Wednesday, May 30, 2012

BlackBerry PlayBook OS 2.1 beta coming today or tomorrow

May 30th, 2012
BlackBerry PlayBook
Research in Motion�s BlackBerry PlayBook product manager, Michael Clewley, has confirmed through his Twitter page that the company is planning to release a beta version of its 2.1 Playbook OS by the �end of May.� After signing up as a BlackBerry developer, the update will be pushed to eligible devices once it is released. The company�s previous update brought native contacts, calendar and email to the tablet. Details surrounding the PlayBook OS 2.1 beta are not yet available.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

New Apple patents reveal 3D Safari web browsing

Soon, you could be using Safari's 3D graphical user interface on your Mac

In a few years time, you could be browsing the web and more in 3D, according to Apple's new Safari patent applications spotted by Patently Apple on Thursday.
The new patent applications detail a 3D version of Safari, which will allow users to stack bookmarks, emails, documents and applications in a 3D manner.

The patent application describes that the invention relates to: "The presentation and management of Desktop GUIs and opening windows on the desktop GUIs."

The new technology could enable users to group multiple open windows together, which are then presented in a browsable stack. These stacks could be represented in 3D desktop environment. "Open windows displayed within a 2D desktop environment can be organised into one or more 3D browsable stacks in a 3D browsable stack, where each stack includes open windows associated with a common value for a grouping property," reads the patent's abstract.

"A graphical representation indicating the respective value of the grouping property associated with each 3D browsable stack can be displayed in proximity to the 3D browsable stack," the abstract continues. "As the user browses through the open windows in the browsable stack, one window is displayed in a frontal view at a time while the other windows are displayed in a side view. When the user selects an open window from the stack, the 3D desktop can be restored to the 2D desktop, showing the selected window as the current active window of the 2D desktop."

When Apple talks about the grouping of stacks, it means each 3D stack will represent a different type of application, such as emails, web browser windows or word processing documents.

The browsing items could be represented in a tilted 3D space, according to another of Apple's new patents. "In tilted viewing mode, groups of several consecutive levels of hierarchy can be represented in respective browsable parades shown in different depths into a viewable region of the tilted 3D space," reads Apples' patent abstract. "With the combination of browsing laterally across the parades presented in the viewable region of the tilted 3D space and browsing up and down the hierarchy along the depth dimension of the 3D space, the user can navigate the entirety of the hierarchy in the tilted 3D space."

Apple patent applications for a new stylus that uses haptic or optical technology were also spotted by Patently Apple on Thursday.

Will Apple's iCar ever see the road?

If you�re unhappy with your car�s design, you�re in august company.

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs too was unhappy with modern car models, apparently to the extent that he wanted to design one of his own.

His dream � one of the few that went unfulfilled � was to launch a well-designed car, and he wanted to call it � you guessed it � the iCar.

Mickey Drexler, a board member at Apple Inc., recently revealed Jobs� desire to add an automobile to the Cupertino-based technology company�s product lineup. He �Look at the car industry; it�s a tragedy in America. Who is designing the cars?� Drexler said. �Steve�s dream before he died was to design an iCar,� he added during an interview at the Fast Company Innovation Uncensored expo in New York.
Drexler said � and we agree � that had Jobs designed the iCar, it would have dominated the industry.
�It would�ve been probably 50 per cent of the market,� he has been quoted as saying. In fact, rumours were rife about five years ago when Steve Jobs met with Volkswagen Group head Martin Winterkorn in 2007, with the companies reportedly planning to team up to work on a car aimed at the youth market.
Rumours have it that Apple has been working on an iCar for years, but will the vehicle ever see the light of the day?

World's 'slimmest' notebook now in UAE
Acer unveiled Aspire S5 - the world's thinnest Ultrabook - that measures only 15mm at the maximal point and weighs less than 1.35kg. The ultra-slim device is built with a 13.3-inch LCD.
It features the unique Acer Green Instant-On technology for fast boot and resume, and Acer Always Connect, which lets users manage their multimedia and data on all their devices at anytime, anywhere.
"The Ultrabook is much more than just a product segment," said Jim Wong, president of Acer Inc. "It's a new trend that will become the mainstream for mobile PCs, and customers will see the unique features gradually extended across Acer's notebook family."

Ultra-fluid contours
Adorned with a delicately curved chassis in Onyx Black, the Aspire S5's cover rim wraps around the system body like a protective shell. A magnesium-aluminium alloy cover and palmrest provide a slimmer and sturdier form, while the metallic brushed detail presents subtle elegance.

Performance and eco-friendly features
The Aspire S5 features an Intel� Core� processor, SSD storage for speed and increased shock resistance, professionally-tuned Dolby� Home Theater� v4, long battery life via the PowerSmart battery pack (with a 3X longer life cycle than traditional batteries), and is equipped with a chiclet keyboard.

Samsung Giving First 50 Galaxy S3 Owners Olympic Tickets

Galaxy S3

Last month, Samsung and UK retailer Phones 4u announced an offer that would see customers get free tickets to Olympic soccer matches with the purchase of a Galaxy device. Included in the offer were the Galaxy Note, the Galaxy S II, and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. However, it seems Samsung is keen to offer something similar to those buying its newest Galaxy device, the Galaxy S3.

Set to launch in the UK next week, we already know that the Galaxy SIII is in high demand. Today, Samsung today revealed that the first 50 people to get the phone will also get tickets to this summer's London games. The news follows last Wednesday's announcement that said customers who pre-ordered a Galaxy S III from the Samsung Brand Store at Westfield Stratford City would be able to collect their device the night before the official launch date of 30 May. The give-away for tickets to the Olympics will also be focused on the Westfield Stratford City store with Android Central reporting that the first 50 sold at the store will get tickets.

You'll be able to line up to buy your pre-ordered handset from 5 p.m. onwards, with pre-orders officially being available for purchase at 6 p.m.. If you didn't place a pre-order and plan to wait until the official launch, you'll be able to get the device on Wednesday, May 30. We wonder, will there be an unofficial, pre-line-up line for those that want to stake out their spot before 5pm?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Google Future Tech: 10 Coolest Google R&D Projects

Google, inc

I found this interesting Google technology information and I thought I would share it with my readers...

Just follow the link below...Enjoy.

One of the biggest difference between Google and Facebook is that Google is actually trying to make tangible products or software and Facebook, well, is just "face book." Nothing more. That's one of the reason why facebook share value is not what they expected it to be after a whole week of going public. Facebook is just full of users and lately people are finding out that a lot of their facebook friends they are linked to are fake or script generated. All it will take is a simple rumor or a hacker for facebook to fall on its face really quick. It would be like another dot come bubble burst.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Yahoo launches stand-alone mobile search app

The app can display search results and a selected Web page at once

Yahoo beefed up its search offerings on Wednesday when it launched Axis, an HTML5-based browser app that delivers search results as page previews rather than as links. 

Axis shortens the time it takes a user to get from an initial query to the desired result, whether it's finding a fact or making a reservation, by about a third, according to Ethan Batraski, Yahoo's director of product management for special projects. 

Batraski explained that most search interfaces require a three-step process -- query, results page and the selected result -- which Axis has tried to reduce to just two. 

"That's an archaic experience. It's been the same for 12 to 15 years. We decided to get rid of the middle step, because nobody really likes the middleman," Batraski said. 

The app is a browser as well as a search engine, with browsing functions including navigational arrows, an address bar and bookmarking. A search query in Axis returns a set of visual page previews, rather than links with text summaries. Any structured content results, such as showtimes or sports scores, that would appear in a conventional Yahoo search also appear in Axis. Search results appear across the top of the screen, and the user can swipe left to display lower-ranking results without reloading. 

Even after a user selects a given result, by swiping downward, he or she can call the search results back up across the top of the screen without leaving the selected Web page. 

Users who log in with a Yahoo, Google or Facebook ID can save searches across their various devices. Axis also comes as a plug-in for most browsers so users can also run it on the desktop. A menu option allows for sharing through email, Pinterest or Twitter. Yahoo will roll out Facebook sharing in the future, Batraski said. 

Page previews could pose challenges of their own on the small screen of a smartphone. But Batraski indicated that the visual results mean fewer "back and forth" trips between the results listing and specific pages. When Batraski searched for "Adirondack chair plans," for example, he could quickly see which pages included actual plans. 

"I never have to look at a title-abstract URL again. I can see what's behind it," he said.
Axis' search functionality is built with HTML5 and runs off Yahoo's "Cocktails" platform, which blends elements of Javascript, SQL (structured query language) and HTML5. 

Cocktail provides "intelligent caching," which is what allows Axis to serve up so many images without significant delay, Batraski said. 

Yahoo entered into a search partnership with Microsoft in 2010 in which it outsourced the back end of its search system to Microsoft. Yahoo has continued to work on the front end of the search experience, although it has struggled to retain its 14 percent market share, according to comScore data. Axis will tweak the search algorithm based on which results prove most useful for its users.
Axis is debuting with keyword and image searches only. Search results do not yet include advertisements. The app is currently available for iPhone and iPad. An Android app will launch "soon," Batraski said.

Tips to use updated Google search app for iPhone, iPad

Google Search App

Google launched an updated version of its search app for iPhone and iPad on Wednesday. What? You're still launching Google searches from Safari?  Sure, you'll get the same search results because Google is the default search engine in Safari, but the stand-alone search app offers some pretty neat tricks.  

At launch, you have three ways to search � old-fashioned typing, using your voice or camera by using Google Goggles, which finds search results based on image matching. Goggles (Google's app, not its recently debuted high-tech eyewear ) is best used for identifying landmarks. You must turn on Voice Search and Google Goggles in your settings after signing into your Google account.

You can swipe back and forth between your search results and a single Web page. You can also use Google's preview for search results instead of the typical list view. Preview allows you to tap the side-by-side page icon in the upper right corner and get a series of large pages that you can swipe through. Finding text within a Web page is a snap as well � tap the magnifying glass on the bottom (iPhone) or top (iPad ) menu. Type in your term and each instance will be highlighted for you.  

Unfortunately, Google's redesigned search app missed an opportunity to bring real multitasking to iOS. Say you've launched Gmail from the App screen and now want to check Reader for news. When you open Reader, it replaces Gmail on the open tab � you have to use the forward and back arrows to navigate, loading the same tab each time. Opening more than one Web page from search results could also prove handy.

Rovio�s FB App, Angry Birds Friends, Flies Out Of Beta With Tournament Mode, New Levels & More

Screen shot 2012-05-23 at 7.57.29 AM
Angry Bird App
Well, well, well. As if you couldn�t get your fix of sling-shotting irascible fowl on every other mobile and social platform known to man, Rovio announced this morning that Angry Birds for Facebook (officially known as Angry Birds Friends) has finally done flown the coop and left the warm nest of its beta. Avian double-speak aside, what does that mean exactly?

It means that, having gone through the requisite user testing, tweaking, and multi-billion-dollar IPO-ing, Rovio�s Facebook app � with a handful of new features in tow � is finally ready for public consumption. As to those features, Angry Birds Friends brings a number of trendy social gaming features to Angry Birds, including tournament mode, new weekly levels, new ways to earn power-ups, rewards, and, of course, tons of social integration.

As Angry Birds fanatics are well aware, Rovio launched Angry Birds Friends in beta earlier this year. On top of those things I mentioned earlier, the beta version of Angry Birds Friends has also been a testing ground for Rovio to test out new business models, like offering $1 power-ups beyond pay-to-download options or the infamous Mighty Eagle.

Make your own open-source cloud with own Cloud 4

 May 23, 2012

Summary: So you like the idea of cloud-computing, but you don�t trust any of the cloud vendors? With ownCloud 4 you can build your own.
Cloud 4
Like clouds, but don't trust cloud 
 vendors? Roll your own with ownCloud.

Big businesses use cloud services. You and I use cloud storage services like DropBox, Google Drive, and Amazon Cloud Drive every day. But, with each you have to trust your data on other people�s systems. With ownCloud, an open source file sync and share project, which began as a KDE project, you can keep your data on your servers and decide what other public cloud services you want to integrate into your personal cloud.

OwnCloud is primarily as an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud service. With it you can store your files, folders, contacts, photo galleries, calendars and more on a server of your choosing. You can then access that storage from your mobile device, your desktop, or a Web browser. You can also sync your date with local devices and share your data either with the world at large or specific approved users.

With the new, just released version, you also now get file versioning, which allows you to �rollback� to previous versions; file-level encryption, Web-based drag and drop file management, and a built-in Open Document Format (ODF) preview.

OwnCloud is built on top of a MySQL database. The program itselfis written in PHP and JavaScript. It now has a new application programming interface (API). This should make it easier to build applications on top of ownCloud�s built-in capabilities.

In addition, ownCloud 4 includes an �experimental� feature for mounting of external file systems�including Dropbox, FTP and Google Drive�enabling users to have all their file sync and share tools in a single ownCloud interface.

OwnCloud can now also be used in a business network environment. It now includes system logging and enables administrators to manage users and groups from Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) or Active Directory (AD).

�Version 3 represented a great technology leap forward. As our community continues to grow, Version 4 has benefited greatly, and the result is the most innovative and flexible sync and share platform to date,� said Frank Karlitschek, founder of ownCloud in a statement. �The latest ownCloud offers features businesses and service providers have been asking for, and adds new features and applications that meet the needs of the community and will greatly enhance our upcoming commercial editions.�

I�ve downloaded ownCloud for my CentOS 6 and openSUSE 12.1 servers and I like what I�ve seen so far. No, it�s not as easy as Dropbox nor as powerful as the Amazon Cloud, but it lets me run my own file sync and share services on my own hardware and storage, and use public hosting and storage offerings. I like it. OwnCloud will also run on Windows 7 or Server 2008.

Sure, I could have built something like this myself. Heck I have built things like this over the years, but ownCloud brings everything I need in one place so that I can run my own cloud my own way. And, that my friends, I find a very attractive option indeed. As I continue to work on it, I�ll let you know what I find. For now, I can recommend anyone who�s Linux savvy and wants their own customized cloud service to give it a try.

Or, if you like the idea, but don�t have the expertise, ownCloud offers commercial support options.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Via unveils $49 Android PC


 Via APC uses new Neo-ITX form factor, embedded memory and storage

Via unveils $49 Android PC
Via's APC is intended for ultra small form factors, embedded devices and experimentation. May 23, 2012

The APC runs on a WonderMedia ARM processor, with integrated memory and storage, and a full set of consumer I/O ports.

The PC is built on the new Neo-ITX form factor motherboard, which at 17cm x 8.5cm, is half the size of the microATX form factor.

The APC comes with browser and a selection off apps pre-installed, with connectivity for standard mouse and keyboard, and TV or monitor.

The board includes integrated 2GB NAND Flash and 512 DDR3 SDRAM, and has VGA and HMDI display ports, four USB 2.0 ports, one microSD slot, one 10/100 Ethernet port and audio-out/ Mic-in. It also has low power consumption of just 4 watts idle and 13.5 watts maximum load, ten times less that of a standard PC system.

The APC runs an optimized version of Android tailored to the hardware, and even includes hardware acceleration to provide HD quality multimedia.

The company says the APC is likely to appeal to OEMs and systems integrators that are looking for small, low power low cost devices and to hobbyists looking for a platform for building PC mods on.

"APC brings the familiarity and convenience of Android to the PC at a $49 price point that will open up exciting new markets and applications," said Richard Brown, VP of Marketing, VIA Technologies, Inc. "Like a bicycle for your mind, APC will enable more people than ever before to explore the vast online universe."

SMS spying app offered on Google Play

Posted on 22 May 2012.
Phone spying apps are usually offered on hacking forums and third party app markets, but given their malicious potential, it's unusual to see them being offered for sale on official online marketplaces.

Nevertheless, it does occasionally happen - as the recent discovery by Trend Micro researchers shows.

A beta version of an app that can record the contents of received and sent messages and send it to a remote FTP server is currently being offered on Google Play, and has been downloaded by an estimated 500 � 1000 users since March 11:

Google Spy App

"As the app is still in its beta testing, spying on a mobile device using this tool poses certain challenges," the researchers point out.

"First, it should be installed onto the target device without the victim knowing about it. Second, potential attackers would need to setup their own FTP servers, which may be difficult for those with less advanced IT knowledge. However, the developers behind this tool are likely to release an updated version that may include features and improvements to make it easier to use."

It's unlikely that users would install such an app on their own device by mistake, so the best way of preventing those that may have such plans to do so is to activate and user the lock function on the device.

Online censorship: UAE police shut down Facebook and Twitter accounts

May 22nd, 2012


The Twitter and facebook accounts were shut down for containing abusive or threatening material

Fifteen facebook and Twitter accounts have been shut down by cops in Dubai this year for containing abusive and threatening posts.

Major Saeed Al Hajeri, Head of the Electronic Crimes Department at Dubai Police, said: �We are not monitoring people on social networks but our electronic police patrols surf various websites to protect UAE citizens and residents against electronic crimes, which have increased worldwide recently.�
He said facebook and Twitter had agreed to Dubai Police�s request to shut three accounts last week. The Twitter and facebook accounts were shut down for containing abusive or threatening material, police said
The force had sent letters to the management of the social networking sites that included evidence account holders had committed acts violating UAE laws, including personal insults. �Many people think they cannot get into trouble for doing such things on the internet but they can be punished under UAE law,� he said.
He continued: �We respect people�s privacy and do not track their life on social networks. �We only take action when someone makes a complaint. �One major case involved hackers who broke into girls� accounts and emails and downloaded their pictures.

�They then used them to blackmail them for money or sexual favours.�

iPhone 5 launching with 3.95-inch display, more pixels?

That's the word from Apple blog 9to5Mac, which claims to have heard Apple is testing two iPhones featuring a 3.95-inch display.

iPhone 5
(Credit: Apple)
With each new Apple product launch, there's typically one feature that gets the most attention in the rumor mill. This time around, it's the iPhone 5's display.

According to Apple blog 9to5Mac, citing sources, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company is currently testing at its headquarters two iPhones -- only one of which will be released -- boasting larger displays. And although rumors have suggested the device will come with a true 4-inch screen, 9to5Mac claims it'll actually boast a 3.95-inch display.

The new iPhone's screen will be just as wide as its predecessor, 9to5Mac claims, but will be slightly taller, allowing Apple to add 176 pixels. The new resolution on the iPhone will be 640 x 1,136, according to the blog. Apple's current Retina Display on the iPhone 4S features a 640 x 960 resolution.
Although Apple hasn't confirmed it'll even launch a new iPhone, let alone what size screen it'll have, the rumor mill has been saying for months now that the device will come with a larger display.
Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported Apple is currently buying 4-inch screens for its next handset. Earlier this month, Apple-focused site iLounge made the same claim 9to5Mac has, saying that the iPhone 5 will have a taller screen measuring about 4 inches.

The larger screen should help Apple make some customizations to iOS 6, according to 9to5Mac. The blog claims Apple is currently considering adding a fifth row of icons to the operating system's home screen, thanks to the additional screen real estate. It might also change the look and feel of built-in applications to accommodate the taller display.

One other tidbit from the 9to5Mac story: its sources say Apple's next iPhone will, in fact, come with the long-rumored smaller Dock connector.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Hands-on: BubbleScope 360-degree iPhone


camera accessory - Panoramic photography and video

Hands-on: BubbleScope 360-degree iPhone camera accessory. Phones, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone accessories, Cameras, Bubblescope 0
An iPhone accessory that enables you to capture both 360-degree stills and video before sharing them online will soon be available.

Pocket-lint saw the BubbleScope camera accessory in person at the Digital Summer event in London and after years in the making, the company behind the kit, BubblePix confirmed its arrival in July.
We say years in the making, as way back in July 2011, BubbleScope creator Tom Lawton spoke in depth about the technology used in the accessory. Then it was simply a device that could capture 360-degree photographs, but Pocket-lint can now confirm that the gadget will also be capable of recording video too.

The BubbleScope accessory is small enough to fit in your pocket and rather than clip onto the case (included with the camera lens) that encompasses your iPhone it screws on giving it a tighter grip � particularly useful should you be filming while in a moving vehicle for example.

The lens itself rises out of the tube like container before being stowed away once you�ve finished snapping which should help avoid any accidental scratches to the lens while in your pocket or bag.

The device can be turned to any position, which not only enables you to capture snaps at any angle, it also doubles up as a useful desk stand too.

Due to the poor lighting in the showroom, it was difficult to get a true feel for how well the BubbleScope captured imagery, but we were treated to a sample shot taken earlier outside which looked great albeit a tad unusual.

To capture your 360-degree stills and video you only have to press the camera key once just be wary of how you�re holding the phone to avoid a sudden close up of your face.

Once you�re happy with your snaps (or �Bubbles� as they�re known) you can share them online via (you need to download the free BubblePix app) to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram et al.


Though the BubbleScope accessory will initially only be compatible with the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S, BubblePix says it is working on other leading smartphones and platforms.

The BubblePix app is available now for free from the Apple App Store (it will be updated once the device lands) while BubbleScope itself will be available for �69.99 from the BubbleScope website as well as other major retailers from July.

 Hands-on: BubbleScope 360-degree iPhone camera accessory. Phones, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone accessories, Cameras, Bubblescope 0Hands-on: BubbleScope 360-degree iPhone camera accessory. Phones, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone accessories, Cameras, Bubblescope 1Hands-on: BubbleScope 360-degree iPhone camera accessory. Phones, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone accessories, Cameras, Bubblescope 2Hands-on: BubbleScope 360-degree iPhone camera accessory. Phones, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone accessories, Cameras, Bubblescope 3Hands-on: BubbleScope 360-degree iPhone camera accessory. Phones, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone accessories, Cameras, Bubblescope 4Hands-on: BubbleScope 360-degree iPhone camera accessory. Phones, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone accessories, Cameras, Bubblescope 5Hands-on: BubbleScope 360-degree iPhone camera accessory. Phones, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone accessories, Cameras, Bubblescope 6Hands-on: BubbleScope 360-degree iPhone camera accessory. Phones, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone accessories, Cameras, Bubblescope 7Hands-on: BubbleScope 360-degree iPhone camera accessory. Phones, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone accessories, Cameras, Bubblescope 8Hands-on: BubbleScope 360-degree iPhone camera accessory. Phones, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone accessories, Cameras, Bubblescope 9

Thursday, May 10, 2012

LG Optimus Elite brings Google Wallet to Virgin Mobile

Virgin Mobile's first phone to support Google Wallet goes on sale next week.

Optimus Elite
LG's Optimus Elite goes to Virgin Mobile.
(Credit: Pocketnow)
Following in Sprint's footsteps, Virgin Mobile is getting Google Wallet thanks to the LG Optimus Elite.
The Android 2.3 Gingerbread smartphone is Virgin Mobile's first phone with support for Google Wallet and NFC, or near field communication, a short-range communication protocol similar in concept to Bluetooth.
The silver LG Optimus Elite, which also features a 3.5-inch touchscreen, 5-megapixel camera, and a 800MHz processor, goes on sale May 15 for $149.99, but preorders begin today.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

3G/4G Performance Map: Data speeds for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon

May 8, 2012 12:30 pm  

3G/4G Performance Map: Data Speeds for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon
In our April 16 article �3G and 4G Wireless Speed Showdown,� we reported the results of our exclusive 13-city tests of the four national wireless services: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon. Our study is the largest and best-known independent test of wireless service in the United States.

Here, in Part Two of our story, we drill deeper into the massive amounts of data that we collected over six weeks in February and March of this year. Whereas the first article reported the 13-city average speeds of the carriers, in this story we detail the carriers� performance in each of the ten testing locations we visited in each city.

We�ve assembled a full-page map showing all 127 of our testing locations in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. When you zoom in on a particular city, you�ll see ten blue map markers�one for each place we tested. Click the pin, and you�ll see our full testing results for that location.

T-Mobile�s HSPA+ 21 service dominated the 3G testing, earning the highest marks for upload speed and download speed in 11 of the 13 cities we studied. The exceptions were Chicago (where AT&T captured the best download and upload speeds for 3G) and Dallas (where AT&T took the lead for 3G downloads, and Verizon won for 3G uploads).

3G/4G Performance Map: Data Speeds for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon
We saw three major patterns in our 4G test results. In five cities (Atlanta, Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco), AT&T swept the 4G upload and download competitions; in four (Denver, New Orleans, San Jose, and Seattle), Verizon swept both; and in the remaining four (Chicago, Dallas, New York, and Washington, D.C.), AT&T won for downloads and Verizon prevailed for uploads. Notably, in two of the cities where Verizon ruled (Denver and Seattle), AT&T doesn�t offer 4G LTE service.

webpage and Video Load Times

In addition to the speed results, you can see the results of our �behavioral� tests, which are meant to closely approximate the wireless usage of real people. At each of our testing locations, our field researcher loaded a 100KB static webpage and viewed a 1-minute video while connected to each of the 3G and 4G services of the carriers. For each one, the researcher logged the time the webpage took to load, as well as the time necessary to stream the video.

In Video: Demystifying Spotty Cell Phone Coverage

You can see a lot of variance in the performance scores from location to location within our testing cities. The same service may deliver radically different results in two locations in the same part of town. Or two different wireless services might produce very different connection speeds and call quality at the same location.
That�s because a number of variables are constantly affecting the quality of the wireless service you get�factors such as nearby physical structures, your distance from a cell tower, whether you�re connecting from indoors or outdoors, the time of day, and the total number of users connecting to a nearby cell tower at the same time.
Such variables are important to remember when you�re selecting a cell service. Keeping them in mind is also key when you�re choosing a device, because some phones and tablets do much better than others in challenging cellular environments.
In this video we drove around San Francisco to demonstrate how some of these conditions can affect your wireless coverage.
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Quick Facts by City

Atlanta: T-Mobile had a strong showing in Atlanta on the 3G side, with average download speeds at 4.53 mbps and uploads at 1.93 mbps. In 4G, AT&T showed the fastest average download speed of any carrier in any city we tested, at 11.60 mbps. Verizon had its next-to-worst 4G download showing in Atlanta, at 6.24 mbps on average.
Boston: T-Mobile clocked the fastest 3G speeds in Boston, while AT&T won on the 4G side. Both AT&T and Verizon delivered solid download averages, at 8.60 mbps and 7.24 mbps, respectively. Sprint�s WiMax service performed unusually well in Boston, averaging 3.90 mbps for downloads.

3G/4G Performance Map: Data Speeds for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon
Photograph by Robert Cardin
Chicago: AT&T finished first in average 3G download speed (3.45 mbps), despite the fact that its 3G numbers weren�t great in Chicago compared with its performance in other cities. AT&T also had the fastest average 4G download speed (9.70 mbps). Dallas: AT&T�s best numbers came in Dallas, with an average 3G download speed of 3.73 mbps and an average 4G download speed of 10.22 mbps. Meanwhile, T-Mobile�s HSPA+ 21 service registered 13-city worsts for average download rate (2.62 mbps) and average upload rate (0.45 mbps).
Denver: Verizon had the top marks in average 4G download speed (6.68 mbps) and average upload speed (3.70 mbps). T-Mobile�s HSPA+ 21 service rolled past its rivals on the 3G side, with solid averages for downloads (3.59 mbps) and uploads (1.53 mbps).
Las Vegas: AT&T delivered an excellent average download rate of 11.15 mbps, the third-highest rate for any carrier in any city. T-Mobile�s HSPA+ 21 was the fastest 3G service, though its download average (3.11 mbps) ranked as the lowest city-winning mark for 3G download speed in our study.
Los Angeles: We recorded the fastest average 3G download speeds in our study in Los Angeles, where T-Mobile won with a robust 4.78 mbps. AT&T had the best 4G scores in L.A., although its average download speed of 6.62 mbps was the second-slowest winning download speed in our tests.

3G/4G Performance Map: Data Speeds for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon
New Orleans: T-Mobile�s HSPA+ 21 service proved fastest among the 3G field in the Big Easy, with averages of 4.49 mbps for downloads and 1.70 mbps for uploads. Verizon�s winning average 4G download speed (8.46 mbps) was the second-highest city score for the service in our tests.
New York: In New York we found a wide gap between the best 3G download average (3.30 mbps for T-Mobile) and the best 4G download average (11.35 mbps for AT&T)�an 8.05-mbps difference.
San Francisco: AT&T posted the best average 4G download speed, producing an impressive 10.71 mbps, while Verizon turned in a solid 8.40-mbps download average. AT&T�s 3G service performed very well in San Francisco, delivering the company�s second-highest average download rate at 3.47 mbps; but T-Mobile was faster, with downloads averaging 4.08 mbps.
San Jose: Verizon 4G clocked average speeds of 7.66 mbps for downloads and 6.52 mbps for uploads, compared with 4.74 mbps for downloads and 2.5 mbps for uploads from AT&T LTE. T-Mobile delivered a winning average 3G download rate of 4.61 mbps.
Seattle: T-Mobile turned in the top 3G download speeds (averaging 3.87 mbps) in Seattle, while its 4G HSPA+ 42 service generated a surprisingly fast average download speed of 7.46 mbps, the carrier�s 13-city high. Verizon posted its best 13-city mark for 4G downloads (10.87 mbps on average), making it easily the fastest 4G service in town.
Washington D.C.: T-Mobile had the fastest average 3G download speeds (4.14 mbps), handily beating AT&T, whose 3G scores in D.C. were the worst from the carrier in our 13 test cities. AT&T, however, won on the 4G side with an average download speed of 8.52 mbps.
For details on how we conducted the testing for our 13-city study, see �Methodology in a Nutshell.� And, again, for a close-up look at the individual charts for each city, see our full-page testing locations map.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Opinion: Why is Samsung so hot right now?

Fri May 4, 2012
Samsung unveiled its latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S III, at Earls Court in London on Thursday.
Samsung unveiled its latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S III, at Earls Court in London on Thursday.

  • Jenkins: Samsung's strategy different to its main rival, Apple
  • The South Korean company has a phone to suit pretty much every potential customer
  • But Samsung's scale could turn out to be a weakness as well as a strength, says Jenkins
  • "In some respects, Samsung reminds me of Sony in the years before it all went wrong"
This summer, Earls Court in London will be the venue for Olympic volleyball, but last night Samsung hired this vast space to launch a single product -- its new flagship phone, the Galaxy S III. (We really liked it incidentally, check out our hands-on preview here).

Hiring such a large space and filling it full of tech heads from all over the world was a sign of extreme confidence from the Korean electronics giant, and you only have to take a look at its last set of figures to see where the bravado is coming from. Net profit for the quarter was 5.05tn won, up 81%, and the main driver for this success was Samsung's Galaxy range of phones.

The Galaxy range has certainly been selling like hot cakes. This week, trend-watchers IDC put the company ahead of the competition in its latest state of the market analysis.
What's interesting to me is how different Samsung's strategy is to its other major smartphone competitor, Apple. There is only one iPhone released every year, and design-wise, each one has been broadly the same as the previous model, with the same size screen.

Samsung Galaxy S III primed for release

Read more: Samsung unveils Galaxy S III smartphone with face, voice recognition
In contrast, Samsung has a bewildering number of different models that, viewed together, make almost no sense at all to the casual observer. This might seem like a recipe for confusion, but it also means that that Samsung has a phone to suit pretty much every potential customer. Want something pocketable that's cheap? There's a Samsung Galaxy for that. Need lots of power, a massive screen and a stylus to draw pictures with? Samsung Galaxy can help. And on it goes.

Apple is fantastic at making a product that's very aspirational, and it makes an enormous amount of money on every iPhone, but in terms of simply shifting a lot of phones and achieving huge scale, it's Samsung that has the winning strategy.
Both Apple and Samsung are so successful in fact, the battle for the top smartphone slot is starting to look like a two-horse race.

But it won't necessarily always be this way. HTC was the darling of the mobile industry a while back until Samsung arrived to eat its lunch. The transformation in the company's fortunes was rapid, and there's every possibility that Samsung could see an equally rapid turnaround at some point in the future -- in mobiles, you're only as good as your last hit product.

There's also a chance that Samsung's scale could turn out to be a weakness as well as a strength. In some respects, Samsung reminds me of Sony in the years before it all went wrong. There are lots of divisions that don't appear to communicate with each other very well, making a vast number of different products, most of which are decent, but not outstanding.

Read more: New Samsung 'not for everyone'
There's a desire to be the number one player in every category Samsung is in, which is laudable, but probably unachievable. Does Samsung really need to be the number one maker of cameras in the world? Or MP3 players? Probably not. I can't help but wonder whether its smartphone profits are covering up some deeper organizational problems. Then again, it seems to be working for now, so it may all turn out fine.
If a company was to snatch the smartphone crown from Samsung, which would it be? One answer might be Nokia, which may seem like a crazy thing to say following its latest set of disastrous financial results. But there is still a chance that it might not be game over.

Nokia's flagship mobile running Microsoft's Windows Phone, the Lumia 900, has recently appeared in America to decent critical acclaim. In the U.S., Android doesn't have quite the same grip on the market that it does in the UK in particular, so there's an outside chance Nokia could sell enough handsets to convince developers deal with the platform's biggest problem -- a lack of apps.

If that happens, the launch of Windows Phone 8 could open the whole field up again.

Hands on: Samsung Galaxy SIII review

04/05/2012 12:10pm

The Samsung Galaxy SIII was launched to major fanfare the worldwide Samsung Unpacked event at Earls Court, and What Laptop Tablet & Smartphone were there to get hands-on.

Samsung has upped the size of the Galaxy SIII to 4.8-inch and included a 1,280 x 720 AMOLED display, which looks stunning. On first impressions, the SIII�s screen wasn�t as vibrant as the recently released HTC One X, but viewing angles were excellent, and visuals sharp.
Samsung Galaxy S3
Elsewhere, there�s a quad-core processor running the show, which keeps the Ice Cream Sandwich toting handset running smoothly. This really shows when shooting on the 8MP camera, where shutter lag is abolished, and burst mode can fire off 20 shots, and quickly chooses eight of the best to display. There�s also a larger 2100mAH for longer battery life.

Quality of the photos was hard to gauge as the handset was tethered to a table, but even in low light shots were sharp and well focussed with a minimum of fuss.

We used the photo editor to make some crops, trims, and apply effects to our photos, which were all carried out in the blink of an eye.

However, there were still significant loading times when loading apps and games, which still left us waiting over five seconds for Cut The Rope to launch.

The handset itself will be available in blue and white, with Samsung keen to point out that nature inspired its design. The back is smooth, but made of thin plastic, which helps keen the Galaxy SIII down to a paltry 133g, but it doesn�t feel anywhere near as solid or well-manufactured as the HTC One X, which weighs 130g.
Samsung Galaxy S3
With handsets becoming extremely similar in specification, Samsung has been keen to push software as a differentiator, and there are loads of features to enjoy.

S Voice is a Siri for Samsung, which brings a host of voice commands, such as �Hi Samsung� to wake the handset up, but was equally as finicky to use in the noisy Earls Court. The SIII also monitors your face, preventing it from locking while you�re reading on screen.

Samsung Galaxy S3
There are other nifty additions too: if someone sends you a message, just put the phone to your ear and it will call them. It�s a simple feature, but tangibly beneficial.

Elsewhere, there�s a heap of proprietary Samsung software, which will be of dubious use, unless you convince all your friends to buy in as well.
Samsung Galaxy S3
All Share Play lets you send media to different supported devices, and you can buy a separate dongle. What�s more, you can wirelessly charge using a separate peripheral, and even monitor your health.
In short, the Samsung Galaxy SIII has delivered nearly everything we expected, with a few extras. There�s no doubt it will be a success this year, and puts Samsung back onto the smartphone podium in this Olympics year.

The Samsung Galaxy SIII will be out on May 29, but if your contract isn�t up, follow our guide on how to upgrade your Samsung Galaxy SII to Ice Cream Sandwich.