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Friday, July 27, 2012

Galaxy Note for T-Mobile now listed as “coming soon”, August 8 still the most likely release date

There have been so many unconfirmed rumors, inaccurate speculations, and false leaks about T-Mobile’s Samsung Galaxy Note that many of you probably didn’t believe that Twitter official confirmation of the phablet’s existence from last week.

But if you needed additional proof that the gadget is in fact real and it’s getting very close to its release, we have today not one, but two pieces of evidence that leave very little to speculation. Both Samsung and T-Mobile have placed the new Galaxy Note on their official websites and the phone/tablet hybrid is listed as “coming soon”.

Unfortunately, both websites only house the device’s spec sheet, as well as a bunch of manuals, frequently asked questions and how-tos, without providing any insight on the Note’s exact release date and pricing.

However, we have a pretty good idea of when to expect the Note to start selling and for how much, and we’re doubtful Sammy and T-Mo can surprise us anymore. August 8 was the most likely ETA for Magenta’s Note for about three weeks now and we have no reason to think that the phablet won’t be seeing the light of day at or around that date. As far as pricing goes, we don’t think T-Mobile will afford to undercut AT&T, who’s currently selling the Galaxy Note for $249.99 with a two-year contract and $599.99 outright.

The phablet’s tech specs and features on T-Mo were pretty much all known for a while, but the official listing on the carrier’s website sets these in stone, which is why we are going to quickly recap them below:

5.3-inch SuperAMOLED Plus HD capacitive touchscreen with 1280 x 800 pixels resolution, 285 ppi pixel density and Corning Gorilla Glass1.5 GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon S3 processor1 GB of RAM16 GB of on-board memoryMicroSD card slot for expanding the storage space to up to 32 GB8 MP rear-facing camera with LED and autofocus2 MP front-facing camera2,500 mAh battery capable of running for up to 10 hours in talk timeWiFi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, NFC4G connectivityAndroid 4.0.3 ICS with Premium Suite, preloaded Dropbox, Evernote, LinkedIn, S Note, S MemoS Pen supportT-Mobile TV180 grams weight (6.35 ounces)147 x 83 x 9.65 mm dimensions

As you can see, T-Mo’s Samsung Galaxy Note will definitely not be a sloucher and could well go head-to-head with pretty much any Android smartphone around in terms of tech specs, software or good looks. Then again, we know that Sammy is planning to launch the GNote 2 sometime in September or October, which is why we wonder if there is enough time for Magenta to make the Note a hit. What do you guys think? Does the first-edition Note still pique your interest? Or are you definitely holding out for its successor?

SOURCES Tmo News (1) Tmo News (2)

TAGS SamsungSamsung Galaxy NoteT-Mobile

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Keek: Android app for 36-second video status updates

You might be wondering, what in the world is a “keek”? Is it some sort of strange bird call? Think of tweets and their 140-character limit. Now imagine that short, concise message in a video. That’s what a keek is.

Instead of letting people infer what they want to from your 140-character tweet, a keek allows you to give the world a 36-second update. There’s a lot you can say and show in 36 seconds and you can give your viewers a better idea of what you’re updating about.

Show the world you’re at a concert, for example, and give them an idea of the noise around you. You can also share what being in a brain-numbing hours-long car ride is like. There’s no limit to what you can keek.

Keek originally let users make video updates using their webcams but since people have been breaking away from their computers, it was only natural for Keek to make its way to iOS and to Android.

To start keeking, you’ll need to create an account. Keek gives you the option of linking your account with your Facebook profile so that your friends, family, and anyone else on your Facebook social network can be updated on what you’re up to. You can upload as many keeks as you like, for free! Sky’s the limit for your 36-second long videos.

The main home screen is simple and has everything you need in one place. There’s the Watch button where you can access recently uploaded keeks, the Top 100 users, and your Stream. If you’re looking for something in particular, you can tap the Search button. My Profile is where you can access your profile but you need to be logged in to access it. Saved is where all your saved keeks are, waiting to be uploaded.

Making a keek is easy. On the Keek home screen, tap the green button at the bottom of the screen. You’ll be brought to the recording page but it hasn’t started recording yet. Tap the red button on the bottom and capture your 36-second video.

Once you’re done or once your time limit’s up, you can add a caption, @ mentions, # hashtags, and URLs to your keek. You can either choose to upload it now or save it to upload it later. Let your friends on Twitter and Facebook know what you’re keeking about by tapping the icons on the right.

The Keek app has both front and back camera support so you can take a video of yourself or a video of something you’re looking at with no problem.

If you don’t have any friends on Keek yet, you can tap the Watch button on the home screen and take a look around at what people are keeking about. You don’t need a Keek account to be able to view keeks, but you’ll need one to like and to reply to keeks in either text comments or keekbacks.

Keek does not support watching videos within the app and you’ll need another app to view it like ES Media Player or Streaming Media Player. You can like a keek, add a text comment or Keekback. You can also share it through Facebook, Plurk, Twitter, Google+, or email. Once a video plays, you can pause it at any time, handy for when someone interrupts your viewing.

Keeking is a fun way to share your experiences with the world. If you’ve been looking for ways to connect with other people but not hide behind just a 140-character tweet, then Keek is the way to go. You can download the official app from the Google Play Store for free.

SOURCES Keek on Google Play Store

TAGS Android AppsSocial AppsSocial MediaSocial NetworkSocial SharingStatus UpdatesVideoVideo AppsVideo Tweets

Android is Dan's last thought before she closes her eyes at night and her first thought upon waking up in the morning. And, between waking up and sleeping, Android is still in her thoughts. That's how hooked she has become to Android ever since she started covering Android news and writing Android app reviews.

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Samsung to sell Olympics Flip Cover for Galaxy S3 in its London pop-up stores


With the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics about to officially kick off tomorrow, what better way to engross yourself in the quadrennial occasion than getting a matching Flip Cover for your Samsung Galaxy S3?

We have to say the specially designed back cover looks pretty smashing, as it’s adorned with neat drawings of London’s many landmarks, such as the Big Ben, the red telephone box, the newly constructed The Shard, and others. The special Olympics Flip Cover for the Galaxy S3 is your best bet to score some local memorabilia and celebrate the fine men and women who are competing for glory.

Your other option is to fly all the way to Taiwan to get the Olympic accessories pack for the Galaxy S3. But unless you’re actually competing in the summer games, you can kiss the special Olympic edition Galaxy S3 goodbye, because Samsung is only handing it out to athletes. It’s a different story if they decide to put it up on Ebay after the game finishes.

Back to the special edition olympic Flip Cover — you can snag this fine memorabilia when you purchase the Galaxy S3 from the Samsung Mobile PIN premium pop-up stores in Westfield Shepherd’s Bush, Old Spitalfields, Olympic Park, and the Hyde Park.


TAGS OlympicOlympic GamesSamsungSamsung Galaxy S3

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Asphalt 7: Heat now available on Google Play

After a long, long wait, Android gamers can finally rev up their virtual engines in the hottest release of the summer – Asphalt 7: Heat. The latest installment of the hit series developed by GameLoft has been teased for many weeks now and suffered several delays. The game was released on iOS more than a month ago, forcing Android fans to look with envy on the other side.

Asphalt 7: Heat has hit Google Play today and garnered close to 200 reviews already, most of which give it a glowing 5-star review. The app is compatible with Android 2.2 and upwards and goes for an affordable $0.99. My hope is GameLoft will have better success at monetizing the new Asphalt than Madfinger Games had with their Dead Trigger, which they were forced to release as a free title due to the “incredible high piracy rate”. Good developers make any platform tick, and we are all behind supporting and rewarding devs, especially when they produce amazing titles like Asphalt 7: Heat.

Asphalt 7: Heat offers six game modes, including King of the Hill, Elimination, and Paint Job (earn points by smashing your opponents — pure fun!), which ensures a high re-playability. When looking at the graphics in the trailer below, it’s hard to believe that it’s a mobile title, especially one that costs just 99 cents.


The new game will give you the opportunity to try out over 60 cars, ranging from exotics to classics, and of course, an AMC DeLorean of Back to the Future fame. After you select your ride, you will be able to push it to its limit over courses in various locales, including London, Paris, Miami, Rio, and Hawaii.

Will you be trying out the new Asphalt 7?

SOURCES Google Play

TAGS Android GamesAsphalt 7Asphalt 7: HeatGameLoft

I'm here to report on the latest, most breaking developments in mobile technology, all the latest and greatest Android news, and to dig deeper on where Android is headed. I'll tell you one thing - we're in for a wild ride!

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Intel is off to a bad start in the mobile market, and might not get to recover

No matter how hard Intel is trying, things don’t seem to go too well for them in the mobile market. According to sources quoted by Digitimes, the sales of the Intel-based smartphones aren’t going so well, and now two of their main partners, Motorola and Lenovo, are delaying their own Medfield-based tablets (and probably phones as well) at least until November.

At that point, we’ll probably be too impressed by the new Android 5.0 Nexus devices, featuring chips like the S4 Pro, Exynos 5250 and even OMAP 5, to care for Medfield phones running Jelly Bean. So things aren’t looking too bright for Intel in the future, either. But why is Intel, such a big company with a huge war chest, and a leader in the (x86) chip market, having such a hard time entering the mobile market?

Just because a company utterly dominates a certain market, it doesn’t mean that it will be successful in other markets by default. Throwing money at the problem will do nothing, if Intel can’t create a chip that is competitive against ARM’s mobile designs.

There are other things to consider, such as the fact that ARM has a unique business model, where there are a lot of ARM chip makers, all competing with each other and on price. As a result, ARM is very hard to beat, because Intel isn’t fighting just one company like AMD, but a whole bunch of ARM chip makers at once. Plus, why would phone makers give away the flexibility and power they get from the status quo, and risk getting locked by Intel, like PC manufacturers?

So, why would a manufacturer go with an Intel chip, if it doesn’t offer any technical advantages over ARM chips? Should they go with Intel just because of its brand recognition? The Intel name means nothing in the mobile market, and most end users don’t know what chip their phone has, nor do they care.

Intel plans to release a Clover Trail dual-core chip for the end of the year and the Windows 8 launch, but that’s not a “mobile” chip like Medfield. It’s a lot less power efficient, going up to 8-10W TDP. This chip is definitely not meant for Android tablets, but for Windows 8 ones. On Android tablets, it would be painfully obvious how low the battery life is compared to other ARM tablets. But on Windows, Intel can at least say they enable desktop apps, and they need the extra oomph for running Windows.

On Android, I don’t think Intel has any chance to get popular anymore, and if Windows 8 fails in the market, things will go downhill fast for both Microsoft and Intel.


TAGS ARMExynos 5250intelLenovoMedfieldMotorolaOMAP 5S4 ProTegra 3

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Apple wins “adverse inference jury instruction” in U.S. patent case against Samsung

In case you’re not aware of it, Apple and Samsung are embroiled in a complex legal patent-based battle that spans across four continents, in 10 markets. Of the over 50 cases between the two giants, two are of utmost importance right now, an Australian trial that has already started and – even more important for the mobile business – the U.S. trial that’s scheduled to begin on July 30.

So far it’s Apple that has won the most favorable verdicts in its conflict with the Android device maker, including two recent injunctions obtained in the U.S. against Galaxy-branded devices such as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet and the Galaxy Nexus smartphone.

Furthermore, Apple is already asking for $2.525 billion in damages and royalties from Samsung, while it’s ready to pay half a cent for each of its own iOS devices that infringe on Samsung FRAND (standard essential) patents.

With all that in mind, we’re moving forward in the American Apple vs Samusng fight with a new favorable verdict for the iPhone maker.

Magistrate Judge Paul S. Grewal instructed jurors of the Apple vs Samsung case to consider that Samsung has basically destroyed evidence that could have been relevant to Apple’s case in the trial. Foss Patents shows the order that will apparently be sent to jurors by Judge Lucy Koh, who is presiding the Apple vs Samsung case:

“Samsung has failed to prevent the destruction of relevant evidence for Apple’s use in this litigation. This is known as the ‘spoliation of evidence.’

I instruct you, as a matter of law, that Samsung failed to preserve evidence after its duty to preserve arose. This failure resulted from its failure to perform its discovery obligations.

You also may presume that Apple has met its burden of proving the following two elements by a preponderance of the evidence: first, that relevant evidence was destroyed after the duty to preserve arose. Evidence is relevant if it would have clarified a fact at issue in the trial and otherwise would naturally have been introduced into evidence; and second, the lost evidence was favorable to Apple.

Whether this finding is important to you in reaching a verdict in this case is for you to decide. You may choose to find it determinative, somewhat determinative, or not at all determinative in reaching your verdict.”

What did Samsung fail to provide Apple? An email exchange between Samsung execs that was automatically deleted by the company’s emailing system. The system deletes emails that are not saved by its employees after two weeks, a measure that’s meant to prevent any unwanted leaks.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the judge found that this wasn’t Samsung’s first wrongdoing. In 2004, in a case tried in New Jersey, Samsung was also unable to provide emails that were automatically destroyed. Therefore the judge believes Samsung has destroyed evidence in this Apple case, as, at the time of the email exchange, Apple was already pursuing legal actions against the Android device maker, which means Samsung should have saved all those emails for future evidence.

On the other hand, Samsung argues that the ITC already ruled on the same alleged wrongdoing and found that “Samsung had not acted wrongly in regards to the destruction of documents in its case with Apple there”.

Even more interestingly for the Apple vs Samsung story is the fact that these email exchanges concern a specific product targeted by Apple, the Galaxy Tab 10.1:

“Joon-Il Choi, a senior manager in Samsung’s R&D Management Group, did not produce any emails. Mr. Choi, however, presided over and wrote notes for a meeting that Gee-Sung Choi, Samsung’s former President and CEO of its digital media division and current Vice Chairman of Corporate Strategy, attended on March 5, 2011, to discuss alterations to the Galaxy Tab 10.1 to make it more competitive with the newly released thinner iPad 2.”

Neither Foss Patents not The Journal mention the two initial Galaxy Tab 10.1 versions, but since the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is a device that Apple has been targeted in various countries – obtaining several injunctions, even if temporary, in Germany, Australia or the U.S. – we’ll tale a look at what the quote above may mean. We’re specifically referring to the part that mentions the “alterations to the Galaxy Tab 10.1” that Samsung made after initially unveiling it.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1v sounds like a secondary Galaxy Tab 10.1 version, but the fact is that this version was the official tablet the company unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in Spain in February 2011. The device was announced a few weeks after Motorola unveiled the Xoom at CES 2011, and it was seen as another iPad 2 potential competitor – at that time, the iPad 2 was not yet public, but various rumors mentioning its specs were featured by various tech-oriented publications.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1 was expected to launch in the months following its announcement, but it ended up being rebranded as Galaxy Tab 10.1v and sold by Vodafone only in certain markets of the world.

The Galaxy Tab 10.1v is a version of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet and it had essentially the same specs and features as the device that we’ve grown to know as the Galaxy Tab 10.1. But it also had a few different specs including a 8-megapixel rear-facing camera and a 6860 battery. The device also sported a different design, more alongside the lines of the original iPad, which means it had a somewhat curvier back rather than a flat one, and a profile of 10.9mm.

Also worth noting is that the tablet was supposed to be released with a vanilla Android version on board rather than a TouchWized UI interface on top of Android.

When Apple launched the new iPad 2 in March 2011, some tablet enthusiasts were annoyed to see that while the company equipped the device with both a front-facing and a rear camera, the shooters were not on par with what rumors said they would offer: 960 x 720 back camera with HD video recording and VGA front-facing camera with VGA video recording.

At the same time, the devices sported a new slim design (8.8mm), and a flat back compared to its predecessor, which had a curvy back.

Samsung then surprised the crowds at CTIA 2012 with a new Galaxy Tab 10.1 version, which sported a design more similar to the iPad 2 than the model shown to the world at MWC 2011 – see image above. The former Galaxy Tab 10.1 got the “v” particle after the name and the new Galaxy Tab 10.1 model became the tablet that would ship in various markets across the world.

We will not forget that Samsung execs, namely Lee Don-Joo, the company’s CEO, said after Apple announced its new tablet that the iPad 2’s price and thickness will pose challenges to Samsung, and the company would have to “improve the parts that are inadequate.”

In addition to the slimmer profile (8.6mm), which also reduced the weight of the device, the new Galaxy Tab 10.1 model came with a 3.1-megapixel rear shooter, while keeping in place the 2.0-megapixel front-facing camera found on the first model, and with a bigger 7,000mAh battery. The device would also ship with TouchWiz UI on top of Android OS.

The new tablet was supposed to hit stores in summer 2011, rather than in March/April as initially expected.

Should jurors assume that the emails Apple wanted to use in court detail the changes the Galaxy Tab 10.1v went through to become the Galaxy Tab 10.1 which is still selling in stores today? We’ll have to wait for the actual trial to begin to know more, but we’re definitely going to keep you updated on the matter.

SOURCES Foss Patents The Wall Street Journal

TAGS AppleGalaxy NexusGalaxy Tab 10.1Patent DisputeSamsung

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Bloomberg: Facebook and HTC working together on a new smartphone, to debut in mid-2013

We’ve been hearing rumors about Facebook’s supposed grand mobile plans for quite some time, but until now, they had but a whiff of credibility. The last one in particular, coming from the New York Times, sounded extremely far-fetched, stating that Facebook was considering building a smartphone from scratch, both in terms of hardware and software.

A new report seems to set the record straight about Facebook’s bold, but sane plans of getting in the smartphone business. According to Bloomberg, Mark Zuckerberg’s company is currently working on a phone with deep integration of Facebook features, but they have sought help from their old partners at HTC.

FB and HTC have worked on a similar “project” before, but the ChaCha (also known as the Status) hasn’t exactly proven a winner. This time around, however, we hope we’ll be treated with a better endowed gadget.

Unfortunately, Bloomberg’s sources (or “people with knowledge of the matter”, as the news online publication calls them) didn’t let any details slip about the hardware of the upcoming phone. As far as software goes, earlier rumors that Facebook will look to fork Android just like Amazon seem to be getting traction.

What’s interesting is that Facebook might not use HTC’s software expertise to tweak Android, but its own team of engineers recruited from ex-Apple and Palm employees. This worries us a bit, as we don’t know exactly how much experience with Android those programmers have, but at least the future device might forego HTC’ Sense overlay, which is not that popular.

Concept by Michal Bonikowski

The unnamed Facebook-HTC smartphone should have been released by the end of the year, according to initial plans, but will not come earlier than mid-2013 after all. The delay has been requested by HTC to allow them to work on other products of their own and then dedicate their time entirely to this project.

Both Facebook and HTC are currently in search of their financial “groove”, so this kind of bold enterprise might make or break their finances. FB is still the most popular social networking service by miles, but its initial public offering from May 17 has probably caused Mark Zuckerberg some serious financial headaches. The now publicly listed company has seen its shares fall 23 percent in the past two months, and “Zuck” is seeing “the shift to mobile” as Facebooks’s greatest challenge right now. Meanwhile, HTC has gone down the slippery slope of financial losses for about a year now, with its shares dropping 43 percent in 2012.

What are your thoughts? Could the new HTC-Facebook phone bring back financial stability to Taiwan, and make mobile profitable in California? Why? Why not?

SOURCES Bloomberg

TAGS FacebookFuture of AndroidFuture TechHTC

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