Apr 29, 2011

Fring Group Video goes live, enables four-way mobile video calls for free

If you missed the opportunity to get your hands on Fring's limited Group Video beta, fret not, because the free service has just gone live for everyone on this planet. What this means is that all Fringsters on compatible iOS 4.x and Android 1.5+ devices (1GHz and above recommended) can now have up to three friends on one video call, and as before, you can do so over either WiFi, 3G, or 4G. Hit your nearest app market for the software update to join the fun, and head past the break to see how Group Video works.

Apple officially answers questions on location tracking, says it doesn't do it

1. Why is Apple tracking the location of my iPhone?
Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone. Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so.

The big hubbub that arose last week around location tracking within the iPhone has now received its due response from Apple itself. Firstly, the Cupertino company claims it does not, and has no plans to, track users' iPhones. What it's actually doing is "maintaining a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around your current location," which are then used to provide speedier calculation of your position when you want to use the device's maps or other location-based services. The data collection that was recently brought to the public attention represents, according to Apple, the location of WiFi hotspots and cell towers around you, not your actual iPhone. Still, the fact iPhones have been shown to store as much as a year's worth of data is considered a bug by Apple, who plans to limit that period to a week in a future software update. The additional issue of data being collected after users turned off Location Services is also a bug, also to be fixed by Apple in that upcoming update. Left unanswered, however, are the questions of when Apple "uncovered" these bugs, as it claims, and why the fix for them is only coming now. Specialists have known about this behavior since at least September of last year. Either way, the software remedy is promised over the next few weeks, while the next major iteration of iOS should encrypt the cache file that's been the subject of all the scrutiny. You'll find the full Q&A after the break.

P.S. -- One of Apple's answers seems to disclose an extra bit of new information: "Apple is now collecting anonymous traffic data to build a crowd-sourced traffic database with the goal of providing iPhone users an improved traffic service in the next couple of years."

HTC bumps Sync software to 3.0.5517, adds support for Incredible S and Desire S

HTC's last Sync software release (version 3.0.5511) finally saw one package supporting most of HTC's new sets in one build. The launch of version 3.0.5517 while shattering that unity adds support for both the Incredible S and Desire S to the mix. Of course there's nothing new and terribly thrilling here, just your run-of-the-mill Outlook -- and Outlook Express -- sync for contacts and calendar and the ability to whisk all your movies, music, pics, and other sync-ables to your newfangled handset. Interested? Sure you are, and the installation joy is but a quick click away. 

Asahi's new slim glass substrate for touchscreen displays gives smartphones svelte silhouettes

We all want our handhelds to have copious computing power and bountiful battery life, but thin is in, and most users are looking for a device that's less Marilyn Monroe and more Kate Moss. To keep new phones and tablets runway-ready, Asahi developed a thinner glass substrate for use in touchscreen displays. This new 0.28mm soda-lime glass is 15% thinner than the company's existing offerings, and Asahi will begin mass producing it by the end of April. The skinny new substrate will strut its stuff at SID next month -- paired with some durable Dragontrail, no doubt -- so we're looking forward to getting handsy with the company's new slim and trim displays. Mostly, we're just thrilled that our future phones won't look as fat in our jeans. 

Facebook Investors Trying To get rid of Facebook shares!

Reuters are reporting that a group of Facebook investors are trying to offload their stake in the company with the sale of their shares estimated to net $1 billion. That would value Facebook as a whole at approximately $70 billion.

Whilst the headline grabbing figures are significant in their own right the interesting part of this is that with this group of investors seeking to sell off such a large number of shares it could represent a wariness amongst those who invested in the company. That wariness, it seems, is borne out of a concern that Facebook simply cannot keep up its pace of growth in relation to the high market valuations it has received.

Indeed the group of shareholders initially tried to sell their shares for a higher price, a price that would have seen Facebook as a whole valued at $90 billion. To put that figure into perspective, Time Warner and News Corp combined aren't worth $90 billion. Investors have been looking to sink money into Facebook ahead of an expected IPO next year. However, some investors have been declining to get onboard the good ship Facebook over fears that it's valuation is hyped and that it cannot sustain its growth. Reuters cited Tim Draper, a venture capitalist, as having told them that he had passed up on investment in Facebook because of 'unattractive valuation'. Oppenheimer & Co Managing Director Todd Walker summed it up "For Facebook, the larger you get, the harder it is to have that explosive growth."

Samsung Expects To Sell 10 Million Galaxy S II

Samsung are gearing up for a massive launch event for the Galaxy S II i900. Like the original Galaxy S Samsung wants a huge launch taking in as many people as possible and to that end the plan is to launch the Galaxy S II in 120 countries on 140 different mobile networks. The handset is already available in South Korea on three different networks.

With such a big launch involving so many networks Samsung are predictably hoping for some success in sales figures with the expectation being that 'at least 10 million' units will be sold globally. That would match the level of success enjoyed the original Galaxy, which was on of last year's biggest selling handsets.


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