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Thursday
27 April 2017

Verizon Hub gets an early release, $200 after rebate

verizon hub Verizon Hub gets an early release, $200 after rebate

Verizon, possibly spurred on by the initially positive public reaction to the touchscreen Hub, has decided to ship the next-generation home phone early.  Not slated for release until February 1, Verizon’s Hub is already available.  The Hub costs $200 after a rebate, and requires a 2-year contract that allows unlimited calling in the United States and Canada for $35 per month.  Only one cordless handset is packaged with the device, but additional one’s are available for $80 a piece.  An ethernet router with Wi-Fi support can also be purchased separately for a further $70, but any router should work.

verizon via electronista

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Fujitsu, Intel planning for an Android future

Intel and Fujitsu are prepping for an Android future that extends far beyond mobile phones.

According to VentureBeat’s MG Siegler, a “reliable source” has told him that Intel is “stepping up its efforts to provide the foundation for Google Android-based netbooks to be mass produced.”  This news isn’t entirely surprising.  Intel produces the Atom processor that a majority of netbooks use currently and it’s a member of the Android-supporting Open Handset Alliance.  It was only a matter of time until Intel made its move, especially as netbooks would be the next logical market for Android to enter.

atom penny 300x249 Fujitsu, Intel planning for an Android futureIntel reported lowered earnings for the fourth quarter recently, and 6, 000 upcoming layoffs.  But the company also said that $300 million of its $8.2 billion in revenue resulted from netbook sales, a 50 percent increase from 2007.  The company further said that the cheaper Atom processors used in netbooks aren’t cannibalizing sales of more expensive processors.  In a nutshell, Intel doesn’t want lose ownership of the netbook market so they need to prepare for anything including Android.

The main question being asked by netbook fans is whether Android would bring anything extra to an x86 platform such as Atom.  Currently, it’s best for cheaper ARM processors which are used in pretty well all mobile phones and would need to be ported to x86.  But as Kevin Tofel points out, Intel’s Moblin project targeted at netbooks is in alpha, and it’s a Linux-based mobile operating system built to run on the x86 Atom.  Android itself is based on Linux, so it seems that Intel does indeed plan to extend Moblin into full Android support on x86 platforms.

Fujitsu is taking things even further, launching an initiative dubbed Services Built for Android.  The initiative will offer consulting and engineering expertise to help run Android on embedded hardware, which aside from cellphones, mobile internet devices, and portable media players, could include GPS devices, thin-client computers, and set-top boxes.

fujitsu android Fujitsu, Intel planning for an Android future

Fujitsu believes the initiative will help companies bring Android devices to market faster.  Market timing is especially important right now as Android is in its early growth phase.  Work will include developing custom user interfaces and integrating with online services.

freescale_chipAccording to Electronista, Freescale Semiconductor has already enlisted the support of Fujitsu to run Android on its i.MX processors.  Freescale’s line of processors run on advanced mobile devices and netbooks, though i.MX processors tend to clock slower speeds than Atom processors.

I doubt we’ll see a mass market Android netbook this year.  Most companies are still working on handsets, many of which we’ll likely see next month at the Mobile World Congress.  Next year I think will be a different story, but until then we’ll have to be happy with the variety of ports amateur programmers continue to achieve.

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Super Bowl security to implement Microsoft Surface, Virtual Earth

microsoft surface security Super Bowl security to implement Microsoft Surface, Virtual Earth

Tampa authorities will be incorporating some impressive technology tools, including Microsoft Surface and Microsoft Virtual Earth, to maintain security at tomorrow’s Super Bowl XLIII.

The Super Bowl is one of the few sporting events to receive national security status in the United States, and to make sure the event goes off without a hitch, over 60 authoritative bodies, from local to federal, are involved.  The City of Tampa has worked with real-time communications firm E-SPONDER for over a year to create a security plan that incorporates both onsite and remote teams that will track all activity in real-time via mapping, 3D displays, 2-way radio and real-time communications.

Using enterprise IT firm Infusion Development’s Falcon Eye technology, real-time mapping will be viewed on Microsoft’s multi-touch Surface display, and incorporate Microsoft Virtual Earth 3D maps.  Microsoft Surface will allow the security detail to zoom and pan maps, not only in the stadium area, but throughout Tampa, allowing the team to proactively prevent any problems.

You can see how it works in the video below.

Right now Microsoft Surface is only available to commercial consumers, and costs either $12, 500 for a single unit, or $15, 000 for the unit, 5 seats, and support.  The company expects Surface to be available for individual purchase in 2 to 4 years, but I’m not sure too many people will have the that kind of cash to fork out for it.  Better bring the price down a bit Microsoft.

via crave

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T-Mobile to release Android-based G2, G3….Gn this year?

T-Mobile’s senior vice president of engineering and operations, Neville Ray, claims there will be not just a G2 this year, but other Android-based G series phones as well.  The plural slipped out in an interview with Fierce Wireless.

FierceWireless: Are you still focused on consumer devices? Do you have plans to launch any laptop cards or USB dongles?

Ray: Our primary focus is consumer-based devices. As the year progresses there will be a significant number of HSPA-capable smart phones. We will be launching more G series phones and other products. You will see us launch a data card product. This will be happening in the coming weeks and months.

Notice the plural in the bold type above?  Phones.  Maybe a G3 this year as well?  Hopefully either, or, or both will have more of an iPhone-like impact for T-Mobile than the G1.

via fiercewireless

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New Palm Pre features emerge, Bell rumored to be Canada’s Palm Pre carrier

I always head over to PreCentral for all the latest news regarding the Palm Pre.  Flipping through the latest articles over there today brought to my attention a bunch of details I wasn’t aware of.  First of all, Palm didn’t quite mention all of the features the Pre offered at the Consumer Electronics Show.

As you can see from the video below, the unlock uses a sphere that can be swiped in any direction.  To me that’s a great feature.  I’m a Blackberry Curve user so I don’t have an iPhone.  But I do have a new iPod Touch and the horizontal slider bar for unlocking is a giant pain in the ass.  The other handy feature the Pre offers is the ability to use the space bar to snap pictures rather than an on-screen button.  Really handy if you’re the vain type who takes a lot of self portraits.

The other interesting tidbit I came across was a rumor, yes a rumor, that Bell may carry the Pre in Canada.  And perhaps more importantly, Bell will begin shipping at the same time as Sprint, which is rumored, yes rumored, to be February 15.

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Garmin’s FR60 GPS sport watch sleek, light, and wirelessly brilliant

garmin fr60 men Garmins FR60 GPS sport watch sleek, light, and wirelessly brilliant

If you’re a fan of Garmin’s Forerunner line of GPS sport watches, the company’s newly announced Garmin FR60 will likely be an object of your love.  Why?  Because it’s lighter, smaller, and all around just more beautiful than any Forerunner I’ve seen.

Garmin’s FR60 comes in flavors for men and women–red, lilac, and black–and weighs in at 44 and 41 grams for each respective sex.  The FR60 comes with a heart rate monitor, and optional foot pod, both ANT+ wirelessly connected so data is seamless transferred to the watch.  Neither accessories need to be turned on or off either, as they shut off automatically once motion stops.

garmin fr60 women Garmins FR60 GPS sport watch sleek, light, and wirelessly brilliant

The FR60 tracks all kinds of workout data including heart rate, speed, distance, calories burned, and more.  And because the watch works with data from the HR monitor and foot pod, it works indoors without a GPS signal.  Something handy for folks like me in Winnipeg where it’s -30 right now.

The GPS watch also comes with a USB ANT+ Stick that once plugged in, allows you to wirelessly send your workout data to the computer.  It also seamlessly transmits data to Garmin’s Connect online community so you can share and compare your stats with friends or workout partners.

No prices or release details have come my way yet, but expect for something more official come March.

via garmin

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Dell has Android, WinMo MePhone’s in the pipes, could be coming next month

The Dell smartphone rumor mill is spinning again, and this time the Wall Street Journal is to blame.  According to its sources, Dell is working on a couple of prototype models–one Android, one Windows Mobile–that could debut as early as next month at the Mobile World Congress.  The details are pretty sparse at the moment, but one device supposedly has a touchscreen, while the other has a slide-out keyboard like the T-Mobile G1.  Dell’s selling point is its focus on “customization”, adds WSJ.  I’m not sure if that’s hardware, software, or Modu-like customization.

dell button Dell has Android, WinMo MePhones in the pipes, could be coming next monthThis isn’t the first time a Dell smartphone rumor has surfaced.  An analyst reported earlier this month that his look into Dell’s supply chain supported the smartphone rumor which first began way back in 2007.  It does seem like a natural market for Dell to enter to expand its profit margins.  Once nothing more than a mail-order PC maker, Dell eventually made laptops and netbooks.  The next step is a smartphone and the company has the hardware know-how and manufacturing capacity to do it.

It’s likely though, that Dell would have to outsource the software and interface development to another company, or acquire one with the needed capacity.  I haven’t heard of anything in regards to this though, so I’m just speculating.

I’m also not sure if the Mobile World Congress would be the best place for Dell to debut its phones, if they actually exist.  The premier focus in Barcelona will be on Android-based phones.  General Mobile, Huawei, possibly ASUS, and others all plan to roll out Android handsets there, putting Dell in a position where it has to bring something amazing to the table to rise above.

Personally I’m not a big fan of Windows Mobile, but Microsoft could release WinMo 6.5 at MWC along with its cloud computing services and Skymarket app store.  If that’s the case, and Dell has a WinMo 6.5 handset there, the company would have a better chance.  Especially as Dell traditionally has appealed to business consumers of which many appreciate Windows Mobile.  That is, unless Dell names the thing “MePhone”, a possibility according to Silicon Alley Insider.

Of course, right now this is all rumor and innuendo.  But if Dell really has a couple of smartphones in the pipes, we’ll hear more about them before MWC.  Guaranteed.  Or at least before September 9, the rumored shipping date.

via pcworld

(Image Credit: Auntie P)

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Chip maker earnings roundup: Broadcom, Freescale, NEC, Toshiba, Fujitsu

As quarterly earnings have been announced over the last couple of weeks, chipmakers have been hit hard.  Because semiconductor companies, particularly those in Japan, produce the basic parts that make our cellphones, portable navigation devices, and televisions tick, any cutback in production down the supply chain directly, and due to lower profit margins, most drastically affects them.

freescale_chipIn the past couple of days, Qualcomm, STMicro, and Texas Instruments have all announced big drops in income earned.  And the coal burning, slow chugging, economic train continues.

Here’s a roundup of some of the semiconductor disasters of the past few days:

Broadcom: Q4 revenues of $1.13 billion beat Wall Street’s $1.07 billion expectation, but non-GAAP earnings of $0.08 per share were well below the Street’s $0.27.  The company is also planning an unspecified number of job cuts, salary freezes, and other cost-cutting measures.  Looking into Q1, things don’t look good.

Toshiba: the company has revised its March 2009 fiscal year outlook, expecting to lose 280 billion yen, about US$3.1 billion .  Last year, Japan’s largest chipmaker posted a net profit of 127.4 billion yen.  Toshiba will delay building a new chip plant in Yokkaichi until 2010 as the company doesn’t expect the chip market to bounce back until October at the earliest.  It’ll also cut 4, 500 temporary jobs and cut capital spending in its chip business by 60 percent.

Freescale Semiconductor: the Austin, Texas-based chip maker reported a fourth quarter net loss of $4.03 billion, compared to a $3.48 billion loss last year.  Revenue declined 39 percent to $940 million and maintains it will be exiting the cellphone chip business.

Fujitsu: the company has revised its outlook for the March 2009 fiscal year.  Revised expectations include a 7 percent drop in sales to $4.7 trillion and yen and net loss of $20 billion yen.  This will be Fujitsu’s first year in the red since 2002.

NEC: Japan’s NEC has announced 20, 000 job cuts which it hopes will save 80 billion yen over 2 years.  The company’s net loss from October to December was 130 billion yen compared to a loss of 5.2 billion yen a year earlier.  The company expects a net loss of 290 billion yen for the March 2009 fiscal year.

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NBC Local Media snags Outside.in for hyperlocal news site build

chicago locals only NBC Local Media snags Outside.in for hyperlocal news site build

Outside.in has signed a deal with NBC Local Media to build nine hyperlocal news sites using its geo-targeted aggregation platform.  New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, the Bay Area, Dallas, Washington, DC, San Diego and Hartford all have Locals Only websites where visitors can find all of the relevant news to the particular neighborhood.

Outside.in’s technology pulls in all types of media including blogs, online newspapers, press releases, and even Twitter tweets and sorts them by location.  That way, for instance, a New York Locals Only visitor would see news relating to New York.

Not only does this benefit users by delivering the news that directly affects them, but it enables NBC to build out news sites without an editorial staff, cutting costs in the process.  From an advertising perspective, ads can be targeted more accurately as they’re specific to one location and its related content.

In total, Outside.in has created 650 neighborhood pages for the Locals Only sites and I’d imagine the company will enter more cities with NBC or another partner in the future.

Just last month the hyperlocal news startup raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Union Square Ventures, the New York City Investment Fund, and Betaworks.  Outside.in provides widget-based tools like StoryMaps and GeoToolKit for bloggers and website developers to add location-awareness to their web properties, as well as an API.

via outside.in

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AdMob raises $12.5 million more for mobile advertising

admob logo AdMob raises $12.5 million more for mobile advertising

Mobile advertising provider AdMob has raised $12.5 million in a Series C extension, bringing the company’s total Series C investment to $28.2 million.

The funding was provided by Draper Fisher Jurvetson’s Growth Fund and Northgate Capital.

AdMob says it will use the extension cash to expand further into the global market, hiring local staff in key areas like Japan, India, South Africa and Western Europe.  It’ll also develop new language interfaces, invest in improving its ad-serving platform, and increase the breadth of its sales and business development team in the United States.

dec 2008 metrics us operating system share by month 1024x631 AdMob raises $12.5 million more for mobile advertising

The company has grown exponentially over the past year, mainly due to serving ads within 3G iPhone applications and websites.  It works with other mobile platforms as well, including Android, a development just recently announced.  In December 2008, AdMob served 6.3 billion ads, up from 2.0 billion in December 2007.

The company has raised a total of $47.2 million.

via admob

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