Cheaper iPhone with new controls may come this summer

Apple will be bringing out lower-cost iPhones this June with new, gesture-based controls, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty.
In a note to investors, Huberty said research suggests the biggest barrier to iPhone entry for many consumers is the price of hardware, followed by the cost of the service plan. This was the case in emerging markets like China and India, as well as in the United States. I find this incredibly strange because the $200 or $300 you plop down initially is nothing compared to the amount you’re paying over the length of the contract. This idea has been kicking around for a while and some thought we would see the mythical iPhone Nano last summer. Instead, Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) introduced the iPhone 3GS and made the 3G version $99. The bargain iPhone 3G hasn’t hurt sales of the 3GS, as Apple recently said the demand for the latest iPhone has outstripped supply.
“We expect Apple to launch new iPhones in June that offer both a lower total cost of ownership and new functionality, potentially including gesture-based technology,” she wrote in a new note to investors Friday,” Huberty said.
This is where things get interesting because Apple does have a lot of juice now and could possibly get AT&T (NYSE: T) to lower the costs of data plans for iPhone users. It was recently able to get AT&T to offer somewhat reasonable, contract-less data plans for the iPad. AT&T would be crazy to give away revenue so easily but if this move keeps the iPhone away from Verizon (NYSE: VZ) for a few more years, you have to do it. As for the gesture stuff, we’ve seen rumblings to suggest that it will use the camera for a contact-less way of controlling your iPhone. If done right, this could enable you to control your phone without blocking your view or leaving smudges on that pretty screen. Steve Jobs seems pretty excited about the next iPhone, are you?

Why Can’t PCs Work More Like iPhones?

Back in the dark ages of personal computing, if you wanted to look through the programs on your machine and, say, open a Microsoft Word document from the floppy drive, you would need to type a list of arcane commands that went something like this:
In an effort to win over less technical users, both Apple and Microsoft dumped that command-line interface for personal computers more than two decades ago, replacing it with visual icons for files, folders and applications. Over the years, they added animations and search technology and other features to make navigating a Mac or Windows PC even easier.
Yet all of the gloss and glitter doesn’t hide the fact that both operating systems are still pretty geeky and difficult for many computer users to navigate. I frequently get calls from family members asking why the font size on their Web browser suddenly changed or where they should look for the photos they have just downloaded from their digital camera.
I never get that kind of call about Apple’s iPhone.
The iPhone, although locked and frustratingly placed into a walled garden, is the epitome of simplicity. You control it by touching the screen — an intuitive interface that even a toddler can figure out. It’s virtually impossible to change key settings by accident. And if you do somehow mess things up, it’s a cinch to reset the machine back to its pristine, out-of-the-box state.
Why can’t PCs work that way?
There are, of course, all sorts of legacy reasons why the front-end design of computer operating systems is so complicated. Microsoft, for example, strives to make each new version of Windows familiar to customers of earlier versions.
But Apple’s iPhone and computer operating systems are both based on the Unix operating system. Why not use the iPhone interface as the basis for a new round of Apple computers?
And in Microsoft’s case, what if the company scrapped the front end of Windows 7 and the troubled Vista OS and moved to the new, elegant interface it is using for its Windows Phone 7 Series mobile phones? Would users really be upset?

From a technology perspective, the transition wouldn’t be as simple as copying the OS from the phone and pasting it onto a computer system, but it would give these companies the opportunity to simplify their computers and create commonality between the phone and desktop interfaces. And it would allow them to capitalize on the predicted mass migration of users from PCs to mobile devices.
Putting a simple and easy-to-use mobile OS onto desktops and laptops would limit errors by users and simplify existing file-based computing. Users wouldn’t be forced to figure out where their iTunes music sits or even have to learn separate operating systems for their phones and desktops.
To some extent, the industry is already moving in this direction of simplified operating systems. Google’s Android’s user interface, originally aimed at smartphones, is being used in the small, basic laptops known as netbooks. Apple is using the iPhone OS in its iPad tablet computer.
As Brian Chen of Wired predicted after Apple unveiled the iPad last month, “With the iPad and the horde of tablets that will follow it, we can expect computing to become much easier than what we’re accustomed to today.”
One of the big challenges to moving the iPhone or Windows Phone 7 operating system to personal computers involves the multitouch interface. Although Microsoft and Apple have been working for years to integrate multitouch into their respective operating systems, it’s not as easy as starting from scratch — especially for Mac OS X, Apple’s current computer operating system.
A former senior Apple engineer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of confidentiality agreements signed while an employee, explained that adding full multitouch to OS X would require a hefty redesign of many components in the code. “It’s one thing to add multitouch to a few applications, implementing the ability to pinch and zoom from the trackpad on the laptop with the Preview application,” the engineer said. “But it’s a whole different story if you want to implement these technologies on the desktop, or globally on OS X.”
An easier approach, the Apple engineer indicated, would be to add the iPhone OS as a layer on top of OS X, similar to Apple’s Front Row experience.
Another former Apple programmer I consulted pointed out that Mac OS X is a “kludged mess of code from past operating systems.” The programmer added that if Apple could start over with the desktop OS, it “would take into consideration that Google’s Android OS is going to look and work almost exactly the same on computers and mobile phones, and it won’t have a desktop feel.”
If Apple were to adopt an iPhone-like OS for its computers, developers would have to build applications for only one platform, the programmer said, and Apple could even extend the platform to Apple TV. “It’s like Apple has the opportunity for a do-over.”
Or at least a makeover.

App Store Arrives in Bulgaria

The Apple store for iPhone, iPod Touch, and soon iPad, applications is officially on the Bulgarian market.
The store will allow Bulgarian customers to register for free, download thousands of games and applications for business, entertainment, productivity, and more, and pay with credit cards issued in the country instead of looking for different creative ways, such as using an address in Romania, as it has been until now.
The launch of the App store in Bulgaria is simultaneous with the launch in 12 other countries such as Macedonia, Jordan, Kenya, and Madagascar.
App store currently offers over 140 000 applications, some free and some paid, and has locations in 90 countries around the globe.
In Bulgaria, the mobile operator Globul is the official distributor of the iPhone, but there isn't yet any data about the number of iPhones in the country.

Apple Bans Some Apps for Sex-Tinged Content

Apple has started banning many applications for its iPhone that feature sexually suggestive material, including photos of women in bikinis and lingerie, a move that came as an abrupt surprise to developers who had been profiting from such programs.
The company’s decision to remove the applications from its App Store over the last few days indicates that it is not interested in giving up its tight control over the software available there, even as competitors like Google take a more hands-off approach.
When asked about the change, Apple said it was responding to complaints from App Store users.
Philip W. Schiller, head of worldwide product marketing at Apple, said in an interview that over the last few weeks a small number of developers had been submitting “an increasing number of apps containing very objectionable content.” “It came to the point where we were getting customer complaints from women who found the content getting too degrading and objectionable, as well as parents who were upset with what their kids were able to see,” Mr. Schiller said.
Among the victims of the purge was a game called SlideHer, a puzzle that challenged users to reassemble a photograph of a scantily clad actress. Another, Sexy Scratch Off, depicted a woman whose dress could be whisked away at the swipe of a finger, revealing her undergarments. Such programs often appeared on the store’s list of most-downloaded apps.
Analysts said Apple appeared to be trying to ensure that the App Store would not scare off potential customers as its products become more mainstream.
The iPod Touch is popular with children and teenagers. And the company is hoping that the iPad, due out next month, will be a hit with families and as an educational tool in schools. That could be a hard sell if the catalog of programs available for it is cluttered with racy applications.
“At the end of the day, Apple has a brand to maintain,” said Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray who keeps a close eye on the company. “And the bottom line is they want that image to be squeaky clean.”
The iPad will run the same applications that work on the iPhone and iPod Touch, which demonstrated that consumers were willing to pay for software that turned their devices into gaming machines, e-readers and navigation systems.
“The reality is that the iPad is going to be a big platform for apps,” said Mr. Munster. “It raises the bar for Apple in terms of policing what goes into the App Store.”
Last June, Apple introduced parental controls and ratings to help keep sex-themed applications away from children. But Mr. Munster said that the volume of such apps — which he estimated made up as much as 5 percent of the more than 140,000 apps in the App Store — might have surpassed a level Apple was comfortable with.
Many software developers have long complained about Apple’s strict screening process and, at times, seemingly arbitrary decisions about what was acceptable in the App Store. The company’s latest move, which was first reported by TechCrunch, did little to change their minds. Fred Clarke, co-president of a small software company called On the Go Girls, which made Sexy Scratch Off, said that as of Monday all 50 of his company’s applications were no longer available. They included an application in which a woman wearing a swimsuit appeared to wipe finger marks from the iPhone’s screen with a rag and spray bottle.
“I’m shocked,” said Mr. Clarke, who said the company had not had a problem with its applications since the first one went on sale last June. “We’re showing stuff that’s racier than the Disney Channel, but not by much.”
Mr. Clarke said his company had been earning thousands of dollars a day from the App Store.
“It’s very hard to go from making a good living to zero,” he said. “This goes farther than sexy content. For developers, how do you know you aren’t going to invest thousands into a business only to find out one day you’ve been cut off?”
Mr. Clarke said the company would still continue to develop applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch, but would explore alternative platforms, including Google’s Android.
Mr. Schiller said Apple had to prioritize its customers. “We obviously care about developers, but in the end have to put the needs of the kids and parents first,” he said.
Not all developers were critical of Apple’s stance. Wally Chang, founder of Donoma Games, which does not make sexual applications, said he welcomed the changes. He said he hoped the culling of the catalog would improve the visibility of lesser-known apps.
“There just seems to be too many of these really simple applications that do nothing but show pictures of girls in bikinis or in suggestive, adult poses,” he said. “It’s cluttering up the App Store.”
Mr. Chang acknowledged that Apple’s policies were a little opaque at times.
“Apple needs to be more transparent in how they are applying their policies and communicate that to developers,” he said. “Sports Illustrated still has an application available. How come that hasn’t been pulled?”
Indeed, a Sports Illustrated application tied to its annual swimsuit issue was still available for download on Monday, as was one from Playboy.
When asked about the Sports Illustrated app, Mr. Schiller said Apple took the source and intent of an app into consideration. “The difference is this is a well-known company with previously published material available broadly in a well-accepted format,” he said.
Some developers and analysts wonder if the Android Market, Google’s version of the App Store, will end up becoming a haven for sexually themed applications. The store’s programs work only on phones running Android, which so far are much less popular than Apple’s products.
A Google representative said the company wanted to “reduce friction and remove barriers that make it difficult for developers to make apps available to users.” To that end, Android applications are treated similarly to YouTube videos, which are not screened before they are posted. Apps can be removed if they violate various policies, and users can flag material that they deem inappropriate, giving guidance to others.
Daniel Klaus, who recently co-created a multimillion-dollar fund to foster the development of applications for the iPad, said Apple had challenges ahead of it.
“It’s an incredibly fine line they have to walk to keep the developers happy and at the same time grow the ecosystem,” Mr. Klaus said. “It’s going to be very interesting to see how they continue do that while clamping down on some of the areas that are not in line with the direction they want to go.”

Slate of confusion for iPad crowd

Apple's new tablet has left the web buzzing, writes Garry Barker.
Most of us are still suffering iPad fever and a full flush (a term here used advisedly) of further speculation, and, from those favoured few who have actually touched one, assessment continues to wash through the webisphere.
The speculation is intriguing mainly because it is about further development of the device, even though the first-generation iPad will not hit the shelves for more than a month.
Assessments range from the calm and objective to the rave, followed by criticism of the design because it does not have (insert here whatever you like, from a camera to one of those things for taking stones out of horses' hooves).
For example, some of the critics who had not toddled off for a beer have been suggesting a larger-format iPad is in the Apple works.
Wired, which is usually pretty sane, is saying Apple is working on a larger design, possibly with a 15-inch screen and running a full version of Mac OS X rather than the slimmed-down versions in the iPhone and iPad.
Wired suggests this device will have a webcam, similar to those built into the bezels of iMacs and MacBooks, and a physical keyboard, possibly derived from the compact Bluetooth model supplied as standard with the latest iMacs.
But why? Unless the price is also iPad-sized, you would be better off with an entry-level MacBook.
Supporting the webcam theory is a report in the San Jose Business Journal, which interviewed a bloke at Mission Repair, a company that fixes Apple products. He said he had received a box of iPad parts including some frames that had a slot where a camera could fit. They tried a MacBook camera and it fitted "perfectly", he said.
Some suggest the iPad will spark a revival of the lacklustre tablet market. But since tablets barely made a wave, "revival" is an exaggeration.
There is some anxiety about what the iPad might do to communications network capacity. Last week a blog from the US Federal Communications Commission expressed concern: "With the iPad pointing to even greater demand for mobile broadband ... we must ensure that network congestion doesn't choke a service consumers clearly find appealing [or frustrate] mobile broadband's ability to keep us competitive in the global economy."
The wireless spectrum is clearly under strain and major reassignment of frequencies must be done, which will upset some entrenched users, such as TV outside broadcasters.
That there is plenty of "watch this space" about the iPad is obvious. We have seen it already in iPods and iPhones. Later this year we expect an iPhone 4G with a faster, more efficient microprocessor, designed by the engineers Apple acquired in 2008 when it bought P.A. Semi, a small US chip design company. They produced Apple's A4 chip that powers iPad.
One should note that the A4 is not, in the accepted sense of the term, just a CPU (central processing unit, the brains of a computer). It is what the boffins call an SOC (system on a chip), meaning it handles lots of tasks — graphics, memory control and so on — as well as being a CPU, all on a single piece of silicon.
SOC technology is used in several smartphones - iPhone, Google's Nexus One and Motorola's Droid. Their big deal is that they are efficient and are power-misers, which is critical for battery-powered devices.
While Apple has not published specifics of the A4 chip in the iPad, it is thought to have four cores, meaning that, at a clock speed of 1 gigahertz, it rivals the graphics performance of my 3.06GHz dual-core Intel iMac.
Moore's law continues to rule — but maybe not for netbooks.

Cell Phone Buying Guide 2010

We outline some of the most important factors to look into when purchasing a new cell phone.
When your old cell phone squeaks like a rusty door hinge, has more lint under the screen than your jean pockets, and lasts half an afternoon with a full charge, it’s time for a new one. But with most cell phone contracts lasting two years, a new phone shouldn’t be the type of purchase you make lightly. Check out our quick and dirty guide to your next phone purchase to make sure you cover all the bases on your shopping trip.

Choosing a carrier

Because most U.S. cell phone carriers heavily subsidize phone purchases in exchange for two-year contracts, and lock the phones to their networks, your choice of cell carrier will have more impact on which type of phone you end up with than any other factor. If you already have carrier and feel satisfied with it, the choice is easy. If not, you’ll need to choose one.
AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon dominate the cell phone market in the States. Speaking in very general terms, AT&T has a reputation for having the hottest phones but somewhat flaky service due to its overloaded towers, Verizon has the best reception but expensive rates, T-Mobile offers excellent voice plans but has very limited 3G data coverage, and Sprint sells some of the most affordable plans but typically doesn’t offer as many popular phones.
Prepaid carriers like Cricket, Tracfone, and MetroPCS often appear to offer excellent deals, but caveats like poor customer service, limited phone selection and inferior coverage have to be taken into account. Check out our guide to prepaid cellular plans for information on prepaid carriers, and our listing of some of the best if you decide to take that route.
The difference between a smartphone and a feature phone
You could divvy up cellphones into dozens of different categories, but these are the two umbrella groups that matter. Smartphones like the iPhone can serve as personal calendars, e-mail machines, Web browsers, gaming platforms, and a literally unlimited number of other purposes. They’re essentially mini computers. Feature phones are more basic, but they still offer features like cameras, text messaging, and even some limited data connectivity, like checking weather or sports scores. Although smartphones obviously have a lot to offer, they also weigh more, offer less battery life, cost more to buy and run, and can make basic tasks like calling seem more complex. If you plan to buy one, make sure you’ll really take advantage of all the extras.
Mobile operating systems
If you decide to go for a smartphone, choosing the right operating system can be an important factor. The big ones are Apple’s iPhone OS, RIM’s BlackBerry OS, Palm WebOS, Google Android, and Microsoft Windows Phone (formerly Windows Mobile). Individual preferences reign supreme here, but Apple’s iPhone OS offers the widest selection of apps and the simplest user interface, RIM’s BlackBerry OS is less intuitive but powerful and reliable, Palm’s WebOS strikes a nice balance between the two, Google Android is among the most flexible, and Microsoft Window Phone 6.5 offers very few advantages besides familiarity to people who have used it for years. Keep an eye out for Windows Phone 7 Series, arriving in fall 2010, which should up the ante by completely refreshing this operating system.
Different form factors
Even after choosing between a smartphone or feature phone, you have a lot of choices to make to decide what your phone will actually look like.
A full touch layout like the iPhone has become popular for smartphones, but you’ll usually forgo a hard keyboard as a result. Some smartphones like the Palm Pre or HTC Touch Pro2 offer a slide-out keyboard as a compromise, but get thicker as a result, too. Many smartphones also dupe the popular BlackBerry design: small screen on top, small keyboard below.
In feature phones, the flip or “clamshell” form factor has proven especially popular because of its small size and the fact that it protects the screen and keys when closed. Phones with both the screen and keypad on a fixed rectangular slab are typically called “candybar” phones. As with smartphones, you’ll many feature phones with dedicated QWERTY keyboards, which can be handy for frequent text messagers.
Whichever you decide to go with, make sure to physically handle the phone at a kiosk or store prior to buying. Pictures can often drastically misrepresent the size of phones, and there’s no way to adequately get across the feel of a phone besides trying it yourself.
Notable Features
The list of features to look for in a phone could fill an anthology, so we’ll run down some of the most important ones.
Cameras appear on nearly every phone these days. Although a quality camera can be great for quick snapshots, few phone cameras are ready to replace a trusty point-and-shoot. The few with variable focus far outperform fixed-focus cameras, which you’ll find on the majority.
When considering a display, pay attention to size and brightness, which will both come in handy when trying to read it in difficult conditions like outdoors in the sun. LCD displays are still the most common, but OLED displays have been cropping up lately as well. They use slightly less power and produce extremely vibrant color, but suffer from poor outdoor visibility.
Battery life often gets buried at the end of buyers’ wishlists, only to lead to disappointment when they realize they can barely go a whole day without recharging. Be particularly careful with smartphones, which can get particularly thirsty.
If you plan to use your phone for playing music or watching video, be sure to check for internal and external storage. A microSD slot will hypothetically allow you to add up to 32GB of storage, but cards with that capacity haven’t hit the market that, leaving 16GB as the upper limit.

TomTom posts loss amid battle with smartphone satnavs

Satnav maker TomTom today posted heavy losses for last year, at a bad time for the firm as it faces competition from free mobile phone software.
Chief executive Harold Goddijn dismissed the challenge from Nokia and Google, saying TomTom had not felt the impact of smartphone navigation apps.
“The industry we operate in is going through substantial change. Increasingly, digital maps are being deployed in the battle for mobile phone screens. We see limited impact from this on our current revenue streams from PNDs [personal navigation devices], automotive and fleet management,” said Goddijn, who co-founded TomTom in Holland in the early Nineties and led the drive to focus on navigation devices in 2001.
TomTom shares have plunged almost 50 per cent since Google announced it would give away navigation for free.
The firm's revenue fell 15 per cent and net profit 34 per cent last year, excluding the impact from goodwill charges related to its €2.9 billion (£2.5 billion) acquisition of digital map company Tele Atlas.
TomTom had posted double-digit gains until 2008, when it started to post losses. For the fourth quarter it posted a net profit, excluding exceptional items of €75 million.

BBC to offer iPhone apps for news and sport


The BBC has announced it will offer iPhone applications for its news and sport content from April.
The free apps will be followed by versions for BlackBerry and phones running Google's Android software.
The BBC said they had been developed because more people use "sophisticated handheld devices" to view content.
Several other news organisations offer iPhone apps, including Sky and the Daily Telegraph - which are free - and the Guardian - which costs £2.39.
Analysts at research firm CCS Insight said the apps would "increase tension between publishers of paid-for content and those reliant on other revenue".
The news industry is currently struggling to find a business model for the digital world.
"Whilst the BBC's impulse to enter an already crowded news and sport apps market place is understandable, the move belies the fundamentally competitive nature of the Corporation's approach to new services," Emily Bell, director of digital content at the Guardian, told BBC News. "Applications are a long way away from being 'broadcast' media, and, unlike the web, they form a market which the BBC is seeking to disrupt."
In addition, she said, the "considerable cost" of developing apps for all platforms meant the BBC was in "territory most publishers could not afford to inhabit".
But Erik Huggers, BBC director of future media and technology, said the BBC audience "want to access the digital services that they have paid for at a time and place that suits them".
"Today's announcement means that we are catching up with our audiences," he told the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
'Open platforms'
The news app, to be released in April, will offer content from the BBC News website, including written stories, correspondent blogs as well as audio and video.
Users will also be able to send comments and pictures directly to the newsroom.
The BBC said the sports app will be released in time for the World Cup, which starts in June, and will initially focus on football.

It will combine content from the BBC Sport website and 5 Live radio, including live commentary and scores, and will allow fans to watch sports matches live on their phone.
The apps will be updated later in the year to include more content, including Formula 1.
A different version of the apps will be offered to international audiences, supported by advertising.
The BBC said it was also considering releasing apps later this year for its popular iPlayer service. The on-demand video and audio player serves up 20 million requests for TV and radio programmes every week.
The BBC has said that it will initially focus on building applications for the iPhone but follow with applications for Google's Android operating system and RIM (BlackBerry).
It said it would also "work with other providers to enable these applications on their mobile devices".
However, the organisation did not mention specific plans for an app for Symbian, the world's most popular smart phone operating system.
According to figures from analysts CCS Insight, Symbian software is used on 47% of all smartphones.
BlackBerry accounts for 21% of the market, compared with Apple's 15%, Microsoft's 9% and Android's 5%.
The BBC does however already offer a BBC iPlayer app for certain Symbian phones.
Jim Killock, of the Open Rights Group, said that the BBC should concentrate on developing "open platforms" rather than building apps for closed systems such as the iPhone.
"That way everyone can access the content regardless of what device they are using," he told BBC News.
Several unofficial apps already exist on Android handsets and the iPhone.

HTC launches three new phones

The Taiwanese handset maker, which has thrown its weight behind the Google Android operating system, unveiled two more devices based on the platform, as well as a compact device running the Windows mobile operating system.
The HTC Legend is similar in shape to another HTC device, the Hero, but the Legend is made from a single piece of aluminium, without any joins. It's the same kind of manufacturing process used by Apple to make its unibody Mac computers. The Legend has a 3.2in AMOLED screen, which produces pin-sharp images and bright, crisp colours, and combines a touch-screen interface with an optical trackpad for easier menu navigation.
Another Android-based device, the HTC Desire, is almost identical to Google's Nexus One handset, and boasts a 3.7in AMOLED screen. It's powered by a slick 1GHz Snapdragon processor, which means it can switch between programs, applications and tasks more quickly, and supports Flash, the technical standard that makes it possible to view certain animated webpages and embedded videos when surfing the mobile web.
In addition, HTC also showed off the HD Mini, a smaller version of the popular, Windows-powered HD2. John Wang, chief marketing officer at HTC, said the device had exactly the same look and feel as the HD2, but in a more compact form factor. It can also act as a "wireless hotspot", allowing other devices, such as laptops, to share its 3G data connection to get online.
HTC said it had also improved its Sense user interface, which sits on top of the Android operating system and collates contacts in to one central address book, allowing users to contact them in a variety of ways - such as by email, text message or through Facebook - with a single click.
The new version of Sense adds the Friend Stream widget to the handset, which aggregates a user's social communication, from sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, in to a single flow of updates. Users can also group contacts depending on whether they are close friends, family or work colleagues, allowing separate out real-time information across their wider social circle.
“At its essence, the mobile phone is the most personal item you have in your possession," said Peter Chou, chief executive of HTC. "HTC Sense was created to magnify your ability to create and define your own unique mobile experience."
The latest version of Sense will be available on the HTC Legend and HTC Desire, and will be offered as a free software update to existing HTC Hero users. The Legend and the HD Mini will be available in April, with the Desire going on sale in the summer.

Samsung, Sony Ericsson roll out new smartphones

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics and Sony Ericsson unveiled their new top smartphone models on Sunday, both hoping to improve their positions in the more lucrative part of the phone market.
Samsung, the world No 2 handset maker, unveiled its flagship smartphone model Wave -- using a new touch screen technology and the first phone to use its bada operating system.
"Samsung's commitment to Bada is underlined by the fact that it is using it to power its flagship product for the show but it's going to be an uphill struggle to get the developer community on board," said Ben Wood, research director at CCS Insight.
Earlier this month Samsung unveiled a plan to treble smartphone shipments in 2010 and promote its own bada software platform.
Analysts, however, have been doubtful of Samsung's efforts to belatedly build a new open platform. With limited volume, phones using bada will have difficulty attracting application developers or operator support.
"I think the ecosystem is just not ready yet," said analyst Carolina Milanesi from research firm Gartner.
Samsung said it plans to launch five to seven phone models using bada software in 2010.
Samsung and Sony Ericsson have seen consumers seeking Web and other PC-like functions increasingly turning away from their feature phones to computer-like smartphones from top vendors Nokia , Apple and Research In Motion.
JK Shin, the head of Samsung's mobile operations, told Reuters in an interview that with the help of bada - which can be used also in cheaper models -- the company would benefit from surging demand for new smartphones in emerging markets.
"I believe that the smartphone market will grow more than 20 percent every year for a three-year time frame, and the growth rate in emerging markets is much higher than that of advanced countries," he said in an interview.
JK Shin said the company could make phones for Google's Nexus lineup in the future, but Sony Ericsson Chief Executive Bert Nordberg said the company had turned down an offer to make phones for Google.
"(We) will only sell phones under our own brand," Nordberg said.
The world's fourth-largest phone maker Sony Ericsson, which has reported seven straight quarterly losses, unveiled three smartphone models, using Google's Android operating system in two of them, and Nokia's Symbian in one.
"Some of the obituaries that have been written on Sony Ericsson may be a little premature. There is no doubt the company still has challenges but these new products are a first step to help fuel a recovery," CCS's Wood said.
Sony Ericsson new mini smartphones remind consumers from last small models of Ericsson itself about a decade ago.
"I think the products are competitive and certainly encouraging. The user interface is pretty good and will help them over LG Electronics," said Gartner's Milanesi.
Sony Ericsson said it aims to return to profit as soon as possible. Analysts have said parent companies could be forced to put more money into the venture already during the first half.
"We firmly support Bert (Nordberg) and his leadership team," Sony's chief Howard Stringer told a news conference.

BSNL launches 3 new Plans for Prepaid and Postpaid BlackBerry subscribers

Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has launched 3 new BlackBerry plans for its Prepaid and Postapid BlackBerry subscribers.
The new BSNL Prepaid plans are BlackBerry Internet Bundle service plan, BlackBerry Messaging Bundle service plans and BlackBerry Social Networking Bundle service plan.
Speaking on the launch of new plan, Mr. Kuldeep Goyal, CMD, BSNL, said, “BSNL’’s new service plans fill a void in the market; we are making it affordable and easy for customers to purchaseBlackBerry smartphones and services. Our integrated plans for BlackBerry services are extremely approachable and will be attractive to people who want connectivity at their fingertips,”
BSNL BlackBerry Plans in Detail :
  1. BSNL BlackBerry Service tariff Plan - BlackBerry Messaging Bundle

Plan and Service Details - Unlimited access to the industry-leading email and instant messaging features of BlackBerry® Internet Service, to access up to 10 supported POP3/IMAP email accounts (including most popular ISP email accounts such as Yahoo! Mail and Google Mail) as well as variousinstant messaging services (including Windows Live Messenger, GTalk, Yahoo! Messenger and BlackBerry® Messenger) from a single device.

Prepaid Monthly Charges - Rs.274

Postpaid Monthly Charges - Rs.299


2.BSNL BlackBerry Service tariff Plan -Blackberry Social Networking Bundle

Plan and Service Details - Unlimited access to the popular instant messaging service of Yahoo Messenger,Windows Live Messenger, and BlackBerry Messenger with social networking site Facebook and My Space

Prepaid Monthly Charges - Rs.274

Postpaid Monthly Charges - Rs.299


3.BSNL BlackBerry Service tariff Plan - BlackBerry Internet Bundle

Plan and Service Details -Unlimited access to the industry-leading email and instant messaging features of BlackBerry® Internet Service, to access up to 10 supported POP3/IMAP email accounts (including most popular ISP email accounts such as Yahoo! Mail and Google Mail) as well as variousinstant messaging services (including Windows Live Messenger, GTalk, Yahoo! Messenger and BlackBerry® Messenger) from a single device and also social networking site Facebook and My Space

Prepaid Monthly Charges - Rs.898

Postpaid Monthly Charges - Rs.999

Macworld 2010 kicks off without Apple

A Macworld without Apple? Can the show go on without Saint Steven Jobs and top spinner Philip Schiller?Why, yes, yes it can. According to Macworld VP Paul Kent, the conference will present an opportunity for the Mac community to see, buy and test the latest "game-changing" innovations for the Apple-products marketplace. "We're excited to deliver one of the most dynamic and interesting Macworlds ever. This year's Macworld shines a spotlight on all of the amazing things people are doing across the Apple-products ecosystem," said Kent."[This includes] a diagnostic toolthat identifies a vehicle's potential repair problems, gloves that mimic human touch and allow users to tap their iPhones in harsh weather, a shoulder/hip bag with integrated controls that interface with iPods or iPhones and a paper scanner that sends documents and photos directly to popular desktop/web apps."Kent added that feature presentations will be given by a number "industry luminaries," such as Kevin Smith, David Pogue, Guy Kawasaki, Leo Laporte, David Biedny and John Gruber. Finally, there will be, yes, and we know you've been waiting for it: a special iPad event with Jason Snell, editorial director at Macworld. 
Snell will apparently "delve into" what the iPad means for users, developers, the tech industry and the "ancillary industries" it affects. So be sure to stay tuned to TG Daily. We will be bringing you coverage of Macworld in all of its Jobless glory!

Opera announces iPhone browser - minus Apple approval

OSLO — Opera Software has announced it will unveil an iPhone version of its Opera Mini mobile phone browser at an international tech conference next week despite not having approached iPhone maker Apple about the move.
The Norwegian firm has not set a release date for its iPhone browser and has not yet sought approval to distribute the browser from Apple's iPhone applications store, Opera spokeswoman Katrin Jaakson said.
But Jaakson said Opera "does not see any reason why it wouldn't be accepted. We obviously hope that Apple will not deny their users a choice when it comes to what browser they use."
The iPhone's default browser is the Apple-developed Safari.
- AP

AMOLED Android Samsung I5700 Galaxy Spica unveiled in India @ Rs 14,750

Samsung launched its Android based Galaxy Spica i5700 in India at a cost of Rs 14,750. Galaxy Spica i5700 made its mark across Europe followed by its release in Russia on October. Galaxy Spica is the version of the Samsung Galaxy i7500. Samsung Galaxy i5700 is named after the brightest star in the constellation Virgo, Spica.
Samsung Galaxy Spica i5700 is the first Android phone to support DivX and Xvid files. The new Spica i5700 dazzles in Black-Red and White-Green. It is a full QWERTY keyboard with Bluetooth activation/deactivation. The Spica runs Android edition 1.5 and comes with 800MHZ processor (as compared to the 528MHz core integrated into the i7500).
The capacitive screen measures 3.2-inches with a native resolution of 320×480 pixels and supports 16milion colors. AMOLED technology provides truly saturated beautiful colors with good image quality. It boasts HVGA touch screen display, HSDPA connectivity, Wi-Fi, GPS,Google mobile services.
The phone is equipped with a 3.5mm headset jack and 3.2MP camera. A MicroSD card slot has 32 GB expandable memory with 180 MB storage and it has a standard Web-kit based browser.
The only issue is that it lacks backlighting which troubles to use in dark. The backside of Spica is not glossy and therefore makes the phone more comfortable to hold.

Nokia to ‘vigorously’ defend against investor lawsuit

Finnish mobile manufacturer Nokia has said it intends to “vigorously” defend itself against a class-action lawsuit filed against it in the state of New York by US investors.
The suit was filed by City of Roseville Employees’ Retirement System who allege the Finnish company did not disclose certain facts about its financial situation, which caused them to lose money between 24 January and 5 September of 2008.
The investors had invested in Nokia through American Depositary Shares (ADS). ADS shares are issued by US banks and are intended to smooth the process for US investors who wish to buy stakes in foreign companies.
Specifically, the suit alleges that Nokia did not disclose to investors that it was expecting a production delay in its mid-price mobile phones, including certain smart phones, in 2008.
It also claims that Nokia did not disclose that it had slashed its average selling prices in order to retain market share.
However, in a brief statement issued today, Nokia said it had reviewed the allegations contained in the complaint and that it believes they are without merit.
“Nokia intends to defend itself against the complaint vigorously,” the company said.
Nokia Finnish job cuts
Separately, Nokia announced today it intends to cut 285 jobs at its Salo plant in Finland as part of its plans to refocus the facility on the production of devices for the high-value smart-phone market.
Nokia's Salo facility employs about 2,200 people.

Apple, iPad and handheld gaming

Now that Apple has taken the wraps of its upcoming iPad tablet computer, the weeks of speculation that led up to its announcement have given way to endless chatter about the pros and cons of Steve Jobs’ new offspring.
Like a lot of geeks, we’re disappointed that the iPad won’t be the laptop replacement we’d been hoping for when the first models hit stores this March, ranging in price from $499 US to over $800. Critics have taken digs at the device by calling it an overgrown iPod Touch, and for better or for worse, that’s pretty accurate.
But one of the great things about the iPod Touch and the iPhone is they’ve emerged as bona fide handheld gaming platforms, with thousands of games available for download via the iTunes App Store. Not all the games are winners, but there are lots that can stand shoulder to shoulder with the best offerings on the Nintendo DS and Sony’s PSP.
Based on what the iPod Touch and iPhone have done for gaming, we’re stoked to see what the iPad can add to the mix. Here are some game types we look forward to seeing on Apple’s big new baby.
Fight/space sims – With a larger screen and slightly faster processor, the iPad will be a more capable gaming machine than its tiny brethren. One game type that could be especially cool is a flight or space sim in which your craft is controlled by tilting and tipping the iPad as though it were the wheel or control stick. A game like the Nintendo classic Pilotwings would be especially perfect for this, although players’ arms might get a bit tired after a while.
Real-time strategy games – There have been several attempts to do real-time strategy games on the iPhone and iPod Touch, but using a teensy-weensy touchscreen to control groups of tanks, soldiers and so on just doesn’t work that well, especially if you happen to have meaty man-hands. The bigger screen real estate on the iPad’s 9.7-inch display will make these sorts of games (and their slower-paced strategy cousins, like Civilization) much more fun to play.
Classic boardgames – Although the iPad isn’t as big as, say, a Scrabble board, it seems like it would be relatively easy to recreate the boardgame experience on the device. The networking capabilities of the iPad make this even more interesting... the iPad could be the central board where the action takes place, while players use their own iPod Touch or iPhone to issue Battleship attack coordinates, inspect Scrabble tiles, manage their Monopoly properties and so on.
Role-playing games – With all due respect to the legions of role-playing games that have appeared on the Nintendo Game Boy, DS and Sony PSP, it’s hard to feel truly immersed in a game world that’s presented on a screen the size of a deck of cards. It will be interesting to see what RPG developers do with the iPad’s added screen real estate and processor horsepower, especially when it comes to MMORPGs and other networked games.
Games for the iPhone and iPod Touch – One huge selling feature of the iPad is it can run virtually every app already available for the iPhone and iPod touch, with the option of doubling the screen resolution to fill more of the device’s display. Just the idea of playing a big-screen version of games like Fieldrunners, Fight Control or Rolando is almost enough to make us want an iPad. And you can bet iPad-enhanced versions of these games are already in the works.

Bringing ebooks to all of us

Claudine Beaumont on the merits of Apple's new iPad
Just as the iPod transformed the way we listen to music, so the iPad could redefine the idea of settling down with a good book. It was unveiled by Apple in San Francisco last month, and is likely to be available here early next year. “What the iPad has done – even before it has come out – is raised the profile of ebooks,” says Henry Volans, the head of Faber & Faber’s digital divison. “I've no doubt that Apple’s decision to start selling books is good news for all of us. They make well-designed products and focus on the user experience.”
Seeing someone reading an ebook on a plane or train is a common occurrence in the United States, where Amazon says it sells six digital copies for every 10 copies printed of the same book. It’s a rarer sight in Britain where ebooks have yet to capture the imagination of British consumers, despite the availability of the Sony Reader and the Amazon Kindle. But British publishers are now responding seriously to the developing technology, and we should expect an increased number of e-versions of new titles over the coming months.
Alicia Wise, the head of digital publishing at the Publishers Association, says “the iPad will open up the idea of ebooks to a new group of people who aren’t traditionally big readers”. It’s not hard to see why: the iPad has a crisp, 10in touch-screen and feels reassuringly solid to hold. Apple has developed a wonderful piece of software, iBooks, for downloading and reading the latest novels. Open up the iBooks program and you are presented with a virtual bookshelf, on which your collection of digital books sits, complete with cover art. You can even wirelessly download additional novels from the iBookstore, a sort of iTunes for books.
Apple has signed deals with five publishers, including Penguin and HarperCollins, to make their digital novels available through the iBookstore, but has yet to reveal how much these titles will cost. Apple hopes to get other publishers on board in the coming months and it will need to offer a wide range of content at a competitive price if it is to compete with the dominant players in this sector, such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Publishers, though, face some difficult decisions. Some are planning to release digital versions of new books six months after the hardcover version is released, to protect lucrative initial sales. Others believe there’s no point in trying to create artificial release schedules. “We don’t think ‘windowing’ is appropriate,” says Richard Charkin, executive director of Bloomsbury. “Ebooks are another valuable revenue stream for publishers. Yes, they may cannibalise print sales to some degree, but releasing an ebook at the same time as a hardcover means the ebook will benefit from the marketing impetus around the whole release.”
Volans says Faber has never deliberately applied a window on any of its releases. “Ebooks are just another format, and should be offered simultaneously with the hardcover release,” he says. He believes the availability, not the cost, of titles will make or break the ebook format. “In all the feedback the industry has seen, pricing is rarely a huge concern,” he says. “But the availability of books is. We need to get the agreements in place to ensure ebooks are released quickly.”
For Charkin, it’s the way ebooks are read that matters most. “I think we need one portable device that does it all,” he says. “People need to be able to remotely download books without having to carry extra kit in their pocket.” The iPad could be that device.

‘Google plans launch of online business software store ’

New Venture: The online business store would sell software designed by outside developers by integrating and adding capabilities to Google applications.
Internet giant Google Inc is planning to launch a store for selling online business software, a media report says.
Attributing to people briefed by the company, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) stated, “Google Inc is preparing to launch a store selling online business software that integrates with its Web services, enlisting software developers in its battle against Microsoft Corp.”
The people in knowledge of the development said the store would sell business software designed by outside developers to integrate and add capabilities to Google Apps, such as enhanced security features or the ability to import contacts.
Google Apps provides web-based e-mail, word-processing and spreadsheet functions.
“Google could announce the new store - a revamped version of its Solutions Marketplace site that features third-party programmes - as soon as March,” the report said.
Google eventually plans to allow customers to purchase its partners’ software through the site, taking a cut for itself and sharing some revenue with developers, WSJ attributed the report as saying.
Moreover, Google would allow users to quickly access their purchased applications through the menu at the top of their screens within Gmail or Google Docs, it added.
According to Google, more than two million businesses are using the paid or free version of Google Apps.

Taiwan market: Motorola launches Android 2.0 Milestone smartphone

Motorola has launched its Milestone smartphone (Droid in the US market) in the Taiwan market in cooperation with 3G service provider Taiwan Mobile. The model is the first Android 2.0-based smartphone available in the local market.
The penetration rate of smartphone and touch-enabled models in the Taiwan handset market had climbed to 25% as of December 2009 from below 10% earlier in the year, indicating that consumers are getting good experience with the use of mobile Internet, multimedia and application stores through smartphones, asserted Ritchie Ma, general manager of mobile devices business, Motorola Hong Kong and Taiwan.
In line with the growing trend, Motorola plans to launch more than 20 Android-powered smartphones in 2010, including some more competitive models in the second half of the year, Ma said.
The Milestone, which is equipped with a 3.7-inch 16:9 widescreen, a slide-out QWERTY keyboard and a built-in 5-megapixel camera, carries a suggested retail price of NT$19,800 (US$617.6).

RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 smartphone launched in India

BlackBerry lovers in India can now gear up to grab RIM’s latest smartphone offering. The 3G enabled BlackBerry Bold 9700 smartphone has been announced by the company. In a compact and stylish form factor, the phone reveals high-end features and performance.
The fashionable smartphone claims to deliver a host of advanced communication and multimedia attributes that should get mobile lovers in India really excited. Sporting a sleek fabrication, the phone should suit both professional and personal needs. Among the highlights of the phone are robust connectivity options with 3G support, full-QWERTY and the touch-sensitive trackpad.
The phone reveals a dark chrome frame and leatherette back which gives it an elegant look, while the narrow profile, balanced weight and soft-touch sides allow it to sit comfortably in one hand. The phone measures about 4.29″ x 2.36″ x 0.56″ in dimensions and weighs in at just 122 grams. Supporting 3G HSDPA networks across the world, the phone is armed with a next-generation, high-performance 624 MHz processor.
“Building on the success of the original BlackBerry Bold, we are now pleased to introduce the new BlackBerry Bold 9700 smartphone to customers in India. The new 3G BlackBerry Bold 9700 offers top-of-the-line features and performance in a sleek and elegant design that will appeal to both business professionals and consumers,” commented Frenny Bawa, Vice President, India, Research In Motion.
Boasting of a sharp and dazzling 2.44” light-sensing display having 480 x 360 resolution at 245 ppi, the phone’s highly tactile full-QWERTY keyboard includes finely sculpted keys and chrome frets. Besides, the touch-sensitive trackpad should enable intuitive and responsive navigation. With integrated Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, the phone is also bundled with the BlackBerry OS 5.0 that provides email management and calendar enhancements in addition to an enhanced browsing experience.
Equipped with a 3.2 MP camera with variable zoom, autofocus, flash and video recording, the phone also includes built-in GPS, 256MB of Flash memory, Bluetooth 2.1, media player for videos, pictures and music that plays music up to 38 hours and BlackBerry Media Sync for easily syncing photos. The BlackBerry Desktop Manager for both PCs and Macs in addition to access to BlackBerry App World are some other features of the phone.
While the top of the handset shows of a 3.5 mm stereo headset jack, dedicated volume controls, Lock and Mute keys, it also includes microSD/SDHD memory card slot that supports up to 16GB cards and 32GB cards while a 2GB card is included. Including support for BlackBerry Internet Service and BlackBerry Enterprise Server, the phone also packs in background noise suppression technology and high quality speakerphone. Powered by a removable, rechargeable 1500mAhr battery, the phone offers approximately 6 hours of talk time and 17 days of standby time in 3G mode.
The BlackBerry Bold 9700 smartphone is available in India through a number of retail stores and outlets by Redington India in addition to operators like Airtel, Aircel, BSNL, Idea Cellular, Loop Mobile, MTNL, Reliance, Tata and Vodafone for around Rs 31,990.

Google Chrome Cake with V8 Engine

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Most geeks are aware that most famed browser Google Chrome has this open source JavaScript V8 engine which makes it possible for the users to have whole new faster browser experience. The most creative representation of the essence of Google Chrome is this Google Chrome Cake embedded with V8 engine. This picture of cake was put up by Google’s Jason Toff on twitter and Google also used it to invite users to build the Chrome icon in their own creative ways.
The innovations and applications of Google may seem as simple as baking a cake because of the way it is made user friendly but it takes best brains to come up with right recipes. Google Chrome browser is the best baked cake ever for millions of Google fans, both geeks and non-geeks. Even the colorful logo of Chrome is inspirational and geeks who bake real cakes must have already baked one. Even the entries for Google’s open invitation were interesting – check out Lego Google Chrome Icon and other Ideas for recreating 3D Google Chrome icon.
Google literally controls the online world and every aspect of it including online advertisingand it definitely takes big piece of profit cake but it deserves it too for constantly innovating. Google is expected to release Google Chrome OS sometime this year and Google Wave is already here to stay.
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