Friday, August 31, 2012

Samsung unveils world's first Windows 8 phone - Latest Gallery and Photos

The announcement at a Berlin electronics show comes amid expectations that smartphone makers may turn increasingly to Windows devices after a US jury decided many of Samsung's Google Android-based phones infringed Apple Inc patents.

Samsung's Windows-based smartphone, introduced on Wednesday, marks the first in a 'big lineup of new hardware' from the South Korean company based on Microsoft's software, Microsoft executive Ben Rudolph said.

Images courtesy: Yahoo India News

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Windows 8 spurs new touchscreen hybrid PC designs

PC-makers are showing off a range of new computers aimed at convincing users to upgrade after Windows 8 is released.

Microsoft's operating system features a touchscreen interface prompting manufacturers to restyle their laptops.

HP, Toshiba, Dell, Asus and Lenovo are among those showing off new products.

Efforts are split between models in which keyboards detach from screens, ones in which the keys remain attached but can be hidden behind displays, and traditional fixed clamshell designs.

The hybrid tablet/laptop concept had been championed by Intel at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year.

Apple - which makes the bestselling tablet on the market - later suggested that mixing the different types of computer together risked a situation in which "you wind up compromising in both and not pleasing either user".

But some analysts say Windows 8 is specifically designed to work in both modes, so the designs may make sense. The operating system has been scheduled for release on 26 October.

Read more at BBC News Click Here

Govt withdraws ban on bulk SMS-es and MMS-es

The government has withdrawn with immediate effect the ban on sending bulk SMS-es and MMS-es, a notification issued by the Home Ministry said today.

The ban was imposed on August 17, after reports emerged that threatening SMS-es were being sent to students from the North-East in cities like Bangalore and Hyderabad. It was aimed at checking the spread of rumours, which had fuelled panic.

The government had then said that for 15 days, cellphone users would be allowed to send only five messages a day. Later on August 23, the limit was increased from five to 20.

According to the government, since the clashes in Assam, misleading information and hate messages were being spread through SMS-es and MMS-es. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter were also reportedly used to circulate morphed images.

Along with the restrictions on SMS-es and MMS-es, the government had also banned hundreds of web pages.

Source: PTI and NDTV News

Samsung steals march on Nokia with first Windows phone

Samsung Electronics became the first handset maker to announce a smartphone using Microsoft's latest mobile software, making its surprise, hurried announcement just days before the highly anticipated launch of Nokia's version.
The brief announcement on Wednesday at a Berlin electronics show comes amid expectations that smartphone makers may turn increasingly to Windows devices after a U.S. jury decided many of Samsung's Google Android-based phones infringed Apple Inc patents.
"It looks like a good phone, and seems like a pre-emptive announcement ahead of Nokia," said Sid Parakh, an analyst at investment firm McAdams Wright Ragen, of the Samsung phone.
"Microsoft or Windows never got their best teams, never got their best designs, just because Android was doing so well. With the change in the legal environment, there's a case to be made that Samsung will likely shift some of those resources to broaden out or diversify their own exposure."

Nokia, the ailing Finnish mobile firm, once the world's leading producer of phones but now struggling to reverse losses, is due to unveil its new Lumia line of smartphones using Windows Phone 8 in New York on September 5.
Samsung's new phone called ATIV S -- tacked onto the end of a long news conference in Berlin that focused on other products -- may elevate expectations for the Lumia. Samsung's ATIV S Windows phone sports a high-end 4.8-inch display, Corning "Gorilla" glass, and an 8-megapixel rear camera and 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera, Microsoft posted on its official blog on Wednesday.
"Expectations for a 40 megapixel or possibly 20 megapixel camera model are running high. If Nokia does not unveil a monster camera handset next week, many will be disappointed," said Tero Kuittinen, analyst at mobile analytics firm Alekstra.
But "this leaves Nokia plenty of room to draw a clear contrast with its upcoming announcement."
Samsung's Windows-based smartphone, introduced on Wednesday, marks the first in a "big lineup of new hardware" from the South Korean company based on Microsoft's software, Microsoft executive Ben Rudolph said in a blog posting.
Analysts say the introduction of Samsung's Windows phone may be designed to assuage concerns that Microsoft will favor Nokia, whose Chief Executive Stephen Elop -- himself a former senior Microsoft executive -- has staked its future on the Windows platform.
"The fact Samsung was allowed to be the first to announce is Microsoft's backhanded way of letting other vendors know that Nokia is not getting special treatment," Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart said.
But Jack Gold, an independent mobile consultant who runs J. Gold Associates, argued Samsung had signalled its commitment to Windows for a while, but Nokia will remain the primary driver of the new breed of Microsoft-powered devices.
"Samsung has crossed the start line first and set the bar for Nokia's launch," said Geoff Blaber, analyst at CCS Insight.
Microsoft gave a preview of its Windows Phone 8 software in June, and promised the first phones would be on the market by the autumn.
Windows Phone 8 looks similar to, and is built on the same core code as Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 operating system, but is not the same product. Windows 8, which will run on tablets and PCs, is scheduled to launch on October 26.
Samsung said the ATIV phone would hit stores in the October-November period but did not give an exact start date.
On Wednesday, the Korean corporation also showed off a slew of tablets using Windows 8 software and the second generation of its popular Google Android-based Galaxy Note phone-cum-tablet "phablet" in downtown Berlin.
Samsung has sold some 10 million of its original Galaxy Note devices, creating a new product category which has smaller screen than tablets, but bigger than smartphones.
"I am pretty confident it will even outsell its predecessor," said JK Shin, Samsung's chief of mobile business.
Samsung hopes the new device will take the focus away from its loss of the court case. Apple is now seeking speedy bans on the sale of eight Samsung phones, moving swiftly to turn legal victory into tangible business gain.
Samsung hopes the phablet upgrade will lift any post-Apple gloom. The new version of the Note features a thinner and slightly bigger 5.5-inch screen, quad-core processor, the latest version of the Android operating system called Jellybean, and improved stylus function.
"There won't be huge innovative changes in design, but the Note 2 will feature quite a few improvements and enable Samsung to carry on its strong sales momentum in the category," said Lee Sun-tae, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities. "With the launch, Samsung will also be trying to turn around downbeat sentiment after the U.S. legal defeat."
Apple did not include the Note and other newly unveiled Samsung products in its original lawsuit. But the company and its lawyers are expected by many legal experts to try and use last week's legal victory to go after future gadgets, especially because the jury found infringing features in Samsung phones such as pinch-and-zoom and bounce-back -- common in Android.
Source: Reuters

Facebook slammed for 'playing subtle tricks' to confuse users about 'privacy settings'

A security adviser has accused social networking giant Facebook of playing 'five subtle tricks', which he believes pushes users into accepting app requests without thinking too closely about which information they give away.
Avi Charkham, who is helping set up a personal cloud security service, highlighted how the apps are installed on Facebook, and said recent re-designs help obscure how much data we are passing on to the company.
"Do you know how many apps access your personal information on Facebook? Facebook keeps 'improving' their design so that more of us will add apps on Facebook without realising we're granting those apps and their creators access to our personal information," the Daily Mail quoted Charkham, as writing in a blog.
Charkram, illustrating the granting of app permission both before and after recent re-designs, showed how Facebook cleverly has maneuvered the settings of the site's App Centre, lessening the control by a user and keeping the options in more small fonts and in tricky subtle ways.
"In the old design Facebook used two buttons - 'Allow' and 'Don't Allow' - which automatically led you to make a decision. In the new App Centre Facebook chose to use a single button," Charkram said in his illustration.
He also highlighted the 'Post on my Behalf', 'Access to Basic Info', and 'Action Line' features of Facebook.
Facebook's security has long been one of the most high-profile issues facing the social networking site.
The firm declined to make any comment. (ANI)

Source: ANI

Apple seeks quick bans on eight Samsung phones

Apple Inc is seeking speedy bans on the sale of eight Samsung phones, moving swiftly to translate its resounding court victory over its rival into a tangible business benefit.
The world's most valuable company wasted no time in identifying its targets on Monday: eight older-model smartphones, including the Galaxy S2 and Droid Charge. While Apple's lawsuit encompassed 28 devices, many of those accused products are no longer widely available in the world's largest mobile market.
Although Samsung's flagship Galaxy S III phone was not included in the trial, the jury validated Apple's patents on features and design elements that the U.S. company could then try to wield against that device. Apple may not have to seek a new trial over the S III, but can include it in a "contempt proceeding" that moves much faster, according to legal experts.
Many on Wall Street believe Apple now has momentum behind it in the wake of its near-complete triumph over the South Korean company on Friday.
"The evidence and weight of the case are heavily in Apple's favor," said Jefferies & Co analyst Peter Misek. "We expect there's a two-thirds chance of an injunction against Samsung products."
An injunction hearing has been set for September 20. If U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh grants sales bans, Samsung will likely seek to put them on hold pending the outcome of its appeal.

Samsung said it will take all necessary measures to ensure the availability of its products in the U.S. market. A source familiar with the situation said Samsung has already started working with U.S. carriers about modifying infringing features to keep products on the market should injunctions be granted.
Apple's win on Friday strengthens its position ahead of the iPhone 5's expected September 12 launch and could cement its market dominance as companies using Google Inc's Android operating system - two-thirds of the global market - may be forced to consider design changes, analysts say.
Apple was awarded $1.05 billion in damages after a U.S. jury found Samsung had copied critical features of the iPhone and iPad. The verdict could lead to an outright ban on sales of key Samsung products.
Apple's stock scored another record high on Monday.

While the victory does not cover new Samsung products including the Galaxy S III, Apple will push its case on these products in the near-term, Evercore Partners analyst Mark McKechnie said.
"While a ban would likely increase Apple's leading smartphone share in the U.S. market, we believe this verdict could lead to Samsung also delaying near-term product launches as it attempts to design around Apple's patents," Canaccord Genuity analysts said in a note.
TOOTH-AND-NAIL Apple's shares gained 1.9 percent to close at $675.68, tacking on another $12 billion-plus to its already historically leading market value. Samsung lost about the same amount in market capitalization as its shares slid 7.5 percent in Seoul.
Samsung shares rebounded 1.8 percent on Tuesday.
"The ruling marks an important victory for Apple against Android. Competitors may now think twice about how they compete in smart mobility devices with the industry's clear innovator," Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes wrote on Monday. "If Apple forces competitors to innovate more, it could take longer for competitive products to come to market, and make it more expensive to develop them."
The victory for Apple - which upended the smartphone industry in 2007 with the iPhone - is a big blow to Google, whose Android software powers the Samsung products found to have infringed on patents. Google and its hardware partners, including the company's own Motorola unit, could now face legal hurdles in their effort to compete with the Apple juggernaut.
Google shares closed 1.4 percent lower at $669.22. Microsoft Corp , a potential beneficiary if smartphone makers begin to seek out Android alternatives, ended up 0.4 percent. Nokia , which has staked its future on Windows phones, gained 7.7 percent.
Even Research in Motion - which has hemorrhaged market share to Apple and Google - climbed more than 5 percent, before ending 2 percent higher.
"The mobile industry is moving fast and all players, including newcomers, are building upon ideas that have been around for decades," Google responded in a Sunday statement. "We work with our partners to give consumers innovative and affordable products, and we don't want anything to limit that."
The verdict came as competition in the device industry is intensifying, with Google jumping into hardware for the first time with the Nexus 7 and Microsoft's touchscreen-friendly Windows 8 coming in October, led by its "Surface" tablet.
Samsung, which sold around 50 million phones between April and June - almost twice the number of iPhones - will have to pay damages equivalent to just 1.5 percent of the annual revenue from its telecoms business.
"The verdict does not come as a surprise," wrote William Blair & Co analysts. "From Apple's perspective, Samsung's market position and its leadership in the handset world was something the company could no longer overlook, and viewing this as another 'imitation is a form of flattery' was not possible."
"Companies such as Samsung, who we categorize as fast followers, have been viewed by the industry for their ability to quickly adopt the latest handset trends ... rather than their ability to introduce fundamental innovation."

Source: Reuters via Yahoo News

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Facebook ads: £100,000 bill for government - good value?

Facebook may have been through a sticky patch lately, but plenty of advertisers big and small are still spending substantial sums with the social network. Among them is the UK government, one branch of which has spent about £100,000 to promote Britain as a place to visit.

Back in July, when we were investigating the usefulness of Facebook advertising, I got a message telling me that the government's Great campaign was a good example of best practice. It had won nearly half a million "likes" for 13 Facebook pages promoting various aspects of British life, business and culture.

But I wanted to know what that had cost, and how much the government was spending more widely with Facebook. So we submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Cabinet Office asking those two questions. We have now received the answers - or at least a partial response.

It turns out that as of 19 July, the government had spent £98,418.25 with Facebook on advertising the Great campaign. A spokesman said the campaign had achieved 472 million ad impressions leading to 782,000 ad clicks - and across the 13 Facebook pages, 583,000 "likes" had been generated.

As to our second question about the wider use of Facebook advertising by the government, we were told that was not a question for the Cabinet Office, and we would need to contact individual departments.

So what are we to make of the spending of nearly £100,000 on one government Facebook campaign? In the context of the overall Great marketing budget of £37m, it is a tiny sum. But is it effective? Evaluating the impact of advertising is a devilishly tricky business, especially when it involves promoting something as amorphous as a corporate or national reputation.

As I discovered with my VirtualBagel campaign, Facebook "likes" are a currency whose value is dubious - and some of the army of obsessive clickers who "liked" my non-existent bagels also liked the Great pages. But the Cabinet Office points out that there was also plenty of evidence of real engagement on their Facebook pages, and social media consultants will no doubt applaud the government for creating such a buzz around the campaign for such a modest outlay.

Is it possible, however, that the marketing effort would have been just as successful without any expenditure on adverts? Surely with all the Olympics buzz, plenty of people would have come to the Facebook pages anyway - and each of them would have been more valuable and engaged than someone who clicked on an ad?

Still, these are very early days for social network advertising and those who use it. Companies big and small - and governments - are still trying to discover whether people who come to networks to socialise are also eager to hear marketing messages. And the answer to that question is crucial to the future of Facebook.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Spotify commits to global growth despite increased losses

Music streaming service Spotify is to continue to expand globally, despite recording a €45.4m (£35.9m) loss in 2011.

The deficit came despite the company increasing its revenue for the year to €187.8m, compared with €73.9m in 2010.

The loss has been attributed to the heavy costs involved in licensing from record labels the music Spotify offers.

The service confirmed plans to expand to Canada, as well as some countries in Asia and South America.

It is already available in 15 countries, including the UK and US.

The London-based firm has also set up subsidiaries in Singapore and Hong Kong, but is yet to launch the product in either country.

The Wall Street Journal reported growth in the company's premium-member subscriptions, citing its latest financial report. Income from paying customers last year made the firm €156.9m, up from €52.6m in 2010.

However Spotify's other revenue model - playing ads inbetween music for non-paying subscribers - has slowed.

The company recorded only a minor increase - €6.5m - in advertising revenue, making €27.6m in 2011.

Premium fee

Subscribers to the service can either pay £9.99 for a full membership, which allows mobile listening, or £4.99 for unlimited, ad-free listening on a desktop or laptop computer.

At the end of 2011, according to the financial report, Spotify had 32.8 million registered users. The company has said 15 million are active, with four million paying to use the service - a number Spotify has said is steadily growing.

It will need to increase further if the company is to balance out the cost of licensing its huge catalogue of about 15 million tracks.

Spotify pays record labels a small fee every time a song is streamed, regardless of whether the member is a paying subscriber or not.

Despite Spotify reportedly paying out in the region of €200m to labels since 2008, some artists have removed themselves from the library, suggesting that the comparatively low fees for streaming did not provide enough compensation for any potential lost sales through more traditional means.

Source: BBC News

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Happy Independence Day - 2012 - 66th Year Independence Day Celebration in India

Happy Independence Day 2012 - 15th August 2012 - 66th Independence Day - Salute our Soldiers - Enjoy the Freedom

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