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середа, 13 квітня 2011 р.

Google updates Android enterprise features

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) said it has made more updates to its Android for business portfolio around security and connecting colleagues. The new features will be available to all Google Apps for Business and Google Apps for Education customers.

The search giant said it has released a new version of the Google Apps Device Policy app that enables employees to secure a lost or stolen Android device (those running Android 2.2 or higher) by locating it on a map, ringing the device and resetting the device PIN or password remotely via the company's new "My Devices" website. In addition, Google Apps administrators have the option in the control panel to "Encrypt Data on Device," which now includes requiring encrypted storage on Android 3.0 tablets.

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Google is also adding a new corporate contacts app called Google Apps Lookup, which is designed to make it easier for workers to find and contact people in their organizations by typing or speaking the name or email address of a co-worker and then tapping the screen to call, email, IM or send a text message.

"With more than 300,000 devices activated per day globally, Android is seeing rapid adoption in the post-PC era," the company wrote on its blog. "Android works quite well with Google Apps, but we're working to make it an excellent choice for both end-users and IT at businesses and schools."

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Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 Plays the Long Game

Windows Phone 7 represents Microsoft's next best hope for carving some smartphone market share away from the likes of not only Google Android and the Apple iPhone, but also Research In Motion's BlackBerry franchise and the Palm devices resurrected under the Hewlett-Packard brand.

By some analyst estimates, Microsoft has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into its Windows Phone 7 development and marketing efforts. It recently signed a deal with Nokia that will see the software ported onto the latter's smartphones, an agreement both companies hope will boost their respective market shares in the long battle against their mutual rivals. Microsoft made sure to sign a number of carriers and manufacturing partners onto its initial smartphone rollout, and it imposed strict hardware requirements for the devices themselves, to ensure a consistent user experience.

And yet Windows Phone 7 is still experiencing some growing pains.

It started when a February software update, designed to help with future updates, stalled a small number of users' smartphones and sparked two days' worth of drama on Microsoft's online help forums. In the wake of that mini-incident, Microsoft seemed to take a more cautious note with "NoDo," its March update.

"After careful consultation with the team and our many partners, we've decided to briefly hold the March update in order to ensure the update process meets our standards and that of our customers," a Microsoft spokesperson wrote in a March 10 email to eWEEK. "As a result, we will plan to begin delivering the update in the latter half of March."

The "NoDo" update brings a number of things to the proverbial table, including faster app loading and the addition of a cut-and-paste feature. However, for many users, the last week of March ticked by without an update—sparking another round of online protests. Microsoft responded with a pair of charts detailing the update status for devices in both the United States and around the world. The chart broke the update path into three categories:

Testing, i.e., the update is undergoing network and quality tests.

Scheduling, i.e., Microsoft is scheduling the update for delivery—a process the charts suggest will take "10 days or less."

Delivering, i.e., the smartphone could receive the update within the next "several weeks."

Although the substantial majority of Windows Phone 7 devices had reached the "delivering" stage by early April, some initial slowness for users in the United States—by March 27, no device had reached the "delivering" stage for either the March or February update—led to another micro-burst of public frustration, this time in the comments section of the Microsoft-owned Channel 9 Website.

"We know the table would benefit greatly from more detail, and we are hoping to add more to it by working with the operators who own the 'testing' phase to get more clarity," Joe Belfiore, Microsoft's corporate vice president and director of Windows Phone program management, wrote March 26 in direct response to those comments. "If your phone is shown in 'scheduling,' it'll be worth checking the table next week."

And therein lies a potential rub: By ceding the "testing" phase of the update process to the "operators"—Microsoft's carrier partners—the company surrenders control over the upgrade timetable to outside entities whose strategic alliances and concerns may not wholly align with those of Redmond. Those entanglements aside, the minor speed bumps with the first two updates will likely pressure Microsoft to ensure that the software tweaks scheduled for the next few months, including multitasking and a Twitter feature, proceed on schedule.

In the meantime, Microsoft seems intent on plowing through the early and more awkward stages of Windows Phone 7's lifestyle. Microsoft's MIX11 conference, due to kick off April 12 in Las Vegas, will assemble a broad range of developers and designers to discuss, among other topics, the future of Windows Phone as a viable platform for apps and services.

A March 30 posting on The Windows Phone Developer Blog offers numbers that Microsoft executives will likely use onstage to illustrate that viability: Windows Phone Developer Tools being downloaded some 1.5 million times, the Windows Phone developer community boasting 36,000 members and the Windows Phone 7 ecosystem containing around 11,500 apps.

"We recognize the importance of getting great apps on our platform and not artificially inflating the number of actual apps available to [customers] by listing 'wallpapers' as a category, or perhaps allowing competitors' apps to run on the platform to increase tonnage," Brandon Watson, Microsoft's director of developer experience for Windows Phone 7, wrote in the posting. "We also don't believe in the practice of counting 'lite' apps as unique quality content. In reality they only exist because developers can't have a Trial API and must therefore do extra work."

Nonetheless, it remains unclear whether consumers are gravitating toward the Windows Phone 7 platform. New numbers from analytics firm comScore suggest that Microsoft's share of the smartphone market dipped to 7.7 percent for the three months ending in February, down from 9 percent in November 2010, when the first Windows Phone 7 devices hit store shelves in the United States. To be fair, comScore's gross number also incorporates devices in Microsoft's antiquated Windows Mobile line, which are presumably experiencing a degree of natural bleed-off in favor of Windows Phone 7 and other platforms; nonetheless, Microsoft's smartphone efforts continue to lag those of Google Android, Apple's iOS and RIM's BlackBerry.

In order to change that picture, Microsoft is betting on partnerships with companies like Nokia, a broad array of devices on multiple carriers, and quality apps from third-party developers. As emphasized repeatedly by both Microsoft executives and outside analysts, there is a very long game ahead.
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Windows Phone 7 gets cut'n'paste, other tweaks in update

Vid Windows Phone 7 users can finally cut and paste text, thanks to the "NoDo" update which is gradually being rolled out now.

The long-awaited update improves searching in the Windows Marketplace, provides various performance tweeks (most notably the faster suspend/resume) and finally allows the user to cut text from one place and paste it into another.

The updates started last night, but have been seeping out slowly via the desktop Zune software – presumably so that Microsoft can keep a careful eye on progress and forestall any widespread problems. But so far users seem very happy with the update, with only handful reporting minor problems with Facebook connectivity – and most just pleased to see the functionality arrive.

Cut and paste has been something of an obsession in mobile circles, partly because of the complexity of providing a selection interface on a touch-screen phone. Several attempts have been made to implement the functionality without resorting to tap-and-hold, and Microsoft's first effort isn't perfect, as WinRumours demonstrates when showing off the updated software:

But given how rarely one wants to use cut and paste on a phone this is probably not a big deal. The important thing is to have the functionality there when its needed, and for Microsoft to demonstrate that it can send out updates without screwing up working handsets.

That's being done slowly, so those few who have a Windows Phone 7 handset will need to be patient and wait for their Zune software to tell them their time has come.
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Accessory Hopes to Wirelessly ‘Moov’ Your iPhone’s Display to a Larger HDTV

There are now a number of solutions–from VGA to component and composite cables to HDMI adapters–that aim mirror your iPhone’s or iPad’s display to a larger monitor, and now an Israeli startup is looking to do just that, but without wires. The company has built a prototype case, called the Moov, which has all the necessary electronic components in a form-fitted, slim iPhone case to transmit what’s being shown on your Apple smartphone to a larger HDTV sans wires.

Various apps were being shown mirrored to a larger HDTV, including Facebook, games such as Angry Birds where the iPhone’s touchscreen served as a controller, and accelerometer-based games where users would tilt and move their iPhones to control game play on the larger display without wires, much like Nintendo’s Wii gaming console for the living room.

Aside from the case, all you need is a WHDI-compatible TV or a TV with a WHDI receiver to receive the wirelessly transmitted signals.

The concept demonstrates not just how iOS can be mirrored to a larger TV, but also opens the doors to developers, if this thing gets commercialized, to create compelling applications for use in this type of setting in the living room. We’ve heard of how Apple can take on Sony and Microsoft in the living room with iOS’s gaming capabilities, and perhaps with the Moov concept, this can be closer to reality sans Apple TV even.
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Apple iPhone growth to get lift from CDMA in Asia

The above-market growth trajectory of Apple Inc.’s iPhone is expected to get a boost from its adoption of CDMA networking technology.

Building on its GSM base at carriers such as AT&T, the company’s initial penetration of the CDMA smartphone market kicked off in February when the iPhone became available at Verizon in United States.

While JP Morgan believes that opportunity could produce US$6-billion in revenues in 2012 in addition to another US$3-billion in non-Verizon CDMA penetration, analyst Mark Moskowitz thinks the Asia-Pacific region will be the next growth area for iPhones using CDMA.

Apple has already started to move beyond Verizon in its CDMA pursuit. On March 16, it began selling the iPhone in South Korea through SK Telecom.

Mr. Moskowitz expects Apple will next pursue China, India, Japan and South Korea for CDMA penetration since these regions possess higher rates of smartphone usage and consumer bases with rising economic statures.

Research firm IDC expects smartphone adoption in the region to rise 40% between 2009 and 2012, outgrowing all others.

“In our view, a multi-network capable ‘world’ phone (GSM and CDMA) from iPhone could further enhance the growth contribution from this region,” the analyst said in a note to clients.

He forecasts Apple will ship 10 million CDMA iPhone units and capture 10% of the non-Verizon market in calendar 2012.

Asia-Pacific has been a major contributor to iPhone growth. In Apple’s December 2010 quarter, the region drove 37% of the iPhone’s year-over-year growth and that trend is expected to continue.

Apple remains one of JP Morgan’s top picks for 2011 with an overweight rating and US$450 price target.

The stock currently trades at 13.1x the firm’s 2012 earnings per share estimate, compared to 12.6x for its peers. Mr. Moskowitz expects this valuation premium to expand, adding that Apple is trading well below its 3-year average of 19x.

“In our view, Apple is trading like a value stock and not as the high-growth story in large cap equities,” he said.
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Apple iPhone Maker Foxconn Considering Brazil Move

Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group, makers of the iPhone, are considering making a bold $12 billion move into Brazil, according to Brazilian government sources.

Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff told reporters in Beijing on Tuesday that government officials had met with Foxconn to discuss the possibilities of a massive direct investment over the next five to six years. Brazil’s official government press agency, Agencia Brasil, said the investment would go towards the production of equipment like third generation cellular and iPads. If the investment is realized, the plant will be the first of its kind in the Americas.

From Bloomberg Wednesday:

Foxconn is giving “serious consideration” to further invest in the South American country and has yet to decide on details, said Louis Woo, a spokesman for the Taipei-based company, declining to comment on the value. “It makes sense to move to Brazil but that figure is too much,” said Vincent Chen, an analyst at Yuanta Securities Co. in Taipei. “The main reasons to go there are for tariff considerations and be closer to emerging markets.” The amount is likely an exaggeration, Chen said.

The expansion may help the Taiwanese company, which employs more than one million people in China, scale back the reliance on its manufacturing base in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, where wages are climbing. Foxconn, whose Brazilian facilities include production of notebooks for Hewlett-Packard Co., would make the investments in order to follow customers and give it “market access,” Woo said. He declined to comment on what products the company would make there.

Foxconn’s English language website did not have any news release on the subject as of Wednesday morning.

Reuters reporters said they had seen an official statement and that it did not provide any details or confirmation of foreign direct investments of any magnitude into Brazil in the near future.

Foxconn is one of the world’s largest producers of mother boards and video boards for computer electronics. It is the well-known manufacturer of Apple’s mainline brands. Foxconn already has a Hewlett Packard and Sony manufacturing facility in São Paulo state. Any move to build Apple products in Brazil would surely be more costly than building them in Asia. iPhones and iPads for sale in the retail market go for at least three times the price of US retail, leading many Brazilians to smuggle unblocked handhelds in from Paraguay, duty-free.

Rumors that Foxconn was considering making an Apple assembly line in Brazil surfaced in March of this year from online news portal Rede BOM DIA. The site — based in the interior of São Paulo state — was back at it again on Wednesday, citing Science and Technology Minister Aloizio Mercadante saying Foxconn “will start making Apple tablets in November.”

Mercadante, a former senator and one of the founders of the ruling Workers’ Party, is known to exaggerate. In Agencia Brasil, Mercadante said the investment would generate 100,000 jobs and require the hiring of as many as 20,000 engineers. That would be a huge amount of labor. For example, in 2009, around 38,000 students graduated with engineering degrees in Brazil, according to Instituto Euvaldo Lodi, a business school in Brasilia, the nation’s capital.
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Apple iPhone 5 production map not yet released?

A couple of days ago, some analysts mentioned that the iPhone 5 won’t be in production until September. This news broke some hearts – especially those people who’ve been on the 3GS and looking to upgrade this June, but some remained hopeful about the iPhone 5 still arriving on time. Well some new reports seem to corroborate with the analysts’ statements. According to the folks at DigiTimes, Apple has not released the iPhone 5 production roadmap to the touchscreen manufacturers yet. They also claim that shipments for iPhone 4 touch panels are still arriving steadily, which shows that Apple are still focusing on the iPhone 4 and won’t be manufacturing any next-gen iPhones soon. While there’s been so many reports about the iPhone 5 being delayed, there’s really no telling if these rumors mean a thing. For all we know, the manufacturers could have signed a contract to not reveal anything and have been feeding the media and public with false information and Apple releases a new iPhone right on time at the WWDC this year, shocking everyone. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

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HTC Phone Adds Video as Makers Go Past Apps

For years, smartphone vendors have pushed the availability of apps as a major selling point. Now, some are altering that strategy to focus more on integrated content and services, in what is poised be the next phase in the mobile device wars.


HTC Corp. Tuesday released its first smartphone, the HTC Sensation 4G, that comes with the company's own video service, the result of a recent acquisition. Using the service, owners will be able to rent or purchase more than 600 movies or TV shows via their phone.

The Taiwan company didn't disclose pricing, and says the HTC Sensation will be available world-wide in the second quarter.

Executives say content is king in the mobile business, but the problem is that software applications as the main form of content is quickly becoming commoditized. While Google Inc. and Apple Inc. boast hundreds of thousands of apps, HTC and others say loading a smartphone with too many items is confusing for consumers.

At the same time, analysts say most consumers are looking for similar apps. According to a June 2010 study by researcher Nielsen Co., four of the top five apps that registered as the most popular across all smartphones including Apple, Android and Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry were the same.

The dominance of Google's Android operating system, which market researcher Gartner Inc. predicts will run on nearly half of the world's smartphones by next year, is forcing vendors such as HTC, Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. and Sony Ericsson to find ways to differentiate.

Aaron Woodman, director of Microsoft Corp.'s mobile communications business, says vendors will have trouble standing out on the basis of apps alone. "I believe that apps are one wave of competition," Mr. Woodman says. "I believe services are one of the next waves we will see that will differentiate phones."

Microsoft is betting on services from the videogame and computer worlds such as Xbox Live and SkyDrive, a free online storage service, as it tries to build on its challenged position in the smartphone race.

Other companies are also building on their content and services to help differentiate their smartphones. HTC's video service is the result of its $48.6 million acquisition of Saffron Digital in February. This month, Sony Ericsson started selling its Xperia Play smartphone, the first PlayStation-certified smartphone, and Google acquired PushLife, a service that allows music fans to port their Apple iTunes libraries to non-Apple phones.

Wireless carriers have also tried to offer similar content services in the past, with mixed results.

Analysts say manufacturers are increasingly adding more in-house capabilities to integrate into their smartphones to stand out as the space heats up. Apple with its iTunes service is the farthest ahead in the race, especially when it comes to integrating the content across multiple devices such as televisions and PCs, they say.

"It does go beyond apps," says Tim Shepherd, analyst with Canalys.

However, the strategy comes with challenges, the biggest of which is cost. Content providers are generally unwilling to limit their opportunity to just one vendor, making exclusivity prohibitively expensive.

So, while Sony Ericsson may have the first Playstation-ready smartphone, Sony Corp. made its videogame content available to all Android smartphones and tablets in January.

HTC says Saffron Digital for now will remain a separate entity and continue to serve its other customers, who include Nokia, Motorola and Samsung Electronics Co.

Kouji Kodera, HTC's chief product officer, says HTC purchased Saffron Digital,because it wanted to create a better experience for downloading and viewing content on its devices. For example, HTC's service allows users to start viewing the movie while it's downloading.

Unless the content is integrated into the user interface on the phone in a way that makes it easy to find, people won't use it, Mr. Kodera says. Often if the service comes from a separate company, "you get into the battle of which user experience is best," he adds.

In addition to purchasing Saffron Digital, HTC in February invested $40 million in OnLive Inc. a Silicon Valley Internet gaming firm. HTC is integrating the OnLive service in its Flyer tablet so users can play videogames on their televisions via wireless broadband or on the tablet itself.

"Definitely when the smartphone penetration goes higher and the market size increases, the commoditization comes in," says Mr. Kodera. For HTC, "it's more about having full control over the experience."

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Apple finally announces Final Cut Pro X with 64-bit support

Apple has finally announced the next generation of its professional video editing software, Final Cut Pro X, which can take advantage of powerful new hardware and hefty amounts of memory thanks to 64-bit support.

Now that Final Cut Pro is officially a 64-bit application, it will be able to utilize more than 4 gigabytes of memory. That’s something that will be particularly useful to video editors dealing with lengthy films and large high-definition files. It’s also a feature that consumers have been demanding even before the release of the last version of the software, Final Cut Pro 7, in 2009.

Adobe Premiere, a direct competitor to Final Cut Pro, has been offering 64-bit support for over a year.

Final Cut Pro X will also be able to handle 4K HD clips — a video standard which is just beginning to make its way to movie theaters, and which offers significantly more resolution than 1080p HD videos — on Macs with 8 CPU cores.

Other new features include a revamped interface that resembles iMovie, instant background rendering, auto image stabilization, people detection and more. You can catch a glimpse at what the software offers below from its announcement at the NAB conference.

Final Cut Pro X will be available on the Mac App Store in June for $299 — a price that puts it well below Adobe Premiere and other professional video editing suites.

Source:
http://venturebeat.com/2011/04/12/final-cut-pro-x/