Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Instructions to unlock bootloader of Motorola Razr Dev edition and Xoom published

The following steps are published by Motorola on their developer website to help you unlock the booloader of Motorola Razr developer edition and Xooom.

  1. Agree to the terms and conditions as outlined in the Motorola Unlockable Bootloader Legal Agreement.
  2. Take full backup and make sure the device's battery is fully charged
  3. Install the Android SDK on your computer.
  4. Power off your device, while holding the volume down button, press the power button for about 1 second and release the power button. Once you get AP Flashboot Flash mode, release the volume down button.
  5. Connect your device to PC and install Motorola Device Drivers.
  6. Run  'fastboot oem unlock' from your PC's command line interface to activate the unlocking process.
  7. On your device, scroll down through the warning by using the volume DOWN button. Highlight ‘unlock’ using the volume DOWN key. Select ‘unlock’ (or ‘cancel’) using the volume UP key. The device will reboot, rebuild, and return to the fastboot screen. The fastboot screen will display the device as unlocked.
In case you get the warning '(bootloader) fastboot oem unlock disabled!', your device is not eligible for bootloader unlock. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

RIM and Microsoft launch Blackberry Business Cloud services

Blackberry Business Cloud Services for Microsoft Office 365 to be precise. Following are key features of these collaborative services:
  • Access device management features in the cloud
  • Support BBM and other IM apps
  • Provide wireless messaging capabilities
  • Activate, sync and backup smartphones wirelessly
  • Secure sensitive information
If you have already subscribed for Office 365 services, this new service is available at no extra cost and links MS Exchange Online with Blackberry smartphones to sync email, calendar, contacts etc.

You can sign up here to trial or subscribe Office 365 and this service.

Feature and technical overview PDF

MSN Visualizer, innovative HTML5 based music player

Open the website from here

Select a song and let it buffer as the relevant image loads

Enjoy the song as it plays in the browser

This is a new innovative web based player designed by Hinderling Volkart AG and this is what they say:

Awesome ain't it? Why don't you give it a try. Do note that it only works in IE 9 and  latest versions of Chrome/Safari.  

Nokia Lumia heading 'Down Under'

Lumia 800, the first Windows Phone device from Nokia will be avialable in Australia in March. This amazing smartphone will be available in Cyan, Magenta, Black and White colors. Exact launch date is not yet announced but you can register at Telstra's site to get more info on this.

Nokia Australia’s managing director, Chris Carr, said, “Nokia Lumia will change the way people think about Nokia. It signifies a new beginning for the company, bringing together the very best of Nokia’s handset design and services with the latest Windows Phone software.
“Interest locally for Nokia Lumia, our first range of Nokia with Windows Phone devices, has been extremely positive, with a significant appetite from operators and retailers looking to offer consumers a real smartphone alternative.
“With uptake from all Australian operators and major retailers, the launch of the Nokia Lumia 800 signals our intent to regain leadership in smartphone design and usability,” Carr said.


Motorola announces Razr developer edition, comes with unlocked bootloader

Yes. A Razr with  unlocked bootloader. Motorola will soon start pre-orders for this hot droid through their developer channel MOTODEV. The device will be available in USA while European devs can purchase it from  Motorola Shop. There is no pricing detail nor release dates as of today.


Spark linux tablet, with KDE Plasma Active UI ready for pre-order

  • 7" touch display, 800x480 pixel
  • 1GHz AMLogic ARM processor, Mali-400 GPU, 512 MB RAM, 4GB internal storage
  • Priced at 200 euros
  • KDE Plasma Active interface

There is no video showcasing the OS or the tablet and there is no detail on when this tablet will be ready for shipping. The developer has not opened pre-orders. Lets just wait and see if and when this intersting tablet will see daylight.

Update: This tablet will cost $165 and will go on sale in May  (pre-orders starting this week).

DoubleTwist app updated, gets podcast support

DoubleTwist, the popular music sync/playback app has got a new feature, Podcasts. Updates in new version are:

  1. Podcasts: experience podcasts without syncing! (premium feature available in paid version)
  2. Added expandable/collapsable Now Playing screen with easier access to Up Next queue.
  3. Design and interface updates -- many for Android 4.0.
  4. Fixed AirPlay & AirTwist playback issues.
  5. Improved app performance & reliability.
So, go ahead and purchase this awesome android music player. 

Samsung announces Galaxy S Advance dual core smartphone

The specs first:
  • 1GHz dual core processor, 768MB of RAM, 16GB internal storage
  • 4" SuperAMOLED
  • 5mp rear camera, 1.3mp front facing camera
  • Android 2.3 Gingerbread
There is no mention about release date or pricing. Below is the press release from Samsung:

Latest addition to Android-powered GALAXY portfolio delivers sleek curved design with Dual Core performance
SEOUL, Korea – January 30, 2012 – Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, a global leader in digital media and digital convergence technologies, today announced the launch of the Samsung GALAXY S Advance. Designed for those who define themselves by the phone they carry, the GALAXY S Advance strikes a balance of style, power and performance. It will be available in Russia starting from February, and then be gradually rolled out in CIS, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Southeast and Southwest Asia, Latin America and China.
"The GALAXY S Advance adds to the successful track record of the GALAXY smartphone range with a phone that combines power and style with all the versatility of Samsung's Hub services," said JK Shin, President of IT & Mobile Communications Division at Samsung Electronics.
Dual Core performance, curved design and Super AMOLED display
Powered by a dual core 1.0 GHz processor and HSPA 14.4 Mbps connectivity, the GALAXY S Advance has been built with power and connectivity in mind, delivering great versatility and a highly responsive user interface for easy multitasking. Application start-ups are faster with virtually no lag time, and the user experience is boosted with smoother screen transitions, faster image processing, and enhanced Web download and browsing performance.
The GALAXY S Advance's curved glass design enhances handling of the phone and fits the user's facial form easily and naturally. Its 4.0" Super AMOLED display provides the stunning visuals users have come to expect of Samsung GALAXY smartphones, offering unparalleled color reproduction and ensuring that photos and videos captured with the device's 5MP camera can be enjoyed with vivid clarity.
The Samsung user experience
Running on Android Gingerbread and featuring Samsung's TouchWiz user interface, the GALAXY S Advance enables users to stay connected through the Samsung Hubs and ChatON services. Music Hub offers a full music store experience with access to over 11 million tracks and the ability to fully personalize users' own music catalogues. Readers Hub offers access to over 2.3 million e-books, 3,500 magazine and 200 newspaper titles; while the hugely popular Game Hub offers access to thousands of catalogued games supplemented by gamer news feeds and news.
Samsung's cross platform communication service, ChatON connects all phone users into a single community using phone numbers instead of usernames and passwords, provides aneasy instant messaging, group chatting and sharing of content in multiple formats-images, video, voice, contacts, calendar-to make messaging simpler and more intuitive than ever.
The GALAXY S Advance also features Find My Mobile, a unique lost-phone management system that ensures secure phone data encryption in case of phone loss, and that enables users to trace their lost phone directly via the Web or even delete the device's data remotely.

We hope that this new smartphone is launched with price tag under 20k INR.  
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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Tab P1000 gets CM9, time to eat Icecream Sandwich


It’s time for those using ancient version of Android on first Galaxy Tab P1000 to taste something new, something interesting. Thanks to Team Cyanogen, ICS ROM is now available for Galaxy Tab P1000.


RIL ( as in phone calls/messaging ) [Broken in latest build]
Mobile Data (2G/3G) [Broken in latest build]
Orientation sensor (although it's a bit slower than usual)
Data usage statistics
Gyro, light sensors
even more...

Not Working


Head here to get help on installing and using this ROM.

Ubuntu Introduces HUD, future of menu

If you were in awe when you first saw GNOME 3 or KDE Plasma Desktop, have a look at this!

If you are feeling desperate to try this out, you need to have Ubuntu 12.04, add ppa:unity-team/hud PPA to software source and run update.

Heads Up Display (HUD) is what Mark Shuttleworth calls this new menu mechanism. And no, it’s not going to replace existing menus. Imagine HUD as this. You are working on a document and you want to print the document. Instead of clicking on nested menus to print, you just need to type ‘print’ and you get the options for print. And the results are displayed dynamically as you type (known as look-ahead-search). In short, you type what you want and the right menu options are displayed on your screen. The more you use HUD the better the filter will be, thanks to ‘fuzzy matching’ technique.

“We’ll resurrect the  (boring) old ways of displaying the menu in 12.04, in the app and in the panel. In the past few releases of Ubuntu, we’ve actively diminished the visual presence of menus in anticipation of this landing. That proved controversial. In our defence, in user testing, every user finds the menu in the panel, every time, and it’s obviously a cleaner presentation of the interface. But hiding the menu before we had the replacement was overly aggressive. If the HUD lands in 12.04 LTS, we hope you’ll find yourself using the menu less and less, and be glad to have it hidden when you are not using it. You’ll definitely have that option, alongside more traditional menu styles.” said Mark Shuttleworth in his blog.

For complete detail on this, read this blogpost by Mark. Also check these blogs by Ted Gould, Olli Ries and Gord Allott.

Google to supply 27,000 Chromebooks for schools in USA

Rajen Sheth (Head of Chromebook work for business and education) has announced that Google will supply 27,000 chromebooks to schools in Iowa, Illinois and South Carolina states of USA. Rajen has also announced that hundreds of schools across 41 states have atleast one classroom fitted with chromebooks.

"This is the right device for student learning," said Bryan Weinert, technology coordinator for the Leyden Community High School District in Illinois. "We plan to deploy 3,500 to students next year. Every single student will be issued a Chromebook they can use at school and at home."

This is the first major sale of Chromebooks to educational institutions in USA, with 19,000 chromebooks going to Richland School District Two in South Carolina.

Dolphin Browser HD gets Skitch and Evernote plugins


If you are one of those who love using Dolphin browser, here are two reasons to love it more. If you are one of those who never used Dolphin browser, then better try it now.

MoboTap  has partnered with Evernote to provide Evernote and Skitch add-ons to Dolphin Browser HD. Evernote add-on lets you clip the text from a webpage and save it as a note in your evernote account. You can get the add-on from here.

Using the Skitch add-on for Dolphin HD, you can grab the web content you are viewing and annotate it on the fly without the need to take a screenshot of the screen and then copying it to Skitch app. You can also draw on-screen captures and images and share them with your friends. You can download Skitch add-on from here

Nokia top global handset maker in 2011

Everyone expected Samsung to take the top spot from Nokia this year but it looks like it will take another year atleast (if and only if Nokia doesn’t gain momentum with Lumia devices).  It looks like Nokia’s efforts in  budget and feature phone segments is paying off. With Nokia bombarding budget segment with S40 devices and Lumia series finally gaining some ground, it will be interesting to see whether Nokia will gain that undisputed no.1 status (in smartphone marketshare and handset marketshare) again.

Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, said, “Nokia’s global handset shipments declined 8 percent annually to 113.5 million units in Q4 2011. Volumes were buoyed by the sales of Nokia’s low-end dual-SIM models in emerging markets like Southeast Asia, but were a little soft overall, as initial shipments of Microsoft Lumia phones could not offset declining Symbian sales. Hot on Nokia’s heels, second-ranked Samsung captured 21 percent share with shipments of 95.0 million units. Samsung’s 18 percent annual growth was fuelled by robust shipments of its broad Galaxy-branded 3G portfolio, headlined by the Galaxy S2 superphone.”

Samsung’s marketshare grew by half a percent, thanks to the lack of penetration in feature phone and budget phone segment while Apple nearly doubled it’s marketshare from 3.5% to 6%.


Kindle Fire sets Galaxy Tab’s tail on fire, ready to set iPad’s tail on fire


It has been a year and a half since the first Samsung Galaxy Tab came into the market and even today, it has struggled to compete with Apple. We felt that having poor content is the main reason for this lack of market penetration. When Amazon released Kindle Fire, we felt that this is exactly what ‘Team Android’ needed to compete with Apple. And it looks to be true. As per ‘Strategy Analytics’, Kindle Fire has helped Android triple the sales numbers. As a result, Android now has 39% of marketshare while Apple still leads with 57.6% (down from 68.2%). Microsoft, on the other hand gained 1.5% of marketshare. It will be interesting to see how this table changes as Apple is readying iPad 3 and Android tablet makers are ready to storm the market with flurry of tablet releases.

Just few months ago, Galaxy Tab had lions share of Android tablet market share. Thanks to Kindle Fire, that is cut down and if the trend continues, Samsung will join ‘others’ section along with ASUS, Motorola, Toshiba as Kindle has grabbed 36% of Android tablet market in just one quarter. To make things even worse for Samsung, Kindle Fire has 2.5 times more paid downloads than Galaxy Tablets. This means that Kindle Fire is generating more revenue for developers and for Google and can be at the center of focus for developers and content distributors.

Samsung Wave getting Bada 2.0 update

This is not a rumor and we are talking about the first Wave smartphone from Samsung. Samsung is pushing Bada 2.0 update to S8500 Wave smartphone. It is time for you to periodically check updates for your phone by connecting it to PC and checking Kies application. Follow this twitter feed to get more detail on Bada 2.0 updates.

KDE 4.8 released

KDE has announced the availability of 4.8 version of KDE Plasma Workspace. Changeset first:

  • Redesigned power management, integrated with activities
  • Plasma desktop gets QtQuick-based Plasma widgets
  • Faster and more scalable file management, Dolphin gets new display engine
  • KSecretService, new framework for password and credential management
  • Touch-friendly components and better interoperability
  • Plasma environment to take advantage of QML (UI framework part of Nokia Qt toolkit)


Friday, January 27, 2012

Get ready for Windows Phone 30 developer challenge

Do note that this is only for residents of USA. The challenge starts on 31st of January when Official rules are announced. The task is to create a cutting edge appliation in 30 days. 4 winners will get a HDTV and Xbox 360 with Xbox Kinect. Below is the statement from Microsoft:

With great devices hitting the market and the broadly acclaimed user interface based on Metro design principles, Windows Phone is setting the new cool for mobile computing. Take advantage of the excitement and create a cutting edge application - fast. Really fast. 30 days fast.
There will be an opportunity to register for App Hub for free* in week 2 of the challenge. Plus, there’s a pretty sweet prize for 4 winners* - a state-of-the-art entertainment package complete with a 3D TV and the ultimate gaming experience with Xbox Kinect.
Are you in? Sign up today to join the challenge beginning January 31.
Community facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/MicrosoftUserCommunity?sk=app_346240332053750
Community twitter handle: http://twitter.com/#!/UserCommunity

You can sign up here (30 to Launch program) if you are interested in this challenge and to get access to latest tools and resources to help you develop rich Windows Phone appliations.

Flickr Pro adds 3 month subscriptions

Now you can subscribe for 3 month Flickr pro account and it will cost you $6.95 and you can opt for automatic renewal once in every three months. One year subscription costs $24.95 while new 2 year subscription costs $44.95. In case you are not aware of the advantages of Flickr Pro account,  

  • Unlimited photo uploads (20MB per photo)
  • Unlimited video uploads (90 seconds max, 500MB per video)
  • The ability to show HD Video
  • Unlimited storage
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Archiving of high-resolution original images
  • The ability to replace a photo
  • Post any of your photos or videos in up to 60 group pools
  • Ad-free browsing and sharing
  • View count and referrer statistics
Compare that to what you get with a Free Account:
  • 300 MB monthly photo upload limit (15MB per photo)
  • 2 video uploads each month (90 seconds max, 150MB per video)
  • Photostream views limited to the 200 most recent images
  • Post any of your photos in up to 10 group pools
  • Only smaller (resized) images accessible (though the originals are saved in case you upgrade later)

Galaxy Nexus selling for $99.99 at Amazon

This amazing pure android device is now available at Amazon wireless store for $99.99 but do note that this is only for new Verizon wireless customers. Those who are looking for upgrade should pay $259.99 for this phone and $179.99 if you want to add new phone to your family account. If you want to buy this device without any contract, you need to pay $729.99. Head here if you need more detail on this phone and head here to place an order.
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Get this Official Gmail app with experimental features

If you have a tablet or smartphone running Android version 4.0, install this official gmail app. This is the default gmail app that comes with ICS and it has some experimental features that one can enable. Do note that the app is very buggy on Honeycomb while it works pretty well on ICS. The experimental features need to be enabled and the two features are:

  • Full text search
  • Drag and drop contact chip. Using this feature you can drag contact names between To/CC/BCC fields. 
So, go ahead and install the apk from link mentioned above and enjoy this new app. And btw, it's official gmail app that we are talking about. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

TIme for Counter Strike fans to celebrate. Game ported to Android tablets

The great folks at XDA have successfully ported Counter Strike to Android tablet. Above is the video of Counter Strike played using Android tablet using onscreen controls. This version is based on Counter Strike 1.6 mobile version powered by Unity 3D and there are 600 active players online.

Gameplay on Acer Iconia Tab http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HZXOibSSW0
Gameplay on Xperia Play : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sa-v3VpCOl8
Gameplay on SGS II : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JOwY5hT5ko

iBooks: 350,000 text book download in 3 days

According to research firm Global Equities Research, 350000+ textbooks were downloaded for iBooks 2 during the first three days and iBooks Author app recorded 90,000+ downloads. Looks like a good start for Apple and its textbook partners. Given the lower costs to manufacture or let's say 'create' these text books and no costs for distribution, it can generate huge revenues for authors and for Apple.
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LG pushing Gingerbread update to Optimus Black devices in India

LG India is rolling out Gingerbread update for Optimus Black smartphone. The changelog first:

  • Improved power management
  • Enhanced mobile gaming experience
  • Improved UI to enable faster access and control and a more intuitive user experience
  • One-touch word selection and copy/paste:
  • Better Download management
  • Support for new media formats such as AAC, AVC, MPEG 4 and H263
  • New features and other improvements: active app management, shortcuts, widgets, icons, app groups, updated calendar options, camera geotagging, better email synching and more precise camera auto-focus.
  • App updates and pre-loaded Google Plus app
You need to go to this page, download and install USB driver and then go with Software Update. 

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This gesture based eBook reader is awesome!

Developed at KAIST Institute of Information Technology Convergence, this patented eBook interface is amazing. If you are still reading this text, stop reading and play the video. It's worth a million words!

You can use gestures to

  • flip pages
  • fold pages
  • High speed page flip
  • Page flipping with finger bookmarking
  • Page turning by using multiple fingers
  • Page turning by finger gesture speed
  • Page turning by pressing time
  • Page turning by finger gesture (write a number using fingers)

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Nokia Lumia 710 now costs under 15k INR in India

Flipkart has slashed the price of Nokia Lumia 710 this weekend, Rs.15,699/- to be precise. That makes it the one of the best smartphones to get for those with budget around 15k. Also, Letsbuy price is now at Rs.15,490. For those who never heard about this device, Lumia 710 is the Windows Phone device from smartphone and below is the specification:
  • 480 x 800 pixels, 3.7 inches ClearBlack Display
  • 8 GB storage, 512 MB RAM
  • 1.4 GHz Scorpion CPU
  • 5mp camera with 720p video recording
  •  Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
  • Li-Ion 1300 mAh battery
  • Microsoft Windows Phone 7.5 Mango
  • Nokia maps offline navigation
Update: Saholic price is Rs.14,899/- for Lumia 710 and it's priced at 1.4k at ngpay. 

Reviews across the globe:

RIM kicks out co-CEOs, Thorsten Heins named new CEO

What a way to start a week. RIM co-CEOs Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis are kicked out by the board. Thorsten Heins, COO till now, will take the role CEO immediately. Mike Lazaridis will take the role of 'vice chair' of the board and Chair of new Innovative Committee. Jim Balsillie will remain on the board. Below is the full press release

Research In Motion Names Thorsten Heins President and CEO

• Board Acts on Recommendation of Co-CEOs to Implement Succession Plan
• Mike Lazaridis Named Vice Chair of the Board
• Jim Balsillie Remains a Director
• Barbara Stymiest Named Independent Board Chair
• Prem Watsa Named Independent Director

Waterloo, ON – The Board of Directors of BlackBerry® maker Research In Motion (RIM) (NASDAQ: RIMM; TSX: RIM) today announced that, acting on the recommendation of its Co-Chief Executive Officers to implement the succession plan they previously submitted to the Board, it has unanimously named Thorsten Heins as President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Heins was also appointed to RIM's Board. The Board acted after conducting its own due diligence. Both appointments are effective immediately.

Mike Lazaridis, former Co-Chair and Co-CEO, has become Vice Chair of RIM's Board and Chair of the Board's new Innovation Committee. As Vice Chair, he will work closely with Mr. Heins to offer strategic counsel, provide a smooth transition and continue to promote the BlackBerry brand worldwide.

Mr. Heins said he looks forward to continuing to work with Mr. Lazaridis, globally recognized as a technology pioneer. He said, "Mike created a whole new way of communicating and I look forward to continuing our close collaboration."

On the transition to CEO by Mr. Heins, Mr. Lazaridis said, "There comes a time in the growth of every successful company when the founders recognize the need to pass the baton to new leadership. Jim and I went to the Board and told them that we thought that time was now. With BlackBerry 7 now out, PlayBook 2.0 shipping in February and BlackBerry 10 expected to ship later this year, the company is entering a new phase, and we felt it was time for a new leader to take it through that phase and beyond. Jim, the Board and I all agreed that leader should be Thorsten Heins."

Jim Balsillie remains a member of the Board. "I agree this is the right time to pass the baton to new leadership, and I have complete confidence in Thorsten, the management team and the company," he said. "I remain a significant shareholder and a Director and, of course, they will have my full support."

Mr. Lazaridis said that he decided to move from Co-Chair to Vice Chair of the Board in order to return the public's focus to what is most important: "the great company we have built, its iconic products, global brand and its talented employees."

Mr. Lazaridis added, "Thorsten has demonstrated throughout his tenure at RIM that he has the right mix of leadership, relevant industry experience and skills to take the company forward. We have been impressed with his operational skills at both RIM and Siemens. I am so confident in RIM's future that I intend to purchase an additional $50 million of the company's shares, as permitted, in the open market."

Mr. Heins said he believes that RIM has tremendous potential. He joined RIM from Siemens Communications Group in December 2007 as Senior Vice President for Hardware Engineering and became Chief Operating Officer for Product and Sales in August 2011.

"Mike and Jim took a bold step 18 months ago when RIM purchased QNX to shepherd the transformation of the BlackBerry platform for the next decade," Mr. Heins said. "We are more confident than ever that was the right path. It is Mike and Jim's continued unwillingness to sacrifice long-term value for short-term gain which has made RIM the great company that it is today. I share that philosophy and am very excited about the company's future."

Mr. Heins said that RIM has a strong foundation on which to build. "We have a strong balance sheet with approximately $1.5 billion in cash at the end of the last quarter and negligible debt. We reported revenue of $5.2 billion in our last quarter, up 24% from the prior quarter, and a 35% year-to-year increase in the BlackBerry subscriber base, which is now over 75 million."

Mr. Heins said, "BlackBerry 7 has been well received. We are very excited about PlayBook 2.0 and BlackBerry 10. The reception of our products at this year's Consumer Electronics Show was encouraging."

He continued, "RIM earned its reputation by focusing relentlessly on the customer and delivering unique mobile communications solutions. We intend to build on this heritage to expand BlackBerry's leadership position."

Mr. Heins said that RIM has grown quickly. "As with any company that has grown as fast as we have, there have been inevitable growing pains," he said. "We have learned from those challenges and, I believe, we have and will become a stronger company as a result.

"Going forward, we will continue to focus both on short-term and long-term growth, strategic planning, a customer- and market-based product approach, and flawless execution. We are in the process of recruiting a new Chief Marketing Officer to work closely with our product and sales teams to deliver the most compelling products and services."

Barbara Stymiest, who formerly served as a member of Royal Bank of Canada's Group Executive and has been a member of RIM's Board since 2007, has been named the independent Board Chair. John Richardson, formerly Lead Director, will remain on the Board. Prem Watsa, Chief Executive Officer of Fairfax Financial Holdings, also was named to the Board, expanding it to 11 members.

Speaking on behalf of the Board, Ms. Stymiest said: "We believe that Thorsten is the right executive to succeed Mike and Jim. He has 27 years of telecommunications experience, including four years at RIM in senior management positions. As a Board, we have been impressed with his outstanding management skills, his leadership and his accomplishments within the company."

Ms. Stymiest also expressed the Board's respect and admiration for Messrs. Lazaridis and Balsillie, the company they built, and the steps they have taken to position RIM for the future.

"They created RIM, nurtured it, and in the process not only built an iconic brand, but literally pioneered the smartphone industry," she said. "It is Canada's largest tech company and one of the largest in the world."

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Google Sky Maps and Android App Inventor goes open source, Picnik finds its grave

Google has announced that Picnik service will be closed on 19th of April 2012. As part of closing process, full refund will be done for premium users and one can copy the photos to Google+ or copy the zip file containing all your photos to your local drive. Come 19th of April, nothing will be available and all your photos on picnik will be burned down. Hurry and take your photos elsewhere.

Google has also announced that their Sky Maps application will be donated to open source community and Carnegie Mellon University will head further development of this application/service.

Android App Inventor, another service from Google is going open source and Google and MIT have announced release of intial free an open source version of this tool. You can get the source code from http://code.google.com/p/app-inventor-releases/. People can freely use the term "App Inventor" and puzzle-piece Android logo in their work. MIT's version of app inventor will be named 'MIT App Inventor' and is reserved for the systems coming from MIT. 

IMDb app for Windows Phone udpated, live tile support added

If you are using IMDb app on your Windows Phone, you better check updates for this app as the newer version has live tile support and you can supports Social sharing of Movies and People. If you have never used this application, you better get it now (if you love movies). Here's the feature list of this application:

  • Over 1.5 million movie and TV titles (database)
  • Over 3.2 million celebrities, actors, actresses, directors and other crew members (database)
  • Movie trailers
  • User reviews for movies and TV shows
  • Critics reviews for movies and TV shows
  • Quotes, trivia and goofs about movies and celebrities, Celebrity birthdays.
  • Your browse and search history on IMDb
  • Movie showtimes at local theaters near you
  • TV listings for your local time zone
  • Recaps of TV shows from previous night
  • Upcoming movies
  • Latest entertainment news 
  • Best Picture - award winners
  • Top rated movies of all time (IMDb Top 250)
  • Most popular movies of the day on IMDb (MOVIEmeter)
  • Most popular celebrities of the day on IMDb (STARmeter)
  • Lowest rated movies of all time (IMDb Bottom 100)
  • Most popular movies listed by genre (Action, Horror, Romance, Comedy and many more)
  • Most popular TV shows
  • US Box office results

Card.io for Android and iOS is out now

  1. Start card.io application
  2. Hold the credit card in front of phone's camera and let the app scan the card
  3. Enter few detail for the card (if necessary)
  4. Start accepting payments
  5. In case, the card is worn out, there is an option to enter the data manually
Yes, it's that easy. This app is now available for Android and iOS users. Do note that this app required Android 2.2 or higher and for iPhone users, iOS 4.0 or higher is required. There are few problems though (reported by theverge.com).
  • Individual transactions are limited to $999.99
  • Earnings are deposited a week after the initial payment
Note: There's no contracts, setup fees, or monthly fees. You only pay when you charge a card. Pricing is 3.5% plus 30 cents per transaction, and charged amounts are paid to your bank account or PayPal account after 7 days. 

CarrierIQ removed from Evo 4G, Evo Design 4G, and Epic 4G

Sprint is pushing updates to their smartphones to remove Carrier IQ software, a tool that became notorious due to it's privacy violations, tracking user data etc. Evo 4G, Evo Design 4G, and Epic 4G will be getting the updates OTA for next few weeks. Along with removing Carrier IQ software, Sprint is applying some bug fixes for these devices to make the devices get better battery life and more secure.

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Summify c/o Twitter

Summify, the daily news aggregator app now belong to Twitter. In a press post, Summify has announced that they are now part of Twitter. The details of the deal is not yet revealed as of now. Below is part of press statement:

Our long-term vision at Summify has always been to connect people with the most relevant news for them, in the most time efficient manner. As hundreds of millions of people worldwide are signing up and consuming Twitter, we realized it’s the best platform to execute our vision at a truly global scale. Since Twitter shared this vision with us, joining the company made perfect sense.

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90 million Google+ users

Google CEO Larry Page has announced during earnings call that Google+ has hit 90 million users. Though they say that 60% users use the service every day, the truth is that this is the number of users who use their Google id and/or service every day. They may or may not login to Google+. This increase in numbers seems to be the effect of pushing Google+ everywhere (from search results to Google's other services).
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iPhone 4S and iPad 2 gets untethered jailbreak

Thanks to Greenpos0n Absinthe, iPhone 4S and iPad 2 users now get untethered jailbreak. Known as Absinthe A5, you can download the same from here for Windows and from here for Mac OS X.

Head here for more information on this jailbreak tool.
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NSA releases its first security enhanced Android

The feature list first:

  •  Per-file security labeling support for yaffs2,
  • Filesystem images (yaffs2 and ext4) labeled at build time,
  • Kernel permission checks controlling Binder IPC,
  • Labeling of service sockets and socket files created by init,
  • Labeling of device nodes created by ueventd,
  • Flexible, configurable labeling of apps and app data directories,
  • Userspace permission checks controlling use of the Zygote socket commands,
  • Minimal port of SELinux userspace,
  • SELinux support for the Android toolbox,
  • Small TE policy written from scratch for Android,
  • Confined domains for system services and apps,
  • Use of MLS categories to isolate apps.
Called SEAndroid, this is a project run by NSA to make Android more secure by using SELinux in Android. A highly detailed document explaining what SEAndroid is, how to get the source code and work on the source code, building the source code for specific architectures etc is available in this page.

You can also join the SELinux Mailing list, detail on how to is  available at "http://www.nsa.gov/research/selinux/subscribe.shtml".

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Two droids for every iPhone in USA

Don't get confused here. The previous news that iPhone had cut Android's marketshare in USA is based on a single quarterly marketshare analysis. This news is based on the total number of smartphones in USA.
According to iGR market research firm, Android has 47% of marketshare in USA while Apple has 24% of marketshare. Samsung is the most popular Android handset maker followed by Motorola and HTC.

“Understanding why consumers select specific brands and certain smartphones is critical to the success of OEMs in the highly competitive U.S. handset market,” says iGR Research Analyst, Sarah Thoman, who authored the study. “While a user’s current handset brand influences the selection of a new Android smartphone, many other factors also come into play. For example, handset display quality and functionality also highly influenced the smartphone purchase decision.” 

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Android-x86 project, run android on x86 tablets

Android-x86 is open source project to run Android on PC. Guess what, these folks have already ported ICS. The current build, Build 20120101 is test build based on 4.0.3 version of Android and has the following key features:

  • Kernel 3.0.8 with KMS enabled. Most tablets/netbooks can run Android-x86 in the native resolution.
  • OpenGL hardware acceleration for AMD Radeon and Intel chipsets. However, if you have trouble with it, you can disable it by adding HWACCEL=0 to the cmdline.
  • Support Wifi, multitouch and audio.
  • Experimental support of Renderscript.
  • Hybrid mode of iso images.
  • A new text based GUI installer which supports ext3/ext2/ntfs/fat32 filesystems.
  • External usb drive and sdcard are auto mounted on plugging.
  • Compressed filesystem (squashfs).
Known issues are:
  • Camera doesn't work.
  • Ethernet not working.
  • Suspend and resume doesn't work on some targets.
Source code of this build is available at http://git.android-x86.org/  and at SourceForge (git://android-x86.git.sf.net/gitroot/android-x86/manifest.git)

Tested Hardware

The following laptops/tablets are tested by this community:
  • ASUS Eee PCs/Laptops
  • Viewsonic Viewpad 10
  • Dell Inspiron Mini Duo
  • Samsung Q1U
  • Viliv S5
  • Lenovo ThinkPad x61 Tablet 
Following are the features in latest stable build:
  • Kernel, KMS enable
  • Wifi support with GUI
  • Ethernet configuration GUI
  • Better disk installer
  • Power Suspend/resume (S3 mode)
  • Battery Status
  • Software mouse cursor
  • Mouse wheel
  • Support netbook native resolution
  • Audio (ALSA)
  • V4l2 Camera support
  • External monitor support
  • External storage auto mount support
  • Support external keyboard
  • Debug mode with busybox
  • Bluetooth 
Go to this link to find device specific ISOs. 

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Notion Ink Adam II to get TI OMAP44xx, Wi-Link

Notion Ink has announced that they will be using TI's OMAP 44xx processor along with TI's power-management IC for better power optimization. Also, Adam II will come with Icecream Sandwich at launch.

"Adam II will release the world’s first Modular Based Software Architecture which will further expand the scope of application development and use nearly every single hardware feature in a “user customizable” application. Drag and drop features will enable easy application modification and Open Source Module will further expand the use cases and tablet deployment. Node operations like in Blender, and Application Authoring Tools are primarily aimed at non-programmers for composing applications, games and use-case flows in a drag-and-drop fashion, utilizing visual editors and behavior-based logic system." said Notion Ink in a blogpost. 
The big problem with Adam was not with the power/resource but it was with the type of hardware that is picked (like touch panel, display panel etc) which caused issues and immature software integration. Hope Notion Ink delivers more standard hardware instead of experimenting and trying to be the first in the market to have issue-ridden hardware ans buggy software.

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Mozilla's BrowserID is alternative to OpenID

Mozilla has been working for a while to provide better authentication system for sites than OpenID, which it thinks is not so secure. The result of their work is 'BrowserID', released yesterday and is already implemented in popular sites like Google, Yahoo!, PayPal, MySpace. For instructions on how to implement this on your site, head to this page. The process is extremely simple.

 "Many web sites store extensive user data and act on behalf of the user. While the browser may be fully under the user’s control, many of the services that users enjoy are not. Sometimes, these web services handle data in ways that are of questionable value to the user, even detrimental," points out Ben Adida, Mozilla's Tech Lead on Identity and User Data. "It’s clear that Mozilla needs to step up and provide, in addition to the Firefox browser, certain services to enhance users’ control over their online experience and personal data."
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Sony to include GLONASS satellite navigation system in upcoming phones

GLONASS satellite navigation system, a Russian radio-based satellite navigation system will be implemented in upcoming Sony smartphones Xperia S and Xperia Ion. Also, the following smartphones already have this technology  built-in but was deactivated:

  • Xperia Arc
  • Xperia Arc S
  • Xperia Ray
  • Xperia Neo
  • Xperia Pro
  • Xperia Play
  • Xperia Active
  • Live with Walkman
GLONASS, Globalnaya Navigatsionnaya Sputnikovaya Sistema from Russia consists of 24 modern active satellites. When used along with standard 31-satellite based GPS, GLONASS improves accuracy and better positioning. Tests done in San Francisco showed 50% better accuracy when GLONASS is used in conjunction with GPS as shown in the below image:

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Verizon planning country wide Voice-over-LTE

By 2013, Verizon plans to deploy nation wide VoLTE in USA. Verizon is currently testing VoLTE in two cities. "We’re continuing to work on VoLTE and the services it brings, and will share any launch or availability plans in due course." said Verizon spokesperson. VoLTE is similar to VoIP where voice is caried over data networks. VZ's VoLTE network is based on "IP Multimedia Subsystem", an architectural framework to deliver IP multimedia serivces over LTE network. For more information on how this network works, read this article.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Angry birds 'year of the dragon' released for iOS and Android

Yes. On the occassion of Chinese new year, Rovio has released Angry birds seasons : Year of the Dragon for Android and iOS. Features in this version:

  1. The Angry Birds are celebrating Chinese New Year by chasing after the pigs. The night sky is lighting up -- and it's not just fireworks!
  2. Celebrate with a vibrant red Chinese New Year theme!
  3. 15 challenging levels explode with fireworks and lanterns!
  4. Mighty Eagle transforms into the fearsome Mighty Dragon!
  5. Mighty Dragon available for free in Year of the Dragon episode!
The game is free to download and below is a teaser youtube video of the same:

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Official Wikipedia app for Android released

Wikipedia has released their official app for Android and is available for download here. Here's a quick feature list:

  • Save article to read later or offline
  • Search articles nearby
  • Share articles
  • Read article in a different language
  • Full screen search

Do send your feedback on the app to twitter.com/WikimediaMobile.

FourSquare now provides you restaurant menus

This should make foodies love FourSquare even more. After releasing Explore feature that delivers personalized results, FourSquare has now added restaurant menus to their database. For now, this seems to be available for restaurants in USA and there are 250,000 restaurants having food menus. These menus are added to the right pane of venue pages. Give it a try and let us know how it is. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

iOS and Windows Phone marketshare on the rise

Remember we recently posted on iPhone 4S eating up Android's marketshare. Well, nielsen's latest report adds a bit more to this.

First, more American are intersted in buying smartphones now. Majority of 25-34 and 18-24 age groups now own a smartphone and 45% of smartphone users have subscribed to internet. Second, Windows Phone marketshare went up slightly and it at 1.4% now. Third, Android's marketshare takes a slight dip (down to 46.9%) and is almost same as iOS's (44.5%). The coming two quarters will be even more interesting as Windows Phone is gaining ground, thanks to Nokia's Lumia series and AT&T LTE windows phone devices. Finally, if you are wondering about RIM's share, it's below 5% now (at 4.5%)

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Motorola Xoom getting ICS OTA

If you own a Motorola Xoom, do look out for over-the-air updates coz your tablet might stumble upon Icecream Sandwich update. You can check for updates by clicking on Settings>About tablet>System updates. Do note that this is for WiFi-only Xoom. Head to this page for more detail on how the update is working etc (forum discussion).

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Facebook takes top spot in Brazil

Thanks to 192% increase in total unique visitors from Dec'10 to Dec'11, Facebook is now the top social networking site in Brazil. Intersting aspect is that unique visitors to Orkut went up by 5%, which could be embarrassing for Brazilians given that pre-historic nature of Orkut. Anyways, it's good to see that something other than Orkut is at the top in Brazil. For more statistics on this, head here.
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