Thursday, February 28, 2013

Samsung, Intel's Tizen 2.0 OS

Samsung-backed Tizen has officially been announced at the Mobile World Congress. The Tizen 2.0 OS is based on the Linux operating system similar to Android and as pointed out in an earlier report, most of the impetus behind Tizen comes from cellphone carriers, which want a successful counterweight to the clout of Google and Apple. 

Sprint is a member of the Tizen Association, but it hasn't said if it has any plans to bring Tizen handsets to the U.S. Other major backers include Intel and Huawei. Other companies on the Tizen Association board of directors are Fujitsu, KT, NEC, Docomo, Orange, Panasonic, SK Telecom and Vodafone.

France-based telecom operator Orange said that it will sell Tizen 2.0 handsets this year, with devices from Samsung and possibly Huawei. Speaking earlier to reporters and industry insiders on the sidelines of the MWC, Yves Maitre, the executive in charge of handsets at Orange, said the carrier expects to launch Tizen phones in France this year and in developing countries next year.

Japan's NTT DoCoMo has already committed to launching Tizen phones and says it wants to be the first. Though pricing details remain blurry as of now CNET reports that executives of Orange and NTT DoCoMo stated that the Tizen phones would witness high end pricing, upwards of $300. 

Tizen is likely to compete with other newly launched operating systems like the Firefox OS, as well as Microsoft's Windows Phone and an overhauled BlackBerry operating system. 

Two days ago, Samsung officially announced its plans to pull the plug on the Bada OS and merge it with Tizen, which is based on MeeGo and is being supported by Intel and Samsung.

Korean website Yonhap quoted Hong Won-pyo, President of Samsung's Media Solutions Center to also add that the merger will be more like a transition, and that Tizen phones would be able to run Bada apps, while Bada phones would not be upgradable to Tizen. 

IDC Analyst Francisco Jeronimo tweeted from the event saying that the first Tizen device will debut in France in August/ September, with Orange and Samsung, followed by other markets in 2014. He also said that 10 engineers are working on Orange's customisation of the Tizen device.

TechCrunch further reports that an Orange spokeswoman confirmed its intention to launch a Tizen device this year, saying: "We are planning to introduce a device in Q3 but not sharing details yet."

Windows Phone 7.8 - Roll Out Grinds to a Halt 2013

Anyone hoping to get an upgrade to Windows Phone 7.8 in the near future could be disappointed, as the roll-out of updates has reportedly come to a halt.
According to WP-centric website WMPowerUser, Vodafone’s German arm has confirmed that upgrades have stopped until further notice. The company’s support staff has said that a date has been set for the roll-out to begin again, but are not revealing when that date is.
Windows Phone 7.8 brings several features seen in Windows Phone 8 to users of handsets with the older WP7 OS. Most recognisable are the resizeable Live Tiles which form one of the most distinctive features of WP8 and can be seen on leading handsets such as the Nokia Lumia 920.
Data collected by Windows Phone developers’ advertising network Adduplex suggests that so far only 16% of users have received the upgrade to the new version of Microsoft’s mobile platform.
Speculation has arisen about the reasons for the delay, with some commentators suggesting that problems with Live Tiles consuming too much data and not updating correctly could be to blame.

Nokia Lumia 720 and Lumia 520 UK price-2013

Nokia showcased its brand new Windows 8 contenders - Lumia 720 and Lumia 520 - at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2013. UK retailer Clove has now shared availability and pricing details for these smartphones.

Nokia Lumia 720 is expected to be available starting April 1, 2013. At the time of launch, it will be available only in black colour option. The price for Nokia Lumia 720 has been listed at 299.99 Pounds (including all taxes and VAT) sans any contract.
As you may be aware, Nokia Lumia 720 sports a 4.3-inch display. The screen of Lumia 720 is protected by Gorilla Glass 2. Internally, the smartphone packs in Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 chipset with a 1GHz dual-core processor. It comes with 512MB of RAM and 2,000mAh battery.
The device claims to deliver a high-end camera performance. It features a large f/1.9 aperture with Carl Zeiss optics that are designed to deliver bright, clear pictures day and night, and a HD-quality, wide-angle front-facing camera. Nokia Lumia 720 is also the first unibody smartphone to offer microSD support.
On the other hand, SIM-free Nokia Lumia 520 has been listed on Clove for 170 Pounds (including VAT and taxes). This smartphone too will be available starting April 1 in UK. At the time of launch, the colour options available for Lumia 520 are black and white.
It's noteworthy that Nokia Lumia 520 is being touted as the most affordable Windows Phone 8 device. This smartphone comes with 4-inch super sensitive touchscreen which the company believes will make it competitive with other budget smartphones. The display resolution of the smartphone is 480x800 pixels. Lumia 520 also comes with dual-core 1GHz Snapdragon processor with 512 MB of RAM. The internal storage available on the device is 8GB and can be expanded by another 64GB via microSD card.
There is a 1,430mAh battery on board Lumia 520, which as per company claims gives 9.60 hours of talk time and standby time of 15 days. It has a 5-megapixel autofocus rear camera. Camera features include Smart Shoot, CinemaGraph and more.

LG Optimus G E975


Let’s be honest here, LG hasn’t had the best of luck when it comes to smartphones. It caught a break back in the day with the Optimus 2X for being the first dual-core handset to hit the market that wasn’t exorbitantly priced. Since then, we’ve had a few good handsets like theOptimus Black and the Optimus 4X HD, but that could not truly overpower the competition. So when LG sent us an invite for the unveiling of the Optimus G, we were a bit sceptical as whether it would make a big impact and shake up the competition or simply be an updated 4X HD with better specifications. This is our first impression of the LG Optimus G

Design and build 
We are happy to report that the design and finish of the Optimus G is a huge improvement over the 4X HD, even though it shares similar dimensions. The finish of the handset, especially the back, is inspired by the Nexus 4 as it features the same texture and pattern when viewed under any light. The sides feel a little sharp due to the chrome trim running along the edge, which is a bit annoying at first, but it also gives you some grip. The power and volume rocker take their place on either side of the handset and are within reach. The glossy back masks fingerprints very well, so maintaining a clean look is not that hard.
Build quality and aesthetics have been bumped up

The phone feels sturdy and well-built and is fairly light as well. The 4.7-inch HD screen has an aspect ratio of 15:9, which is why it feels a little wider than the Nexus 4 or the Galaxy Nexus. The TrueHD IPS+ display produces good colours and the brightness levels are high enough for any lighting condition. To top it off, we have Corning Gorilla Glass 2 for added protection. The display also has very good sensitivity and even the lightest touch is registered. We were quite impressed with the overall design and finish of the handset, which is a notch above LG’s usual offerings.
The sealed back is similar to the Nexus 4 in terms of design

Thanks to the generous helping of 2GB RAM and a spiffy quad-core SoC, the Optimus G is fast – really, really fast. During our usage, we didn’t come across even the slightest hint of lag. Apps open and close really quickly and you jump right back into them without having to wait. We have partly Jelly Bean to thank for this as well as a much optimised Optimus UI 3.0. The skin looks a lot more mature as compared to what we’ve seen on LG’s previous offerings. It finally looks a lot less like TouchWiz as LG has dialled down the colours for the theme and the icons.

We got a chance to try out some of the new features in the Optimus G such as QSlide, QuickMemo and Screen Zooming. The QSlide function works a lot like the split-screen mode on the Note II. There’s a small list of apps that work in this mode and can be accessed directly through the notification bar. Once opened, you get a floating window that can be dragged around and resized. LG takes it a step further and lets you adjust the transparency of the app as well, which is really cool. With the transparency set to below 50 percent, you can continue using the phone “through” the opened app as if it were not there. You can have two of these apps opened at a time. Again, there’s absolutely no lag whatsoever when performing this task.
The Optimus G pulls off some cool new tricks without breaking a sweat

QuickMemo lets you write anywhere on the screen by simply selecting the mode from the notification bar or holding the volume up/down button for two seconds. This brings up a little carousel from the top that lets you select brushes, colours, etc., but instead of capturing a screenshot and then letting you write, which is how it usually works, it creates an overlay so your writing stays while you continue to use your phone. This is something really unique and a lot more practical as well. Make sure you watch the video for all these features in action. 

LG Optimus L3 II - on sale worldwide starting this week with Brazil - 2013


LG recently launched the successor to its Optimus L-series of devices in the form of the L3 II, L5 II and L7 II.The devices were then showcased at the MWC floor and after the L7 II recently went on sale in Russia, it's time for the L3 II to say hello to the world this week.

The Optimus L3 II will begin gradually rolling out this week and Brazil will be the first country to witness the device's availability. This will be followed by single and dual-SIM models being introduced in the other markets of South and Central America, Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa.

Until now, we knew little about this device except that it sports a 3.2-inch QVGA IPS display and comes with a 1,540mAh battery. Other specs on the Optimus L3 II include a 1 GHz single core processor with 512MB RAM, 4GB of internal storage and a 3-megapixel camera.

The device, running on Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean, will have a dual-SIM variant like the other two siblings in the series. Dimensions of the single SIM pan out as 102.6 x 61.1 x 11.9mm while the dual-SIM variant measures 102.9 x 61.3 x 11.9mm. There isn't much difference.

Feature wise, the Optimus L3 II will offer QuickMemo with Overlay mode that was previously only available in LG's premium smartphones. QuickMemo with Overlay mode allows users to jot notes on a transparent "layer" while still being able to view another screen in the background. This eliminates the need to split the screen and allows both QuickMemo and the other application to be viewed in full-screen mode simultaneously.

LG says it has introduced four new design elements throughout its LII-Series incorporating a Seamless Layout, Laser Cut Contour, Radiant Rear Design and Smart LED Lighting on the home button.

"The Optimus L3 II is a versatile phone for the smart and stylish individual," said Dr. Jong-seok Park, president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. He further added, "Its improved user experience makes this an attractive device for customers who want to express their sense of style without sacrificing functionality."

The Optimus L3 II will be available in four vibrant colour options namely indigo black, white, pink and titan. The pricing however, will be announced at a later date.

Apart from the overhauled LII series, the Korean manufacturer also introduced the Optimus F7 and the F5 4G LTE smartphones as part of a new F series. The Korean smartphone maker has so far not announced the pricing for these smartphones. However, it has indicated that the worldwide rollout of the Optimus F5 will begin in the second quarter in Europe, and will be followed by Optimus F7 in selected markets.

LG Optimus L3 II key specifications
  • 3.2-inch QVGA IPS
  • 1GHz single-core processor
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 4 GB of internal storage
  • 3-megapixel rear camera
  • 1,540mAh battery
  • Android 4.1.2
  • Available in Indigo Black, White, Pink, Titan
  • 102.6 x 61.1 x 11.9mm (Single-SIM)
  • 102.9 x 61.3 x 11.9mm (Dual-SIM)

LG Optimus LTE III with 720p - display in the works 2013

LG made a big splash at the Mobile World Congress (2013) by showcasing a slew of Optimus smartphones including a new F and LII series of phones.

AndroidHeadlines via Blog of Mobile is reporting that the Korean smartphone maker is looking at launching another new Optimus smartphone. As per the website, the smartphone will be dubbed LG Optimus LTE III.
This smartphone is currently codenamed F1X (LG-F260S) and is expected to be launched South Koreaʼs SK Telecom for that region. However, availability details in regards other regions is not available as of now.
As far as the specs go, Blog of Mobile claims that the F1X is likely to come with Qualcommʼs Snapdragon S4 Plus processor (MSM8960) and with a likely clock speed of 1.5GHz. It is the same processor that is powering last year's flagships such as HTC One X and the Samsung Galaxy S3.
F1X is likely to come with a 720p HD screen; however it is still not clear what will be the exact screen size for this smartphone.  However, given the current scheme of things, we guess the screen size could be anywhere between 4-inch to 5.5-inches.
As per the grapevine, this smartphone is likely to comes with 2,540 mAh battery and run on Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean). Also going by the name, the smartphone will support LTE, and is likely to be compatible with both W-CDMA and GSM networks alike.
On the side-lines of MWC, LG has also indicated that it is looking at mass-producing the Odin processors by using finer 28-nanometer level processing, applying high-k metal gate (HKMG) technology. This processor will be used in LG's next flagship Optimus smartphone ― the Optimus GII ― which will probably be unveiled at this fall's IFA trade fair. Though other specs for this smartphone are not available by now, but looks like this could be another smartphone to keep an eye on for the second half of the year

Apple, Samsung face - Chinese threat in smartphones race

The next billion people to connect to the Internet in developing countries will do so largely via smartphones, prompting a battle that could favour low-price Chinese manufacturers like Huawei and ZTE over market leaders Samsung and Apple.

Fixed-line telephone networks are often weak in emerging markets and building new ones is expensive, and so smartphones are becoming a vital way to connect populations to the web and bolster economic growth.
Consumers in markets from Nigeria to Indonesia are hungry for features now standard in the United States and Europe that allow them to tweet or watch video on the go.
The challenge for smartphone makers is offering those features at a price local populations can afford.
Manoj Kohli, chief executive of Indian operator Bharti Airtel, said emerging market consumers were ready to leapfrog basic phone models and go straight for smartphones, but that prices could not come down fast enough.
"People in the developing world are going straight to the mobile Internet," he said in a keynote session at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
The focus on low-price smartphones could step up the challenge to market leaders Apple and Samsung, which are best-known for their top-end iPhone and Galaxy S3 models.
Lenovo, known for its PC business, has quietly become the fifth-biggest smartphone maker in the world by almost exclusively focusing on a single market: its home country China.
It is now expanding into Indonesia, India and Russia in a bid to appeal to the rising middle classes there.
And Huawei and ZTE have built share by bringing features pioneered by Apple and Samsung such as touch screens, fast processors and better cameras to the market at prices around $100.
The opportunities in emerging markets appear huge.

Just 4 percent of Africans had smartphones in 2012, according to research group Informa. The figure was slightly higher at 11 percent in the developing countries in the Asia Pacific region. In comparison, North America had the highest take up of web-connected phones, at 47 percent.
Between 2012 and 2017, telecoms consultancy Ovum expects that there will be 1.6 billion new mobile connections across the world, with 61 percent of these coming from Asia-Pacific. Africa will be the fastest-growing region, with mobile connections growing at a compound annual rate of 6.5 percent.
Lenovo's Chief Executive Yang Yuanqing said strong price competition among Chinese players had resulted in a smartphone boom in the country of 1.3 billion. Of all the phones sold in 2012, he said 70 percent were smartphones, and he's looking to repeat the trick elsewhere in Asia and Russia.
"We have been very successful in China, so we know how to win in emerging markets," he told reporters.
"In a mature market you need to build a very strong relationship with the carriers so they can give you a subsidy, but in emerging markets you can sell in the open market."
He pinpoints a problem for the big players. Top-end devices, like the iPhone and Galaxy S3 attract subsidies from network operators in Europe and the United States, hiding the cost of around $500-600 over a two-year contract. Such deals are much harder to find in emerging markets.
The result of a lack of subsidies means the appeal of a phone largely comes down to its upfront cost, which combined with the Chinese companies' growing ability to match and in some cases surpass the technical specifications of the market leaders, could prove troublesome for Apple and Samsung in emerging markets.
Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight, said the Chinese players, which also include TCL Corp, were already raising concerns at Samsung, which leads the Chinese market.
"If Samsung is worried, you've got to imagine that Nokia is terrified," he said. "The Chinese companies can find enough volume in the Chinese market to sustain the volumes they need and the money they need to keep pushing internationally."
Companies like Nokia, Samsung and Apple are not standing still, however.
Nokia, which has for years been strong in emerging markets with basic devices, is introducing new lower-priced phones with email and basic web browsing to target consumers in Africa and Asia-Pacific countries in particular.
At the same time, though, Chinese manufacturers like Huawei and ZTE are trying to shake off their copycat reputations by introducing marketing slogans and top-end devices in Barcelona.
Huawei's Ascend P2 is billed as the fastest smartphone on the market, and has other innovations, such as power saving technology, priced at 399 euros.
Wan Biao, chief executive of Huawei Device Co, said the high innovation level in the Ascend P2 had already started to attract the attention of operators.
France Telecom's Orange appeared on stage at the launch. It will sell the device in France from June 2013.
The operator's VP of devices, Yves Maitre, said Orange was placing a bet on Huawei just as it had in the past with Apple and Samsung.

Google's Chrome Super Sync Sports

Google never stops surprising its users. in a latest set of what it calls a Chrome experiment, Google lets users turn their smartphones and tablets into a gaming controller for a multiplayer game titled Super Sync Sports. And boy is it fun!

The technology for the game is based on a combination of HTML5, CSS3, WebSockets and Google App Engine which allows players to enjoy the game without additional plugins. 

Here's how this works. To get started, users need to open on the desktop and mobile browsers. The game supports Chrome for Android 4.0 or later, Chrome for iOS 4.3+, Firefox version 15+ and Safari version 5+ on mobile devices. For desktop, it is compatible with Chrome version 15+, Safari version 5.06+ and Firefox version 10+.

Players must login to the game on their browsers on both desktop and mobile. They then need to choose from any three races - running, cycling and swimming followed by preferences for single or multi-player modes.

Players will be prompted to enter a link into their mobile browser with a code. Once they hit the sync button on their mobile devices, they'll be "super synced" with their desktop browser. Players can also send invite codes to friends to join up to four gamers in one session. 

Users can choose from a collection of 45 adorable-looking and quirky characters each unique in their own way. You can elect to be a Rare House Maxi Raymond an LP vinyl record who "knows his music trivia" and is "uncomfortable with silence". 

Or you can also be Mr. Bald Eagle who is "Born in the US of A" and has a "big mouth".  Other such wacky characters include a slab of steak, a hipster-looking dude "stuck in the 1870's" with a sweatband and handlebar moustache.

The game has really upbeat and funky music that will set the mood right away. Each sport has its own set of gestures that need to be used in order to win the races. 

Cycling is the toughest, involving the use of gestures with two fingers of the same hand in a simultaneous circular motion. The faster and more uniformly you make these gestures, the faster the character swims. 

The game has Facebook, Twitter and Google+ integration allowing players to flaunt their scores socially. So let the games begin!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Designer - What An iPhone Phablet & iPhone Mini Might Look Like 2013

Big screens are the talk of the town at MWC. Got nothing else to announce that makes your handset stand out from the crowd? Throw a huge screen on the sucker. Or just put phone features in a tablet and call it a day. Apple seems to be the only smartphone OEM out there without a giant-screened smartphone, but designer Peter Zigich has created a concept of what a Cupertino phablet could look like, should Apple ever feel the need to big it up.
In a new blog post, Zigich envisions a number of different concepts for a next-generation iPhone, including a design that gains screen real estate simply by shifting the home button to the side of the device, clearing the entire front for display. That adds an extra row of apps, above and beyond the five plus dock available on the iPhone 5. A recessed, side-mounted home button actually makes a lot of sense, especially with one on each side for convenience/ambidextrous use, as Zigich has placed them in his mockup. Would Apple actually add a button to its design in the real world though? Never, say I.
Zigich’s basic iPhone 6 redesign borrows cues from the iPad mini to reduce the size of the bezel around the display, which is feasible if Apple integrates its accidental screen edge touch filters to the smartphone. The designer also employs the same tricks in developing an iPhone mini concept, and what he calls an “iPhone 6 XL,” or an iOS powered equivalent of a Galaxy Note-style handset with a big ol’ screen.
With his nearly edge-to-edge screen, Zigich says that his concept is still perfectly usable with one hand, which has been a sticking point for Apple in the past, at least in terms of the public line it has taken regarding bigger displays on smartphones. And the squat iPhone mini uses the same size screen as is found in an iPhone 4/4S, but in a much smaller package thanks to the new placement of the home button(s) and the shrunken bezel elements.
These concepts are excellent in that they don’t venture too far from Apple’s current design, making them look and feel like something we could actually see out of Cupertino, but despite their merits I doubt we’ll see Apple unveil very similar designs at any upcoming event. Still, with rumors of different screen sizes and new iPhone SKUs flying, it’s interesting to see a material take on how exactly Apple might go about that kind of product differentiation.

Best Apple iWatch photo 2013

iPhones - Vulnerability Gives Hackers Access to Locked

Think your iPhone 5 is safe and secure with your password lock set up nicely? A new vulnerability has been discovered which could allow hackers to bypass password locks and gain access to users' personal information.
First detected by Vulnerability Lab in a Full Disclosure report and further detailed on Kaspersky Labs' Threatpost blog, hackers can get around the iPhone's lock screen by using the Emergency Call function. The workaround gives the user access to contact lists, voicemails and photos.
"The exploit involves manipulating the phone’s screenshot function, its emergency call function and its power button," writes. "Users can make an emergency call (911 for example) on the phone and then cancel it while toggling the power on and off to get temporary access to the phone."
From there, a hacker can attach a USB cord to the smartphone and access data on the phone via a computer. The exploit works on iPhone 5 devices running iOS 6.1 software.
"The vulnerability allows the local attacker to bypass the code lock in iTunes and via USB when a black screen bug occurs," the Full Disclosure report notes. "Successful exploitation of the vulnerability results in unauthorized device access and information disclosure."
Apple has not yet responded to a request for comment.
For a deeper look at how the exploit works, check out the video below. The first part of the video demonstrates a vulnerability detected earlier this month.

News Samsung - announces Wallet to rival Apple's Passbook

Taking a page from Apple's Passbook app, Samsung has announced a ticket and coupon management app called Samsung Wallet. The solution will allow users to store and manage event tickets, boarding passes, membership cards and coupons in one place.

The South Korean mobile giant made the app public at its Developer Day at the Mobile World Congress. Samsung has also released an API (Application Programming Interface) for the wallet through which Samsung's partners can integrate their apps with the Samsung Wallet so that they can add their tickets and coupons to the Wallet. As per Samsung's website, the API is open to selected partners at the moment and will be made public in May 2013. However, developers will be able to start using the Samsung Wallet APIs starting 7 March 2013.

The wallet also features time and location based push notifications, similar to Apple's Passbook, alerting users about the partner's relevant coupons and tickets, enabling increased access to Samsung partner's apps, in addition to offering real-time updates on membership card points and changes to boarding passes. Samsung will also allow partners to market product coupons through the solution. Samsung also announced partners including Walgreens, Belly, Major League Baseball Advanced Media, Expedia,,, and Lufthansa.

Samsung is all set to launch its new Galaxy SIV smartphone on March 14 in New York. It looks like Samsung Wallet will be one of the phone's major features. Last year, Samsung had filed a patent for Samsung Wallet with the US Patent and Trademark Office.

While third party apps such as Tripit also offer similar functionality, integrating a mobile wallet will allow Samsung to leverage its relationship with partners and offer extended functionality to end users

Wireless connections creep into everyday things - MWC 2013

A car that tells your insurance company how you're driving. A bathroom scale that lets you chart your weight on the Web. And a meter that warns your air conditioner when electricity gets more expensive.
Welcome to the next phase of the wireless revolution.
The first wave of wireless was all about getting people to talk to each other on cellphones. The second will be getting things to talk to each other, with no humans in between. So-called machine-to-machine communication is getting a lot of buzz at this year's wireless trade show. Some experts believe these connections will outgrow the traditional phone business in less than a decade.
"I see a whole set of industries, from energy to cars to health to logistics and transportation, being totally redesigned," said Vittorio Colao, the CEO of Vodafone Group PLC, in a keynote speech at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The British cellphone company has vast international interests, including its 45 percent ownership stake in Verizon Wireless.
Companies are promising that machine-to-machine, or M2M, technology will deliver all manner of services, from the prosaic to the world-changing. At U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc.'s booth here at the show, there's a coffeepot that can be ordered to start brewing from a tablet computer, or an Internet-connected alarm clock. A former president of Costa Rica is also at the show, talking about how M2M can save massive amounts of greenhouse gases by making energy use more efficient - enough to bring mankind halfway to the goal of halting global warming.
The M2M phenomenon is part of the larger drive to create an "Internet of Things" -a global network that not only links computers, tablets and phones but that connects everything from bikes to washing machines to thermostats. Machina Research, a British firm, believes there will be 12.5 billion "smart" connected devices, excluding phones, PCs and tablets, in the world in 2020, up from 1.3 billion today.
But how does this transformation happen, and who stands to profit?
First, the devices have to be able to connect. That's not a trivial undertaking, especially considering that people don't upgrade washing machines or renovate their homes as often as they change cellphones and PCs. One company at the show, a Los Angeles-based startup named Tethercell, has an ingenious solution for battery-powered devices a "fake" AA battery that houses a smaller AAA battery in an electronic jacket. It can be placed in a battery compartment with other batteries. Within a distance of 80 feet, some smartphones and tablets can then signal the "battery" to turn the device on or off. For instance, parents whose kids have a lot of noisy toys can turn all of them off with touch of a single button. A fire alarm could send a text-message warning that its battery is running low, rather than blaring an audio signal.
Unfortunately, a Tethercell from the first production run costs $35. Co-founder Kellan O'Connor believes the price can come down to $10, but that's still a non-trivial cost, and symptomatic of the high price of building out the Internet of Everything. For devices that need to connect at long range over a cellular network, the cost of radio components alone ranges from $10 to $70, according to analyst Dan Shey of ABI Research.
That's not expensive in the context of some big-ticket items, like cars, which have been forerunners when it comes to non-phone wireless connections. General Motors Corp. started equipping cars with OnStar wireless calling and assistance services in the mid-90s. At the show, it announced it is updating the service for faster data connections, enabling services like remote engine diagnostics and upgrades to the control software. AT&T Inc., which has been aggressive about getting into the M2M business, is ousting Verizon Wireless as the network provider for OnStar.
Colao, the CEO of Vodafone, gave an example of another "smart" car application that might seem intrusive to some the company has been trying out a service in Italy that lets an auto insurance company know how much a car is being used, and charges premiums accordingly. It can also score the driver based on his or her driving style, and give pointers on how to handle the car more safely.
Cellular connections are creeping into smaller, cheaper devices. Ecooltra, which rents out electric scooters by the day in Spain, wants to connect them to the Internet, which would let renters figure out through their phones where there's a scooter for rent and how much of a charge is in its battery. The feature is perfect for quick, impromptu rentals by the hour. Adding "smarts" to the scooters in the shape of a cellular modem would turn the company from a conventional rental service to a "scooter-sharing" business, much like car-sharing services like Zipcar.
Once devices are connected, the next problem is getting them to talk to each other, and making sense of what they're saying. ABI's Shey says this is the real business opportunity in M2M, more valuable than making the modems or providing the wireless connections. He believes that's driving a behind-the-scenes scramble of deal-making at the show, as companies like AT&T seek to bolster their ability to support M2M by acquiring companies that provide a "middle layer" of software between the devices and their owners.
For connections between devices in the home, like that remote-controlled coffee-pot, Qualcomm touts its AllJoyn project, which it seeks to make an industry standard. Currently, the main ways for devices to connect to each other and figure out what they can do, like Bluetooth and DLNA, are too limited and difficult to use, said Rob Chandhok, president of Qualcomm Innovation Center.
With AllJoyn, "there's nothing to stop you from making a speaker that listens for notifications and turns them into speech, so you hear, 'Hey, you left the refrigerator door open!'" Chandhok said. "You take very simple things and connect them, and people build experiences on top of them. That's what we're trying to do."
Jose Maria Figueres, the former president of Costa Rica, is now the president of the Carbon War Room, an organization co-founded by billionaire Richard Branson to promote cutbacks in greenhouse-gas emissions through smart private enterprise. Figueres believes M2M has huge potential to wring efficiency out of energy-guzzling activities, and could reduce emissions equivalent to 9.1 billion tons of carbon dioxide by 2020 - roughly equal to the combined emissions of India and the U.S. today.
Vodafone provided one example of how this might be done. The city of Groningen in the Netherlands has put sensors in the trash containers that serve public-housing units. They alert trash haulers when they need to be emptied, saving on unnecessary trips and reducing fuel use by 18 percent.
With M2M, "in many cases you have information moving instead of us moving," Figueres said.
In another example, Dutch authorities started controlling their street lights wirelessly rather than with "dumb" timers. They save on energy by dimming the lights if traffic is scant, but can also turn them on early if the day is dark.
Could M2M be overhyped - a promise that won't deliver? The wireless industry is no stranger to rosy projections that don't pan out. Shey, the ABI analyst, thinks M2M will deliver, but perhaps not in a sexy, flashy way. When machine-to-machine connections are created, he said, it's usually not because someone is making a big bet on the future, but because they save money.
"It's about gaining more out of the asset that you have, like a truck. When it needs maintenance it gets maintenance at the right point. Or ensuring that the vending-machine guy only goes to the vending machine when it's empty," he said.

Google Glass - 2013

The future envisaged in the greatest sci-fi movies of our times hasn’t exactly panned out. We don’t have expressways hanging in the air, nor cars that can hover, hit supersonic speeds with alacrity or ride on ceilings. If anything, the present is very bland in comparison shown to us by countless sci-fi epics of the ’70s and ’80s (yes, I go back a long way). But just like in the movies, we do have hyper-connected humans constantly talking to each other through smartphones, social networks and even talking to those living from beyond the grave.
Google Glass sounds amazing, but questions outweigh the cool factor

Given this, what place will Google Glass hold in our lives? Will it be the new Mark Of The Douche, taking the title away from Bluetooth headsets? Will it be the beginning of a weird future, where heads-up displays are commonplace and not stared at as something bizarre? Or will it be a huge failure, despite Google’s backing? 

One thing is certain, not many will be able to resist the temptation of trying this. And it won’t be too long before you can. The Verge, which did a test run with Google Glass, reported that the device will be out this year for a price much affordable than the $1,500 (approx Rs 75,000) that Google is asking for the initial units from developers.
Initially, Glass will be available in five colours
Initially, Glass will be available in five colours

Google already pervades some of the most vital aspects of our lives – from search of knowledge to communication to entertainment. But clearly, the company feels it's still come up short when pushing technology to humans. There’s a very telling quote from Glass Product Director Steve Lee that goes: “We all know that people love to be connected. Families message each other all the time, sports fanatics are checking live scores for their favourite (sic) teams. If you’re a frequent traveler (sic) you have to stay up to date on flight status or if your gate changes. Technology allows us to connect in that way. A big problem right now are the distractions that technology causes. If you’re a parent — let’s say your child’s performance, watching them do a soccer game or a musical. Often friends will be holding a camera to capture that moment. Guess what? It’s gone. You just missed that amazing game.

Glass is the company’s attempt to make technology available without the distraction of holding a phone or something like that. Nice try, Google, but what about the phones we already paid good money for? Well, Glass tethers with them to share the data connection, the Wi-Fi networks and, of course, voice calls. So in a way, Glass isn’t a standalone device. It can be one in the future, but it isn’t at the moment. However, it's certainly a curveball thrown at the Samsungs, HTCs and Sonys of the world. Will they be able to cope with a new class of devices that may eventually replace their Xperia, Galaxy and One phones? Of course, that's a question for the long term and there are more pressing matters which need immediate answers.

For one, what about privacy? Wearing a Glass, anyone can shoot or click anything without making the subjects aware of such an act. Basically, there’s a 720p camera fitted on to the "headset" that can be called into action any time with just a couple of gestures. Surely, this isn’t ideal and poses a whole lot of questions, especially about the practicality of Glass in a work environment, and can even be a cause of worry for those in limelight. Can you picture a whole new class of paparazzi? And we aren’t talking about just those who get paid to do it. Then there are places where a Glass could in fact be breaking a law or two, like movie halls. While many among us would look forward to better-quality, non-shaky cam prints, we are not sure it would please movie studios. 

At one point, Joshua Topolsky, who wrote the Verge feature, surreptitiously filmed inside a coffee shop when his accompanying camera crew were asked to put their cameras off. Of course, no one was any wiser about his deception. It’s a situation that will take place every day in a world where the notion of privacy has already blurred to a large extent. While we willingly over-share on many social networks, Google has not revealed how it intends to stop strangers from sharing details of your life online, before you can say, TMI.
A Glass photo sample released by Google
A Glass photo sample released by Google

What can Glass do that I cannot already do with my supercharged smartphone? That, we imagine, is the main question going through the consumer’s mind. The example that many use to describe its utility is about walking down a street without having to watch out every now and then for a wall or a pillar. The fact that the user does not have to concentrate on the device itself is one of the main selling points. 

The display of Glass rests just a little in front of the user’s right eye. It’s tiny, but big enough for you to see it in good resolution. It displays info instantly, including any Google search, turn-by-turn navigation or just plain old text messages and emails. While doing so, it keeps the user doing whatever it is they were doing before the urge to search maps or reply to a text came along. Their primary activity, be it walking on the street, cycling through a crowded alley or running on a treadmill, will remain so.

Glass can give you information on the fly, just like Google Now does for users of Jelly Bean-toting Android phones. It can suggest translations super quickly, shoot videos with “you are there” feeling and also be used for Google+ Hangouts. Sound is conveyed through a bone conduction speaker that makes contact with the mastoid process, linked directly to the middle ear, if reports are to be believed. It does this discretely without intimating others about your notifications or alerts.

When the Glass starts up, you see the time and a line that says "ok glass". But first you have to tap the touchpad on the side or slowly tilt your head upwards. Ok glass is the call sign for Glass to perform actions. For example: ok glass Google tech2 will give you the search results for tech2. The touchpad on the side also assists in selection and scrolling, and functions as the back key as well. Somehow we are not convinced about this touchpad-voice combination, even though voice is the primary navigation option. Using a touchpad placed near your ear seems cumbersome, especially if you want to move around while using it. 

Google has also in a way contended for the possibility that Glass might make the wearer look silly. The company will release the first editions in five colours, three of them rather staid – Charcoal, Cotton and Shale, which is marketing speak for black, white and grey – and the other two bright and attractive, Tangerine or orange and Sky, which is a sky blue headset. The company is also reportedly in talks with manufacturers of Rx glasses to bring Glass to people who do not have perfect vision. There’s even a version that sits atop your existing sunglasses, if you are going for the whole cyborg look. So there is at least an attempt to make it a distinctive, yet not alien-like, device.
The Glass fits atop sunglasses as well
The Glass fits atop sunglasses as well

Google Glass is certainly an exciting prospect, but questions about its practicality remain. The world has only now been accustomed to using smartphones without apprehension. With this in mind, the timing of the imminent launch seems rather suspect. Is the world at large ready for Glass? Will it breed a new line of devices worn around the various parts of the body, perhaps like the iWatch or the rumoured Samsung smartwatch? Until such a time that Glass becomes affordable and everyday, rather than expensive and niche, Google has to find a middle ground, one where our expensive, high-spec'ed smartphones are not made totally redundant. At the moment, Glass sounds like a fancy accessory that works best when combined with your smartphone. Someone who already has a top-of-the-line Android phone or an iPhone would not be very willing to shell out more bucks for Glass. Google is betting they will, but it may be too early to place a wager.

Google & Spain - wrestle over EU privacy law

Google did battle with Spain's data protection authority in Europe's highest court on Tuesday, in a case with global implications that poses one of the toughest questions of the Internet age: When is information really private?
The issue before the European Court of Justice boils down to this: If a person fails to make social security payments and their house is auctioned as a result, do they have the right to force Google to delete such damaging information from search results?
Behind that question lie complex arguments over freedom of information, the right to protect data, what it means to be a publisher and who ultimately polices the web.
Google argues it should not have to erase lawful content which it did not create from its massive search index.
Spanish officials argue that Google should delete information from its results where an individual's privacy is breached.
Following Tuesday's hearing at the court in Luxembourg, an ECJ advocate-general will publish an opinion on the matter on June 25. The judges are expected to rule by the end of the year.
The case is based on a complaint by a Spanish man who made a Google search of his name and found a newspaper announcement from several years earlier saying a property he owned was up for auction because of non-payment of social security contributions.
One of Spain's top courts, the Audiencia Nacional, upheld his complaint and ruled Google should delete the information from its results. The case was referred to the European Court of Justice in March last year after Google challenged the decision.

Controller or host?

Google said in a blog post on Tuesday that there were "clear societal reasons why this kind of information should be publicly available".

The announcement of property auctioned as part of a legal proceeding was "required under Spanish law and includes factually correct information that is still publicly available on the newspaper's website", said William Echikson, Google's head of free expression for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Supporters of Google's stance say if the search giant was made to delete such information it would be a step onto a slippery slope, with demands for all sorts of data to be deleted for reasons - essentially making Google the responsible party.
The European court will try to determine if Google can be considered the "controller", or just a host of information. It will also assess whether a search engine run by a company based in California, such as Google, can be subject to EU privacy law.
Spain's data regulator has said EU judges must consider if European citizens have to go to U.S. courts to exercise their privacy rights and whether Google "is responsible for the damage the diffusion of personal information can cause for citizens".
The case could determine the scope of a draft EU law intended to strengthen citizens' privacy. Rules proposed by the European Commission in 2012 and being debated by the European Parliament would give people "the right to be forgotten" - to have personal data deleted - in particular from the web.
Companies operating on the Internet say such a right should not allow information to be manipulated at the expense of freedom of speech.
Spain, which has had more than 180 similar cases, referred the matter to the EU's highest court to clarify how the EU draft law should be applied, particularly in relation to Google.
It said the outcome of the hearing would be relevant not only in Spain, but in all EU countries.

New Adobe releases - Photoshop Touch for iPhone & iPod touch and Android phone

Adobe has finally brought its Photoshop Touch app to iPhone, iPod touch and Android phones. Photoshop Touch has been available for iPad and Android tablets since early last year.The iPhone and Android apps come with a feature-set that's almost identical to the tablets apps. The UI, of course, is optimised for the smaller screen of mobile phones.

Adobe Photoshop Touch for iPhone and Android phones includes core Photoshop features like layers, advanced selections tools, adjustments and filters. Also included are touch-optimised features like Scribble Selection for high-precision selections using just the finger, and Camera Fill for real-time blending of your camera feed with layers. This app features the same filters as the tablet version, like Colour Drops and Acrylic Paint, and also a new Ripple filter.
Photoshop Touch comes with support for Adobe Creative Cloud, which means you can start a project on the phone, continue it on the tablet or your desktop/ laptop running Adobe CS6. This capability is available to every customer with a free Creative Cloud account.
However, like the tablet the app, it still does not include support for Dropbox or opening files via email, which is sure to disappoint many users.
The app is available for download via App Store or Google Play for Rs. 270.
Adobe Photoshop Touch for iPad (Rs. 550 on the App Store) last received an update in December last year. The update improved the Gallery browsing experience. Adobe Photoshop Touch for Android tablets (Rs. 550 approximately on Google Play) was last updated on 28 November 2012. The update included an interface optimised for 7-inch tablets, improved grid layout, two new effects, smoother brush strokes, quick access to last 5 colours, sharing options and various bug fixes.