Sprint asks FCC to block T-Mobile USA acquisition by AT&T

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May 312011
 

Sprint

After publicly stating its opposition to the deal back in March, Sprint today announced that it has formally asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to block AT&T’s proposed T-Mobile USA acquisition. It believes that “the acquisition has no public interest benefit.” It would also result in “the Twin Bell duopolists of AT&T and Verizon” being able to stifle innovation and choice in new devices and applications.

Sprint goes on to suggest that the acquisition is due to AT&T’s own mismanagement of its own network, pointing out that it is already the largest holder of licensed spectrum and unused spectrum and “has simply failed to upgrade or invest sufficiently in its network.” It also points out that AT&T could invest a fraction of the takeover bid to expand its LTE network.

“This proposed takeover puts our mobile broadband future at a crossroads,” said Vonya B. McCann, senior vice president of Government Affairs for Sprint. “We can choose the open, competitive road best traveled, and protect American consumers, innovation and our economy, or we can choose the dead end that merely protects only AT&T and leads the rest of us back down the dirt road to Ma Bell.”

AT&T announced its intention to acquire T-Mobile USA for US$39 billion back in March.

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Android 2.1 update available for AT&T Sony Ericsson Xperia X10

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May 312011
 

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10

There is some good news today for AT&T customers who have a Sony Ericsson Xperia X10. Sony Ericsson today announced that an Android 2.1 upgrade will be available as of today, finally allowing users to upgrade from Android 1.6. The update comes with 720p HD video capture, multi-touch support, continuous auto-focus in still and video capture, face detection in video capture and five homescreens (up from three).

It’s not clear why it took so long to release this update but I hope that it will take less time for them to release the promised Android 2.3 update.

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Nokia more confident first Windows Phone to be released in 2011

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May 312011
 

Nokia

Nokia today lowered its second-quarter and full-year guidance for the 2011 calendar year, causing its stock to plummet. It cited competitive pressures, cheaper devices with lower margins, and “pricing tactics” as the reasons that Devices & Services net sales would be “substantially below its previously expected range of EUR 6.1 billion to EUR 6.6 billion for the second quarter 2011.” It also “believes it is no longer appropriate to provide annual targets for 2011.”

On a more positive note, Nokia indicated that it has “increased confidence” that it will be able to ship its first Nokia product with Windows Phone sometime in the fourth quarter.

Some rumours have suggested that this could be either a Nokia N8 or X7 modified to replace Symbian with Windows Phone.

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Steve Jobs to unveil iOS 5, Mac OS X Lion, and iCloud at WWDC

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May 312011
 

Apple

Apple today confirmed that Steve Jobs, the company’s CEO, will deliver the keynote at the upcoming WWDC. As expected, it will focus on software:

At the keynote, Apple will unveil its next generation software – Lion, the eighth major release of Mac OS X; iOS 5, the next version of Apple’s advanced mobile operating system which powers the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch; and iCloud, Apple’s upcoming cloud services offering.

Apple’s iCloud service is expected to replace the current MobileMe cloud service and add new features such as a music streaming and storage service.

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Nokia begins to ship E6 and X7 but not to North America

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May 312011
 

Nokia E6

Nokia today announced that it has begun to ship out the Nokia E6 and Nokia X7 (announced in April), its first devices with Symbian Anna. Unfortunately, Nokia has no immediate plans to release them in North America. The X7 will be available in Europe, Eurasia, China, India and other Asia/Pacific countries, while the E6 will be available in Europe, Eurasia, Asia/Pacific, as well as the Middle East and Africa.

Symbian Anna is the latest version of the venerable mobile operating system. It offers an improved browser for faster web browsing, portrait QWERTY and split screen text input, new Ovi Maps with public transport routes, new icons, and other enhancements.

In a move that will infuriate many, Nokia also indicated that the Symbian Anna update will be made available for the Nokia N8, E7, C7 and C6 “in the coming months.”

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HTC working on 12-MP camera Windows Phone smartphone?

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May 302011
 

Rumours have been swirling for a while that HTC is working on a Windows Phone device with a high megapixel count camera. Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin yesterday tweeted pictures of such a device. They show a device looks very much like the HTC Trophy but comes with a 12MP camera capable of shooting RAW.

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Another Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet coming later this year

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May 302011
 

Samsung

Samsung has yet to launch the Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1 tablets that it has revealed that it will also launch a 4G Galaxy Tab tablet later this year. Samsung’s mobile president, JK Shin, indicated that Samsung is already in talks with an unnamed US carrier (and a Korean one) for this latest tablet.

It’s not clear whether this latest tablet is the 7-inch LTE-enabled Samsung Galaxy Tab Verizon announced by Verizon Wireless back at CES 2011. If not, when will Verizon launch this tablet expected in the first half of the year?

Shin did not appear overly concerned about the legal wranglings between Samsung and Apple. When asked about the lawsuits, he said “We didn’t copy Apple’s design. We have used many similar designs over the past years and it will not be legally problematic.”

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Computex 2011: ASUS Eee Pad MeMO goes 3D

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May 302011
 

As part of its Computex announcements, ASUS today announced that the Eee Pad MeMo, first announced at CES 2011, will sport a 7-inch glasses-free 3D display. It will support both multi-touch and stylus input (stylus included).

The Eee Pad MeMO 3D is designed to be an alternative take on the 10″ tablet that is fast becoming a standard size. This portrait-oriented device uses a screen that can also be used more traditionally with all Android Honeycomb applications, should users choose to do so.

The ASUS MeMo will be powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor and Android 3.0. It will also come with 1GB RAM, a microSD card slot and a 5MP camera with LED flash.

The ASUS MeMo will ship in Q4 2011. Pricing information was not revealed.

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Power of NVIDIA quad-core Kal-El processor shown off on video

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May 302011
 

NVIDIA has released a video that shows of the video capabilities of its upcoming quad-core Kal-El processor. As impressive this is, NVIDIA promises that the final version will be even faster!

In addition to its quad-core processor, the Kal-El chipset packs a 12-core GPU that supports 3D stereo.

The first devices using Kal-El chipsets are expected as early as later this summer (perhaps in one of the rumoured Amazon tablets) with phones to follow in time for the holidays.

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Computex 2011: ASUS unveils PadFone

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May 302011
 

After teasing us for a week, ASUS today unveiled the Padfone, a device which combines a 4.3-inch smartphone and a 10.1-inch tablet computer.

The Padfone has been specifically created to fulfill a demand for both smartphone and tablet users. It is a first of its kind innovation that allows you to switch seamlessly between pad and phone for a user experience that best-fits your activities, at any time. Internet access from the 3G network connection is shared between the phone and pad, as data storage is streamlined through a single storage pool.

ASUS Padfone

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Apple iOS 5 to feature revamped notifications and widgets?

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May 292011
 

Apple

Without providing much in terms of details, TechCrunch is reporting that Apple’s upcoming iOS 5 (widely expected to be unveiled at WWDC) will feature a completely revamped notification system as well as widgets.

Apple is also pushing journalists to attend this year’s WWDC as “the software announcements will be huge.” The emphasis on software lends credence to earlier rumours that Apple will not announce a new iPhone at the event.

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Final teaser image for upcoming ASUS “Pad or phone” device

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May 292011
 

With Computex just around the corner, ASUS today released the last image of its teaser campaign about its “Pad or phone” device. Two devices are visible so a ‘Pad and phone’ is looking a bit more likely than a ‘Pad or phone.’

ASUS 'Pad or Phone' device

ASUS has also confirmed via Facebook that it will announce a new smartphone and one of the previous images hinted at ‘the next evolution of the Eee PC.’ The odds are getting better that we will see the two work together much as the Motorola ATRIX does with its LapDock accessory.

In any case, all should be revealed shortly…

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RIM to abandon BlackBerry Storm family name in favour of Volt?

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May 292011
 

Research In Motion

Citing multiple sources, N4BB.com is reporting that Research In Motion will drop the Storm brand name for its upcoming touchscreen slab devices. The upcoming BlackBerry 9850 and 9860 (codenames Monaco and Monza respectively) will either carry the new brand name ‘Volt’ or end up in the ‘Torch’ family (as the model numbers imply). It appears though that a final decision has yet to be made.

That the Storm brand name is headed for retirement is not new. That rumour surfaced along with the specifications of the Monaco back in January.

There is no word on availability and pricing yet.

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Samsung wants to see upcoming Apple iPhone 5 and iPad 3

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May 282011
 

Samsung

Apple and Samsung’s legal battle continues to get more interesting. Earlier this week, a judge ordered Samsung to let Apple see some upcoming unreleased devices (the Galaxy S II, Infuse 4G, DROID Charge, Galaxy Tab 8.9, and Galaxy Tab 10.1) to let determine whether they should be part of the lawsuit.

Samsung has responded with a motion of its own, asking to see the upcoming iPhone 5 and iPad 3 as part of a similar discovery process. Samsung would abide by the same rules as Apple would with only outside counsel having access to the devices.

ThisIsMyNext.com has a good write-up about Samsung’s potential motives for the move as well as some key differences between the two requests, including the fact that Samsung has officially announced all five devices involved whereas Apple has yet to officially announce either the iPhone 5 or the iPad 3.

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Next Google Nexus device revealed?

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May 282011
 

Google recently confirmed the obvious and indicated that it was planning to release more Nexus devices. Thanks to an image obtained by TechHog.com from a Google employee (apparently part of the Android development team), we may have just caught the first glimpse of the next Google Nexus (the Nexus 3?). The device in question is an early development prototype.

Rumoured Google Nexus device

The image, assuming it is genuine, confirms that Android smartphones using the upcoming Ice Cream Sandwich release will not need the traditional Android buttons. Hidden in the thumb’s shadow is a front-facing camera. The source of the image also indicated that “the exterior is most definitely going to change from what they are testing.”

Google is apparently planning both HSPA+ and CDMA versions with the latter to go to Sprint. With Google Voice for Sprint and the Google Wallet pilot program and now this potential Nexus device, it’s clear that Sprint and Google are getting friendlier very quickly.

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