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Download DRM-Free Music on Your Android Phone with Mewbox | AndroidGuys December 11, 2009

Posted by hruf in Mobile & Gadgets, Multimedia.
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Feature

Music download service Mewbox was recently launched for Android smart phones and the Android-powered Archos 5 Internet Tablet. Mewbox is offering around 4 million tracks from over 23,000 labels. All music available via this service is DRM-free, meaning you can move it to and from whatever device you like.

3-150x150As of this moment, you cannot download Mewbox from the Android Market – users must download it from their site. Having downloaded the application on my own, I can tell you that the user interface is extremely attractive and very slick.  I should also note that the site includes a very thorough set of directions on how to use the application which I found to be very useful.

via Download DRM-Free Music on Your Android Phone with Mewbox | AndroidGuys.

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Smartphone Success Centers on Software, Not Hardware November 19, 2009

Posted by pannet in Mobile & Gadgets.
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Telecom gear vendor ZTE will step up its game in the crowded smartphone space next year with an Android-based handset, and Google is rumored to be working on its own device. But as the smartphone market continues to heat up, manufacturers are learning the hard way that the key to success in mobile phones lies in the software — not the hardware.

Handset manufacturers are increasingly being elbowed out of the way as carriers embrace developers of operating systems and the apps that run on top of them. Motorola, for instance, is an afterthought in Verizon’s big-budget campaign in support of its Droid initiative, and HTC’s brand is nowhere to be found in T-Mobile’s recent commercial pushing the MyTouch 3G. Meanwhile, Nokia continues to fare poorly in the U.S. due largely to its unwillingness to capitulate to American carriers, and smaller manufacturers like Sony Ericsson are becoming irrelevant as they lose market share.

Two phone makers are bucking the trend, though, and they’re doing it by churning out handsets based on their own operating systems. Apple’s iPhone has become an iconic device thanks largely to its intuitive user interface and knockout browser, while Research In Motion continues to gain traction — and mind share — with its BlackBerry, an enterprise-focused handset with software that stresses functionality over fun. Both Apple and RIM are backing their hardware with ad campaigns that put the manufacturer — not the carrier — in front of consumers.

HTC is fighting back with its impressive “You” television commercials, which tout the phone’s Sense user interface and promotes the device’s personalization features. That’s a strategy that will pay dividends as manufacturers become marginalized in mobile, and as software increasingly becomes a key differentiator in the minds of consumers.

via Smartphone Success Centers on Software, Not Hardware.

Samsung Bada unveiled as new iPhone, Android platform rival November 11, 2009

Posted by andre in Mobile & Gadgets.
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Samsung, the world’s second largest phone maker globally after Nokia, has announced Bada as its own new smartphone platform which it hopes to use to gain entry into the sophisticated phone market.

Samsung’s Bada, the Korean word for “ocean,” is reportedly built on top of Linux and is expected to be released with an open SDK next month, with the first Bada phones to be introduced early next year. Unlike Symbian or Android, Samsung appears to be developing its new mobile platform and software market solely for the benefit of its own phones, much like RIM, Apple, and Palm.

Searching for a smartphone platform

The company’s current smartphone lineup is about 80% Windows Mobile and 20% Symbian. A year ago, the company released the new Windows Mobile Omnia as its flagship offering, but followed up this year with the Omnia HD using Symbian instead, a move identical to Sony Ericsson’s release of the Windows Mobile Xperia X1 followed by this year’s Symbian-based Idou.

Also like Sony Ericsson, Samsung announced plans earlier this year to back Android instead of Symbian in the future, with an announcement that 30% of its phones next year would use Android. That expansion was expected to come from reduced use of Windows Mobile, but now Samsung is indicating that it will phase out Symbian entirely, drastically reduce the use of Windows Mobile, and introduce the new Bada as its preferred smartphone operating system.

HMC investment securities analyst Greg Noh outlined Samsung’s expected smartphone mix showing Symbian completely phased out by 2011, and Samsung’s own Bada making up half of its portfolio by 2012, with the remainder being about 30% Android and 20% Windows Mobile.

Another big phone maker eyes a world outside of Android

In the general mobile phone market, Samsung has been making incremental progress toward leader Nokia with around 20% of the global phone market. It currently sells more phones than the rest of the top five makers (LG, Sony Ericsson and Motorola) combined. In smartphones however, Samsung has just recently broke into the top five vendors, well behind Nokia, RIM, Apple, and HTC with sales of just 1.4 million in the most recent quarter, the same figure as last year. With the growth in smartphones, that contributed to Samsung’s market share of advanced phones actually slipping slightly year over year.

Android advocates widely expected Samsung to warmly adopt Google’s platform, as it provides a free alternative to the Windows Mobile software the company currently uses. Instead, Samsung is following Nokia’s lead in working to maintain its own destiny independent of Google. Nokia is both sponsoring the Symbian Foundation and its own Maemo Linux distribution.

Samsung’s interest in creating and managing its own smartphone platform also reflects the interests of second place smartphone vendor RIM and its BlackBerry OS, and Apple in third place with the iPhone. Palm has followed a similar strategy with its own proprietary WebOS.

Is a smartphone vendor experienced with using third party software from Microsoft and Symbian, Samsung’s interest in developing and maintaining its own proprietary platform rather than trying to adapt Android to create differentiated phones in a competitive market is a dramatic refutal of the conventional thinking that Android will explode among vendors next year.

Instead, Samsung’s considerable resources will be devoted toward its own new platform, creating more competition and differentiation in options among smartphone platforms and reducing the energy being channeled toward licensed operating systems, with Windows Mobile being the biggest loser (with the loss of around 1.2 million of the 3.6 million Windows Mobile phones that shipped in Q3 2009), Symbian losing a significant licensee entirely, and Android facing a rival new marketplace for mobile software.

Samsung expects to release more information to developers about its SDK plans next month via its Bada website.

via AppleInsider | Samsung Bada unveiled as new iPhone, Android platform rival

Indoor Navigation, The new gold rush? | BDNooZ November 9, 2009

Posted by pannet in Mobile & Gadgets.
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[…] The New York Times published in October Stops and Starts of GPS Apps “… those portable devices [GARMIN, TOMTOM etc] are under attack from a new source: the smartphone, and particularly Apple’s iPhone. The newest version of the iPhone’s operating system supports turn-by-turn navigation … According to a report from the iSuppli research firm, GPS applications for smartphones are about to explode, growing from 2.5 percent of users today to 10.5 percent in 2013. And half of those will be iPhone owners…”Even Forbes Magazine refers to this trend in warfare terms Google’s Navigation Bombshell “…Location-based service providers suspect the search giant is working on a free navigation app… Google, which generally gives its software away for free and recoups its investment through advertising, would likely sell ads within the navigation application rather than charge users… In early October, Google decided to use this data for its U.S. maps, ending a licensing agreement with map provider Tele Atlas…The shift is telling because companies like Tele Atlas require partners such as Google to pay fees for each person who uses their data…” […]

Avoiding the competitor’s strengths and striking at their weaknesses

All (accurate) navigation systems are based on GPS data. If the weakness of GPS receivers is that they need a clear view to the sky to successfully determine location, the strategy is to attack the indoor world. Additionally, the GPS accuracy lies between 50 to 500 feet, the strategy then is to find customers that need higher accuracy (~10 feet). The third, but not the last weakness, is the need for maps. As we saw before, Google has generated large amount of map data, and in general the market is dominated by TeleAtlas and Navteq. The strategy is to navigate to “uncharted territories”.

Redefining the Battleground – Embracing indoor navigation.

A few weeks ago I was approached by an inventor with a (published) patent. The general idea calls for an indoor navigation system that uses no GPS data. His idea is very good and to my judgment relatively easy to implement.

The system automatically detects a signal directly from sensors, without requiring the communication with a central system, data plans, or even cellular communication. These sensors are small pocketsize Bluetooth transceivers. There is no need for pairing as every Bluetooth device’s tag has a unique ID. This ID can be used for locating the tag.

Indoor navigation – A winning strategy that redefines the navigation ecosystem?

There is infinite number of indoor navigation applications. The most intuitive one is a person walking into a mall that wishes to locate a specific store, or a particular aisle in a department store or even a specific item on a shelf! From here, you can apply the same principle to a customer looking for a specific conference room, a particular booth in a tradeshow, a ride in an amusement park, or a known piece of art in a museum. If not for the convenience, do it to save a tree. No more printed maps. Go Green!!!

The advantage of using Bluetooth is that this technology is ubiquitous, it’s implemented everywhere. Additionally, is a low cost, low power technology, and when it’s relatively free of obstruction it can provide a ~2 meter error range. Furthermore, a Bluetooth infrastructure can be used for purposes like remote monitoring and control among others.

The ecosystem is completely redefined. An architect with CAD drawings is now a map provider. Every single facility is now a navigable site. Every big retailer willing to drive customers to specific products is a potential customer (they can “route” them through the sales isles if they want).  Every shopping property management firm is a customer, as well as convention centers organizations or associations like the Global Retail Executive Council.

We have an ecosystem where the traditional navigation giants are not necessarily present, and there is no defined leader (yet-11/09).

The business opportunity – define a new market

Indoor Navigation redefines Location Based Services as we know them today. The first companies to enter this market will be able to define, create, implement and license ($) new standards and applications. Imagine this: I installed an indoor navigation application in my phone/PDA and subsequently downloaded the map of the mall I usually go to. Next week I’ll visit San Francisco, and upon arrival I would like to visit a local shopping center, or use it at the convention I’ll attend. My application will be useful ONLY if the map of that SF mall or convention center is compatible with the one installed in my phone. For sure I’ll NOT install an additional application per site I visit. This is just the tip of the iceberg. […]

via Indoor Navigation, The new gold rush? | BDNooZ.

Android Avalanche: A Complete List Of The Android Phones So Far October 20, 2009

Posted by andre in Mobile & Gadgets.
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Google CEO Eric Schmidt stated emphatically during Google’s most recent earnings call that “Android adoption is about to explode.” We agree – despite developer hiccups, Android is about to have its moment in the sun. An avalanche of new devices are hitting worldwide markets, and some of them are serious contenders.

Our bet is that the upcoming Motorola Droid will be the breakout winner from this batch of phones. But here’s the complete list of officially announced Android phones, as well as stuff that’s just rumored at this point. Bookmark this post, and keep a lookout for updates.

Here are the Android contenders: […]

via Android Avalanche: A Complete List Of The Android Phones So Far

Smartphone sales up 27% August 21, 2009

Posted by andre in Mobile & Gadgets.
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According to market research firm Gartner, worldwide mobile phone sales declined 6% to 286 million units in the second quarter.   However smartphone sales were a bright spot posting a 27% gain.  Smartphone penetration was 14%, up from 10% a year ago.  The chart below shows the change in smartphone share by manufacturer over the last year.  Although Nokia still dominates with 45% share, Apple was the big winner last year with an increase in share from 3% to 13%.

gartner column
Source: Gartner, August 2009

The pie chart below shows the smartphone data cut by operating system, with the iPhone OS now ahead of Windows Mobile.

gartner pie
Source: Gartner, August 2009

Gartner also states that Palm is in 10th place in the smartphone market and sold 205,000 Palm Pre units in Q2.  Please note that this data from Gartner is based on the number of units devices sold, a much different methodology than is used to calculate share of mobile web usage each month in our Mobile Metrics Report.

via Smartphone sales up 27% « AdMob Metrics

Microsoft and Nokia confirm partnership: ‘A formidable challenge for RIM’ | VentureBeat August 12, 2009

Posted by hruf in Internet & Communities, Mobile & Gadgets.
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Microsoft and Nokia announced today that, as expected, they will be working together to bring native versions of Microsoft Office to Nokia smartphones. But this is about more than just creating a version of Office for Nokia — the companies say they are working together on the “design, development and marketing of productivity solutions for the mobile professional.”

In a conference call discussing the news, Microsoft’s Stephen Elop (pictured, right) said this is the first time the software giant has developed rich mobile applications for platform other than its Windows Mobile operating system. Over time, the companies plan to release applications for Nokia phones (using the Symbian operating system) that include:

  • The ability to view, edit, create and share Office documents on more devices in more places with mobile-optimized versions of Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft OneNote
  • Enterprise instant messaging and presence, and optimized conferencing and collaboration experience with Microsoft Office Communicator Mobile
  • Mobile access to intranet and extranet portals built on Microsoft SharePoint Server
  • Enterprise device management with Microsoft System Center

via Microsoft and Nokia confirm partnership: ‘A formidable challenge for RIM’ | VentureBeat.

Nokia: Bailing on Symbian Or Fully Committed? August 12, 2009

Posted by andre in Mobile & Gadgets.
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Oh dear. Nokia purchased full ownership of Symbian not too long ago and the company is supposed to be taking the platform open source in 2011… but that is a LONG time away and by that time, Nokia could be much too far behind the likes of the iPhone, Android, WebOS and BlackBerry to put up a valiant fight. It appears that could be cause for panic mode and that is exactly what Nokia is doing according to a rumor published on Techcrunch:

Nokia doesn’t trust its Symbian mobile operating system any more and plans to equip many of its smartphones with the mostly open source Maemo operating system it uses in its Internet tablets, according to undisclosed Nokia sources speaking to the Financial Times in Germany (FTD).

via Nokia: Bailing on Symbian Or Fully Committed? | Mobile Roar

iPhone grabs 32% of global handset profits August 11, 2009

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Apple’s iPhone now accounts for 8% of all mobile phone revenue and a whopping 32% of the industry’s handset profits, according to figures published by Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi.

The numbers, published by All Things Digital blogger John Paczkowski, aren’t limited just to the smartphone segment market, but look at all mobile phones sold in the first half of 2009, a $65.7 billion industry.

Apple earned just over $5 billion in the first half of the year, making it the fifth biggest player in terms of revenue, behind Nokia, Samsung, RIM, and LG. Apple lead the world in actually making money however, with just over $2 billion in operating profits. The company earned just over $100 million more than second place Nokia, gobbling up a 32% share of the global profits made in handset sales and achieving operating margins of 40%. […]

Apple’s smartphone business is structured similar to the company’s approach to selling computers, where it owns a disproportionally large segment of the premium market. As with feature phones, Apple has largely ignored low profit PC segments such as high volume but low priced $400 desktops.

via Report: iPhone grabs 32% of global handset profits | Ethiopian News

[UPDATE] Nokia turns to Android in smartphone wars – Nokia denied to publish an Andriod based phone July 6, 2009

Posted by andre in Mobile & Gadgets.
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UPDATE: Nokia has clarified its position. And as expected, they’ve completely denied this rumor and have reaffirmed their commitment to Symbian. No surprises there, Nokia was soon to rubbish the claims.

via techradar

This is the kinda news thats worth the mobile worlds attention. In a complete unprecedented move, Nokia is rumored to be working on an Android mobile phone. A reported by Guardian.co.uk, they’re going to unveil it in Nokia World Conference in September this year. Yes, its Google’s Green little alien we are talking about. This is a complete strategic departure from Nokia.

Nokia has perhaps never even considered powering their mobile handsets with operating systems other than Symbian and its associates like UIQ. There were some linux based phones in the past, but not something that cought our attention. Nokia has been the flagship company to sport Symbian operating system. We’ve commented on how both, Symbian and Windows mobile are becoming obsolete. Looks like the threat to Nokia as the biggest device manufacturer with the largest market share in the world is real.

Recognizing Google’s threat since Android’s announcement, Nokia bought out Symbian and converted it into Symbian Foundation – open source platform with more or less the same principles the Open Handset Alliance is based on. […]

via iMAndroid » Nokia droping an Android Bomb!