Welcome 2012! Happy New Year from Gadgetorama

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Dec 312011

Happy New YearWith parties breaking out in other parts of the world, I would like to wish everyone who stops by Gadgetorama a very happy new year. As always, thank you for your ongoing support.

2011 proved to be an important year for Gadgetorama if only for the fact that I finally got around to redesigning the site (albeit I recognize that there is still work to do on the new design). It only took more than 6 years! With the new platform, new features and improvements should come a bit faster!

And now on with the Gadgetorama tradition of looking back at the stories that I found the most interesting in 2011:

  • The promise and demise of webOS: The year started with much anticipation for HP’s upcoming webOS products. Who would have guessed that it would all come crashing down only weeks after the HP TouchPad hitting the market? After promising so much for webOS, by the end of the year, HP open-sourced the mobile operating system. It will be interesting to see if it can rise again like the proverbial phoenix.
  • RIM’s ‘anno horribilis’: Nothing seemed to go right for Research In Motion this year. From poor sales of its PlayBook to an oft-delayed update, from trademark infringements to service outages, RIM seemed unable to do right. 2012 is shaping up to be another tough year with BlackBerry 10 devices not expected until the latter portion of the year. Will BlackBerry 10 devices launch or will they be further delayed? Will there be a management shake-up? Or could RIM even find itself bought out?
  • Steve Jobs and Apple: 2011 was another banner year for the manufacturer. The iPhone remained a bestseller (despite there being no iPhone 5) and the iPad continued to trounce the competition. The unfortunate death of Steve Jobs in late 2011 set the stage for the next chapter of Apple’s story. Can the string of successes continue without Jobs at the helm?

As always, the year ahead promises to be another exciting one in the world of mobility and gadgets! What are you most looking forward to?

Again, thank you for all your support and Happy New Year!

RIM planning BlackBerry Torch 10000?

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Dec 312011

Is Research In Motion about to step into 5 digit range for upcoming device model numbers? That seems to be what Asurion, a mobile device insurer, believes. Its help site briefly featured the BlackBerry Torch 10000 (and still lists the Apple iPhone 5) in their device database for the carrier AT&T.

BlackBerry Torch 10000?

With the next version of BlackBerry to be known as BlackBerry 10, RIM may be looking at tying model numbers to it using this numbering scheme. Could the upcomingBlackBerry London end up as the Torch 10000? Could we see a Bold 10000 later? Then again, with BlackBerry 10 devices nearly a year out, a lot could still change.

Asurion has now removed the BlackBerry Torch 10000 from its database but still lists the iPhone 5. Select ‘Advanced Search’ and in the ‘Limit by product’ field, choose ‘AT&T,’ ‘Phones’ and ‘Apple’ to see it in the Advanced Search.

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Nokia Lumia 900 appears on virtual holiday card?

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Dec 302011

It looks like the Nokia Lumia 900 (also known as the Nokia Ace) has made another appearance ahead of its official announcement. This time, it appears to have been featured on a virtual Christmas card. The image reveals little new information but shows AT&T branding and reveals a front-facing camera and 4G connectivity. Here are a couple of pictures:

Rumoured Nokia Lumia 900

Rumoured Nokia Lumia 900

It appears that the Nokia Lumia 900 could be sold by AT&T as the Nokia Ace (rather than it being the device’s development codename). A report yesterday suggested that it could be out as early as March 18th after its CES announcement.

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6.8 million iOS and Android devices activated on Christmas Day

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Dec 302011

More than a few found either an Android or an iOS device under the Christmas tree this year according to Flurry Analytics. They found that 6.8 million Android and iOS devices were activated on Christmas Day alone. In comparison, activations on Christmas Day 2010, the previous single-day record, had reached 2.8 million.

Christmas 2011 Android and iOS activations

Google was quick to announce a new record number of Android activations. Google’s Andy Rubin tweeted on December 28th that 3.7 million Android devices were activated on December 24th and December 25th. No such announcement was made by Apple but Fortune’s Philip Elmer-Dewitt estimates that it may have seen some 4.2 million iOS activations on December 25th alone.

Read more: Flurry Analytics and Fortune

Acer Iconia Tab A700 revealed?

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Dec 302011

While the ASUS Transformer Prime may have been the first quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3 tablet, it will not be the last. Acer’s Iconia Tab family looks set to soon welcome the Iconia Tab A700 according to Russian site Nomobile.ru. As past rumours already suggested, it may have at least one advantage over the Transformer Prime: its higher resolution display (an impressive 1920×1200).

Rumoured Acer Iconia A700 specifications:

  • Processor: 1.3GHz quad-core Tegra 3
  • Cellular connectivity: 3G option
  • Other connectivity: 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0
  • Display: 10.1-inch WUXGA (1920×1200)
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen
  • Rear-facing camera: HD-capable
  • Front-facing camera: 5MP with LED flash
  • Connectors: 3.5mm audio jack, micro-USB, micro-HDMI
  • Battery: 9800mAh
  • Weight: 650 grams

Rumoured Acer Iconia Tab A700

Acer could announce the Iconia Tab A700 at CES 2012 with a launch date in March or April 2012.

Read more (in Russian) [Google translation]

LG to launch Intel-powered smartphone at CES 2012?

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Dec 302011

LG ElectronicsAccording to a report by the Korea Times, LG could unveil an Intel-powered smartphone at CES 2012. The device would run on Intel’s Medfield system-on-a-chip (SOC).

“LG Electronics will produce Intel’s first Android smartphones that use Intel’s own mobile platform. The device will be shown at the CES,” said a top-ranking executive.

Dominant in the PC market, Intel has struggled to establish itself in the mobile space. This may not change according to another LG executive who asked not to be identified. This person suggested that LG would not release such a device and is simply promoting this reference device because of ” huge subsidies from Intel.”

LG and Intel partnered up to deliver a smartphone running Intel’s Moorestown chipset a year ago but the device never made it to market. Originally scheduled to be released in mid-2011, it was eventually cancelled due to “a lack of marketability.”

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Source: TechCrunch

Apple and Android continue to gain U.S. smartphone market share

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Dec 292011

The latest comScore report shows that Apple’s iOS and Android continued to gain smartphone market share in the United States between August and November 2011. Between the two of them, they owned over 71% of the overall marketshare in November 2011.

comScore found that 91.4 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones in this three month period (an 8% increase over the previous three month period). Google’s Android operating system was the top smartphone platform with a 46.9% market share (up 3.1% over the previous period). Apple followed with a 28.7% market share (growing 1.4%). RIM was in third with a 16.6% share (down 3.1%) with Microsoft (5.2% and down 0.5%) and Symbian (1.5% and down 0.3%) closing out the top five.

In terms of mobile device manufacturers, Samsung led the pack with a 25.6% market share (up 0.3%). It was followed by LG (20.5%), Motorola (13.7%), Apple (11.2%) and RIM (6.5%). Apple was the biggest gainer, seeing its market share grow 1.4%.

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HTC Radiant and Samsung Mandel LTE Windows Phone devices coming to AT&T?

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Dec 292011

Windows PhoneBoth HTC and Samsung appear set to join Nokia in getting LTE Windows Phone devices ready probably sometime in early 2012. According to “people familiar with Microsoft’s plans,” both devices will sport a pre-Tango version of Windows Phone with LTE support.

Little is known about the HTC Radiant. A little more is known about the Samsung device. Codenamed Mandel, it will apparently sport a display larger than the 4.3-inch one found on the Samsung Focus S.

As for carriers that could offer the new devices, WinSupersite’s Paul Thurrott reports that the HTC Radiant and Samsung Mandel will join the Nokia Ace at AT&T. The Nokia Ace will be out first, as early as March 18th with the other two to follow before the middle of 2012. It’s unclear whether any of these will also be offered on Verizon’s LTE network (past rumours suggested Verizon was testing the Lumia 800). Formal announcements could come at CES in early January 2012.

Read more: The Verge and WinSupersite

Gameloft Android games on sale for $0.99 until January 5th

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Dec 292011

GameloftGameloft is having a sale over at the Android Market from today until January 5th. All games (except Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation) are now available for $0.99.

The titles cover a range of gameplay. Among them are Asphalt 6: Adrenaline HD, BackStab HD, N.O.V.A. 2 HD, Where’s Waldo Now?, Texas Hold’em Poker 2, Platinum Sudoku, The Adventures of Tintin HD and Diamond Twister 2.

Modern Combat 3: Fallen Nation will also go on sale for $0.99 at some point but only for 24 hours. The French game designer will update its Facebook page and send a tweet when the price drops.

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Samsung ships one million Galaxy Notes

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Dec 292011

Samsung Galaxy NoteSamsung announced today that its Galaxy Note, a hybrid smartphone-tablet device, has now topped shipments of one million units. Samsung points out that “the rapid global sales of Galaxy Note are notable since it is creating a new market for something between smartphone and tablet pc.”

Samsung also points out that sales will accelerate in 2012 when the Galaxy Note becomes available in the U.S. (and likely in Canada). It also adds that sales are “on the rise in Europe and Asia including France, Germany, Hongkong [sic] and Taiwan.”

The Samsung Galaxy Note spans the space between smartphones and tablets with its large 5.3-inch WXGA and supports S Pen pen-input technology. As Samsung describes it, “It integrates core on-the-go benefits of various mobile devices while maintaining smartphone portability, to create a whole new user experience.”

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Source: The Verge

Two iPad models to be announced in January?

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Dec 292011

AppleDigitimes is reporting that Apple will its next-generation iPad in January as part of the iWorld (formerly MacWorld) show. In fact, two new models will be unveiled. Together with the iPad 2, the new models will target the entry-level, mid-range and high-end market segments.

Supporting earlier rumours, the rumoured 7.85-inch model will not be announced in January. Instead, both new models will feature 9.7-inch displays (like previous models) but will offer a higher QXGA (1536×2048) resolution and dual-LED light bars to improve brightness). At least one of the new iPads (and perhaps both) will use a quad-core A6 processor (manufactured by Samsung). One model could come with a 5MP camera while the other would sport a higher 8MP camera.

A separate Digitimes report adds that the new high-end model will sport a battery sporting a capacity twice that of the current model. Rather than a 6,500mAh battery, it could use a 14,000mAh one.

Apple has not attended iWorld in the last two years. It’s not clear if the announcement could be made around the time of the event or if Apple would in fact return to unveil its new tablets. It also remains to be seen if the announcements will confirm the new iPads’ launch on Steve Jobs’ birthday.

Read more: First Digitimes report and second Digitimes report

Rumour: HP wanted US$1.2 billion for webOS and Palm assets

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Dec 282011

Hewlett-PackardWhen Hewlett-Packard announced plans to stop making webOS hardware, it put up its webOS business unit for sale. While there were plenty of rumours about interested suitors (including Amazon and Samsung among others), no sale was ever completed and the saga ended with the announcement that the operating system would be open-sourced. A report by VentureBeat now sheds some light on how HP went about looking for a buyer.

It appears that HP put webOS up for sale for US$1.2 billion, the same amount it spent back in 2010 to buy Palm. According to “a source with knowledge of the negotiations,” the company was looking to avoid taking a loss on its webOS adventure. While HP likely lowered the price later on, other conditions such as access to the operating system for use in its printers probably did not make negotiations any easier.

VentureBeat also indicates that one of the interested parties was Facebook. HP, with its asking price, was “practically laughed out of the room.” Did it get similar reactions from other interested buyers?

Was HP’s webOS valuation another of now-deposed CEO Leo Apotheker‘s follies?

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Rumour: Samsung Galaxy S III to be unveiled at MWC 2012

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Dec 282011

A report by Korean ETNews is indicating that Samsung will announce the Samsung Galaxy S III at the 2012 Mobile World Congress. As with its predecessors, it will feature some impressive specifications.

According to this latest report, the Samsung Galaxy S III will be powered by a quad-core Exynos processor and Google Android 4.0 with the TouchWiz UI. It will also come with LTE connectivity, a Super AMOLED Plus 720p display and 2GB RAM.

Samsung is also considering another feature: 3D support. The Galaxy S III could come with a 3D display, 3D photo and video recording and functionality to work with Samsung’s 3D TVs. The company has apparently not made a final decision on the inclusion of these features. It could also offer different models with and without these.

The specifications line up relatively well with those of an earlier rumour that added that the Galaxy S III would also come with 32GB of internal storage and a 10MP camera with 1080p video capture.

Read more (in Korean) [Google translation]

Source: Phandroid

Samsung wants to grow mobile phone shipments by 15% in 2012

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Dec 282011

SamsungComing off a record year where it shipped over 300 million mobile phones, Samsung is reportedly looking to grow its annual shipments by 15% in 2012. The Korea Economic Daily adds that this translates to a goal of 374 million handsets, up from the 325 million units the company projects to sell this year. Smartphones alone could account for 150 million devices.

Samsung is clearly aiming to dethrone Nokia as the world’s largest mobile phone manufacturer in the near future. Nokia’s shipments are predicted to fall about 5 percent to 399 million units in 2012 (based on data from Strategy Analytics). Nokia is planning a big launch in North America for its Lumia smartphones but it remains to be seen how it will fare against competition from Apple and Android device manufacturers.

With both the Consumer Electronics Show and Mobile World Congress around the corner, we will hopefully soon see the devices that Samsung plans to offer in order to meet its sales targets. It’s likely that we will see new models in the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab lineups (along with lower-end devices).

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Rumour: Windows Phone 2012 roadmap leaked

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Dec 282011

A leaked Windows Phone roadmap obtained by WMPowerUser reveals what Microsoft could have in store for its mobile operating system in 2012. Two releases are planned based on the document which dates back to October. Tango will arrive sometime in Q2 with Apollo to follow in Q4. The timelines align fairly well with an earlier roadmap leak.

Rumoured 2012 Windows Phone roadmap

Tango will focus on “products with the best prices.” This supports earlier rumours that suggested that Microsoft will focus on opening Windows Phone to cheaper devices. Tango could also bring with it some new features (NFC perhaps?) for more powerful devices. Other rumours have also suggested that it could include LTE and new form factors.

Apollo will follow in Q4 and its focus will be on “competitive superphones” and the business market segment. This suggests we could finally see support for dual-core processors, LTE (if not delivered in Tango), and higher-resolution displays on Windows Phone devices.

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