Twitter launches official Android app

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Apr 302010
 

Making good on its promise, Twitter today announced that its official Android Twitter application is now available.

Twitter for Android is a fantastic application to use, and sharing any link or photo is super simple too – just look for the share button in your favorite application and choose Twitter.

Reading tweets is easy in a bunch of places on your phone. Quickly access your timeline with the home screen widget, view a tweet location on a map, and see your friend’s latest tweet in your phonebook, GoogleTalk list or any application that uses Android’s QuickContact bar.

Twitter for Android

Unfortunately, it is only available for devices running Google Android 2.1. Another notable omission is the lack of support for multiple Twitter accounts. Hopefully future versions will rectify these two limitations.

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Public Mobile launch about 2 weeks away?

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Apr 302010
 

Public Mobile

Earlier today, Public Mobile posted a tweet indicating that their pre-launch offer (free unlimited Canadian long distance calling) was coming to an end in two weeks:

Obly [sic] two weeks left for… http://ow.ly/1Fcmd #publicmobile

A quick look at a calendar suggests that the launch could take place on May 15th, lending credence to earlier rumours.

Also revealing is the fact that the tweet has now been deleted. Did it reveal a bit too much about Public Mobile’s launch plans?

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HP halts development of Windows 7 slate?

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Apr 302010
 

Hewlett-Packard

Remember that HP slate device that Microsoft proudly showed off (briefly) at CES 2010? TechCrunch is now reporting that a source has revealed that HP has halted the project. Apparently HP felt that Windows 7 was not a suitable tablet operating system.

HP appears set to continue development of a Google Android version (first revealed only days after the Windows 7 slate prototype was unveiled). It’s also likely that it will look at porting Palm’s webOS over to slate now that it has announced plans to acquire Palm.

The news comes on the heels of Microsoft’s own confirmation that it had killed its Courier tablet project.

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Global mobile phone market grows 22 percent in Q1 2010

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Apr 302010
 

The global mobile phone market is making an impressive comeback as the worldwide economy begins to emerge from the recession that hit in the last couple of years. IDC reports that a total of 294.9 million mobile phones were shipped, a 21.7 percent increase over the same quarter a year ago. Demand for smartphones played a significant role in the recovery and helped propel RIM into the top 5 vendor rankings for the first time.

The top five vendors where Nokia (107.8 million devices shipped and a 36.6 percent market share), Samsung (64.3 million devices shipped and a 21.8 percent market share), LG Electronics (27.1 million devices shipped and a 9.2 percent market share), Research In Motion (10.6 million devices shipped and a 3.6 percent market share), and Sony Ericsson (10.5 million devices shipped and a 3.6 percent market share).

The news was not kind to everyone. Sony Ericsson was the only top five vendor to see a year-over-year shipment drop. And Motorola, once the second largest phone manufacturer, fell behind Apple which sold some 8.75 million iPhones.

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WIND Mobile launches Huawei U1250 and extends CA$150 number porting promotion

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Apr 302010
 

Huawei U1250

WIND Mobile today announced the latest addition to its catalog of devices: The entry level candybar Huawei U1250. WIND Mobile is also extending its offer of a CA$150 credit when your port your number over but only until May 4th.

Huawei U1250 specifications:

  • Processor:
  • Operating system: Qualcomm BREW v4.0
  • Connectivity: quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE and dual-band (AWS, 2100MHz) UMTS
  • Other connectivity: Bluetooth
  • Display: 2.0-inch QVGA
  • Input: Keypad
  • Memory: 128MB of internal memory
  • Storage: microSD (supporting cards up to 8GB)
  • Camera: 2MP
  • Connectors:
  • Battery: 900mAh
  • Other: FM Radio

WIND is offering the Huawei U1250 as of May 1 for CA$70. Some stores could even have it today if you cannot wait.

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LG Aloha and LG Fathom headed to Verizon Wireless in May?

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Apr 302010
 

The Boy Genius Report sources are indicating that Verizon is getting set to launch two new LG smartphones in May. The two are the LG Aloha (first revealed earlier this month) and the LG Fathom.

The LG Aloha is expected to be a device powered by a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and Android 2.1. A 5MP camera is also expected. Previous rumours also suggest it will have GSM/GPRS/EDGE and UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA connectivity, an 800 by 480 touchscreen display, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and a QWERTY keyboard.

Less is known about the LG Fathom but it should be a Windows Mobile 6.5 device with touchscreen and slide-out keyboard.

There is no word on when in May Verizon could release the LG Aloha and LG Fathom. It will be a busy month for Verizon though as both the Microsoft KIN 1 and KIN 2 are expected to go on pre-order early in May and the BlackBerry Bold 9650 should also become available sometime later in the month.

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Microsoft cancels Courier tablet prototype

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Apr 292010
 

According to Gizmodo, Microsoft has confirmed that it has canceled further development of its Courier tablet prototype. The hinged dual-screen device had never been formally acknowledged by Microsoft but that did not prevent the company from confirming that it would not offer it any time soon. According to Microsoft Corporate VP of Communications Frank Shaw:

At any given time, we’re looking at new ideas, investigating, testing, incubating them. It’s in our DNA to develop new form factors and natural user interfaces to foster productivity and creativity. The Courier project is an example of this type of effort. It will be evaluated for use in future offerings, but we have no plans to build such a device at this time.

The news conflicts with earlier rumours that Microsoft would release it sometime in the second half of the year.

No reason was given for the decision. While the Courier held a lot of promise, perhaps Microsoft found the almost-final product disappointing. Microsoft has also not ruled out revisiting the project in the future. Perhaps it will do so once it sees how the tablet and slate device market fares over the next couple of years.

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Motorola considering its own tablet?

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Apr 292010
 

Motorola

Motorola announced its latest financial results (8.5 million handsets including 2.3 million smartphones shipped) earlier today. During the post-earnings conference call that followed, co-CEO Sanjay Jha revealed that Motorola is at least considering developing its own tablet device:

You are seeing a convergence with PC and mobility. I actually see this convergence as being very very important. Very, very important. We are very engaged with this marketplace. We think that tablet is one form factor, there are other form factors and other solutions that people are engaged in. We are engaged with the development very intimately, and we will announce whatever we need to announce at the appropriate time.

Jha provided very few details but its current emphasis on Google Android and its MOTOBLUR user interface for its smartphones suggests a similar approach is being considered to power such devices.

Hopefully Motorola will soon reveal more…

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Steve Jobs pens new open letter: Thoughts on Flash

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Apr 292010
 

Apple

Apple CEO Steve Jobs today posted a rather lengthy open letter on why Apple has decided not to use Flash on its iPhones, iPods and iPads. Job cites a number of reasons:

  • Flash is only available from and controlled by Adobe, making it a closed system.
  • More and more video content is moving to the newer H.264 format and HTML5 making Flash increasingly less relevant.
  • Reliability, security and performance concerns: Flash is the number one reason Macs crash and Symantec described Flash as having one of the worst security records in 2009.
  • Flash still relies primarily on software video decoding, significantly impacting battery life.
  • Flash was designed for PCs using mice, not for touch screens using fingers. Most Flash-driven user interfaces do not work well with touch input.
  • Flash is part of Adobe’s cross-platform development strategy. As a result, it limits Apple developers’ ability to write apps optimized for Apple mobile devices.

He concludes:

Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.

It looks like the war of words between Adobe and Apple is not quite done yet…

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Samsung Messenger now available from Bell

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Apr 292010
 

Samsung Messenger

Bell Mobility just launched a new Windows Mobile device. Introduced last year, the Samsung Messenger is now available for the first time in Canada.

The Samsung Messenger smartphone is the affordable solution to keep you plugged-in and productive while on the go. Stay on top of business and personal emails, and calendar updates while in the field. Browse the Web effortlessly and compose emails, texts, and instant messages easily with the full QWERTY keyboard

Samsung Messenger (GT-B7330) specifications:

  • Operating system: Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.5
  • Connectivity: GSM/GPRS/EDGE and UMTS
  • Other connectivity: GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR
  • Display: 2.6-inch QVGA (320 by 320)
  • Input: QWERTY keyboard
  • Memory: 320MB user memory
  • Storage: MicroSD (supporting cards up to 32GB)
  • Camera: 3.2MP
  • Other: FM radio

Bell is offering the Samsung Messenger for free with a three-year contract (minimum CA$45 per month voice and data), CA$149.95 with a two-year contract, CA$249.95 with a one-year contract, and CA$299.95 with no contract.

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What does HP get by acquiring Palm?

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Apr 282010
 

Hewlett-Packard

In a conference call that followed its announcement that it was buying Palm, HP outlined some of the reasons for the purchase. In a nutshell though is the understanding that it now has the chance to completely reboot its mobile strategy and become relevant in this market again.

First, there are its plans for webOS itself. HP will invest more into webOS research and development once the acquisition is complete to extend its presence into new areas beyond smartphones. Describing it as a “world-class” mobile platform, HP indicated that it plans to offer it on other types of devices, including slates, tablets, and netbooks.

Then there is Palm’s collection of patents. Again, HP should be able to extend many of these patents into different product lines to differentiate them from those of competitors. They may also prove useful in patent cross-licensing deals or as insurance against potential lawsuits from competitors.

With the deal expected to close in late July, it will take some time for HP’s new mobile device strategy to emerge. It will be a while before we know if HP can return Palm to its heyday.

HP also confirmed on the call that it does not have any plans to ditch its current partnership with Microsoft on Windows Phone 7. At least for now…

HP to buy Palm for US$1.2 billion

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Apr 282010
 

HP

HP just announced that it will acquire Palm for US$1.2 billion.

“Palm’s innovative operating system provides an ideal platform to expand HP’s mobility strategy and create a unique HP experience spanning multiple mobile connected devices,” said Todd Bradley, executive vice president, Personal Systems Group, HP. “And, Palm possesses significant IP assets and has a highly skilled team. The smartphone market is large, profitable and rapidly growing, and companies that can provide an integrated device and experience command a higher share. Advances in mobility are offering significant opportunities, and HP intends to be a leader in this market.”

Jon Rubinstein, Palm’s CEO, is expected to remain with the company after the acquisition.

The transaction is expected to close during HP’s third fiscal quarter ending July 31, 2010.

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Mysterious HTC QWERTY slider hits FCC

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Apr 282010
 

HTC

A new FCC filing has revealed information about a new HTC device. Called the PC70110 in the documentation, it is a QWERTY slider with the traditional Android Home key (among four touch-sensitive keys below the display), suggesting it will be powered by Android.

The FCC documentation reveals that the HTC PC70110 will support the 850MHz and 1,900MHz 3G bands. AT&T, Bell Mobility, TELUS Mobility and Rogers Wireless all support these bands suggesting that any of these could offer it when it is announced.

Speculation also suggests that the device could be called the HTC Wildfire. This is the leading entry in a Facebook poll that HTC is currently running to name an upcoming device.

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Apple announces WWDC 2010 dates

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Apr 282010
 

Apple

Apple today announced the dates of its upcoming Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. It will take place from June 7th to June 11th in San Fransisco at the Moscone West Center.

The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) is the premier technical conference for developers innovating with Apple technologies. Over 1,000 Apple engineers will be at Moscone West to present advanced coding and development techniques that will show you how to enhance the capabilities of your applications with the revolutionary technologies in iPhone OS and Mac OS X.

Sessions will fall into five technology tracks: Application Frameworks, Internet & Web, Graphics & Media, Developer Tools, and Core OS. As expected, a number of sessions will be focused on the new Apple iPad as well as the upcoming iPhone OS 4.

Apple introduced the Apple iPhone 3GS at last year’s WWDC. Will we see the introduction of the iPhone 4G (or HD) at this year’s event?

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Microsoft and HTC sign mobile phone patent agreement

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Apr 282010
 

Microsoft

Microsoft today announced that it had signed a patent agreement with HTC. Neither company provided details as to exactly what technologies are covered but these will cover HTC’s Android-powered phones.

“HTC and Microsoft have a long history of technical and commercial collaboration, and today’s agreement is an example of how industry leaders can reach commercial arrangements that address intellectual property,” said Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel of Intellectual Property and Licensing at Microsoft. “We are pleased to continue our collaboration with HTC.”

The agreement ensures that Microsoft will not follow in Apple’s footsteps and launch a patent dispute with HTC over its Android phones. It’s not as clear whether this same agreement will help HTC defend itself against Apple’s lawsuit.

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