Archive for March, 2010

Mobile Data Traffic Expected To Rise 40-Fold Over Next Five Years

31/03/2010

As smartphones like the iPhone and Android take over the mobile Web, the amount of data traffic going over cellular networks is expected to grow 40-fold over the next five years. UK firm Coda Research Consultancy forecasts that in the U.S. alone mobile handset data traffic will grow from 8 petabytes/month this year to 327 petabytes/month in 2015. That amounts to a 117 percent compound annual growth rate.

A lot of that data will come in the form of mobile Web browsing, with the biggest contributor expected to be mobile video. By 2015, mobile video will account for 68.5 percent of all mobile data usage in the U.S. (or 224 petabytes/month). Coda estimates that 95 million mobile handset subscribers in the U.S. will be watching video on their phones in five years out of a total of 158 million mobile internet users.

Mobile data revenues (not including SMS charges) are forecast to make up 87 percent of all data revenue for the carriers by 2015. But they will have a hard time keeping up with demand unless they adopt tiered pricing, predicts Coda co-founder Steve Smith. Consumers used to all-you-can-eat data access from their phones will find that unappealing. But carriers will have to figure out a way to pay for massive network upgrades. Coda estimates that if the carrier’s froze their networks today, they would reach 100 percent utilization at peak capacity by 2012, when 40 percent of phones will be smartphones.

The table below shows some more forecasts from Coda on the number of U.S. mobile Internet users and the percentage of mobile data traffic coming from smartphones versus feature phones:

  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Mobile Internet users via handsets 84M 100M 113M 128M 145M 158M
Smartphone traffic as % of handset traffic 79% 90% 95% 97% 98% 98%
Feature phone traffic as % of handset traffic 21% 10% 5% 3% 2% 2%

HTC Legend Review

25/03/2010

It took a little Magic and a Dream but Android eventually got a Hero to champion the OS. Now, the HTC Legend comes in an aluminum suit of armor to join the ranks of the Android army. So, is this knight in shining armor set to be the vanguard of the explosive growth of Android?

The predecessor of the HTC Legend, the Hero, pioneered Sense UI and this latest gadget follows suit, but brings some innovation of its own.

The HTC Legend borrows a page from high-end laptop design – the aluminum unibody. The unibody design was touted as a game-changing breakthrough when it hit the laptop market. A lot of that was marketing hype, but the fact is that unibody metal designs still have a distinct quality feel to them.

Before we jump into any details, we’ll go over the key aspects of the HTC Legend and what we found lacking.

Key features

  • Aluminum unibody design
  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support
  • 3G with HSDPA 7.2 Mbps and HSUPA 2Mbps
  • Android OS v2.1 with latest Sense UI
  • 3.2″ capacitive AMOLED touchscreen of HVGA resolution
  • Qualcomm MSM 7227 600 MHz CPU, 384 MB RAM
  • 5 megapixel autofocus camera with LED flash and VGA@30fps video recording
  • Web browser comes with Flash support
  • Multi-touch zooming in gallery and web browser
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g and GPS receiver
  • Digital compass for automatic navigation of maps
  • Accelerometer sensor for auto-rotate and turn-to-mute
  • Stereo Bluetooth (A2DP); File transfer over Bluetooth
  • Standard microUSB port for charging and data
  • Standard 3.5mm audio jack
  • FM Radio with RDS
  • microSD card slot with support for up to 32GB cards (2GB one included)
  • Tethering support right out-of-the-box
  • Social networking integration with Facebook and Twitter
  • Direct access to the official Android application repository

Main disadvantages

  • No video-call camera (or videocalling whatsoever)
  • No dedicated shutter key or lens cover
  • No TV-out port
  • No voice dialing
  • No DivX or XviD video support out of the box
  • Dodgy flash video support

The aluminum body isn’t the only hardware upgrade the Legend got over the Hero, the TFT display technology has been switched in favor of AMOLED and that’s not all. Some of the other specs have alos received a refresh.

Despite trading plastic for metal, the Legend is actually slimmer around the waist than the Hero – it’s just 11.5mm thick and it’s a pinch lighter too. Something that will evoke either a positive or negative response depending on the person is the move to an optical trackpad instead of the tried and true trackball.

More at GSMarena

Copy and paste coming to Windows Phone 7 later down the road?

20/03/2010

Microsoft has taken a very Apple-esque approach to the development and launch of Windows Phone 7. Now, before anyone tears into me in the comments with some crazy knee-jerk response, think about it for a second. Developed in the utmost of secrecy? Check. Closed-wall app store? Check. Minimalist user interface? Check. Apple also has a tendency to speak out against things that their product doesn’t do (Steve Jobs, January 16th 2008: “People don’t read anymore!” Steve Jobs, January 27th 2010: “Hey guys! Check out the iPad!”), all whilst secretly working on it behind closed doors.

If the latest rumor to come out of Internetsville rings true, it looks like Microsoft is taking the same approach with Copy and Paste in Windows Phone 7.

Microsoft already told us waaaay back in February that there would be no Copy/Paste in WP7 – but now that they’ve confirmed it, everyone’s flipping out. Every blogger within reach of their MacBook Pro shot off an e-mail to Microsoft asking for more details, and they essentially told everyone the same thing: No, we’re not working on copy and paste.

Well, at least one guy is saying that’s not the case. Long Zheng of istartsomething is saying that someone “close to the den” (i.e someone at Microsoft) has shared the low-down on copy/paste with him: Yes, it’s coming — they’re just not sure how to implement it yet.

Of course, rumors like this are bound to happen. Holographic sex robots are coming eventually – they’re just not sure how to make them yet. In this case, however, it seems likely that we’ll see it sooner than later; Microsoft has supported copy/paste in past releases, and much of their word-editing, enterprise-emailin’ userbase relies on it.

[Via Electronista]

Video: This is easily the coolest thing I’ve seen an iPhone do this week.

20/03/2010

You hear that sound? That’s the sound of my mind being blown.

When the folks over in Cupertino strapped a little speaker to the bottom of the iPhone and released an SDK, do you think that any of them thought “Oh, people are totally going to use this to make apps that can push little Styrofoam balls around a fake soccer field.” Yeah, probably not. But sure enough, people have.

The 99 cent app, Football – Real Kick, is a clever twist on the “blower” concept we’ve seen before. In a nut shell: sound pushes air around. Certain sounds that the iPhone speaker can emit push enough air around that you can just baaaarely feel it, making it just strong enough to blow out a candle — or in this case, blow around a little Styrofoam ball.

Unlike past blower apps, this one doesn’t emit a constant stream. It only putts out air when you tap that “kick” button; combine this with a hand drawn soccer field, a couple of iPhones, and a whole lot of beer, and you’ve got the world’s most expensive game of foosball that doesn’t actually involve a foosball table.

Palm! Now worth nothing

20/03/2010

Woof. Analysts have placed a sell rating on Palm and are now valuing their stock, at least in hyperbolic terms, at $0. Quoth CNN:

Shares of Palm (PALM) plunged 19% to $4.59 a share early Friday, a new 52-week low. Investors are becoming increasingly pessimistic about the company’s future and several analysts downgraded their positions on the stock to “sell.” Two analysts even lowered their price targets to $0.

Josh Topolsky has some advice for a turnaround but I don’t think even that sprightly elf-man can help this company in distress. The dream, as they say, is dead.

Apple iPad? How about the German WePad?

19/03/2010

While every man and his dog is waiting for their preordered iPad to arrive, some Germans went their own way and yesterday presented a Slate that appears to have, well, better features.

The Neofonie WePad has similar form and function as the wet dreams of our Crunchgear editors, but facts are that the German Android device has a bigger multitouch screen and a faster CPU than the iPad. Also it runs Flash, has USB ports, an inbuilt card reader and expandable memory. Additionally it allows complete multitasking and has a webcam. Beat that baby.

The WePad is set to arrive sooner to German stores than its Apple counterpart and will be significantly cheaper than the iPad, says Neofonie CEO Helmut Hoffer von Ankershoffen. Preorders and deliveries are planned for next month and that’s no April Fool’s joke, he insisted in a small chat on the WePad’s Facebook site. At first I thought it was a fake, because some specs feel too great and the choice of OS sounds just weird: a Linux derivate with Android on top. That’s Linux with Linux inside, which makes it possible to install apps from the Android Market as well as special Adobe Air software from Neofonie.

  WePad iPad
Display 11.6-inch (1,366 x 768 pixels) 9.7-inch (1,024 x 768 pixels)
Processor 1,66 GHz Intel Atom N450 Pineview-M 1,0 GHz Apple A4
Memory 16 GB NAND Flash (optional 32 GB internal + 32 GB SDcard) 16 / 32 / 64 GB
Webcam 1,3 Megapixel None
Ports 2 USB ports, card reader, audio out, SIM card slot, multi pin connector Apple connector for camera or card reader as peripherals
Flash / Adobe AIR Yes / Yes No / No
App Store WePad AppStore + Google Android Marketplace iTunes App Store
Multitasking Yes Restricted, allowed only for Apple apps
Battery life 6 hours 10 hours
eBook format All open standards Proprietary Apple format from iBooks store
Wireless connect Bluetooth 2.1, WiFi N, 3G optional Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, WiFi N, 3G optional
Body Magnesium-Aluminium Aluminium
Size 288 x 190 x 13 mm 242.8 x 189.7 x 13,4 mm
Weight 800 g (850 g with 3G) 680 g

The company from Berlin, although unknown, is no newcomer. The 12 years old Neofonie GmbH is a software company that also runs a search enginge called WeFind and sells an epublishing platform by the name of WeMagazine. It makes newspapers and magazines readable on computers and smartphones, and that’s also where they see the real business for their WePad tablet PC.

The WePad provides elderly users in the core target group of newspaper and magazine publishing houses, who generally have little to no experience with PCs with intuitive and fast access to the digital world of their children and grandchildren (Internet, e-mail, social media, etc.).

For publishing houses, every reader gained with the WePad represents a direct and long-term customer relationship, the foundation for paid content, extensive customer knowledge and new forms of customer communication. While platforms like Apple iTunes and Amazon Kindle force publishing houses into the role of a simply a content supplier, the WePad allows publishing houses to retain access to and knowledge of their audience.

So the WePad doesn’t want to do away only with Apple’s iPad but also with the Amazon Kindle, reveals the latest factsheet. That’s a tall order. Publishing houses should acquire the device and brand it with their own labels to “move traditional print readers into the digital world in a targeted manner. Print brands can then become online brands, thus minimising the contact with established Internet players like Google Amazon and Apple.”

First commenters do already suspect an alliance between the WePad and Germany’s biggest publisher, Springer, which is also based in Berlin. The many screenshots with Springer’s Hamburger Abendblatt on the WePad would be a hint.

Springer is the strongest proponent of paid content in Europe. Since November, the company blocks users with iPhones and Android devices from reading most of their newspapers’ websites with the phones’ browsers. Instead they shall buy the apps for newspapers like Europe’s biggest daily, BILD, or Springer’s B.Z. Maybe we just saw the birth of a German newspaper tablet. A working prototype was on show at the world’s largest computer expo, CeBIT, two weeks ago.

New Windows Phone 7 video ad

19/03/2010

A new Windows Phone 7 commercial surfaced on the web. It shows how a phone powered by the latest Microsoft OS fits in the everyday life, makes it easy, funny and keeps you close to your friends. Meet Anna and her family, who all love Windows Phone 7 (we do too – with or without copy and paste).

Without any further wordplay, here is the ad itself.

As you can see the ad demonstrates the social side of Windows Phone 7 and clearly shows its capabilities of connecting and interacting with your friends, extracting useful information or using navigation assistance.

Windows Phone 7 is all about the user friendliness and usability and it’s logical the marketing insist on that. Anyway we are eager to see more and waiting for the first device announcements using the new OS.

US market study predicts a good year for Android

19/03/2010

They say you shouldn’t count your chickens before they hatch, but according to a market survey Android has laid a lot of eggs in North America. The total number of smartphone shipments will rise by 38% compared to last year for a total of 65.1 million units.

Here’s the breakdown – RIM is still king of the hill with 43% estimated market share for 2010. They lose 6.2% market share but due to the increase in total smartphones shipped, they will still get a 5.8 million increase in units shipped.

US smartphone market

Apple comes in second on the smartphne market, and similarly to BlackBerry, it’s to expect a decrease in market share but a modes increase in units shipped.

BlackBerry OS, Apple OS and Android OS combined account for a total of 80% of the total smartphone market in the US (sorry, Microsoft).

Android is predicted to have an explosive growth, putting it a close third behind Apple’s OS – 18.9% market share compared to last year’s 9.7%. That’s nearly a double.

The number of Android smartphones shipped will be 12.3 million, compared to Apple’s 13.8 million. Of course, many manufacturers are offering Android phones and only Apple sells iPhone’s but still – it’s a commendable achievement for the OS nonetheless.

If these numbers pan out, the number of Android phones sold will be more than that of Microsoft, Palm and Symbian combined (again, this is about North America only, not the whole world). The Microsoft OS is also the only one expected to have negative growth in sales (and we can see why).

The survey also mentions the increased strain the increasing number smartphones will put on mobile networks. This will push vendors to make phones more efficient in their data usage – a field in which BlackBerry is apparently the leader.

The situation in South America is a little different – the market has declined by 11% last year, but is expected to bounce back. Symbian was the leading OS (42%) followed by RIM (28%).

We can feel the Android wave sweeping our office too. We’ve been on an Android diet for almost a month now, and we have a few more Android phone reviews in the pipeline as well. So the review portion of our homepage is bound to get all Androidish quite soon.

More at GSMarena

Google denied “Nexus One” trademark!

18/03/2010

So in 2008, a company called Integra Communications filed for a “Nexus” trademark having something to do with voice and data telecommunications. Along comes Google a year later and files for “Nexus One.” Trademark office says no go. I’m not really surprised at this; it’s not really their job to determine which is the better or more popular product, but rather whether it is possible for the two trademarks to be mistaken for one another. Oh god! Will you have to scribble out the name of your phone now and write something else?

Nah. I mean, Cisco had a legitimate product out there called the iPhone for years, which was actually in use and still being sold when Apple dropped the iBombshell. They buried the hatchet, probably for an undisclosed sum, but nominally so they could “explore interoperability.” Whatever that means. So I think it likely that Google will call up Integra, say “name the next one something else and there’s a hundred thou in it for you” and in the meantime they’ll just leave the ™ off the Nexus One name.

Via MobileCrunch

Samsung Windows 7 Phone Preview

18/03/2010

Hey, I told you MIX was going to be hot. A talk at the development conference has revealed a third flavor of Windows Phone 7 Series, though alas, it does not appear to be the third chassis style we heard exists — unless the extra-hot camera is the third style. This shiny new Samsung keeps the lozenge style but has a more rounded look than the “reference” design we saw at launch. [update: it’s just a hacked i8910]

Some other news from the conference: as we expected, Microsoft is locking down the hardware requirements for WinPho7 devices, requiring them to meet or exceed certain qualifications. And here they are:

  • 800×480 screen (320×480 to follow)
  • 256MB RAM, 8GB flash storage
  • 4-point multi-touch
  • ARMv7 Cortex/Scorpion or better
  • DirectX9 support by GPU
  • Codec acceleration (probably on GPU via DirectX)
  • 5 megapixel camera with flash and separate camera button
  • Three hard buttons: Start, Search, and Back
  • GPS, accelerometer, compass, light and proximity sensors

The resolution restriction is a good move for maintaining a similar visual experience across handsets. Actually, locking stuff down like this is good across the board — it means people are free to choose whichever hardware they like without worrying about whether they run the OS well. That’s a major concern for Android buyers right now.

I’m pretty sure the Samsung is not the “third chassis” mainly because of the upcoming HVGA resolution. That suggests to me a candy bar chassis with a full QWERTY keyboard, BlackBerry style. The effectively halved resolution makes perfect sense for that. Who knows when they’ll announce it, but I feel strongly that’s the case.

Read more at MobileCrunch