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.


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