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HTC releases the list of handsets that will get Android 4.0 update


After providing vague estimates for some time now, HTC has finally come clean with the full list of handsets that will be receiving the Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich update.

The lucky phones that will be getting the update are as follows.

The update for the Sensation and Sensation XE have already started rolling out in some regions and will roll out in others in the coming weeks. The update for the Sensation 4G and XL will follow shortly, along with the rest of the handsets. This is still incredibly vague and HTC should have at least provided a time frame if not the exact date.

Htc Velocity

Htc Velocity

Having said that, if you have the any of the aforementioned handsets, you can sleep well at night knowing that you will at least be getting the update, hopefully before the world ends.

htc sensation

HTC Sensation lineup gets Android ICS in late March


 

htc sensation

HTC just gave us some welcome extra information on the planned Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich updates for their smartphone portfolio.

The wait is almost over for the owners of the original Sensation, the Sensation XE and the Sensation XL. The Sensation and Sensation XE will get the ICS treatment by the end of March, while the XL update will follow shortly after.

HTC promises to release more information on the update schedule in the following few weeks, so stay tuned.There is more good news – HTC EVO 3D, Incredible S, Desire S and Desire HD updates are also in the works and will be released later this year. That’s as specific as HTC got, but just knowing that the updates for those are on the way is still pretty exciting for their owners, we guess.

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Latest smartphone market share numbers: Apple is flat, Google going strong


Summary: Mobile analytics firm comScore has released the latest quarterly numbers for smartphones, and there are some telling changes that reflect the mobile space. Android keeps growing while others remain flat.

Mobile analytics firm comScore released its latest quarterly numbers for smartphones, and there are some telling changes in the mobile space. Apple’s iOS market share numbers have remained largely unchanged, with only 0.5 percent growth in the quarter ending March 2011.

Google’s Android continues to grab market share with a 6 percent growth over the same period. Google’s growth corresponds closely with the drop in share by RIM, a significant 4.5 percent. The big drop by RIM has Apple’s iOS getting close to overtake the BlackBerry. Android keeps growing while other platforms are remaining relatively flat or declining in market share.

On the OEM front, the new statistics show the only handset maker in the top five to show growth in share is Apple, likely due to the release of the iPhone 4 with Verizon. Even with this significant event, Apple’s market share grew only 1.1 percent. Apple was the leader in growth, however, with other firms remaining flat or showing slight declines. The top five OEMs in market share were Samsung, LG, Motorola, RIM and Apple. The top three are OEMs using Android, indicating it is still the platform garnering the most sales to consumers 13+ as surveyed.

LG-DoublePlay-660x556

LG DoublePlay Phone Touts Two Screens for Multitasking Fiends


We 21st century humans are busy creatures. Bombarded by a constant stream of data flowing into our smartphones, we struggle to respond to text messages, tweets and e-mails in a timely fashion. But LG’s latest smartphone, exclusive to T-Mobile, may provide a solution.

Dubbed the DoublePlay, the handset boasts a 3.5-inch touchscreen display for viewing content, and a slide-out qwerty keyboard that should appeal to the dwindling numbers of BlackBerry faithfuls among us. And, in a strange twist of industrial design, the DoublePlay also comes with another 2-inch touchscreen that splits the keyboard in twain, and serves as a second app dock for fast task-switching.

At first glance, the second screen seems like sheer novelty. T-Mobile pitches the dubious idea that the additional screen is perfect for the world of “fast-paced social networking.” I can’t say I’ve ever been struck with such an urgency to tweet that I’ve required a second screen to do so, but perhaps my wit isn’t as sharp as yours.

Nonetheless, the DoublePlay allows instant access to up to eight apps docked on the second screen, eliminating the need to mash the home button over and over to access your app menu. It’s a nifty time-saver for those obsessed with multitasking, and even the non-obsessive tweeters and texters among us should find the second screen helpful.

Android device manufacturers are scrambling to differentiate themselves from one another in today’s extremely crowded mobile market. Some companies are attempting to carve out identity by adding more screen real estate, and, to this extent, the DoublePlay is akin to Kyocera’s take on an Android handsetfrom earlier this year, as well as Sony’s unreleased clamshell tablet, the S2.

In addition to the 2-inch touchscreen, the DoublePlay boasts a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor running Gingerbread, the latest version of Android (hopefully it will be upgradable to the forthcoming Ice Cream Sandwich OS release). The phone also sports what looks on paper to be a decent camera: 5 megapixels with support for 720p HD video capture.

T-Mobile is also boosting its group and cloud text messaging services, which now essentially let you text multiple contacts across different platforms. So, for example, if one buddy is working from his PC while another is on a tablet, you’ll be able to text both friends from your phone. For better or worse, T-Mobile is essentially taking apps like Pinger and Google Voice’s texting capabilities and replacing them with its own, carrier-branded versions.

We don’t yet know the Doubletake’s price or release date, but it’ll be available in time for the holidays.

Photo courtesy of LG

Article courtesy http://www.wired.com

gsmarena_001

Windows Phone 7.5 review


Introduction

Some people are wary of buying a first generation product – and with good reason, there’re always kinks to sort out. That’s what Windows Phone 7.5 is here to do. The long expected Mango update finally puts iron to fabric in a bid to get rid of the said kinks.

There are game changers like multitasking and Wi-Fi hotspot functionality. There are smaller things like custom ringtones. There are improvements to the core apps along with a host of new features.

There isn’t a hub left untouched. Each has at least a few minor improvements, adding up to a much more complete and functional OS than Windows Phone was at the beginning.

You have to keep in mind though that the OS is still only a year old. There’s been plenty of time and software versions for the competition to finally get things nailed down. And we tend to forget how bad it looked for them too in the beginning.

Before you dig into the review, you might want to re-read our original Windows Phone 7 review, as we’ll be focusing on the changes since then for this one.

Anyway, will version 7.5 put Windows Phone squarely on the map and make it the third horse in the smartphone race? Let’s look at all the changes in detail and find out.

Core changes

When Windows Phone 7 was announced, multitasking was the glaring omission. Well, v7.5 comes to fix that.

It still isn’t true multitasking; things are being done the iOS way. Apps not in the foreground are suspended, but the OS has ways to take over and carry out the task for them.

The exact details of that are for developers to worry about, what the user needs to know is that once apps are updated to support multitasking, they won’t be able to tell the difference.

We only worry that this logic can be too restrictive for some apps, but we’ll see how things pan out. Of course, there will be a transitional period when some apps will support multitasking and others won’t. We’ve been there with the iOS, when it first left the realm of single-tasking – it’s not that bad.

Anyway, to switch between apps you press and hold the Back key (that’s right, the Back key, not the Windows key). The app switcher itself looks similar to that of Symbian or WebOS: thumbnail snapshots of the apps, ordered chronologically left to right.

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Press and hold the back key to launch the app switcher

You can scroll the list horizontally to select an app and a tap will bring you back to exactly how you left it. Usually, the last 5-6 apps are here. You can’t “kill” any of those apps, this is more of a history of the recently used apps.

Eventually, as you open more apps, the old ones start to drop out of the list. Once an app is gone, you have to launch it again the old fashioned way, which has the drawback of starting it over from the beginning.

These contrasts with iOS, where apps retain their state until you explicitly kill them. It’s not a perfect solution, but it works much better than what we had before (the countless back clicks were a slow and clumsy solution). Plus, apps with active background tasks (e.g. streaming online radio) will keep on working.

Multitasking can be disabled from the settings to save battery. There you’ll also find a list of all installed apps that support multitasking.

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Multitasking can be turned off to preserve the battery • You can check which apps support mutitasking

Check out the app switcher on video:

The Live tiles, the basic building blocks of the Start screen of Windows Phone have been revamped. Now they are quicker and offer more info.

For example, the Pictures tile shows an animated slideshow of your images. The Group tile (Groups is a new feature to boot) lists friend updates.

The application list has grown a virtual Search button, which makes finding apps easier for those with many apps installed.

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The Group live tile shows the latest update from the group • Easy searching in the app list

Windows Phone 7.5 can be controlled through voice only – you can dictate a text, have the phone read out the reply, you can initiate searches and so on. Other OSes are doing it too (*cough*Android*cough*) but voice commands are a big part of iOS (and a loudly touted one at that), so WP7.5 can brag about it too.

Windows Phone 7.5
Voice commands are go

Another change to the core functionality is that you can now manage the phone remotely via a browser over the Internet. That includes features like install, reinstall or delete apps and keeping track of your Xbox Live stats. WP7 had a free phone location service from the start and it’s still here.

People hub

The People hub from Windows Phone 7 was impressive, but the 7.5 update makes it absolutely brilliant. Part of that is due to the better social network support, complete with Twitter and LinkedIn.

One of the new features of the hub is Groups, a handy way to organize your contacts, with “text everyone” and “email everyone” features. All the status updates from the grouped contacts are pulled in from their various social networks, and you get access to their online photo albums too.

Groups can also be pinned to the homescreen for easier access.

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Groups handle everything from mass messaging to SNS updates

The rest is pretty much the same. You still get the clever way of jumping to contacts starting with a specific letter, the What’s new tab that aggregates status updates from all contacts and the Recent tab, which lists only recently viewed contacts.

And deeper social networking support makes things even better. When viewing a contact’s profile, you get everything from call, text, send email, write on wall, mention on Twitter and so on. The contact photo, along with the latest status update, are visible on top.

The What’s new tab works like its namesake in the People hub, but only shows updates from the specific contact. Pictures is where the contact’s Facebook albums are.

The most interesting addition is the new History tab. The complete history of exchange with a contact is in one place listed by day. Everything but status updates is listed here – calls, texts (actually threads from the Messaging hub) and emails.

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Looking at the profile of a single contact

The Me card is your own profile. From here you can post status updates, set chat status, check into locations (there’s more location goodness coming on later). You can also change your profile picture (only for Facebook and Live though, not Twitter).

Another tab in the Me card lets you view notifications (e.g. Twitter mentions) and, finally, What’s new lets you view your own status updates.

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The Me card manages your social networks

Messaging hub

Messaging was heavily retooled for version 7.5.

Threads are the building blocks of all non-email messaging. Although a sort of conversation view, threads mash together SMS, Facebook and Windows Live messages.

That’s the thing about Windows Phone: the Messaging hub removes the old division between texts, IMs, social messages. The other hubs do the same for the other functionality, making the whole thing simple yet powerful.

Anyway, Messaging is separated into two tabs – threads and online. Online shows you who’s online with the people you’ve talked to most recently on top. This makes finding someone to talk to very easy.

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Viewing all threads and who’s online • A single threads combines messages from SMS, Facebook, Messenger

Threads is where this hub’s impressive features kick in. A new thread is created for each person you start a chat with. Messages are displayed as speech balloons and a label on the left shows the type of message – text, Facebook or Live Messenger. Labels are placed only when the conversation moves to a different platform so it’s not cluttered.

You can choose which platform to use to send a reply and the text box will remind you what you’re currently using with a message like “chat on Facebook”. Individual messages can be copied (the whole message is copied to be pasted later, you can’t copy only a part of the message), they can be deleted or forwarded. Whole threads can be deleted too.

You can’t attach anything to Facebook messages, you’ll need to use MMS for that.

The visual voicemail functionality is also part of the new OS (that is dependant on the carrier and your plan). It works as you would expect, by letting you read your voicemail messages instead of listening to them.

There are extensive methods to chat on social networks but we’ll get to that in another chapter.

Here’s a quick demo of the messaging and SNS prowess of the People and Messaging hubs:

Email

Conversation view was expected – it lists emails between you and a contact chronologically, grouping them by subject. It’s the display style that Gmail popularized and is the best way to keep track of a conversation over email.

Each email conversation is listed with a subject and number of messages, plus how many of those are new. A tap on a conversation expands it to show the messages plus a line from each message.

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Email has Conversation view

You can tap on an individual message to read it, as well as skip messages back and forward to navigate the conversation. We expected to be able to swipe between the messages, but that wasn’t the case.

Another highly requested feature was a unified inbox for email – and Windows Phone 7.5 delivers. You can now link multiple inboxes (and unlink them individually later), so that you have a single place to check for new messages.

Linking several inboxes will also automatically combine their live tiles. You can browse individual folders for each account, which lets you view messages from only one email account even if it’s linked.

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Linking inboxes

Calendar and Office updates

The business side of Windows Phone has its own list of cool updates in version 7.5.

The Calendar can view sub-calendars for each account you have and you can give each a different color to make it easier to tell apart. You can also disable sub-calendars if they’re getting in the way.

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Calendar supports multiple online calendars and sub-calendars

To-dos can be created too. Those can only be synced with Live accounts, and not a Gmail account for example. Each to-do can have a priority reminder, due date and notes. Later, to-do’s can be sorted by priority.

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To-dos are part of the calendar too

As for the Office hub, SkyDrive integration is one thing that was improved. Now, docs are automatically synced between the phone and your computer through SkyDrive. In case you missed it, Microsoft are offering free 25GB of storage with each SkyDrive account (but individual files are limited to 100MB).

Windows Phone 7.5
Office Hub supports multiple online locations

There’s more – the Locations tab replaces the old SharePoint tab. This lets you browse Office docs stored on the phone, in SkyDrive, through SharePoint or in Office 365 (a paid service that includes Office web apps).

The Excel section of the Office hub got better too – it grew the all-time favorite Auto-sum function and you can now tap and drag to select multiple cells.

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Excel has been touched up

OneNote now has a To-Do feature that turns the selected line into a to-do item that can be checked off.

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OneNote can make one very flexible check list

Changes to multimedia handling

The Pictures hub has been polished up a bit in Windows Phone Mango. There’s a new People tab, which lets you browse photo albums by individual contacts or groups.

Photos can be shared via MMS, email or on a social network. You can pick one network to be available for quick sharing, which requires one tap less.

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Sharing a photo

You can set a single photo as a background for the hub (it used to be the last photo viewed) or you can set it to shuffle different photos.

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Picking a background for the Pictures hub

And of course, the point of hubs is that they are the go-to place to do things, instead of apps. New functionality allows apps to integrate into the Pictures hub, so for example, a photo effects app can make its options available right in the hub. Devs need to enable that into apps however.

Windows Phone 7 used to be quite restricted when it came to sharing – it’s still not perfect (it still downsizes photos before emailing them, for one) but you can now share videos too, either via email or on Facebook.

While uploading photos to Facebook or Windows Live, the OS will detect any untagged faces and allow you to tag them before proceeding with the upload.

One bit of nuisance in the original version of the OS was its insistence to forget any custom camera settings – e.g. the video call camera would always launch in VGA resolution selected. Now you have a dedicated save settings button. You can go back to the defaults at any time if you’re not happy with the changes.

Windows Phone 7.5
Saving the camera settings

With Windows Phone 7.5, the Music+Videos hub also saw its functionality extended. Creating playlists on the phone is one of the new features (add songs to Now playing and save the list as a new playlist).

Smart DJ (part of the desktop Zune software) can create playlists automatically, again right on the phone. And another thing – you can subscribe to podcasts (both audio and video). You could do that with the desktop Zune, but this way you avoid the extra step of syncing with your computer.

Bing is better at finding things

When you search on Bing, one of the things that might be offered as a relevant result is an app from the Marketplace. For example, searching for “travel” will offer a travel tool app. This feature is called App connect.

Windows Phone 7.5
App Connect in action

Bing also grew two new search modes – song recognition and barcode scanner. Those are features popular with apps, but with WP7.5 you get those natively as part of the OS.

The camera scanner can also snap a photo of text, perform OCR and translate it into another language.

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Track recognition • Barcode scanner

Brand new web browser

The Internet Explorer on Widows Phone was updated to the latest version for the 7.5 update and it improves the user interface.

The URL bar is always visible (but the status bar at the top of the screen is auto-hides, so you don’t actually lose any screen real estate) and next to it is the refresh button. You can, of course, bring up the extended settings, which offer a great deal of options.

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The new Internet Explorer interface

The URL bar also serves as a search bar, which is a handy shortcut for looking things up if you’re not sure which site exactly will do the job.

The browser makes the controls in web pages look just like their equivalents in native apps. So, a web app can look just like a native app with practically no extra effort from the designer.

The six tab ceiling hasn’t been lifted – it’s not too bad, but competing OSes don’t have such limitations. We were also hoping to see text reflow, but no luck on that either.

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More options • 6 tabs max • Settings

What has changed is performance – the new browser relies on hardware graphics acceleration to provide smoother graphics (and video) and animation and the JavaScript engine has been retooled as well.

Microsoft are so confident that they’ve set up a page specifically for testing the performance of your phone – both JavaScript and graphics. You can find the page here.

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Internet Explorer does a Test Drive

Don’t be afraid to pit the phone against even a desktop browser – the tests are pretty demanding and if you’re not running a recent version of the major desktop browsers, your computer will surely break a sweat.

And here’s a quick video tour of the new Internet Explorer Mobile:

Maps with driving directions and local search

Maps is a core part of the Windows Phone experience and there’s a new feature that makes version 7.5 a must-have – driving (and pedestrian) navigation for free.

Now, it’s not quite voice-guided navigation. Here’s how it works: first you set up a route and listen to the first instruction, then when it’s time for the next instruction, the phone will beep and highlight it. If you tap it, the phone will read it out to you, but only then.

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Maps now gives driving and walking directions

The Maps app uses a big font with white letters on black background that make reading easy. It still requires you to take your eyes off the road though, it won’t put SatNav apps out of business.

But it can come handy (especially if you’ve got a co-pilot) and until Nokia joins the Windows Phone team, it’s the best that the newest OS from Redmond can offer (oddly, WP6.5 had voice-guided navigation in the States).

Real-time traffic information is also available.

That’s not all the new Maps can do for you though. The app will locate nearby points of interest with the new feature called Local Scout and it will even show you indoor maps of malls.

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Local Scout helps you find something to do, something to eat or buy nearby

Local Scout has a tabbed interface to sort the various points of interest – eat+drink, see+do, shop and highlights. You can pick items from a “I care about” list to get the relevant options only.

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Looking over info and reviews for some interesting destinations

Miscellaneous improvements

It’s an odd thing to brag about, but Windows Phone 7.5 lets the user choose a custom ringtone. Don’t laugh, iPhone users had to go through the same in the beginning.

Another thing that WP7.5 enables is Wi-Fi hotspot functionality. To enable sharing, you have to pick a name for the network and then the security level, open or WPA2. Keep in mind that it’s up to the carrier to enable this feature, so you might not get it even if you install 7.5.

One thing that must have annoyed security-conscious people is WP7’s inability to connect to Wi-Fi networks that don’t broadcast a name (hidden networks). That’s no longer a problem with version 7.5.

The Games hub got an update too, now you can edit your avatar, track your Xbox Live achievements and get messages from Xbox Live contacts.

Final words

Windows Phone 7 failed to wow consumers, but it’s part of Microsoft’s long-term plan and they are not rushing anything. It will soon be joined by Windows 8, which shares the Metro UI, the live tiles, the ARM CPU support and will be sprawling across PCs and tablets in no time.

When that’s done, Microsoft will be offering a complete ecosystem – from your phone, through your tablet, to your computer at home or at work. That’s exactly what Apple have had going on for quite a while and this way of doing things has had a lot of vocal proponents.

Still, WP7 lacked key functionality, which deterred potential consumers. Version 7.5 however brings things that will appeal to businesspeople, social networking buffs and people who like a novel software experience.

If you’re using Microsoft software (chances are you’re using at least Office at work), WP7.5 offers the smoothest, most well-rounded experience. The rich bundle of several social networks and IM clients and emails and texts is beautifully organized too.

And let’s face it, the Windows Phone interface is the only UI around that’s truly different – iOS, Android, even Symbian are becoming harder and harder to tell apart. The only thing that held it back was the lack of multitasking and now that’s been sorted out.

Speaking of apps, two tech giants (Microsoft and Nokia) are hard at work to attract new developers to build even more apps and introduce even more services to the platform.

Second generation Windows Phone handsets are already on the way and they stand a good chance of stopping the market-share downward spiral. It will take years to catch up to Android and iOS, but Windows Phone 7.5 is a big step forward.

For more reviews visit http://www.gsmarena.com/

galaxy-s-2-lte

Samsung makes the Galaxy S II even better – announces Galaxy S II LTE and Galaxy S II HD LTE


Today is a big day in South Korea. Samsung decided to announce two more variants of the popular Galaxy S II line of phones in their home market. The first is the Samsung Galaxy S II LTE. This phone was announced back at IFA 2011 in Berlin and now we know that it’s heading to South Korea’s SK Telecom.

The second device is what’s very interesting here. A long with the Galaxy S II LTE, Samsung also announced the Galaxy S II HD LTE. Yes, you read that right, HD, and in High Definition. The Galaxy S II HD LTE is the first Galaxy phone to have an HD display. It features a 4.65-inch Super AMOLED Plus HD display with a 720 x 1280 pixels resolution. Besides the bigger screen, the specs of the SGSII HD LTE are the same as the LTE version and include:

  • 1.5GHz dual-core processor
  • 8-megapixel camera with 1080P video support
  • 16GB of internal storage
  • NFC

There’s no word on pricing or availability at the moment. What we do know is that the Galaxy S II LTE will be available exclusively on SK Telecom. The Galaxy S II HD LTE will be available on all three Korean carriers: SK Telecom, LG U+, and KT.

Android

While Android is the leading smartphone operating system with 52 per cent market share, Apple’s iOS is the second best at 28 per cent.


 Android is the leading smartphone operating system and it has almost double the market share compared to the closest rival is a big surprise, says a recent study report.   According to a US based market research firm,Millennial Media Mobile Mix report, Android led the smartphone OS market with a 52 per cent share, followed by 28 per cent of iOS. While BlackBerry is the third largest with 13 per cent market share, it has been losing market share to the two of the leaders.   Symbian and Microsoft Windows Phone 7 contributed 1 per cent each. The data is based on USA figures but is representative of the growth of Android and iOS across the world.   Earlier, Gartner in its May report, said that Symbian, the erstwhile market leader, was losing market share especially after Nokia changed track and adopted Windows Phone 7 as its preferred operating system. In 2010, Symbian had 44.2 per cent market share in smartphone segment, which reduced to 27.4 per cent in May this year and now if this Millennial Media is to be believed it has fallen further. However, Nokia was never very strong in USA and so it does not meant that world figures would be that low for Symbian.   In India though, Nokia’s Symbian still continues to be a major operating system, with more than 70 per cent market share in the mobile operating system space. However in smartphone space, the Nokia’s OS is losing the share much more rapidly and now represents only 35 per cent market share. In terms of handset brand, Nokia continues to be the top brand but Samsung is closing in fast with 26 per cent market share already.   Samsung is aiming 40 per cent market share in India, and is riding on the success of its Android based Galaxy series of smartphones.   This Mobile Mix report also tracked the top 20 handsets with the iPhone making up 13.06 per cent. The second place handset was the LG Optimus at 6.71 per cent, probably largely due to it being cheap and in some cases free with a new two-year contract. However, the study did combine the count for current and older generations of the same device series. For instance, the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS were counted together, while the Motorola Droid and Droid 2 were lumped together as well.   The iPhone takes the lead in the top 20 handsets, 15 of those run Android, making up 33 per cent. Rounding out the top 20 are the BlackBerry Curve, Bold, Torch, and Pearl.   Additionally, the study also produced a Device OS Mix chart that now includes tablets and handheld gaming devices, MP3 players, and other connected devices. Tracking the impressions, smartphones now make up 72 per cent of the market, while feature phones and connected device each make up 14 per cent.   While in India, smartphone segment is growing but it is yet to breach the 20 per cent market share mark.Tablets especially the low cost ones from the newer brands have created new interest in the segment with price of tablets now starting from where low end smartphones start and support all the features which these smartphones support.
Xperia-NEV-V

Sony Ericsson introduces the Xperia Neo V


The Sony Ericsson Xepria line of phones is growing. Today, Sony Ericsson introduces the Xperia Neo V, their latest Android smartphone. The Neo V will feature Android 2.3.4,a 3.7-inch screen with 480×854 resolution, front and rear-facing cameras, a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM8255 processor, 320MB of internal storage, 2GB microSD card, and much more.

3D-video

The Xperia Neo V will be the first phone to feature the new Facebook inside Xperia functionality and also the new 3D camera functionality. The 3D camera feature will allow users to capture images with their camera, which can then be viewed in 3D by connecting the phone to a 3D TV using the HDMI output.

The Xperia Neo V will be available globally in select markets from Q4 2011.

Sony Ericsson introduces the Live with Walkman Android phone


 

sony-ericsson-live-with-walkman

If you thought the Walkman was dead, you better think again. Sony Ericsson today announced their newest phone, the Live with Walkman (Seriously, Sony, couldn’t think of another name?). The Live with Walking Android phone is similar to the Xperia mini, except that it has a larger screen and is focused more on music.

The Live with Walkman features a small 3.2-inch TFT with HVGA resolution with scratch-proof coating. It is powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8255 processor and runs on Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). The phone features both front and rear-facing cameras. The rear 5-megapixel camera will be able to capture at 720P resolution. It features 512MB of RAM and 320MB of internal storage with a 2GB microSD card and support for up to 32GB.

Here are some of the other features that the Live with Walkman

  • Deep Facebook integration: Allows users to instantly access Facebook through the most used areas of the phone such as the picture gallery, music player, phonebook and calendar.
  • Media Discovery Application: A dynamic application placing the world of music and videos at consumer’s fingertips including Facebook™ recommendations from their friends.
  •  Infinite button: Tapping it within the media player enables consumers to have instant access to new content about their favourite artist, such as music videos, artist information and lyrics search.
  • Qriocity music and video content services from Sony: Consumers can access millions of songs from all major labels and watch thousands of movies from all major studios. Only Sony Ericsson Android smartphones provide consumers with unique access to the  entertainment services from *Sony.
  • *Sony’s xLOUD™ technology: Enhances audio output of the inbuilt speakers at high levels.
  • TrackID: Identifies the music track you are listening to within the FM radio and music player. The track can then instantly be shared or downloaded.

The Live with Walkman will be available globally in selected markets starting in Q4 2011.

Samsung I9103 Galaxy R preview


The Galaxy S lineup is no stranger to versioning – the original Galaxy S relied on half a dozen different editions to achieve its market success. Its successor will obviously take a similar path as we just got its first body double in the face of the Samsung I9103 Galaxy R. With Tegra 2 stepping in for the Exynos chipset and SC-LCD taking the place of the new generation SuperAMOLED Plus, the Galaxy Z should be covering for the cases when the Galaxy S II is just slightly out of budget, while at the same time saving on the precious AMOLED panels.

Update 12 Jul: Shortly after this preview was published we were contacted by Samsung, who clarified that the handset will be available in most markets as Samsung I9103 Galaxy R. We’ve fixed the preview accordingly.


Samsung I9103 Galaxy R official photos

Now, the Samsung I9100 is obviously a winning formula so Samsung should be extra careful with any changes that it introduces.

Tegra 2 is a fine alternative to Exynos and we already know what kind of performance to expect. We’ve seen the switch to SC-LCD before – with the I9003 Galaxy SL. With the numbers the SuperAMOLED Plus packing I9100 is selling, it’s no surprise that Samsung will try to sell a few units that don’t use up their scarce SuperAMOLED recourses.

We’ve summarized the specs of the Samsung I9103 Galaxy R to get you acquainted with the device quickly, so we can move on to the fun stuff.

Samsung I9103 Galaxy R at a glance:

  • General: GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, 3G with HSPA
  • Form factor: Touchscreen bar phone
  • Dimensions: 125 x 66.1 x 9.5 mm, 135g
  • Display: 4.2″ 16M-color SC-LCD capacitive touchscreen, 480 x 800 pixels
  • CPU: Dual-core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 processor, GeForce GPU, Tegra 2 chipset
  • Memory: 1GB RAM, 2GB ROM, 8GB storage, microSD card slot
  • OS: Android OS, v2.3.3 Gingerbread with TouchWiz 4.0
  • Camera: 5 megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash; face detection, geo-tagging; 1.3MP front-facing camera
  • Video recording: 720p video recording
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, standard microUSB port, GPS receiver with A-GPS, 3.5mm audio jack, FM radio
  • Battery: 1650mAh
  • Misc: Built-in accelerometer, multi-touch input, proximity sensor, Swype text input, Office document viewer/editor

Clearly, the I9103 Galaxy R is meant as a companion of the I9100 Galaxy S II – early pricing info also suggests that the two belong to different market segments.

We would have liked an 8MP camera and 1080p video capture, but if sticking to the 5MP/720p camera specs means we can munch on Gingerbread for less cash than the S II would cost, then we won’t complain. After all, the original Galaxy S had a similar camera module and we’re quite pleased with it.

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Samsung I9103 Galaxy R live shots

Before proceeding further, we should point out that we’re using a pre-production model of the Samsung I9103 Galaxy R and the hardware might change before the design is finalized. The software looks identical to the one in the I9100 Galaxy S II, so that probably won’t see much (if any) changes. Further optimizations to suit the new chipset seem likely though.

It may not have the slender, 8.5mm frame of its big brother, but the I9103 Galaxy R is a good looking device. Join us on the next page, as we do a proper inspection of its hardware.