Apple and Samsung to meet on May 21st for mediation talks

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Apr 302012

The date has been set for the meeting that will see Apple and Samsung CEOs come together to discuss a potential settlement to their U.S. legal battles. The meeting comes after an order by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh who referred the companies to a magistrate judge earlier this month. The meetings will take place before Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero in a San Fransisco courtroom.

Both parties have been asked to provide statements that provide “a candid evaluation of the parties’ likelihood of prevailing on the claims and defenses.” That would certainly be fascinating reading!

Just last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook indicated during the company’s earnings call that he would rather settle than fight lawsuits: “I’ve always hated litigation, and I continue to hate it. We just want people to invent their own stuff,” he said. “I would highly prefer to settle versus battle. But the key thing is that it’s very important that Apple not become the developer for the world.” Hopefully Samsung CEO Choi Gee-sung feels the same way. Otherwise, both companies are expected to meet in court in July.

Read more: FOSS Patents

No more Windows Phone smartphones for LG

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Apr 302012

LG ElectronicsAs a result of weak sales of Windows Phone devices,LG has decided to focus completely on Android smartphones going forward. According to a company spokesperson, “The total unit of Windows Phone sold in the global market is not a meaningful figure.”

LG was among the first companies to offer a Windows Phone device but has no plans to offer any more. It launched the LG Optimus 7 (also known as the LG Quantum) and LG Optimus Quantum in 2010 but did not follow up with any Windows Phone 7.5 devices (despite rumours it would).

Things have changed since 2008 when LG and Microsoft signed a mobile partnership. LG went as far as promising “up to” 26 Windows Phone devices by 2012. Unfortunately, operating losses for seven consecutive quarters forced LG to change its priorities, especially as it was its Android devices that allowed it to reverse that trend late last year.

LG is not completely closing the door on Windows Phone though. It plans to “continue research and development efforts” on Windows Phones. This suggests that LG could make a return with Windows Phone 8. Could the visit to Korea by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s help return LG to the Windows Phone fold?

Read more: The Korea Times

No BlackBerry 10 smartphones at BlackBerry World 2012

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Apr 302012

Research In MotionOne of the biggest expectations for BlackBerry World is that Research In Motion will show off some BlackBerry 10 devices. That will not be the case unfortunately. “We are not unveiling any BlackBerry 10 hardware,” a company representative told CNET today.

RIM will instead focus the event on the BlackBerry 10 software itself. The new operating system, based on QNX, is the platform upon which RIM is basing its turnaround. Much as Android and iOS before it, RIM is hoping that BlackBerry 10 will power not only smartphones but a wider ecosystem of devices including tablets and others.

This does not mean that no new hardware will be unveiled at the event. RIM is expected to announce new HSPA+ and LTE versions of the BlackBerry PlayBook as well as the BlackBerry Curve 9320. On the BlackBerry 10 Jam side, developers will be given BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha devices but RIM has stressed that these prototypes are not final devices both on the software and hardware side.

Read more: CNet

Samsung Canada begins pushing out Android 4.0 updates

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Apr 302012

SamsungSamsung Canada today announced that Android 4.0 updates have now begun here in Canada. While Samsung is planning to upgrade a number of devices, it has not yet provided details as to which ones (and on which carrier) have begun to receive the much expected update. The rollout is expected to continue through the quarter.

“We are passionate about providing the best possible mobile experience to Canadians and the upgrade to Android 4.0 will offer an improved user experience for Samsung GALAXY devices,” said Paul Brannen, Vice President, Mobile Communications at Samsung Canada. “We expect that our customers will enjoy an enhanced experience with their GALAXY device through this upgrade and we remain committed, alongside our carrier partners, to satisfy our customer needs”.

If a leaked Bell Mobility upgrade schedule is a somewhat accurate indication, the Samsung Galaxy S II, Samsung Galaxy Note, and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 should be among the first devices. Others scheduled to receive it are the

  • GALAXY Tab 7.0
  • GALAXY Tab 7.0 Plus
  • GALAXY Tab 8.9

Samsung points out that “availability and scheduling of the software upgrade and specific models upgradable to Android 4.0 will vary by market and wireless carriers’ requirements.” Patience will likely still be required.

Drop us a comment if you’ve received the update, telling us what device you have.

Read more: Samsung

Motorola to launch MOTOLUXE smartphone in Canada

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Apr 302012

Motorola MOTOLUXEMotorola Canada today announced that it will launch its new MOTOLUXE smartphone in Canada. It will sport a new interface that “learns who you talk to and which apps you use and keeps all of that information front and center.” The Social Graph feature ties the size of a person’s icon to the frequency of your interactions.

“With its stylish design and media features, MOTOLUXE is the perfect smartphone to complement our busy lives,” said David Petrou, sales director, Motorola Mobility Canada. “Not only does MOTOLUXE have the power of Android, it also has a fun, adaptive and easy-to-use user interface, a big vibrant screen and a sharp camera to help you capture your everyday life.”

Motorola Mobility MOTOLUXE specifications:

  • Processor: 800MHz single-core
  • Operating system: Google Android 2.3 with Motorola’s MotoSwitch UI
  • Cellular connectivity: GSM/HSPA
  • Other connectivity: GPS/A-GPS, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0, DLNA
  • Display: 4-inch FWVGA (480×854)
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen
  • Memory: Up to 300MB
  • Storage: microSD cards up to 32GB
  • Rear-facing camera: 8MP AF with with LED flash
  • Front-facing camera: VGA
  • Connectors: 3.5mm audio jack
  • Battery: 1,400mAh
  • Dimensions / weight: 117.7 x 60.5 x 9.8 millimeters / 122 grams
  • Other: FM radio, multi-coloured LED

There is no word yet on whether the Motorola MOTOLUXE will be updated to Android 4.0.

The MOTOLUXE will be available in Canada in Q2. Carrier and pricing details were not provided.

Microsoft and Barnes & Noble form Nook e-book platform partnership

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Apr 302012

MicrosoftMicrosoft and Barnes & Noble today annnounced a new partnership in a new Barnes & Noble subsidiary focused on e-reading technologies. The new subsidiary, called Newco until a final name is found, will consist of the Nook unit as well as Barnes & Noble’s college textbook business. Microsoft will make a US$300 million investment in Newco for a 17.6% equity stake.

“The shift to digital is putting the world’s libraries and newsstands in the palm of every person’s hand, and is the beginning of a journey that will impact how people read, interact with, and enjoy new forms of content,” said Andy Lees, President at Microsoft. “Our complementary assets will accelerate e-reading innovation across a broad range of Windows devices, enabling people to not just read stories, but to be part of them. We’re at the cusp of a revolution in reading.”

As part of the new partnership, the two companies also announced that they have settled their patent litigation. Barnes & Noble and Newco will now have a “royalty-bearing license under Microsoft’s patents for its NOOK eReader and Tablet products.” The litigation had been tied to Barnes & Noble’s use of Android on its Nook tablet.

Microsoft will bundle the Nook digital bookstore with Windows 8 when it launches later this year. The move will significantly broaden its exposure both in the U.S. and globally.

Read more: Microsoft

BlackBerry World keynote to be webcast live

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Apr 302012

Research In MotionBlackBerry World 2012 kicks off tomorrow and it hopefully marks the start of Research In Motion’s renewal. The upcoming BlackBerry 10 operating system is set to take centre stage along with its new CEO, Thorsten Heins. For those of us unable to make it down to Florida for the event, RIM will offer a live webcast of Heins’s keynote presentation on Tuesday May 1st at 1000 0900 EST.

The developer-centric BlackBerry 10 Jam will be taking place alongside BlackBerry World 2012. Developers will be provided with BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha devices as they get apps ready for the new OS.

There should be plenty of RIM and BlackBerry 10 news over the next few days!

Read more: Inside BlackBerry Blog

At the Sony Entertainment Network services media event

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Apr 292012

Sony Canada this week held a media event in Toronto to launch its Sony Entertainment Network which now spans music, movies, games and user created media. Essentially it is a “portal for all of your digital entertainment needs. Movies, music and games across multiple devices (Sony and non-Sony) from one convenient account.” It consists of four key services: Video Unlimited, Music Unlimited, PlayStation Network, and the just launched PlayMemories storage service. It comes at a time when consumers increasingly look for streaming content on a variety of devices from televisions to tablets and smartphones, said Dan Phillips, Director of Television Marketing, Sony of Canada.

Tasty treats
Tasty treats

Services overview

PlayStation Network is the venerable gaming platform-focused portion of the service. It is accessible via the PlayStation 3 as well as PlayStation portable devices such as the recently launched PS Vita. It offers multiplayer gaming, downloadable content, as well the PlayStation Plus subscription which offers more. There is also the PlayStation Home virtual world where you can interact with other PlayStation players.

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Better photos of BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha surface

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Apr 292012

Better quality pictures of the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha device have turned up after the initial leak. They don’t reveal much more except to indicate that the device will come with 16GB of onboard storage.

Rumoured RIM BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha

Rumoured RIM BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha

BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha devices will be handed out to developers attending the upcoming BlackBerry 10 Jam conference. Not final BlackBerry 10 devices, they are intended to help developers get their apps ready for the upcoming BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

Read more: CrackBerry

Another Samsung Galaxy S III picture suggests 4.8-inch display

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Apr 292012

Another leaked picture of the Samsung Galaxy S III has surfaced. Obtained by KnowYourMobile from an anonymous source, this one features the device next to a ruler. Based on the measurements and some math, Samsung’s latest flagship smartphone will measure between 130 and 135 millimeters and sport a 4.8-inch display. That would make it roughly the same size as the Galaxy Nexus but with a slightly larger display.

Rumoured Samsung Galaxy S III next to a ruler

Contradicting recent rumours about a hardware home button, no such hardware button is visible here although it could be lost in the shadows.

Rumours of a 4.8-inch display first surfaced in February. Between those and other rumours, the display size is likely to fall between 4.6- and 4.8-inches. It could be a full 1080p display although that appears unlikely.

Samsung’s May 3rd Unpacked event cannot come soon enough…

Read more: (Source: PocketNow)

Samsung becomes world’s largest handset vendor in Q1 2012

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Apr 292012

SamsungAs widely expected, Nokia has been dethroned as the world’s largest handset vendor. Global handset shipments in the first quarter of 2012 reached 368 million units with Samsung, the new leader, grabbing a 25% marketshare, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics. According to Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics:

“Nokia’s global handset shipments declined a huge 24 percent annually to 82.7 million units in Q1 2012. Volumes were squeezed at both ends, as low-end feature phone shipments in emerging markets stalled and high-end Microsoft Lumia smartphones were unable to offset the rapid decline of Nokia’s legacy Symbian business.”

Samsung shipped an estimated 93.5 million handsets, up from 68.9 million the same quarter a year ago. Meanwhile, Nokia’s shipments dropped from 108.5 million a year ago to 82.5 million this quarter. Apple held on to third with shipments of 35.1 million handsets, enough for a 10% marketshare.

Nokia held on to the title for an impressive 14 years but has been facing increasing competition over the last few years.

Samsung announced a record quarter this week with operating profits of 5.85 trillion won (about US$5.1 billion). Its handset division accounted for 73% of profits due in large part to strong sales of its Galaxy S II and Galaxy Note devices. With the much anticipated Samsung Galaxy S III expected to be unveiled in only days, it does not appear that Samsung is quite ready to step down from its new throne.

Read more: Strategy Analytics

BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha caught on camera

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Apr 282012

Developers attending next week’s BlackBerry 10 Jam conference will be given a BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha, a prototype device which will run a modified version of the PlayBook OS to help them prepare their apps for the upcoming BlackBerry 10 smartphone. Pictures of the device have now surfaced courtesy of CrackBerry:

Rumoured RIM BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha

Rumoured RIM BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha

Given all the rumours that the first BlackBerry 10 device will be a touchscreen device, it’s no surprise that the Alpha device is one as well. Just how much of a hint it gives about the first official BlackBerry 10 device’s design remains to be seen. RIM was quick to point out, “Just to be 100% clear – it’s not the final hardware or OS for BlackBerry 10 – it’s a device to help developers get started with designing for what’s coming.” If it is, it owes more to the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet than to the rumoured BlackBerry 10 Colt renders seen last year.

There are no details as to specifications but we should have those next week with BlackBerry World amd BlackBerry 10 Jam taking place then.

Read more: CrackBerry

Weekend fun: Python Bytes – Monty Python Series 1 for iOS devices

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Apr 272012

If you’re looking for a good laugh this weekend, you’re bound to find it with Monty Python. They have just launched their first Monty PyPhone app for iOS devices, promising that it’s “probably the most fun you can have with one hand.”

Python Bytes is the first of the official Monty PyPhone Series apps. It brings you the 22 best sketches from the first series of the legendary Monty Python TV shows. Not just that, it has back-stories about the sketches from the Pythons themselves.

Python Bytes is complete anarchy. Just shake your iPhone and up pops another random sketch.

Among the sketches are the classic “Dead Parrot,” and “Lumberjack Song.” I still crack up when I hear that the parrot is “pining for the fjords.”

Python Bytes – Monty Python Series 1 is available from iTunes for US$2.99 (for when Youtube Monty sketches are out of reach).

Read more: Python Bytes – Monty Python Series 1

Entry-level Sony Xperia ‘Tapioca’ (ST21i) revealed

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Apr 272012

Pictures of the upcoming Sony Xperia ‘Tapioca’ (model: ST21i) have surfaced online. Its design shares more in common with the Xperia sola than with the Xperia S. It’s not clear if it will also sport the same floating touch technology as the Xperia sola.

Rumoured Sony Xperia ST21i Tapioca

Rumoured Sony Xperia ST21i Tapioca

The specifications that accompany the pictures meet earlier ones except for a bump to Android 4.0:

  • Processor: 800MHz single-core Qualcomm MSM7227
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.0
  • Cellular connectivity: WCDMA
  • Other connectivity: 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Display: 3.2-inch HVGA (320×480)
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen
  • Memory: 512MB ROM
  • Storage: 4GB onboard
  • Rear-facing camera: 3.2MP
  • Battery: 1,460mAh

There is still no word on pricing and availability.

Read more: Xperia Blog

RIM BlackBerry Curve 9320 revealed

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Apr 272012

The BlackBerry Curve 9320 has already surfaced on leaked Research In Motion roadmaps. Now we have a picture to go with the name.

Rumoured RIM BlackBerry Curve 9320

As expected, the device sports a dedicated BBM button. The BlackBerry Curve 9320 is expected to come with BlackBerry OS 7.1, a 2.44-inch QVGA display, 512MB RAM, and a physical QWERTY keyboard.

An announcement at next week’s BlackBerry World is expected. Could it be the last BLackBerry 7 device announced before RIM embarks on its BlackBerry 10 adventure?

Read more: The Verge