The separate release, while not open source, enabled WebOS Quick Install to get by without downloading the entire webOS Doctor just to be able to extract Novacom to install a single app or patch.
There are two parts to the release, Novacom and Novacomd. The latter is the service that runs on both the host and the target device, while Novacom is the command line user interface that provides a human-accessible way to access that service. With both now out in open source, the webOS developer community (and the developer community at large) is free to enhance, fix, and repurpose the two as they see fit.
The release of Novacom nearly closes out the Open webOS release commitments for March, with just LevelDB and MojoDB/DB8 left for the month. Major releases for March have included the Nyx hardware abstraction layer and the Linux Standard Kernel 3.3, both of which will go a long way towards opening up Open webOS to installation on a wide range of devices. There's still a lot to go on the roadmap, but despite what feels like near constant drama, Open webOS is still making progress.

RIM Announces Organization Changes Within BlackBerry

As RIM rolls out Q4 2012 financial earnings, they've also gone ahead an announced some recent changes within the organization and ultimately their Board of Directors:
"As I complete my retirement from RIM, I'm grateful for this remarkable experience and for the opportunity to have worked with outstanding professionals who helped turn a Canadian idea into a global success," said Jim Balsillie.
"On behalf of the Board and everyone at RIM, I would like to thank Jim for his 20 years of service to RIM," said Barb Stymiest, Chair of RIM's Board of Directors. "His energy, drive and enthusiasm helped build one of the most successful technology companies of our time."
In addition, David Yach will be retiring from his role as CTO, Software after 13 years with the Company and after 4 years with the company and following an open dialogue on the future of global operations, Jim Rowan, COO, Global Operations, has decided to pursue other interests. The Company is currently undertaking a search to hire a single COO with responsibilities to run the Company's operations.
"RIM would like to thank David Yach and Jim Rowan for their years of service and many contributions to RIM," said Thorsten Heins, President and CEO. "We wish them well in their future pursuits."

RIM Releases Q4 Earnings Report; Balsillie Resigns As Director, CTO And COO Both Given The Boot

With expectations at an all-time low and analysts lowering estimates left and right, Research In Motion on Thursday reported its results for the fourth fiscal quarter of 2012. RIM posted a surprising beat in the third fiscal quarter when it managed earnings of $1.27 per share on $5.2 billion in sales. At the same time, however, the Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry maker issued worse than expected fourth-quarter EPS guidance of between $0.80 and $0.95, and it said revenue would likely fall between $4.6 billion and $4.98 billion. RIM has now confirmed adjusted net income of $0.80 per share, on revenue of $4.2 billion. Read on for more.
RIM said it shipped 11.1 million BlackBerry smartphones and more than 500,000 PlayBook tablets last quarter. Smartphone shipments came in at the low end of its forecast of between 11 million and 12 million units. Wall Street was expecting earnings of $0.81 per share and $4.54 billion in revenue. In the fourth fiscal quarter of 2011, RIM posted a profit of $710 million, or $1.27 per share, on $4.08 billion in sales.
The company confirmed that RIM co-founder Jim Balsillie will step down as director and leave the company.
RIM is also expected to confirm during its earnings call that multiple top executives will be laid off as part of a significant corporate restructuring. The news was first reported by The Globe and Mail.
The struggling smartphone vendor said it is facing significant challenges, and it is currently reviewing strategic opportunities and potential partnerships. RIM also said that its first BlackBerry 10 smartphone is on track to launch in late 2012.

Best Buy To Cut 400 Jobs, Close 50 Stores Nationwide

The move to cut 400 jobs and close 50 stores nationwide was announced alongside Best Buy's Q4 earnings report, which includes action items aimed to trim $800 million in costs by 2015. The closings will no-doubt come along with staffer reductions, some of whom could be transferred to one of 100 Best Buy Mobile "small format stand-alone stores" set to launch next year. While an unfortunate move for some customers and employees, it does show some foresight on behalf of BBY management, who likely recognize a continuing shift to online purchasing, and a greater emphasis on mobile devices, which require significantly smaller showrooms, cost less to ship and could offer greater margins to boot.

Former CO-CEO And Director Jim Balsillie Leaves RIM

RIM’s former co-CEO and current director of the board Jim Balsillie is leaving RIM. “As I complete my retirement from RIM, I’m grateful for this remarkable experience and for the opportunity to have worked with outstanding professionals who helped turn a Canadian idea into a global success,” Balsillie said in a statement.

Conversion Kit Lets You Push Your RAZR To The Maxx For $110

The Cellphone Repair Shop is hawking a kit that will outfit your plain old RAZR with genuine Motorola RAZR Maxx parts for $110, battery included of course. The site recommends that you send your handset to its repair facility for "professional installation," but we're sure some of you are up to the challenge. How about it, RAZR owners, are any of you tinkerers going to try and Maxx-out your handset?

Sprint Won't Be Releasing New WiMAX Devices

Sprint has changed its stance on WiMax devices and no longer plans to bring new WiMax gear to the market, said Bob Azzi, Sprint's senior vice president of networks. Earlier this year, Sprint said that it would offer both CDMA/WiMax and CDMA/LTE devices through 2012, and that it would stop selling WiMax devices by the end of the year. Azzi's comments reflect a change in the company's position. 

Azzi noted that the company will use the G-Block of its 1900MHz spectrum to launch LTE by the middle of the year. "We are wrapping up final field integration tests," Azzi said. "The technology works and delivers more benefits than we expected." Sprint will have 15 LTE devices available by the end of the year, including smartphones, tablets, and mobile hotspots. The company also plans to refarm portions of its 800MHz spectrum for use with LTE. It is currently transitioning its iDEN customers to its CDMA network, and will eventually use that freed-up spectrum for LTE. 

Considering that Sprint is planning to roll out LTE service by mid-2012 and will be releasing around 15 LTE-capable devices by the end of the year, it makes sense that the carrier would decide to cease launching new WiMAX products. Sprint has yet to say when it'll be releasing its new LTE devices like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and LG Viper, saying only that availability information will be revealed closer to launch, but a recent rumor claimed that the Galaxy Nexus could be here as soon as the middle of April. How many of you are considering checking out one of Sprint's LTE devices once they finally hit?

Sam Greenblatt Out As webOS CTO

Today we've learned that webOS CTO Sam Greenblatt is transitioning away from his leadership position within webOS. We contacted HP and they confirmed that Greenblatt will no longer be in charge of webOS, though they offered no hints as to who might be taking the lead:

"Sam Greenblatt is moving from webOS to a new role at HP and will continue to assist the team during the transition. The Open webOS project is on schedule and HP remains committed to the roadmap announced in January."

Sources indicate to us that developers within HP were frustrated by the pace of the roadmap, and that there has been considerable head-butting since Greenblatt took the lead of webOS just a few short months ago. For what it's worth, HP has delivered on Enyo 2.0, QtWebKit, the Linux Standard Kernel, and the Nyx hardware abstraction layer.
Before coming to webOS, Greenblatt had been "VP of Strategic Program, Strategy & Corporate Development", a job title that tells us pretty much nothing, but still sounds like something that would mesh well with leading a group like webOS. Additionally, at least according to his LinkedIn profile, Greenblatt also currently holds the CTO of Enterprise Global Distribution position at HP, so he'll still have something to do once the transition to whoever is new is complete. Of course, the last webOS leader that transitioned to another position within HP eventually transitioned to a hammock in Mexico.
HP Chief Strategy Office Bill Veghte is still in place, guiding the webOS effort from above, as are the remnants of the Open webOS staff after the most recent round of dismissals. Drama like this is never good for any group, and it's especially not good right now after all of the hits webOS has taken in the past five months.

Quickoffice Launches Its Own Cloud Service Connect

Everyone’s about cloud these days so why would Quickoffice be any different. It isn’t and it’s launching a cloud service of its own Connect by Quickoffice, allowing users to access and search across a number of cloud services and devices, regardless of operating system. At the same time, the solution provides users with a “fluid” online and offline document creating, editing, syncing and sharing experience.
Device wise, Quickoffice users can access files on a Mac, PC, iPhone, iPad, Android smartphone and tablet. As for the supported services, aside from Quickoffice’s own service, Connect also works with a number of popular third-party solutions, including Basecamp, Box, Catch, Dropbox, Egnyte, Evernote, Google Docs, Huddle, Microsoft SkyDrive, Springpad, SugarSync and WebDev. Finally, you can share your files via social networks like Docstoc, Facebook, LinkedIn, Slideshare, Scribd, Twitter and Yammer.
Connect comes with a native mobile application for iOS and Android, a PC or Mac desktop client and web portal for universal document and account management. The service automatically syncs documents to ensure the latest version is always available on any device.
When it comes to pricing, Quickoffice is offering Connect in three flavors: Basic, Premium and Professional, with the last mentioned costing $69.95 per year. During the limited time, Connect Premium will be available for a discounted price of $19.99/year (regular price is $44.99)

Grab A Refurbished Kindle Fire For $139 Today Only UPDATE: SOLD OUT

Amazon has a stock of refurbished Kindle Fires up for grabs on their site. The 7″ e-Reader/tablet hybrid is the second best-selling tablet behind Apple’s iPad, and at the extremely discounted price of $139 is a no-brainer for anyone who has an investment in Amazon’s ecosystem. The Kindle Fire allows you to consume Kindle Books and Amazon Video on Demand, and enjoy thousands of Android applications featured on Amazon’s own app store.
If you want to score a refurbished Kindle Fire for $60 off the $199 retail price, you’ll have to act fast. The deal is one of Amazon’s featured Gold Box deals, and will run out at the end of the day today or as long as supplies last. We expect these things will sell out fairly quickly, so be sure to get an order in soon if you’ve got your eyes on this device.

Update: as of 3:13 Amazon has sold out of there refurbished Kindle Fire for $139

T-Mobile HTC One S May Launch April 22nd

HTC One S launch date (Source: TmoNews)
The HTC One S may be going on sale in some parts of Europe as early as next Monday, but the phone's U.S. launch might not be far behind. TmoNews​ obtained the T-Mobile internal screenshot you see above, which references a launch date of April 22, just over three weeks from now. The image shows the T-Mobile version of the device, alongside a countdown clock displaying the purported date.

Google Drive To Be Released First Week Of April

After many false alarms, Google's cloud storage service has been coming for multiple years. The latest rumors came almost two months ago, when we found that a Dropbox-like service would be offered by the search giant. But today's unofficial news is a bit more exciting, as it states that "Google Drive," as it's being called, will be released "sometime during the first week of April."
This comes from GigaOM, a renowned tech news site, and they claim that the sources giving them this info are "well-placed and familiar with Google's plans."  As it goes with many new rumors, this one comes with a bit of extra details about the service.
The sources affirm that Google will be offering 1 GB of free storage, and charge for extra storage space. This comes as a surprise, since Google usually offers its services for free, or at least very affordable compared to the competition. But in this case, Dropbox would have the advantage by offering 2 GB for free. Not to mention Box's and Amazon Cloud Drive's free 5 GB.
None of this is set in stone just yet, as it is still a rumor. Prices for extra storage are still unknown, and that is where Google might have the advantage. Extra GBs could be more affordable than the competition, so it'll be interesting to see where they go with that.
In addition, it is mentioned that this service will launch for Google Apps customers, and will look much like Google Docs in regards to the interface. The search giant has also developed an API for developers to be able to make use of Google Drive.
The odds of this rumor coming to life are unknown, as they usually are. But we know Google must be getting ready for it, so we'll keep our eyes peeled. One of our readers even found a hidden "Add to my Drive" button within the Gmail coding.
This means that the service could be coming very soon. Maybe even early next month, as this rumor states. As always, take it with a healthy amount of salt until we get some more news. For now, the best idea is to stay tuned and hope to see this come to life soon, and with better offerings.

Recently found Updates

The guys from Talk Android have received a nice leaked image of what seems to be the PC client for Google Drive. The website's sources claim the same, but they state that the date of release has been changed to "the week of April 16th." But what makes this screen shot special is that it goes against GigaOM's claims that users will get 1 GB of free storage.
This image (along with the sources) confirms that users will get 2 GB of free storage, instead. This sounds much more enticing, but as mentioned above, it still does not beat the competition.

Is HTC Planning To Launch iPod Touch Competitor

Competition between Android OEMs and Apple has always been tough, and that's not likely to change for some time. Samsung took the competition to the next level by launching the Samsung Galaxy Player 70, a media player with a dual-core processor, to go face-to-face with Apple's iPod Touch. Now it seems that HTC is also jumping on the media player bandwagon. As you can see from the image above, a leaked patent shot, the device clearly looks like a media player of some sort.
The two front speakers, as well as the two on the rear, along with a kickstand are big hints that this isn't just another Android phone. With the right hardware (and software, of course), this device could be a powerhouse. HTC filed it as a "handheld electronic Device" back in Q1 2011, but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published it just last month.

Google Deploys Android 4.0.4 To Select Devices

Android 4.0.4 updates for Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus and WiFi Xoom being pushed over the air “in the coming weeks” | MobileandSocial |
Google recently announced that Android 4.0.4, Ice Cream Sandwich, is rolling out to mutiple devices. The latest update includes “stability improvements, better camera performance, smoother screen rotation, improved phone number recognition and more.” Some devices are seeing Ice Cream Sandwich for the first time, while others are receiving updates from previous versions of Android 4.x.
More devices will be supported soon, but the first wave of devices includes:
  • UMTS/GSM Nexus S
  • Xoom WiFi
  • HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus
Devices we expect to be upgraded in the “coming weeks” include:
  • Sprint Nexus S 4G
  • Verizon Galaxy Nexus
  • Verizon Xoom 4G
Current rumors suggest the Verizon Galaxy Nexus will see a newer Android 4.0.5 as soon as April, so it could be skipping Android 4.0.4 entirely.

All Good Things Must Come To An End

The title reads"All good things must come to an end" and I'd like to say Mark Hearn, you and SprintFeed will be missed. 

SprintFeed will stop publishing effective April 2nd 2012, be sure to continue following Mark and his post on TechnoBuffalo

Mark you can rest assured I will continue to follow your post, and redirect readers to your post. As a fellow blogger I know how hard it can be at times. We at The Phone Ninja wish you nothing but the best. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Court Rules RapidShare Is Legal

RapidShare is widely known as an invaluable tool for the illegal sharing of copyrighted digital material. Much like Megaupload, which was shuttered earlier this year when company founder Kim Dotcom was arrested and charged with racketeering and violating anti-piracy laws, RapidShare allows users to upload any file and share a link with other users who may then download the content. While some users share files legally with RapidShare, millions more upload copyrighted movies, music and eBooks which are then downloaded illegally by others around the world who find links to the files on blogs or through special search engines. Following a preliminary ruling, a court in Germany has now declared RapidShare to be legal, but it must utilize a monitoring mechanisms if it wishes to remain operational.

Opera Mini 7 Now Available For Android

Today they have officially landed in the market. Opera Mini 7 brings a faster browsing experience and allows you to pan around sites quicker thanks to hardware acceleration. In addition they have expanded the ability to their "speed dials" which give quick and easy access to your favorite websites without needing to access the bookmarks or use the keyboard.  Last, Opera says the browser is better at compressing data, which can save users money by making more efficient use of cellular data. The browser is a free download from Google Play.

Motorola XOOM WiFi Receiving Android 4.0.4 Update

The update is version IMM76 and will bump users to Android 4.0.4. XOOMers can also expect a handful of software enhancements, including improvements to the camera and image quality, quicker screen rotation and better stability.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

BlackBerry Bridge v2.0.0.26 Now Available

BlackBerry Bridge has just received an update bringing it to v2.0.0.26. No change log listed as of now, you will definitely want to log in to App World and check for the update if you are a BlackBerry PlayBook owner. 

As we have seen in the past, PlayBook OS updates usually follow shortly behind Bridge updates, so you'll want to be ready for if when that drops.

Download/update BlackBerry Bridge

T-Mobile To Raise Data Plans Beginning April 4th

According to TmoNews, the nation’s No.4 carrier may be looking to increase the price of its premium 5GB and ultra 10GB unlimited data packages. The change could go into effect as early as April 4th and would add an additional $5 to the cost each plan. The 5GB plan will jump from $35 to $40 per month and the 10GB plan will increase from $65 to $70. T-Mobile’s Value Plan pricing will remain unchanged. The premium and ultra plan increases will only apply to customers who sign up for service after the effective date, however. The price increase comes as the carrier is looking to restructure and in doing so, will also cut 5% of its workforce and close seven call centers over the next three months. 

webOS Gets A Long Awaited "Song ID" App

webOS finally has an app called "Song ID" that can identify songs via audio fingerprint. That app is the oh-so-aptly-named Song ID from SSGLabs (their first webOS app). $5.00 brings the basics of a Shazam or Midomi like service to webOS. And by basics, we mean you open the app, hit the big green Listen button, and wait while it gets a sample, sends it up to the servers of an unnamed audio fingerprinting service, and spits back a result consisting of the track name and album info.
We've been playing with Song ID for a little while now, testing it out on Derek's weirdly varied music library. The majority of the tunes Song ID was subjected to it was able to easily identify, be it Frank Sinatra, Tenacious D, the Vince Guaraldi Trio, John Williams' Jurassic Park soundtrack, or the funky offbeat tunes from Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog. More obscure stuff, like the Dallas Wind Symphony under the direction of Frederick Fennell or the intense ambient tones of The Dark Knight Soundtrack spat back negative results. Song ID also had some problems with Weird Al Yankovic, but that's more a testament to Weird Al's weird abilities than anything else. Hit the link below to download "Song ID" and leave your comments.

RIM Buys Domain

When a company purchases a domain name, it can sometimes point to a new product name. However, sometimes it may just be to thwart confusion, as seen with the case when RIM purchased ‘’ after rumors circulated that the BlackBerry tablet was codenamed ‘BlackPad’.
Nevertheless, a new domain purchased by RIM has been spotted. The new domain is ‘, which of course doesn’t lead anywhere yet. The domain was registered through the brand protection company MarkMonitor, where other web properties that RIM owns like are managed.
What could ‘BlackBerry Spin’ be? A BlackBerry 10 phone, tablet or service? Or, merely nothing more than a defensive measure to protect RIM’s intellectual property? If RIM did use ‘BlackBerry Spin’ what should they use the name for?