Nokia confirms 5800 Tube, plans low- to high-end touchscreen phones

Anssi Vanjoki, the Senior Vice President of Nokia Markets revealed that the world’s leading phone maker company is set to launch a touchscreen handset in the second half of the year. You can be sure Mr. Vanjoki talking about the highly anticipated Nokia 5800 Tube here. Because of its touchscreen display, which is also a prominent feature of the iPhone, the 5800 XpressMedia is seemingly in a position to compete with Apple’s product. The Vice President speaks about that as well – in his opinion, the sales of iPhone will only boost the sales of multimedia handsets overall, which wireless carriers will undoubtedly find to be a very good issue. As for the competition, Nokia seems to choose an unexpected path here and explore the niche of low-end touchscreen phones. The company will introduce touchscreen handsets to all price segments, that is, from the lowest to the highest, while their rivals concentrate on higher-end products only. What can I say, it would be pretty interesting to see cheaper, low-end phones with touchscreen functionality. Nokia’s rival Samsung also plans their own touchscreen device, a neat and functional handset with a 3.2″ display named i900 Omnia. Via:...

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Samsung seeking to grow in Finland

Samsung, the world’s second biggest mobile phone producer, has announced of their plans to increase company’s market share in Finland. It is, of course, Nokia’s home turf, so it comes as no surprise that Nokia has 86% market share there, compared to Samsung’s measly 6%. Samsung does plan to eat into that eighty-six percent though. Mika Engblom, the head of Samsung’s sales department in Finland was quoted saying that the company plans to increase their share of the market to at least 15%, the same they had back in 2005 when Samsung introduced clamshell phones in the country. Samsung’s main weapon in the battle for the Finnish market will be touchscreen phones; the company ran a survey that showed great interested in these, especially among the older part of the population. The new i900 Omnia is one of the devices that company will introduce in Finland, the spokesman of Samsung said. While the Finnish mobile phone market is by no means large, it is a mature one, and as such important for phone makers as it’s one of the markets that sets the trends to the rest of the world. Another important market is, of course, South Korea – and here the roles of Samsung and Nokia are reversed, as it is Nokia entering Korean market, which is currently dominated by Samsung and other 3 big companies (namely LG, Pantech and Motorola). Nokia’s attempts have not been very lucky so far, I might add. Via:...

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Man banned from owning a camera phone for filming a woman in an airport toilet

Samuel Ong, an 19-year-old Singaporean student was banned from using a camera phone for a year after he secretly filmed a woman who was, like Borat would say, “making a toilet”. The incident occurred in Singapore’s Changi Airport. The victim reported Ong to the police, and now the peeping teen has to do 60 hours of community service and undergo psychiatric treatment, among other things. His parents also had to sign a bond worth around $3300 to ensure that their kid will be a good boy from now on. Well, this here is just a piece of bizarre news – it just shows, however, how much privacy problems can camera phones cause. Oddly, these issues seem to be more prominent in Asia – perhaps because of how popular cell phones are there or maybe because of other, social reasons – but I am no expert here, of course. In South Korea and Japan, for example, all camera phones sold must make a loud sound when taking a picture – this law was passed in order to reduce the number of upskirt photos being taken (one does wonder how big this problem was exactly if it required a creation of a specific law!). In Singapore itself, camera phones are banned in a number of places, including schools and all governmental buildings. Via:...

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Samsung Instinct: $200 with a two-year contract
Jun12

Samsung Instinct: $200 with a two-year contract

PhoneNews got some hot insider info from Sprint on the pricing and market positioning of Samsung’s Instinct. This smartphone is, apparently, to be pit against Apple’s new weapon, the iPhone 3G – while its full retail price will be $449.99, you can shave $150 off that if you sign a two year contract with Sprint, and another $100 if you use a mail-in rebate. The price of Samsung Instinct then comes to only $199.99. There’s a catch though – using Instinct in Sprint’s network will require you to sign up for their “Simply Everything” plan that we wrote about two weeks ago, and which apparently costs $70/month. The features listed are not unlike those found in plans available for iPhone (even better, it seems), so this once again puts Instinct in a competitive position. Similarly AT&T will be charging a $10/month extra from new iPhone 3G customers which will help them recover their subsidies on the device. It is estimated that iPhone will cost AT&T $1 billion this year, but of course lower price should help the company in it’s fight to regain the #1 spot among US wireless carriers after the Verizon/Alltel merger. Samsung Instinct will be available in stores on June 20 and unlike it’s competitor will have both retail and after-rebate price listed, so customers who don’t want to sign a 2-year contract with Sprint will still be able to get the phone, albeit for a noticeably higher price. As for the competition between Instinct and iPhone, despite Sprint reportedly spending $100 million in advertising, I don’t find it very likely that it will manage to put a noticeable dent in the market share of this beast. Ironically after several “iPhone killers” the real one appears to be iPhone 3G. Via:...

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Verizon Wireless to acquire Alltel for $28.1 billion

Verizon Wireless is to acquire Alltel Corp. in a cash merger, the company announced in a press release today. The talks between the two wireless carriers that were announced yesterday by Reuters, CNBC and other news agencies seem to have gone smoothly. According to the deal, Verizon will buy Alltel for $5.9 billion cash, as well as assume their $22.2 billion long-term debt (meaning Alltel’s debt becomes debt of Verizon Wireless now) so the total value of the deal is $28.1 billion. The networks of the two wireless carriers are the second and the fifth in terms of number of customers in US, with 67.2 million and 13.2 million users respectably. When Verizon Wireless acquires Alltel as planned, the company will reach 80 million mark and top AT&T with their 71 million users, becoming the owner of nation’s biggest wireless telecommunications network. The date of completion of the merger will likely depend on approvals from antitrust authorities, but the parties are expecting it to happen by the end of the year. The current owners of Alltel, private equity firms TPG Capital and GS Capital Partners bought the corporation for about $28.4 billion on November 16 last year (source). It will be interesting to note that Verizon isn’t paying any more than TPG and Goldman did, especially having in mind that Alltel increased it’s EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) by 10% since that acquisition. Alltel primarily specializes in rural markets which Verizon Wireless doesn’t serve; after the merger, the company plans to upgrade those networks with 4th generation LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology over the course of several years. Good news for Alltel customers it seems, now that it is owned by a strong company with plenty of funds for investment in their network. “This move will create an enhanced platform of network coverage, spectrum and customer care to better serve the growing needs of both Alltel and Verizon Wireless customers for reliable basic and advanced broadband wireless services” said Lowell McAdam, the CEO of Verizon Wireless. Via: Verizon...

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MOSH joins Nokia Media Network

MOSH, a sharing / downloading service and something of a social network for mobile content like themes, ringtones, wallpapers and whatnot has joined the Nokia Media Network, the company announced in an online press release today. Despite still being in beta, Nokia’s MOSH has a huge user base and has reached nearly 50 million downloads since it’s start. Joining the Nokia Media Network means that “spotlight” ads will be displayed above all organic content of the site. One of the first customers was Vringo, a US-based video ringtone sharing site, which was more than happy with the results – after running an ad campaign on MOSH, their downloads increased twofold. No wonder as this site gathers the biggest mobile content users. Nokia Media Network was launched back in February this year; not only it includes Nokia’s own websites, it also has Reuters, Sprint, AccuWeather, Discovery and other big publishers – over 70 in total, resulting in great click-through rates for the advertisers. Not just great, but simply amazing you could say – has anyone heard of banners getting 10% average click-through rate nowadays when everyone either use browser plugins for blocking or outright ignores them? Sure, there’s good targeting, but maybe the specific audience is part of the reason as well. Perhaps the reason for such good response from visitors of MOSH and other mobile content sites is that they don’t mind discovering new, related websites with more goodies for their phones. Via:...

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Bluetooth promotions – new form of advertising from Intera
Jun03

Bluetooth promotions – new form of advertising from Intera

Intera Group, a US-based advertising company which sells ad space on panels in some 7,000 locations around the country has started offering a new kind of campaigns for their advertisers. The company installs Bluetooth transmitters in a busy area and they send ads and special offers wirelessly to the phones of the passers-by who have enabled the discovery setting. As Bluetooth works only in a range of up to 10 meters, the area is limited, hence the name “Proximity Marketing”. This kind of advertising seems most useful to local merchants, as demonstrated by ad campaign ran for Hard Rock Cafe in San Francisco, the very first customer of Intera’s new ad technology. About 25% of the people who got sent a promotion (spend $25 and receive a free souvenir) went ahead and redeemed it. An example of Proximity Marketing ad: A lot of people turn off the “discoverable” setting – for security or other reasons – and the advertising from Intera won’t be able to reach them. Kevin Thornton, CEO of the company, says that it would help if the retailers put up signs indicating that if users enable their Bluetooth functionality, they will be eligible for a special offer. Intera Group has big plans for Proximity Marketing, looking to open over 100 locations in California in the next 3 months, and as much as a thousand locations before the end of the year; they expect to partner with shopping malls, petrol stations and other local retailers. Via:...

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Wi-Fi to replace Bluetooth?

Soon after the introduction of Bluetooth protocol, it became the standard for connecting various low-power devices such as headsets or computer mice together. Some of the advantages of this wireless protocol include low power usage and simple discovery of new peripherals. Wi-Fi might be an alternative though. Ozmo Devices have developed a technology called Wi-Fi PAN (Personal Area Network) which not unlike Bluetooth works great with wireless low-power peripherals, not even requiring a dongle to connect with them – and, of course, it adds to the already existing Wi-Fi functionality. The technology itself consists of a low power chip in the said peripheral (a headset, for example), and a software driver on the terminal (such as your PC). That’s all that is needed to connect the device to a Wi-Fi network. According to the press release, some manufacturers like Belkin are planning to integrate the technology in their new products. While this does seem like a nice alternative, Bluetooth won’t go out without a fight. It is backed by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) which includes big names like IBM, Intel, Nokia and Toshiba and new versions of the protocol are planned, possibly providing up to 480 Mbit/s transfer speed while maintaining relatively low power usage. Via:...

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nVidia Tegra system-on-a-chip solution for MIDs
Jun02

nVidia Tegra system-on-a-chip solution for MIDs

nVidia has introduced a system-on-a-chip solution called Tegra which combines CPU, GPU and even memory in a single US dime-sized chip, and is mainly meant to be used in Mobile Internet Devices – or MIDs for short. The company has announced two models of these processors so far, namely Tegra 600 and Tegra 650. If you don’t mind getting a little technical, let’s take a peak inside these. Perhaps the most important part of Tegra chip is the APX 2500 processor that nVidia introduced earlier. It, in turn, consists of a universal ARM 11 architecture 800 MHz CPU and an ultra low voltage GeForce graphics processor. Besides that, the Tegra chip also has integrated system memory and a controller for peripherals. What’s more, it also has a separate processor for media – that’s right, it’s actually separate from the APX 2500. The highly integrated architecture gives Tegra an advantage in power efficiency – up to ten times compared to the existing products, nVidia claims. According to the company, this chip can playback HD videos for 30 hours straight when running on a battery. Here’s the official feature list of Tegra 650 from nVidia: All-day media processing, for 130 hours audio, 30 hours HD video playback HD image processing for advanced digital still camera and HD camcorder functions Optimized hardware support for Web 2.0 applications for a true desktop-class internet experience Display support for 1080p HDMI, WSXGA+ LCD and CRT, and NTSC/PAL TV-Out Direct support for WiFi, disk drives, keyboard, mouse, and other peripherals A complete Board Support Package (BSP) to enable fast times to market for Windows Mobile-based designs This puts nVidia in a position to compete with Intel and their Atom processor. Note, however, that these two products are rather different; they’re both meant for MIDs, yes, but then again, companies still argue about the very definition of MIDs. Intel Atom is a CPU based on x86 architecture, and judging from the specs, it should be faster than nVidia’s ARM 11 CPU. On the other hand, Terga combines all system in a single chip, and will probably use power much more efficiently than an Atom-based system. There might be one more player in the game – AMD. Switz semiconductor manufacturer STMicroelectronics has introduced their own mobile processor back in February. The Nomadik STn8820 is somewhat similar to Terga, as it also runs on a ARM11 CPU (although this one can only be clocked at 528 MHz while the one in nVidia’s chip runs at 800 MHz). The big difference is the graphics engine, which comes from AMD. On paper, the chips seem to have pretty similar capabilities, with...

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Microvision confirms picoprojectors this year
May27

Microvision confirms picoprojectors this year

Matt Nichols, a spokesman of Microvision (a maker of display and imaging products) has announced that the first picoprojectors will be commercially released towards the end of 2008. We already wrote about the Pico chip from Texas Instruments that powers these cool devices and the upcoming 3M projectors in Samsung phones, if you recall. The company shared some of their plans for this mobile projector technology. Only limited amounts will be shipped this year, with bigger volumes following in 2009 (if it sells well of course). The first one will be of accessory type, letting you connect them not only to mobile phones, but to digital cameras as well. In the future, the company plans working with their partners and integrating the picoprojectors inside the handsets. EE Times Asia revealed some of the technical specs as well. The projectors use RGB lasers for output, and the current model can produce a 848×480 resolution image. A prototype projector called SHOW was recently demonstrated by Microvision at this years SID Display Week. Here’s a picture advertising their Pico technology (the device there is of course a concept): So is this just another fad, or maybe the “next big thing”? Only time will show, but there are big companies and big money behind this technology. Via:...

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