Thursday, 2 December 2010 - tech news fast! - tech news fast!

US Update: LTE, Android, webOS printers, Tegra 4

Posted: 02 Dec 2010 07:00 PM PST

US Update: LTE, Android, webOS printers, Tegra 4Once again it's time to catch up with the best in tech news breaking waves on the other side of the world. Just when you thought LTE was destined to take the market, HSPA subscribers sky rocket. Is Android fragmentation really a thing of the past? This an a whole lot more in what we like to call the US Update.

4G LTE is the talk of the town, but new forecasts from independent telecom analyst Ovum suggest that HSPA will dominate the market for at least the next five years, with HSPA+ upgrade paths leading the charge. The latest Android distribution reports are in and we now have 83 percent of Android devices running Android 2.1 or higher. All signs point to an end to Android fragmentation.

HP has laid out their plans for webOS printers. The plan to move from Android to webOS is already taking form and we can expect to see the first set of printers ship in early 2012. Motorola and HTC have very different plans when it comes to Android tablets. Motorola has confirmed two tablets – a seven and a ten inch. Meanwhile HTC is sitting back and still evaluation the market. Is this the right move?

Last in this morning is the NVIDIA white-paper which revealed that Tegra 3 and Tegra 4 processors will soon be making their way to Android handsets. The manufacturer has confirmed that we'll see a new Tegra chip each year from here on out.

That wraps up things this fine morning from the states. Thanks for spending your morning with us as we break the headlines fresh off the press from our side of the world. Until tomorrow, this is Nick saying over and out.

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NVIDIA quad-core Tegra 4 Android devices coming soon?

Posted: 02 Dec 2010 06:00 PM PST

NVIDIA quad-core Tegra 4 Android devices coming soon?Forget dual-core Tegra 2, that's yesterday's news. According to NVIDIA's multi-core white-paper, the manufacturer is getting ready to double the ante and take Android devices into the realm of quad-core with the Tegra 4. Are you ready to quadruple your Android performance?

That's right, you've read it correctly quad-core processors will soon find their home in Android smartphones. Officially, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang said that Tegra 3 is almost done and Tegra 4 is being built out as we speak. Mr. Huang even promised that "every single year, there will be a new Tegra".

Current Android owners looking to upgrade their smartphone for a dual-core Tegra 2 early next year can now rest sound. When it's time for that contract to expire you'll be flush with a triple-core Tegra 3 or possibly even the quad-core Tegra 4. How's that for some holiday cheer?


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Motorola planning two tablets: HTC tablet future unclear?

Posted: 02 Dec 2010 05:00 PM PST

Motorola planning two tablets: HTC tablet future unclear?To say that we're pumped to get our hands on the next-generation tablets at CES in January is an understatement. Motorola and HTC are the two key players we've been expecting to headline the event, but new insight from their respective CEOs suggest we might be shocked when we land in Vegas.

First up, Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha rose to the occasion for the keynote at the Credit Suisse 2010 Technology Conference yesterday. Among the many topics for discussion was Motorola's plans for tablets. Mr. Jha dropped a bombshell – confirming not one, but two tablets expected to launch in 2011 in seven and ten inch varieties. Both tablets will run Android (as expected) and Mr. Jha expects that software differentiation will be key along with targeting enterprise, international and retail spaces.

The other great news on the Motorola tablet front is that dual-core chips are a primary focus. We've been safely assuming Tegra 2 chips would powered Motorola's tablets, but hearing the CEO confirm the details is always a breath of fresh air. The news for the HTC tablet fans is not quite as cheerful.

According to a DigiTimes report, Jack Tong, vice president of HTC Asia, said that for now HTC is content with merely evaluating the tablet market and hasn't yet decided whether to release a tablet or not. This is shocking news considering we've heard several reports indicated a HTC-branded tablet would land in Q1 2011.

With the current HTC device line up there's plenty of handsets to choose from, but how could they sit on the fence after seeing the immediate success of the Samsung Galaxy Tab? We're not too sure whether we should take the words from Mr. Tong seriously, but if HTC is not developing a tablet at this point it could be a serious mistake.

So what do you think? Is HTC only considering making a tablet or is today's announcement simply a cover-up for a blockbuster device set to be unveiled at CES 2011 when Motorola will likely show off their seven and ten inch prototypes?

via DigiTimes | Droid-Life

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HP webOS printers coming in 2012

Posted: 02 Dec 2010 04:00 PM PST

HP webOS printers coming in 2012We're fans of E-Print technology especially now that AirPrint support in iOS 4.2.1 makes driverless printing a reality. The real question for HP is when are we going to see the next generation of printers powered by webOS? According to HP that day is coming in 2012.

In a recent discussion between UK tech blog Pocket-lint and Stephan Batteaux, HP's portfolio manager for inkjet and Web services for Europe, Batteaux spilled the juicy details. Officially, HP was considering making the move from Android-powered printers to webOS next year, but the more likely switch would will take place in 2012.

The jump to webOS will give HP "more access to a wider development community," and the company plans to release an API for its app-based printers, "in the coming months". We're not exactly sure how moving to webOS instead of Android results in a wider development community, but we'll take the bait.

The real confusion with the whole situation manifested itself when Batteaux said that HP "was working on a way to make it easier to merge the two together in the future". Those "two" he mentions was in reference to webOS and Android. Does this mean that HP is looking to bridge the gap between the two operating systems? Or is there some web-based App strategy rolled out to solve the conundrum?

One thing is for certain, we can expect more details from Mr. Batteaux when he's scheduled to speak on "From Web-OS to E-print: the new Eco-System between devices" at the HP City event in Forest, Belgium on December 9th. So now we ask you — is the move to webOS the right step or should HP stick to Android to power their printers in 2012?

via Pocket-lint

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Android fragmentation done? 83 percent say yes!

Posted: 02 Dec 2010 03:00 PM PST

Android fragmentation done? 83 percent say yes!Tired of hearing about Android fragmentation? So are we. Google's latest Android distribution numbers show that 83 percent of devices run Android 2.1 or higher — is this the end of Android fragmentation as we know it?

Developing for Android devices has often been considered a challenge. Many developers cite the variations, Android fragmentation, as the limiting factor hindering development. As of December 1, that fragmentation is becoming just an afterthought with 6.3 percent of devices running Android 1.5, 10.6 percent Android 1.6, 39.6 percent Android 2.1 and a whopping 43.4 percent Android 2.2.

As months pass, each distribution reports shows a higher percentage of devices running Android 2.1 or higher. On the verge of Android 2.3's release, that percentage will only continue to rise. While manufacturer tweaks will surely prevent a single Android worldwide release date, turning that 83 percent into 90 or even 95 percent is now a reality.

Android fragmentation done? 83 percent say yes!

Simply put, Android fragmentation is coming to a close. Google knows what needs to be done and month after month their dedication towards reaching that goal is being reflected in the distribution reports. All signs point to the need for a vanilla kernel, a unified version of Android — is Android 3.0 (Gingerbread) that solution?

If you would have asked us a year ago whether we thought there would be such a high volume of devices running Android 2.1 or higher, we probably would have laughed. With that being said, I think it's now time for a formal apology. Google, you've done the hard work. You've lined up some serious upgrades for Android and we can't wait to take Gingerbread for a spin – thank you.

The only question left to be answered is whether you'll fully accept our beloved Samsung Galaxy Tab. Oh how we'd love to receive Nexus One treatment with first dibs on Android 2.3. Now that we've laid down the latest data it's time to hear from you, the readers. Can we officially silence Android fragmentation, two words that seemed synonymous at times, or should we keep the topic open for discussion?

via Android Developers

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HSPA will dominate 4G LTE for next five years

Posted: 02 Dec 2010 02:00 PM PST

HSPA will dominate 4G LTE for next five yearsThe hype of 4G LTE might dominate the headlines, but HSPA will remain king — at least for the next five years. The analysts have weighed in and the forecasts show that 4G LTE might not be all it's cracked up to be.

We're not immune the hype leading up to fourth generation LTE. The idea of surfing the web faster is at the core of our mobile hearts, but new forecasts from independent telecom analyst Ovum suggests HSPA will be the technology to get us there first, at least in the short term.

Packed in the pages of the latest forecasts, Ovum projects that HSPA connection will hit 1.87 billion by 2015 and grow at a compound annual growth rate of 46 percent. As LTE grabs the headlines it's easy to forget that HSPA is a firmly established technology with a mature infrastructure and device ecosystem.

Combined with the natural upgrade path to HSPA+, which is being deployed in greater volumes in 2010 and you have a solution sufficient for many operators' needs for the next five years. So HSPA will have us covered for the next five years, but what about LTE?

According to Ovum, "there is a huge amount of hype surrounding LTE and we expect it to really take off in 2012". Over time, LTE is expected to become the dominant force but for the time being HSPA and the HSPA+ upgrade path can deliver equally impressive speeds — most importantly, more bang for the buck.

A quick look over at the theoretical speeds of HSPA+ shows download speeds up to 56 Mbit/s and upload speeds of 22 Mbit/s. Compare that with the actual speeds of current LTE networks which top out in the neighborhood of 12 Mbit/s download, 4 Mbit/s upload and the decision to stick with HSPA and move to HSPA+ makes sense (and cents).

Now that we've broken down the details and forcecasts it's time to chime in. Is the 4G LTE hype eating away at the truth behind actual data speeds? Do you think that carriers should sit back and let early adopters make mistakes and build the eco-system? We're all ears!

via Cellular-News

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Best Nokia apps of the month: December 2010

Posted: 02 Dec 2010 09:34 AM PST

Nokia has released a couple of cracking smartphones in the run up to Christmas, and it’s finally looking like the Ovi Store is getting the app support the new handsets deserve. We’ve been having fun with the best Nokia apps, and they all offer a fantastic way of avoiding work! Join us after the break, where we’ll be bringing you the best Nokia apps.

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Real Football 2010 HD
£3 Ovi Store

OK, so playing as Manchester Reds isn’t very ‘real’, and the commentators seem to be watching a different match most of the time but, that aside, Real Football 2010 HD is a stunner. The onscreen joystick does admittedly cover a corner of the screen – more if you’ve got fat thumbs – but it’s also surprisingly responsive, and this game plays as well as it looks. One of the best Nokia apps? We think so!

Nokia Battery Monitor
£Free Ovi Store

It’s not suddenly going to triple your Nokia’s battery life, but Battery Monitor still sneaks into our best Nokia apps list. It lets you keep an eye on exactly what your phone’s been up to – so don’t leave it near your boss if you’ve spent hours reading Electric Pig. Once you know your usage patterns, you’ll be able to cut down on more power-hungry tasks, eeking out an extra couple of hours.

Opera Mobile 10.1
£Free Ovi Store

A definite contender for one of the best Nokia apps, Opera 10.1 changes the way you’ll browse the internet. From the thumbnailed tabs, to the multiple home screens, it’s every bit as usable as a proper desktop browser. Better than previous versions, Opera Mobile 10.1 is up to nine times faster, and also supports geolocation. Recognising where you are, it provides you with customised and relevant (according to Opera) information. While we haven’t found the latter option a life changing feature, on the whole Opera Mobile 10.1 is definitely one of the best Nokia apps.

Sports Tracker 4.0
£Free Ovi Store

Personally, we know that the latest Sports Tracker 4.0 update would be wasted on us – it’d show that we’ve sat in the office all day eating doughnuts and playing with gadgets – but it’s perfect for more sporty types. And when you’re out and about, nothing else comes close. From tracking your speed, to viewing routes using Ovi Maps, to working out the calories burned depending on your age and weight, Sports Tracker has it all. You can even buy a proper heart rate monitor.

Auto Trader Mobile
£Free Ovi Store

As the name implies, this handy little app works alongside the Auto Trader Mobile website, and is one of the best Nokia apps. If you’re a wheeler dealer, or are simply looking for a new motor, it ranks among the best Nokia apps. Get the latest ads before others have even finished breakfast and logged onto their computers, and ring up sellers straight from the Auto Trader app itself. Along with being one of the best Nokia apps, it’s also one of the best apps currently available full stop.

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Teatime Tech: Angry Birds Christmas out now, NASA announces new life form and flow goes web-based

Posted: 02 Dec 2010 09:12 AM PST

Work dragging a bit? Here’s a thought: grab yourself a steaming cup of something, check the boss isn’t looking and nibble on some of the afternoon’s best news nuggets. Yes folks, it’s Teatime Tech.

First up is a story that’ll cheer up pretty much anybody with an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad: Angry Birds Christmas edition is now available on iTunes! Dubbed Season’s Greedings, it features new content plus the 45-level Halloween special edition. 59p on iPhone and iPod touch, £1.19 on iPad.

Secondly, it’s a bit of shocking science news from NASA: a life form that essentially shatters the generally accepted rules! While it isn’t the extraterrestrial being many were rooting for, some bacteria fished out of Mono Lake, California is built from arsenic – not one of the building blocks of life seen in every other living thing on the planet.

Lastly, music service mflow has gone web-based, if only in beta. You can try the web edition of the music recommendation and purchasing service now – although the software edition won’t be ditched until 2011.

Need a heftier dose of tech news? Hit the homepage for everything else.

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The Open Internet: an open letter in support of UK net neutrality

Posted: 02 Dec 2010 08:40 AM PST

An open letter, signed by 19 UK organisations and companies has been sent to Ed Vaizey, Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, in support of net neutrality, and the securing of net neutrality in law. Net neutrality demands a level playing field for access, and stops “discriminatory business practices”, ie. business practices that restrict web access by prioritising the access of some  users over others.

Click through for the full letter, and tell us what you think in the comments.

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Dear Minister,

The Open Internet

We welcome your recent statement that the UK Government supports access to the open Internet. In particular we support your call for adherence to the openness principle both for fixed and mobile access to the Internet, whereby

- “consumers should always have the ability to access any legal content or service,”?- “content and service providers should have the ability to innovate and reach end users.”

This is the first time that such a clear political commitment has been made in the UK to preserve the end-to-end principle that underpins the Internet, and the benefits it brings to citizens, consumers, businesses and economic growth.
In order to safeguard these benefits for all stakeholders in the future, five key principles are important complements to this political commitment:

- The Internet should remain open so that everyone is able to send and receive the content, use the services and run the applications of their choice, on the device of their choice, within the law.

- Traffic management should be kept to a minimum, and deployed for purely technical, security or legal reasons. There should be no discrimination in the treatment of Internet traffic, based on device, or the origin and/or destination of the content, service or application.

- Meaningful information about any traffic management practices must be made available to all stakeholders, end users and businesses who rely on broadband infrastructure to reach their customers.

- Future investment in network capacity and underlying infrastructure must take place in a way that is consistent with the end-to-end principle and where new models of Internet access do not compromise openness.

- For competitive markets to function effectively, the regulatory framework must be fit for purpose and able to respond to abuses by network providers.

End-users’ choice of which applications, content, and services to view, use or run is already restricted in the UK today, especially when accessing the Internet on mobile. The Government’s commitment to the open Internet must be reflected in action on the ground to remove any such arbitrary restrictions to the open Internet. We also recommend the Government’s policies on the open Internet and traffic management take account of citizens’ access to public services online in the future.

In conclusion, we call on the UK Government to add more detail to its position in support of the open internet by:

- Protecting the open internet through a judicious implementation of the new EU legislation for electronic communications.

- Requiring Ofcom to closely monitor the market and demonstrate that effective and timely enforcement processes are in place to respond to complaints about unfair discrimination from any affected stakeholder.

- Pressing UK Internet service providers to urgently develop meaningful self-regulation to ensure fair principles around traffic management to serve as a benchmark for assessing what is or is not acceptable practice, as has been done in other countries. Ofcom should step in if ISPs do not deliver this in a timely way.

- Ensuring that Ofcom’s forthcoming review on switching delivers real benefits to broadband subscribers in terms of their ability to change providers and drive meaningful choice between broadband Internet packages.

- Conducting a wide-ranging policy debate about this crucial subject for the future competitiveness of the UK’s economy and well-being of UK society, and adopting a joined-up approach in policy making, by assessing long-term implications of traffic management practices and the maintenance of an open Internet for the economy, for consumers and citizen’s interests, including freedom of expression, access to public services and digital inclusion.

The letter was signed by: Coadec, Ariadne Capiral, Consumer Focus, eBay, Eden Ventures, IMRG, the NUJ, the Open Rights Group, the Oxford Internet Institute, Reevoo, Skype, Techhub, Truphone, The Filter, We7, Which, XIX, and Yahoo Europe.

Do you support the open letter? Tell us what you think in the comments!

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NASA to announce a new form of life

Posted: 02 Dec 2010 08:17 AM PST

The announcement from NASA that’s coming later today is not about life on Mars, (or Saturn, as the original rumour had it) but is apparently the announcement that NASA has discovered a completely new life form that’s built from arsenic. It has a completely alien DNA than us, and changes what we thought were the necessary building blocks of life.

Everything on the planet shares the same chemical building blocks for life: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulphur. However, the bacteria fished out of the poisonous Mono Lake in California is built from arsenic instead, which everyone thought was impossible. This means that what we thought you needed to make life isn’t actually the case, which in turn has a knock on effect on what we’ve been presuming is required to support life on other planets. In science terms, this is massive.

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There’ll be more details come the press announcement tonight at 7pm. Makes you wonder, if this is what they found in Mono Lake, what will they be fishing out of Stereo Lake?

Tell us what you think of the announcement!

[via NOS, Gizmodo]

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