Amazon to Launch Quad Core Android Tablets?

One of the most pertinent rumors doing the rounds in the past month has been that Amazon is working on an Android tablet. While the Kindle 3 has been a bestseller, there is only so much that an ebook reader can do.

To compete with the Apple iPad, and other tablets, as well as the B&N Nook Color which has turned out to be a huge hit, Amazon needs a complete tablet which can offer much more than just a good reading experience.

In a recent interview, when asked about Amazon’s tablet plans, Jeff Bezos just said “Stay tuned”, indirectly confirming the existence of plans of such a tablet.

According to a report by PCMag, the Android tablet by Amazon will launch in two versions – with a 7 inch and a 10 inch display. Amazon was initially planning to go with Mirasol or Pixel Qi displays, but they will be in the market only by 2013, so the Android tablets will sport LCD displays.

Another interesting point – the report also mentions that the Amazon tablet will be powered by a quad core Nvidia Tegra 2 chip. It will probably run Android 2.3 Gingerbread or Android 3.1 Honeycomb as the OS.

The iPad 2 still doesn’t have any serious competition. The Amazon tablet, with its other offerings, like video on demand, the Kindle app, and the Amazon App Store could turn out to be the best alternative to the iPad. As Bezos said, stay tuned.

Sharp Aquos: The First Android Clamshell. Also the Ugliest

One of the greatest advantages of Android is the variety – you get a huge list of phones to choose from. Android phones have been launched in almost every form factor. There are the standard candybar touchscreen phones, the sliding QWERTY smartphones, the sliding gamepad ones, the candybar QWERTY ones and many more. Until now, we didn’t have any clamshell phones running Android, but Sharp just announced the Sharp Aquos 007SH Android smartphone which comes with a clamshell form factor.

It comes with a 16 MP camera and 720p video recording, and runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread. It also has a 3.4 inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 480 x 854 pixels. It also comes with Wi-Fi support and HDMI out. It also has a 0.7 inch secondary display and has dimensions of 51.8 × 113 × 19.3 mm with a weight of 140 gms.

Sounds great?

Well, here’s the catch. First of all, it doesn’t have a QWERTY keypad, just a standard numeric one. Secondly, it is ugly. Seriously, have a look.

I don’t know what the designers were thinking, but there is no way I would ever buy anything that looked like this. I doubt anyone else will either.

It will be launching soon in Japan on Softbank Mobile.

via Impress

HP TouchPad 32 GB Wi-Fi Priced at $599

The HP TouchPad, which will be the first webOS tablet, is touted to be the only tablet which can compete with the iPad and Honeycomb tablets. The RIM Blackberry Playbook hasn’t seen very good sales yet. webOS on the tablet has received some great reviews though, just like its smartphone counterpart.

Thanks to HP’s massive distribution network and reach, the HP TouchPad is expected have much better sales than the Playbook. We have seen glimpses of the TouchPad before, but the pricing details haven’t been announced yet. Today, a screenshot of Walmart’s inventory system was leaked by PreCentral, which reveals that the TouchPad will be priced at $599 for the 32 GB Wi-Fi version. The iPad 2 32 GB Wi-Fi is also priced the same, so I’m guessing HP doesn’t plan to compete on price.

Walmart will also be selling the Touchstone charger dock for $79.98, and a webOS Bluetooth keyboard for $69.98. The HP TouchPad may be launched by the first week of June.

The HP TouchPad comes with a 9.7 inch display with a resolution of 768 x 1024 pixels. It will run webOS 3.0 and comes with a dual core Qualcomm Snapdragon 1.2 GHz processor. It has 32 GB internal storage and comes with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n. It is powered by a 6300 mAh battery.

HP TouchPad

HTC Puccini Android Tablet Leaked

Details of the HTC Puccini, rumored to be HTC’s next Android tablet have been leaked by the 911Sniper blog. The HTC Puccini will be the next Android tablet by HTC, after the HTC Flyer which was launched recently. It will have a 10.1 inch capacitive touchscreen display and will be powered by Android 3.0.1. It will also have a dual core 1.5 GHz processor, the Qualcomm MSM8660, which is one of the most powerful mobile processors today. It will likely offer 1 GB RAM and has a display resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels.

It will offer LTE connectivity on the Cingular AT&T network in the US. Despite being powered by Android 3.0.1 Honeycomb, it will have the Sense 3.0 UI on top, just like the HTC Flyer which runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread. With the launch of the HTC Puccini, HTC will finally have a Honeycomb tablet in the market to compete with Samsung, LG and Motorola.

Not many details about the HTC Puccini are out yet, and as far as I can tell, Puccini is just its code name. We will update you on the HTC Puccini when new details come out. Here are some screenshots:

HTC Puccini

HTC Puccini

Samsung Hercules Specifications Leaked

The Samsung Infuse 4G was unveiled at CES 2011. It was an upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy S with a faster processor, larger display and a a better camera. But just when we had started checking it out, preparing to drool all over it, Samsung announced yet another device – the Samsung Galaxy S 2. It is probably the best Android smartphone on the planet right now.

But even though the Samsung Galaxy S 2 is yet to be launched in many countries, rumors suggest that Samsung is working on a successor to the Samsung Infuse 4G, with a dual core processor, double the RAM, and NFC support.

Compared to the Samsung Galaxy S 2, it will have a better display, and possibly marginally better hardware.

Samsung Hercules Specifications

It will sport a 4.5 inch 480 x 800 Super AMOLED Plus display, just like the Infuse 4G. It will be powered by Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

It will also support NFC, and will come with HSPA+ connectivity. It is rumored to have dimensions of 5.16 x 2.76 x 0.37 inches, very similar to the Infuse 4G.

It has a 16 GB internal ROM, 1 GB internal RAM. It also has a Qualcomm 1.2 GHz dual core APQ 8060 application processor, not an Exynos processor like the Galaxy S 2.

It will also sport an 8 MP camera which can capture 1080p videos. Stay tuned for more updates about the Samsung Hercules. It’s surely going to be one amazing phone, but it’s still months away from launch.

Samsung Infuse 4G

via ThisIsMyNext

Twitter Powered Hedge Fund Raises £25 Million

Reports that a London based investment firm was planning to launch a hedge fund whose investment strategies would be driven by tweets on Twitter first surfaced in December 2010, after a computer scientist from Indiana Bloomington published his research that proved that by analysing tweets, one could roughly predict stock market movements.

Well, that Twitter powered hedge fund, launched by Derwent Capital Markets, just raised £25 million from investors and will begin trading soon. It is the first social media based hedge fund which will use “sentiment derived from real-time social media data analysis”.

The ‘Twitter fund‘ will manage a portfolio of equities and indices with the aim of achieving consistent absolute returns for investors. The fund manager hopes that the data generated will be an invaluable insight into the fear and greedaspect within the financial markets. It will focus on the FTSE100, Dow Jones and S&P500 using algorithmic trading systems coupled with sentiment analysis.

This is just the first of many, a couple of new hedge funds have already been announced, which will use similar sentiment and emotion analysis techniques derived from social media feeds. Historical analysis has shown that sentiment analysis of tweets has been quite accurate in predicting the movement of the broader market indices.

So what’s next? Hedge funds which invest based on Facebook updates? Or funds which predict the movement of a stock based on the company’s attrition rate derived from LinkedIn data? Or one which predicts agri-commodity prices based on how often you tend to your crops on Farmville? :P

Intel Launching More than 10 New Tablets at Computex 2011

With the explosion of the many new tablet platforms in the past year, there has been one clear winner – Apple. Even Google is expected to have a winner on its hands with Android 3.0 Honeycomb. RIM and HP are trying to get some piece of the tablet market as well, with the Playbook and webOS tablets.

If there has been a clear loser since the whole tablet revolution, it has been Intel. Well, Microsoft hasn’t done very well either, but with Windows 8, it plans to enter the tablet market in full force. Whether or not it will be too late to the party is something I would like to discuss in another post.

Coming back to Intel, it has been clearly hit hard by the recent smartphone and tablet disruption. Almost all smartphones and tablets use processors designed by ARM. While Intel has a monopoly in the X86 PC processor market, it doesn’t have any significant marketshare in the tablet arena.

With the world shifting to tablets and smartphones, and PC sales declining rapidly, Intel is trying very hard to gain a foothold in the tablet segment. According to a report by WSJ, It will be showcasing more than 10 new tablets at Computex 2011, which starts May 31.

More than 35 of Intel’s chip-based tablet models are on track to be shipped through the year, according to Intel’s general manager for Asia-Pacific, Navin Shenoy. Its new tablets will be powered by the Oak Trail platform which offers better power management, coupled with faster performance. It willl likely launch Android, MeeGo and Windows based tablets.

Rumor: Microsoft to Buy Nokia’s Mobile Division?

On the face of it, it seems like just another outrageous rumor being spread just to garner clicks and pageviews. But when you consider the source of the rumor, and his previous track record, it forces you to think whether or not it might be true.

The rumor is from Eldar Murtazin, the founder of Mobile-review, and his sources have been right more often than not. When he first said that Microsoft and Nokia were in discussions about Nokia using Windows Phone 7 as their primary OS, no one believed it at first, but as we all know, it turned out to be the truth.

Which is why, today, when Eldar said that Microsoft was planning to buy Nokia’s Mobile Division before the end of 2011, no one is doubting that it might turn out to be true, however remote the possibility might be.

@eldarmurtazin : “MS & Nokia deal could be closed in 2011. MS want to buy Nokia Mobile division. No info about price/terms/dates.”

While the deal makes no sense to me, considering that Microsoft has already signed a deal with Nokia which makes Windows Phone 7 the primary OS in all Nokia smartphones, Microsoft has been known to make bold purchases. Nokia’s market cap is currently around $32 billion, so Microsoft could easily buy the whole of it if it wanted to. I’m wondering if it might fit in with Microsoft’s recent buy – Skype.

One reason why Microsoft may want to buy Nokia is because it now wants to finally control its own hardware, like Apple, instead of licensing its OS to other manufacturers to fight Android. In the meanwhile, Nokia’s PR seems to have commented that Eldar’s rumors are ‘getting less accurate with every passing moment.’ Do note that they haven’t clearly denied it, so the rumors may in fact turn out to be true.

Amazon’s ‘Special Offers’ Ad Supported Kindle is a Bestseller

Amazon Kindle 3According to Amazon’s list of bestsellers in the electronics category, which has been dominated by the Kindle Wi-Fi for about an year, the new #1 bestseller is the Kindle Wi-Fi with Special Offers, the advertisement supported variant of the Kindle, which is priced at $114, $25 cheaper than the $139 Kindle Wi-Fi.

When it was first announced, there were mixed reactions. Many doubted whether users would be willing to spoil their reading experience by viewing ads for $25 off. But Amazon had clarified that the ads would be display unobtrusively, only on the Kindle’s screensaver, and on the bottom of the display. No ads would be displayed in any books, thus preserving the excellent reading experience that the Kindle is known for.

So far the feedback had been quite positive, with users even finding the Special Offers quite useful, but now we have confirmation. The users have voted with their wallets; the ad-supported Kindle is now the most popular Kindle. This may lead to Amazon giving away free Kindles, supported wholly by ebook purchases and ads.

As for the ‘Special Offers’ Kindle, I suspect it will remain on the top, at least until Amazon launches the rumored Android ‘Kindle’ tablet.

via BI

Guinness Showers Apple with World Records for the iPhone 4 and App Store

The iPhone has been a truly path-breaking device which has changed the face of the mobile industry in the last 4 years. While everyone already knows how revolutionary and ‘magical’ the iPhone 4 has been, today, Guinness made it official.

Apple has featured quite prominently in the new Guinness World Records 2011 Gamer’s Edition, with four world records. Here is a list of all the world records by Apple:

Fastest-Selling Portable Gaming System – iPhone 4

Though it’s a smartphone, the iPhone 4 also doubles up as a portable gaming system. The iPhone 4 sold approximately 1.5 million units in the first day of its launch, making it the fast-selling portable gaming device in history.

Most Popular Application Marketplace – Apple App Store

This is another no-brainer. The Apple App Store is the most popular application store, way ahead of its competition. It has seen almost 6.5 billion downloads in 3 years, with over 260,000 apps and games.

Though it may soon be surpassed by the Android Market in terms of the numbers of apps, it will be the most lucrative application marketplace for developers for years to come.

Largest Downloadable Video Game Store – Apple App Store

The App Store takes yet another record. It has 37,362 games available for download, making it the world’s largest downloadable video game store. Steam offers 1,100 games, Xbox Live Indie Arcade offers about 1,300 and the Wii Store offers 576. The App Store wins by a huge margin.

Largest Launch Line-up of Any Gaming System – Apple App Store

At launch, it had about 145 games, which was the largest launch line-up of any gaming system.

Here’s what Gaz Deaves, Guinness World Records Gaming Editor, had to say “The release of the iPhone has not just changed the mobile industry, but the video game world too. With the never-ending App Store selection and an intuitive device, Apple has created a gigantic new space for itself in the casual games genre that literally brings entertainment to users wherever they may be.”