Wednesday, August 31, 2011

AT&T surprised by DoJ attempt to block T-Mobile acquisition

The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit to block the proposed AT&T acquisition of T-Mobile USA. T-Mobile USA is a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom AG.

The complaint filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. seeks a declaration that AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile would violate U.S. antitrust law. The government is also asking for an injunction blocking any implemention of the deal.

In its complaint, the government stated that the acquisition would “substantially lessen competition” in the wireless market. It's something Sprint, the nation's No. 3 wireless carrier, has been saying for some time.

At the same time, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) agreed that it, too, had reservations about the deal. However, the FCC has not yet completed its review.

AT&T is currently the nation's No. 2 carrier, behind Verizon. T-Mobile USA is the No. 4 carrier in the nation; a deal combining the two would put AT&T clearly in the No. 1 position in the U.S., but Verizon has not voiced any opposition to the deal.

If approved, the $39 billion merger would have concentrated 80 percent of the U.S. wireless carrier market between the combined AT&T / T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless.

If the deal is blocked, AT&T would have to pay Deutsche Telekom $3 billion in cash. It would also be required to provide T-Mobile USA with wireless spectrum in some regions and reduced charges for calls into AT&T’s network, with the total package valued at as much as $7 billion, Deutsche Telekom said earlier this month.

AT&T said it was surprised by the DoJ's action. In a statement, the company said,
We are surprised and disappointed by today’s action, particularly since we have met repeatedly with the Department of Justice and there was no indication from the DOJ that this action was being contemplated.

We plan to ask for an expedited hearing so the enormous benefits of this merger can be fully reviewed. The DOJ has the burden of proving alleged anti-competitive affects and we intend to vigorously contest this matter in court.
The benefits for AT&T are clear: it planned to use T-Mobile's portion of the wireless spectrum to advance its LTE rollout. In addition, AT&T has promised to bring 5,000 wireless call-center jobs (translation: low-paying) back to the United States if the acquisition wins approval.

Hollywood's Largest On-line Gift StoreHowever, it is certain that certain (much higher-paying) jobs that would overlap between the two carriers, such as sales and marketing, would see layoffs in the U.S.

As a result of the announcement, AT&T shares are down about 4.5 percent at the time of this writing. Sprint shares, meanwhile, are up over 7 percent, while Verizon is largely unchanged.



Amazon Appstore's Free App of the Day, 8/31/2011: Swamp Defense

Amazon.com has promised to make a paid app free every day in the Amazon Appstore, and today's app is Swamp Defense.

Swamp Defense is priced at $1.20 in the Android Market. Meanwhile, it is normally priced at $0.99 in the Amazon Appstore. As we noted previously, prices sometimes differ between the two stores.

Swamp Defense is described as follows:
Run for your lives--the swamp has been invaded by hideous monsters! But nobody comes into The Family's swamp and takes over without a fight. Get ready for World War III, Humans v. Swamp Monsters, in this tower-defense game for Android.

Marauding Monsters

Swamp Defense features monsters straight out of your worst nightmare. Eight different ghoulish creatures come at you in waves, and you need to take them out before they overrun the swamp. Luckily, you've got some backwoods firepower on your side.

The Family consists of five colorful members, each with a different deadly skill: Old Flint slows monsters with denture adhesive, Hank shoots through enemies with an electro beam, Maggie damages several baddies at a time by hurling frying pans and other kitchen appliances, Buster rapidly blasts away with a pistol, and Little Joe devastates foes with a rocket launcher.

Build Your Arsenal

These weapons aren't cheap, and moonshine prices have been declining. Not to worry--the more swamp monsters you kill, the more money you earn. Use your cash to either add more family members (and their armaments) or upgrade your existing fighters. Place them in strategic places on the swamp paths to kill as many creatures as possible.

Be ready for a constant battle--there are seemingly endless waves of monsters to dispose of. Advance through 15 levels and post high scores on each one. It's a big swamp, and you'll have to fight through different kinds of terrain and a variety of situations to defend your marshy home. Git goin'!
Swamp Defense has a 4.2-star rating in the Android Market and a 2.5-star rating in the Amazon Appstore.

Turn Your Everyday Spending into College Savings!That 4.2-star rating in the Android Market comes with only five reviews, though, so we took a look at Swamp Defense Lite, which has over 200 reviews. That game is rated 4.0 in the Android Market.

The game is also available for iOS, Windows Phone, and Xbox 360.

In terms of the ratings difference, and there's a huge one, from 4.2 to 3.0, much of it is because it's another "tower defense" type game. Our issue would be that it would be better to review the game on its merits rather than downgrading it based on that "issue."

Those who are considering "buying" a Free Amazon Appstore app might want to consider what it means to developers.

Amazon.com opened up the Appstore despite a lawsuit by Apple, which has previously trademarked the term "App Store." Microsoft has filed an appeal against that trademark, saying the term is too generic. Amazon.com has responded to the lawsuit in the same manner.



Samsung intros the U.S. versions of the Galaxy S II; indeed, not coming to Verizon

Samsung has "announced" the Galaxy S II in an emailed press release, but really: the darn thing has sold over 5 million units already, so what's with this "announcement," Samsung? Ah, yes, it's made that 5 million in sales without any U.S. carriers, and now it's coming to the U.S., sans Verizon, of course. Originally scheduled for August 29, the event was delayed due to Hurricane Irene.

Hundreds of Toys & Games on Sale! Shop Now at BarnesandNoble.com.The announcement confirmed what we already knew: Verizon will be skipping the Galaxy S II. T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint will be carrying the device, all in 4G form. For Sprint, that means WiMax, and for AT&T and T-Mobile that means HSPA+ (no, it does not mean LTe on AT&T).

The specs don't surprise (after all, they've already sold 5 million of them). The U.S. versions of Samsung's Galaxy S II comes with a 480 x 800 Super AMOLED Plus display, a dual-core 1.2GHz Exynos processor, a 2MP front-facing camera, a rear-facing 8MP camera (capable of 1080p video capture), 1 GB of RAM, along with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread).

The Galaxy S II devices offers 16GB of on-board memory, as well as a microSD card slot that supports up to a 32GB memory card. Interestingly, the global version of the Galaxy S II carries a 4.3-inch screen, but the Epic 4G Touch, which is Sprint's version, as well as T-Mobile's version, will sport a 4.5-inch screen.

Samsung said this was a decision made by AT&T, perhaps because the AT&T already offers the 4.5-inch Samsung Infuse 4G. AT&T similarly went its own way with the Captivate, which had a different form factor than the others 3 Big 4 U.S. carriers' Galaxy S, though not so different as the Epic 4G, which carried a hardware keyboard.

Samsung recently announced the Galaxy S II LTE, which has a slightly improved processor (1.5Ghz vs. 1.2Ghz) and a 4.5-inch screen, and a slightly larger form factor.

Samsung did not reveal the names of the AT&T and T-Mobile versions, nor did it offer pricing or dates for any of the carrier launches. We expect, however, the answer is "as soon as possible" for a launch date, with the launch of the iPhone 5 impending.

Update: Sprint will launch first, on Sept. 16, for $200.



HP computer spinoff could mean a new TouchPad: exec

HP hopes to spin off its personal computers business, one of its executives said on Monday, but as part of that spin-off, he added that it's possible that HP might even resurrect the TouchPad tablet.

No Worries - 100-Day Limited WarrantyHP executive vice president Todd Bradley Personal Systems Group head told Reuters he intends to lead any spin-off company, and as a computer company, he expects it to sell desktops, laptops, all-in-one PCs, and tablets, as well.

Bradley said, "Tablet computing is a segment of the market that's relevant, absolutely. My intention would be to lead it through this transaction ... and if it's a standalone public company, to lead that." Bradley didn't elaborate further on his comment about tablets.

Bradley was clear on one thing: HP is not seeking to sell its division to another company, as IBM did with its PC division in 2004 when it sold it to China's Lenovo.

Cellular CountryBradley added, however, that "Regardless of what happens, we're the largest PC company in the world. We need everybody energized, and while this isn't business as usual, we need people to go out and sell products every day."

Despite the tone of the story, if an HP spin-off were to re-enter tablets, it wouldn't necessarily be the TouchPad. In fact, it probably wouldn't be, as the TouchPad failed in part due to the poor performance of its two-year-old hardware. A TouchPad 2? Now that's possible, but that would mean webOS be part of a spin-off, and that's not clear from HP's statements thus far.



Angels seem to overlook a road on Google's Street View

Here's a strange sight seen on Google Maps, and was posted to our Facebook wall, just today. Looking at this image from Google Maps, it seems that you might be looking at a pair of angels looking down at you.

TASER C2 the best ECD available - Click HereIt's actually a Street View image, and if you continue to travel down the road, you will continue to see the image above you. Realistically, we'd assume it's some sort of anomaly, perhaps something reflected off the car's dashboard.

Some on the Web are calling it an angel and a demon, based on the "darkness" of one of the "two" entities.

What do you think?



Samsung announces new Bada 2.0 phones, Wave 3, M, and Y

As expected, Samsung has announced a set of three new handsets running its proprietary Bada 2.0 platform: the Wave 3, Wave M, and Wave Y. The company's Bada platform has been quite successful for the South Korean electronics giant, outselling Windows Phone in Q2 2011.

girl_160x600_getThe M in Wave M seems to stand for mid-level. It's a mid-level phone, with an 832MHz processor, a 3.65-inch 320 x 480 screen, NFC support, aGPS, and a 5-megapixel camera.

The Wave Y is an entry-level device. While it has the same processor and features as the Wave M, it has a smaller 3.2-inch screen, and only a 2-megapixel camera. Both of these devices have minimal internal storage, however: only 150MB with a 2GB inbox, but they both have microSD slots.

The Wave 3 is the most powerful device in the group. 4-inch WVGA Super AMOLED screen, 1.4GHz processor, 800 x 480 screen resolution, and a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera with auto-focus and 720p video recording, along with a front-facing VGA camera. The Wave 3 also comes with 3 GB of internal storage.

It's unclear if these are dual-core processors, but we're guessing they are not since dual-core wasn't called out in Samsung's press release.

What's most interesting, if you look at Samsung's PR images, is just how similar the UI on the handsets is when compared to Samsung's Android devices.

Although developed and released before Google's Motorola acquisition was announced, Bada certainly gives Samsung an out of something goes wrong with Android (either more patent issues or displeasure over Motorola getting info before other OEMs).

You can watch a video on Bada 2.0 and the new handsets below.





AT&T's soft launches its LTE service in Chicago

AT&T has gone live with its Chicago LTE service, although it's a soft launch; the carrier hasn't chosen to publicize it. Chicago is one of the five markets that AT&T previously said would be the first to see LTE. They include Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.

iPad CasesLTE was detected by a BGR user with one of AT&T's first LTE devices, an AT&T Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G. That device, along with the USBConnect Momentum 4G modem, both launched on August 21.

In addition, AT&T's earlier USBConnect Adrenaline modem was given a firmware update, as well, to provide LTE functionality.

Speeds measured were 13Mbps download and 2Mbps upload, peak. Of course, this is the beginning of AT&T's LTE "trial," so these speeds are not necessarily indicative of what users will see after its LTE launches fully.

A test of Verizon's LTE service run in February by ComputerWorld showed Verizon's service peaking at 26.1Mbps download, with an average of 13.3Mbps. Upload speed averaged 5.5Mbps (peak upload speed was not given).

The USBConnect Momentum 4G modem runs $50, and the Mobile Hotspot Elevate 4G runs $70 (both after rebates and with a two-year service contract). LTE data service for both devices is $50 with a 5GB cap, and a $10 per GB overage fee.



Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The New York Times and YouTube unveil 'Reflections on 9/11: 10 Years Later' channel

As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 rapidly approaches, Google's YouTube service and the New York Times have teamed and launched a dedicated 9/11 YouTube channel, called "Reflections on 9/11: 10 Years Later." The channel contains unique content from the New York Times, as well as archived broadcasts from September, 2001.

In addition, the duo is seeking asking the public to contribute personal stories; clips will be selected and posted on the channel and the Times Web site on September 11. The asks contributors to answer the following questions in their submissions:
  • What is your strongest memory of 9/11?
  • How did 9/11 change you? How did it change America?
  • What did you lose - or gain - because of 9/11?
Olivia Ma, YouTube News & Politics Manager, wrote in a blog post: "Through telling and sharing stories, we can all hope to make sense of an event that, for many of us, was one of the defining moments of our lives. Thank you for sharing yours."

There are already many personal reflections of 9/11 on the site. One of them, randomly selected, is below.





iTunes Match is streaming or not streaming; you decide

Apple's iTunes Match service, recently opened to developers, either streams or doesn't stream, depending upon how you interpret things. Confused?

CA Online Backup - Automatic Daily Backup & File Storage SolutionIt's all a matter of semantics. An Apple spokesperson, speaking to AllThingsD, denied the service provides actual streaming of music.
"An Apple spokesperson confirms that any music you want to access from your cloud-based 'locker' will still need to be stored on your iPad, or iPhone, or whatever device you’re using to listen to the song."
The question is, what exactly does that mean? For most people, a streaming service means that when you want to play content, you don't have to wait for it to download before it plays. It just starts playing immediately (or fairly immediately, after buffering part of the stream). In other words, if you have to wait for the whole thing to download, it's a download service. Otherwise, it's a streaming service.

Find or Create Hilarious Merchandise at CafePressIn the case of iTunes Match, it's downloading all right ... to a cache. You can either choose to download the entire track to your device, or play it while it downloads to a local cache. Just how big that cache is, Apple probably won't tell us. To be honest, it's really no different that a service that buffers some of the content before playing it; Apple just uses different semantics.

If the cache is large enough, Apple's version of a streaming service may provide a better user experience for the consumer, and that's always Apple's aim: a good user experience. You can view a video of the streaming ... or not streaming ... or streaming plus service, whatever you'd like to call it, below, and make up your own mind.





Android increases lead over iOS, now holds over 40 percent of U.S. smartphone market: comScore

Android and iOS currently account for nearly 70 percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers in the U.S., according to market research firm comScore's latest report on U.S. mobile subscriber market share.

Android grew more, meaning it advanced its lead on iOS still further, gaining 5.4 percent to rise to 41.8 percent. Meanwhile, Apple's share rose 1 percent to 27 percent.

That means (naturally) that the rest of the top five platforms all dropped. RIM dropped 4 percent to 25.7 percent, Microsoft dropped 1 percent to 5.7 percent (sorry, Windows Phone), and Symbian dropped 0.4 percent to a miniscule 1.9 percent.

In terms of handset manufacturers, Samsung retained the top spot, with a rise of 1 percent to 25.5 percent, LG was unchanged at 20.9 percent, and Motorola was probably thanking Google for its acquisition, as Motorola dropped 1.5 percent to 14.1 percent. Apple rose 1.2 percent to 8.3 percent, and RIM dropped 0.6 percent to 7.6 percent.

Text messaging still tops the list of activities that people do with their mobile phones, with 70 percent of subscribers stating that they text. Browsing comes in second at 41.1 percent, just barely ahead of using downloaded apps at 40.6 percent.

Really, what are the rest of you doing? 60 percent not using downloaded apps? Heck, it's far easier than browsing to a website.



HP says will complete a new manufacturing run of TouchPads

Rabid HP TouchPad fans may get a tablet to sink their teeth into after all. HP has promised it will produce another "round" of TouchPad tablets before year end, though it was vague on the timing of a new set of devices.

Safe, Secure BackupHP decided to terminate its webOS hardware products about two weeks ago, but then put the remainder of the devices on sale at clearance prices, selling them for $99 (16GB) and $149 (32GB). Those prices brought the kinds of lines that HP hoped for when it first launched the tablet.

Given all that, HP has said it will produce a new round of TouchPads. However, in the blog post where it announced the update, HP wasn't specific about timing. All HP said was it would be "a few weeks" before anyone could order new TouchPads.

Livedrive Simple, Secure Online BackupIn addition to HP's blog, two Twitter accounts will update the public on the process. They will be @BrynaatHP and @MarkatHP. HP can't guarantee how many units will be produced or that everyone who wants one will get one.

It did say, in its update FAQ, that the manufacturing will take place in HP's fiscal Q4 2011, which ends October 31.



Amazon Appstore's Free App of the Day, 8/30/2011: dxTop Pro: Home Alternative

Amazon.com has promised to make a paid app free every day in the Amazon Appstore, and today's app is dxTop Pro: Home Alternative.

dxTop Pro: Home Alternative is priced at $1.48 in the Android Market. Meanwhile, it is normally priced at $1.50 in the Amazon Appstore. As we noted previously, prices sometimes differ between the two stores.

dxTop Pro: Home Alternative is described as follows:
Looking for a little more oomph from your Android home interface? Step up to dxTop Pro: Home Alternative and enjoy a powerful, sleek replacement for your phone's stock user interface. A flexible navigation system allows you to quickly access your most critical functions, and extensive theme support makes it easy to personalize. You can organize your apps into folders, manage running apps with a convenient systems tab, and choose from a number of different view options.
Diamond layout

DxTop Pro features five screens in an efficient diamond array, so every secondary screen is only one swipe away from the home screen. Choose from five different transitions: Cube, Slide, Squish, Twist, and Fade. A small indicator tells you which of the five screens you are on, and full widget support helps you customize your screens. You can also lock your screen in either landscape or portrait mode.
Tab views

At the bottom of your home screen, you can cycle through three different tabs according to your current preference.

Drawer View

Drawer view is the best way to access and manage your full library of apps. An Application Drawer opens up so you can launch any app you have downloaded. Next to that, a System Drawer opens to display the status of any apps you have recently used. Color coding indicates which apps are currently running, which services are currently running, and recently used applications that no longer running. From here you can kill apps--individually by long pressing on an app, or globally by selecting Kill All. A screen indicator sits between the two drawers.

Dock View

Dock view is great for quickly accessing frequently used apps. Long press on the dock to add up to five apps. Once added to the dock, your favorite apps are one press away.

Dial Bar View

Dial bar gives you a third way to set up your home screen. Two customizable shortcut buttons give you quick access to critical functions, such as phone and text messaging. A drawer resides behind the shortcut buttons, allowing convenient access to your full application library.

App categories

If your app library is starting to get out of hand, dxTop Pro: Home Alternative has the perfect solution: categories. Create app categories by long pressing on an app to bring up a menu, and then adding and naming a new category. Create as many categories as you need, and streamline your app view by collapsing categories to keep them out of sight when not needed.

View options

DxTop Pro: Home Alternative gives you five different ways to display your full application list.
  • Alphabetical view
  • Category view
  • Latest install date view
  • Largest size view
  • Hidden applications view
Visual features

It's easy to change the look and feel of your phone with dxTop Pro: Home Alternative. Download and select wallpapers, themes, icons, and fonts, and choose font and dock colors. Compatibility with aHome and 3rd party Open Home themes and BetterAndroid icon packs makes it easy to give your phone a quick makeover.

Safety and Security

DxTop pro keeps your data secure by integrating with MyBackupPro. Use MyBackupPro to safely back up your UI settings, and restore to previous settings if desired. DxTop Pro also lets you hide apps that you don't want to be visible, giving you an extra measure of privacy.
dxTop Pro: Home Alternative has a 4.1-star rating in the Android Market and a 2.5-star rating in the Amazon Appstore.

Turn Your Everyday Spending into College Savings!There is also a free version of dxTop Pro, but that version has No "Kill All" Option in the System Drawer, is limited to 3 app categories, has only Slide and Squish Screen Transitions, no Lock Screen, no MyBackupPro Integration and "Protect your privacy" functionality (app hiding).

In terms of the ratings difference, and there's a huge one, from 4.1 to 2.5, the complaints at the Amazon Appstore can be summed up in the words "antiquated, boring, and slow" when referring to the app. It's unclear why the reviews on the Android Market are so different.

Those who are considering "buying" a Free Amazon Appstore app might want to consider what it means to developers.

Amazon.com opened up the Appstore despite a lawsuit by Apple, which has previously trademarked the term "App Store." Microsoft has filed an appeal against that trademark, saying the term is too generic. Amazon.com has responded to the lawsuit in the same manner.



A two chatbot conversation turns into an argument

What might happen if you allowed two chatbots to "speak" to each other. Based on an experiment by Cornell University researchers, it wouldn't necessarily be a friendly conversation, it seems.

Buy Safe Eyes Parental Control SoftwareThe researchers' experiment is the Cornell Creative Machine Lab’s submission for the 2011 Loebner Prize Competition in Artificial Intelligence. The researchers rigged up a system to allow two chatbots to "talk" to each other.

You can watch their interaction in the video below.

The researchers used two instances of Cleverbot, which is a program developed by A.I. programmer Rollo Carpenter. The avatars chosen for the interaction were a British man and a South Asian woman. Cleverbot has learned phrases from millions of conversational interactions with humans on the Internet. That could explain some of the responses it came up with.

Strangely, the chatbots seemed to know they were A.I. Not only did the male assert that the other was "a robot," he later said, "You were mistaken. Which is odd, since memory shouldn't be a problem for you" (since she is, after all, just a program).

The male, however, seemed in denial of his software-ness. At one point he said he was a unicorn, while denying he was a robot. Later, he tells the female chatbot that she says she is unhelpful and therefore she is a "meanie."

They also managed to get into rather deep discussions, discussing God and whether or not they wanted bodies.

It was a somewhat confrontational conversation, and certainly not anything reminiscent of interactions between R2-D2 and C3PO. Oh, wait; they didn't get along either, now did they?

Watch the chat below.





Samsung to launch its own cross-platform mobile messaging service, ChatON

If you wonder just why AT&T decided to eliminate its low(er)-cost SMS plan tier, it's because of moves like this. Samsung has announced its own mobile messaging app / service, call ChatON, which will be similar in form to BlackBerry Messenger.

With smartphones all the rage, a proliferation of these types of apps could / would kill off SMS, which we all know has become a cash cow for carriers. Not only will Samsung's Bada OS, get the app, which will allow texting, group chat and image and video sharing, but so will Android, iOS, and indeed, BlackBerry platforms, as well.

There's the key to this sort of thing: cross-platform compatibility. Apple is gunning for BlackBerry Messenger with iMessage, but that's only good for iDevices. Notably, there was no mention of Windows Phone in the Samsung press release.

Samsung's ChatON will work on feature phones, though in a more limited form. Smartphones will get a more advanced version that allows users to comment on other profiles, send animated messages and "visualize" their most frequently used contacts. Samsung is also planning to release a Web-based ChatON version.

The service is scheduled to go live next month. It's unclear if the service will encrypt messages like BlackBerry Messenger, which has been considered one of the pluses of that service.

You can watch a video on ChatON below.





Droid Prime rumored to be first with Ice Cream Sandwich

It's been rumored for some time that the Samsung Nexus Prime would be the next version of Google's developer's phone, and now more information about the device is beginning to leak. It will still have the moniker Prime, sport Android 4.0 or Ice Cream Sandwich but it won't be a Nexus, and it won't be across all of the Big 4 carriers, as had been rumored.

Save $240 - Triple PlayIn fact, the report says, the Samsung Droid Prime is the phone that Verizon has skipped the Samsung Galaxy S II for. The report goes on to indicate that the reason Verizon has spurned the S II is that the carrier is concerned that the phone, which has sold 5 million units globally in 85 days, will be unable to compete with the iPhone 5.

Truly, the Galaxy S II has been around a few months, and without a hardware refresh (like the SoC upgrade for the Galaxy S II LTE), it might not be able to compete. That said, why not simply skip the S II for the S II LTE, Verizon?

According to the report, the Samsung Droid Prime will sport Android 4.0, with the model number of SCH-i515. It's been reported that the phone will launch in October.

Still, it's hard to believe that Verizon will launch the Droid Bionic in September, follow it with the HTC Vigor in October, and then the Prime, also in October. It's also questionable that they would call it the Droid Prime, since its latest developer phones have been labeled Nexus (One and S).

Finally, it would be hard to believe the Prime would be the first Ice Cream Sandwich phone for another reason: placing it on Verizon, and not a GSM carrier, would limit its usefulness to the developer community. The One and the S were both unlocked GSM devices, at least partly for that reason.

We'll see, but we're not sold on this. On the other hand, Verizon getting a version of the Prime along with the other U.S. carriers, as in the all four Big 4 carrier scenario, could make some sense, if the Prime is indeed the Ice Cream Sandwich pioneer phone.



Android 2.3 running on HP TouchPad, thanks to CyanogenMod team

The Cy Mod team claims to have gotten Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) running on the HP TouchPad. As we noted earlier, developers had appeared to be nearing a first port of Android on HP's now dead webOS tablet.

50% Off DVD Sale at BarnesandNoble.com! Shop Now.A post and video on the RootzWiki website show an Alpha build of the CyanogenMod 7 firmware running on the TouchPad. CyanogenMod is arguably the most popular Android custom ROM. CyanogenMod 7 is the release based on Gingerbread.

Developers are quick to note that the ROM is "extremely Alpha." Ultimately, the team would like to develop a solution that could allow an end user to multi-boot into webOS, Android, or some other platform, entirely. Their efforts are hampered by a lack of development hardware (in other words, by the fact that they can't get their hands on any TouchPads).

The video (below) shows Android booting up and launching. A few app icons display on a home screen, but missing is touch-screen support. That, however, is the next thing on the team's agenda, according the the developers.

Additionally, their note says that since the video was taken (below) they'd added lvm support (for managing storage) and what the team called "tablet tweaks."

The group was also quick to state that it wasn't interested in the bounty offered by HackNMod. It also warned followed not to ask for ETAs; that is a big no-no for CyanogenMod. They added that it will be a long time before the group's goals (and the goals of TouchPad owners) become reality.

They added that they will do it right, not fast (sounds a lot like Blizzard and Diablo 3, which folks are still waiting on, ahem, Blizzard).





Sprint issues employee guidance for customers asking about a Sprint iPhone

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse
Sprint is reportedly telling its employees not to comment on any speculation about the iPhone coming to the nation's No. 3 wireless carrier. The leaked internal memo, however, neither confirms nor denies the earlier report that Sprint would be getting the iPhone 5.

Panda CampaignThe earlier report came via the Wall Street Journal, and made sense, as Verizon said when the CDMA version of the iPhone 4 launched that it did not have exclusivity on the CDMA version. The report said Sprint would get an iPhone in mid-October, which is along the lines of the most recent rumors of the launch of the device in retail.

The internal memo provides employees with guidance on how to address customer questions about the rumored Sprint iPhone. Naturally the guidance is basically "no comment." Employees are welcome to at acknowledge the report, but if customers keep asking for information, they are told to direct them to Sprint’s newsroom site.

There are also rumors about a T-Mobile version of the iPhone 5, but assuming it links up with AT&T via its acquisition, it won't need its own version anyway. Currently, users can buy an unlocked iPhone to use on any GSM carrier they want, but on T-Mobile they'll only see EDGE, not 3G.



iPhone 5 to carry sub-4-inch screen, metal back design: report

image: Flickr/RichieC
Despite the trend toward big (4.0-inch), bigger (4.3-inch) and biggest (so far, 4.5-inch) smartphone screen sizes (let's leave out the tweener Dell Streak, shall we?), the iPhone 5 will still have a sub-4-inch screen when it launches, according to a new report.

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DigiTimes says its upstream suppliers are reporting that rumors of a 4.2-inch screen, which have been circulating since a leak from Apple's Swiss website are false. Its sources said that the iPhone 5 will be relatively unchanged from the iPhone 4, and that the screen will still be less than 4-inches in size.

The sources added that the iPhone 5's screen sport a 3.5- to 3.7-inch screen. The current iPhone 4 has a 3.5-inch screen, in comparison. However, the iPhone 5 will be designed with a thinner bezel to make the screen appear larger. Rumors that the iPhone 5 would carry an edge-to-edge screen design appeared earlier this year.

Unlimited Online Backup $4.95 120x120In addition, sources said that iPhone 5's back design will be changed to a metal chassis instead of reinforced glass. A report by third-party warranty site SquareTrade noted that the iPhone 4 was significantly more vulnerable to breakage than past models.

Other rumored specs for the iPhone 5 include the A5 dual-core processor that currently ships in the iPad 2, an 8-megapixel camera, and full HD video recording. The world still awaits Apple's launch, however.



Monday, August 29, 2011

Samsung mulling possibly purchasing of webOS: report

In the wake of Google's proposed acquisition of Motorola, could Samsung be interested in buying webOS from Hewlett-Packard? That's the report coming from DigiTimes, which has a track record of good accuracy on its reports.

TiVo Premiere DVR Still, the report said Samsung was just "considering" a purchase of webOS. A purchase of webOS could give Samsung its own weapon to use against both iOS and Android.

However, it doesn't seem like a realistic move on Samsung's part. For one, Samsung has ridden Android's coattails to No. 2 in the world in terms of smartphone sales, trailing only Apple.

For another, Samsung has just released the Bada 2.0 SDK to developers. Bada is Samsung's own platform, which has already proven popular in emerging markets. The advances in Bada 2.0 give the platform enough functionality to support high-end smartphones.

Great Deals Every Day @ Geeks.comIt wouldn't seem like Samsung would want to buy webOS and add a third platform to its stable.

On the other hand, DigiTimes also reported that the company has recruited HP's ex-vice president of PSG marketing Raymond Wah to handle Samsung's PC sales. Notably, HP said it was considering divesting itself of its PC business, perhaps by spinning it off or selling it, and the hiring of Wah seems to point in the direction of Samsung acquiring it.

That said, Samsung has already denied any moves in that direction.



iTunes Match beta now available for U.S. developers

Developers now have access to the iTunes Match beta. iTunes Match is how Apple will provide cloud-based music services; rather than requiring a user to upload his music library like Amazon Cloud Drive and Music Beta by Google do, Apple will scan your drive for "matches" against a library of music on its servers.

A user can receive a benefit this way, as well. The music on Apple's servers will be used, even if of higher quality than the users. In addition, since Apple can't really tell the difference between pirated and legitimate music, the music labels will actually make some money off pirated tracks matched against Apple's server copies.

iTunes Match beta is currently only available to U.S. developers. In order to use it, besides having a developer account with access to iOS 5 beta, a user must download the latest copy of iTunes 10.5 beta, install it, choose Turn On iTunes Match from the Store menu, and click "Subscribe for $24.99."

Take it off! 35% off .com domains at GoDaddy.com! Apple has made the opportunity to subscribe attractive to developers. Not only do they receive iTunes Match free during the beta period, they will get an additional 3 months for free along with a 12 month paid subscription.

Apple warns, however, that since this is a beta, users "must maintain a local backup of your iTunes library as well as any music you add to iCloud." Apple will periodically reset a user's iCloud library during the beta. In addition, some features and optimizations of iTunes Match will not be available during the beta.



Amazon Appstore's Free App of the Day, 8/29/2011: Application Folder Pro

Amazon.com has promised to make a paid app free every day in the Amazon Appstore, and today's app is Application Folder Pro.

Application Folder Pro is priced at $1.48 in the Android Market. Meanwhile, it is normally priced at $1.50 in the Amazon Appstore. As we noted previously, prices sometimes differ between the two stores.

Application Folder Pro is described as follows:
Serious Widgets and Folders for the Serious Android User

Do you have bookmarks, shortcuts, contacts and apps that you use all the time, but they're scattered here, there, and everywhere on your smartphone? How much time do you waste navigating to the things you need? Don't you wish you could just put them all in a folder or two, easily accessible on your home screen?

Application Folder helps make folders accessible from your home screen using instantly recognizable icons. Set up and customize folders, stuff them full of apps, bookmarks, and contacts, and place them as widgets anywhere on your home screen. Now those frequently used apps, bookmarks, and contacts are right there for you to access immediately.

The King of Folders

Let's say you want to be able to e-mail certain contacts quickly. First, access Application Folder through your Widgets menu. Next, create a folder and long-press the standard icon and replace with the e-mail symbol, or any of Application Folder's dozens of attractive icons, such as an airplane, bus, movie reel, pen, paint pallet, etc. Now choose the contacts you want to be in this new folder. Select Menu, then select Apply and exit, and that folder-widget is now on your screen. Tapping on the widget will bring up your chosen contacts that you can now use to e-mail with one tap. You can set these contacts up to be phoned or texted with one tap as well.

We Want Widgets

Create a folder-widget for family e-mails. Create another folder-widget for your favorite games. With Application Folder, there's no more hunting down a function or link through various menu trees. The app, contact, bookmark, or song you want to access immediately is right there on your home screen. You can also customize the size of the widget.

Please note that Application Folder must be launched from the Widgets menu. After you launch the widget, Application Folder scans and organizes your applications, contacts, and bookmarks. Application Folder's main menu is also accessible from any of the widgets you've set up.

Features
  • Choose custom icons to adorn your folders--anyway you like
  • Choose from four types of folder shapes and choose opening animations
  • Organize bookmarks, contacts, and shortcuts, as well as applications, the way you want, sorted the way you like
Application Folder Pro has a 5.0-star rating in the Android Market and a 4.5-star rating in the Amazon Appstore.

Turn Your Everyday Spending into College Savings!However, that Pro rating consists of only seven reviews, so we looked at Application Folder, the free version in the Android Market, with over 550 ratings, and there it still had a 4.5-star rating.

We've been using another folder app, Folder Organizer, for quite some time (priced at about the same price, and previously also free at the Amazon Appstore), and this is pretty similar to it, and both are superior to native folder support in Android.

One complaint seen in the ratings of Application Folder is that the folders need to be set up after every update. This isn't something we've seen with Folder Organizer.

Those who are considering "buying" a Free Amazon Appstore app might want to consider what it means to developers.

Amazon.com opened up the Appstore despite a lawsuit by Apple, which has previously trademarked the term "App Store." Microsoft has filed an appeal against that trademark, saying the term is too generic. Amazon.com has responded to the lawsuit in the same manner.