Rumour: Sony Xperia SL (LT26ii) to succeed Xperia S

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Jun 302012
 

Postel, the Indonesian Telecoms Regulatory body’s website, appears to have once again revealed an upcoming Sony Xperia device. The new device is identified as the Sony Xperia SL (model LT26ii), suggesting that it is an updated version of the Sony Xperia S which carries model number LT26i.

Postel mention of Sony Xperia SL
Click for a larger version

There are no details about what upgrades the Xperia SL could have over its Xperia S predecessor. And needless to say that it’s too early to know if the Xperia SL will replace the Xperia S at Rogers here in Canada…

Read more: Postel (Source: Xperia Blog)

WIND Mobile expanding to Windsor this summer

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Jun 302012
 

WIND MobileWIND Mobile revealed plans to expand to Windsor, Ontario, as far back as last August. That launch is finally nearing. Not only is Windsor shown on WIND Mobile’s coverage map as an area of “Planned Expansion” but it tweeted today that a launch would happen this summer:

Good morning @RePoMaN. We’re currently working on our Windsor network which is due to be completed this summer. Stay tuned!

WIND Mobile has not yet provided any specific launch details.

WIND Mobile also has plans in 2012 to expand to a number of other cities in Souther Ontario, as well as both out West (Victoria, Saskatoon, and Regina) and out East (Halifax). It is also talking to some regional operators about agreements to share networks, sites and marketing for its WIND Mobile brand.

Read more: Twitter (Source: Mobile Syrup)

Rumour: Larger 5.5-inch Samsung Galaxy Note 2 coming in September

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Jun 302012
 

Rumours of a successor to Samsung’s first phablet, the Samsung Galaxy Note, continue to gather steam. GSMArena has learned from a source “whom we have good reasons to trust” that the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 will indeed come with a larger 5.5-inch display and a design inspired by that of the Galaxy S III as previous rumours suggested.

Despite its larger display, the report adds that the Galaxy Note 2 will actually be narrower, suggesting thinner bezels. The following mockup suggests that it could look like:

Rumoured Samsung Galaxy Note 2 mockup

Samsung has also apparently moved the release date up further up to September. It is hoping to have it out before Apple launches its next iPhone

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 may come with a dual-core Exynos 5250 Cortex-A15 processor, up to 2GB of RAM, an 8MP camera with an improved sensor, and LTE connectivity. There is no word on whether the display will use PenTile technology and/or feature a unbreakable plane (UBP) display.

Read more: GSM Arena

HP to skip on ARM-based Windows RT tablets for now

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Jun 302012
 

Hewlett-PackardOne of Microsoft’s largest partners will not launch any ARM-based Windows RT tablets this year. HP has confirmed plans to focus solely on x86-based Windows 8 tablets. HP spokeswoman Marlene Somsak said:

“I can confirm that at HP, we continue to look at using ARM processors in business and consumer products. However, our first Win 8 tablet will be on the x86 platform focused on the business market. The decision to go with x86 was influenced by input from our customers. The robust and established ecosystem of x86 applications provides the best customer experience at this time and in the immediate future.”

The news follows Microsoft’s unveiling of its Surface tablets. This has led to speculation that HP decided to scrap its Windows RT tablet plans in response to Microsoft’s decision to compete directly with its partners in the tablet hardware business. But a PCMag source suggests that HP made its decision ahead of the Surface launch. It’s unclear if HP was aware of Microsoft’s plans back then.

Aside from Microsoft, only ASUS has so far announced a Windows RT tablet, the Tablet 600.

Read more: Bloomberg and PC Mag

Samsung statement on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean updates

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Jun 292012
 

SamsungGoogle unveiled Android 4.1 Jelly Bean earlier this week at Google I/O. It also announced updates for the Galaxy Nexus and Google Nexus S, both devices manufactured by Samsung. Naturally, other Samsung Android device owners want to know what Samsung has in mind for them. The manufacturer today responded with a short statement:

Samsung will soon announce which additional devices are eligible for the Jelly Bean update. As the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer, Samsung leads the Android community with best-in-class devices like the Galaxy S III, and is creating new device categories with products like the Galaxy Note. Samsung has delivered the most Nexus-branded lead OS devices and we are pleased that Google will be bringing Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S customers the first experiences of Jelly Bean on a handheld device.

Much like HTC’s own statement earlier, this one basically tells us that Samsung is still reviewing its options for updates. It appears that many will have to wait longer…

Read more: PocketNow

Apple iPhone turns 5 today

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Jun 292012
 

Apple iPhoneIt was five years today that Apple first began selling the Apple iPhone. First introduced at the 2007 Macworld conference keynote, this was the day that customers could finally get their hands on the US$599 smartphone.

Since that fateful day, Apple has sold some 250 million iPhones and brought in about US$150 billion in revenues. Apple revolutionized the smartphone market, forcing its competitors to adapt quickly. While some have, many (including Nokia and RIM) are still struggling to return to former glory. Apple, for its part, has since established itself as one of the top smartphone manufacturers. In fact, it was still the top one in the U.S. in the first quarter of the year despite stiff competition from Samsung.

According to Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics:

“The iPhone portfolio has become a huge generator of cash and profit for Apple. A quarter of a billion iPhones have been shipped cumulatively worldwide in the first five years since launch and Apple reaches its fifth birthday at the top of its game. However, there are emerging signs that the iPhone’s next five years could get tougher. Some mobile operators are becoming concerned about the high level of subsidies they spend on the iPhone, while Samsung is expanding its popular Galaxy portfolio and providing Apple with more credible competition.”

Five years in, Apple’s competitors have in many ways caught up. But Apple has demonstrated several times over that is one of the most innovative technology companies out there and it likely has a few more surprises in its bag of tricks. It should be an exciting five more years (and beyond).

Read more: Strategy Analytics

HTC to support Android 4.1 on variety of devices

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Jun 292012
 

HTCHTC today issued a statement about Android 4.1 Jelly Bean support on its devices.

“We are excited about Android Jelly Bean and are planning to support it across a variety of our devices. We are reviewing the software to determine our upgrade plans and schedule, so please stay tuned for more updates on specific device upgrade plans.”

It’s likely that HTC’s new HTC One devices will get the upgrade but it remains to be seen what other devices will get Android’s latest version. With Google indicating that the Nexus S is up for an upgrade, there is hope for some older devices – as long as carriers are also on board.

There are no timelines yet but hopefully upgrades will roll out faster than the Android 4.0 ones are…

Read more: Android Central

Thousands switch to Mobilicity during National Break Your Wireless Contract Day weekend

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Jun 292012
 

MobilicityMobilicity yesterday declared its “National Break Your Wireless Contract Day” weekend sales event a success.

“Everyone at Mobilicity, from our dealer principals and part-time store staff to our team at head office wanted to personally thank Canada for making National Break Your Wireless Contract Day a big success,” said Mobilicity Chief Customer Officer Anthony Booth. “Thank you for your support and joining with us in proclaiming that Canadians deserve freedom and that wireless contracts put that freedom at risk.”

Mobilicity did not provide specific numbers to quantify its success, saying only that thousands had broken their contracts over the two day event.

Read more: Mobilicity

Rumour: Google working on Nexus 10 tablet

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Jun 292012
 

Google AndroidGoogle’s first foray into the Android tablet business, the Google Nexus 7, may not be its last one. According to a Digitimes report, the company is already planning to offer a 10-inch Nexus tablet alongside the Nexus 7 it announced this week. No details are given except to indicate that displays would be provided by AU Optronics (AUO) and Wintek.

Wintek provided Google with 500,000 OGS (one glass solution) touch panels for the Google Nexus 7 in June. Shipments could top 1 million by the end of July.

Whether we see a larger 10-inch Google Nexus tablet may well depend on how well the Nexus 7 sells. Google is now taking pre-orders and shipments are expected to start in mid-July.

Read more: Digitimes

Rumours of Microsoft-RIM partnership resurface

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Jun 292012
 

Research In MotionResearch In Motion’s dismal quarter has reignited past rumours that the company could sell off a portion of its assets or partner up with someone else to survive. Citing “three sources familiar with the situation,” Reuters is reporting that RIM could form a partnership with Microsoft similar to the one that the latter has with Nokia. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer apparently reached out to RIM in recent months to discuss such an arrangement.

This partnership would see Microsoft buy a stake in RIM and fund marketing an other expenses. In return, RIM would abandon BlackBerry 10 and adopt Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 for future devices.

The report adds that RIM’s board does not favour this option as it would put an end to the company’s independence. The board still prefers to focus on BlackBerry 10. Nokia’s own struggles to turn its fortunes around after switching to Windows Phone also likely suggest that such a move would be not be a sure fire way for RIM to get back on its feet.

RIM is also considering an outright sale or spin-off of either its hardware business or its proprietary network.

The delay of BlackBerry 10 into 2013 will only heighten the pressure on RIM’s management and board to take some kind of action.

Read more: Reuters

RIM announces dismal first quarter fiscal 2013 results

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Jun 292012
 

Research In MotionResearch In Motion yesterday announced its Q1 fiscal Year 2013 results. While many had expected poor results, the final numbers proved far worse. RIM reported an operating loss of US$518 million, its first since fiscal year 2004. Revenues for the quarter came in at US$2.8 billion, down 33% from US$4.2 billion in the prior quarter and down 43% from the same quarter a year ago. It still managed to ship 7.8 million BlackBerry smartphones and 260,000 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets.

“Our first quarter results reflect the market challenges I have outlined since my appointment as CEO at the end of January. I am not satisfied with these results and continue to work aggressively with all areas of the organization and the Board to implement meaningful changes to address the challenges, including a thoughtful realignment of resources and honing focus within the Company on areas that have the greatest opportunities,” said Thorsten Heins, President and CEO. “Our top priority going forward is the successful launch of our first BlackBerry 10 device, which we now anticipate will occur in the first quarter of calendar 2013. In parallel with the roll out of BlackBerry 10, we are aggressively working with our advisors on our strategic review and are actively evaluating ways to better leverage our assets and build on our strengths, including our growing BlackBerry subscriber base of approximately 78 million, our large enterprise installed base, our unique network architecture and our industry leading security capabilities.”

RIM also announced that it would reduce its workforce by a further 5,000 employees. It has 16,500 employees worldwide today.

In a bid to reduce costs, RIM will also streamline its supply chain by reducing external manufacturing sites from 10 down to three. Celestica earlier this month announced it would no longer manufacture BlackBerry smartphones. It will also outsource parts of the Company’s Global Repair operations.

The future looks grim as well. Aside from BlackBerry 10 being delayed to 2013, RIM also expects to report an operating loss in its fiscal second quarter as well. Subsequent quarters will also be “very challenging for its business.”

On the positive side, RIM’s global subscriber base is still growing. All regions are continuing to gain subscribers except North America. It gave no numbers though. BlackBerry App World now also continues to grow and now has over 89,000 applications available.

The question many will be asking today is: Can Research In Motion survive on its own?

Read more: Research In Motion

RIM delays BlackBerry 10 to Q1 2013

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Jun 282012
 

Research In MotionResearch In Motion today announced that BlackBerry 10 has been delayed until Q1 2013. During its latest financial results announcement, Thorsten Heins, President and CEO, said that “major” progress has been made but that getting BlackBerry 10 ready would require more time than originally anticipated. He attributed the delays to the integration of key features into the new OS as well as the large volume of code involved.

“RIM’s development teams are relentlessly focused on ensuring the quality and reliability of the platform and I will not compromise the product by delivering it before it is ready. I am confident that the first BlackBerry 10 smartphones will provide a ground-breaking next generation smartphone user experience,” said Thorsten Heins, President and CEO. “We are encouraged by the traction that the BlackBerry 10 platform is gaining with application developers and content partners following the successful BlackBerry Jam sessions that we have held around the world since the beginning of May. Similarly, the reception of the BlackBerry 10 platform by our key carrier partners has been very positive and they are looking forward to going to market with BlackBerry 10 smartphones in the first quarter of calendar 2013.”

Heins also reiterated that RIM was looking at licensing BlackBerry 10 to other companies.

While rumours have suggested that the BlackBerry 10 device hardware was ready ahead of schedule, it won’t do the company much good without the software to go with it. And will that hardware still be relevant when BlackBerry 10 is finally ready?

Read more: Research In Motion

CA$19 billion class action “system access fee” lawsuit to go ahead in Canada

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Jun 282012
 

A CA$19 billion class action lawsuit over “system access fees” will move forward after a Supreme Court of Canada decision. The high court also declined to hear an appeal by the carriers over lower court decisions. The case will be heard in the lower court where awards are usually worth substantially less than the claims that were made.

Merchant Law Group, which brought the suit forward, said that Canada has some of the highest cell phone charges among major developed economies. “Cellular services, in which they don’t have meaningful investment, are extremely profitable, while land line services, in which they have huge investment, are marginally profitable,” said Merchant. He further described cellular services as carriers’ “gold and silver veins.” While the fee is mostly phased out, the suit argues that it was an “unjust enrichment” charged by carriers to customers over a 20 year span.

Among the companies named in the suit are BCE Inc, Rogers Communications Inc, TELUS Corp, and Bell Aliant Inc.

TELUS spokesman Shawn Hall said, “We are confident the case is without merit and baseless, at least as it relates to TELUS.”

Read more: Reuters

Google I/O 2012: Google Chrome now available for iOS devices

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Jun 282012
 

Google ChromeGoogle yesterday announced that Google for Android was shedding its beta label just in time to make it onto the Google Nexus 7 tablet. Today, Google announced Google Chrome for iOS for Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

That means you can enjoy the same speedy and simple Chrome experience across your devices. Also, by signing in to Chrome, you can easily move from your desktop, laptop, smartphone and tablet and have all of your stuff with you.

Chrome for iOS is not quite the same as the other versions. Because Apple does not allow third-party engines such as Chrome’s own rendering or JavaScript engines, Google wrapped Chrome around the WebKit engine.

Google Chrome for iOS will work with iOS iOS 4.3 and higher. It will be available later today so keep your eyes open.

Google also announced that Chrome now has 310 million active users, up from 160 million at last year’s I/O.

Read more: Google Official Blog

Huawei delays Ascend D quad launch to August

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Jun 282012
 

Huawei Ascend D quadHuawei unveiled the Ascend D quad earlier this year at MWC 2012 and indicated that it would launch in Q2. It has now delayed this launch because of issues with the device’s processor, one that it designed itself. Huawei’s Consumer Business Group CEO Yu Chengdong explained that the company “has encountered some technical problems” with its quad-core Huawei K3V2 processor.

The manufacturer is “working hard to overcome them” and now expects to start mass production some time in August. If so, the Ascend D quad may not hit the street until late in the month or perhaps even September. This delay will mean that it will face off against other flagship devices such as the HTC One X (and rumoured successor HTC One XXL) and the Samsung Galaxy S III. Competition will only get stiffer with the expected launch of Windows Phone 8 (including some from Huawei) and BlackBerry 10 devices and the next-generation iPhone around the same time.

It remains to be seen how this delay will impact Huawei’s goal of selling 60 million smartphones in 2012.

Read more: Unwired View