Apple iOS 5.1.1: Upgraded OS Makes Experience More Enjoyable

New Apple iPhone Upgrade 5.1.1

Talk about the notion of always having “room for improvement.” In the technology world, that translates to always having room for upgrades, and that’s exactly what Cupertino’s market-leading giant did, release the upgraded version for the mobile OS that powers the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Though there’s no major changes, and it’s more like tweaking and beefing-up existing arsenal, still shows a great deal of quality and customer focus from Apple.

A Bag of Cogs’n’Nuts for the iOS

The update includes a plethora of small fixes. First, taking HDR photos from the Lock Screen shortcut should now work more reliably. Most importantly, bugs that previously prevented the the third-generation iPad from successfully switching between 2G and 3G networks have also been lasered into oblivion. Additionall, issues that were affecting the AirPlay video playback have also been taken care of, in addition to improvement on Safari bookmark and Reading list syncing. And if you’ve ever seen an “Unable to purchase” alert after successfully purchasing something on iOS, here’s some real good news, the 5.1.1 update also resolves that issue.

Key to Apple’s Growth

Following a blowout fiscal second quarter, Apple Inc. continues to be the leader amongst technology stocksin the world, and one of the catalysts of that growth is percolated from this latest upgrade. While focus on delivering market-disruptive devices has been key to growth, equal follow-up on customer-satisfaction has led to quarterly revenues of $39.2 billion, a whopping increase from the $24.7 billion reported in the comparative quarter last year, and above the consensus estimate of $36.81 billion. Though the company faces stiff competition from Samsung, which grabbed the smartphone-share title, the podium called “revenue leader” still lights up Apple insignia. After an interesting first-half of 2012 starts wrapping up, let’s see what surprises and devices the rest can show!

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It’s Official! Intel Becomes Mobile Company With Atom-Based Xolo X900 Launch…

Atom-Based Xolo X900 Smartphone

What it promised, it delivered. Announced at the Mobile World Congress in Spain, in February end, the world’s first smartphone to carry the market-dominating processor is out in the form of Xolo X900. Intel now plans to launch a number of other Atom-based smartphones in partnership with Motorola, Lenovo, Orange and ZTE later this year, all of which are set to sport the Android OS.

Android 2.3 Gingerbread-based Phone Garners Initial Positive Reviews

It is a bit surprising, in terms of market positioning, that the launch of the product has been done from India, selling for a translated price of $420. A national chain by the name of Croma has received the distributing rights to the flagship product. Let’s dig into the spec-sheet: a 1.6GHz Atom Z2460 (Medfield) processor with a 400MHz graphics chip clock capable of full-HD video encoding and playback, HDMI-out, 1GB of RAM, an 8-megapixel camera with burst mode, 16GB internal storage, HSPA+ 3G connectivity, and a 4.03-inch 1024×600 LCD screen. For making an initial impact, those are good digits.

And that is exactly what Intel plans to capitalize on,  the technology strength and arsenal it has amassed over the years. According to Mike Bell, Intel’s Corporate VP and GM of mobile and communications group, “The boundaries of personal computing are expanding. As we enter the India market with our first smartphone from Lava, the device not only showcases the rich capabilities and user benefits of Intel computing, but also highlights the exciting possibilities of what’s still to come.”

Intel Seeking to Ally In Order to Grow Mobile Business

In the typical Intel process of mastering the method of getting the platform to market in real-time, it created its own smartphone Form Factor Reference Design (FFRD). This serves as a channel for it to grow quick business in the OEM, as well as carrier-partnering, categories. Consequently, a host of its Medfield technology-based phones are shipping out this year, such as the Lenovo K800 and the Orange Santa Clara, a phone that is a tribute to Intel’s HQs in Santa Clara, California.

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Everyone’s World: Introducing DrawBraille, the Smartphone for the Blind

Smartphone for Blind People

One of the greatest blessings to have in life is our eyes, something that we need every minute of our lives, even when reading this post! While we our full of gratitude for what we have, in reality, few of us think about doing something mission-critical for those that are devoid of this blessing. Albeit, a Chinese industrial designer, Shikun Sun, has conjured up the remarkable turn-of-the-century concept of a smarpthone that is completely for the blind.

Completely Braille-Based Smartphone

While studying industrial design at  Sheffield Hallam University in UK, Sun envisioned the DrawBraille Mobile Phone concept, something purely  to be used by the blind, or anyone familiar with Braille. As fascinating as the concept seems, one wonders the dynamics and technology of the phone, since every technology requires inputs, which are then manipulated by software, and finally output in a manner that the user can interpret.

In this case, the flatter section is the input area of the phone, where a braille user can form letters and digits. And the other half is the output, where a matrix of six-dotted regions can physically change to produce words the user can touch and read. Best of all, the device includes everything from SMS to email.

Mobile Technologies and Companies Taking the Disabled into Account

Thimble for Blind People While most of the technologies being coupled with mobile technologies are still concepts, primarily because of the lack of ROI that the demographic has to offer, it wouldn’t be too long before one of these concepts makes it into mainstream. Analyse the “Thimble”, something that combines the powers of the phone with an intriguing finger glove that offers “an entirely new literary experience” to the user. A fingertip camera is applied to scan printed text and signage, and translate it into impulses of Braille within the glove. The revolutionary, smartphone application for the blind, is the endeavor of University of Washington design students Erik Hedberg and Zack Bennet.

Even though such technologies cannot be branded as ‘mobile” upfront, they can definitely be commercialized as medical devices and aides, thereby paving eventual way for integration into mainstream mobile category. At Vopium, we sincerely hope that these technologies will help the disabled overcome their obstacles and bring our their true potential.

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Samsung Galaxy 2 7.0 Tablet Making Inroads Into Low-Cost Tablet Segment

New Samsung Galaxy 2 7.0 Tab

With its $199.99 price tag, ideal launch timing and customized user interface, the Amazon Kindle Fire was a smash-hit. That success seems to have spurred Samsung’s own bit into the low-cost Android tablet arena with the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0. Albeit, the device looks anything but low-cost, fashions a much better specs list and a sleek, real attractive presentation.

New Samsung Tablet Touted as Best-Buy

The fact that this it is one of the few devices on the market to offer Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, with a mere $249.99 for the Wi-Fi-only model, the device is definitely in the “show-stopper” category. From a hardware perspective, the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0, with a 7-inch TFT display and 1024 x 600 pixels of resolution, looks a lot like any other recent Samsung tablet. Dimension-wise, it measures up at 7.6in x 4.8in x .41in, which makes it a bit thinner than Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

Further, a real treat comes in the form of the dual speakers that flank the 30-pin Samsung connector, found on the bottom of the tablet. Finally, a GB of RAM, 1GHz dual-core processor, and 8 GB of built-in storage make the device ideal for consumers with limited purchasing power.

Market Impact and Tablet Wars

It’s not secret that Samsung takes this official jab at Amazon, but the essential question is, since both companies are now competing in that specific niche, how rapidly can Samsung claw share away from a company that has made significant inroads since last quarter of 2011? For now, generally, tech analysts and mobile zealots are still pegging cash on the Kindle Fire, for it has achieved in the low-cost tablet segment what it was designed for. At the same time, Samsung’s brand-equity is one good reason for it to emerge as a winner over the next few months, something that results over the next two quarters will percolate visibly. Till then, fingers crossed!

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“Battle with Apple iPhone and Samsung is Over”: RIM CEO Thorsten Heins

We had been following and blogging around RIM’s come-back tale since December of last year, and while the company that once shook markets with each new Blackberry that it came out with, has now decided to call it quits in the smartphone race that it was so ferociously trying to claw into. According to CEO Thorsten Heins, “We believe that BlackBerry cannot succeed if we tried to be everybody’s darling and all things to all people,” Heins said. “Therefore we plan to build on our strength.”

Shift in Strategic Focus to Zero In on Consumer-Oriented Phones

RIM said it will focus its consumer efforts on targeted offerings that tap the company’s strengths, a change that came about as longtime executive Jim Balsillie leaves the board. Devices that employees would want to buy on their own and then bring to the corporate environment will now be touted as market-drivers, and the company has also started exploring partnerships and other opportunities for consumer products, which could include software and features that can then be incorporated into RIM’s own portfolio.

The management shake-up is primarily the ripples of a sharp difference in strategic foresight between Heins and other members, such as Balsillie, who wanted to continue trying to face the Goliaths in the smartphone arena. CTO for software, David Yach, and global operations COO Jim Rowan are also on the exit list.

BlackBerry Torch 9800 Selling Well, but Analyst Forecast Downgraded

As if the market hadn’t taken its jabs at the company, the financial community has started to tag along. According to Shaw Wu, senior research analyst at research-giant Sterne, Agee & Leach, “We’re picking up that the company’s higher-end BlackBerrys, including the Blackberry Bold 9900 and Torch 9800, as doing relatively better” but other handsets are performing quite below-par, falling to smartphones from Apple and Samsung. At Jefferies and Co., RIM’s shipments forecast has been cut from 12 million units to 10.5 million units, while revenues have been downgraded by $400 million for the past quarter.

While it has shifted its attention to areas where it can potentially capitalize, let’s see how well things are leveraged over the next two quarters, which is a potential make-or-break period for the company.

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Sony Mobile CEO, Bert Nordberg, Being Replaced by Long-Time Insider

After buying out Ericsson’s 50 percent stake in their decade-old Sony Ericsson joint handset venture for around $1.47 billion in October of last year, it seems that Sony is really keen on ranking up its mobile business, with the latest heirarchy reshuffling. Post February, when Sony Ericsson was renamed Sony Mobile Communications, it has shown some battle-nerve by unleashing new models at the World Mobile Congress 2012.

Sony Consumer Products and Services Head Taking Charge

According to the company’s press release, Sony Mobile Communications CEO Bert Nordberg will step down and will be replaced by Kunimasa Suzuki, who currently oversees the planning and design of consumer products and services. A stern loyalist and trusted resource of Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai, Suzuki is tasked with developing a “four-screen” strategy that integrates the company’s mobile phone business to its other digital segments.

“He is a strong leader and the right person to oversee Sony Mobile Communications as we establish a new business structure as ‘One Sony’ intended to reinforce and accelerate our overall business management,” explained the CEO. While ushering in the new leader, Hirai was lavish in praise of the outgoing, and specifically highlighted how Nordberg has taken Sony “from a feature phone to a smartphone company.”

New Sony Xperia Sets at World Mobile Congress 2012

Strategy 101: Expanding the Sony Xperia Product Lines

At the Mobile World Congress trade show in February, Sony continued to build out its Xperia smartphone brand, introducing the Xperia P and Xperia U,  Android devices are part of Sony’s Xperia NXT series, which span smartphones, TVs, laptops and tablets. However, not everything is sweet-dreams. The company, facing stiff competition from Samsung and Apple, faces a task similar to Nokia’s, which has shown some muscle with the latest Lumia series. Can Sony resonate that? Time will tell.

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Google Invests in AppStack, Set To Dominate Mobile Ad Space Like Search Engine Space

Google Mobile AdIt wouldn’t be too long before the 500-pound gorilla of the search engine kingdom overlaps to become the main contender for mobile ad revenues. Google, which was already touted to gain mobile ad revenues to the tune of $4 billion by end of 2012 by research firm Piper Jaffray, has just led a venture round with $1.5 million in AppStack, an upcoming leader in the mobile ad segment.

Android Gaining Ground Over Apple iOS In Mobile Ads

Reaching the top of the mountain wouldn’t be without giving due credit to Android’s growing popularity, and the fact that, only in the first quarter of this year, it held 50% of worldwide market share. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster forecasts that Google’s OS will “ultimately become the biggest platform for mobile advertising both for Google and the industry.” Last year, Google’s AdMob controls 24 percent of the mobile advertising segment, ahead of independent Millennial Media at 17 percent and Apple’s iAd at 15 percent. That control translated to nearly $40 billion in digital ad sales in 2011 across all platforms.

Andy Rubin, Google’s Senior VP of Mobile recently announced the company activates more than 700,000 new Android-powered devices each day. That resonated with Piper Jaffray’s reading, “On the advertising side, one source shows that Android is doing well as a percentage of mobile ad impressions on their network, which we believe makes sense since a greater portion of Android apps are free versus paid.”watch Below Her Mouth film online now

AppStack Investment, A Strategic Early-Movers Advantage

The largest reseller of Google mobile ads, AppStack offers mobile web and advertising services optimized for the SME business segment. The investment, involving a leading $1.5 million from Google Ventures, was joined in by Tomorrow Ventures, led by Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, 500 Startups, and a few other IT sector investors. The company supplies hosted mobile websites and corresponding Google AdWords optimization services at very cost-effective rates, and has grabbed a whopping 2500 customers in a short-span of 3 months. For Google, the investment marks just one of the few it intends to make, solidifying its control over the mobile ad segment, and living up to the giant’s legacy of staying ahead of the game.

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A Sudden Roar: The Case of LTE Handsets in 2012

Consider this year as “the LTE breakout” year. 2011’s 6.8 million units of LTE handsets will look like a small reality in a big dream-come-true, when the expected 10 fold increase of 67 million LTE handsets comes into existence. According to the latest report from research firm Strategy Analytics, we’re very much looking at a change in mobile hardware technology.

Leading Smartphone Companies In the Race

Thanks in large part to aggressive LTE network expansions by carriers like AT&T and Verizon, the surge will be co-led by the likes of Apple, HTC and Samsung. The carrier-manufacturer tandem is what seems to make the 67 million an achievable reality, according to Strategy Analytics. Additonally, manufacturers with generally tier-2 level sales in terms of smartphones, such as Fujitsu, LG, Motorola Mobility, Nokia and Pantech will also seek to tap surging demand for the devices. The forecast from the company resonates one from In-Stat research, which predicted in October 2011 that global LTE handset sales would hit 154 million in 2015.

While LTE handsets will remain a tiny fraction of overall handset sales in 2012, the growth will be driven by carriers building out their networks and then seeding LTE devices into the market. The biggest growth markets will be the United States, Japan and South Korea, where operators are racing to build out LTE networks, Strategy Analytics said.

Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility & Sprint Nextel: A Three-Way, Long-Distance Battle

The carriers are all set to capture as much ground as they can. Verizon Wireless plans to expand its LTE network coverage to 260 million POPs by year-end, and currently offers 12 different LTE smartphones. AT&T Mobility, which plans to expand its LTE network from 74 million POPs to around 150 million by the end of the year, currently offers five LTE smartphones. Sprint Nextel meanwhile, plans to launch LTE in 10 cities by mid-year and has said that around 15 LTE devices, including handsets, tablets and data cards, are on track to be launched in 2012.L’ora legale live streaming film

Despite the boom, there are potential pitfalls for carriers, Strategy Analytics warned. “The LTE phone segment is expanding at a rapid rate this year, but there will undoubtedly be growing pains in this early phase,” Strategy Analytics analyst Tom Kang said in a statement. “Many LTE phones and data plans will be relatively expensive, which means operators will need to invest generous subsidies to make 4G more affordable for subscribers.”

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Nokia Qt Ecosystem Showing Signs of Growth

We blogged about Nokia’s Qt platform in its early stages some time ago. Picking up results from ‘011, and having passed this year’s Q1, the interest in Qt from the software development community is bigger than ever before. Qt 4.8 libraries are out and initial feedback is positive, with the preparations for Qt 5 transitioning on smoothly.

Collective Strategies From Nokia, A Truly Global Platform

An excellent strategy that should pay off well once the revolution is in full-throttle, the Qt project has 20% of its contributions, to core modules, from non-Nokia employees. Approximately 1000 developers have been signed up and development works are in full-swing. Moreover, the Nokia Store has 10 million downloads per day and offers developers an opportunity to target 155 million Nokia devices with Qt apps. A good working model for experiencing the dynamics of the Qt platform is the Nokia N9, all the data pointing towards a growth-oriented ecosystem.

Nokia 808 Pureview @ the World Mobile Congress

It’s not just that organic growth that’s adding weight to everything, but Nokia has been zealous enough to hold developer events around the globe, as well as flex muscle at global events. The Carl Zeiss optics-equipped Nokia 808 Pureview was unveiled at the WMC in Barcelona this year, and is touted to be one of the game-changers for promoting Qt. Additionally, events held across China and Japan had more attendees, showing more fervor for the upcoming Qt 5 platform. On a comparative scale, it is worthy to note that if Nokia had trouble keeping up with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy, or the Apple iPhone, it did a very good job of strategic maneuvering and making impact with its development platform. It serves as a solid example for Blackberry maker RIM, which has had to steer through similar storms.

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ESPN: From Sports Giant to Mobile Apps Giant

It probably wasn’t too long ago when you followed up on Lionel Messi’s curve-around-the-post goal or “Linsanity” sweeping across the world via ESPN’s mobile app. Well, the global media giant just launched ESPN Developer Center, a new online resource enabling developers to build mobile and web applications integrating ESPN content and data.

Mobile Sports, Not Mobile Gaming

It’s not exactly the next high-speed turbo racing game coming out, but the functionality of the whole initiative has a more sports reporting feel to it. It basically offers software engineers and developers the opportunity to join the company’s API (application

ESPN Developer Center for Mobiles

programming interface) program, for the purpose of creating new web and mobile apps for sports fans. Hundreds of unique daily news stories spanning dozens of sports and hundreds of teams and athletes will be at the developer’s perusal, enabling one to come up with dynamic new ways to get the data on to smartphones and tablets.

“The ESPN Developer Center allows us to scale more quickly and to reach more fans in new ways with the ESPN content they want,” said Jason Guenther, Vice President of ESPN Digital Media Technology. “Making ESPN APIs available to innovative partners and independent developers helps ensure that we remain nimble, efficient and creative in our own product development, which translates to more and better ESPN products for fans.”

A New Paradigm for Mobile Media

Coming with the package is the Research Notes API, which gives partners access to exclusive sports facts and figures compiled by the ESPN Stats and Information Group.
What’s more interesting to analyze here is the marketing strategy from a mobile perspective. What if other media giants were to start relenting on key internal stats and news, in order to turbo-up the process of product development? Imagine a scenario where a developer’s app could could channel CNN’s breaking alerts to you in real-time, at the same cyber-velocity as CNN’s app itself. As the results roll out for ESPN’s initiative, we foresee no choice for other media companies, but to follow suit.

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