android

Google is getting bold, telling OEMs 'no' on other OSs

Update: Google's Andy Rubin finally responds. See after the break...

A bit of a controversy is slowly erupting over Acer’s widely publicized plan to use the Aliyun OS in a new line of low-cost smartphones, mostly destined for the Chinese market. Aliyun OS is a Linux-based system developed by the Chinese company Alibaba Group and offered a way for OEMs like Acer to diversify.

Acer has now abruptly canceled plans after Google “expressed concerns” over the announcement.  Though Acer still wants to use the Aliyun OS, the move by Google is being interpreted as a hostile action to block competition. Reportedly Google threatened to cancel Acer’s license to make Android devices, which many consider playing hardball.

The question is, how far is Google willing to go to maintain dominance?

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People really like the Lumia 920 but switching is always hard

In a new poll conducted by CouponCodes4u.com, 2,371 US smartphone owners between 18 and 35 were surveyed on the new Lumia 920 introduced by Nokia last week.

The survey found that most respondents were impressed by the new device with 61% of those interested intrigued by the PureMotion HD+ screen and 52% said the PureView camera system appealed to them.

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Nokia hoping to dine on jellybeans today

As we all sit here on tenterhooks awaiting the coming announcement from Nokia and Microsoft, Nokia’s twitter account just posted something strange. In what appears to be a little knock directed at Google’s Android OS, Nokia say “Today we dine on Jellybeans”.

Nokia appears to be stepping up their PR antics in the run up to the announcement with placards at Samsung’s recent event and of course the teaser trailers. Considering how well regarded Jellybean is, Nokia must be feeling confident they have the goods on this fine day.

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As the fallout from the Apple v Samsung case is being realized, there is a lot speculation as to what that decision will mean for the likes of Microsoft and Windows Phone. Opinions range from it will big big for Microsoft to it won’t matter for them at all.

The Korea Times, a paper with a mixed reputation on these matters, has gone on record in saying that Samsung is looking to form a stronger relationship with Microsoft as a result of the Apple decision. But is it accurate?

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The team over at Plaffo have been experiencing issues with the LG Optimus 7. The Windows Phone would lock when booting and appear to 'freeze' on the LG logo, rendering the device useless. The problem is reportedly due to faulty boards in affected smartphones, but one would assume a simple return would solve everything with a shiny new Optimus 7, right? Wrong, or so it seems anyway.

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We're already aware of the result for the Apple versus Samsung US patent battle, which left Samsung with a $1 billion bill. It really couldn't have gone worse for the smartphone manufacturer who has interest in both Android and Windows Phone (the penalty phase returns on September 20th though). Google remained fairly quiet on the front, but has released a statement that details an expected stance on the court results.

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The last few weeks have been exciting for Windows Phone with all the leaks concerning Windows Phone 8 hardware. The launch is almost upon us and of course, we’re all excited about the phones we’re likely to see. The next gen specs, even on the rumoured low end devices, are a big jump for Windows Phone. But will high-end devices from Samsung and HTC excite? Let’s look at the situation.

As we only have rumours so far, you’ll have to take the following with pinches of salt as we speculate somewhat. To start with, let’s cast our eye over the proposed Samsung devices. No doubt on paper these devices look the part but delving deeper we can clearly see that their high-end device is likely along the lines of a Galaxy S3. Will a recent flagship Android device serve as the high-end launch device for Windows Phone 8?

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Financial news for HTC continues to get worse with the company now chalking up another $40m (US) loss. From underperforming on smartphone sales to “restructuring” its investment in Beats audio, HTC is not having a good time of it. The hit this time comes from the cloud gaming service OnLive.

HTC’s hope, was that cloud gaming could help bring high end games to those without the beefy hardware to pull it off. Other big players such as AT&T, Autodesk and Warner Bros also had a stake. OnLive almost went bankrupt due to the huge investment it needed to make on infrastructure to power their gaming service.

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Twitter has announced some sweeping changes to their all-important application programming interface or just API. This API is essential plumbing to allow application developers access to the “fire hose” of data from twitter. It has been no secret that Twitter wish to tighten their grip ever more over whom can access their system. With their latest set of guidelines, they show they mean business.

As Windows Phone users, we are literally spoilt for choice when it comes to third party twitter apps, with the likes of Rowi, Carbon, glƏƏk!, Mehdoh and Birdsong (to name drop a few). The new API could mean real headaches for those trying to differentiate with their Twitter client...

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The speech recognition service, offering similar capabilities to Apples Siri is set to get a sweet little cash injection. The company has just walked away from talks to inject $5 million US into expanding its service to include more accents and languages.

The company is working closely with Nuance Communications to deliver mobile apps for Android and Apple devices and even bring the service to normal cell phones too. They aim to bring the service to tablets and computing headsets also.

Ask Ziggy also announced that they intend to release its SDK shortly. Sounds like good news for the company. It is clear that investors see the market value of these speech recognition systems. As Windows Phones users, we have had Ask Ziggy for some time and overall folks seem happy with the service.

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Windows Phone has been growing at a steady rate, mainly down to advertising campaigns and brand pushes from Nokia with its Lumia family of smartphones. According to data released today by IDC, the platform has been sporting a year-on-year growth increase of 115% - not bad, eh? IDC also notes that the OS has been closing the gap between itself and Blackberry in the last quarter in the fight to become the 3rd major player in the smartphone market.

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A recent paper presented at Black hat 2012 by Peter Hannay has demonstrated a vulnerability in how iOS and Android deal with certificates whilst operating with an Exchange Server. The good news in this report is that Peter was unable to trick Windows Phone 7.5 devices using the same methods.

Using a man in the middle attack combined with a generic fake certificate, they were able to gain some traction in sending a command to iOS and Android devices to commence a device wipe. When devices are connected via Active Sync they commit to accepting certain responsibilities, one of the most important and sensitive of which is the wipe command. They tested off two sets of Exchange 2010 servers. One running with a self-signed certificate, a very common configuration for small business and another using a certificate from a trusted certificate signing authority.

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Last week we reported WhatsApp had disappeared from view on the Windows Phone Marketplace (it was actually set to private), and were awaiting official clarification on the matter. Turns out, according to a report over at MonWindowsPhone, the app has a serious security flaw, which requires the team to pull the app and look into the problem. An update is well on its way.

The app enables Windows Phone owners to send messages to other devices and is available for multiple platforms. German website ComputerBild reported that an Android app, called WhatsAppSniffer, allowed users to access messages sent using WhatsApp on a WiFi network. The developers of the popular messaging service are patching the app due to it sending  messages via XMP protocol and in plain text.

We'll keep you posted and will announce when the app is available on the Marketplace with the patch bundled in an update for existing users. In the meantime, you can checkout some early images of the Windows Phone 8 version of WhatsApp.

Update: We've received word from a WhatsApp employee stating the following in an email,

"This has nothing to do with security. Please don't spread mis-information."

Take it as you will. We'll look forward to more information and possible clarification. Until then, WhatsApp is not available until the promised update is released to the Marketplace.

via: MonWindowsPhone

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HTC has released its audited Q2 2012 earnings report today, which keep in line with unaudited results we touched on last month. According to the report, HTC generated revenues of NT$91.04 billion (~$3.04 billion), while net income sat at NT$7.4 billion (~$247 million) between March and June this year. The company's gross margin was 27.01% with an operating margin of 9%. 

HTC expects a tough Q3 and we will be looking out for further decreases in revenue, profit and operating margins in the next financial report. Revenues are expected to be in the region of NT$70-80 billion, with a gross margin and operating margin of 25% and 7% respectively. Should the handset maker continue to dwindle slowly south in the third quarter of this year, it'll paint a rather bleak picture compared to the height of success back in Q3 2011, with reported revenues of NT$135.82 billion (~$4.53 billion).

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Images of a Sony Android tablet have been leaked on German news website Mobiflip. According to the slides, if they're anything to go by, the Sony tablet looks incredibly familiar, almost as if we've seen such a design previously. The Microsoft Surface range of Windows 8 tablets were unveiled earlier this year and sport the same look with a keyboard built into the cover. This Sony tablet, branded as "Xperia Sony Tablet", will sport a number of improvements over the current Sony Tablet S.

There is one noticeable difference between the cover seen on the Surface tablets and on this possible Sony product. The cover -- while sporting a similar keyboard -- appears to wrap around the device, as opposed to clipping on the side. Also, Sony's cover will fold back to form a kickstand, eliminating the requirement for an extra accessory. Think a Microsoft-Apple hybrid.

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In a new study just released tonight, Appcelerator and IDC surveyed 3,632 'Appcelerator Titanium' developers from May 11-18, 2012 on their plans for app development now and in the future. Though not a survey of consumer demand the data is but one piece of the bigger picture of how Windows Phone (and Android, iOS, BlackBerry and webOS) is fairing amongst developers. For that reason, it should be considered as a metric but not necessarily the only one to measure interest or future success.

The news is not very good for Windows Phone but there is some light at the end of the tunnel for the future iterations of the OS, specifically the ‘Apollo’ update coming later this year.  That's interesting as Windows Phone has been coasting on ‘hope’ for nearly two years now and developers have not yet completely abandoned it, seeing weakness in Android.

For a complete run down, head past the break…

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Swedish website Webhallen.com is listing Microsoft Surface tablet pricing on its site. If these details are correct then pricing would be substantially higher than previously thought. Of particular interest here is the cheapest Arm based WinRT device, a 32GB model, showing up costing around £648.00 or $1000.

It had previously been suggested that WinRT tablets would be priced relatively in line with current ARM based tablets. If we were to rule out Android tablets and aim at the higher end iPads for a price guide then comparatively, the Surface is going to be much more expensive. Currently you can pick up a 32GB Wi-Fi only iPad for about £479.00 or £579.00 for the 3g variant. In either case, that puts the Surface well above the current market leader. Even if the Surface device is to be 3g enabled it would still be £70 more expensive in comparison. It has been rumoured that the Surface is not 3g capable, if that’s the case then the price gap leaps to £169.

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We last looked at PhoneGap, the Adobe-owned open source mobile development platform, when version 1.3 arrived which included support for Windows Phone. Adobe has now released 2.0 and further expands on the feature set provided to developers who wish to build apps that can easily be submitted to multiple platform app stores.

Using HTML5, CSS and Javascript, PhoneGap allows those who do not possess the knowledge of mobile platform native code to create and release apps for all the supported operating systems. So what's new in version two-point-oh? The team have implemented a new command line interface for building iOS apps, which removes issues surrounding Apple's Xcode tools, adds more support for enterprise app development, includes enhanced user guides and documentation, as well as security and stability improvements.

Cordova WebView is also present, which allows for the integration of PhoneGap as a larger native application. Listed with the new features is "Windows Phone support", which we're slightly confused at since it was added in version 1.3. We've reached out to the PhoneGap team for clarification just in case there are some incredibly useful features added. We'll update the article once we've received a reply.

Source: CMSWire

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Nokia has reportedly shipped 6.9 million Lumias

Sales numbers and estimates are always a tricky thing, especially when you don’t have concrete numbers to work with. We also tend to boast the good news and downplay the bad so with that caveat we’ll provide you the latest in “market analysis”. Don’t worry, this one is mostly good.

Strategy Analytics is making quite the name for themselves this day if only because they tend to buck the trend when it comes to Nokia and Windows Phone. In their latest report (available here to subscribers), they claim that Nokia shipped (not necessarily sold) 6.9 million Lumia Windows Phone since its launch in Q4 2011 and up through Q2 2012. 

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Although news on or about Windows Phone may be slow coming out today there’s still plenty going on in the tech world that’s tied to Microsoft with some residual effects for our favorite mobile OS. Instead of spamming our own site with tangential news, we figured we would just summarize in a digest. Cool?

Today’s new stories that we've found interesting are the following—

  • Motorola import ban for violating Microsoft’s patent goes into effect tomorrow
  • Office 2013 has an app store + hidden Metro site
  • Forbes Online says Nokia stock is worth holding on to

So head past the break to catch up on some of these interesting stories making the rounds today...

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