Monday, 31 December 2012

Samsung reportedly ready to launch two Galaxy S II Plus variants in Jan 2013


2012 witnessed the launch of plenty of interesting Near Field Communication (NFC) smartphones and looks like 2013 is going to be no different in this regards. About fortnight ago we had reported that Samsung is working on Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos and Galaxy S II Plus.
According to Unwired, Samsung is expected to launch two variants of Samsung Galaxy S II Plus - GT-i9105, and GT-i9105P. The only difference between these two Samsung devices will be that GT-i9105P will support NFC while GT-i9105 will not.
Samsung has launched Samsung Galaxy S Plus in August 2011 as an upgrade to Samsung Galaxy S. However, this time around Samsung Galaxy S Plus II does not seem to be much of an upgrade. Reason being Samsung Galaxy S Plus II is speculated to have the same 4.3-inch screen with 480X800 pixel resolution like Samsung Galaxy S. Moreover, instead of 1.2GHz processor, Samsung Galaxy S Plus II is expected to have just a 1GHz processor.
On the positive side, Samsung Galaxy S Plus II will most likely be running on Android 4.1.2 (Jelly Bean)
It is being speculated that Samsung Galaxy S II Plus will be launched in January 2013 and Sam Mobileclaims that it will be available in two colour options - Chic White and Dark Blue. However, there is no information available in regards to what could be the price of this smartphone
There are also speculations that Samsung will be launching an upgraded version of Samsung Galaxy Pocket, which will be dubbed Samsung Galaxy Pocket Plus S5301.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Samsung releases CES Smart TV teaser video, announces updated Smart Hub


Samsung is ready to introduce its updated version of the Smart Hub interface for its Smart TVs at CES 2013 scheduled for January 8th in Las vegas.

Smart Hub is a content platform for Samsung Smart TVs that allows users to navigate through their television's features. The company claims that the new Smart Hub will offer a more intuitive experience to its users.

With a new updated version of the Smart Hub, users can now browse through live broadcasts, the internet and other content such as movies, apps and photos and videos.

The initial screen is divided into five categories - 'On TV' for live TV, 'Movies & TV Shows' based on VOD contents, 'Apps' for various applications, 'Social' for SNS contents sharing function, ' Photos, Videos & Music' for more personal content.

Another noteworthy feature will be a unique 'flipping' function that will let users browse through the five categories with motion control, whereby you can use gestures to flip through menus.

Gesture control has already been a part of Samsung's Smart Interaction feature seen in the ES9000, ES7500, ES8000 LED, ES9000 LED TVs and E8000 Plasma TVs. It has released the Angry Birds app making use of motion control. Users can experience gameplay by waving their hands to fling the birds and equip them with their unique powers.

The Korean giant has also released a 1min 9sec teaser video on YouTube hinting at a new Smart TV, expected to be unveiled at CES 2013. The video shows many TV sets racing towards the venue to witness the unveiling of the television draped in a white cloth. The commercial ends with the phrase, "All the TVs are rushing to see Samsung's new TV".

There isn't much in the video with respect to what to expect from the TV, but earlier rumours have indicated that the company is gearing up to launch an 85-inch Ultra High Definition TV set at the forthcoming CES event.  

Airtel launches 'Call-me-back' service for prepaid subscribers


Airtel, in partnership mCarbon (a Value Added Service provider), has unveiled 'Call-me-back' service for prepaid subscribers. With the help of this service, a user can request their family and friends to call them back if they have a balance of less than Re 1.
To use this service the user needs to send a toll-free SMS with the word CALL <space> <Airtel mobile number you want to speak to.> to 121. Thereafter the person you want to speak to will get an SMS from the number the user saying: "Please call me back. Thank You." There is no charge to user for this service, and the call-back by the friend or family member will be charged as per his current calling plan rate. The customer who is calling back can be an Airtel prepaid or postpaid user anywhere in the country (including on roaming).

This service can be availed when the balance in customer's prepaid account is below Re 1, and can be used up to 3 times in a day.

Rajesh Razdan, Co-founder and Director, mCarbon Tech Innovation, stated "The customer's experience of an operator has many facets and involves many touch-points. We are pleased to launch 'Call-me-back', one such service that drives our philosophy of Customer Experience Management. We are positive on our ability to continuously add new and exciting applications under our wing."
Earlier this week, Airtel unveiled a new prepaid hotspot service called 'WiFi Hangout'. The service that is currently available in select cities namely Mumbai, Bangalore and the NCR allows prepaid users to enjoy a broadband Internet experience anywhere on their Wi-Fi enabled devices such as Laptop, tablet or mobile. The Airtel WiFi Hangout plans begin at Rs.20 for 30 min, Rs.30 for 60 min and Rs.50 for 120 min of unlimited usage.
Apart from this Airtel had also come up with an Airtel Data Share Plan. Under this plan the subscriber will have to shell out Rs. 1000 per month and can use 3G data on up to three smart devices. There is a cumulative cap of 5GB, on exhaustion of which the Airtel user can continue to use unlimited data but at the speed of 80KB per second. 

Samsung unveils ChatON 2.0 with multiple device syncing, new social features and more

Samsung is bidding adieu to 2012 by updating its ChatON messaging service for mobiles to version 2.0 that includes many changes like multiple image messaging, new social features, syncing across devices and enhanced support for tablet users.

Mobile users can now send multiple images at once, change the fonts of their chat and even send animations alongside text. The social networking experience has been enhanced by additional improvements to the 'My Page' feature now supports offline posting of comments, though they are not published until the devices goes online. Further, users can now also invite friends to ChatON conversations from a wider variety of platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Weibo.

An innovative feature called ChatON Special Buddy, provides great offers, updates and news feeds from third-party vendors in real-time, and allows users to vote in polls or leave comments.

But the most noticeable change is the ability to sync across multiple devices. By logging in with their Samsung account, users can now access their chat history, friend list and live chats on up to five of their devices. Now the app competes in the league of other messaging clients like WhatsApp and WeChat.

The app has also been updated for tablets that provides push-to-talk voice messaging, in addition to a number of other editing and settings-related changes that makes tablet users close to, if not at par with mobile ones.

Here's a full change log of the app on the Google Play store:

ChatON v2.0.5 update includes:
  • Sign in with Samsung account: All connected devices receive the same message simultaneously
  • Move Special buddy to More menu
  • Improvement of My Page: Multiple profile images & Comment on PostON
  • Change font style of chat room
  • Send multiple images at once
  • Send Anicon/Animessage+text
ChatON Tablet v1.9.3 update includes:
  • Walkie-talkie [push-to-talk]
  • Improvement to My Page
  • Add image effects
  • Add group profile editing
  • Add members of chat room as a group
  • Add typing status

Karbonn launches dual-SIM A30 with Android 4.0, massive 5.9-inch display


he yacht commissioned by Steve Jobs is free to set sail after a dispute over non-payment of the designer Philippe Starck's fees was resolved earlier this week.

"The Venus is no longer impounded, we have found a solution," Gerard Moussault, a Hague-based lawyer for the Steve Jobs estate, told AFP. "A security deposit was paid into a bank account, but I cannot say for how much."

Last Wednesday the bailiffs of an Amsterdam court boarded the ship and chained it to the dock with the vessel forbidden to be moved.

At the centre of the row was an unpaid invoice of three million euros (about $4 million) sent by Starck, who worked with Jobs for years in designing the ship. As a compensation he would reportedly get six percent of the costs of the yacht. Since Venus was estimated at 150 million euros, Starck expected to receive nine million euros.

However according to the heirs, Jobs' ship in reality only cost 105 million euros and as a result Starck was paid six million euros.

The French designer did not get a response to the invoice for the remaining three million euros, and decided to get the authorities involved.

The 80-metre aluminium motor ship was just about to leave the port of Amsterdam. After a construction period of two years, Venus was launched in Aalsmeer two months ago and delivered to Jobs' widow Laurene.

As of Tuesday, the Dutch-built yacht, which was only unveiled in October - just over a year after Jobs died - was in Amsterdam harbour because of bad weather.

"The captain is waiting for better weather to set sail," Moussault said.

Steve Jobs yacht free to set sail after dispute is settled


The yacht commissioned by Steve Jobs is free to set sail after a dispute over non-payment of the designer Philippe Starck's fees was resolved earlier this week.

"The Venus is no longer impounded, we have found a solution," Gerard Moussault, a Hague-based lawyer for the Steve Jobs estate, told AFP. "A security deposit was paid into a bank account, but I cannot say for how much."

Last Wednesday the bailiffs of an Amsterdam court boarded the ship and chained it to the dock with the vessel forbidden to be moved.

At the centre of the row was an unpaid invoice of three million euros (about $4 million) sent by Starck, who worked with Jobs for years in designing the ship. As a compensation he would reportedly get six percent of the costs of the yacht. Since Venus was estimated at 150 million euros, Starck expected to receive nine million euros.

However according to the heirs, Jobs' ship in reality only cost 105 million euros and as a result Starck was paid six million euros.

The French designer did not get a response to the invoice for the remaining three million euros, and decided to get the authorities involved.

The 80-metre aluminium motor ship was just about to leave the port of Amsterdam. After a construction period of two years, Venus was launched in Aalsmeer two months ago and delivered to Jobs' widow Laurene.

As of Tuesday, the Dutch-built yacht, which was only unveiled in October - just over a year after Jobs died - was in Amsterdam harbour because of bad weather.

"The captain is waiting for better weather to set sail," Moussault said.

Number of ebook readers increasing in US - survey


The popularity of electronic books is increasing in the United States, with nearly one-quarter of American bibliophiles reading e-books, according to a survey released on Thursday.The number of e-readers aged 16 years and older jumped from 16 percent in 2011 to 23 percent this year, while print readers fell from 72 to 67 percent in 2012, in a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center.
"The move toward e-book reading coincides with an increase in ownership of electronic book reading devices," the organization said. Its report analyzed reading trends among the 75 percent of Americans who read at least one book in the last year.
"In all, the number of owners of either a tablet computer or e-book reading device grew from 18 percent in late 2011 to 33 percent in 2012."
E-book owners increased from 4 percent in May 2010 to 19 percent in November 2012, while people with tablets jumped from 3 percent to 25 percent during the same period, according to the report.
People most likely to read e-books are well-educated, 30- to 49-year-olds who live in households earning $75,000 or more.
More women, 81 percent, read books, compared to 70 percent of men, and the number of readers declines as people age. The trend toward e-books impacted libraries, which stocked and loaned more e-books.
"The share of recent library users who have borrowed an e-book from a library has increased from 3 percent last year to 5 percent this year," according to Pew.
Even awareness that library stock e-books has grown, from 24 percent late last year to 31 percent now.
The findings were based on a telephone survey of 2,252 people, aged 16 years and older, across the United States and a similar poll the year before. It had a 2.7 percent margin of error.

Monday, 24 December 2012

ZTE's 5-inch, full-HD Grand S press shot leaked ahead of CES launch


ZTE's much talked about 5-inch smartphone, ZTE Grand S has made another appearance online.Engadget has now posted a press shot of this new smartphone, which they managed to get their hands on through an anonymous tipster.
It is being touted that ZTE will be unveiling its new flagship smartphone at CES 2013 in Las Vegas on January 8. We had reported a few days back about ZTE mulling to launch its Grand S smartphone soon.
So far there are very little details available about ZTE Grand S apart from that it may have a unibody design and a full-HD display. Also, this smartphone will be very thin.
The only full-HD smartphone out there in the market right now is from HTC. The smartphone is available under the names HTC J Butterfly, HTC Droid DNA and HTC Butterfly across various markets. However, as mentioned earlier, 2013 is set to be the year of full-HD phones, with flagships from Samsung and LG expected to feature big displays with 1080p resolution.
The LG Optimus G2 is expected to feature a 5.5-inch full-HD display, quad-core 2.0/ 2.5GHz Krait processor, at least 2GB of RAM, 13-megapixel camera and 3rd generation LTE radio. The Galaxy S IV is rumoured to have a 4.99-inch full-HD display alongside a 13-megapixel camera, a significant upgrade over the Galaxy S III's 8-megapixel rear shooter. There's also buzz about the Galaxy S IV featuring a 2 GHz quad-core Exynos processor and an 8-core GPU.
It is expected that Sony, Lenovo, Sharp and Huawei may join the brigade soon.

Facebook releases Poke iPhone app with self-destructing messages


Facebook has announced a new app that erases pictures and messages within 10 seconds of being sent, the Daily Mail reported.
It is an advanced version of one of the social networking site's original apps, the "poke".
The equivalent of a head nod or wink, the "poke" in its old form is rarely used today as the site has become more advanced.
It has now been reinvented to be called "Facebook Poke" and allows users to send fleeting messages, pokes, photos and 10-second videos to friends, the Mail said Saturday.
The messages expire after a set period of time, from 1 to 10 seconds, and cannot be retrieved by either party again, making it perfect for sending salacious images without leaving a trail.

Mobile app to help women in distress send quick SOS alerts


Women in the country can now look forward to alerting their friends and family through the push of a button on sensing danger using a mobile application called 'Fight Back'.
Developed by mobile value added services provider CanvasM, the application tracks a user's location and sends SOS messages to selected contacts in case of an emergency.
"We feel the application can help make a woman feel safe, especially given the current law and order situation.
The app allows them to press panic button whenever they feel unsafe. It tracks the location using GPS and alerts the right people," CanvasM CEO Jagdish Mitra told PTI.
The company is also in the process of integrating the solution with Delhi Police's back-end IT infrastructure.
"This will enable Delhi Police to also get messages when somebody calls out for help and prompt action can be taken," he added.
There has been an outrage in the country over alleged rape of a paramedical student by six men in a moving bus.
While the application is free for consumers in the Delhi-NCR region, other users will need to pay a subscription fee of Rs. 100 per annum.
"Such incidents are shameful. The application is our way of contributing to make women feel safe," Mitra said. Fight Back is available for smartphones running on Android, Blackberry and Symbian operating systems, he said.
"We will soon come up with a similar SMS-based application so that the benefits can be extended to non-smartphone users as well," he added.
While the application has been available for sometime now, it has seen about 3,000-4,000 downloads.
"The pick up is there but not as much as we had expected. We have been busy with building the ecosystem. We will now work on spreading awareness about the application," he said.
To spread awareness about Fight Back, the company is talking to various companies, including BPOs, and colleges. In addition, they are looking at tie-up with telecom operators and NGOs to promote the service.
"We are in talks with Delhi government as well," he said.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Google doodles Srinivasa Ramanujan's 125th birthday

Srinivasa Ramanujan, a genius mathematician who sadly died way too young, is the subject of Saturday's Google doodle.
Born in 1887 in Erode, Tamil Nadu, Srinivasa Ramanujan was self-taught and worked in almost complete isolation from the mathematical community of his time. Living in India, unaware of the work being done around the globe, he independently proved and discovered many mathematical theorems.
Around 1912 he sent samples of his work to the University of Cambridge, where it was spotted by G.H. Hardy. Hardy recognised the brilliance of Ramanujan's work and invited him to Cambridge. Ramanujan went on to become a Fellow of the Royal Society and a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge.
During his short lifetime - he died of illness and malnutrition at the age of 32 - Ramanujan independently compiled over 3900 results, most of which where later proven correct, while some of them were proven false and others filed under the 'already known' category.
Ramanujan often managed to leap from insight to insight without formally proving the logical steps in between.
"His ideas as to what constituted a mathematical proof were of the most shadowy description," G.H. Hardy, Ramanujan's mentor and one of his few collaborators, had once said.
Now proof has been found for a connection that he seemed to mysteriously intuit between two types of mathematical functions.
Ken Ono of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, who has previously unearthed hidden depths in Ramanujan's work, was prompted by Ramanujan's 125th birth anniversary, to look once more at his writings.
"I wanted to go back and prove something special," Ono said.
Ono settled on a discussion in the last known letter that Ramanujan wrote to Hardy, concerning a type of function now called a modular form.
Functions are equations that can be drawn as graphs on an axis, like a sine wave, and produce an output when computed for any chosen input or value The functions looked unlike any other modular forms, but Ramanujan wrote that their outputs would be very similar to those of modular forms when computed for the roots of 1 like the square root -1.
Characteristically, Ramanujan offered neither proof nor explanation for this conclusion.
It was only 10 years later that mathematicians formally defined this other set of functions, now known as mock modular forms. However, still no one fathomed what Ramanujan meant by saying the two types of function produced similar outputs for roots of 1.
Now Ono and colleagues have exactly calculated one of Ramanujan's mock modular forms for values very close to -1, and said the difference in the value of the two functions, ignoring the functions signs, is tiny when computed for -1, just like Ramanujan said.
The result confirms Ramanujan's incredible intuition, says Ono.

Friday, 21 December 2012

RIM reports first-ever dip in BlackBerry subscribers

Research In Motion's stock plunged in after-hours trading Thursday after the BlackBerry maker said it plans to change the way it charges fees.
RIM also announced that it lost subscribers for the first time in the latest quarter, as the global number of BlackBerry users dipped to 79 million.
In a rare positive sign, the Canadian company added to its cash position during the quarter as it prepared to launch new smartphones on Jan. 30. The new devices are deemed critical to the company's survival.
RIM's stock initially jumped more than 8 percent in after-hours trading on that news, but then fell $1.48, or 10.4 percent, to $12.65 after RIM said on a conference call that it won't generate as much revenue from telecommunications carriers once it releases the new BlackBerry 10 platform.
RIM is changing the way it charges service fees, putting an important source of revenue at risk. RIM CEO Thorsten Heins said only subscribers who want enhanced security will pay fees under the new system.
"Other subscribers who do not utilize such services are expected to generate less or no service revenue," Heins said. "The mix in level of service fees revenue will change going forward and will be under pressure over the next year during this transition."
RIM's stock had been on a three-month rally that has seen the stock more than double from its lowest level since 2003.
But Mike Walkley, an analyst with Canaccord Genuity, said BlackBerry 10 will change RIM's services revenue model dramatically. He said that instead of getting about $6 per device each month from carriers and users RIM could get as little as zero.
"That's what turned the stock from being up 10 percent to being down 10 percent," Walkley said. "That's been part of our worry. How do they come back with a new platform and get carriers to continue to share the higher revenue -which sounds like they are not going to- and then subsidize the phone to make it affordable for consumers and enterprises."
"People are seeing that the services revenue has a lot of risk to it now with the BlackBerry 10 migration."
Three months ago, RIM had 80 million subscribers. Analysts said the loss of 1 million subscribers was expected. Once coveted symbols of an always-connected lifestyle, BlackBerry phones have lost their luster to Apple's iPhone and phones that run on Google's Android software.
RIM is banking its future on its much-delayed BlackBerry 10 platform, which is meant to offer the multimedia, Internet browsing and apps experience that customers now demand.
"We believe the company has stabilized and will turn the corner in the next year," Heins said. He noted that the company's cash holdings grew by $600 million in the quarter to $2.9 billion, even after the funding of all its restructuring costs. RIM previously announced 5,000 layoffs this year.
Heins said subscribers in North America showed the largest decline, but said there is growth overseas.
Colin Gillis, an analyst with BGC Financial, said before the conference call that the company bought itself more time.
"It doesn't mean (BlackBerry) 10 will gain traction. A lot of people said 10 would be DOA, but I don't think that's going to be the case," he said.
Jefferies analyst Peter Misek also earlier called the results better than expected, noting that RIM added a significant amount of cash. RIM will need the money to advertise the new BlackBerrys and operating system.
Misek also called it a positive development that RIM said there would not be another delay to BlackBerry 10.
"The success or failure of this company will be on BlackBerry 10," Misek said.
RIM posted net income of $14 million, or 3 cents per share for its fiscal third quarter, which ended Dec. 1. That compares with a profit of $265 million, or 51 cents per share, in the same quarter a year ago.
The latest figure includes a favorable tax settlement. Excluding that adjustment, RIM lost 22 cents per share. Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting a wider loss of 27 cents.
RIM reported revenue of $2.7 billion, down 47 percent from a year ago.

It may be "several months" before some users can download their Twitter archive


Twitter is offering its more than 200 million users a chance to keep a digital scrapbook of all their tweets.
The tool, announced this week, is designed to make it easier for people to review all their activity on Twitter's trend-setting messaging service.
When it's available, the downloading option will appear at the bottom of each user's settings menu.
Twitter, which is based in San Francisco, said it may take a several weeks, or even months, before everyone gets the feature.
After a records request is made, users will receive an email on how to download their personal archive. For Twitter's earliest users, the records date back to 2006 when Twitter started.
Twitter users already have been able to peruse their past tweets by navigating to their personal profile page. But going that route is more cumbersome because it requires scrolling down a page that can sometimes be slow to display additional tweets.
The company said that users who download their entire histories should find it easier to search for particular tweets and organize the messages - by month, for example.
The new tool also should serve as a reminder that a copy of everything people have tweeted still resides on Twitter's computers.
Other widely used services, such as Facebook's popular social network, also have been creating digital portraits of people's lives as more content gets posted on their sites. Facebook gives its more than 1 billon users the option to download everything they have shared on the service. It has become easier this year for Facebook users to look at their past musings and photos as the service converted people's profiles into a timeline that sorts content by the month it was shared.
Path, another social network founded by former Facebook executive Dave Morin, is also trying to position itself as a treasure chest of memories. A new feature released Thursday in an update to Path's' mobile app allows users to search their past posts on devices running on Apple and Android software. The content can be quickly retrieved by typing in their names' friends, a specific event or time of year, or just a phrase encapsulating a vacation highlight, such as "hiking in Kauai."

Facebook tests $1 fee for messages to non-friends


Facebook on Thursday began testing the feasibility of charging to guarantee that messages from strangers make it into inboxes of intended recipients at the social network.Dabbling with getting people to pay to connect with Facebook members comes as the social network strives to tap the potential to make money from its membership base of more than a billion people.
The Facebook Messages test, limited to the United States, lets a sender pay a dollar to make sure an electronic missive is routed to someone's "inbox" even when the person isn't in their circle of friends.
Facebook messaging system was billed as being designed to deflect seemingly unwanted correspondence into an "other" folder that can be ignored.
Facebook said that it wanted to determine whether adding a "financial signal" improves its formula for delivering "relevant and useful" messages to members' inboxes.
Facebook already uses social cues, such as connections between friends, and algorithms that identify spam messages.
"This test is designed to address situations where neither social nor algorithmic signals are sufficient," Facebook said in a blog post.
"For example, if you want to send a message to someone you heard speak at an event but are not friends with, or if you want to message someone about a job opportunity, you can use this feature to reach their inbox."
The Menlo Park, California-based social network in 2011 introduced "other" folders as repositories for messages of dubious interest to recipients.
The test was introduced along with updates that included "basic" or "strict" filtering settings for inboxes.
The strict setting limits inboxes to little more than messages from friends at the social network, while the basic setting opens the door to friends of friends.
Facebook on Wednesday halted a test of placing ads in "apps" that synch to the leading social network, renewing questions on how it will boost revenues from members using smartphones or tablets.
Facebook contended that it was making a priority of developing ways to profit from posts shared between friends at the social network.
Facebook sparked a rebellion of Instagram users this week with proposed policy changes intended to improve the ability to make money from the smartphone photo sharing service it bought this year.
Instagram backed off the policy changes in the face of the backlash.
Changes to the Instagram privacy policy and terms of service set to take effect January 16 had included wording that appeared to allow people's pictures to be used by advertisers at Instagram or Facebook worldwide, royalty-free.
Instagram, which prior to the controversy had some 100 million users, this month distanced itself from Twitter in order to route photo viewers to its own website, where it has the potential to make money from ads or other mechanisms.
The service made it impossible for Internet users to view its images in messages at Twitter.
Previously, Instagram pictures shared in messages tweeted from smartphones could be viewed at Twitter. Instagram rose to stardom with the help of Twitter.
Facebook completed its purchase of Instagram in September. The original price was pegged at $1 billion but the final value was less because of a decline in the social network's share price.
Facebook went public in May with a resounding flop, its $38 initial public offering price immediately plunging to eventually less than half that. Shares were trading at $27.36 at the close of trading on the Nasdaq exchange on Thursday.

DRDO working on 'Indian OS', plans release in three years


Exhorting the need to have a robust cyber security system in place, DRDO chief V K Saraswat on Thursday said the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) alongwith other premier institutes is developing India's own operating system (OS), which is likely to be ready in next three years.
"One of the major elements of cyber security is having our own operating system because today we are dependent on all OS systems which are imported whether it is based on Windows, Linux which is likely to be having malicious worms/things and hence it is essential that we have our own OS," the DRDO Director-General said New Delhi.
Speaking to newsmen on sidelines of NAVCOM-2012', two-day international conference on Navigation and Communication that began New Delhi, Saraswat, Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister, said, "We have already started a major programme and are one-and-half-years into that programme. It (Indian OS) is a major effort requiring large number of software engineers working together."
He said 150 engineers were working across the country on creating Indian OS, and added it will take at least three more years for getting the Indian OS ready.
"It is our Indian effort we are not having any foreign involvement in this," Saraswat pointed out.
Defence researchers and scientists should start working together with industry and DRDO and other scientific departments and bring country's own operating system soon, so that "we are independent from what is coming from outside world," he stressed.
Earlier, speaking at the event, he said cyber security networking was very important today in view of everything being network centric and on Information Technology.

Instagram retreats on some service terms after backlash


nstagram, the popular photo-sharing service, has retreated from some but not all of the controversial changes in its terms of service that prompted a fierce backlash from users earlier this week.In a blog post on Thursday, Instagram founder and CEO Kevin Systrom apologized for a failure to "communicate our intentions clearly." The terms of service changes pertaining to advertising have been reversed, Systrom said, and restored to what they had been before the changes announced on Monday.
Instagram, which allows people to add filters and effects to photos and share them easily on the Internet, was acquired by Facebook earlier this year for $715 million.
Some top users of Instagram, including National Geographic magazine, said they would stop using the service after the new rules were announced on Monday.
Language that had appeared to allow Instagram advertisers to display user photos without compensation have been removed from updated terms of service posted on Thursday.
The updated terms also do not appear to contain a controversial provision which had stated that if a child under the age of 18 used the service, it implied his or her parent had tacitly agreed to Instagram's terms.
However, the new terms still contain a mandatory arbitration clause, which is not included in terms of service for other leading social media companies like Twitter, Google, YouTube or even Facebook itself. That immunizes Instagram from many forms of liability, according to legal experts.
Internet experts said Instagram had been very aggressive in asserting its rights to user information and inviting anyone who did not agree to delete their accounts within a few weeks.
The updated terms still say that anyone who accesses Instagram agrees to be bound by the new terms which are slated to go into effect on January 19.
Also, Instagram kept language which gave it the ability to place ads in conjunction with user content, and "that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such."
Instagram representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.
Systrom stressed in the blog post that the company had no intention of selling the photos that users post on the service. Many users had read the new terms of service as an indication that the company was reserving the right to do that.
"Going forward, rather than obtain permission from you to introduce possible advertising products we have not yet developed, we are going to take the time to complete our plans, and then come back to our users and explain how we would like for our advertising business to work," Systrom said.

Apple wants sales of Samsung devices banned again


Tech giant Apple Inc, battling Samsung Electronics Co over patents in several countries, argued on Thursday that a U.S. appeals court should reconsider its decision to overturn a pretrial sales ban on Samsung for infringement.The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in October overturned a pretrial sales ban ordered by a lower court in California. The order was to stop sales of Samsung's Galaxy Nexus smartphone.
Apple argued that this was inappropriate and asked for an "en banc review," which means that a larger panel of judges would reconsider the decision made by the three-judge panel in October.
The fight is over a single patent one that allows the smartphone to search multiple data storage locations at once. For example, the smartphone could search the device's memory as well as the Internet with a single query.
Apple argued that the sales ban should be reinstated because it uses the patent in question and competes with Samsung. The three-judge panel had said that consumers did not buy Samsung phones primarily because of the patent, and thus, a sales ban was inappropriate.
It has become increasingly difficult for companies to win sales bans related to patent infringement in recent years. Such sales injunctions have been a key for companies trying to increase their leverage in courtroom patent fights.
Apple, in a different patent lawsuit, scored a sweeping legal victory over Samsung in August when a U.S. jury found Samsung had copied critical features of the hugely popular iPhone and iPad and awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages.
The Nexus phone was not included in that trial, but is part of a tandem case Apple filed against Samsung earlier this year.
The case in the Federal Circuit is Apple Inc vs. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd et al., 12-1507.
Earlier this week, U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh rejected Apple's request for a permanent sales ban against 26 mostly older Samsung phones, though any injunction could potentially have been extended to Samsung's newer Galaxy products. Koh cited the Federal Circuit's Nexus ruling as binding legal precedent in her order.
In a separate court filing on Thursday, Apple said it intended to appeal Koh's ruling.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Lumia 920, 820 sell-out but talk of Nokia comeback may be premature


t's too soon to bet that Nokia's on the road to recovery after its new Lumia smartphones were sold out in many stores across Europe and America, as retailers say supplies have been short ever since their launch.The Lumia 920 and 820, which use Microsoft's latest Windows Phone 8 software, were launched last month with expectations of a "make or break" for Nokia, once the undisputed leader in mobile phones, now losing share in smartphones and lower-end handsets.
Positive online reviews and anecdotes of waiting lists for the 920, as well as Nokia's sales deal with China Mobile announced earlier this month, have helped Nokia shares rise over 40 percent in the past month.
But analysts say there's no proof that Lumia phones are making significant inroads on market leaders Samsung and Apple or that Chief Executive Stephen Elop's risky strategy of betting the company's future on Windows software was paying off.
"I think people are looking and saying, 'Hey, there aren't enough 920s in the market', but the reality is that the volume is so small. It's not going to move the needle," said Pacific Crest Securities analyst James Faucette.
Most analysts forecast Nokia will sell around 5 to 6 million Windows Phone devices in the fourth quarter, with over half of them older versions of Lumia, which have been heavily discounted.
That would be better than the 3 million Lumia smartphones sold in the third quarter, but it pales in comparison with Samsung, which champions Google's Android system and is expected to ship 60 million smartphones in October-December.
Improvement from low base
Supplies of the new Lumia models appeared to be trickling back into U.S. stores this week after being unavailable at many stores since their November launch.
Best Buy's website showed 920s in stock, and Amazon listed them as the No. 2 best-selling AT&T phone on Tuesday, though they were still sold out in many European markets including Nokia's home base, Finland.
The company's flagship store in downtown Helsinki said there would be a wait of a few days for the Lumia 920. Finnish telecoms company DNA said "many hundreds" of customers were still on its waiting list and that the backlog was unlikely to be cleared before Christmas.
"The situation is that we still don't have the 920s," said DNA retail executive Sami Aavikko, saying consumer interest in Lumia had improved with the newest models while declining to give sales figures.
Some sources said one problem has been a shortage of Qualcomm chips. Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs said in November it would be "exiting the calendar year with supply and demand more evenly matched", and a spokeswoman declined to comment further.
Elop told Finland's public broadcaster YLE on Tuesday there was "very positive activity underway" with Lumia sales. Nokia has declined to comment on sales data or confirm any component shortages, and a spokesman said it was "working very hard to get devices into the hands of consumers as quickly as possible".
Given low supplies, however, analysts said it was hard to gauge the real level of demand for the new Lumia phones.
Some industry executives and analysts have said consumer recognition for Windows Phones has improved thanks to spending on billboards and other advertisements over the past month.
"Are they lining up like they do for the iPhone? No. Are sales covering our costs, for instance marketing? Yes," said Deutsche Telekom Germany's marketing chief, Michael Hagspihl.
Many telecoms carriers as well as network equipment executives are hoping the Lumia succeeds, to prevent Samsung and Apple from gaining too much power.
Nordea analyst Sami Sarkamies was one of the more optimistic analysts, saying investors should focus on the improvement, albeit from a low base.
"My take is that there we have a seen a pretty substantial development since last year," he said. "Previously there hadn't been that market pull."
Two year transition
With Nokia burning through cash and having already sold off assets such as its head office, muddling along with modest sales is not an option. Some investors have said they want to see quarterly Lumia sales of around 10 million.
Many believe Nokia will need to change its strategy - and its leader if there is no clear improvement in Lumia sales in the coming quarters.
The company has not set any targets, but Elop said in February 2011 that the company's transition would take two years, which leaves precious little time.
"I think they have more hard decisions ahead of them; not only what they do from a leadership perspective and strategic perspective, but also with whom they align themselves," said Faucette at Pacific Crest.
Speculation of a buyout by Microsoft have periodically lifted Nokia shares, but with so much uncertainty over future sales, few analysts recommend pricing in any potential buyout premium.
The market's average price target was around 2.30 euros, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine. The shares were up 8.1 percent at 3.21 euros late on Tuesday afternoon, breaking the 3 euro barrier for the first time since April.

US reaches ebooks settlement with Penguin


he U.S. Justice Department said on Tuesday it has reached a settlement with Pearson Plc's Penguin Group in the government's investigation of alleged price-setting in the e-book market.The Justice Department had accused Apple and five publishers in April of illegally colluding on prices as part of an effort to fight Internet retailer Inc's dominance of e-books.
Apple is accused of convincing the five publishers to use the "agency model," that allows publishers to set the price of e-books, and in turn Apple would take a 30 percent cut.
Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster opted to settle with the Justice Department in April but Apple, Penguin and MacMillan said they would fight the allegations.
News Corp. owns HarperCollins Publishers Inc, CBS Corp owns Simon & Schuster Inc and Lagardere SCA owns Hachette Book Group. Macmillan is a unit of Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH.
Many people in the book publishing and selling industry accuse Amazon of deeply discounting books to sell them below cost in order to drive other e-book sellers out of business, and then raise prices.
Under the terms of the settlement announced on Tuesday, Penguin will drop any agreements with Apple and other e-book sellers that prevents price discounting. It will not be allowed to reinstate the deals for two years.
The settlement terms were similar to ones that the Justice Department reached with the other three publishers in April.
The impetus for the settlement could well be a joint venture of Penguin and Random House announced in October by Penguin owner Pearson's and Random House owner Bertelsmann.
That deal is also aimed at gaining the upper hand in the publishers' relationship with Amazon and Apple.
The publisher settlements with the Justice Department have been unpopular with bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc and the American Booksellers Association, which represents independent stores. Both have argued the settlements would strengthen Amazon's dominance.

Brazil's IGB launches Android-powered 'IPHONE'


The Brazilian electronics manufacturer IGB Eletronica Tuesday launched a line of smartphones it is calling the "IPHONE", claiming that it owns the intellectual property rights to that name in this country.IGB Eletronica, which manufacturers products with the Gradiente brand name, announced in a regulatory filing that since 2008 it has possessed the rights in Brazil to the name "IPHONE", which Apple uses for its product, the world's best-known mobile smartphone.
The firm also announced that it will take the necessary measures to ensure that its brand rights in Brazil are respected although it did not specify whether that includes filing a lawsuit to prevent Apple from using the name in the South American country.
The Brazilian company said in its communique that Gradiente Tuesday began selling the Neo One, the first model in its line of smartphones, in Brazil.
IGB claimed that in 2000 it applied to register the IPHONE name with Brazil's National Industrial Property Institute and that the license was granted on Jan 2, 2008.
The cell phone with the IPHONE brand name being offered by Gradiente on its web page features a 3.7-inch touch-sensitive screen, dual-sim capabilities, 3G, Wi-Fi and bluetooth and it uses Google's Android 2.3 operating system.

Apple's 'pinch-to-zoom' patent deemed invalid


A filing Wednesday in a high-stakes legal battle between Samsung and Apple revealed that a "pinch-to-zoom" patent central to the case has been deemed invalid.The patent was a centerpiece of a trial that ended in August with a jury ordering Samsung to pay Apple $1.05 billion in damages for illegally copying iPhone and iPad features for its flagship Galaxy S smartphones.
Samsung provided US District Judge Lucy Koh a copy of a US Patent and Trademark Office preliminary determination that, upon review, the Apple pinch-to-zoom technology wasn't original enough to merit a patent.
Samsung hoped the filing would bolster its argument for a new trial or to have the damages award slashed.
Since the verdict, US patent officials tentatively invalidated an Apple patent on technology that gives a "rubber-band" springing effect when a finger tugs at the edge of a touch-screen smartphone. That patent was also at issue at trial.
Koh on Monday denied Apple's request to ban a set of Samsung smartphones from the US market based on the jury's finding that the South Korean firm was guilty of infringing on six of the Cupertino, California-company's patents.
Even though Apple was victorious in the patent case, the iPhone and iPad maker failed to prove that the technology at issue was the driving factor in people's buying decisions, Koh reasoned in the ruling.
Samsung the world's top mobile and smartphone maker has appealed the verdict.

Google to sell Motorola's TV set-top business for $2.35 billion


Google is selling Motorola Mobility's TV set-top business for $2.35 billion, lightening the load that the Internet search leader took on earlier this year when it completed the biggest acquisition in its history.The cash-and-stock deal announced late Wednesday will turn over Motorola's set-top division to Arris Group Inc., a relatively small provider of high-speed Internet equipment that is looking to become a bigger player in the delivery of video. Investors applauded the move, driving up Arris' stock by nearly 17 percent.
Google's decision to jettison the set-top boxes comes seven months after the Mountain View, Calif., company took control of Motorola Mobility Holdings in a $12.4 billion purchase.
The set-top boxes were never a big allure for Google, although the company is interested in finding ways to pipe its service on to TVs so it can sell more advertising.
Google prized Motorola for its portfolio of more than 17,000 mobile patents. Those form an arsenal that it can use in a fierce battle that has broken out over intellectual property as smartphones and tablet computers have emerged as hot commodities in recent years.
Motorola also makes smartphones and tablets, a manufacturing business that Google will retain, despite lingering concerns on Wall Street about the hardware shrinking Google's profit margins and possibly alienating other device makers that use the company's Android software.
Besides not being a natural fit for Google, Motorola's set-top box also has become a potentially expensive liability. Digital video recorder pioneer TiVo Inc. is seeking billions of dollars in damages in a lawsuit alleging that Motorola's boxes infringed on its patents. Those claims are scheduled to go to trial next year in federal court in Texas.
Although they declined to provide specifics, Arris Group executives told analysts in a Wednesday conference call that Google still must cover most of the bill for any damages or settlement that TiVo might win.
TiVo already has negotiated about $1 billion in combined settlements in other patent-infringement cases it has brought against other companies, including Dish Network Corp., AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications.
The proposed sale of Motorola's set-top division calls for Google to receive $2.05 billion in cash and $300 million worth of Arris stock. If the deal wins regulatory approval, Arris Group expects to take over the division before the end of June.
Google will also pare its expenses, something likely to please investors concerned about Motorola being a drag on the company's earnings. Arris said about 7,000 people work in Motorola's set-top division. Google ended September with about 53,500 employees, including 17,400 who worked on the Motorola side of its operations. More than 20,000 people worked at Motorola Mobility when Google became the owner in late May, but the payroll was slashed as part of an effort to pare the losses that have been piling up within Motorola as its once popular cellphones lost market share to Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics.
But Motorola's set-top business had been making money, according to Google, though the company didn't say how much.
In the past year ending in September, Motorola's set-top operations generated $3.4 billion in revenue. That makes it twice as big as Arris Group, whose revenue totaled $1.3 billion during the same period. Arris Group, which is based Suwanee, Ga., had earned $39 million through the nine months of last year after suffering a loss of nearly $13 million for all of 2011.
"This represents a great leap forward for Arris," CEO Bob Stanzione said during Wednesday's conference call.
Arris' stock surged $2.46 to $17 in extended trading Wednesday while Google's stock dipped $2.61 to $717.50.
The other half of the old Motorola Inc., Motorola Solutions Inc., remains an independent company. Based in Schaumburg, Ill., it sells communications equipment to government and corporate customers.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Google Maps app for iPhone steers right


It was one of the biggest tech headlines of the year in September, Apple dropped its contract with Google, which had always supplied the data for the iPhone's Maps app. For various strategic reasons, Apple preferred to write a new app, based on a new database of the world that Apple intended to assemble itself.
As everybody knows by now, Apple got lost along the way. It was like a 22-car pileup. Timothy Cook, Apple's chief executive, made a quick turn, publicly apologizing, firing the executive responsible and vowing to fix Maps. For a company that prides itself on flawless execution, it was quite a detour.
Rumors swirled that Google would create an iPhone app of its own, one that would use its seven-year-old, far more polished database of the world.
That was true. Today, Google Maps for the iPhone has arrived. It's free, fast and fantastic.
Now, there are two parts to a great maps app. There's the app itself - how it looks, how it works, what the features are. In this regard, few people complain about Apple's Maps app; it's beautiful, and its navigation mode for drivers is clear, uncluttered and distraction-free.
But then there's the hard part: the underlying data. Apple and Google have each constructed staggeringly complex databases of the world and its roads.
The recipe for both companies includes map data from TomTom, satellite photography from a different source, real-time traffic data from others, restaurant and store listings from still more sources, and so on. In the end, Apple says that it incorporated data from at least 24 different sources.
Those sources always include errors, if only because the world constantly changes. Worse, those sources sometimes disagree with one another. It takes years to fix the problems and mesh these data sources together.
So the first great thing about Google's new Maps is the underlying data. Hundreds of Google employees have spent years hand-editing the maps, fixing the thousands of errors that people report every day. (In the new app, you report a mistake just by shaking the phone.) And since 2006, Google's Street View vehicles have trawled 3,000 cities, photographing and confirming the cartographical accuracy of five million miles of roads.
You can sense the new app's polish and intelligence the minute you enter your first address; it's infinitely more understanding. When I type "200 W 79, NYC," Google Maps drops a pin right where it belongs: on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Apple's Maps app, on the other hand, acts positively drunk. It asks me to clarify: "Did you mean 200 Durham Road, Madison, CT? Or 200 Madison Road, Durham, CT?"
Um, what?
And then there's the navigation. Lots of iPhone owners report that they've had no problem with Apple's driving instructions, and that's great. But I've been idiotically misdirected a few times - and the trouble is, you never know in advance. You wind up with a deep mistrust of the app that's hard to shake. Google's directions weren't great in the app's early days either, and they're still not always perfect. But after years of polishing and corrections, they're right a lot more often.
The must-have features are all here: spoken driving directions, color-coded real-time traffic conditions, vector-based maps (smooth at any size). But the new app also offers some incredibly powerful, useful features that Apple's app lacks.
Street View, of course, lets you see a photograph of a place, and even "walk" down the street in any direction. Great for checking out a neighborhood before you go, scoping out the parking situation or playing "you are there" when you read a news article.
Along with driving directions, Google Maps gives equal emphasis to walking directions and public transportation options.
This feature is brilliantly done. Google Maps displays a clean, step-by-step timeline of your entire public transportation adventure. If you ask for a route from Westport, Conn., to the Empire State Building, the timeline says: "4:27 pm, Board New Haven train toward Grand Central Terminal." Then it shows you the names of the actual train stops you'll pass. Then, "5:47 pm, Grand Central. Get off and walk 2 min." Then, "5:57 pm, 33rd St: Board the #6 Lexington Avenue Local towards Brooklyn Bridge." And so on.
Even if public transportation were all it did, Google Maps would be one of the best apps ever. (Apple kicks you over to other companies' apps for this information.)
Google's points-of-interest database also excels. For example, if you look up a restaurant, you can read the Zagat write-up, read customer reviews, read the menu or even book reservations, right there on the info screen. For 100 restaurants, you can even see interior photos. A single button-tap starts navigation to that restaurant. Compass Mode lets you hold the phone in front of you; as you move it left, right, up and down, the phone's view of place changes accordingly, letting you look all around. It's wild. It's "The Matrix." It's visual teleportation.
Google has even managed to incorporate Google Earth, its zoomable photographic model of the entire world and its oceans. You know, just in case you want to know not just where a building is relative to Detroit, but relative to the Mariana Trench.
It's a lot of features. The big question: How well did Google cram them in without sinking the app with featuritis?
This, it turns out, is the best news of all. The brand-new, completely rethought design is slick, simple and coherent. Google admits that it's even better than Google Maps for Android phones, which has accommodated its evolving feature set mainly by piling on menus.
The new software conceit here is the horizontal swipe. Plotting a trip? Maps shows possible routes on the map; a banner at the bottom summarizes the current traffic and time to destination. Swipe the banner to see the next proposed route.
Look up "Italian restaurants?" A banner shows the ratings and average price for the first one; swipe to see the next restaurant's details, and the next.
And when you're navigating, the current driving instruction appears in a green banner; swipe it to look ahead at the next instruction. (Apple's navigation mode doesn't permit you to look as if you're looking down at the world from a plane, the type sizes of place names contribute to the sense of perspective. They get smaller as they get farther away.
So yes, Google Maps for iPhone is a home run. It is not, however, without its footnotes.
The biggest thing you give up is Siri integration. If you say to your iPhone, "Give me directions to the airport," Apple's Maps app opens automatically, your course charted. It takes more steps to get started in Google Maps.
And despite its superior design and fluidity, the iPhone version of Google Maps doesn't have all of the features of the Android version. It still doesn't let you download and store maps for use when you don't have an Internet connection. It doesn't have indoor maps (of shopping malls and airports, for example). And it doesn't have ads or pop-up offers. (I know - boohoo, right?)
Finally, although Google Maps runs fine on the iPad, it's just a blown-up version of the iPhone version. There's not yet an iPad-specific app.
Google says that goodies like those will be coming soon. But for a 1.0 app, created in the space of only a few months, Google Maps for iPhone is an astonishingly powerful, accurate, beautiful tool. For millions of iPhone owners, it's a drive in the right direction.

TRAI asks telcos to inform subscribers about impending service termination


Telecom operators, including Uninor and MTS, who have lost their licences will have to inform existing subscribers within 10 days about service discontinuation in circles where they have not won spectrum, sector regulator TRAI on Monday said.
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) issued direction to Videocon Telecommunications, Unitech Wireless (Uninor), Sistema Shyam Teleservices (MTS) and Tata Teleservices to inform their subscribers in service area where there licence will stand terminated from January 18, 2013.
The closure of services from these telecom operators will have impact around 2.6 crore customers.
The Supreme Court on February 2, 2012 cancelled permits included Uninor's 22 licences, Loop Telecom (21), Sistema Shyam (21), Idea Cellular including Spice Communications (13), Videocon (21), Etisalat DB formerly Swan Telecom (15), S-Tel (6) and Tata Teleservices (3 CDMA licences).
Among these operators, only Tata Teleservices (TTL) informed TRAI that its services in Assam, North East and Jammu and Kashmir shall stand terminated from mid-night of January 18, 2013. The apex court had cancelled CDMA permits of TTL in these service areas.
TRAI has asked all these four players to inform "all its existing subscribers, in such service areas, either in writing or through SMS, within 10 days of issue of this direction and every new subscriber at the time of their enrollment to its network the date of discontinuance of its services."
The regulator has asked the four operators to provide compliance report to it within 15 days on this direction.
Uninor in a statement said it "will issue a public notice to all its customers in Kolkata and West Bengal requesting them to exhaust their balance by January 18, 2013 and utilise mobile number portability to port out to any other operator of choice."
Uninor's majority stakeholder Telenor is in process to get its entire business transferred to new entity, Telewings Communications which has won spectrum in six telecom service area- UP East, UP West, Bihar (including Jharkhand), Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra (including Goa).
Uninor, however, said operations in the Mumbai circle are continuing as Telenor Group is evaluating the possibility of participating in the second auction for spectrum in Mumbai as indicated by government.
Videocon won spectrum in 6 circles- Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, UP East and West, while it lost permits in 21 circles.
Russian Conglomerate Sistema-led SSTL has been waiting for hearing of its curative petition filed in May 4, 2012 and did not participate in last month's auction.
Among those whose licences were cancelled, Idea Cellular won spectrum in all circles where it was required to for continuing its operation. Loop Telecom, Etisalat DB and S Tel have already announced closing of their operations in India.

Facebook, Twitter give mobile advertising industry a boost


New ad products from Facebook and Twitter have given US mobile advertising a boost, bringing revenues for the sector to more than $4 billion this year, a research firm said Monday.
The eMarketer report said US mobile ad spending is growing more quickly than previously expected, helped by Facebook's mobile newsfeed ads and Twitter's Promoted Products.
With the new offerings, eMarketer expects overall spending on mobile advertising in the US, including display, search and messaging-based ads served to mobile phones and tablets, will rise 180 percent this year to more than $4 billion.
That compares with a forecast in September 2012 of just $2.61 billion.
Now eMarketer expects US mobile ad spending to reach $7.19 billion next year and nearly $21 billion by 2016, a big upward revision.
Facebook's mobile performance in the third quarter is one major reason for the change, eMarketer said.
Before Facebook's earnings call, most researchers and analysts expected US mobile ad revenues of roughly $45 to $100 million, according to figures examined by eMarketer. Most analysts now estimates Facebook's US mobile ad revenues will hit $339 million in 2012.
Google also posted better-than-expected mobile ad growth in the past quarter and now controls 56.6 percent of the US mobile advertising market, eMarketer estimates.
Most of Google's mobile ad revenues come from search, and eMarketer estimates Google maintains a 93.3 percent share of the overall $1.99 billion US mobile search ad market.
The report said Twitter's 2012 US mobile ad revenues have also been revised upward to $134.9 million from $116.8 million expected as of September, and gives the group some 3.5 percent of the total US mobile ad market.
Apple currently holds an estimated 6.7 percent of the US mobile display ad market, and has the potential to increase that as it sells more iPads and iPhones.
Mobile still accounts for just 2.4 percent of total ad spending in the US this year but will reach 11 percent by 2016, when it will overtake radio but still be below print, eMarketer said.

Samsung unveils Galaxy Grand with 5.0-inch display, Android Jelly Bean


Samsung has unveiled the Android 4.1.2 running Galaxy Grand with 5.0-inch display.

Samsung Galaxy Grand is powered by a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and it comes with 1GB RAM and 8GB internal storage (expandable by another 64GB). Connectivity options include Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n (2.4GHz), Wi-Fi HT40, USB 2.0, Bluetooth 4.0 + LE, A-GPS, Glonass and DLNA. It comes with the usual set of sensors like accelerometer, light and proximity sensors, gyro sensor and a digital compass. The Samsung Galaxy Grand is powered by a 2100mAh battery.

Coming back to the display, as rumoured, the Galaxy Grand sports a WVGA 480x800 display in a bid to keep the costs down. While that is sure to bring the PPI of the screen down along with the costs, we would like to reserve our comment on the quality of the display until we see it in person.

The Samsung Galaxy Grand comes with a 8-megapixel rear camera and a 2-megapixel front camera capable of making 720p video calls.
Galaxy Grand comes with Android 4.1.2 and includes various software features that have made an appearance on earlier Samsung devices including Direct Call (automatically dial a call by raising the device up to the ear), Popup Video (lets users watch video in a pop-up window anywhere on the screen while running other tasks) and the virtual assistant S Voice.

The Samsung Galaxy Grand will be available in both single-SIM (GT-I9080) and dual-SIM (GT-I9082) variants. The dual-SIM variant is dual-active, which means it is possible to receive calls on one SIM number while talking on the other.

There's no word from Samsung yet on the pricing or availability of the phone.

Samsung Galaxy Grand technical specifications
  • 5.0-inch WVGA 480x800 display
  • 1.2GHz dual-core processor
  • 8GB internal storage (expandable by another 64GB)
  • 1GB RAM
  • 8-megapixel rear camera, 2-megapixel front camera
  • Android 4.1
  • 2100mAh battery
  • Dual-SIM (dual-active) option
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB, HDMI, A-GPS, DLNA

Samsung bid for retrial in billion dollar Apple case denied


A federal judge late Monday rejected Apple Inc.'s demands that its chief rival in the more than $100 billion global smartphone market cease selling models a jury recently found illegally used Apple technology.

The immediate impact of the ruling means that Samsung can continue to sell three of the older-generation smartphones still on U.S. shelves that a San Jose jury in August found ripped off technology Apple used to create its iPhone.
The jury ordered Samsung to pay Apple $1.05 billion after it found the South Korean titan "infringed" several of Apple's patents in creating 26 products - three of which are still being sold in the United States.
U.S District Judge Lucy Koh noted that Samsung claims to have "worked around" using different technology than the Apple patents found to have been infringed such as the iPhone's popular "pinch to zoom" feature.
And even if that's a false claim, the judge ruled, Apple's demands to yank the Samsung products from U.S. shelves and bar future sales was too broad of a punishment in devices built with technology backed by hundreds of patents each.
"The phones at issue in this case contain a broad range of features, only a small fraction of which are covered by Apple's patents," Koh wrote in her ruling issued late Monday night. "Though Apple does have some interest in retaining certain features as exclusive to Apple, it does not follow that entire products must be forever banned from the market because they incorporate, among their myriad features, a few narrow protected functions."
The judge also concluded that the public would be harmed if she ordered a ban.
"Though the phones do contain infringing features, they contain a far greater number of non-infringing features to which consumers would no longer have access if this Court were to issue an injunction," the judge wrote. "The public interest does not support removing phones from the market when the infringing components constitute such limited parts of complex, multi-featured products."
At the same time, the judge also rejected Samsung's call for a new trial because of alleged juror misconduct.
Samsung had alleged jury foreman Velvin Hogan committed misconduct for failing to disclose that his former employer Seagate Technology filed a lawsuit against him in 1993. Samsung later acquired nearly 10 percent of Seagate.
Samsung alleged after the trial that Hogan had a bias against it because of its ownership stake in Seagate, a Northern California-based maker of computer hard drives.
The judge said Samsung had the ability to investigate whether Hogan was biased toward Samsung before trial started because the company's lawyer possessed Hogan's bankruptcy file, which included the lawsuit. She said Samsung objected too late to Hogan's joining the jury.
"What changed between Samsung's initial decision not to pursue questioning, or investigation of Mr. Hogan, and Samsung's later decision to investigate was simple: the jury found against Samsung, and made a very large damages award," the judge ruled.
Koh still has before her several other legal demands from both companies. Apple is seeking to increase the award while Samsung is asking for a decrease in damages - or a new trial.
Samsung argues that it didn't receive a fair trial in San Jose, about 12 miles from Apple's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters.
Apple in turn argues that the jury didn't award it enough damages and is seeking more than $100 million above the $1.05 billion.
The judge earlier this month at a hearing seemed inclined to trim Apple's award by tens of millions of dollars after concluding the jury erred in its calculations, though she didn't specify an amount or a time she would rule.
Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet declined comment Monday night. Samsung officials didn't respond to email and phone queries placed late Monday night.
Adding to the legal tangle, Apple filed a second lawsuit earlier this year, alleging that Samsung's newer products are unfairly using Apple's technology. That's set for trial in 2014. In addition, the two companies are locked in legal battles in several other countries.
Apple lawyer Harold McElhinny claimed earlier this year that Samsung "willfully" made a business decision to copy Apple's iPad and iPhone, and he called the jury's $1.05 billion award a "slap in the wrist."
Samsung lawyer Charles Verhoeven has argued that Apple was trying to tie up Samsung in courts around the world rather than competing with it head-on.
Samsung recently shot passed Apple as the world's top smartphone maker.
In the third quarter of 2012, Samsung sold 55 million smartphones to Apple's 23.6 million sales worldwide, representing 32.5 percent of the market for Samsung compared with Apple's 14 percent.