MTS Launches “Unlimited MBlazer” Mobile Broadband Service

MTS-Mobile-Broadband MTS has achieved 5 million subscribers in India, and it is marking the occasion by launching a new mobile broadband plan dubbed the “Unlimited MBlazer”. Speaking on the occasion, Vsevolod Rozanov, the President and CEO of MTS’s parent company Sistema Shyam Teleservices Limited said, Five million subscribers have given us a special place in Indian telecom sector and we are determined to offer them new voice and data products, further enriching their telecom experience.

The Unlimited MBlazer offer is available to existing and new MTS customers and provides unlimited high-speed mobile broadband connectivity. Of course, like most broadband plans in India, there is a catch. If you happen to use more than 15 GB of bandwidth, your connection will be downgraded to CDMA 1x. In other words, your connection speed will be reduced to 144 Kbps (from 3.1 Mbps) for the rest of the month.

In case you don’t mind opting for a high speed broadband connection, which can’t be used for downloading large files, you will have to shell out Rs. 999 per month (in form of an e-recharge).

Apple Provides iPhone Customers Toll-Free Numbers to Try Out FaceTime

Apple is encouraging new iPhone 4 owners to try out FaceTime by calling the toll-free number 1-888-FACETIME (332-3846). FaceTime is an open video telephony standard developed by Apple. At the moment it is available only on the iPhone 4; however, Apple is hoping that other influential players will also adapt and develop it.

Apple-Facetime-Demo

Upon calling the toll-free number, users will reach an Apple representative who will initiate a FaceTime conversation and guide the user through different facets of this new service.

The iPhone is capable of seamlessly switching from a regular call to FaceTime mode. Once FaceTime is initiated you won’t be using your cell minutes. Instead, you will be communicating over the Wi-Fi, which is a necessary per-requisite for FaceTime. Either the front or the rear camera can be used during FaceTime.

Judge Dismisses Viacom’s Lawsuit against YouTube

A U.S. district court has sided with Google in Viacom’s lawsuit against YouTube. Judge Louis Stanton granted Google’s motion for summary judgment and hopefully set a precedent for other similar cases of copyright infringement.

Judge Stanton wrote, “If a service provider knows of specific instances of infringement, the provider must promptly remove the infringing material. If not, the burden is on the owner to identify the infringement. General knowledge that infringement is ‘ubiquitous’ does not impose a duty on the service provider to monitor or search its service for infringements”.

YouTubeGoogle hailed its victory as a victory for “the billions of people around the world who use the web to communicate and share experiences with each other”. Although, that might appear to be a hyperbole typical of a press release, in this case Google is not exaggerating.

Viacom had filed a $1 billion lawsuit against Google in March 2007, seeking retribution for copyrighted material distributed for public consumption through YouTube. While Viacom believed that the sheer volume of infringing content on YouTube made Google culpable, Google maintained that it was protected under DMCA’s safe harbor provision, since it promptly removed any infringing content upon being notified.

Had the judgment gone the other way, it might have cast a cloud over the future of other similar user generated content (audio, video or otherwise) providers. However, this dispute is far from being settled. Viacom has indicated that it will soon appeal against the District Court’s decision. “We believe that this ruling by the lower court is fundamentally flawed and contrary to the language of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA),” Viacom said in a statement. “We intend to seek to have these issues before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit as soon as possible.”

The Bickering Continues: Apple Files New Patent Infringement Lawsuit against HTC

Apple It might be a war, but it sure as hell seems silly. Apple has sued HTC again, and as you might have guessed, the suit focuses on Android phones.

The new lawsuit incorporates one new patent infringement claim, in addition to re-including three patents mentioned in the original suit (apparently due to spelling errors in the original document). Like (almost) every other patent infringement suit, this one also appears frivolous and plain stupid. But, what do I know? I am no lawyer and I am certainly not a patent expert.

Here are the four patents involved in this suit:
7,657,849: Unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image. Filed 12/23/2005 & Granted 2/2/2010. (New)
6,282,646: System for real-time adaptation to changes in display configuration. Filed 5/8/1998 & Granted 8/28/2001.
7,380,116: System for real-time adaptation to changes in display configuration. Filed 8/8/2005 & Granted 5/27/2008.
7,383,453: Conserving power by reducing voltage supplied to an instruction-processing portion of a processor. Filed 8/25/2005 & Granted 6/3/2008.

Apple started this war against High Tech Computer (HTC) Corp, one of the most successful Android handset manufacturers, by suing it in March, 2010. HTC had promptly responded by counter-suing Apple on five counts of patent infringement. Make no mistake about it, Apple is targeting after Google and Android through HTC.

Nokia Will Ditch Symbian on N-Series Devices: MeeGo Only From Now On

Symbian It’s no secret that Symbian has been struggling to keep up with the rapidly evolving smart phone market. In fact, Symbian was turning out to be Nokia’s Achilles’ heel. Now, it appears that Nokia has finally decided to move on.

According to CNET, Nokia N8 will be the last N-series phone from Nokia to run on Symbian. This means that from now onwards, we will be seeing Symbian only in the mid-range handsets belonging to the E-series, X-series and C-series.

If you are a Symbian fan, there is no need to be disappointed. The development of Symbian will continue and we will definitely see new devices running on Symbian^3 and (the yet to be released) Symbian^4. This could turn out to be a win-win situation for everyone. With Symbian onboard, Nokia will have an upper hand over its competitors in the feature phone segment, while MeeGo will allow it to become competitive in the smartphone arena.

Google Docs Adds OCR: Converts Images and PDFs to Text

Optical Character Recognition utilities are a handy breed of applications which can extract text from images. Unfortunately, most desktop solutions are prohibitively expensive for casual use. Free online OCR services offer a way out by offering simple and quick conversion for free. Sure, they don’t have all the features you can find in a full-fledged desktop suite. But, they are sufficient for most users.

Google Docs is the latest online service to get OCR capabilities. While Google has been experimenting with OCR in its Docs API since last year, it was added to the Docs frontend a little while ago. Now, while uploading any document, you will be provided the option to “convert text from PDF or image files to Google Docs documents”.

To test the OCR service I used an image extracted from an Av-Comparatives report. While Google managed to detect most of text correctly, it failed to retain any formatting. It managed to detect correctly even non-dictionary words like ‘Kingsoft’, however failed to detect special characters like ‘&’ and superscripts.

Google-Docs-Test-Document
Sample Document Used
Google-Docs-Results
Output Returned by Google Docs

Overall, the accuracy was quite good and to be honest a lot better than I had expected. However, there are obvious limitations to the product. Nevertheless, it’s a handy addition to an already impressive service.

Microsoft Bing App for iPhone Introduces Google Goggles like Features

Last year, Microsoft launched its Bing app for the iPhone, iPod and iPad, which took us by surprise with its pleasant interface and rich functionality. They further improved their offering in March, by adding a host of new features including location sharing and bookmarking. Now, Microsoft has updated its Bing app once again and this time around they are gunning for Google Goggles.

Microsoft-Bing-iPhone-App-Album-Art-Scanner

Bing for iOS now supports scanning of barcodes and cover art. Just snap the cover of a book, music album, movie or a video game and Bing will fetch and display relevant information. Additionally, you can also get information on certain items by scanning their barcodes. However, it still can’t recognize objects and monuments like Goggles.

Microsoft-Bing-iPhone-App

Bing 1.2 builds upon its social features and offers tight Facebook and Twitter integration. You can now connect to the aforementioned networks to view combined activity stream, get search results and even share results.

Bing has also amped up its shopping section to include reviews, ratings and prices. The movies section has also been expanded to showcase more trailers and clips.

The Bing app is available for free at the Apple App Store.

VLC Media Player v1.1.0 Released – GPU Decoding, WebM, Extensions and More

VideoLanClient (VLC) has been updated to v1.1.0. This new release, which has been codenamed ‘The Luggage’, introduces some much needed improvements to VLC, including support for GPU accelerated decoding. As a result of this, VLC now performs significantly better while playing high-definition (HD) videos. The program code has also been optimized to make VLC leaner and faster. In fact, according to the VideoLanProject, VLC 1.1.0 can provide up to 40% speed-ups, in HD resolutions.

VLC-1.1.0-The-Luggage

Back in May, we had reviewed the VLC 1.1.0 Release Candidate. Obviously, there haven’t been any significant changes since then. The Luggage introduces encoding and decoding support for WebM and adds a new add-ons and script framework. All the add-ons will fall into two main categories – content add-ons, which will be integrated in the playlist and functionalities extensions, like metadata searching on the web, or subtitles look-ups.

For now, the GPU acceleration works well only on nVidia’s graphics cards due to problems with ATI drivers for Windows and lack of developer access to Intel hardware supporting GPU decoding.

VLC 1.1.0 can be downloaded from here.

Destroy Twitter 2.0 Released – Quick Review

Destroy Twitter, the popular Twitter client, has been updated to v2.0. Unlike some of the Twitter clients, Destroy Twitter doesn’t try to include the entire kitchen sink. Instead it limits itself to Twitter and its central features. DT’s focused and refined user experience is largely responsible for all the accolades and fan following it has managed to garner.

The major new features introduced in DT 2.0 are:

Complete Window Resizing: You can now resize your window as you please. Go full screen if you want an immersive Twitter experience or stay in the windowed mode and expose only what you require.

Retooled Preferences: Now you don’t need to open Preferences for every little thing. You can change stuff like URL shortening services or canvas refresh rates on the fly, from the main interface itself. But, even with these modifications, it’s highly recommend that you visit the Preferences tab at least once, since it contains many new options.

Filters: Rules have been one of the strong points of DT. In version 2.0 they have been rechristened as Filters and are more powerful than ever before. They have their own drawer and are accessible directly from the main interface. Tweets can be filtered on the basis of keywords, users and sources. For example, if you hate being flooded with pointless FourSquare check-ins, you can easily hide them with DT.

More: Destroy Twitter contains lots of other nifty little undocumented features including multi-touch navigation.

Destroy-Twitter-2

Techie Buzz Verdict

The Destroy Twitter user interface is polished and a joy to use. If aesthetics are important to you then DT is for you. While it might not be feature packed enough to please some of the pro users, it feels a lot lighter than TweetDeck and is competent enough to satisfy a large section of Twitter users.

This version doesn’t have some popular features like multiple account support, Twitter Lists and themes. While themes aren’t very important to me, Twitter lists are. The absence of it makes Destroy Twitter 2.0 a no go for me. If you are like me, you may want to continue using Destroy Twitter 1.7 for now. The aforementioned features are slated to make a comeback in Destroy Twitter 2.1. If the lack of these features doesn’t bother you, then go ahead and give the new release a whirl.

Techie Buzz Rating: 3/5 (Good)

[ Download Destroy Twitter ]
(Requires Adobe AIR 2.0)

Karbonn K777 Launched in India for Rs.4,500

Karbonn-K777 Karbonn Mobiles has launched its newest budget mobile phone and as you may have already guessed, it is a dual SIM ready handset. The Karbonn 777 is hoping to make an impression on potential buyers with its sleek and stylish body and all around feature set.

The candy bar styled handset weighs 95g and measures in at 115 X 50 X 10.7 mm. Its 240×320 resolution, 2.4 inch QVGA screen is capable of displaying 262K colours.

When it comes to multimedia, Karbonn has covered its bases and all the basic features are present. There is a 3.2 megapixel camera capable of snapping pictures and recording videos, along with a media player does more than what is required from a budget phone. MP3, MIDI, AMR and WAV audio formats, and MP4 and 3GP video formats are supported. FM player is also included.

Karbonn K77 bundles Opera Mini for browsing the web, however social networking widgets and apps – which are a commonplace these days, are surprisingly absent. Fortunately, more Java apps can be downloaded from the web.

Other significant features include Mobile Tracker, expandable memory up to 8 GB, talktime of 3-3.5 hours and standby time of 250 hours and phonebook memory with up to 2000 contacts.

The K777 is now available for Rs. 4,500.