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BlackBerry 10, webOS and the platform predicament

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

BlackBerry 10, webOS and the platform predicament

During the annual Consumer Electronics Show in January 2009, a struggling smartphone company that had once helped shape the mobile industry unveiled its next-generation platform. It was gorgeous. The design was unique and appealing, the gesture-based controls were smart and intuitive, and the company’s new smartphone operating system offered a breath of fresh air in an industry dominated by just two major players, Apple and Google.

On August 18th, 2011, less than three years after this promising new platform was unveiled, it was effectively laid to rest.

During the annual BlackBerry World conference on Tuesday, a struggling smartphone company that had once helped shape the mobile industry unveiled its next-generation platform. It was gorgeous. The design was unique and appealing, the gesture-based controls were smart and intuitive, and the company’s new smartphone operating system offered a breath of fresh air in an industry dominated by just two major players, Apple and Google.

Yes, history is repeating itself.

There are too many comparisons between Research In Motion today and Palm in late 2008 and early 2009 to count. Ignoring the similarities between Palm and HP’s webOS platform and BlackBerry 10 is ignoring the obvious: a sleek UI that deviates from industry leaders and innovates in several key areas, sky-high ambitions, aspirations of pushing the platform beyond smartphones and onto various other products, and a seemingly impossible lead to overcome. RIM is in a much better place than Palm was at that time, of course, with a much larger user base, better performance and more resources at its disposal. Despite these advantages, however, both of these stories may end up sharing the same final chapter if RIM can’t find a way to tip the scales in its favor.

New chief executive Thorsten Heins took the stage on Wednesday and showed the world an operating system that looks absolutely nothing like BlackBerry 7. This is a very good thing. Based on RIM’s PlayBook OS, BlackBerry 10 appears to have the fit and finish of a modern mobile platform at this early stage. The UI is a complete overhaul compared to RIM’s current smartphone OS, and while Heins’s preview was very brief, we saw a number of exciting new features unveiled.

RIM showed us an interesting take on predictive text input that places words above various keys lying in the path of letters the user might type. A simple flick gesture will then complete the word. This solution is more elegant and logical than existing options that place a list of word recommendations across the top of the virtual keypad, and it is nice to see RIM innovating in a space it led for so long.

The camera software in BlackBerry 10 is fascinating as well. RIM’s next-generation smartphones will capture a series of photographs in the background as the user snaps an image. This will allow users to cycle regions of the image forward or backward in time to correct closed eyes or alter other aspects of a photo.

The problem, however, is that features like these won’t sell phones, regardless of how innovative and exciting they might be.

These features are a small piece of a massive puzzle that must be arranged in just the right order to allow a third player to emerge and succeed in today’s market. Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android have tremendous momentum, proven ecosystems and developer support, widespread carrier support and massive marketing budgets helping to sustain their success.

To say RIM has its work cut out for it is an understatement of monumental proportions. Plainly put, right now is likely the worst time in smartphone history to launch a new platform.

Apple and Google lead in the smartphone platform race by a staggering margin, and Nokia and Microsoft have a head start in terms of using innovation, a spectacular product and boatloads of cash in attempt to establish a successful third platform. And in terms of smartphone profits, that’s a two-horse race as well right now.

At some point in the coming years, other platforms will undoubtedly emerge and find success in the smartphone space. The odds are not in a contender’s favor today, however, as Apple and Google are both at the top of their game. To make matters somehow even worse for RIM, its first BlackBerry 10 smartphone will likely launch in the very same month as Apple’s next-generation iPhone, which BGR expects to feature a complete redesign when it launches this fall.

BlackBerry 10 is shaping up to be an impressive platform, and we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. It looks elegant, well thought-out and very powerful — just like webOS. Whether or not RIM can avoid a similar fate for its mobile platform remains to be seen, but unfortunately, we haven’t been shown anything compelling or significantly differentiated thus far that suggests this will be the case. For RIM’s sake, and for the sake of smartphone users everywhere who are hungry for a viable new platform, let’s hope that changes.

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Leaked next-gen iPhone part casts doubt on Liquidmetal case

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Leaked part debunks Liquidmetal iPhone

A leaked part said to be destined for Apple’s next-generation iPhone may quell rumors that the Cupertino, California-based company is working on a teardrop-shaped Liquidmetal case for the next iPhone. Listed as “Replacement Sim Card Tray Holder Slot For Apple iPhone 5,” parts vendor sw-box.com has made what it claims to be SIM card trays for the sixth-generation iPhone available for purchase on its site. If the part is authentic, the most notable observation is that the new SIM tray is nearly identical to the part found in the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. While Apple’s next iPhone may still feature a redesigned case, Cult of Mac points out that the use of a flat aluminum tray in the new iPhone would likely indicate that the handset’s case will not utilize curved Liquidmetal alloy, as previously reported.

[Via Cult of Mac]

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Is this RIM’s BlackBerry 10 development device?

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

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You know the drill — grab yourself a spoonful of Morton’s and get ready for another supposed leak of a gadget. This time around, you’re looking at what’s claimed as being of Research In Motion’s BlackBerry 10 “Development Alpha” devices that will be handed out during next week’s BlackBerry Jam — just like the company promised a month ago. Images of the device first surfaced over at Crackberry’s forums and, as the site points out, the touchscreen candy bar seems to share its design DNA with the PlayBook. Keeping in mind that it’s likely to remain a testing device for devs, don’t bank on it ever hitting store shelves. That said, we’re now curious how pivotal a roll RIM’s famous tactile keyboards will play on its next-generation phones — if any. Head over to the sources links below if you’d like to catch more photos from Mr. Blurrycam and extra information in the meantime.

Is this RIM’s BlackBerry 10 development device? originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 28 Apr 2012 21:46:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink   |  sourceCrackBerry  | Email this | Comments

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Verizon’s Summer / Fall 2012 smartphone roadmap

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Verizon launching iPhone 5, Galaxy S III, Motorola RAZR HD in Fall

While Samsung’s Galaxy S3 has been the star of the rumor show for the past few months — with BGR leading the pack — we now have a clear picture of the smartphone landscape for late summer and early fall this year. BGR has exclusively learned details about most, if not all of Verizon Wireless’s flagship smartphone launches for the remainder of 2012, and things are definitely looking good for Verizon subscribers in 2012. All the details follow after the break.

For starters, Verizon Wireless will indeed be offering the Samsung Galaxy S3 — Verizon notably passed on the Galaxy S II in favor of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus — but we don’t know when the carrier will start selling Samsung’s new flagship smartphone. While we have a clear picture of Verizon’s fall smartphone lineup, we would assume the Galaxy S III will be available over the summer.

Speaking of Android smartphones, there are “multiple” Motorola RAZR models due to hit Verizon in the coming months, one of which will most likely be the Motorola RAZR HD (or a name similar to that) with a larger and clearer display.

HTC might actually be the star of the Android show this time around though, as we have been told HTC will have a major flagship device hitting Verizon shelves in the fall. It’s said to feature a whopping 5-inch 1080p HD display (a non-PenTile screen), a new chipset that includes a quad-core Krait CPU and an Adreno 320 GPU, HTC Sense 5 and a Scribe pen. Yes, HTC is launching a Galaxy Note competitor.

Lastly, as we reported late last year, Apple’s next-generation iPhone is currently slated for a fall release.

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RIM’s first BlackBerry 10 phone said to launch in October

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Research In Motion may be planning to unveil its debut next-generation smartphone this summer, with a launch to follow in in the fall. N4BB on Wednesday reported that RIM currently intends to take the wraps off its first BlackBerry 10-powered smartphone by mid-August, and it plans to launch the handset in early or mid-October. BGR exclusively published RIM’s 2012 product roadmap this past January, and at that time we said the first BlackBerry 10 smartphone, code-named “BlackBerry London,” was scheduled to launch in late September or early October. N4BB also claims a QWERTY-equipped BlackBerry 10 device is expected to launch in the first quarter next year, again in line with a report from this past January, though the site claims the device might not feature a slider form factor. RIM is not likely to discuss specifics with regards to BlackBerry 10 devices or launch timing during the BlackBerry World conference next week, but the smartphone maker may share new details surrounding its platform and BGR will be on hand to report all the news as it breaks.

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Galaxy S III decoy phone pictured once again as announcement nears

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

It appears that Samsung’s purported efforts to mask the launch version of its upcoming next-generation Galaxy smartphone have once again paid off. A new image of the Galaxy S III has emerged on a Chinese forum, though the look (and name) of the device will likely be different when the new flagship phone is finally unveiled next week. Few new details can be gleaned from this new leak, though it appears that Samsung may have taken some liberties with the stock on-screen navigation buttons in Ice Cream Sandwich. Samsung’s next-generation Galaxy phone is expected to feature a quad-core 1.5GHz Exynos processor, a high-definition Super AMOLED display, 4G LTE, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and a ceramic case available in either blue or white. Samsung will unveil the Galaxy S III next week at a press conference in London.

[Via The Verge]

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Bell Canada launches revamped push-to-talk service, now with added 4G

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Bell Canada launches revamped push-to-talk service, now with added 4G

People have been pushing to talk for a good number of years, but it’s a service that has largely remained untouched by the passing of time. Bell, however, thinks it’s due a little lick of “next-generation” paint. What’s new? Well, the firm boasts that it’s the firs PTT service in North America to make use of 4G, which on Bell, means a slice of that “up to” 21Mb goodness. The service launches on a slew of devices that includes the BlackBerry Curve 9360, the Samsung Galaxy SII and the rugged Sonim XP5520 with a range of plans available. Want to know more? Push (the press release button) to find out more.

Continue reading Bell Canada launches revamped push-to-talk service, now with added 4G

Bell Canada launches revamped push-to-talk service, now with added 4G originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 24 Apr 2012 20:26:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Intel announces 13 new quad-core Ivy Bridge processors

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Intel’s next-generation Ivy Bridge processors will be the first to feature a “3D Tri-Gate transistor,” The BBC reported on Sunday. The company plans to initially release 13 quad-core processors for desktop computers that it promises will offer more computational power while using less energy. Intel hopes its new transistors, which have been in development for 11 years, will help it challenge ARM’s reputation for energy efficiency. “This is the world’s first 22 nanometre product and we’ll be delivering about 20% more processor performance using 20% less average power,” the company said, adding that dual-core processors aimed at ultrabooks will be announced “later this spring.” Intel promises that “there will be 50% more supply than we had early in the product cycle of our last generation, Sandy Bridge, a year ago. And we’re still constrained based on the amount of demand we’re seeing in the marketplace.” Digitimes on Monday reported that shipments of the company’s latest processors will still be lower than expected, however, and it will not be able to satisfy the strong demand anticipated from PC vendors.

Read [BBC] Read [DigiTimes]

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Redesigned next-generation iPhone parts leak to Chinese vendor

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

To start off what will undoubtedly be a long series of part leaks ahead of Apple’s next-generation iPhone launch, China-based parts retailer TVC-Mall has made what it claims to be “iPhone 5″ home buttons available for purchase on its site. “Are you interested in the iPhone 5 which will come out soon?” the company wrote on its website. “Different from iPhone 4S 4, the iPhone 5 home button is round in the centre and square outside as the pictures show.” The home buttons are available for purchase in both black and white, and no other information regarding the next-generation iPhone was made available. TVC-Mall has sold authentic iPhone parts ahead of official Apple launches in the past. BGR reported last December that Apple plans to launch a redesigned iPhone this coming fall.

[Via MacRumors]

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Next-generation iPhone to utilize new display technology

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Apple’s next-generation iPhone will reportedly make use of new display technology that will allow the device to utilize thinner components without sacrificing responsiveness. Citing anonymous sources within Apple’s component supply chain, DigiTimes on Friday reported that Apple’s new iPhone will utilize in-cell touch panels rather than industry-standard on-cell technology. In-cell touch panel technology allows a device’s touch sensors to reside inside a display’s color filters rather than above them, and the result is a thinner, lighter panel. According to the report, the new displays will be manufactured by Sharp and Toshiba Mobile Display, and production will ramp up in the second quarter followed by a launch some time in the third quarter this year. BGR reported last December that Apple plans to launch a completely redesigned iPhone with a new antenna system and a unibody case this fall. A separate recent report suggested that the new iPhone’s case could be made from the Liquidmetal alloys Apple licensed in 2010.

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Conflicting reports question Windows Phone 8 upgrade plans

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

Following reports of a Windows Phone developer evangelist claiming that every Windows Phone 7.5 device currently on the market will receive an upgrade to Microsoft’s next-generation Windows Phone 8 operating system, doubt has been cast over the accuracy of his claims. In an interview with Portuguese technology news site Zwame, Microsoft developer evangelist Nuno Silva stated that all current devices would eventually be updated to the ”next major version” of Microsoft’s mobile platform. A subsequent report from The Verge contradicts Silva’s claims, however, and cites an anonymous source in stating that devices running Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” will not be upgraded to Windows Phone 8 “Apollo.” Microsoft would not clarify its upgrade plans. ”We have stated publicly that all apps in our Marketplace today will run on the next version of Windows Phone,” a Microsoft spokesperson said. “Beyond that, we have nothing to share about future releases.”

Read [Zwame] Read [The Verge]

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Veto of radical strategy shift led to former RIM CEO’s resignation

Friday, April 13th, 2012

Former Research In Motion co-chief executive Jim Balsillie sought a radical shift in strategy before he stepped down, Reuters reported on Friday. Citing two unnamed sources, the publication claims Balsillie wanted to allow wireless companies in North America and Europe to use RIM’s proprietary network for services on non-BlackBerry devices. The plan would help carriers entice customers to upgrade from feature phones to smartphones and allow them to offer inexpensive data plans that were limited to social media and instant messaging via the company’s BlackBerry Messenger service. Despite RIM’s network bringing in nearly $1 billion each quarter, the plan was vetoed, leading to Balsillie’s resignation soon after he stepped down as co-CEO. The Blackberry-maker will instead focus more on its next-generation BlackBerry 10-powered smartphones, and on regaining enterprise momentum.

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Intel may launch Ivy Bridge processors on April 23rd

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Intel is expected to move up the announcement of its next-generation Ivy Bridge processors from the original date of April 29th to April 23rd, Digitimes reported on Thursday. ASUS, Acer, Lenovo and Hewlett-Packard are all preparing to release their second generation of ultrabooks in May, with average prices expected to “rapidly” drop from $999 to $699. To promote ultrabooks, Intel has also reportedly set up a $300 million fund to assist its partners in ultrabook design as well as research and development. Earlier rumors have suggested that Apple is planning to refresh its iMac family of computers with Intel’s 22nm-based Core i5 and Core i7 Ivy Bridge processors in June or July. The Cupertino-based company is also said to be ramping up production in preparation for thinner 13- and 15-inch MacBook Pro models.

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Intel plans to roll out Ivy Bridge based Xeon E3s, low-power Atom chips for micro servers

Thursday, April 12th, 2012
Intel plans to roll out Ivy Bridge based Xeon E3s, low-power Atom chips for micro servers

Ask any gardener, once you let ivy grow, it gets everywhere. Even though Intel just planted a fresh family of Sandy Bridge-based server CPUs, reports of a new line of Xeon E3 chips sporting the firm’s next generation architecture are sprouting up. The new Ivy Bridge server chips use the firm’s 3D Tri-Gate transistors to improve performance without using more power. For micro servers looking for an even smaller power footprint, Intel is introducing an Atom-based system on a chip, dubbed Centerton. These new 64-bit chips will feature two Atom processor cores and consume only six watts of electricity. Intel hasn’t said yet just where these new processors are going to end up, but mentioned that it had a few customers on board.

Intel plans to roll out Ivy Bridge based Xeon E3s, low-power Atom chips for micro servers originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 12 Apr 2012 05:27:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink   |  sourceCNET, Wall Street Journal, PCWorld  | Email this | Comments

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J.P. Morgan increases Q1 iPhone and iPad estimates

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz has made “significant increases” to both his iPhone and iPad sales projections for the first quarter of 2012, raising his price target on Apple stock from $625 to $715, Apple Insider reported on Tuesday. The analyst previously estimated that Apple would ship 28.1 million iPhones in the first quarter of 2012, however he now believes shipments will reach 31.1 million units. Full-year iPhone shipments for 2012 are now expected to total 138.2 million units. Moskowitz thinks Apple’s next-generation smartphone will launch in the second half of 2012 and include a “thinner body and LTE capability.” He projects iPad shipments to reach 13.8 million in the first quarter, up from his earlier estimate of 10.1 million units, and his full-year shipment estimate was raised to 69.6 million tablets, up from 59.8 million. Apple will also “refresh its MacBook portfolio, including the Air, in the next three months,” Moskowitz wrote in his note to investors. He continued by saying that the company needs to improve its specifications and features while introducing lower price points to stay ahead of the “Ultrabook crowd.”

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IBM’s Failed Operating System OS/2 Is 25 Years Old—But It Still Powers ATMs and Checkouts [Ibm]

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

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