Jun 21, 2011

Nokia's chief envisions a dual-SIM future in India and China, remains uncommonly silent about Europe

When speaking at Nokia's Annual General Meeting, CEO Stephen Elop identified the company's burning desire to strengthen its dual-SIM portfolio, citing the feature's strategic importance in India and China. During the speech, he announced Espoo's first dual-SIM phone (likely the C2-06) will ship by the end of June, while failing to mention its true "first" offerings, the C1-00 and C2-00, were released in 2010. For travelers who must contend with network fragmentation, dual-SIM functionality allows users to easily switch among carriers while moving about. The feature is also getting noticed in Europe, too -- though it's unclear whether you'll begin seeing Windows Phone pursuing double lives. Should Elop decide two SIMs have a future in Nokia's smartphones, we're pretty sure he'll be able to twist Ballmer's arm.

Nokia Looses Number 1 Smartphone Spot In W. Europe

Back at the beginning of last year Nokia held 40.6% of the Western European smartphone market. A year later that has tumbled to 19.6%. Apple, by comparison holds a 20.8% share in the same region. Interestingly enough though Apple also saw their market share decline from last year where it stood at 24.6%, but the decline wasn't as marked as that of Nokia.
It's not just Apple Nokia needs to worry about though. RIM is sitting on 16.5% at the moment, not all that far behind Nokia, but crucially RIM has seen their share drop from 19.6% last year. HTC, on the other hand, have seen their market share climb from 7.8% last year to 16.5% this year and as a consequence are now in a position to challenge Nokia's reduced market share (as well as RIM it has to be said).
Of course all of this comes before Nokia has released its first Windows Phone smartphone. How well such a device(s) will be received will be key to reversing these sort of declines for Nokia.

Appstore Trademark Row: Sony Ericsson, Nokia and HTC Join Microsoft

Apple has registered the terms 'Appstore' and 'App Store' as trademarks, including in the EU. We've already seen that Microsoft are none too happy about Apple trademarking such important terms and now Sony Ericsson, HTC and Nokia have joined in too. The companies, along with Microsoft, have each filed separate requests with the EU to challenge Apple's trademark.

Essentially those challenging the trademark say that the terms are generic and should be allowed to be used by anyone. Of course Apple, for their part, are not in agreement with that. No doubt any of these companies filing challenges would have taken the stance Apple have if they had been first to register the terms, but there we have it. Yet another legal dispute to watch play out ...

Google announces new ways to discover apps on Android Market, more tools for developers

Android Market may have a lot going for it, but most would surely agree that it could use some improvement when it comes to discovering apps that you aren't specifically looking for. Thankfully, it seems Google has indeed been aware of those concerns, and it's now announced five new features that should go so some way towards improving things. Those include some newly revamped top app charts that promise to be "fresher" and country specific, a brand new Editors' Choice section that highlights apps chosen by Google, a new Top Developers feature that places a special icon next to the name of developers that make the grade (currently more than 150), improved related apps on individual app pages and, last but not least, a new trending apps section that shows the apps growing fastest in terms of daily installs. What's more, while all of those features are currently exclusive to the web-based version, Google says they're also "coming soon" to the Android Market on both phones and tablets.

In other Android Market news, Google has also announced that it will be adding support for larger apps -- up to 4GB -- in June, and it will be giving developers the ability to exclude specific devices to avoid compatibility problems, or make multiple versions of an app available under a single Market listing, complete with aggregated ratings and stats. All that, plus personalized recommendations based on your apps (details on it are still a bit light), and paid app support for an additional 99 countries (coming within the next week or so).

Adobe CreatePDF for Android does exactly what its name implies

Google's mobile OS is growing and maturing into a business-savvy adult before our very eyes. With the release of Adobe's CreatePDF in the Android Market, we're delighted to finally see a PDF-creation app on the mobile front. Not only does it let you build a PDF from the ground up, it can convert most popular filetypes -- Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OpenOffice, Photoshop, RTF, and Illustrator, just to name a few -- into PDF format. You can import any of these kinds of docs from your phone to app via the built-in file manager, or transfer an email attachment to it using Android's share function. Available for a one-time payment of $9.99, CreatePDF won't be for the light-walleted or the casual app enthusiast; don't be put off by the price, though, because the online version charges that much per month to do the exact same tasks on your computer. Anyone rocking Eclair or better can partake of the PDF love, so head to the source link to get straight to installing.

ITC judge rules against Apple in patent infringement case, Kodak smiles

The International Trade Commission has weighed in on one half of the ongoing Apple-Kodak legal saga, ruling in favor of the team from Rochester. In a decision handed down yesterday, ITC Judge Robert Rogers determined that Apple's allegations of patent infringement are unfounded, adding that one of the company's patents is invalid. At issue are two digital camera technologies owned by Apple. One allows a camera to process multiple photos at the same time, while the other enables users to simultaneously adjust an image's balance, color and resolution. Apple claimed that Kodak illegally used these mechanisms in its Z-series, M-series, C-series, and Slice cameras, in addition to some video cameras. Judge Rogers clearly disagreed, though he won't be able to publicly explain his reasoning until both sides have had enough time to review confidential documents. Rogers' decision will also be subject to review by the full ITC, which is expected to issue a yea or nay on September 19th. A Kodak spokesman said the company is understandably "pleased" by the decision, but it won't have much time to rest on its laurels. On May 23rd, the ITC will announce a decision in a patent lawsuit that Kodak filed against both Apple and RIM, way back in January 2010. Stay tuned.

MeeGo 1.2 Developer Edition released for Nokia N900, wants to go where you go

Feeling a bit wily with your aging N900? If so, today at the MeeGo conference in San Francisco, MeeGo 1.2 Developer Edition was released just for you (and the attendees, of course). Although it's not a daily driver, intended more as a developmental snapshot, you stand to have a lot of fun by tinkering with thisopen source OS. If you're a programmer with some spare time, the news is even better: the group is currently focusing on improving the voice dialer, SMS, camera and WiFi experience. Unlike the general release of MeeGo 1.2, the Developer Edition is designed specifically for the N900. So, if you're suitably equipped and reasonably interested, grab that Nokia, push Android aside, and check the source for everything you'll need.

New CyanogenMod lets you rule Android app permissions with an iron fist

We've recently seen Google crack down on rogue apps and patch some server-side security issues, but let's not forget Android does have a small measure of built-in security: app permissions. But as with those pesky EULAs, many users tend to breeze through the permissions screen. And Android forces even the most attentive readers to accept or deny all permissions requested by an app. But the newest nightly builds of the CyanogenMod custom ROM include a clever patch allowing users to grant and revoke permissions individually -- something like the TISSA security manager we're still awaiting. Obviously playing God with permissions can crash your applications: with great power comes great responsibility. But we figure if you're running aftermarket firmware on a rooted phone, you're comfortable experimenting. See how it works in the video after the break, then hit the source link to download.

Ovi Store follows the pack with integrated app updates, charms us with refined algorithms

Sure, the Ovi Store may be getting a name change, but this week Symbian^3 users will get an upgrade to the familiar storefront complete with application updates and more relevant suggestions. After signing in, the client queries Nokia's servers and then notifies users of relevant new versions with a green flag inside the account button. It's certainly not revolutionary, but it's nice to get a feature that's otherwise taken for granted. Additionally, the S^3 crowd will be treated to Top Free and Best Sellers lists that are specific to their device and locale. For example, if E72 owners are especially fond of reeling in Fishing: Off the Hook, these downloads won't affect the results for N8 handsets. The same logic is applied to application suggestions, where Ovi Store provides recommendations based on the habits of similarly situated users. In other words, it looks like we'll soon learn who loves Angry Birds most of all. Any takers?

Galaxy S II KE7 update brings better battery life, fixes "pink spot" camera bug

Samsung Galaxy S II KE7 update
Galaxy S II owners, now is the time to load up Kies or to start impatiently tapping "system updates" -- Samsung is rolling out a new firmware for its flagship handsets dubbed KE7. Not everyone is seeing it yet but, according to users, you can expect better battery life, more accurate GPS readings, improved performance, a few upgraded apps, and a fix for the "pink spot" bug in the camera app. We appreciate Samsung making sure everything is just right and pushing a second update before bringing the Galaxy S II to America, but we think it's ready now -- hurry, before we change our minds about owning something called the Attain, Function, or Within.


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