Facebook Goes Audible on the iPad with Friends Aloud HD

Austin, Texas – Apple iPad owners can now access and listen to their Facebook news feed via Friends Aloud HD, created by VoiZapp, Inc. It is the first iPad app to bring optimized state of the art text-to-speech technology to Facebook. Using Friends Aloud HD, a user can:

* Read aloud their latest Facebook news feed posts and their associated comments in a pleasant, easy-to-understand young woman’s voice
* Scroll through each post on screen or tap around to read posts at random
* Automatically switch between reading existing posts in sequence or just reading new posts as they arrive for as long as desired
* Play, pause, and skip forward/back using intuitive controls, just like the iPod app
* Continue reading aloud while in the background, just like the iPod app
* Understand and read common computer jargon such as smiley faces and texting-style abbreviations (LOL, ROTFLMAO, happy/sad faces, etc.)
* Choose to limit the number of comments read aloud

“Facebook has become an integral part of peoples’ lives, and mobile has fundamentally changed the way they access and use social networking services”, said Dr. Robert B. Wesson, Voizapp’s CEO. “You can now stay in touch with your Facebook friends while safely using your iPad on the go – while driving, walking, exercising, or working – anywhere your eyes are otherwise occupied. Friends Aloud HD also gives the visually-impaired and elderly an audible window into their friends’ and families’ lives.”

Device Requirements:
* Compatible with iPad
* Requires iOS 3.2 or later
* 57.9 MB

Pricing and Availability:
Friends Aloud HD 1.1 is $2.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Social Networking category.

Friends Aloud HD 1.1
Purchase and Download
YouTube Video
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Founded in 2010, VoiZapp Inc. is a software development company located in Austin, Texas. We have been developing software for personal computers for literally decades, from games to million-dollar professional training systems sold to governments and institutions around the world. We are now passionate about developing speech-enabled mobile software for Apple’s iOS platform that powers the iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV. Copyright (C) 2011 VoiZapp Inc. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.

Source :  ipadnewstracker

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Nook Color: An Unexpected Competitor for the iPad

Want an Apple iPad but can't afford the minimum $499 entry fee? Look to Barnes & Noble's Nook Color, which was upgraded recently to offer many tablet features at $249.
The Nook Color, which until May had been marketed primarily as an electronic book reader with extra features, now is being marketed as a tablet specifically made for book lovers.
With the software upgrade introduced just over a month ago, the Nook Color now offers decent Web browsing, email, games, music and video playback. Oh, and it's an e-reader, too.
When looked at as a tablet rather than an e-reader, it turns out the Nook Color is the iPad's biggest competitor, capturing half the non-iPad tablet market with some 3 million units shipped, compared with iPad's 20 million for the last year.
By comparison, the overpriced Motorola Xoom, which captured a lot of press a few months ago as the first serious competitor to the iPad, is a flop: only something more than 100,000 units are estimated to have shipped since its introduction.
The Nook Color is no iPad 2. It has a 7-inch display, to the iPad's 10-inch. Its processor is far less powerful, it has less onboard memory and no cameras, no GPS, no 3G data connectivity and less battery life. The recently opened B&N app store offers fewer than 200 apps, compared with some 5,500 apps for the iPad.
But as a wi-fi tablet running Google's Android 2.2 Froyo operating system, the Nook Color doesn't suck. It surpasses the iPad in some areas. It can run Flash applets that give the Web so much of its interactivity, for instance, including streaming Web video; Apple has chosen not to support Flash.
It has a slot capable of holding a 32-gigabyte SD Card, greatly supplementing its 8-gig internal memory. The iPad doesn't have one. As for its display, the smaller 7-inch form is seen by some as a portability advantage and the color screen is higher resolution than the iPad.

It can run “Angry Birds,” the most popular mobile game around.
Although Netflix isn't yet available to stream movies, with the large installed base I would be surprised not to see a version for Nook Color soon. In fact, tech enthusiasts—who for months have “rooted” the Nook Color and used it as a tablet before B&N offered its upgrade–say the Netflix Android app runs easily on the Nook.
Oh, and it's an e-reader, too. While the iPad was seen at its introduction as offering strong competition to Amazon's Kindle e-reader, it turns out the various versions of the Nook have provided the real competition.
Amazon still dominates the e-book market, with 60 percent to 65 percent of e-books sold, according to publishers at the recent BookExpo America annual conventon in New York. Apple is at about 10 percent of the market, while Barnes & Noble surprised publishers by grabbing 25 percent with the Nook.
The biggest buyers of the Nook Color have been women, who prefer its color display to the black-and-white e-ink display of the Kindle and other e-readers for browsing women's magazines, according to a recent New York Times article. Some of the strongest-selling titles for the Nook Color are digital versions of woman-focused magazines like Cosmopolitan and Women's Health.
And, women like the handbag-friendly smaller size of the Nook Color, making it easy to carry along.
The strong showing by the Nook Color could even help save B&N's ailing print bookstores. Not long after introducing the tablet upgrade, Liberty Media offered to buy 70 percent of B&N at $17 a share. Insiders said Liberty's interest was almost entirely in the potential of B&N's Nooks.
Amazon reportedly has taken notice, and has contracted with a manufacturer to build its own color Android tablets to be introduced for the holiday season this year.
So, should Apple be worried about this iPad competition? Or should Amazon be worried about this Kindle competition?
Who knows, but in the meantime Barnes & Noble is enjoying having the Nook Color stuck squarely in the middle.
Source : lamesapatch

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Samsung Wants To See the Next iPhone & iPad

The Apple-Samsung patent infringement lawsuit is heating up: Samsung’s lawyers have filed a motion for Apple to provide them with a sample of the next generation iPhone and iPad.

Since Apple keeps very tight wraps around all its upcoming products, it’s highly unlikely that the company will comply with this request, at least without a fight. However, recently Samsung was ordered by a judge to give Apple samples of its yet unreleased tablets and smartphones, including the Galaxy S2 and the Galaxy Tab 10.1.
Add to that the fact that Samsung has also filed a countersuit against Apple citing several patent infringements, and suddenly Samsung’s claims don’t seem that far-fetched.

Nilay Patel examined Samsung’s request and he found some subtle differences between the two requests: Samsung products that Apple requested to see were publicly announced, while Samsung wants to see Apple’s products which are unannounced and – if you disregard the rumor mill – officially do not exist.

Either way, if the motion is successful, only Samsung’s lawyers – not even Samsung itself – would see Apple’s products, and the chances of any info leaking out into the public are very slim.

Source : mashable

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Over dependence on iPhone, iPad, Android apps may lead to anxiety: Expert

MELBOURNE: Though technology has made our lives convenient and fast, psychologists warn people against developing an over-reliance on mobile and tablet applications.

Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists chairman Daniel Varghese suggests smartphone users need to be wary of relying too heavily on their applications.

"It's a general phenomenon that we're relying more and more on technology, and when that technology's not available, we don't use the skills we would have otherwise developed," The Courier Mail quoted him as saying.

"That can certainly cause anxiety in people."

At a time when Google's Android Market is racing to catch up with Apple's ever-expanding App Store, consumers are increasingly incorporating applications into every part of their lives.

The uses range from helping tie their ties to calculating the amount of kilojoules on their plate.

Prof Justin Kenardy from the University of Queensland suggests that it is important for users in keep in mind that they would not always have access to their applications.

"There needs to be an awareness that it's not always going to be there," he said.

Mobile technology expert Associate Professor Sam Bucolo from the Queensland University of Technology further added that applications were likely to start emerging at an even greater rate. 

Source : economictimes

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Can the iPad and iPhone Rescue the Cloud?

The hype on the cloud is just as loud as the hype on mobile computing. Both appear to be gold rush destinations for vendors seeking to capitalize on all the stuff that buyers allegedly can’t get enough of. But if you look at the numbers, you see that mobile is where the money is being made, while the entire cloud market pulls in about 1 or 2 percent of what mobile does.

It seems to me that the cloud needs to be rescued, and perhaps mobile a la iPad, iPhone, and Android is the technology to do it.

[ Keep up on key mobile developments and insights via Twitter and with the Mobile Edge blog and Mobilize newsletter.]

The numbers overwhelmingly point to mobile’s bulging bank account
But first, let me detail the numbers. Cloud services brought in about $3 billion in 2010 from its three main components: infrastructure (IaaS), platform (PaaS), and software (SaaS) offerings. In IaaS, Amazon.com’s Amazon Web Services (AWS) made about $500 million in 2010, and Rackspace — the No. 2 IaaS provider — raked in about $100 million. SaaS did better: Salesforce.com pulled in $1.3 billion in 2010, with the other four major SaaS providers — NetSuite, RightNow, SuccessFactors, and Taleo — earning about $200 million each. Revenues for PaaS offerings — exemplified by Salesforce.com’s Force.com and Microsoft’s Azure — aren’t broken out but are widely believed to be minuscule.

I’m not counting sales of so-called private cloud technology, as that means pretty much anything in a data center, which covers most of what IT’s expenditures ($1.5 trillion on tech last year). Whether you think a private cloud is a real cloud or just marketing buzz for the same old server, storage, and network gear (using virtualization, of course!), it’s money that IT would be spending anyhow. Even if you decide that virtualization spend should be counted as cloud spend, that adds “only” about $5 billion to the cloud total, bringing it to $8 billion.

Now to some real money: Mobile technology brought in $173 billion in 2010 from its major sources: $62 billion in 3G data plans, $99 billion in smartphone sales ($29 billion to Apple, $20 billion to Nokia, $15 billion to Research in Motion, and $9 billion to Samsung), $10 billion in tablet sales (almost all iPads last year), and $2 billion in app sales ($1.7 billion to Apple alone). Note that I’m not including iTunes and similar music, book, and video sales via mobile devices, as they can be accessed on both PCs and mobile devices. If you’re curious, they added up to $8 billion, with $4.1 billion going to Apple and $3.3 billion going to Amazon.com, including for the Kindle hardware.

How the cloud can hitch itself to the mobile bandwagon
As these numbers show, when you look at the whole mobile market, the cloud appears downright sickly as a business. Maybe mobile can help. After all, what other computing platform is more dependent on the cloud concept than mobile?

Let’s start with the obvious: storage. Although mobile devices have local storage, they’re not anywhere near as capacious as PCs — and a lot of that space is taken up by all your music. Mobile users should be helping drive the cloud storage business, to companies such as Box.net and Dropbox.

On the consumer side, Google is moving in that direction as well for its Music Beta service, and rumors are rampant that Apple plans an iCloud service that will merge its MobileMe storage/collaboration service with a new iTunes-in-the-ether service. In the not too distant future, you may have most of your data living on a personal storage cloud and a business storage cloud service for access anywhere by pretty much any computer or mobile device. Here’s an opportunity for an Amazon.com to grow its IaaS business.

Then there’s SaaS, which is where the big money (relatively speaking) is today in the cloud. With HTML5 now widely deployed, it’s time for SaaS and traditional providers alike to get cracking on really usable Web apps that auto-adjust to your mobile device of choice. Rather than sell an app once for $5 or so, developers could charge subscriptions for mobile Web apps and have that recurring revenue to keep making them better. Given that updates are free to iOS and Android apps, at some point native-app developers are going to run out of customers and, thus, income to pay for continued enhancements. Switching to SaaS could fix that — and help both developers and the cloud market.

Apple could be an ally here, as it already has a subscription model in place. Sure, it’ll charge you 30 percent, but that gives it a huge vested interest to encourage app purchases — it makes more money when developers do. There’s a reason Apple made 16 times as much money from app sales as Google did last year, despite the Android smartphone sales surge. Imagine if Apple’s revenue-sucking magic were applied to SaaS apps!

Beyond SaaS are all the other possible services that mobile users would need a cloud to access: navigation, for example. AT&T charges $10 a month for its mobile navigation service. That model could be extended to almost anything: videoconferencing — after all, you’re already paying for voice and data subscription, so why not video? — radio and TV streaming, travel information and management, and expense reporting, especially if mobile payments happen. It’s too bad Google is all about destroying competitors with free services and then selling ads to deliver to us — it could drive a lot of cloud revenue if it put together a monthly Google Mobile service that included a Yellow Pages-like facility and a collection of such services.

OK, I’m being a little facetious, but on the serious side, the whole cloud mentality is about charging people to rent resources rather than buy them once. That’s why vendors love the idea; they can make a lot more money if you keep paying for a service rather than buy — er, license software. Long ago, enterprise software vendors realized they could collect rent on the software they sold by instituting (required) maintenance plans. Now consumer software makers are getting a clue: Adobe Systems recently unveiled subscription offerings for Creative Suite that effectively double or triple the price.

That is where mobile can perhaps help the cloud the most: It’s trained people and companies to pay a monthly fee for access (your $30 or whatever a month additional cost for data access), as well as to keep an active credit or debit card for impulse shopping (such as via the iTunes Store, Kindle Store, and Android Market). Mobile and cloud are more aligned on the business model side than I suspect most people realize.
That may not be good for individuals and businesses — you’ll have several strangers’ hands permanently in your pocket — but it could be what makes the cloud as big a business as mobile. Otherwise, I’m not sure the cloud will be meaningfully more than what it is today.

Source : vietnetworks

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Special Stickers Will Bring Google Wallet To Android Phones That Lack NFC

We’re here at Google’s NFC payments announcement, where the search giant has announced a new, important product called Google Wallet (see our comprehensive post on the announcement here). Google Wallet will be launching this summer — it’s currently in field testing — allowing users to tap their phones against NFC-enabled terminals to pay for goods, redeem offers, and use their loyalty cards in a single tap.

Of course, the vast majority of phones out there do not support NFC (the Nexus S is currently the only Android phone on the market that has the technology). Google and its partners reiterated that NFC will be surging in popularity over the next couple of years, and for the time being this is really a first step. But Google also has a plan to enable older devices to use a more limited version of the app: stickers that you can put on the back of your phone.

Google’s Osama Bedier was intentionally vague about the details, but here’s what the plan seems to be: users will be able to obtain special NFC stickers with a single credit card associated with them (such stickers already exist, but these stickers will apparently be able to communicate with the Google Wallet app). It sounds like transactions made using the sticker will be relayed to the Wallet application on your Android device via the cloud. Bedier added that the experience would be limited compared to what you’d get on NFC-enabled phones, but it still sounds pretty nifty.

It’s possible this functionality will be extended to other platforms as well, as Google says it’s willing to partner with everyone to help broaden support for Google Wallet.

And, even if you don’t have the sticker, you’ll still be able to use the Wallet app to keep track of your offers, which you’ll be able to show to cashiers at participating retailers (SCVNGR and Groupon do similar things with their mobile apps).

Source :  techcrunch

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iPad 2 Revolutionizes Tablet Market

Apple Inc. launched the newest addition to its tech market – the iPad 2. The company, which started revolutionizing the tablet market with the launch of its iPad last April 2010, will have the launching and unveiling of iPad 2 in an event in San Francisco, California. 

Analyst Peter Misek also I anticipating these following events during the launch of iPad 2:

1. A preview of the iOS 5 is considered to be possible as the company is looking forward in continuing to push the integration across multiple devices for content, commerce and user experience.

2. A chance that Apple will also unveil new cloud-based services, which includes the revamping of Mobile Me so that it can also take in remote media storage, integration with iTunes and other features.

3. A chance that iTunes video/audio subscriptions will show themselves. However, Misek believes that this will be a difficult turn because there is the presence of content providers.

Since, Apple’s original iPad has sold 14.8 million tablets in its release; the company is expecting to sell 30 million iPad 2 units upon its release, between April 2011 and March 2012.

According to Scott Sutherland, the Wedbush Securities analyst, “The timing of the March 2 event would put the iPad on an annual cycle of updates similar to those of the iPhone and iPod media player, and keep Apple ahead of the competitors in this industry.”

Source : iphoneipadreview

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iPhone 4 with cash recovery scheme

May 25: The iPhone 4 — the fourth-generation variant of Apple’s smartphone — is being launched in India on Friday and will be sold through mobile service providers Aircel and Airtel.

For the first time, the mobile service providers are using an innovative hook. They are offering a reverse subsidy plan under which the buyer pays the full cost of the handset upfront and recovers the entire amount over a period of two years through monthly credits on the subscription plans.

Aircel is offering the 16GB model of the iPhone 4 at a price of Rs 34,500 and the 32GB model at Rs 40,900. “We aim to make the iPhone more affordable than ever,” said Aircel director Sandip Das.

The new model of the iPhone — which is popular for its high-speed Internet and mobile software capabilities — will be available under both post-paid and pre-paid subscription plans.

A Bharti Airtel spokesperson said the company would also offer the iPhone 4 under similar schemes and the same price range.

The reverse subsidy strategy has worked well in the West and has been responsible for the terrific sales of the product. In the three months ended March 26 this year, Apple reported worldwide iPhone sales of 18.64 million units, an increase of 113 per cent over the year-ago period.

The big advantage is that the phones will be factory-unlocked. In the West, service providers lock the phone, making it virtually impossible for the subscriber to migrate to another service provider. However, fickle consumers in India may not stand to benefit if they change service providers because they may not be able to port the reverse subsidy as well.

The iPhone 4 will also be available from Apple Authorised Premium Resellers, which are the two Imagine shops at City Centre at Salt Lake and Rajarhat.

Hot Features

The iPhone 4 is in many ways the best iPhone Apple has ever made. The biggest leap forward is the 5 megapixel camera. It has a second 640x480 front facing camera. This is not for still photos but for FaceTime video calls. The rear facing camera offers high quality stills.

The iPhone 4 is powered by a custom-built A4 processor. It has 512MB of RAM. The A4 processor brings more power while consuming less energy.

That, combined, with the iPhone’s larger battery, ensures 40 per cent more talktime than previous models.

The display is stunning because of the high-resolution screen — dubbed Retina Display. It packs four times the pixels (960x640) of previous iPhone displays into the same rectangular area.It is also a perfect companion for those with WiFi-only iPads. The Personal Hotspot feature allows your iPad to connect to the Internet through your own WiFi.

The smartphone comes with iOS 4, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system and has access to the revolutionary App Store which provides access to more than 350,000 apps.


The iPhone is the real revenue spinner in Apple’s slate of products. It accounted for $12.3 billion of sales revenue in the three months ended March this year, or 49.8 per cent of Apple’s overall sales of $24.7 billion in the period.

The iPhone 4 was launched in the US, Europe and Japan on June 24 last year at a starting price of $199. It is coming to India almost a year later.

Analysts said Apple seemed to have finally woken up to the importance of India as a potential market for its products. The technology giant has often been accused of treating India as a “dumping ground” for its phones and tablets that are at the tail end of their product cycles.

However, in April, within a little over a month of its US launch, the iPad 2 — Apple’s second-generation tablet PC — was launched in India.

One reason for bringing the iPhone 4 to India now is that several mobile service providers have started offering stress-tested 3G services that ensure high-speed data transfer capabilities.

Aircel — 74 per cent owned by Malaysia’s Maxis Communications, with India's Apollo Hospitals group owning the rest — started providing 3G services in February.

Both Bharti Airtel and Aircel have the spectrum to offer 3G services in 13 of the country’s 22 telecom service areas.
Smartphone sales in India have also soared and Apple sees it as an opportunity to bite into a growing market.

While the groundbreaking iPhone1 was never released in India, the iPhone 3G was released a month after its US launch in July 2008. However, the sales were so sluggish that mobile telephony companies such as Airtel and Vodafone were saddled with huge unsold inventories.

In a recent note, CyberMedia Research estimated sales of nearly 12 million smartphones in India during 2011 — a nearly 100 per cent growth over the previous year.

Smartphones are expected to account for 5.7 per cent of total mobile handset sales in India this year compared with 3.6 per cent last year, CyberMedia Research added.

Earnings of Indian telecom operators have been under pressure over the past few quarters due to intense competition. However, the companies are betting on higher revenue-generating services such as 3G to boost their financials.

Source : telegraphindia

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Firefox 5 Beta 2 Lands, Opera Mini 6 Released for iPhone, iPad

These days the Mozilla Foundation is feeling the heat.  Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) has delivered a surprisingly sporty and compatible Internet Explorer 9.  And Google Inc.'s (GOOG) Chrome browser is becoming the first new browser in some time to gobble up a significant market share.

I. Firefox 5 Blazes Ahead on Schedule

But nothing lays concerns to rest better than adopting an aggressive schedule and sticking to it.  That's exactly what Mozilla did, with the release of Firefox 5's second beta.

Delivered right on schedule, the new build features speed improvements and a number of new features, including:
  • Added support for CSS animations
  • Added support for switching Firefox development channels
  • The Do-Not-Track header preference has been moved to increase discoverability
  • Improved canvas, JavaScript, memory, and networking performance
  • Improved standards support for HTML5, XHR, MathML, SMIL, and canvas
  • Improved spell checking for some locales
  • Improved desktop environment integration for Linux users

The inclusion of CSS animations support was particularly important, as the Webkit source (which Chrome and Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) Safari browser are based on) already supports it.  Mozilla and its collaborators also made some tweaks to the GUI art, which they say are subtle, but will be noticed if you return to FF4.

Aside from new functionality and speed-ups, the beta also resolves many stability issues and other bugs that cropped up in Firefox 4.  A full log of these changes is found here.  Full release notes can be found here.  And last, but not least, the download can be found here.

Firefox 5 is scheduled to release June 21 -- less than a month from now.  It will contend with Internet Explorer 10, which is currently being previewed, and Chrome 12, which is currently being beta tested.

II. Opera Mini 6 Hits the iPad, iPhone

Yesterday also saw the release of Opera Mini 6 for the iPad and iPhone.  The first major release for the iOS platform since its launch title -- Opera Mini 5 -- Norwegian software company Opera Software ASA (OPERA) is hoping to replicate its previous success.  Opera saw 1 million downloads of Mini 5 for the iPhone/iPad in a mere 24 hours after its release.

Available on the iTunes store now for free, the new browser features:
  • Much faster and smoother panning and zooming
  • Share buttons which are compatible with My Opera, Facebook, Twitter or vKontakte
  • A new" jazzed-up" skin
  • Redesigned Opera menus
It also reportedly gives the browser a healthy injection of speed.

Opera’s, CEO Lars Boilesen compared the release to a rock concert, stating, "I would compare it to walking onto the stage and hearing the roar of the crowd. We have put in a lot of rehearsal and clever thought behind the new experience. The Opera Mini browser has always kicked up the tempo when downloading pages; now the browsing flows along to a smooth, easy beat."

While Opera is seeing a bit more competition these days -- namely from the Firefox Mobile browser for Android -- it's still makes the most used mobile browsing pair in the world, Opera Mini and Opera Mobile.  These mobile browsers are unique in that they leverage heavy server-side compression, something the competition still hasn't embraced. The net effect for users is that in areas with poor signal or low data speeds pages load much faster in Opera Mini/Mobile than in their competitors.

Source : dailytech

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BlueStacks puts Android apps on Windows

If you miss your Android apps when using your PC, a start-up called BlueStacks says it has the answer.

Today, the company announced first-round funding of $7.6 million from Ignition Ventures, Radar Partners, Helion Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, and Andreessen Horowitz for its virtualization technology that provides a foundation for Google's mobile operating system atop Windows. It's got partnerships with Citrix for distribution to interested businesses and with assorted as-yet unnamed PC makers for consumers.

"The idea is very simple," said Chief Executive and founder Rosen Sharma, who previously was McAfee's chief technology officer. A company co-founder's 6-year-old daughter had been using apps on his phone, he said. "She went to a Netbook, and she wanted the same apps on it. The number of people who want something like that is very very large, both consumer and enterprise."

Consumers could be interested in having a Windows version of their LinkedIn app for social and work connections, their sports app for staying on top of the latest game results, or Pulse app for reading news, Sharma said. And businesses are interested in extending the reach of mobile apps they've created for their employees.

"A lot of people are doing their own apps" inside the company, Sharma said. "The GM dealership app is an Android app. People who were doing BlackBerry apps earlier are doing Android apps now."

The company, incorporated in 2008, plans to release a free beta version of its software for people to download in June or July. It hasn't yet set pricing for the final version, which is due to ship in the fourth quarter. Partnerships with PC makers should be announced starting next week, the company said.

Once people install the software, running an Android app is easy, Sharma said. "From the user experience, it looks just like they're using an app," he said.

Indeed, my CNET colleague Seth Rosenblatt found using Android apps on Windows with BlueStacks a seamless and effortless process.

BlueStacks uses Amazon's Android marketplace to distribute apps because Google restricts its Android Market to specific ARM-based devices.

User interface issues are one complication. Smartphone apps are designed with a touch-screen interface, and sometimes a multitouch interface, so some things won't work easily with a mouse and keyboard. Sharma brushed the worry aside, though.

"We are seeing a lot of touch devices. In two years, a standard laptop will have a touch screen," he said. In addition, trackpads on new laptops support multitouch gestures such as pinching and zooming, he said.

"That leaves very few apps that require absolute touch or multitouch, like games," Sharma said. "The coverage you get is pretty large."

There are some caveats. Android today runs on the variety of ARM processors that are used in smartphones and tablets, but Windows machines--for now at least--use x86 chips from Intel or AMD. BlueStacks therefore runs its own build of the OS from the open-source Android project.

The kind of high-powered apps you could run in Android include Microsoft Word and Adobe Photoshop.
(Credit: BlueStack Systems Inc.)

Another processor complication is that some Android programs--the Firefox and Opera browsers, for example--use the Native Developer Kit that Google provides for software makers that want to write software that runs directly on the processor rather than on Android's Java-like software foundation. Those won't run on BlueStacks today.

But they will later.

"Most apps are cross-platform. But any app that uses native ARM code will not run today," Sharma said. "We will enable those apps by December."

Ultimately, BlueStacks expects to bridge the gap the other way, too, letting Windows apps run on Android. That will work only on x86 versions of Android, which currently aren't on the market.

BlueStacks has only 20 employees now, and most are in India where expenses are lower, so the company expects those expenses to drain the bank account fast. It's using the money instead to try to spread its software foundation as rapidly as possible.

"Our question is getting distribution," Sharma said. He expects to have 20 million copies distributed through computer makers and 60 million through Citrix's software channel, he said.

"Our goal is by end of 2012 to have a ridiculous-looking distribution number. Then the game changes completely," Sharma said.

Source : Newscnet

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Opera Mini Browser Launches For iPad, iPhone (PICTURES, VIDEO)

A new version of the Opera Mini web browser, the most popular mobile browser in the world, has just been released, and the latest version comes with a slew of new features designed to make users' mobile web experience faster and more robust.

Opera Mini 6, available for the iPhone 4, iPad, and iPad 2, offers better tabbed browsing, a customizable homepage, and social sharing features that enable users to post content directly to Facebook, Twitter, and My Opera.
ReadWriteWeb writes of the upgrade, "With Opera Mini 6, iPad users have what feels like a 'real' Web browser on their tablet computers, thanks to features like the customizable start page which you fill with your own favorite websites, for example. It also introduces improved tabbed browsing without Safari's 8-page (iPhone) or 9-page (iPad) limit."

Opera Software said in a statement that Opera Mini 6 will be far speedier than its predecessor, featuring "up to 90% compression of data traffic for speed and cost savings."

Opera claims 21.6 percent of the mobile browser market, according to StatCounter, which places it ahead of established rivals like Google's Android and Apple.

Opera Mini, which is free, has an average three-star rating, based on over 76,000 reviews on Apple's App Store.

See screenshots and a video of the new Opera Mini browser below.

Source : huffingtonpost

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iPad 2 from Apple is defeated by HP Touchpad Tablet from Hewlett Packard?

Hewlett-Packard (HP) claimed to be successful in the realm of tablets like they were successful in the PC market. This will happen when HP launched Touchpad summer 2011 in Europe. It is claim for Eric Cador, The Head of HP for Europe.
HP is confident with their tablets, touchpad. Speaking at a press conference in Cannes, Cador even bragged touchpad would be better than the iPad.

Cador did not mention explicitly that ‘the number one’ in question is the iPad. But the public already guessed it anyway, remember all the people know that the Apple tablet that is currently the number one in the world.

Touchpad HP uses the operating system (OS) WebOS, the OS that was ranked fifthin market share currently dominated by Apple and Google. HP’s optimism is notwithout cause, WebOS bought from Palm, got quite a lot of positive comments and praise from commentators and analysts.

Source : brandimposter

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Google Maps updated for Android, iPhone

While the mobile location-sharing issue continues to brew, that hasn't stopped Google from pushing ahead to make its popular Google Maps program better. And if you have an Android or iOS device, phone or tablet, you can take advantage of the improved mobile Maps experience.

Now, said Google software engineer Alireza Ali, on Google's blog Friday, "you can use many of the same Google Maps features you're used to from the desktop" on the go. When you visit Google Maps on your Android or Apple phone or tablet, you see your current location and search for what's nearby using "suggest" and "auto complete."
Google Maps Android and iOS users also can now:
  • Have clickable icons of popular businesses and transit stations
  • Get driving, transit, biking, and walking directions
  • Turn on satellite, transit, traffic, biking, and other layers
  • View Place pages with photos, ratings, hours, and more
  • When signed into your Google account, access your starred locations and My Maps
As an example of what the changes bring, Ali said he recently was trying to find a good deli for lunch. "I opened Google Maps on my mobile browser and searched to locate a popular deli nearby. A few finger taps later, I had viewed photos and reviews on the deli’s Place page and found the quickest way to get there using driving directions — all from my mobile browser."

Google Maps is free. And the search giant makes it clear on the blog that users will need to "opt in" to share their location in order to take advantage of Maps' changes.

Source : technolog

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iPhone 5 fire impact up in air as iPad 2, iPhone 4 availability steady

The impact on the iPhone 5 release date, initial availability, and even feature set from this week’s factory fire is still up in the air, but the mishap has yet to impact availability of Apple’s existing iOS 4 products including the iPad 2, iPhone 4, and iPod touch 4. With observers having spent all of 2011 scratching their heads as to just what Apple has up its sleeve for the iPhone 5 after watching the company uncharacteristically release a Verizon iPhone 4 and then a white iPhone 4 precariously close to what most thought would be the calendar end of the iPhone 4 era, the factory fire adds another level of intrigue. By all accounts, Apple has not yet begun manufacturing the iPhone 5, which dovetails with the common-sense assumption that the end-of-April white iPhone 4 means the iPhone 5 is more likely to be a fall than a summer 2011 product. But while factories don’t rebuild themselves overnight, Apple’s considerable financial resources suggest that it can find another way to get the iPhone 5 to market when it’s ready to. Then again, this is the same company which couldn’t deliver the original iPhone 4 or the iPad 2 to market in quantity during their respective launches, as evidenced by the fact that the iPad 2 is still up to two weeks backordered after its launch in March.

For those who believe that the last minute white iPhone 4 means that the iPhone 5 isn’t coming until the fall, easy logic says that Apple plans for the iPhone 5 to be a total revamp; if it were to merely be an unchallenging iPhone 4S, it would have been ready by summer and thus there would have been no April white iPhone 4. In that scenario, does this fire impact Apple’s iPhone 5 plans? Doubtful. Apple is going to need a factory to manufacture the next iPhone in regardless, so it’s not as if suddenly switching to a less-revolutionary iPhone 5 design would change those prospects. On the other hand, for those who still believe that Apple is about to recklessly launch an “iPhone 5″ or an “iPhone 4S” at next week’s WWDC conference, a mere six weeks after launching the white iPhone 4, the fire would make a bigger impact in that scenario. But common sense says that scenario went away the minute the white iPhone 4 surfaced anyway. So what’s the real impact of the mishap on inventory? Keep an eye on iPhone 4 and iPad 2 availability on apple.com in the next few weeks. As of yet their lead times have held steady, as the store burns through in-house inventory. If those numbers begin to slip after existing inventory has been exhausted, then that says that the fire has had a major impact on Apple’s ability to get product out the door – and would suggest that Apple will need to find alternate avenues for ramping up for the iPhone 5 in the fall if the factory hasn’t been repaired by then. But if those ship dates never do slip, then that’ll imply that Apple had a Plan B in place already and there’s little to worry about. Here’s more on the iPhone 5.

Source : Beatweek

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Flickr: iPad 2 Camera Has Only 23 Active Daily Users

According to Flickr’s camera usage statistics, the iPad 2′s camera is used by very few people — only 23 active daily users. And so far, 12,811 photos have been taken and uploaded to Flickr with the device.By comparison, the iPhone 4 has 4,402 daily active users; more than a million photos have been taken with the device.

We don’t have exact numbers of iPad 2 sales, but the tablet has been on the market since March 11. According to Apple, strong sales have resulted in a record-setting quarter, with analysts estimating that about half a million devices sold in during the iPad 2′s first weekend on the market.

The iPad 2′s camera has been one of the most criticized aspects of the device: At 0.7 megapixels, it’s only good for the most basic tasks. Still, with millions of iPad 2s in customers’ hands, one would expect that more people would be using the device. But the significantly low number of daily active users on Flickr shows that is not the case.

iPad 2 owners: Do you use the device’s camera? When was the last time you uploaded a photo taken on the iPad to a site such as Flickr or Facebook? Please, share your opinions in the comments.

Source : mashable

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Review : HCL Me Android Tablet [Skip This Device, If You Can]

2011 is said to be the year of the tablet, and nobody wants to miss out on all the buzz that this device segment is creating. You can find android tablets from Chinese manufacturers for as low as 5,000/- rupees, running on out dated versions of Android 1.6. I thought that this would be an impetus for branded manufacturers to take these cheap knock offs and replace them with better devices that actually generate some sort of user interest. Today we look at one of the latest offerings from India’s own PC manufacturer HCL.

A look at the specs sheet will give you a brief idea of the hardware capabilities of the tablet
  • 7 inch resistive touch screen
  • 800MHz ARM11 processor
  • 256 MB RAM
  • 2GB iNAND built in memory , expandable upto 8GB with Micro SD card
  • 0.3MP front facing camera
  • Comes pre-loaded with Android 2.2 Froyo, no word on future upgrades.
  • Accelerometer ( no GPS )
  • WiFi b/g
  • Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR
  • USB 2.0 host slot
  • 2400mAH Li polymer battery ( 6-8 hrs of usage )
  • Approx price Rs14,000/-
The first time I laid my hands on the device, it seemed to fit perfectly in my hands ( I must say i have a soft spot for 7 inch devices), with a comfortable form factor and rubberised feel. The device has 5 buttons on its face and the switch on button at the top. It also has a volume rocker on the side. The devices wasn’t switched on at the time and gave me high hopes, but as soon as I switched the device on, all the hopes and expectations of finally seeing a quality Android based tablet had been dashed.

The device screen quality is what struck me first, the colours seemed washed out, even indoors the screen resolution and display quality failed to deliver a decent viewing experience. To add to the woes was the touch screen, a resistive touch screen just does not cut it on a tablet. Simple dragging gestures on the screen were a pain, and don’t even get me started on the click and drag features of the touch screen. The poor touch response  eventually made me sick of the hardware.( Take a look at the video and you will  notice.)

Talking about speed and responsiveness of the device, there are no positives here as well. The device sports a 800MHz processor but only 256MB of RAM. If you get your hands on this device you will notice the lags that there are, and this is a brand new tablet with very few apps on it, imagine one with that is loaded with apps. Talking about apps, the device has something called HCL app store and no android market pre installed.

The speakers on the device seemed to perform quite well with decent sound quality with average sound clarity but good volume. The camera on the front is 0.3 MP which is Ok i guess for video chat over Skype, but since this device has no 3G capabilities, video calling is limited to third party VOIP apps. The device does not feature a standard micro-USB port and uses a proprietary one from HCL. Although i was excited about the proposed USB host port that will allow you to use a keyboard or mouse in the device, I could not test it there. Also the availability of just one USB host port means that you can use only one device, a mouse or a keyboard but not both at the same time. Read as disappointment again!

Overall if you ask me whether you should buy this device for almost 15K (or go for Notion Ink’s Adam tablet)? The answer is a resounding NO. For the price the hardware that you get is almost out dated for tablets, we have phones in the same price range with better user experience( although no the same screen size , but still). Add to that severe handicaps like the awful touch screen and no Android Market. This device sinks to the bottom of our wanted gadgets list.
Check out how bad the touch screen is

Source : pluggd

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Future IPhone Will Support China Mobile's 4G Network

Future versions of Apple's iPhone will support China Mobile's fourth generation (4G) network, China's largest mobile carrier said, a sign that it will eventually offer the iconic device to its 600 million customers.

China Mobile's chairman Wang Jianzhou reported the development on Thursday, according to a company spokeswoman. Both Apple and the carrier have reached a consensus on the development of Long-Term Evolution (LTE), a 4G technology that can allow mobile phones to exchange data at much faster rates. When Apple releases iPhones built for 4G networks, the devices will also support China Mobile's version of this technology known as LTE TDD (Time-Division Duplex), Wang said.

China Mobile has been in discussions with Apple since 2007 about selling its iPhone product, but the companies have yet to reach agreement. Part of those discussions have revolved around China Mobile's third-generation technology known as TD-SCDMA (Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access). If Apple were to sell an iPhone for use on China Mobile's network, the company would have to rebuild the devices so that they could work using the carrier's TD-SCDMA 3G network.

The lack of an official iPhone in China's Mobile smartphone offerings has given its rival China Unicom an edge in the market, according to analysts. Currently China Unicom, which has 174 million mobile subscribers, is the only carrier in the country to officially sell Apple's iPhone.

Apple could not be reached for immediate comment. In the past, the company has said China, including Hong Kong and Taiwan, is Apple's fastest growing market for its iPhone devices. But there has been no official word on when a 4G iPhone will arrive.

China has already begun large-scale trials of its 4G LTE TDD technology. The research and development of commercial equipment for the new networks will be completed in 2012. But it's unclear when the networks will be available for actual commercial use.

Source : pcworld

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UPDATE 1 - John Lewis weekly sales flat despite iPad 2 boost

* Department store sales up 0.1 pct on yr in week to May 14

* Says retail market "undoubtedly challenging"

* Electricals sales up 5 pct, helped by iPad 2

* Waitrose sales up 10.8 pct, boosted by meal deal

(Adds detail, background)

LONDON, May 20 (Reuters) - John Lewis, Britain's biggest department store chain, reported flat weekly sales on Friday, strengthening the view that consumer spending has weakened after a strong April boosted by a late Easter and royal wedding.

The employee-owned business said sales edged up 0.1 percent year-on-year to 53.4 million pounds ($86.4 million) in the week ended May 14, helped by demand for Apple's (AAPL.O) new iPad 2 tablet computer.

But sales were down 1.8 percent excluding VAT sales tax, which was raised earlier this year, and John Lewis said the market was "undoubtedly challenging" as it emerges from a long period when comparisons with last year were distorted by calendar effects.

"We sold through our stocks of Apple's latest barnstormer -- the iPad 2 -- in no time," John Lewis [JLP.UL] said, reporting a 5 percent rise in electrical and home technology products.

Online sales were up 18 percent, while the chain's "click and collect" offering, which allows customers to order online and pick up purchases in store, saw a 63 percent increase.

Fashion sales, however, were down 1 percent and home-related products down 2 percent.

Despite a surge in sales around Easter and the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton, most retailers expect demand to remain subdued this year as shoppers struggle with rising prices and austerity prices. [ID:nLDE74I1PF]

John Lewis's upmarket grocery chain Waitrose reported a 10.8 percent increase in weekly sales to 101.6 million pounds, lifted by strong demand for a 10 pound meal-for-two deal. (Reporting by Mark Potter; Editing by Hans Peters)

Source : Reuters

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PlayBook is great for BlackBerry users but results will vary

Yesterday, Research in Motion sent out the first review units for its new 16GB Wi-Fi only PlayBooks. In an email preceding this review offer, RIM’s PR rep advised journalists that to receive optimal functionality from the review unit, one would need to have a BlackBerry smartphone running 5.0 or higher and a BlackBerry SIM. I have a Torch 9800 and an Optus BlackBerry SIM, so I was perfectly set to play.

The first thing to do when you open your PlayBook is to immediately put it down, turn to your BlackBerry handset and download the free Bridge app from the Appworld. Once installed, you can then form the Bluetooth bridge between the PlayBook and your handset.

I had a few unsuccessful attempts at making this work, but eventually my troubleshooting worked and since then it has connected automatically without incident. With the Bridge built, you then enter your handset’s password into the PlayBook to gain access to your emails, contacts, calendar and tasks. These applications work brilliantly, though RIM does stress that this can incur additional charges from your carrier.

There’s also a Bridge internet browser, though I had trouble getting this to load pages consistently. Most commonly, the homepage of my chosen website would load, but then any attempt to touch on a link would result in failure to load.

RIM have made it very clear that all tethering to the PlayBook can only be over Bluetooth with a BlackBerry handset. No Android or iOS connectivity is planned, being that this core feature of the PlayBook is limited to only those that choose to use a BlackBerry as their smartphone. For people like me, who love BlackBerry smartphones, for everybody else out there on Android or iPhones, it is a severe limitation.

What’s left to them is the rest of the device, which could still prove very attractive. The PlayBook has a 1GHz dual core processor running RIM’s own tablet OS. This means the Canadians have had full control in its development. Much like how Apple has optimised its own OS for its iPads, RIM knows what its hardware can do and matched the software to suit.

Unlike Apple, RIM has not played dictator. The multitasking on this device lives up to the hype. At one point, I had my email open over the Bridge, a word doc, an MP3 playing and a video playing. By sliding your finger inwards from the right of the bezel, you reduce the program your running and enable swiping between programs (think of it as a touch version of Alt-Tab on Windows).

If you’re watching a video, the audio will continue during this switching between programs, though it will pause if you choose to open a different program (a web browser, for example). If you’re listening to music, it won’t pause, allowing you to keep listening while surfing the net or writing an email.

Whilst multitasking is the big thing being promoted by RIM, it’s the little things about the PlayBook that caught my attention. It’s the only tablet I have ever used that will play .avi files without the need for formatting or downloading a media player. Forget how .avi files come to be, a lot of tech savvy consumers (the type that will buy a tablet) will have TV shows and movies in this format and the PlayBook is the simplest to watch them on.

Transferring files to the PlayBook is also seamless. Forget having to log onto iTunes or synching with only one PC, drag and drop from a computer connected via the included MicroUSB cord is all that’s required. In the space of around 5 minutes, I was able to transfer my entire Modest Mouse collection (850MB) and two South Park episodes (350MB). This doesn’t take into account the atrocious folder system on my PC which makes selecting these files a very slow process.

One process that is slow, at least compared to the iPad, is start up. I timed the process from when power button is first pressed to when you can first open an app three times, and three times it was the same: 1 minute 26 seconds.

Source : current

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Pizza parlors grab slice of Android app market

The predicted growth of Android coupled with successful iPhone app launches has prompted pizza parlors in the UK to roll out Android versions.

dominos logo.jpgBack in September, 2010, Domino's Pizza in the UK launched an app for the iPhone that allowed customers to places orders and track them from their mobile devices.

That app generated over $16million in sales and has been downloaded more than half a million times.

The Android version, released this month, is fully transactional and has all the features of the iPhone app including GPS tracking of orders plus features that allow users to customize their order and enter promotions for coupons and discounts.

"Investing in this type of technology is now paying dividends for us," said Simon Wallis, sales and marketing director for Domino's.

"With sales of Android phones reported to be up 810% year on year*, we're excited about what the future holds with the launch of our new app, which will allow even more pizza lovers to order on the move."

pizza-hut-app-150x150.jpgFollowing on from their success with an iPhone app Pizza Hut in the UK is also set to launch an Android app. The restaurant chain, which also does deliveries, was one of the first in their segment to launch an app back in 2009. That app generated sales in excess of $1million in the first three months.

Market research firm Gartner last month revealed forecasts that show the Android operating system will power almost half (49%) of the world's smartphones next year, with Apple maintaining its position as the second biggest platform. 

Source : bizreport

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Kitten and iPhone Stolen from Santa Cruz SPCA

An 8-week-old kitten and an Apple iPhone were stolen from the Santa Cruz SPCA earlier today, officials said.

The organization suspects that a man and woman in their early to mid-30s stole Mousey, a fluffy, medium-haired, gray and brown tabby, according to the Santa Cruz SPCA.

The couple entered the cat room, began filling out an adoption application, and then left abruptly after staff members told them the kitten could not be adopted yet because she needed to be seen by the veterinarian and spayed.

Staff members suspect that the woman stuffed the 1 1/2-pound kitten in a large gold metallic purse she was carrying to smuggle Mousey out.

The SPCA is concerned that the kitten will not receive the veterinary care she needs. Mousey was scheduled for her first check-up tomorrow to receive feline leukemia and AIDS testing, officials said.

An Apple iPhone 4 belonging to the organization's executive director, Lisa Carter, was also stolen. The iPhone was in a pink case with Carter's name, address and phone number.

"The phone can be replaced, but the kitten can't," Carter said in a news release. "This really highlights how desperately we need a more secure

Source : capitola patch 

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