Thursday, 4 August 2011

Toshiba rolls out fix for Thrive tablet's sleep problems

Toshiba promised that a fix for its Thrive tablet's pesky resume-from-sleep mode issue was coming this week, and the company's now let us know that the remedy has indeed rolled out today. Thrive owners can download the update simply by opening up the Toshiba Service Station app on the tablet -- if only all sleep problems were cured so easily. As mentioned earlier, the update also apparently enhances the "multimedia playback capabilities of the device," although it's still not clear exactly what those enhancements entail.

Android captures nearly 50% of global smartphone market

Vendors such as Samsung, HTC, LG and Motorola acted as catalysts for the growth of Android-based products.
(Mashable) -- Google Android captured 48% of the smartphone market in Q2 of 2011, hitting an all-time high, according to a report by market research firm Canalys.
The platform has been making big strides during the past year, overtaking Symbian in Q4 of 2010 to become the top smartphone platform, representing a 32.9% market share at that time.Smartphone adoption continues to grow rapidly across the world, reaching a total of 107.7 million units shipped in Q2 of 2011, a 73% year-on-year growth.
Android was the biggest driver of smartphone shipments in Q2, as Android-based smartphone shipments were up 379% year-over-year, coming in at 51.9 million total units shipped. The report cites successful Android-based products from vendors such as Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, ZTE and Huawei, as a catalyst for the platform's growth.
Apple also fared well, with iOS overtaking Nokia's Symbian platform to rise from third to second place. A total of 20.3 million iPhones were shipped and Apple raked in a market share of 19%. Apple also became the world's leading individual smartphone vendor, stripping Nokia of its long-held leadership position.

Samsung also passed Nokia, which has faced a rapid decline in demand across many markets. However, Nokia is still holding strong at number one in emerging markets, including Brazil, Russia, India and China.

RIM's new BlackBerry: Too little too late?

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- It's another tough day on Wall Street, yet Research in Motion (RIMM) shares are up more than 5% after the company said it would launch a new series of smartphones operating on its BlackBerry 7 OS.
The BlackBerry Torch 9810 will debut first and is slated to land in August. Two other Torch models and two new Bold phones will also be released soon.
The company needs its new phones to be a hit. RIM has said the BlackBerry OS 7 operating system and new devices would give a boost to the struggling company. For the fiscal first quarter, which ended May 31, sales rose 16% to $4.9 billion, missing analysts' forecasts of $5.2 billion.
RIM said it sold a disappointing 13.2 million devices -- including a measly 500,000 PlayBook tablets -- in that quarter. That fell short of RIM's already reduced guidance of 13.5 million to 14.5 million devices for the quarter.
In July, Research in Motion said it would lay off 10% of its workforce as part of a previously announced cost-cutting effort.
But according to analysts, a slew of new BlackBerry 7 devices won't provide the solution to the company's problems.
"It's good to see new models coming out," BGC Partners senior analyst Colin Gillis said. "But again the broader transition is going to be to the QNX operating system."

Research in Motion is one of 9 job killing companies

RIM acquired QNX from stereo company Harman International (HAR) last year. By next year, many RIM devices are expected to operate on this operating system, which Gillis described as "more suited for today's high end platform."
Peter Misek, an analyst with Jefferies & Co., also said that the newest BlackBerry phones won't be enough to satisfy investors for long.
"While it's nice that they're out, I think the market is really waiting for QNX devices," he said. "The reviews [of the new phones] are okay, but it doesn't solve all their problems."
Those problems include producing devices that allow the company to keep up with competitors in the fast-growing smartphone market. The maker of BlackBerry has taken a hit as Apple (APPL)'s iPhone and Google's (GOOG, Fortune 500) Android phones have dominated the smartphone industry.
Misek said that RIM's decision to produce new devices for an operating system that's being phased out is the company's attempt to stay in the market before QNX is up and running.
It's similar to the move by Nokia (NOK), which will be selling new phones running on its Symbian system despite having a deal to launch phones operating on Microsoft's (MSFT, Fortune 500) Windows Phone 7 as well. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop made that announcement in February

Monday, 1 August 2011

Phone apps distracting more young drivers

As Ohio lawmakers debate whether to outlaw texting while driving, researchers from across the country said many young drivers are engaging in an equally as dangerous activity while driving: using mobile phone applications.
Motor-safety advocates and law enforcement officials said they are troubled by new research that indicates many owners of smartphones operate mobile apps while behind the wheel.
“When they are not paying attention to what’s going on down the road, that’s just as dangerous as a drunk driver,” said Sgt. Joseph Gebhart, with the Dayton Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
A recent study by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that about 35 percent of the college students who own a smartphone admitted that they use mobile phone apps while driving. Among the 93 survey respondents, 10 percent said they often or always used their mobile phone apps while driving, and about one-third said they used them sometimes.
The findings were consistent with a survey conducted in June 2010 by the Columbus-based Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.
Nationwide’s survey of more than 1,000 adults found that about 25 percent of cell phone users, and 37 percent of users under the age of 35, download mobile applications to their phones.
Of those people who download apps, more than one in four admitted to using those apps while driving, according to the survey.
Bill Windsor, Nationwide’s associate vice president with the office of consumer safety, said an estimated 20 percent of motor vehicle crashes are caused by distracted driving.
While drivers can be distracted by all kinds of activities, Windsor said texting and using mobile apps are particularly dangerous because they result in a combination of risky driving behaviors.
As drivers text and use apps, they remove their hands from the wheel, take their eyes off the road and focus their attention on manipulating their electronic devices.
“Texting is one of the worst distractions,” Windsor said, “and use of these mobile apps have some of the same characteristics.”
Lauren McCartney, a researcher who conducted the college study, said the cognitive and visual distraction of using phone apps seems far more dangerous than simply talking on the phone.

Toshiba Qosmio X775-3DV78 3D Laptop Review

If you are looking for ultimate high technology experience with 3D and Blu-ray equipped laptop along with tons of power for gaming at any cost to pay then check this new Toshiba Qosmio. Toshiba Qosmio X775-3DV78 3D Laptop is a powerful and latest gadget comes with supreme performance CPU and Nvidia 3D vision system.
There is a lot of space- that is, RAM- to store all your data and Blu-ray files. The glossy LED display screen is eye catchy and offers sharp picture quality. The smooth curves of Toshiba Qosmio X775-3DV78 3D Laptop offers it a good appearance with all the advanced features and power packed in it.
Toshiba Qosmio X775-3DV78 3D Laptop is a stereoscopic laptop fully clubbed with power and performance and advanced features. Blu-ray is the screaming featuring about this laptop along with good vision system and digital sound. Windows 7 Home Premium (64- bit) serves user interface for this laptop. The dimensions are quiet well and fine as compared to its early counterparts.
Despite of such striking features, it is bulky and less portable. The cost of Toshiba Qosmio X775-3DV78 3D Laptop is also high and battery life is equally low.

F3 Sensy – Dual SIM phone with touch screen

F3 Sensy is the latest Dual SIM phone from Allview, a model with 3.2 inch screen and touch interface with customizable menus.
The phone interface provides us a main menu with two virtual screens, along with three menus from which we have access to various phone functions.
The Shell menu is dedicated to multimedia applications, but offers access to address book, and messaging function.
App menu consists of three customizable screens, it can order the collection of Java installed. F3 Sensy allows working with multiple applications simultaneously, so applications are open in the background while using other phone functions, working with them can be resumed later from where we left off.
From the widgets menu we can add various utility for the main menu of the phone, such as calendar, notes, missed calls, alarms, etc. If we have access to internet we can expand the collection of widgets going to Widget Store, where we can download applications like Google Search, bookmarks, browser, days, Blackjack and more.
Connectivity options include GPRS, EDGE, Bluetooth 2.0 and Wi-Fi. F3 Sensy can play videos on YouTube, with videos and MP3 files stored locally.
The 3.2 MP camera supports video capture at a resolution of 720 x 560 pixels, 30 frames per second. The files can be stored on microSD memory card, which can reach 8 GB capacity.
Data transfer to PC is facilitated by microUSB connection and the headset included in the package is attached using a 3.5 mm jack connector.

Nvidia Tegra 2 3D Processor

Nvidia reveals its new mobile processor known as Nvidia Tegra 2 3D Processor after the success of Nvidia Tegra 2 which is in upcoming new Motorola Xoom Tablet featuring android 3.0.
New Nvidia Tegra 2 3D processor will posses speed of 1.2 GHz and allowing the future tablets to provide a better human computer interaction using 3D effects. 3D view is expected to be 3D glasses free. Nvidia Tegra 2 3D release is expected this year.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Twitter boosting ad business by bumping up promoted tweets

witter is aiming to strengthen its advertising business with a new twist on Promoted Tweets.
Promoted Tweets already exist to a certain extent, but now they’re going to be more directly in the face of users. At first, having Tweet ads be more prominent sounds annoying. But it might not actually be that bad.
First, Twitter users are only going to get Promoted Tweets from organizations and businesses they already follow. Sounds fine so far. The difference now is that these Promoted Tweets are aimed to be more “timely.”
Rather than staying in the feed according to the time the particular Promoted Tweet was actually published, said Tweet will appear at the top or as near as can be to the top when a user logs in and checks his or her Twitter feeds. Check out the example below featuring JetBlue Airways.
This could actually be quite useful to Twitter users who use Twitter for finding out about lower airfares, sales at particular stores and similar items. However, it does have the potential to become very annoying. (But then again, so does almost anything on the Internet.)
To compensate for that, Twitter is enabling a feature in which users can dismiss the Promoted Tweet from the timeline with a single click. Hopefully that won’t be necessary too often, as users are already following these businesses and profiles to begin with. Of course, there is the potential that the same item will pop up routinely based on a user’s interests and habits.
The obvious benefit for businesses using Promoted Tweets for advertising is now they have a shot to catch the eye of more Twitter users at any time of day rather than just when they might happen to log on to the microblogging site. But just as with the original Promoted Tweets, advertisers will only make a visible profit when the Twitter user engages, either by clicking on a link, retweeting the item or marking it as a favorite.

Microsoft embracing open-source web platforms (finally)

Microsoft.  Saw this tweet (thanks @mdesilver)
James Urquhart
12/2/09 7:21 PM
James Urquhart from eWeek reports that Azure is now supporting Ruby on Rails.
This is exciting – you now have a major platform cloud player validating the Ruby platform.
It also shows that Microsoft is starting to behave like a “split company” – the Windows and Server business clearly not holding the web services businesses hostage.    Previous Microsoft endeavors have always had vertical integrity as a goal – Browser, OS, Office, Server, Web.  They are changing.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Google Books app disappears and reappears on Apple App Store

Yesterday the Google Books app mysteriously disappeared from the Apple App Store and now it’s back again. But this time around, it’s been neutered. Just like the eBook apps from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Kobo, Google Books no longer allows in-app purchases for new books. This is in compliance to Apple’s updated App Store rules that requires apps to split revenue made from in-app sales.
Since eBook retailers already need to split revenue with the book publishers, they’ve been unwilling to give up even more of their profits to Apple to allow in-app purchases from their apps. This makes it a minor inconvenience to users of the book service as now they will have to load up the website for the eBook store to purchase new books and then sync it to their iPad tablets instead of being able to do everything from the app itself.
While it’s all just business for Apple, doesn’t it remind you of the Internet Explorer era back in the 1990s where Microsoft made it the default browser for Windows and everybody had a problem with it? If iBooks becomes the only app available on iOS that has in-app purchasing for books, I wonder how will the US courts will feel about it.

iOS 5 Better Than Windows Phone Mango

When Microsoft introduced Windows Phone 7 Mango, the platform refresh that will hopefully bring the Redmond platform closer to its competitors Android and iOS, they emphasized on IE9 as one of the key features. HTML 5 with hardware acceleration will come to Windows Phones and compared to Android and iOS, it was hugely outperforming both. 

It appears that, while Windows Phone 7 rendered HTML 5 at about 25 FPS -- much better than iOS 4 -- Apple's new platform, iOS 5, even in beta, managed to render the same page with 31 FPS. Microsoft and Apple will definitely tweak HTML 5 browsing and rendering some more until both platform refreshes actually hit devices but it is interesting to see how far Apple managed to push its Safari (even in a Beta release). 

Windows 'Mango' Phone

The first smartphone based on the new "Mango" edition of Microsoft's Windows Phone platform was unveiled on Wednesday in Tokyo.
The phone is the first of several handsets due over the next few months, that Microsoft hopes will signal its return to the smartphone market as a serious player. (Video of the new phone and its launch is available on YouTube.)
If that wish sounds familiar, it is. This time last year the company was hoping the first version of the Windows Phone 7 would accomplish the same thing. But that didn't happen.
First Windows 'Mango' Phone UnveiledDespite getting several thousand applications and generally positive reviews, the new platform, which replaced Windows Mobile, was relegated to the sidelines by a rush of new Android devices and updates to Apple's iPhone.
Far from boosting its market share, the introduction of the new operating system saw Microsoft lose share.
Microsoft captured 2.7 percent of the smartphone market during the first quarter of 2011, according to IDC. But a year earlier during the first quarter of 2010, its market share was 7.1 percent, the market research company said. In terms of handsets shipped, those with Windows Phone 7 or Windows Mobile fell from 3.9 million to 2.8 million phones in the two periods.
First Windows 'Mango' Phone Unveiled"We've gone from very small to....very small," quipped Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer earlier this month on his company's lackluster performance.
Mango, officially Windows Phone 7.5, adds some 500 improvements to the Windows Phone 7 platform, according to the company. They include an e-mail "conversation view" that is said to make long e-mail discussions more efficient, a "threads" feature that brings together text, instant messages and Facebook chat, and Internet Explorer 9 for faster Web browsing.
"Mango is a substantial improvement bringing multi-tasking and other needed features," Al Hilwa, an analyst with IDC, wrote in an email. "This really begins to close the gap and in a couple of ways exceeds its competitors."
First Windows 'Mango' Phone UnveiledSome of those improvements can be seen in the new handset, the IS12T, which will be available in Japan only. Built by Fujitsu Toshiba Mobile Communications, the phone will be available in September or after. No price was disclosed.
The company is one of several partners Microsoft is working with on Mango handsets. Others include Taiwan's Acer and China's ZTE, but perhaps the most awaited phones will be from Nokia.
The Finnish cell phone maker threw its weight behind Windows Phone 7 earlier this year when it announced a wide ranging agreement with Microsoft to collaborate on future handsets and technologies.
Nokia is losing market share to aggressive competitors, but it remains one of the world's largest manufacturers of smart phones, so it has the potential to help Microsoft shift the market.
First Windows 'Mango' Phone UnveiledThe launch of the phone came just hours after Microsoft signed off on the operating system and declared it ready to be installed in consumer handsets. That should mean additional phones will get launched in the coming weeks.
"Now everything rests on the diversity of the device portfolio that begins to emerge," said Hilwa.
Looking ahead, IDC predicts Windows-based smartphones will account for 20 percent of the market in 2015, making them second only to Android.
"Microsoft will claw its way to success and market share over the next couple of releases," the analyst said. "Its chances will be helped significantly with a successful Windows 8 release in 2012 which will create synergies between the PC and the phone in new ways."
For Japanese consumers, the IS12T phone has a 3.7-inch screen and a 13.2 megapixel camera. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are included in the CDMA-based phone. It weighs 113 grams and Fujitsu Toshiba says the battery should provide more than 11 days on standby and more than 6 hours of talk time.

iCloud New in Town

Although it had been rumoured for years that Apple would somehow finally fully embrace the cloud, it was only recently that it felt as though Cupertino was moving in the right direction.
Steve Jobs took to the stage for theWWDC 2011 keynote on 6 June 2011 and announced the Apple iCloud service.
iCloud will indeed store your content and wirelessly push it to all your devices. Apple says it's serious about the cloud and even showed pictures of the company's third data centre during the keynote.
You can check out T3's Apple iCloud video here:
"Today it is a real hassle and very frustrating to keep all your information and content up-to-date across all your devices," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO.
"iCloud keeps your important information and content up to date across all your devices. All of this happens automatically and wirelessly, and because it's integrated into our apps you don't even need to think about it - it all just works."
Check out our full guide to iCloud features:
iCloud price
Apple says that iCloud will be completely free for 5GB of storage - it will be set up by default on new iOS 5 devices.
Users get up to 5GB of free storage for mail, documents and backup. Music, apps and books purchased from Apple, and the storage required by Photo Stream doesn't count towards this 5GB total.
You will be able to buy extra storage too.
iCloud release date
iCloud will shop at the same time as iOS 5 in the Autumn, but it's available as a developer beta now, as is iOS 4.3.
iCloud replaces MobileMe
During the keynote Jobs also noted that as of today, MobileMe - which cost $99 - is no more. MobileMe apps have been rewritten to work with iCloud.
The former MobileMe services - Contacts, Calendar and Mail - have all been completely re-architected and rewritten to work seamlessly with iCloud. Users can share calendars with friends and family, and the ad-free push Mail account is hosted at Your inbox and mailboxes are kept up-to-date across all your iOS devices and computers.
iCloud Documents in the Cloud
there's a number of features with iCloud, including Documents in the Cloud. This is a Google Docs rival, where you can access all your documents uploaded to iCloud. If you edit them, then you edits will automatically sync.
iCloud iTunes in the Cloud
iTunes is also being made available on iCloud, so you can share purchased songs on all your devices."You know, it's the same old story," said Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple. "I buy something on my iPhone, and it's not on my other devices. I grab my iPod and it ain't there.
"For the songs you've already bought, we've added a purchased button. It shows the history of all the songs you've bought on any device. I can download any song to any device by pushing that little cloud button.
"It shows the history of all the songs you've bought on any device. I can download any song to any device by pushing that little cloud button. At no additional charge.
"This is the first time you've seen this in the music industry: multiple downloads to different devices for no charge. So in the future, it will push it to all of my devices."
The files are high quality 256 kbps AAC, and it only works with music purchased from iTunes, so if you buy elsewhere for the cheaper prices, you won't be able to make use of the iTunes iCloud service.
iCloud music
iCloud iTunes Match
Music not purchased from iTunes can gain the same benefits by usingiTunes Match, a service that replaces your music with a 256 kbps AAC DRM-free version if Apple can match it to the over 18 million songs in the iTunes Store - so that means any rubbish
It makes the matched music available in minutes, and uploads only the small percentage of unmatched music. iTunes Match will be available this fall for a $24.99 annual fee - we've no word on UK pricing as yet.
Reports are saying this is US only for now, but no doubt it will come to the UK at some point.
iCloud Photostream
As you might expect, iCloud will allow the syncing of photos to the cloud. This is just displayed as aseparate album in Photos, so it's not actually a different app - which is handy. Photos are stored on iCloud for 30 days, forever on your Mac or PC (of course) while the last 1,000 pictures can be stored on each of your iOS devices or Apple TV so they can then be moved elsewhere. Photostream doesn't count within your 5GB of storage.
Photostream automatically uploads the photos you take or import on any of your devices and wirelessly pushes them to all your devices and computers.
Photo Stream is built into the photo apps on all iOS devices, iPhoto on Macs, and saved to the Pictures folder on a PC.
iCloud photostream
iCloud Contacts
Contacts are stored in the cloud and pushed to all devices. Changes are automatically replicated on your other devices. This sounds so much better than Google Sync.
iCloud Calendars
There's also full calendaring support in iCloud - calendars can also be shared between users, too.
iCloud backup
iCloud Backup automatically and securely backs up iOS devices to iCloud daily over Wi-Fi when you charge your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.
Backed up content includes purchased music, apps and books, Camera Roll (photos and videos), device settings and app data. If you replace your iOS device, just enter your Apple ID and password during setup and iCloud restores your new device.
iCloud Storage
The service seamlessly stores all documents created using iCloud Storage APIs, and automatically pushes them to all your devices.
When you change a document on any device, iCloud automatically pushes the changes to all your devices. Apple's Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps already take advantage of iCloud Storage.
iCloud apps and books
The App Store and iBookstore now download purchased iOS apps and books to all your devices, not just the device they were purchased on
Want to look back? Check out the iCloud rumours we looked at before the event:
Apple's rumoured to have splashed out $4.5 million on the Cloud.comdomain. The company is also said to be striking deals with a number of record labels (in stark contrast to the gung-ho approach taken by Google and Amazon for their respective cloud-based music services) and has even posted a job advert for a 'Media Streaming Engineering Manager'.
Latest rumours also suggest that iCloud could be free to Mac OS X Lion users.
Here are the 10 things we want to see from Apple when it unleashes iCloud:
1. Cross-device support
Apple's often championed for its integrated approach. Apple kit isn't perfect, but it generally works well with other Apple kit, software and services. Therefore, when Apple's iCloud ambitions are revealed, we'd like them to work with Macs and iOS devices, offering similar features to all (although we're not crazy enough to hope anything running less than the latest versions of Mac OS X or iOS will be supported).
2. iOS data back-up/restore
Cloud services could be the means to detach iOS devices from PCs and Macs, finally making iPhones, iPods and iPads truly standalone units. You'd be able to store data in the cloud and access it from a range of apps.
Apple should also back-up and enable you to restore iOS app data. It's absurd that when you delete an app or a game, your data and progress is gone for good - you should be able to optionally reinstate these things on an app reinstall.
GET IT BACK: Delete an app and your data disappears. With cloud-based data restore, this needn't happen in future
3. Music locker
Apple's iOS devices are hardly known for their generous storage, and now Macs are going the same way, embracing SSD. If you've tons of music, chances are your iTunes library is the biggest folder on your Mac, and you can't fit much of your music on your iPhone. But if Apple can figure out what music you own and enable cloud-based access to it via iCloud, problem solved.
4. Label participation
Of course, any major shifts in how Apple deals with music will need label backing. Rumours suggest Apple's in talks with the 'big four', which should give Apple more options than its rivals. It remains to be seen whether labels would allow playback of content not purchased through iTunes, but remember when DRM was removed and iTunes enabled you to 'upgrade' your tracks for a small cost? Perhaps Apple could do the same again with iCloud - a few pence to enable you to play a track from the cloud.
5. Music streaming
For people who don't really want to buy music but still enjoy listening to it, Spotify's more appealing than iTunes. While Spotify is still struggling to expand into the USA, Apple already has worldwide presence and ongoing discussions with labels. Perhaps another string to its music bow will be a streaming subscription service to complement a music locker.
6. Movie and TV streaming
Historically, the movie industry has been even more bone-headed than music labels when it comes to new technology. Therefore, we're not holding our breath about Apple announcing movie and TV-show streaming through its iCloud services, but this would be great to have, again dealing with storage issues on iOS devices and SSD-equipped Macs.
7. Fast media playback
One problem with cloud-based media playback is speed - too often, you have to wait while files buffer. Rumours suggest Apple might deal with this problem by storing small portions of files locally on your device. Playback would start locally and then sync with a downloaded file, reducing caching problems.
8. Improved existing services
Apple's been pretty bad at unveiling new online services and letting them die a long, lingering death. We like the concepts behind the likes of, Ping and Game Center, but the execution in all of them is lacking; a new iCloud offering would be a great excuse to beef up and integrate these services.
Game center
NEW AND IMPROVED: Unveiling new cloud services gives Apple a good excuse to improve mediocre existing offerings
9. Document storage
When using iOS devices, moving documents between them is a pain. Even worse, if you want to move something between your Mac/PC and an iOS device, you have to use email or hideous iTunes File Sharing.
Many apps now get around such problems by using Dropbox for storage, but Apple doesn't control this and it's not fully integrated. It'd therefore be great to see Apple provide a service of the same quality in iCloud. (Sorry, iDisk - you just don't cut it.)
10. Optional sync/merge
Finally, if Apple offers even a fraction of these things with iCloud, it must enable users to more easily manage their computers and devices, along with the information on them.
You should be able to easily sync and merge app collections, music, movies and documents. Using iOS devices and Macs is typically simple and intuitive; Apple must bring similar thinking to the complexities of document and media management across a number of devices and computers.