Thursday, September 27, 2012

Find: Texas Instruments admits defeat, moves focus away from smartphone processors

Really? What's left then? 

Texas Instruments admits defeat, moves focus away from smartphone processors
Gallery Photo: Amazon's 7-inch Kindle Fire HD hands-on pictures

Chipmaker Texas Instruments (TI) has announced a major shift in its business strategy, moving away from consumer electronics devices such as smartphones and tablets and towards embedded applications such as computer systems in cars. Speaking at an investor meeting on Tuesday, VP for embedded processing Greg Delagi described the consumer electronics market as "less attractive as we go forward," according to a report from Reuters.

The announcement comes as TI's OMAP platform continues to lose ground to rivals such as Qualcomm and Nvidia. While OMAP processors are still used in some high-profile devices such as Amazon's Kindle Fire HD, shown above, recent flagship smartphones from companies such as HTC, Motorola, and Nokia have favored...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Find: Boeing to outfit planes for in-flight cellphone use by 2013

Boeing to outfit planes for in-flight cellphone use by 2013

United Boeing 757-200 CC InSapphoWeTrust Flickr

Boeing has announced plans to outfit some of its aircraft with equipment that would allow for in-flight cellphone use. In a press release issued Wednesday, the company said it has begun installing connectivity systems on all 747 and 777 planes, and that they should be completely cellphone-friendly by 2013. The manufacturer's 787 Dreamliner planes already include kits that allow for cellphone use, though Boeing plans to upgrade them with additional capabilities by the end of the year.

In addition to allowing for incoming and outgoing calls, these systems will provide Wi-Fi connectivity and live TV broadcasts, though it remains to be seen whether they actually take off. The equipment would still need to be approved by the FAA, which has...

Friday, September 21, 2012

Find: Apple's custom ARM approach for A6 pays off in JavaScript performance

Ars Technica Apple's custom ARM approach for A6 pays off in JavaScript performance

Apple's iPhone 5 is the fastest smartphone ever tested using the WebKit team's SunSpider JavaScript benchmark, apparently due to the custom core design of the A6 processor. The benchmark performs over twice as fast on the A6 as it does on the A5 processor in the iPhone 4S, and even bests smartphones running Intel's x86-based Atom processors, according to AnandTech.

AnandTech published an extensive SunSpider benchmark comparison on Wednesday morning, including results from an iPhone 5 test unit and two dozen other smartphones. The iPhone 5 turned in an impressive 914.7ms time, easily besting the 2250.0ms of the iPhone 4S—almost 2.5 times as fast. It also beat the current top Android device, Samsung's Galaxy SIII, which ran the benchmark in 1442.9ms. (The iPhone 5 is 1.6 times faster.)

It's important to note that SunSpider isn't the best measure of raw performance across platforms. JavaScript engines vary from browser to browser on different platforms, and Apple almost certainly employs optimizations in iOS that would be difficult to replicate in Android or WP7 on every available handset. However, it's notable that the iPhone 5's A6 processor is executing JavaScript significantly faster than the only Atom-based smartphone currently available, the Lava XOLO X900, which turned in a 1279.4ms score.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Find: Firefox OS approaches - ZTE aiming for Q1 2013 launch

ZTE aiming for Q1 2013 launch for Firefox OS smartphone

ZTE logo (STOCK)

ZTE is coordinating with Mozilla to release a handset running Firefox OS in the first quarter of next year. The Wall Street Journal and Reuters both report that ZTE is looking to diversify its product portfolio to shift reliance away from Android and Windows Phone. According to ZTE spokesperson David Dai Shu, the company is working with "a regional telecom carrier outside of China." It’s unclear exactly who ZTE is referring to, but Mozilla has previously announced partnerships with carriers such as Sprint, Telef√≥nica and Deutsche Telekom.

The cost of licensing Windows Phone was revealed back in January, with ZTE paying Microsoft between $20 and $30 for each handset it produced running the operating system. ZTE may also be paying a...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Find: Mobile Device Privacy Act, meant to stop Carrier IQ-style data collection, introduced in Congress

Mobile Device Privacy Act, meant to stop Carrier IQ-style data collection, introduced in Congress

AT&T LG Nitro Carrier IQ stock 900

After asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Carrier IQ's controversial tracking practices, US Representative Edward Markey has sponsored legislation to prevent it or other companies from collecting data without informing customers. The Mobile Device Privacy Act, drafted in January and introduced to the House of Representatives on Wednesday, requires companies that sell mobile devices or phone and data subscriptions to inform consumers if any "monitoring software" is included. If so, it must also detail the type of information that could be collected, who it's being sent to, and how it will be used. What's more, customers must consent to the tracking and be free to opt out even if they initially agree to have information...

Find: Intel moves into mobile - Motorola and Intel announce new RAZR

Motorola and Intel announce new RAZR i

Razr i colors

Today in London, Motorola is announcing the first fruits of its multi-year, multi-device partnership with Intel — a revamped Droid RAZR M called the RAZR i. While the two phones look almost identical externally, the most important characteristic is an Intel Medfield processor that the chipmaker says is its first to reach speeds of 2GHz. The phone is one of the first Android devices to feature Intel's new chipset, and only the second we'll actually be able to buy, following the Orange San Diego.

Motorola says that the phone will be available in October in the UK, France, Germany, Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico. It will be partnering with Orange, T-Mobile, Phones4U, Virgin Media, and Tesco in the UK, and with E+, o2, Sparhandy, and Phone...

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Find: Mark Zuckerberg promises a native Android app, says betting on HTML5 for mobile was a 'mistake'

Html5 not ready for prime mobile time yet!

Mark Zuckerberg promises a native Android app, says betting on HTML5 for mobile was a 'mistake'

zuckerberg disrupt

Speaking with Michael Arrington at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted that "we've had a bunch of missteps on [mobile]," specifically referring to its mobile app strategy. "The biggest mistake we made as a company was betting too much on HTML5 instead of native... We burnt two years." He said that the company would also drop HTML5 in its Android app as well, and that a native version would be coming "soon."

"Native is going to be the approach."

"We're betting completely on it," he said, referring to native apps. "Native is going to be the approach that we go with for iOS and Android." Much of the same infrastructure that Facebook built for iOS will be re-applied to Android, but as for an ETA for the...

Find: Apple debuts long-awaited iPhone 5 with 4-inch display, LTE

Nice, but more of the same?

Apple debuts long-awaited iPhone 5 with 4-inch display, LTE

Apple officially unveiled the newest iPhone at an event today in San Francisco. The iPhone 5, which has a taller and narrower screen than previous models, will ship with the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system, iOS 6.

The phone measures 7.6 millimeters thick and weighs 112 grams, which is 18 percent thinner and 20 percent lighter than the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 5 retains the retina display pixel density of the iPhone 4S at 326ppi, but it now has a 4-inch 16:9 display at a 1136x640 resolution, with 44 percent more color saturation than the 4S. Because of the added screen real estate, the phone can now show five rows of icons on its home screen.

The new iPhone applies black bars to the sides of the screen for apps that aren't updated for the new resolution.

Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of marketing, noted that many of Apple's own apps, including iWork, GarageBand, and iMovie have been updated for the new screen. For apps that have not been updated to the new display resolution, Apple says it will either center the apps or "subtly place black borders on each side."

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Find: Nokia Announces Lumia 920 & 820 Running Windows Phone 8

Nokia Announces Lumia 920 & 820 Running Windows Phone 8

Nokia just announced its next-generation Windows Phone 8 devices: the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820. Both are pentaband devices (available in both LTE and HSPA+ versions later this year, Q4 to be exact), powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon S4 SoC running at 1.5GHz. The 920 features an 8.7MP rear facing camera with optical image stabilization and F/2.0 lens. Around front is 1.2MP F/2.4. The 820 has no OIS for the 8MP rear facing camera and a VGA front facing camera.

Both phones support wireless charging via the Qi standard. The 920 has an integrated 2000mAh battery, while the 820 has a smaller, removable, 1650mAh battery.

The 920 features a 4.5-inch WXGA IPS LCD, while the 820 uses a 4.3-inch OLED WVGA panel. 

Both support Nokia's super sensitive touch that allows even someone wearing gloves to use the capacitive touchscreen. Synaptics is responsible for the touch controller in both the 920 and 820.

Only the 820 has a microSD card slot, while the 920 features 32GB of on-board NAND. 

The 920 measures 130mm x 70.8mm x 10.7mm and weighs 185g. The 820 is smaller at 123.8mm x 68.5mm x 9.9mm and 160g. Full network support for both phones is as follows:

GSM850/900/1800/1900 WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100
LTE 800/900/1800/2100/2600
Speed: LTE Cat3 100Mbps/50Mbps HSDPA+ Dual Carrier cat24 (42 Mbps) HSUPA cat 6: 5.8 Mbps
NFC, 802.11a/b/g/n, WiFi Hotspot, Bluetooth 3.1 are all supported.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Find: Amazon's Appstore for Android tops 50,000 apps

Amazon's Appstore for Android tops 50,000 apps ahead of today's event


Amazon's Appstore has passed the all-important 50,000 app mark after less than 18 months. The retail giant launched the Appstore back in March last year as a precursor to the November release of its Kindle Fire tablet, luring in Android users with exclusive and free app promotions. It surpassed 30,000 apps six months ago and, according to the official store figures, now offers 50,505 Android apps.

Although we recently confirmed an Amazon smartphone is in the works, the company is widely expected to launch a pair of Kindle tablets today — so how many of those 50,505 apps are going to be compatible with the new tablets? The Appstore lists 31,429 as being Kindle Fire compatible — a very healthy figure, but many of those apps may not be...

Find: Mobile gamers overtake 'core' gamers in the US, says NPD

Mobile gamers overtake 'core' gamers in the US, says NPD

Guinness Mobile Games

It's no secret that mobile gaming is growing, but according to a new report from the NPD group it now represents the largest segement of gamers in the US. Based on 8,488 surveys, NPD estimates that mobile gamers represent 22 percent of the market, a nine percent jump from 2011. Last year "core" gamers held the number one spot with an estimated 23 percent of the market. The report breaks down people who play games into six types — mobile, digital, core, light PC, avid PC, and family/ kid gamers — and aside from the mobile segment, only one other group saw an increase compared to 2011, with digital gamers seeing a slight four percent jump year-over-year. "We see a tremendous impact from mobile gaming, particularly on smartphones and...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Find: Lady Gaga to release next album, 'Artpop,' as iPad and iPhone app

Lady Gaga to release next album, 'Artpop,' as iPad and iPhone app

lady gaga ipad_1020

Singer Lady Gaga will release her next album, Artpop, as an app for Apple's iPad and iPhone, as well as in traditional physical and digital formats. Writing in a post on her Little Monsters social networking site yesterday, Gaga announced that the interactive album, set to be released in Spring 2013, will include "chats, films for every song, extra music, content, gaga inspired games, fashion updates, magazines, and more."

As well as iOS, the Artpop app will reportedly be "mobile and computer compatible," though it is not clear whether it will be available for Android or other smartphone platforms — in her personal message, Gaga advised fans to "start asking for IPADS FOR XMAS!" She follows in the footsteps of fellow musician Sting,...

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Find: Lenovo expanding its smartphone business

Lenovo expanding its smartphone business

Lenovo is planning to expand its smartphone business beyond its home market in China but isn't ready to enter the U.S. market yet.

Bloomberg News reported today that the No. 2 PC maker, which has an executive headquarters in Morrisville that employs about 2,000, plans to expand smartphone sales to India, the Philippines and Indonesia. The company quoted Milko Van Duijl, president of the Asia-Pacific and Latin American regions, as saying that the company already has lined up distribution partners in those countries.

Lenovo launched smartphone sales in China two-and-a-half years ago. Van Duijl told Bloomberg that focusing on emerging markets first will enable the company to expand its smartphone business yet avoid the hurdles of high marketing costs and intellectual property issues that it would face in the U.S. and western Europe.

You can read the Bloomberg story here

Find: Windows Phone 8 will reportedly launch October 29th

Windows Phone 8 will reportedly launch October 29th

Windows Phone 8 hed

It's shaping up to be a hell of an October for Microsoft. We've known for a while that Windows 8 will be available (alongside a large and growing set of hardware) on October 26th, but according to ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley Windows Phone 8 is set to be launched only three days later. On the 29th, Microsoft will reportedly have an event on the West coast to launch the new operating system, and then handsets running the new OS (one of which we've already seen) will be available a week or so later. The timing certainly makes sense: the four days following that announcement are Microsoft's Build conference, where developers will have a chance to talk about all things Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. This fall we'll finally get a chance to answer...