Microsoft is continuing its regular monthly updates this month, with a number of changes to both of its Surface tablets. The “Patch Tuesday” updates are rolling out immediately and for Surface Pro users they’ll include some improvement in Wi-Fi connectivity and stability. There’s also a video driver update to improve Skype and a specific OpenGL bug in Adobe Photoshop. Finally, there’s an update to enable the PXE boot feature, an option that administrators typically use to install a copy of Windows across a network. There’s no sign of the updated Wacom driver for improved sensitivity in desktop apps.
Surface RT owners will get a driver pack with the latest update that includes a specific improvement in the speaker volume. Owners have…
Nokia has announced another handset in its Series 40-based Asha portfolio of low end mobiles which compete with the budget end of Android and cheap BlackBerrys. The 2G-plus-Wi-Fi Asha 210, due to ship before the end of Q2, packs a physical Qwerty keyboard and comes painted in Nokia’s now trademark eye-popping colours (yellow, cyan, magenta), plus black and white. But the most notable addition to this BlackBerry-esque device is a hardware key on the front that short-cuts to messaging app WhatsApp — which, extending the BlackBerry comparison, is the phone’s BBM replacement.
As well as the ability to fire up WhatsApp by long pressing on this dedicated key, Nokia said Asha 210 buyers will get a free subscription to the messaging service for the lifetime of the device. On the Series 40 platform, WhatsApp normally charges a $ 0.99 annual fee after a first year of free use. Last week the messaging service said it now has north of 200 million monthly active users (this compares to BBM’s more modest 60 million). Tapping into the hugely popular social messaging craze is clearly Nokia’s aim here.
Nokia describes the Asha 210′s WhatsApp hardware key as a “world first”, although we’ve seen the mobile maker (and others) stick a Facebook button on a phone before. But before you start wondering how displeased Facebook is going to be with Nokia for two-timing it with a deadly messaging rival, the handset actually comes in two social messaging flavours, with a second variant having a dedicated Facebook key (shown below, on the black handset) instead of a WhatsApp button.
The two Asha 210 social flavours — which also each come in single SIM/dual SIM variants – won’t be offered together in the same market but will rather be region specific, presumably corresponding to where the respective services are most popular. Neil Broadley, marketing director for Nokia’s mobile phones division, told TechCrunch the WhatsApp device will generally target Asia-Pac and Middle East & Africa, while the Facebook flavour will mostly be heading to Europe and Latin America. He also confirmed that neither device will be sold in North American.Both of our partners are hugely successful around the world.
“On a market by market basis we will have either WhatsApp or Facebook,” said Broadley. “Both of our partners are hugely successful around the world and as we go on a market by market basis, some of our market teams would like to have the WhatsApp variant, some would like to have the Facebook variant. And of course we already have the Nokia Asha 205 on a global basis with the Facebook hard key there as well.”
Broadley added that Nokia is looking at the possibility of making a third variant of the Asha 210 — specifically targeting the Chinese market — with another, as yet undetermined social service loaded on the hard key (China has a variety of homegrown social services that outstrip the popularity of global offerings, such as microblogging service Sina Weibo vs Twitter). Nokia certainly has work to do to win back buyers in China. In its Q1 results last week, China saw the biggest drop of any of Nokia’s regions in terms of sales by value and volume, with $ 334 million in sales in Greater China, down 56% on the year ago quarter.Low end hardware + social software
Aside from differing social shortcuts, the Asha 210 variants have identical hardware and software, with a sub-1Ghz chip; 2 megapixel rear camera plus a dedicated camera key on the front of the device (in addition to the WhatsApp/Facebook key plus standard nav/call keys); Nokia’s Slam Bluetooth-sharing data transfer tech and its hot-swap SIM system; plus a rubberised full Qwerty keyboard which recycles the pillowed keys of 2008′s Nokia E71. The keyboard also includes shortcut keys for turning on/off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
On the software front, the device comes with Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter preloaded; support for YouTube streaming and web apps; a ‘Games Gift’ of 15 free downloadable “premium” games & apps from the Nokia Store; plus Nokia’s neat voice-guided self-portrait feature, which gets around the lack of a front-facing lens by helping users align a self-portrait when they can’t see the screen.
Nokia’s earlier Facebook-button-packing phone, the full Qwerty Asha 205, was announced in November last year. At the time, the company’s decision to introduce a phone with a dedicated Fb button revived a 2011 trend which, for the majority of last year, appeared to have run its course — without, apparently, covering any of the device maker particpants (including HTC, Orange and Vodafone) in huge heaps of gold.
Asked about sales of the Asha 205, Nokia said it has not broken out any numbers for the model but added that the number of Facebook activations for the device is “significantly higher” than for the average Asha family device. Whatever the sales figures, Nokia clearly believes there is more gold to be mined from low end mobiles by associating its hardware with the biggest brands of the social messaging space.Asha vs Android: Show me the money
The Asha 210 — along with the entire Nokia Asha range — targets developing markets and cost-conscious consumers, which explains its focus on seeking ways to reduce not just the initial outlay but also the total cost of ownership, while simultaneously amping up its core social offering by making sure it can provide access to big name apps and allow for easy social photo-sharing, as Android does.
The Asha 210 will have a $ 72 price-tag (before taxes and subsidies). The price-tag puts it in touching distance of budget Androids and while the S40 platform is not as user friendly, flexible or as app-rich as Android, Nokia has been working to strength its competitiveness against Android’s low end with additions such as its cloud-based data-compressing Xpress Browser, which ekes out up to three times as much data as non-compression browsers to help keep the user’s data costs down, plus offers such as ‘Games Gift’ and the free Whatsapp subscription.
As with other Asha devices, the 210 also boasts a long battery life — of up to 46 days on standby, and around 12 hours talk time. Nokia noted that it is using push notification technology to reduce battery drain caused by the Asha 210 checking for Whatsapp/Facebook updates. Update checking is done by Nokia in the cloud, with any new info pushed out to the user’s phone when it arrives.
One more thing…
Nokia and WhatsApp are about to hold an online Q&A about the launch of the Asha 2010 so we’ll be checking for any interesting tidbits that come out of the discussion to add as an update below. Currently, around the world, there is still plenty of regional diversity across messaging and social services – messaging apps are especially fragmented. Many of these apps inevitably compete with and come into conflict with social networking giant Facebook, which wants to own all the world’s chatter. And with Facebook having just launched its app-sidelining Android skin, social challengers such as WhatsApp are likely to be keen to find ways to increase their own visibility on mobile. Having your brand stamped on the outside of a phone sounds like a great place to start.
Updates from the Q&A, with Nokia’s Broadley and Neeraj Arora, business development, at WhatsApp:
On whose idea the WhatsApp hard key was, Nokia’s or Whatsapp’s… Broadley: “We have an ongoing relationship with WhatsApp that spans a range of Nokia Asha and other Nokia products. We are both really excited about this opportunity.”
On whether the WhatsApp hard key will be exclusive to Nokia devices… Arora & Broadley: “We are very excited to bring a dedicated WhatsApp button to Asha 210 and we will take consumer feedback for future consideration.”
On the differences between the Asha 210 and Nokia’s earlier Facebook button phone, the Asha 205… Arora & Broadley: “There is WhatsApp deep linking into social share gallery and there is more to come.”
On Nokia’s approach to phone design… Broadley: ”Starting with the Nokia 206 announced just before Christmas we’ve been progressively uniting the Nokia portfolio under a single, coherent design language… We have one stunning design approach across the Nokia range.”
On whether Nokia could introduce a Lumia product with a physical Qwerty to differentiate its smartphones from rivals… Broadley: “We don’t comment on future plans.”
- QWERTY|Tech Meets Blog
Times Square is where Samsung is gearing up to unveil the Galaxy S IV tonight at a special press event, but the leaks won’t stop coming. The latest, from the same Chinese source that brought us videos of key features earlier today, is a long, extensive review of the supposed SGS IV hardware, laying bare all of its secrets and even going so far as to take a microscope to the new smartphone’s screen.
The review is, as mentioned, exhaustive (and also in Chinese), but there are some key elements worth drawing specific attention to. In the disappointing column, that metal-look border surrounding the phone does indeed appear to be plastic upon closer prodding. On the good side, it looks like the plastic backing for the device actually doesn’t feel like plastic, according to the reviewers, thanks to micro-perforations in the surface.
Taking the scope to the screen reveals improvements to the sub-pixel arrangement which help increase density and maximize the rendering of deep blacks, with changes that also help it improve its ability to render fine detail. The screen is reportedly better able to render images clearly, making it impossible to discern pixels with the reviewer’s naked eye. The camera also looks improved, in side-by-side comparisons with the iPhone 5, though the reviewer says accurate color rendering isn’t up to par with Apple’s smartphone.
The Samsung Galaxy S IV tested in the leaked review had an eight-core Samsung Exynos Octa processor on board (the one rumored for the international version, which makes sense), which led to it blowing away the competition in AnTuTu benchmarking tests. Users definitely won’t be disappointed by the GSIV’s performance if these leaks prove legit.
The review notes that Samsung has focused a lot on adding and refining screen transition animations and tap action effects, which are likely made possible by the big bump in processing power. It also supposedly has Smart Scrolling, Smart Pause, and Smart Rotation features onboard, which is in keeping with earlier reports about Samsung enabling eye-tracking interaction on the handset.
The leak may disappoint some who were hoping for more surprises later tonight, but Samsung likely isn’t too concerned: this phone will sell well, regardless of how much it has to demo to the press tonight has been publicized beforehand. Check out the full review at it168.com for all the poorly translated spoilers your heart could desire, and then follow along with our live coverage to get the full scoop.
We haven’t exactly been lacking for leaks of Samsung’s new Galaxy S IV ahead of its launch later today, but those looking for yet more can now get their fix courtesy of an extensive preview/review of the still-unofficial phone published by IT168. That’s the same site that’s been the source of a number of those aforementioned leaks in recent days. While it’s still not clear if the phone in their possession is identical to the Samsung’s final retail device, it certainly appears to be a well-polished version, and decidedly familiar for anyone accustomed to the Galaxy S III. The preview goes particularly in-depth on the phone’s screen, even going so far as to put it under a microscope to compare it to the Galaxy S3 and Note II. Hit the source link below for a closer look yourself.
Source: IT168Related Posts:
Twitter user TheRealMyron got this Netflix tattoo on the side of his stomach and tweeted it to Netflix’s account, and the movie-streaming giant awarded his loyal fandom with a free year of service. A whole year! Keep in mind Netflix wasn’t holding a contest or anything, Myron just got the tattoo because he loves the company and “Netflix is a lifestyle.” Just like swinging. Some other gems from his feed:
Netflix tweeted me retweeted my Tattoo and gave me a free year tonight there is noway you can’t believe in Netflix gang now it’s a movement
@netflix I’m so excited I love Netflix can I get a follow back also
There is so many strangers in my mentions about this Netflix stuff lol they don’t understand the life
@netflix follow me back pleaseeee
huff post said they want to do a story!!!!!!!!!
i just got asked to do a story on web cam i dont think i have a web came here
who has a web cam?
I have a webcam, Myron. Come over and you can do the interview from my place and then you can show me what this lifestyle is all about. I’ve had Netflix for years, but I didn’t know I was part of a MOVEMENT. Also, we should totally get some jackets and hats made with a catchy slogan to celebrate your victory. I’m thinking ‘Netflix For Life’. “But I only got a year.” Yeah….maybe if you got another, even BIGGER one.
Thanks to Big Dave, who’s getting a Ferrari tattoo this weekend. Good luck with that.Related Posts:
44-year Darren Baldwin got fired from his temporary job at a UK stress ball factory, so what did he do? What anybody in a warehouse full of stress relievers would — punched his boss, then produced two knives and began threatening to stab him in front of the other workers. I sense some hostility.
According to prosecutor Tracy Yates, Baldwin “showed the knives to his colleague and started to shout threats like, ‘I will cut you up’.”
At his court appearance, Baldwin admitted to assault and was bailed on the condition he does not enter the Sycamore trading estate where the company operates.
I like how he showed the knives to a coworker first. Hey man — sweet knives, right? I’M GONNA STAB OUR BOSS WITH ‘EM. Did you hear that, Mr. McGillicutty?! I FEEL LIKE I’M A LITTLE CHUCKY DOLL RIGHT NOW. I’m sorry, but nobody should be threatening to stab somebody in a stress ball factory. That’s like a worker going hungry at the Little Debbie plant.
Thanks to Mnemosyne, who knows a therapist who always starts bawling at her patient’s stories and winds up asking for hugs.Related Posts:
Buy “HP TouchPad Wi-Fi 16 GB 9.7-Inch Tablet Computer” – detuv.com Another tablet is getting the newest version of Android, but it’s not one you’d expect. In fact, it’s not even a tablet that was built to run Google’s mobile operating system in the first place. As those without a Nexus 7 7.49 at Amazon Marketplace or Motorola Xoom await their upgrade to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, it’s Hewlett-Packard’s discontinued, webOS-based TouchPad that’s getting an unofficial but nevertheless real injection of confectionary Android 4.1 goodness. Before Android tablet users pitch a fit, it’s worth noting that the unofficial port of CyanogenMod 10 (CM10) for the TouchPad put together by XDA Developers member Jcsullins has “plenty of gaps in functionality,” SlashGear reported Friday. That may be a bit of an understatement. “Hardware video and graphics acceleration aren’t functional, and neither is audio. The front-facing camera doesn’t work, and neither does the microphone,” the tech site elaborated after getting a peek at Liliputing’s review of the Jelly Bean port for the TouchPad and accompanying video (below). That’s a lot of functionality gappage, but SlashGear reckoned the CM10 port will improve with time. For now, Jelly Bean for the TouchPad offers decent Web browsing and email, albeit without sound or very good video playback. One issue some users of the mod are reporting is wonky battery charging on their TouchPads, but that doesn’t appear to be the case with all ports. Last … Video Rating: 2 / 5Related Posts:
[ See post to watch video ]
Here come the holidays—and with them the extra pounds from family feasts, eggnog and gingerbread. Rather than wait to make a New Year’s resolution to get in shape, one technology product might get people off the couch and moving now. It’s appropriately named Up.
This health-monitoring band is one tech product I’ve put off testing because I didn’t think I had enough time to use it. Nor was I thrilled about wearing a band on my wrist round-the-clock for a week straight. But I realized loads of people who are too busy to track their movement, sleep and nutrition habits could benefit from this gadget. The reason? It works even if you do little more than wear it.
The first version of Up, by Jawbone, was released over a year ago but had hardware problems, causing the company to pause production and issue full refunds to many users. Competitors abound, including the $ 149 Nike+ FuelBand, $ 100 Fitbit One and $ 150 Larklife.
The $ 130 Up by Jawbone, shown intact (left) and stripped to its innards (right), tracks movement and sleep.
The Up band, which costs $ 130 and can be bought online or in stores like Apple, Best Buy and AT&T, corresponds with a free iOS app. (An Android app is in the works.) There is no Up browser software. The Up band offloads its data when plugged into the headphone jack of an iOS device, and I found that using this physical connection and watching the data load was a fun, quick experience. Using a physical plug for syncing, rather than a power-draining Bluetooth wireless connection, also means the band’s battery can last for 10 days.
Jawbone suggests syncing the Up twice a day, but I plugged mine in more often, excited to see how many steps I took in a workout or how well I slept.
During setup of the Up app, users enter their gender, weight, height and birthday so the device can more accurately estimate how many calories you’ve burned throughout a day. The Up band has built-in sensors that track your movements, whether you’re walking, running, sitting idle or sleeping—including when you fall asleep, when you wake and whether you’re in light or deep sleep. It also vibrates, a feature that can be used as an “Idle Alert” to notify you if you’ve sat still for a certain length of time, say 15 minutes, or as a silent alarm. It even knows to wake someone during light, not deep sleep, because that person will wake feeling more refreshed. The app will wake you up to 30 minutes ahead of your set time to catch you at the optimal sleep stage.
I had planned to test the Up as a more passive user, letting it track my steps and sleep habits without me doing very much, but I was quickly hooked on adding data manually. This included adding workouts that weren’t tracked, such as my 15-minute abdominal workout, and entering information about what I ate and drank.
Plugging the band into an iPhone’s headphone jack syncs data with the Up app. Details of a night’s rest include the amount of time spent in light- and deep-sleep stages.
Charts in the app show users’ movements each day and over time.
I found food entry to be a weak spot in the Up. Specific foods weren’t always easy to find in the app, or I cooked the food myself, making it a challenge to enter all of its ingredients. I wound up entering broad categories of food, like “whole wheat spaghetti,” rather than entering all of the accompanying veggies, meaning I didn’t get an accurate overall picture of my diet. And the Up app could do a better job of identifying what each color means in the charts that measure your movement and sleep; as of now, you have to guess that red indicates intense movement and yellow means less intense movement. I also wasn’t gung-ho about the app’s mood indicator, which displays a smiley face that you can change to reflect your current mood.
The Up band isn’t a heart monitor, nor does it have a display for seeing things like the current time (if you wanted to use it as a watch) or the number of steps taken.
Wearing the Up band can cramp your style, kind of like wearing sneakers with a business suit. Its sporty, rubber exterior goes with some clothing, but not most of my outfits. It was comfortable enough on my wrist that I barely noticed the way it felt after just a day, even while I was sleeping—though it was a little odd to keep on in the shower. I tested the Up in onyx color; it’s also available in light blue and mint green with five more colors coming early next year.
If you need a digital kick in the pants that makes you more conscious of your body, Up will give it to you. I found myself walking to the farthest bathroom in my office to log more steps, drinking water instead of soda because I knew I’d add it to my food log later, and standing up to walk around nearly every time my Up’s Idle Alert went off.
At first, the Up’s iOS app can be a bit overwhelming because it’s loaded with features. The app sets goals for you according to World Health Organization guidelines, like eight hours of sleep a night and 10,000 steps a day, and shows the average met by most Up users. You can change these settings, but I kept mine at the WHO average. I felt a boost of pride when I met and surpassed daily goals.
Before going to sleep each night, I pressed and held a button on the Up that illuminated a tiny moon on the band, indicating I was going to sleep. In the morning, I pressed the button again and saw a snowflake, indicating that I was awake. This manual press on the Up helps the app to know when you first lie down in bed, so it can measure how long it takes for you to fall asleep. I used the Up’s silent alarm and it woke me 10 minutes before the time I set because I was in light sleep.
I was glad to learn that my brisk 15-minute walk to and from the subway each morning is over 4,000 steps. And after working at a Christmas bazaar, I synced my Up with my iPhone and found out that I walked 11,100 steps—passing my daily step goal in the time of the bazaar. When I woke up twice in the middle of one night, my Up band recorded this and gave me a cheeky tip about sleep the next day. The tip was titled, “Was It Good For You?” I created a “Team” with two other users, allowing us to share whichever stats we chose. We commented on each other’s progress, and it gave me a feeling of camaraderie.
Up gives people the flexibility to engage with it as much or as little as they want. If you’d rather not take the time to sync, the band can store up to nine months of data between syncs. Although the Up band isn’t always fashionable, it will make people more conscious of what their bodies are doing each day.
Write to Katherine Boehret at firstname.lastname@example.orgRelated Posts:
Microsoft is releasing an over the air update for the HTC 8X that stops the phone from switching from a Wi-Fi connection to cellular when its screen times out. The behavior has been a constant thorn in the sides of Windows Phone users since Microsoft released Windows Phone 7 over two years ago. According to WPCentral, a user in Italy confirmed that after updating, a checkbox was available in advanced Wi-Fi settings to “Keep Wi-Fi on when screen times out.” The first evidence of the new setting was spotted last week by WPCentral on a different handset, the HTC 8S. The new software also marks the first OTA update to Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 8 platform.
So far, the update hasn’t arrived on our own US-based 8X and 8S devices, which…
Looking to browse with the full weight of your 64-bit hardware? Well, if you’re a Firefox and Windows user, you’re going to have to look elsewhere, as Mozilla has announced it’s closing the development of Firefox for the bigger computer architecture. Mozilla manager, Benjamin Smedberg outlined several reasons for the decision, including limited access to 64-bit plugins, a higher propensity for the browser to hang when using available plug-ins and difficulty distinguishing between 32- and 64-bit versions when dealing with stability complaints. After posting the announcement at Bugzilla, it riled plenty of nightly testers, with one Mozilla dev suggesting that around half of them were currently using the now defunct 64-bit version — presumably due to the fact that an official release never made it out of the gates. What are the options then, if you need your browsing 64-bit? You could return to Internet Explorer or give Opera a try — both offer a higher bit version, or make a switch to either OS X or Linux, both of which have fully-fleshed versions of the 64-bit web browser. Check out some of the (surprisingly vigorous) debate at the source below.
Source: Bugzilla (Mozilla)Related Posts: