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Friday 11 February 2011

Samsung Debuting New Android Tablet At MWC    [ 11-02-2011 21:34 ]

Author: Ivanov Konstantin   Source: Pocket-lint     Translation by: Paul Smith    Send news to friend  Discuss in forum

Rumours abound that Samsung are gearing up to announce a new tablet this Sunday at MWC in Barcelona. The new device will be lighter and thinner than the Galaxy Tab, will be running Honeycomb and feature a 10.1 inch screen according to information obtained by Pocket-lint.

No name was given for the device so it looks like we shall have to wait for Sunday for that, but Pocket-lint are saying that it will sport an 8 MP camera and a dual-core Qualcomm chipset. Interestingly the device is said to be smaller than the iPad even though the screen is actually bigger than Apple's device. Presumably there's not much bezeling present.

The presence of Honeycomb will see Samsung go head to head with the Motorola Xoom, which was recently announced, and which has been garnering positive reviews. It will also be interesting to see what features the tablet brings in light of HP's recent announcement of the TouchPad. The tablet market is certainly getting more and more crowded!

Rating: Rating: 1

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Galaxy S 2, Desire 2, Wildfire 2 & Desire HD 2 Specs Leak    [ 11-02-2011 21:19 ]

Author: Ivanov Konstantin   Source: Expansys via BGR     Translation by: Paul Smith    Send news to friend  Discuss in forum

Expansys, the online retailers, has apparently published specifications for not one, not two, but four unreleased smartphones. Of course MWC is just around the corner so this sort of thing isn't to be unexpected, but it's still a nice surprise. The handsets in question are the Samsung Galaxy S 2, HTC Desire HD2, HTC Wildfire 2 and the HTC Desire 2. Without further ado here are the specs:

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New Optimus 3D Teaser Exudes The Benefits Of 3D Displays For Yoga Lovers    [ 11-02-2011 19:29 ]

Author: Ivanov Konstantin   Source: Phone Arena     Translation by: Paul Smith    Send news to friend  Discuss in forum

The Optimus 3D is obviously making a big deal of the fact that it has a 3D display, fair enough, but the latest teaser video for the handset does seem to be clutching at straws when it comes to trying to convince us of the benefits of a 3D display. The video features a girl, who sounds like Barbie, practicing yoga and apparently she can't comprehend the movements she is supposed to do when viewed in two dimensions. No, she simply has to see them in three dimensions!

So the message is simple, if you practice yoga and are incapable of processing information shown in two diemsnions then the Optimus 3D is the phone for you!

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The Nokia - Microsoft Deal - An Overview    [ 11-02-2011 18:56 ]

Author: Serge Novikov   Source: Engadget, Geek.com. IntoMobile, Nokia et al     Translation by: Paul Smith    Send news to friend  Discuss in forum

It's been quite the day for Nokia to say the least. With the announcement that Nokia is to adopt Windows Phone 7 as their primary smartphone operating system having now had time to sink in we thought we would take a look back at the day's developments. Rather than making seperate smaller posts dealing with each aspect of the announcement or every reaction we thought we'd collect it all together so you have an overview of what's been going on.

The Deal

The first thing to look at is exactly what the partnership between Nokia and Microsoft actually means in practical terms. From the Nokia press release the main points are as follows:

  • Nokia would adopt Windows Phone as its principal smartphone strategy, innovating on top of the platform in areas such as imaging, where Nokia is a market leader.
  • Nokia would help drive the future of Windows Phone. Nokia would contribute its expertise on hardware design, language support, and help bring Windows Phone to a larger range of price points, market segments and geographies.
  • Nokia and Microsoft would closely collaborate on joint marketing initiatives and a shared development roadmap to align on the future evolution of mobile products.
  • Bing would power Nokia’s search services across Nokia devices and services, giving customers access to Bing’s next generation search capabilities. Microsoft adCenter would provide search advertising services on Nokia’s line of devices and services.
  • Nokia Maps would be a core part of Microsoft’s mapping services. For example, Maps would be integrated with Microsoft’s Bing search engine and adCenter advertising platform to form a unique local search and advertising experience
  • Nokia’s extensive operator billing agreements would make it easier for consumers to purchase Nokia Windows Phone services in countries where credit-card use is low.
  • Microsoft development tools would be used to create applications to run on Nokia Windows Phones, allowing developers to easily leverage the ecosystem’s global reach.
  • Nokia’s content and application store would be integrated with Microsoft Marketplace for a more compelling consumer experience.

The main things to take from these 'talking points' is that Nokia is making some sacrifices by partnering with Microsoft, a strategy that in the past would have perhaps been unthinkable. For instance Nokia will be adopting Bing as its default search option on its products. That's just the tip of the iceberg though as Nokia's own content store is being integrated (subsumed?) by Windows Phone Marketplace.

It's not all give on Nokia's part though as their operator billing system is being employed to help customers make purchases in countries where credit card use, the means of payment in the Marketplace, is low or perhaps even non-existent. That will of course allow for more people to access Windows Phone services, which is a big gain for Microsoft. Nokia is also contributing its maps service, which is being integrated with Bing search results.

Perhaps most importantly for Microsoft though is that it gains access to two very powerful opportunities from Nokia. Microsoft adCenter will be providing ads to Nokia smartphones, which not only gives Microsoft's mobile advertising efforts a major boost, but strikes a blow against Google. Microsoft also gains access to a manufacturer that can target products at all price points and market segments, a major advantage for the nascent Windows Phone platform.

A Deep Partnership

The partnership is more than just Nokia using Windows Phone 7 and that is perhaps most clearly seen when we see talk of a joint development roadmap. Nokia looks to be wading in neck deep here and really committing to Windows Phone.

Another sign of just how deep the partnership is came when Stephen Elop was asked whether Nokia would be able to customise the Windows Phone experience to help differentiate itself from other manufacturers. His reply was a simple 'yes' before going on to say that even though they could they probably wouldn't change too much in an effort to maintain compatability and keep the overall user experience similar across products. Even so the mere fact that Nokia has this freedom speaks volumes given that Microsoft has been rather protective of manufacturers making changes to its platform.

Elop himself seems to be personally enthusiastic about the partnership and you could see this in his reply to yesterday's tweet from a Google VP calling Nokia and Microsoft two turkeys:

For those that don't get the reference he was talking about the Wright brothers.

Android, MeeGo & The Downside

As for the when how why and wheres we don't know when Nokia will launch its first Windows Phone handset and there was no date given in the Q&A session that followed the announcement of the partnership.

The Q&A session threw up some interesting information regarding the possibilities Nokia sees in other platforms. For one they did speak with Google about a partnership and using Android, but decided against it because they felt they wouldn't be able to differentiate themselves enough. There was also concern that pricing and profits would be pushed too low with Android and that ultimately any value that could be gained would end up being transfered to Google.

MeeGo was also discussed, but the future of the platform looks bleak if Elop's answers are anything to go by. He said that he didn't see Nokia creating an ecosystem around the platform quickly enough and that even though a MeeGo handset would ship this year it would not be in an effort to start up a fully fledged ecosystem, rather it would be a 'learning experience'. Microsoft, he said, gave Nokia the best opportunity to get back into the high-end smartphone game.

It wasn't all sunshine today though as the partnership between Nokia and Microsoft has had other ramifications. Stephen Elop responded to a Finnish reporter's question on how this would affect Finland by stating that there would be a 'substantial reduction in employment' in Nokia's Finnish operations. Elop did also clarify that Nokia was a Finnish company and would remain so, there would be no move to Silicon Valley or elsewhere.

Even so Nokia have announced that another Microsoft man (Elop is a former VP at Microsoft) will be heading up Nokia's American efforts. Chris Webber, who spent 16 years at Microsoft, will now be President of Nokia USA. It's almost certainly a signal that with Windows Phone Nokia intends to push into the North American market, somewhere it has tarditionally had a very weak presence in.

Nokia's employees didn't take the news too well though as around 1500 of them walked out of the office today, apparently in protest at the changes. The workers did use flexible working hours to leave so it wasn't a case of 'dropping tools' per se, but still something for Nokia to take note of.

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