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Tech Articles

Google to sell new Nexus phone

Best Buy to sell Google Nexus S phone

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A woman carries a shopping basket at a Best Buy store in New York November 23, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Segar 

A woman carries a shopping basket at a Best Buy store in New York November 23, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Mike Segar

By Georgina Prodhan

LONDON | Tue Dec 7, 2010 10:46am EST

LONDON (Reuters) – Samsung’s (005930.KS) Nexus S phone, based on the latest version of Google’s (GOOG.O) Android software, will go on sale this month in the United States and Britain through Best Buy (BBY.N) and Carphone Warehouse (CPW.L).

The two retailers said they would be the exclusive sellers in those two markets of the Nexus S, which supports a technology that lets people use their handsets instead of credit cards for payments, and would take pre-orders from 1600 GMT on Monday.

Google’s Android software has rapidly overtaken Apple (AAPL.O) and BlackBerry (RIM.TO) to become the second most popular platform worldwide after Nokia’s (NOK1V.HE) Symbian, and the most popular in North America and east Asia.

Offered free to cellphone vendors since coming to market two years ago, Android has helped fuel a boom in the smartphone market, which is expected to double this year to about 340 million units, although it has helped drive prices down.

The Nexus S will include an NXP (NXPI.O) near-field communications (NFC) chip, which allows consumers to pay for items by tapping the phone against a special terminal.

NXP, a pioneer of NFC technology, announced a strategic collaboration with Google to provide a complete open source software stack for the NFC chip.

Carphone and Best Buy said they would offer the Nexus S unlocked for $529 in the United States or for $199 with a T-Mobile (DTEGn.DE) contract.

In Britain, it will cost 549.95 pounds ($862) unlocked, or will come free with a contract of 35 pounds per month for a term and with an operator yet to be announced.

The previous flagship Google Android phone, the Nexus One, was made by Taiwan’s HTC (2498.TW). Samsung has also produced a tablet computer based on Android, the Galaxy Tab.

“Deals with Carphone Warehouse and Best Buy underline the importance of independent distributors beyond operators to Google,” British telecoms research firm CCS Insight said. “Despite the initial failure of Nexus One, Google’s intent clearly remains unchanged.”

U.S. consumer electronics retailer Best Buy and British mobile phone retailer Carphone Warehouse have a joint venture in Europe that includes stores in Britain, and a chain of Best Buy Mobile stores in the United States.

(Editing by David Holmes)



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Mozilla Firefox 4 Beta released

Mozilla Releases Faster Firefox 4 Beta

Browser speeds page loading and graphics and includes JagerMonkey compiler to boost JavaScript performance.

By Antone Gonsalves InformationWeek
November 11, 2010 04:19 PM
Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 Beta Revealed

Slideshow: Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 Beta Revealed

(click image for larger view and for full slideshow)

Mozilla released Wednesday a new version of Firefox 4 Beta that the company says runs web sites much faster than previous versions of the browser.

 

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The new version provides a significant boost in running JavaScript and displaying graphics, Mozilla said. In addition, the add-on application programming interfaces for Firefox 4 are now stable, which means developers can start updating Firefox 3.6-compatible add-ons to support the upgrade.

The JavaScript performance boost stems from the addition of the JagerMonkey just-in-time compiler and more support for hardware-accelerated graphics, as well as hardware acceleration for Windows XP and Mac OS X. Mozilla says Firefox 4 Beta also includes support for WebGL, a standard technology for running 3D graphics in a browser without the use of a plug-in.

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Overall, the improvements mean “pages load faster, interactions with Websites are snappier,” Mozilla says in its blog. “For developers, this means you can build richer high-performance Web applications and explore the world of 3D graphics, inherent to the Web.”

The JagerMonkey JIT compiler has been added to the Firefox SpiderMonkey JavaScript engine, which also includes enhancements to the existing TraceMonkey JIT and SpiderMonkey’s interpreter. The improvements bring a faster startup time and better performance to Web apps and games, Mozilla says. Benchmark tests show the browser runs JavaScript from three to five times faster than Firefox 3.6.

In delivering hardware-accelerated graphics, Firefox 4 Beta takes advantage of DirectX technology in Windows and OpenGL in Mac OS X. However, not all graphics cards or video drivers support hardware acceleration, so the improvements could require an upgrade to work on a particular system.

Mozilla plans to release additional betas before the final version of Firefox 4. The company had planned to release the browser this month. However, development delays pushed back the release to early 2011.

Firefox is the second most used browser on the Web, behind Microsoft Internet Explorer. Microsoft released IE 9 in public beta in September. While the browser adds many needed improvements, IE9 is seen more as catching up with rivals than breaking new ground.

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Finally I’m doing a tech article I actually care about. In my opinion, I think Firefox 4 is going to change the way I browse the internet (and hopefully others) when the final version is released. This new version of Firefox promises to be faster than ever before, and looks compatible to almost any OS. Plus, the Javascript engine looks much better and faster than the current version (3.6). All in all, I’m impressed with the Mozilla corporation, and I only hope they keep getting better/growing stronger in the future.


New T-Mobile Phone

T-Mobile myTouch 4G: Impressive and Speedy

myTouch 4G Review, by Ginny Mies October 28, 2010

The latest addition to the T-Mobile myTouch family, the myTouch 4G ($200 with a two-year contract from T-Mobile; price as of 10/28/2010), has the most impressive specs of the myTouch phones to date boasting a front-facing video camera, HSPA+ data speeds and HD video recording. HSPA+ coverage isn’t everywhere however–and might be spotty in cities that do support it.

High Quality Design

Like the other myTouch phones, the myTouch 4G comes in a handy case for storing all of your phone’s accessories. The first thing I noticed about the phone is its stylish, yet sturdy design. HTC-designed, the phone feels more high quality than the previous, plasticky myTouch models. The plastic is still there (on the face of the phone and on the hardware buttons), but the device is primarily metal and has the feel of a higher-end phone. The phone will come in four colors: white, black, plum or red.

The phone has a vibrant 3.8-inch WVGA display, which nicely showcases the phone’s user interface. Below the display, you’ll find four hardware buttons: Home, Menu, Back and Genius (more on that later). Measuring 4.8-by-2.4-by-0.43 inches, the myTouch 4G is a manageable size.

Custom Skin Over Android

Running Android 2.2, the myTouch 4G has a custom skin which is sort of a mash-up between HTC Sense and the myTouch skin we saw on the myTouch Slide. Like the Slide, you can customize your phone for your work life and for your personal life via widgets, homescreen apps, and wall papers.

As on HTC Sense, you get a dynamic weather app and a socially-aware address book (which aggregates your friends’ contact information from your social networks). You also get HTC’s Friend Stream which takes all of your friends’ status updates, links, and photos from your various social networks and displays them in a single feed.

Another unique, user-friendly feature is MyModes, which lets you customize your phone for your work life and for your personal life via widgets, homescreen apps, and wall papers. If you want to avoid work e-mail and appointments as much as possible over the weekend, you can simply set those applications to be hidden from your homescreen when you leave your office. You can program MyModes to switch by location (using GPS), or you can switch it manually.

The Genius button, which I mentioned in the Design portion of the review, is a useful tool for smartphone newbies. Press it and you jump to a simple voice command menu. From there, you can use commands to make calls, compose and send texts and e-mails, search the Web, and more. It worked fairly well in my hands-on tests, taking a few seconds to figure out what you said, but producing generally accurate results. The more you use the feature, the better it gets, too: It employs Nuance’s Dragon Dictation Software, which gradually learns your voice and thereby improves response time.

Remember T-Mobile MyFaves? T-Mobile’s cheap calling plan of yore (which permitted users to make unlimited calls to five people of their choice) is back–this time, in the form of a speed dialer application on the Slide. The app has a kind of 3D effect that you spin through to get quick access to your favorite friends’ contact information, pictures, and their social networking account links. You can add up to 20 friends as your “faves.” You can easily get to the MyFaves screen by hitting the dedicated hardware button on the phone’s face.

The myTouch has a new feature called Media Room, which organizes all of your music, video and Internet radio in one place. For media syncing, the myTouch comes with the excellent doubleTwist software onboard. You also get the dedicated YouTube app, of course, which also supports HQ videos. HQ versions of YouTube videos are leaps and bounds better in quality than the normal, fuzzy YouTube videos.

While I like that the myTouch skin provides customizability, I don’t really like what HTC and T-Mobile has done with the 4G’s camera interface. Rather than the stock Android 2.2 interface, which gives you access to white balance and exposure controls, the myTouch’s camera does all this automatically for you. It isn’t a big deal, but it is an example of how these skins can sometimes interfere with features found in stock Android. I honestly think that the myTouch would be slightly better–and perhaps even faster–if it ran the stock Android OS.

Superb Camera/Camcorder

Despite these gripes, I was really happy with how my photos taken with the myTouch’s 5-megapixel camera turned out. On a gloomy World Series day in San Francisco, my outdoor photos looked pretty good considering the low light. Photos taken indoors looked sharp and vibrant, but perhaps a bit overexposed (a common problem with smartphone cameras). The camera also has an LED flash, autofocus and face detection.

The HD camcorder captured pretty sharp video of a busy San Francisco street (all of those people in orange and black are headed toward the Giants’ stadium for the World Series Game 2). The sound isn’t the best however–especially if you’re in a windy area. See and hear the sample video below:

 

The myTouch also has a front-facing camera, which lets you make video calls with or without a Wi-Fi connection. I only briefly tested this feature over HSPA+ as I could only find a few spots where signal strengths were strong enough to make a good video call. In the café on Van Ness St, where we achieved our fastest data speeds, video chat looked really good. And of course, video chat worked fine over Wi-Fi.

You have two options for video chat: Qik or Yahoo Messenger. Both integrate nicely into your address book, too, alerting you which of your contacts have video chatting capabilities. Since I’ve used Qik a lot with other devices, I opted to use Yahoo Messenger’s video chatting app. It was really easy to set-up with my existing Yahoo account and it was simple to make calls directly from my list of contacts.

We are going to be testing this feature more in-depth over HSPA+ so stay tuned for a follow-up article.

HSPA+: How Fast Is It?

The myTouch 4G runs on T-Mobile’s 3G HSPA+ network, but the company defends the MyTouch 4G name by pointing out the connection speeds seen on the phone are on par with LTE and WiMAX.

And from what we’ve seen, T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network really is kicking out speeds comparable with existing 4G networks-in certain places. Sitting at in a café in San Francisco, where HSPA+ service is available (and strong), a T-Mobile rep achieved download speeds of 3.5 mbps and upload speeds of 0.66 mbps per second in one test, then 4.5 mbps down and 1.31 mbps up in a second test. The rep said he’d seen download speeds of 6 mbps earlier in the day.

Unfortunately, over at our offices on the other side of town, we didn’t achieve such high speeds. An average of three tests yielded download speeds of 28 kbps (or 0.03 mbps) and an average upload speed of 86 kbps (or 0.08 mbps) over the regular 3G network. At least in San Francisco, it really depends on where you are in the city to get the high HSPA+ speeds.

Unlike Sprint, which charges $10/month for 4G whether you have coverage or not, T-Mobile does not charge an extra fee for HSPA+.

Performance

Call quality was pretty good, but I did hear some strange static in the background of a few of my calls. Callers on the other end of the line were quite pleased with how my voice sounded. I made my test calls on a blustery, noisy World Series day (with multiple helicopters flying overhead), but my contacts said that they could barely hear the background noise.

Like a few of the older BlackBerry models on T-Mobile, you can make calls over Wi-Fi with the myTouch 4G. In fact, the myTouch 4G is the first phone on T-Mobile to have this option. My calls over Wi-Fi worked just fine, but be aware that if you leave that Wi-Fi hotspot, your call will be disconnected.

The myTouch 4G is powered by the second-generation Qualcomm 1GHz Snapdragon processor and 768MB of RAM. The phone is incredibly snappy, both in the browser (over Wi-Fi especially) and throughout the software. Native video playback was also quite impressive.

Conclusion

T-Mobile and HTC definitely have a real winner here with the myTouch 4G. The powerful processing speeds paired with HSPA+ data speeds is hard to beat when it comes to watching videos and browsing the Web. The camera is also quite good (though the camcorder’s microphones aren’t the best). If you don’t have HSPA+ available in your city however, you might want to hold off on buying a myTouch 4G until coverage is expanded. You won’t be able to make video calls over the network unless you have HSPA+ connectivity (you can still make them over Wi-Fi though). Even in a city where it is supported (like San Francisco), HSPA+ still has a ways to go for area coverage.

­Mark Sullivan also contributed to this review.

It looks like I’m featuring another phone for my tech article. Though in my opinion, this phone looks quite great, since it looks much better than any other T-Mobile phone. The camera, the accessories, the features, and its speed look great. T-Mobile should be proud. This phone looks like it would be used by many other people.


New BlackBerry product released

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The next version of Research In Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES), v5.0.3, or BES 5.0 Service Pack 3 packs a variety of valuable new features for BlackBerry administrators and RIM smartphone users, according to a leaked BES 5.0.3 release-notes document from RIM.

Notable new features and enhancements for administrators include:

* BES admins can choose to make smartphone software updates optional for their users

* The BlackBerry MDS Integration Service is now end-of-life. The BES 5.0.3 setup application removes the MDS Integration Service when you upgrade a BES

* End of support for Microsoft SQL Server 2000

* Support for more IM servers, including Microsoft’s Office Communications Server 2007 R2 and Lync Server 2010

* Support for Microsoft Hyper-V 2008 R2 virtualization platform

* Many new IT policy groups and rules

BES 5.0.3 enhancements for users include:

* Users have the option to rollback optional software updates

* The default settings for media file downloads have changed to allow users to download larger amounts of content using the BlackBerry Browser or through an HTTP connection using BlackBerry MDS Connection Service

* When a meeting organizer receives a meeting confirmation email message via BlackBerry, or a request for information email message, the email message includes any comments that the meeting participant added

* support for Microsoft Office 2010 file attachments

Select RIM BES customers are already testing a beta version of the new software update, called BES 5.0 SP3 Beta/EAP1, and the official release is expected within the next month or so.

In related news, RIM this week released a BES security update to address yet another issue with the BES BlackBerry Attachment Service’s PDF distiller component.  

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————–After reading this article, this phone looks to be quite useful for people who like their internet on the go. But then again, BlackBerry was bound to make a phone like this, as with other companies. All it does is just give you a better internet, more storage space, and more programs (apps). Though in saying that,this phone doesn’t look to bad. With this phone, internet can be much more faster and convenient, there’s more security, and looks quite good.    Article from:http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/207914/blackberry_enterprise_server_50_sp3_has_new_features.html


Linux and other OS competitors (5 things Linux does better than Mac OS X) Tech Article September 30

5 Things Linux Does Better Than Mac OS X

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By Katherine Noyes, PCWorld

Were it not for Windows’ long-standing installed base and overwhelming market dominance, it seems unlikely that anyone would argue seriously for the merit of the operating system, plagued as it is by high prices, security problems and vendor lock-in.

Apple OS X, however, is another matter. Though certainly a minority, Mac fans are passionate and vocal enough to make it clear that Apple must be doing something right–whether that “something” has anything to do with the technology or not.

As an outspoken fan of Linux, I’ll make no bones about where my preference lies–and that I think the success of the Mac is mostly a matter of marketing. Whatever your own personal beliefs, though, there’s no denying that there are certain things Linux clearly does better than Mac OS X. If you’re trying to decide on a platform for your business, these factors are worth keeping in mind.

1. Security

The Mac might enjoy a smaller installed base than Windows does, meaning there’s less of the monoculture effect and less of a lure for malicious hackers, but Linux blows them both away when it comes to security.

First is the question of permissions: Linux users are not automatically given administrator privileges on their computers, meaning that viruses and malware don’t automatically have access to everything in the proverbial “castle.” So, when a computer is compromised, the most the malware can typically do is trash the user’s local files and programs.

With Apple, on the other hand–as with Windows–social engineering is painfully easy. Just convince the user to click on something, and away you go, with the castle keys in hand.

Apple is also notorious for trying to “protect” users in its “walled garden,” keeping all the inner workings of the computer secret and out of view. It’s even more extreme in this respect, in fact, than Windows is. The only ones who can see and watch for vulnerabilities in the code, then, are Apple engineers, who understandably have their own priorities and timetables.

With Linux, on the other hand, there is a world of users examining the code every day. No wonder, then, that Linux vulnerabilities can be found and fixed more quickly.

Recent data backs this up. Research firm Secunia recently found that Apple now “outshines” even Windows in the number of security vulnerabilities associated with its products.

2. Customizability

I can understand that there are some users who want to live in a walled garden, and are content to do things the way Apple wants them to. For the rest of us, however, the restrictions Apple puts on the user are just unacceptable.

With Linux, virtually everything is customizable and configurable, so that you can make pretty much everything the way you want it to be. Don’t like the GNOME desktop that Ubuntu comes with? Try KDE then–or another one! The choice really is yours, as it should be.

3. Hardware

Hand-in-hand with the question of flexibility is the fact that OS X–like Windows–is very restrictive in the hardware that it will work with, requiring pretty much the latest and greatest hardware to run well. Try it on anything less, and you’ll pay the price.

One of Linux’s most endearing virtues, on the other hand, is its capability to run on just about anything. In fact, there are even distributions of Linux designed for really limited computing environments, such as Puppy Linux and Damn Small Linux.

With OS X, Apple tells you what hardware you must have; with Linux, you tell it what you’ve got and go from there.

4. Reliability

Systems crashes and downtime are pretty much a fact of life when you’re a Mac user, but Linux offers a completely different experience. Many Linux users, in fact, have never experienced unplanned downtime. No wonder, then, Linux is so often the operating system of choice on servers. What business can afford unnecessary downtime these days?

5. Price

It almost seems too easy to point this out, but, well, Linux is free. Macs? Not so much–they’re even higher-priced than Windows machines, in fact.

Sure, there are proprietary vendors who will try to convince you that Linux’s long-term total cost of ownership is higher. That, however, is just a myth. For one thing, as I’ve noted before, such arguments typically don’t factor in the cost of being locked in with a particular vendor.

There are also numerous studies confirming Linux’s cost advantages. Then, of course, there’s all the anecdotal evidence in the form of governments and organizations around the globe turning to Linux in growing numbers every day.

No operating system is perfect, of course. But Linux has so many advantages over its desktop competitors that any business enterprise would be remiss not to give it a chance.  (Article from http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/206692/5_things_linux_does_better_than_mac_os_x.html)


Tech Article Sept. 17

‘Nokia is back – and we’re not sorry that we’re not Apple’ declares exec.

PaidContent: biggest mobile phone maker declares intention to win against rivals

paidcontentuk-s.jpgNokia‘s beaten-down top dogs opened their annual Nokia World show in London Tuesday morning with a blunt and rousing pep talk and a direct riposte to their competitors.

“We’re not going to apologise for the fact that we’re not Apple or Google or anybody else – we’re Nokia and we’re unique,” markets executive vice president Niklas Savander said.

“Nokia’s going through a tough, challenging transition and we have a LOT more work to do. But we have laid the foundation for success.”

Bullish, Savander mocked Apple’s Scott Forstall for borrowing Nokia’s corporate slogan to talk about iPhone recently: “Connecting People is more than just a feel-good tagline – it’s our mission.” In return, standing on stage in front of Nokia’s developer community, Savander borrowed back a Steve Jobs catchphrase and took aim at iPhone 4…

“One more thing,” he said, before talking about Nokia’s flagship new N8 handset: “They perform – day in, day out – no matter how you hold them.

“In the past quarter, people bought far more Nokia phones than Apple and Android combined. On average, people buy 260,000 new Nokia smartphones every day – that’s more smartphones sales than any other company by far – period.” The N8, which has been taken on by over 100 carriers globally, is the first Nokia handset to be released with the re-engineered Symbian 3 OS on which Nokia’s smartphone future will depend, and Nokia expects to ship at least 50 million.

But, in services, too, Savander also dared to declare: “Contrary to popular perception, Nokia – not Google (NSDQ: GOOG) – is the leader in mobile navigation. functionality quality and reach. Ovi Maps is far, far less hungry than the Google service. Why? Because it’s optimised for mobile use.” He also said Ovi Maps offers walking navigation that Google Maps does not.

On location sharing, Savander said over 800 million people will use GPS-enabled phones by 2013. “Soon, everything on the internet will have a location coordinate – it is a space that we intend to OWN.”

In fact, Google launched walking navigations for Android’s Google Maps last week, and no phone manufacturer is necessarily winning the location-sharing game ahead of dedicated services like Foursquare themselves.

“I recognise that we haven’t been as competitive as we want to be in smartphones. Well, that’s about to change. Today, we shift in to high gear in Nokia’s fightback in smartphone leadership.” Nevermind the past, Savander said: “Today is about the here and now, about three words. NOKIA IS BACK.”

Executive vice president Ansi Vanjoki, who received warm applause after his resignation was announced on Monday, told delegates in another confident address: “The reality is that Nokia invented the smartphone.”

Nokia’s “fightback” amounts to four new handsets – the N8 entertainment smartphone, mid-market C6 and C7 phones targeted at social network users, and an E7 corporate communicator – packing Symbian 3.