Jul 24, 2011

Comscore: Android's UK market share explodes as Apple overtakes Symbian

Look at the chart above and you'll see two things happening. First, Apple has overtaken Symbian to become the top smartphone platform in the UK (with a 27 percent market share). And secondly, Android has grown 634 percent year-over-year to shoot into second place, with less than half a percentage point keeping it from the top spot (other reports already place it ahead). As you might expect, much of that growth isn't coming from folks switching from one smartphone to the other, but from new smartphone users -- Comscore found that 42 percent of all mobile users in the UK used a smartphone in May of this year, compared to just 27 percent a year ago. Of course, that also means that 58 percent of UK cellphone users are still potential smartphone users (to say nothing of those that still don't have a cellphone at all), so there's certainly still plenty up for grabs for all involved.

Jul 17, 2011

Pictures - 2012 Toyota Hilux

Jul 16, 2011

Google Maps brings live traffic coverage to 13 European countries

The next time you head out for a leisurely Sunday drive along the autobahn, you might wanna take a minute to consult Google Maps' live traffic feature, now available in Germany and 12 other nations across Europe. Announced earlier this week, the new addition offers regularly updated coverage of all highways and major thoroughfares in countries like Spain, the Netherlands and Switzerland, while bringing more detailed street-level data to users in the UK. Europe's road warriors will also be able to use a legend to learn about traffic patterns at specific times or days of the week, making it even easier for you to micro-manage your summer getaway to the Swiss Alps. Learning how to fit all your luggage into the back of a Twingo, however, is another matter altogether.

Jul 15, 2011

Huawei Ascend II on sale now, brings off-contract Gingerbread to Cricket for $180

We gotta say -- we dig where this is headed. Between Virgin Mobile's Intercept, Boost Mobile's Prevail and Cricket's Ascend II, it's getting harder and harder to justify a mid-range smartphone on a post-paid carrier. Huawei's latest prepaid smartphone has just landed on Cricket, quite a few months after we first touched it at CTIA. What's wild isn't the predictable design or middle-of-the-road 5 megapixel camera -- it's that $179.99 off-contract price tag coupled with a copy of Android 2.3. Gingerbread is proving tough to find even on the big boys, so having a prepaid option is all the more surprising. You'll also get a 3.5-inch HVGA touchpanel, WiFi, a microSD slot and a 600MHz processor. Granted, you'll likely experience plenty of lag when trying to multitask, but with an all-inclusive $55 / month plan (which includes unlimited talk, text, 411 information, international text, data and video picture messages), what's to kvetch about?

Jul 11, 2011

LG Struggles Through First Half Of 2011, Cuts Smartphone Sales Target By 20%

LG has thrown in the towel, as it were, on its original goal to sell 30 million smartphones in 2011.
After having delayed the worldwide launch of it’s beastly Optimus 3D smartphone, and losing its smartphone boss to Apple’s South Korean unit, LG hasn’t exactly been thriving. The new goal for 2011 is 24 million smartphone units sold, and overall handset shipments falling between the 114 to 150 million marks.

Cincinnati Bell rolls out HSPA+ service, speeds past other 4G competition

Regional carriers don't often get to brag about their accomplishments. It's even rarer that their servicesbest a handful of wireless industry titans, but Cincinnati Bell's managed to do both with its recent rollout of 4G service. Available to subscribers in the Greater Cincinnati area, the operator's HSPA+ offers download speeds up to 10Mbps -- that's twice as fast as T-Mobile's similar network, as well as 4G from Sprint and AT&T. If you've got an AWS-capable HSPA+ smartphone lying around -- like the HTC Sensation -- now would be the time to unlock it. And don't worry about having a limited service area, the carrier's inked deals with national wireless operators to ensure you cruise the 4G wave even while you roam. To get you hooked on the speedy new service, Cincinnati Bell's offering a limited time 'buy one, get one' for the Huawei Ascend X 4G (say that three times fast). Sure, the Froyo handset may not be the envy of high-end, dual-core Android purists, but its 1GHz Snapdragon processor will do -- until the operator expands its offerings, that is.

Kingston Wi-Drive wireless storage for iOS

With nearly 350,000 apps and counting, the iPhone's maximum capacity of 32GB doesn't allow you to even scratch the surface of the App Store's catalog. Throw in an HD movie, some TV episodes, hundreds of tracks and a few thousand photos, and you'll be chewing through those available bytes in no time. Most manufacturers compensate this limitation by including a microSD slot for additional storage, but not Apple -- you're stuck with that original capacity until you're ready to upgrade to a new device. Luckily, for those who need more storage now and don't mind paying for it, AirStashSeagate's GoFlex Satellite, and now Kingston's ultra-slim Wi-Drive allow you to boost gigs without upgrading, or switching to another platform. None of these pocket servers come without compromise, however -- you'll be spending over $100 for even the most basic option, while adding yet another device to your portable mix.

Jul 6, 2011

iPad Accounts For 1% Og Global Web Browsing

The iPad now accounts for 1% of total global web browsing according to new figures from Net Applications NetMarketshare. The report also says that the iPad accounts for 2.1% of the total U.S. browsing traffic. Those are some impressive figures to attribute to just a single device, but they underscore the fact that mobile browsing in general has been seeing steady rises. Indeed mobile devices now account for 5% of global web browsing (meaning that the iPad accounts for 20% of global mobile web browsing!).
iOS devices in total i..e iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches account for a very healthy two thirds of all mobile browsing in the U.S. That leaves Android in second place with 31.6% and BlackBerry brings up the rear with 7%. The other platforms don't really register in the U.S. although with Windows Mobile coming up steadily and Android expanding at a breakneck pace these figures will no doubt change.

Nokia Takes Credit For Rise In Windows Phone Apps

It was recently announced that Windows Phone had amassed 25,000 apps in its app store. A big achievement for the nascent platform to be sure and Microsoft can be justly proud of that. However, someone else is taking the credit for the jump in app numbers ... and that someone is Nokia.

Yes, the manufacturer that doesn't actually have a Windows Phone device for sale, is taking the credit for the upswing in Windows Phone apps. Is it justified though? Well in the words of Marco Argenti, Nokia's senior vice president of developer and marketplace, "After we announced our partnership with Microsoft, the amount of apps coming in to the marketplace has actually gone up quite a bit, has almost tripled".

Certainly the prospect of having Nokia onboard won't be hurting the appeal of Windows Phone in terms of attracting developers and even without a device ready for market Nokia's power in the market must still be seductive for some as Argenti alluded to "So we've seen this inflection point very clearly that even without launching a device because they [developers] see greater opportunities [to] come".

It's also worth pointing out that Nokia have been keen to get their army of Symbian devs moving across to their newly embraced platform. Nokia is telling them that local success can be had with the new platform, but also there is of course this vast global audience that both Microsoft and Nokia can reach out to. Argenti says as much himself "... embrace the Windows [Phone] platform because we're going to bring it to all these markets that we will launch the device in".

EU Plans To Scrap Roaming Fees

The EU is looking at abolishing roaming fees for voice calls by 2015 across the union. It's obviously a great move for consumers (although the networks may not agree), but it's also part of a longer trend in European roaming that has seen the cost of using your mobile abroad steadily fall.

Vivienne Reding, the previous information commissioner set the ball rolling in that regard and since 2007 the cost of voice calls whilst roaming has been falling by 6% every year. That's great, but the real prize for consumers would of course be the elimination of roaming charges all together, after all the EU is supposed to be a common market.

Now you will notice that this proposalonly covers voice calls, not data. That's still a major expense when outside of your home country and it's sad not to see it mentioned in this initiative, but perhaps the scrapping of voice roaming charges might lead the way?

Nokia N9 Not Launching In UK, France Or Germany

Well it's confirming what we already knew really, but Nokia have released a list of countries that will see the N9 go on sale. What's more interesting here though are the countries that aren't getting the N9 (officially). The list of countries that will receive the N9 are as follows:

Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Finland, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Malaysia, New Zealand, Portugal, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia,Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, UAE and Vietnam.

Notable by their absence in that list are some of the major European markets such as the United Kingdom, France and Germany. However, Nokia's first Windows Phone handset is expected to launch across Western Europe first, presumably in those markets left out of the N9 launch. That still doesn't answer the question of why Nokia is seemingly ignoring some of Europe's biggest markets. Perhaps they're afraid of the competition?

World data consumption doubles every year

Jul 4, 2011

Google Sites simplifies iOS and Android viewing with automatic mobile rendering

Do you use Google Sites to publish to the web? The search giant just added automatic mobile rendering to make your website more mobile-friendly when viewed on an iOS 3.0 or Android 2.2+ device. A new setting to "Automatically adjust site for mobile phones" can be activated in the site management page, at which point pages designed for desktop viewing will be displayed in a much simpler web format, so readers won't need to pinch-to-zoom just to see a page's content. Google also added mobile versions of the site list, sites search, and browse sites categories, for easy access from your smartphone. There's nothing groundbreaking here, but if you happen to run a Google Site or have a friend that does, it wouldn't hurt to flip the switch on mobile viewing -- your visitors will appreciate it.

Augmented reality app concept conjures movie scenes shot in your location

AR technology has been getting seriously powerful recently, but we still need smart little ideas like this to keep us interested. "Augmented Reality Cinema" is a concept which would spot when you're in a famous movie location and then trigger playback of the relevant scene. Although we can't be sure the app actually works yet, the video after the break does at least show off the idea with some memorable London clips, including the classic post-infestation Westminster Bridge scene from 28 Days Later. If the designers ever need movie fans to go around tagging cinematic locations, then obviously we're keen to register our interest.

Samsung denied preview of iPad 3, iPhone 5 in ongoing Apple infringement suit

A US district judge this week handed Apple a victory in its ongoing legal battle with Samsung, denying the latter its reciprocal discovery request for a peek at prototypes of the upcoming versions of the iPhone and iPad. The request followed a similar one filed by Apple, in order to view Samsung products, including the Galaxy S II, Galaxy Tab 8.9, Galaxy Tab 10.1, Infuse 4G, and Droid Charge. Samsung, for its part, argued that taking an early look at the Apple's upcoming phone and tablet would be relevant to the legal ruling, seeing as how any changes made in those upcoming products would affect the trade dress ("total product image") of the line, and thereby potentially alter the possibility of consumer confusion, an important factor in determining infringement with certain unregistered trademarks with the product.

The court denied Samsung's motion on a number of grounds. For one thing, Apple's initial complaint pertained to infringement of existing products, parameters deemed legit by the court. Also, the court took into account the fact that Apple tends to be far more tight-lipped about its product releases, whereas Samsung made a point of offering up information about forthcoming products into the public domain, including the release of 5,000 Galaxy Tab 10.1 units as samples to the public. That said, the judge was careful to note that Apple's suggestion that court protection of its trade secrets was insufficient "is not well taken." More details after the break.

MightyText pushes messages and incoming call alerts to your computer

Have you ever missed an extremely important phone call or text because you were too busy finishing those TPS reports on your personal computing machine? There's a Chrome add-on for that. We went hands-on with a new extension (and accompanying Android app) called MightyText, a free notification service launched today that syncs your phone's texts and calls to your computer in real-time. The idea is crazy simple, yet adds unyielding convenience: incoming SMS messages appear on your screen as a pop-up, giving you the option to read and reply to them without touching or even looking at the phone. The full extension will show each conversation thread in its entirety, as well as call logs.

When sent from the computer, texts are still patched through from your phone number, so your colleagues will still see your messages coming through with your name on them. To make the service even more appealing, pop-ups alert you to incoming calls, so you can either hurry to find your phone or just send the caller a canned auto-text reply. It sounds like a great concept, but does it do the job? Head on past the break to learn our first impressions of the program.

Windows Phone Marketplace now populated by 25,000 apps, speeding up rate of growth

It's not just Apple's App Store striding past milestones today, Microsoft's Windows Phone Marketplace has also rounded a notable marker in its development. Specifically, it's now reported to have passed 25,000 apps by one site tracking comings and goings within it, though that figure's up for debate as the other WP7 apps tracker still lists the total at just under 25k. The main point is that the WP7 ecosystem is growing, and faster than previously at that -- it took until the end of March to accrue 11,500 apps, a span of five months from its launch, whereas the last 13.5k have come in the brisker period of three months. Provided this acceleration continues, and there's no reason to expect it'll slow down with Mango on the horizon, Microsoft's mobile OS reboot promises to be in pretty competitive shape in time for its first anniversary -- a notable feat considering how far behind WinMo had fallen. Perhaps RIM can use this as an instructive example?

GSM turns 20 today

Happy birthday, dear Global System for Mobile Communications! 20 years ago today, on July 1 1991, the world's first GSM call was made by Finnish Prime Minister Harri Holkeri. The historic call used Nokia gear on GSM's original 900MHz band. Today GSM is all grown up and ruling the world -- connecting 1.5 billion people in 212 countries and serving 80% of the planet's mobile market. GSM gave us a number of firsts. It was the first fully digital cellular system using TDMA to cram more information into less spectrum and provide better sounding, more reliable calls using less power. It introduced the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM), the idea of switching handsets at will (something carriers have sought to subvert by locking phones), and the reality of international roaming. Short Messaging Service (SMS) was first launched on GSM networks, along with packet data (GPRS and later EDGE), which made internet access practical on mobile devices. Eventually, GSM expanded to the 400, 800, 1800 and 1900MHz bands and evolved into WCDMA-based UMTS (3G) and later HSPA and HSPA+, followed byLTE (4G) networks. So next time you're at the coffee shop sipping on that latte while uploading that video to YouTube at 10Mbps using your LTE phone, remember to be thankful for that first GSM call 20 years ago -- that's when the mobile revolution really started.

Jul 1, 2011

Ericsson takes LTE-Advanced next-level, notches 1Gbps downloads in testing

Smirking as you pull down borderline-criminal speeds on your Droid Charge? Ericsson's doing you (at least) one better. The Swedish company is pushing out-of-this-stratosphere speeds to its testing van using upcoming LTE-Advanced technology; it managed to hit download speeds that exceed our paltry LTE limit by a factor of ten -- that's 1Gbps, folks. Not only is Ericsson cranking up the speed, it's also endeavoring to make the new network more efficient by offering 8x8 MIMO (Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output) functionality, which enables data to be retrieved and sent faster regardless of network congestion.

Of course, these test results are taking advantage of 60MHz available bandwidth, as opposed to the global max of 20MHz and the US standard of 10 . If we'd like to see speeds of such magnitude, we'll have to come across more spectrum somewhere, and soon; Ericsson hopes to have the first phases of LTE-Advanced ready to bump up our network speeds by 2013. At that point, "faux G" will take on a whole new meaning, won't it?


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