More evidence for September 12th Apple event

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Jul 312012

AppleMore reports have surfaced that give credence to yesterday’s rumour that Apple would unveil both the iPhone 5 and iPad mini at a special event on September 12th.

The Verge‘s own sources have apparently confirmed the date. The Loop‘s Jim Dalrymple whose own sources have been accurate in the past, added a terse “yep” to the iMore report. AllThingsD‘s sources also indicated that Apple was planning an event for the week of September 9th with the Wednesday (the 12th) the likeliest day.

While the date looks set, it remains to be seen if Apple will unveil both the iPhone 5 and the iPad mini or only the former. Citing Wells Fargo Securities analyst Maynard Um, AllThingsD predicts “a big fall product cycle.” Apple’s latest 10-Q filing reveals that its inventory component prepayments are at their highest level in four years, suggesting either a big product launch or several ones.

It looks like we have a date and a potentially very exciting event!

Read more: The Verge and The Loop and AllThingsD

Sony “still investigating” Android 4.1 for 2011 Xperia devices

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Jul 312012

Sony Mobile CommunicationsSony today issued a correction to comments made earlier by a company representative that suggested that there would be no Android 4.1 Jelly Bean upgrades for 2011 Xperia smartphones. It turns out that Sony is still looking at offering such upgrades according to its statement:

A quick note – during a Q&A session last week on our Sony Mobile GB Facebook page, a local spokesperson gave information out in error on our Android 4.1 Jelly Bean software development and rollout for 2011 Xperia smartphones.

We are actively investigating Android OS upgrades for all devices, but in the meantime, our Ice Cream Sandwich rollout for Xperia S and 2011 Xperia smartphones continues as planned.

While this is not a confirmation that there will be Android 4.1 upgrades, it does at least open the door to the possibility. With Sony still deploying Android 4.0 to a number of devices, it may be a while before we see 4.1 upgrades though.

Read more: Sony Xperia Product Blog

Rumour: 9.4-inch Sony Xperia tablet revealed

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Jul 312012

A leaked slide deck has revealed what appears to be Sony’s next generation tablet. It retains the distinctive wedge design of the Tablet S but has been improved in a number of areas. Along with the expected hardware upgrades, it is also thinner (by 42%) and lighter than its predecessor.

Unlike its first generation tablets, Sony will bear the Xperia brand name when it launches. If so, the move would indicate that Sony will use its Xperia brand for all of its mobile devices going forward.

Rumoured Sony Xperia tablet

Rumoured Sony SGPT1211 tablet specifications:

  • Processor: Tegra 3
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.0 or later
  • Cellular connectivity: 3G
  • Other connectivity: GPS/A-GPS, 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0
  • Display: 9.4-inch WXGA (1280×800)
  • Input: Capacitive touchscreen
  • Storage: 16/32/64GB onboard and SD cards
  • Rear-facing camera: 8.0MP
  • Front-facing camera: 1.0MP
  • Battery: 6,000mAh
  • Dimensions / weight: 241.2 x 174.3 x 11.85 millimeters / 570 grams

Sony’s latest tablet will also come with a feature called Guest Mode. It will effectively offer basic multi-user support (something that Google is working on for a future Android release) by allowing users to set up a guest account on the tablet with is own applications and wallpaper.

Rumoured Sony Xperia tablet
Click for a larger version

Sony will also offer a number of accessories to go along with the tablet. Among these are a cover with integrated keyboard as well as a number of stands and docking options.

Rumoured Sony Xperia tablet

Three models will be offered. A 16GB model will sell for US$399.99, a 32GB one for US$499.99, and a 64GB one for US$599.99. It could launch as early as September 2012. There is no word on Canadian availability at this point.

Read more: xda-developers (Source: Xperia Blog)

Samsung working on 11.8-inch tablet with ‘Retina’ display

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Jul 302012

SamsungThe court documents filed in the legal battle between Apple and Samsung have revealed yet another device. On the heels of a roadmap showing two upcoming Windows Phone 8 devices, another document has been found to indicate that Samsung is working on a tablet codenamed “P10”.

The Samsung P10 sports an 11.8-inch WQXGA (2560×1600) display. That would give it a pixel density of 256 PPI, enough to put it in ‘Retina’ display territory. It also comes with LTE connectivity.

Samsung 11.8-inch tablet
Click for a larger version

Rumours of such a tablet first surfaced late last year with some expectations that Samsung would unveil it at Mobile World Congress. Could that launch simply have slipped to that August 15th Samsung event?

Read more: The Verge

Multi-user support coming to Google Android?

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Jul 302012

Google AndroidOne major features that Android users have been clamoring for is multi-user support. While one could argue that smartphones are a personal device, the same argument cannot be made for tablets. Much as it already works on operating systems such as Windows or Mac OS X, this feature would allow different users to customize the device to their liking without interfering with the preferences of others.

It now appears that Google is working on getting multi-user support ready for a future release. Digging into the Android 4.1 Jelly Bean source code, AndroidPolice has found evidence that a lot of code is already in place to support this functionality. It looks like Google began to check in code into the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) as far back as April 2011. Since then, it has gradually been adding the necessary foundations such as user specific app data directories and separating settings such as default applications, home screen widgets, and language settings to be user specific.

Much work remains to be done though. All of the user interface to support such functionality still has to be built. For example, users will need a way to switch between users, screens and tools to manage different users (adding, changing and deleting them), and more.

It all looks very promising! Let’s hope that multi-user support is a key feature of the next major version of Google Android.

Read more: AndroidPolice

More pictures and videos of the Sony LT29i Hayabusa prototype

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Jul 302012

More pictures as well as a number of videos of the upcoming Sony LT29i ‘Hayabusa’ have turned up. These follow pictures leaked a week ago. Like the first ones, these still bear the Sony Ericsson brand name. The first of two videos focuses on the hardware:

A second video focuses on the software and shows Sony’s ‘Small app’ widget works:

Pictures also confirm that the Xperia logo will light up possibly for notifications. Lastly, a number of pictures also compares the Sony LT29i to the HTC One X, including some viewing angle comparisons.

Rumoured Sony LT29i Hayabusa

ePrice also confirms that the Sony LT29i will be powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 processor and Google Android 4.0.4. It will come with a 4.6-inch HD (1280×720) display, a 13MP rear camera with LED flash, a 1,700mAh battery. It will be 8.6 millimeters thick.

Read more: ePrice (in Chinese) [Google translation] (Source: Xperia Blog)

New ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity firmware now available

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Jul 302012

ASUS Transformer Pad InfinityASUS Transformer Pad Infinity (TF700) users are reporting that ASUS is now pushing out a few firmware update. Version is now being deployed both to U.S. and worldwide models. This update is a maintenance one and does not upgrade the tablet to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean – That update still has no ETA.

A change log for this update is not available yet but AndroidCentral reports that it comes with a number of fixes including SD card compatibility, and general performance and stability improvements. Users are also indicating that touchscreen responsiveness has been improved.

A number of users are reporting that they don’t see the update yet, suggesting that ASUS is rolling out the update in waves. To see if it is available for your tablet, check under Settings > About tablet > Software updates.

Read more: AndroidCentral

WP8-powered Samsung Odyssey and Marco revealed

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Jul 302012

Documents filed in the Apple-Samsung court case (getting underway today) have revealed two upcoming Samsung Windows Phone 8 mobile phones. What appears to be a timeline reveals the Samsung Odyssey and the Samsung Marco.

Rumoured Q4 2012 Samsung WP8 roadmap
Click for a larger version

Both devices are powered by 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 chipsets and Windows Phone 8. Both will also be LTE-enabled (as well as support HSPA+). Described as an “iconic smartphone,” the Samsung Odyssey will also come with a 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED display, a rear-facing 8MP camera, a 2MP front camera, and NFC. The Samsung Marco will come with a somewhat smaller 4-inch WVGA S-AMOLED display, a 5MP rear camera, and a 2MP front camera.

The document lists both devices as launching sometime in Q4 2012, likely in line with Windows Phone 8’s release date.

Read more: The Verge

Rumour: Apple to announce iPhone 5 and iPad mini on September 12th

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Jul 302012

AppleFollowing rumours that Apple would launch the iPhone 5 on September 21st, iMore reports that Apple will formally announce its next smartphone at a special event on September 12th. Citing “sources who have proven accurate in the past,” the report adds that Apple will also announce its oft-rumoured iPad Mini as well as a new iPod nano (and possibly a new iPod touch) at the event.

The release of the iPhone 5 would follow on September 21st, a date that surfaced last week in two separate rumours. It’s not clear whether the iPad mini and iPods would also launch on that day though.

Apple is likely to also announce iOS 6 at the event. If the past is any indication, it would be made available for download a few days earlier than the iPhone launch, perhaps September 19th, as an upgrade for current devices.

Read more: iMore (Source: CNET)

Rumour: BlackBerry 10 devices to use 720 pixel width as base resolution

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Jul 292012

Research In Motion appears to have decided to make a 720 by xxxx pixel resolution the standard for its upcoming BlackBerry 10 devices. A leaked document obtained by N4BB indicates that RIM has decided that “moving forward our device portfolio will be based around 720 px screen widths.

720 pixel resolution for BlackBerry 10
Click for a larger version

The slide indicates that the N-Series will have a resolution of 720×720 (1:1 aspect ratio) and the future M-Series (a keyboard slider if past rumours hold true) will have a resolution of 720×1280 (16:9 aspect ratio).

The only exception to this rule will be the first BlackBerry L-Series device with which RIM is expected to launch BlackBerry 10. It will sport a display with a resolution of 768 by 1280 pixels, the same as on the BlackBerry 10 Dev Alpha device. It’s not clear why this first device will not follow this rule but it could be that the rule came into being only after the resolution of the L-Series was established.

The rule would suggest that any future BlackBerry devices with a resolution width lower than 720 pixels will come with BlackBerry 7 rather than BlackBerry 10.

Read more: N4BB

Rumour: Is this the Apple iPhone 5?

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Jul 292012

We’ve seen alleged renders as well as photos and videos of sundry parts of the upcoming iPhone 5 but a new set of pictures claims to show what Apple’s next smartphone will look like fully assembled. Chinese website has posted a number of photos showing the device under different angles. Here are a few of them:

Rumoured Apple iPhone 5

Rumoured Apple iPhone 5

Rumoured Apple iPhone 5

It looks like the iPhone’s metal backing is made of the same material as the band that wraps around the sides.

The site also has a number of photos of individual parts, including home buttons in both black and white.

The images are consistent with other recent ones. They show a smaller dock connector, the headphone jack now on the bottom, and new speaker grills.

A recent rumour suggested that Apple will launch the iPhone 5 on September 21th.

Read more: (Source: 9to5Mac)

2011 Sony Xperia models unlikely to receive Android 4.1 upgrades

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Jul 292012

Sony MobileA number of recent comments by Sony UK suggest that the company will not provide Android 4.1 Jelly Bean upgrades to its 2011 Xperia device lineup. In a question and answer session conducted on Facebook, John Cooper, UK Product Manager for Sony Mobile, confirmed that neither the Sony Xperia Arc S nor the Sony Xperia Mini Pro would be upgraded to Android 4.1. In another comment, Cooper added that nothing to announce for the Sony Xperia S either.

While the comments do not mention a number of other 2011 models, the fact that the Xperia arc S was one of the more powerful ones suggests that lower-specced devices have little chance of seeing an upgrade either.

Technically, it would appear that any device running Android 4.0 should be able to run Android 4.1. It does require though that manufacturers devote resources to preparing, testing and supporting the upgrade package (assuming that there is nothing in their hardware or software preventing such a move). Not every company can and wants to do so, preferring instead that customers upgrade their device to a new one, a suggestion hinted at a few times in the Facebook exchange.

Sony has yet to give any hints about its Android 4.1 plans for its 2012 models.

Read more: Sony UK [via Facebook] (Source: Xperia Blog)

Camera Extras and Contact Share now available for Nokia Lumia devices

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Jul 282012

Nokia today announced the worldwide availability of two new apps, Camera Extras and Contact Share, for Lumia smartphones. The two apps were announced last month and had been available in a limited number of countries but are now available to all.

Camera Extras adds a number of new features and options to the camera. These include:

  • Smart Group Shot: Capture great group shots in just one attempt by choosing the best faces from a burst
  • Action Shot: Capture fast-moving action shots with just one click and significantly improved shooting speed
  • Panorama: This new control feature makes it easy to capture beautiful panorama shots by finding the image in the sequence
  • Self-timer: Set up your Lumia on a stand and get yourself into more photos

Contact Share makes it easier to share contacts by SMS or email. It eliminates the need to write down or type in new contact details.

Nokia Lumia 710 and Nokia Lumia 800 owners will need to make sure that they have the latest software update to take advantage of these new apps.

Read more: Nokia Conversations

Rumour: Apple considering stake in Twitter (Updated)

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Jul 282012

AppleA report by The New York Times indicates that Apple could make a strategic investment in Twitter. Citing ” people briefed on the matter,” it adds that Apple considered investing hundreds of millions of dollars into the social media company. Negotiations have stopped for now but the companies continue to work together on integrating Twitter features into Apple’s products.

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently recognized the value of social media. “Apple doesn’t have to own a social network. But does Apple need to be social? Yes,” he recently said.

Apple’s own music-centric service Ping has not caught on with users. Rumours even suggest that it will be removed from the next major version of iTunes. Competitors meanwhile have been making their own inroads in the area. Microsoft owns a small claim in Facebook and Google has launched its own service, Google+.

Apple’s deal is based on Twitter being worth more than US$10 billion. A year ago, Twitter was valued at US$8.4 billion.

Update: A separate report by The Wall Street Journal suggests that rather than discussions taking place in “recent months.” they actually took place “more than a year ago.” It adds that no further discussions have taken place since.

Read more: The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal

Motorola announces Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE for Sprint

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Jul 282012

Motorola PHOTON QMotorola this week announced the Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE, the successor to last year’s Motorola PHOTON 4G. It will be Sprint’s first 4G LTE device with a QWERTY keyboard and world phone capabilities.

“When we talk to people who love their QWERTY smartphones, it’s evident this segment is passionate about their keyboards,” said Mark Shockley, senior vice president, Go-to-Market, Motorola Mobility. “Motorola PHOTON Q offers a class-leading keyboard and an amazing big screen so you can see and do more with your smartphone.”

Motorola PHOTON Q 4G LTE specifications:

  • Processor: 1.5GHz dual-core
  • Operating system: Google Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich
  • Cellular connectivity: LTE / CDMA EV-DO Rev.A / UMTS/ GSM
  • Other connectivity: GPS, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC
  • Display: 4.3-inch qHD (540×960) ColorBoost LCD
  • Input: Five-row, slide-out QWERTY keyboard, capacitive touchscreen
  • Memory: 1GB RAM
  • Storage: 8GB onboard and microSD cards up to 32GB
  • Rear-facing camera: 8MP with 1080p video capture
  • Front-facing camera: HD
  • Battery: 1,785mAh
  • Dimensions / weight: 126.49 x 66.04 x 13.72 millimeters / 170.10 grams

The Motorola PHOTON Q will be available from Sprint “within the next few weeks.” Pricing was not announced.

Read more: Motorola