Jun 9, 2011

Stephen Elop says 'Apple created Android,' the conditions necessary for its existence

Nokia's freshman CEO is speaking at the Open Mobile Summit right now. As expected, he's covering the same ol' ground, explaining why Nokia ditched Symbian and MeeGo to build the "third ecosystem" with Microsoft -- you know, after totally dominating the high-end smartphone market just three years ago. He's also being credited with the following quote:
"Apple created Android, or at least created the conditions necessary for Android to come into being"
We're on to you, Mr. Elop. It's a classic diversionary tactic. Get the one and two smartphone / tablet OS vendors squabbling and then execute a flanking maneuver while nobody's watching. Why else would the Nokia CEO make such an emotive claim? Unless it's true?

Google Maps Navigation to get offline mode? Garmin and TomTom on notice

Google Maps
Dutch tech site All About Phones claims that Google Maps Navigation will get a true offline mode later this summer. In December the Android app received an update that cached routes and the surrounding areas, but without a data connection you still couldn't enter a new destination. A source inside the Dutch telco industry said that Goog would removing the requirement for coverage -- an obvious next step for the nav tool, especially with Ovi Maps bringing its turn-by-turn prowess to WP7. The move is also bound to be another thorn in the side of standalone GPS makers like Garmin and TomTom. After all, it's tough to compete with free.

HTC EVO 3D launches on June 24th for $200, joined by EVO View 4G tablet at $400

The HTC bonanza that Sprint has been cooking up for a while now has its official launch date: June 24th. That will be the day when the 4.3-inch EVO 3D and its tablet buddy, the 7-inch EVO View 4G, launch on the Now Network, both equipped with WiMAX radios and Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) as their OS. The 1.2GHz dual-core EVO 3D costs $200 on contract, with pre-orders available right now provided you buy a $50 Sprint gift card, whereas the 1.5GHz single-core EVO View 4G will set you back double that, at $400, while still requiring a two-year contract. Skip past the break for the full press release details.

Oh, we've also just noticed that Sprint Premier customers will be able to buy the EVO 3D online on June 21st -- a three-day headstart on the competition to say thank you for being so damn premier.

HTC announces OpenSense SDK and HTCdev, offers paradise inside its walled garden

Peter Chou is sharing HTC's graces at Uplinq 2011 with the announcement of OpenSense SDK, where the company hopes to recruit developers willing to create apps specifically for Sense 3.0. With help from the HTCdev community, software designers will receive tools to create a seamless experience between their applications and HTC's user environment (while also rendering their apps incompatible with non-HTC handsets). Beneath the skin, developers will be provided access to proprietary APIs that support 3D displays and tablet pens -- which could make quite the gaming session. There's currently no release date for the SDK, but the company is already taking names for a summer launch. So, if you're comfortable helping HTC build this barrier around Android's "open" mantra, we imagine there's some rather slick apps waiting to be given life.

Netcom shows off microSD card with integrated NFC

Here's an interesting idea from a Chinese company called Netcom (not to be confused with the Norwegian operator): adding NFC capability to existing phones via microSD. That's right, rather than relying on external add-ons that occupy ports, Netcom decided to fit NFC chips plus their antennas onto ordinary microSD cards, yet still managing to cram in up to 8GB of NAND memory at the same time. This sure sounds convenient, but there are some caveats: the first rule is that neither the back cover nor the microSD card holder should be made out of metal; then secondly, we noticed that due to the tiny antenna coil, scanning could become tricky if the reader has a small sensing area -- you'd need to position your phone at just the right spot; and lastly, the phone needs a special background app to communicate with the NFC circuitry.

The demo we saw used a Java app running on a Chinese dumbphone, and we were told that Android will be next in line to receive similar support. Alas, consumers won't be able to pick up one of these cards from the shops, though Netcom's already working with a "top ten" phone manufacturer on a compatible device due in three to six months, so stay tuned.

HP's Leo Apotheker totally open to licensing webOS to other handset makers

We just wrapped up our liveblog of HP CEO Leo Apotheker's appearance here at D9, and while he certainly spoke far too frequently about printers, there was one nugget that we just couldn't overlook. When speaking casually about the future of webOS on non-HP handsets, he noted that the firm was looking to license webOS to various other hardware manufacturers. Granted, the bulk of these are likely to be wrapped up in the enterprise, but he's not tossing out the idea of using webOS on other mobile devices. When asked if he'd consider licensing webOS to a company like HTC, he confessed to being very willing to having that conversation should the scenario present itself -- a stance that's quite different than the one held by the "old HP." It's hard to say if he's just shooting the breeze or if there's already a company or two behind the scenes looking to do just that, but either way, you can bet we'll be keeping our eyes peeled for any webOS creations sans HP's labeling. Talk about a serious play to get the attention of developers.

HTC Merge now shipping from US Cellular, LG Genesis arriving June 9th

We know many US Cellular customers have been waiting for this day, because after missing its rumored launch, the HTC Merge has arrived and is ready to meet your pocket. As expected, it's selling for $250 on contract (before a $100 mail-in rebate) and marks the CDMA provider's first Android world phone. To refresh your memory, this QWERTY slider features a 3.8-inch WVGA touchscreen, a 5 megapixel camera and runs Froyo. Alongside this release, the carrier announced it's getting the LG Genesis on June 9th. If you'll remember, this is the refashioned enV Touch that US Cellular picked up after Verizon dropped the ball. It's also going for $250 on contract (before a $100 mail-in rebate) and true to its legacy, the clamshell provides a full keyboard. Priced equally, it appears QWERTY-lovers on US Cellular have quite a decision ahead. 


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