Friday, July 29, 2011

Apple and Samsung outstrip Nokia as top smartphone vendors in Q2 - news

29 July, 2011 

Q2 of 2011 is now almost over and the results are in for the smartphone shipments volumes. Just a week ago it became certain that Apple has surpassed Nokia in smartphone shipments for Q2 but now Samsung and HTC have released their numbers. Strategy Analytics confirm that Apple has come out on top with 20.3M shipped iPhones, Samsung is a whisker away with 19.2M in second place, while Nokia is the only Top 3 manufacturer to report a decline in year-to-year numbers with 16.7M (Q2 of 2010 - 23.8). Interestingly enough, HTC is probably at the fourth place with 12.1M smartphones shipped between April and June.

Samsung Q2 results: mobile division sees 45% increase in sales - news

29 July, 2011 

Samsung turned in their financial results for the second quarter and they are positive, despite tough competition in some segments. As for the mobile department of Samsung, it was the best performer - it's revenue increased a massive 45% Year-on-Year (YoY).
The department's revenue was $11.55 billion with operating profit of $1.58 billion, which works out to 13.7% operating profit margin for the quarter. Shipments increased 10% YoY and "high single digit" percent quarter-on-quarter, with the Samsung Galaxy S II and other smartphones driving the demand up.

Android top operating system in the US, Apple top manufacturer - news

28 July, 2011 

According to the latest research by Nielsen conducted in the month of June, Android has again come out as the top smartphone operating system with 39 percent market share. Meanwhile, Apple with its iOS has gained a market share of 28 percent, also managing to become the top smartphone manufacturer in the US.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

GSMArena debuts its new look, here are the highlights - news

27 July, 2011

Today we’re pleased to announce a design refresh of and our revamped brand image including a new logo. This is the first serious remodeling of our brand logo since the launch of the website more than ten years ago so believe us, it wasn’t easy coming up with a new one that reflects our website’s theme and personality.
Our goal with the redesign and the new logo was to make look more modern. We took extra care not to hinder the website’s usability and we didn’t swap bits and pieces around either so everything’s laid out just the way you are used to.

We've updated's looks and it loads quicker too
Our second (but equally important) goal was to optimize the website for faster loading times. We dug deep and we used various optimization techniques. We are happy to report the new version of the homepage is snappier than before even though now it hosts more images. So we’ve done a lot of work on the back-end too, it’s not the same old face hiding behind some new makeup.
Finally, we’ve made it easier for you to manage your logon process in our comments section. The Log In button in the top right corner will easily allow you to log in and will also serve as a quick visual clue as to whether you’re logged in or not.

New login controls in the top-right corner
You will notice we’ve also increased the focus on the reviews and the news stories on our front page, but you can rest assured we’re still as dedicated as before on maintaining and developing our industry-leading phone database and phone search tools.
Besides searching for phones by default, our new Unified search box now offers a drop-down choice to perform a free search in our news or reviews section. A link to our mighty Advanced phone finder is found in this drop-down menu as well.

Latest news and reviews get more attention • The new search box handles all sorts of searches now
Since its start-up, has been at the forefront of the mobile phones technology and our new redesign supports our image of modern tech media, a one-stop shop for your mobile phone research.
The brand update closely follows the inclusion of tablets and CDMA phones in our specs database and reviewing routine, so you will be getting an even more varied wealth of content than before.

We've added plenty of tablets in our specs database
Speaking of which, for many of you our blog is quickly becoming a center point for getting timely updates about other tech news, software reviews and stuff from the GSMArena’s kitchen. The whole blogging thing has grown on us too and preparing stuff for it has now become part of our company culture. You can bet we’ll be putting even more effort into writing for it.
The new redesign takes into account the increasing importance of our blog as a means of communication with you and starting today the latest blog headlines will be even more noticeable on our homepage listed with image thumbnails. We really hope you’ll be enjoying the stuff we do there as much as you enjoy our regular news and reviews articles.

Our blog is getting a more visible position on our homepage
The website redesign doesn’t bring much new functionality per se - it’s more of an aesthetics update than an introduction of new features. Nevertheless, you know we’re always working on new stuff for you, so the future definitely holds more intriguing changes.
Our next project is to bring our blog up to speed with the new design language and the new brand identity and we’re also hard at work on a proper mobile website that should make browsing on the go that much more appealing.
So, we hope you enjoy the whole thing. As usual, drop us your comments in the section below. When reporting any problems or bugs you've encountered, please include your OS and browser version as well. Thank you!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

HotelTonight Launches on Android, Now in 18 Cities -

HotelTonight Launches on Android, Now in 18 Cities -

Miami South Beach hotel deals
As Paul Carr and I have written endlessly, we’re big fans of anything disrupting the hotel industry in a simple way that with a clear user value that doesn’t try to be all things to all people.
HotelTonight– a mobile service that allows you to book a last minute hotel in seconds– does exactly that. We test drove it in San Francisco the weekend before MacWorld to see if it really worked. Spoiler alert: it did.
I also recently used HotelTonight on a trip to Washington DC when I just forgot to book a hotel, realizing it about the time I boarded the plane. It was a little nerve-wracking waiting until noon the day I needed a room to know for sure I’d get one. But the service worked like a dream, I got a centrally located room for 40% less than others I was looking at, and check in took moments.
So far HotelTonight’s iPhone app has been downloaded 600,000 times. And today, Android users who travel a lot and hate to plan can enjoy the service too.
Aside from a new platform, HotelTonight has had other news since we last covered them. The company raised $3.25 million from Battery Ventures, Accel Partners and First Round Capital, has deals with 350 hotels and has expanded its service to eighteen cities. The list includes New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, Seattle, Las Vegas, Phoenix, New Orleans,  Miami,  Orlando,  Atlanta,  Philadelphia,  Dallas, Denver and Anaheim
Next up: Waikiki, Houston and San Antonio. CEO Sam Shank says some obvious large cities have been put off because HotelTonight hasn’t been able to get the ideal hotel partnerships. Since it only offers three hotels per city, that inventory matters.
The big surprise to him is that there’s a market for Waikiki. Shank would have assumed a trip to Hawaii would be one of the few places in the US people would obsessively plan. “Turns out there are a fair amount of people who book a cheap hotel for a few days and then like to hop around,” he says.

WP7 Mango is now ready, manufacturers get it first - news

27 July, 2011

Microsoft has announced it is finished working on the Windows Phone 7 Mango update and it has been released to manufacturing (RTM). Mango is coming this fall on all the available phones and will be pre-installed on the new ones.

Windows Phone 7 Mango update is the next evolutionary step for the Microsoft’s mobile OS. It will bring a mobile version of Internet Explorer 9 with rich HTML5 support, new Conversation View for emails, Threads view combining all SMS/MMS, IMs and Facebook chats, Multitasking support, performance improvements and more.
The update will become available this fall to all WP7 smartphones out there (except the jailbroken ones or the ones that have previous updates installed via unofficial channels). Also this fall is the time when those phones will start selling with Mango out of the box.

Why is Windows Phone still not ready for the big time? -

Why is Windows Phone still not ready for the big time? -

Opinion: Microsoft needs to step it up

Windows Phone 7 - has it achieved enough?
Windows Phone still feels like a pretty nascent operating system - after all, it was less than 18 months ago we got the first official look at the new Metro design.
However, fast forward to where we are today and you have to question whether Microsoft is doing enough to really become a front running mobile OS provider.
I was lucky enough to check out the Microsoft campus in Redmond last year to see how the platform was being built - and I was left hugely impressed with the ethos of all the engineers working on it.
Huge swathes of people all working on creating an OS that was both intuitive and simple first and foremost: an excellent idea. Pretty much the antithesis of the Symbian mentality, and we can all see where that project is heading.
But come October this year, we're only going to have seen one major upgrade to the OS in the shape of Mango, and quite feasibly no new phones from the major manufacturers either.
The leap forward made by Mango is terrifically important to Microsoft - (pseudo) multitasking, better app integration and opening up more code for developers to tinker with are all exactly the right moves to bring Windows Phone to the masses.
We wanted it yesterday
The only problem is this update really needed to have launched already and the tech press should be talking about the new Tango update if Microsoft is really going to keep the OS front and centre when users are thinking of a new phone to upgrade to.
And it's perplexing to see no new handsets from the big manufacturers already - I was really hoping to have a good 10-15 phones to choose from on the market to show people Microsoft was serious about the project.
In February 2010, when Windows Phone was announced, Google was chatting to all and sundry about the second iteration of its Éclair (2.1) Android version. In the same 18 months and with arguably the same amount of resource, Google has added nearly double the major updates to its phone platform and managed to bang out a tablet-friendly offering too.
However, that's not to say I'm unimpressed with the way Microsoft is crafting Windows Phone - I think the approach is spot on, as by focusing on the UI and intuition of the phone, rather than the raw functionality, you're giving the handsets the best chance of attracting the new smartphone user that has a play with a phone in the shop, and that's a very important demographic indeed.
So while the speed at which Microsoft is trying to catch up with the likes of Google and Apple worries me, if it can do enough to keep increasing the number of users at an adequate level then there's no reason why it can't be a front-running OS in a couple of years.
So come on HTC, Samsung et al: let's see some cool Windows Phone models in the near future - and hopefully we'll be taste testing Tango sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Party Over: Facebook Blocks The Secret iPad App -

Party Over: Facebook Blocks The Secret iPad App -

posted yesterday
Horizontal View

Well, it was fun while it lasted.
Just last night, our own MG Siegler unveiled that Facebook’s top secret iPad app was hiding in plain sight right within the publicly available iPhone app. All it took was a quick, mostly-pain-free modification or two, and you were knee deep in unexplored Beta territory.
Alas, it looks like Facebook has found a way to close things back up.
We’re hearing tons (as in hundreds) of reports that users who are just now getting around to checking out the trick are unable to do so. The iPad-friendly app still launches — you just can’t do much, as newcomers are being turned away at the login screen.
Oddly, it seems that those who managed to sneak in to the party before Facebook started closing the gates are still on the guest list.. to some extent. MG is still able to click around the app, though certain things (like notifications) are acting strangely or not functioning at all. No word yet on whether they plan to give everyone outside of Facebook HQ the boot completely.
Oh well. If all else fails, you can always load all the photos from our full photo gallery into your iPad’s photo app and pretend.

iPhone 5 launching 5 September in the US, 5 October in Europe? - news

26 July, 2011 
The iPhone 5 was a no-show at the WWDC in June, but a new report claims that it will launch on 5 September. Coming from a senior Swisscom executive, this is reportedly reliable info, but as you might have guessed, there's no official info from Apple.
During the conference call for their quarterly financial results, Apple did mention a "product transition" in the Fall. It's also in line with previous estimates we've heard about the iPhone 5 launch date.
So, the 5 September launch sounds plausible, but still take it with a pinch of salt. There's a little over a month until then and even if it's true now, plans might change. There were rumors of delays caused by overheating of the dual-core Apple A5 chip that would power the iPhone 5.
Actually, we've seen so many rumors, it's hard to keep track anymore. An 8MP camera and a larger screen (or at least thinner bezel) often came up in the iPhone 5 section of the rumor mill, so they seem likely. These mock-ups from earlier this month summarize the iPhone 5 rumors.
Anyway, the exec from the Swiss carrier went on to say that they will be offering the new iPhone a month later, 5 October, which sounds like a good tentative date for the European launch of Apple's latest phone

Apple Releases Another Security Update With iOS 4.3.5 -

Apple Releases Another Security Update With iOS 4.3.5 -

Apple’s none too fond of nasty security flaws lurking about in iOS, and they’re not above cracking out rapid-fire updates to prove it. Just 10 days after the release of iOS 4.3.4 (which existed almost solely to kill off a potentially nasty PDF exploit), they’re back with another one: iOS 4.3.5.
The main fix in this minor patch? A fix for a security flaw which might allow “attacker with a privileged network position may capture or modify data in sessions protected by SSL/TLS”. In other words, hackers on the same network could store or change traffic that would otherwise be rather intensely encrypted.
Unlike that last patch (which, due to the exploit patched, did away with the one-click-jailbreak site JailbreakMe), this one seems to have no affect on jailbreakers. According to Redmond Pie, the only jailbreak method that still worked with 4.3.4 (tethered redsn0w) still seems to get the job done here.
This one’s pretty hefty for a security patch, coming in at a whopping 666 megabytes. Once iOS 5 and its fancy over-the-air/delta updates (wherein only the stuff that has changed needs to be downloaded), these one-off security updates should be a whole lot less time consuming.
Anyone spot any new gems sneakin’ around in iOS 4.3.5? Be sure to drop a comment and let us know.

Who wants a Firefox phone? -

Mobile phones News

Who wants a Firefox phone? -

Gary Marshall: Does Mozilla have the muscle to take on Google?

By Gary Marshall

Could Mozilla persuade you to abandon Android?
You've got to admire Mozilla. This is an organisation whose people don't know the word "can't".
If Mozilla had a disappointing holiday at Butlin's, it wouldn't bother writing an angry letter: it'd promise to build its own holiday camp and let everybody in for free.
Mozilla's biggest claim to fame, of course, is Firefox: faced with Microsoft's effective monopoly on web browsers, Mozilla built a better browser, spread the word and rebooted the web. So it's interesting to see the organisation's latest target: Google.
Mozilla isn't happy about two things. It's unhappy about the way that apps are segregating the web, with native apps able to access smartphone and tablet hardware that web-based apps can't; and it's unhappy that with Android, Google appears to be more mouth than trousers. For all Google's talk of openness and sharing with the open source community, there are often long delays between Google releasing new versions of Android and sharing its code with the wider world.
Mozilla's solution is codenamed Boot To Gecko, and it promises to be a brand new mobile OS. But will it work?
'Roid rage
There's no doubt that Android has issues - not just the speed of Google's sharing, but the patent claims that threaten to disrupt Android's momentumand scare manufacturers - and Mozilla is absolutely right that web apps could be as good as native ones.
Apple's desire to get a cut of everything that's viewable on a Retina Display hardly instils confidence, and Microsoft would no doubt try similar antics if it had the market share.
What worries me is that Mozilla's solution won't work. It's a tough one to call, because so far Boot to Gecko is a topic for discussion rather than a defined plan, but it looks like there are two main possibilities here: an alternative OS that Android users have to seek out, install and then boot into when they want to use its apps, or a whole new mobile OS.
If it's the former, it's not going to give Google anything to worry about. And if it's the latter, I fear Mozilla is trying to punch above its weight. A rival operating system is whole different ball game, desktop Linux versus Windows rather than Firefox versus Internet Explorer, and it's one where I fear Mozilla isn't big enough or strong enough to compete.
Creating a popular mobile OS is a battle on multiple fronts, and the technology is almost irrelevant. No matter how good your tech, you need to persuade handset manufacturers to build devices running it; you need to persuade mobile phone operators to stock and support it; you need to persuade app developers to code for it; and you need to persuade end users to buy it. Fail to win over any one of those groups and you might as well stay in bed.
That's Nokia-scale stuff, BlackBerry-scale stuff, Microsoft-scale stuff, and even those firms are finding things difficult in mobile: Nokia's MeeGo adventure appears to be over, RIM's laying off staff and Microsoft admits that Windows Phone isn't doing the numbers it'd like.
I think Mozilla's right when it warns that the mobile web is becoming increasingly closed. But I can't help thinking that unless it gets a Google-sized backer, it's planning to bring a spud gun to a tank battle.

Facebook’s iPad App Is Hidden Inside Of Their iPhone App -

Facebook’s iPad App Is Hidden Inside Of Their iPhone App -

There are things out there all around us that we often miss because we’re just not looking. This is perhaps most true in the tech world, where thousands of secrets are out there in the wild, hidden in code. If you know where to look, or if you can read the code, you can find those secrets. It’s how so many features of iOS get revealed early by sites like 9to5 Mac, who are great at parsing the code (and confirming our non-code-digging scoops). It’s how we knew basically everything about Chrome OS before it actually launched. It’s how we knew Facebook Places was coming before it was announced. And now we’ve just uncovered a new massive find this way.
Hidden in the code of Facebook’s iPhone app is the code for something else. Something everyone has been waiting over a year for. The iPad app.
Yes, it’s real, and it’s spectacular (well, very good, at the very least). And yes, it really is right there within the code. Even better, it’s executable.
For the past couple hours, I’ve been using Facebook’s iPad app. Well, I should qualify this. I can’t be sure if this is the version they’ll actually ship, but based on everything I’ve seen, I’m going to assume it’s at least very close to the version they’re going to ship. While much of it is written with HTML5 (as you might expect from Facebook), the native iPad work is very good too.
In particular, the navigation system is great. Unlike the iPhone app — which even its creator is complaining about now as being stale — the Facebook iPad app uses a left-side menu system that can be accessed by the touch of a button or the flick of the iPad screen. The app also makes great use of the pop-overs (overlay menus) found in other iPad apps. When you flip the iPad horizontally, the list of your online friends appears and you can chat with them as you do other things on Facebook. The photo-viewer aspect looks great — similar to the iPad’s own native Photos app. Places exists with a nice big map to show you all your friends around you. Etc.
It’s all good. I’m going to put up a post after this one with a ton of screenshots of the entire app.
All of this is possible apparently thanks to a seemingly tiny update Facebook pushed yesterday to their iPhone app. Version 3.4.4 seemed like a small version that restored the “Send” button for comments and chat among a few other little things. Facebook may have even pushed it out in response to some backlash they had been getting about the app, as Financial Times covered a few days ago. Perhaps it was the rush to fix some of those issues that caused Facebook to push this version — which will clearly eventually be Universal Binary (meaning it will house both the iPhone and iPad versions of the app) — with the iPad elements inside. Whatever the case, the app is carrying a payload of much greater importance than some bug fixes.
So, I’m using it. Can you? Well, yes — if you don’t mind doing some things you’re technically not supposed to do to your iPad. We obviously don’t recommend it, but if you catch my drift, I’m sure you can figure out a way to access Facebook for iPad. Related, it must be noted that a Canadian engineering student, Marvin Bernal, who calls himself an “iOS Enthusiast” actually noticed this Facebook mistake almost immediately and tweeted about it.
So, after over a year of complaints, Facebook now appears to truly be on the verge of releasing the iPad app. It has now been well over a month since the New York Times’ Nick Bilton reported about the app’s existence and said it should launch in the “coming weeks”. At the time, we further verified its existence , but did not hear a timetable for the launch. Once source now says that based on the HTML changes rolling out on an hourly basis, it looks like work is still underway. But much of that work appears to be smaller tweaks at this point. We’re close — just in case the code being attached to the iPhone app didn’t give that away.
During the launch of the Skype video chatting integration a few weeks ago, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted that the company was gearing up for a full slate of launches in the coming weeks. The iPad app will be one of them. And based on what I’ve seen tonight, I’d be even less surprised if Project Spartan ties in with it as well eventually. The one thing the iPad app (like all the other Facebook mobile apps) is missing is gaming (and all other third-party apps). Spartan could bring that down the line.
We’ll be doing a post with a ton of images shortly. Below, a quick taste.
Update: And all the images. Enjoy.
Update 2: I’ve confirmed with a source who had previously seen the Facebook iPad app that this is in fact the very app that they were planning to launch with. We’ll see if that timetable gets sped up now.

New BlackBerry phone to arrive today? -

New BlackBerry phone to arrive today? -

RIM promises something "new, shiny and social."

Could Tuesday see the launch of the BlackBerry Bold 9900 (aka the Bold Touch)?
A new BlackBerry handset is likely to be unearthed on Tuesday following a post on the company's Facebook page.
The post late on Monday alerted Blackberry fans to the arrival of something new, shiny and social.
"Hey Team BlackBerry, what's shiny, new and social all over? We want to tell you all about it. Can you guess what it might be? Tune in tomorrow for details!" read the post on the social networking site.
The smart money is on the revelation of an official launch date for the BlackBerry Bold 9900, which was unveiled at BlackBerry World back in May.
The Bold 9900 is the thinnest BlackBerry smartphone yet, is the first Bold to boast a touchscreen and features the brand new BlackBerry 7 OS.
Other reports suggest the release could be the Torch 2 or the yet-to-be-announced BlackBerry Bold 9790, codenamed Bellagio, which emerged in a leaked video last week.
RIM CEO Jim Ballsillie promised that there would be seven new smartphones boasting the BlackBerry 7 coming over the coming months.
RIM will hope whatever is on the agenda for Tuesday will give the company and its fans something to cheer about following a horrible first half of 2011.
Just yesterday the company began laying off 2,000 staff as part of a "cost optimisation program" at the company's headquarters in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Microsoft takes Marketplace to 19 more countries - news

23 July, 2011 | Comments (58) | Post your comment
Microsoft opened the gates to its application store last year when it launched Windows Phone 7 but so far it has been available only in handful of countries. Those outside these countries had to fake their location, which meant they could only download free apps from the Marketplace.

Now, however, the list of supported countries has been expanded with 19 new names added to the mix, taking the grand total to 35. If you are in any of the following countries, you can now download apps officially from the Marketplace:
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • India
  • Japan
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Russia
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Sweden
  • Taiwan
These are the countries where you can download your apps from. However, if you are more of a developer and want to submit an app, then you too have a reason to celebrate as Microsoft has also expanded the list of countries from where they are now accepting app submissions. The new additions include Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Israel, South Africa and South Korea. In a couple of months, China and India will also be added to this list.
Apart from these changes, the Marketplace has also received other updates in the form of updated price tiers, App Hub localization, improvements to mobile in-app advertising, new private distribution of applications for beta apps and enhanced application management.
For more info, click the source link below.