Research In Motion will be hosting their BlackBerry World conference next week. We expect RIM to launch their new Smartphone and also unveil new OS BlackBerry 6.1.
When RIM acquired QNX, we expected them to announce QNX based handsets by at least mid 2011. RIM has already released their QNX based tablet PlayBook. And despite the negative reviews that it gathered, RIM sold more than 100,000 PlayBooks in its initial week of availability, according to Wall Street Journal. RIM has indicated that Smartphones based on BlackBerry 6.1 will be made available only by end of this fiscal year and that it does not have QNX based Smartphones to showcase at the BlackBerry World Conference next week.
All we can gather from this is that BlackBerry 6.1 won’t be based on QNX RTOS, but will just be a major enhancement over BlackBerry 6.0. Apparently, we’ll get to see QNX based handsets only next year when BlackBerry announces BlackBerry 7 or 8 which kind of surprises us since BlackBerry eventually plans to move to QNX and yet continues to work on their previous OS.
Google recently released its official app for Google Docs on Android. With this app users can filter and search documents on your Google account. Users can also easily share items with contacts on their phone, right from within the app.
Besides that, this app also allows users to create documents with a single tap and users can upload content from your phone and open documents directly from Gmail. For easy access users can add a widget to your home screen for easy access to three core tasks: jumping to your starred documents, taking a photo to upload, or creating a new document with one tap.
One of the mind blowing feature Google has included in this app is optical character recognition (OCR). With this you can click a photo of a document from your phone camera and convert them to text documents. Although at this point it cannot register user handwritten documents but Google promises to work on it soon.
You can download Google Docs for Android from Android Market for free provided your device runs on Android 2.1+.
After the 10.1-inch Honeycomb Tablet leak by Lenovo, it seems that Lenovo has tons of devices in its kitty. According to Thisismynext’s recent scoop, Lenovo seems to be prepping up for a 7-inch Honeycomb tablet as well.
Although we do not know much about the tablet as of now, here’s what we do know:
Android 3.0 Honeycombwith Le OS (Lenovo’s custom UI)
1280*800 High resolution display
a dual-core ARM processor
The tablet is expected to be launched during the fourth quarter of 2011, Thisismynext predicts that Lenovo might even launch it earlier. Although there’s surplus amount of 7-inch tablet in the market, knowing Lenovo we know we wouldn’t be disappointed with the build quality of the product. More than that we are more excited to see how Lenovo’s custom UI on the top of Honeycomb performs. Google has a complete makeover with Honeycomb so that manufacturers wouldn’t feel the need to design custom UI and mess up with the update procedure yet none of the Manufacturers seem to follow Google and want to distinguish their product from their competitors.
IntoNow which is an iOS based TV tagging app, has been acquired by Yahoo!
For the uninitiated, IntoNow lets users check-in to TV content while they are watching the program on the TV. The app then lets users share it with their Facebook, twitter friends. According to TechCrunch, Yahoo grabbed the deal for the $20-$30 million. If that’s true then IntoNow made 2.5 million for each week they worked on the app, since the app has been live for only 12 weeks now.
IntoNow will enable Yahoo! to provide enhanced media experiences and video programming, bolstering its social engagement across the Yahoo! network and on all screens. IntoNow users are able to easily engage with friends around the shows they enjoy most. IntoNow helps people discover new shows, discuss favorites with friends and learn more about them, and provides recommendations for what is currently airing based on their interests and those they are connected to. The application is also integrated with Facebook, Twitter, iTunes and Netflix to enable more sharing and information gathering.
While Yahoo made this acquisition, Facebook and Google have somewhat similar product in their kitty with the ability to stream content online. It’s to be seen whether Yahoo implements similar feature in their new product. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if the app gets neglected in coming months, considering Yahoo’s reputation, all I hope is it doesn’t get killed or gets rumored to be sunset’d.
Opera today introduced Opera 11.10 “Barracuda” Release Candidate (build 2081) with more enhanced user interface and bringing in stability.
The Opera 11.10 Beta finally brings in cleaner Speed Dial and ability to see live content. It also brings in tons of fixes like search (where you couldn’t search keyword more than 3 letters), flash content etc. You can check the entire change log here.
One of the most important addition to the Opera 11.10 Beta has been the Power Saving Mode. Opera 11.10 Beta detects when your laptop is not connected to power and consumes less power. This mode is currently available only on Windows Vista and Windows 7. Besides that, with this release you can seamlessly install and use Opera Addons. It also uses the new Opera Presto 2.8 rendering engine and adds support for the Google WebP image format.
With most of the new Smartphones (expect Windows Phone 7) coming up with front end camera, Video Chat is something that’s getting common. Fring has gone a step further and has introduced group Video calls.
Users can have a video call simultaneously with four friends. My only grouse with the app is that it allows video calls only with Smartphone users and does not allow desktop users to join the party. Another limitation is that since the app is only available on iPhone and Android only users with those two OS can have group video calls.
Check out the video:
Although the app isn’t that polished yet, it can be excused since it’s just in closed beta. I would expect Skype to follow the suite and launch its own group chat. If Skype could implement group video call it would definitely have an edge over Fring since the former already has a desktop client while the latter doesn’t. You can download the limited beta of the app for Android and iPhone from here.
Samsung had showcased 14-inch and 19-inch Transparent displays at this years CES. Today, Samsung Electronics has begun the mass production of 22-inch transparent LCD panels Black & White and Color. The panel has a contrast ratio of 500:1 with WSXGA+ (1680 x 1050) resolution. Both B&W and color panels come with support for HDMI and USB interfaces.
Transparent display panels comes with an advantage over traditional LCD panels when it comes to electricity usage. Research tells that transparent displays utilizes as much as 90% less electricity than traditional displays. The traditional LCD panels have to depend on Back Light Unit with 5% transparency thus utilizing more electricity. While transparent LCD Panels depend on ambient lights (sun light, room light) with 20% transparency for B&W panel and 15% transparency for Color panel, thus reducing dependency on power.
Check out the video:
Samsung plans to market these to outdoor displays, schools and corporations. Just a month ago we saw Samsung themselves applying transparent displays to applications like Real Translators. Real Translator would interpret whatever is spoken in real time and give a rough translation on the spot.
It’s good to see some updates from a site that Yahoo! is planning on sun setting. Flickr recently received some updates and has added some cool sharing options to its web interface.
The new features include:
Logged in users can now easily share their photos on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Blogger, WordPress or email them. While users who aren’t logged in can share it to Facebook and Twitter.
Flickr has also added the ability to share private photos on Facebook. Once you share your private photos on Facebook, they become public for your friends on Facebook.
While the new features are more than welcome, in the process, Flickr has also removed support for the Opera Web browser. Ross from Flickr staff stating that in order to offer increased efficiency to other browsers they have restricted developments for Opera. He says,
I’m sorry that some pages no longer work on Opera. In order to work most efficiently for our users, we have to limit what browsers we support; that’s just the reality of modern web development. We have made the decision to not support Opera, due to the fact that it has a lot of non-standard rendering behaviors and is used by such a small percentage of Flickr members. This means that new features may not work, and that the site in general might even stop working. I recommend downloading the latest version of Chrome, Safari, or Firefox instead.
Flickr for Opera is now less than usable. The sharing options does offer ability to share photos on Twitter and Facebook but it’s just the normal tweet button where the Flickr photo does not appear in the Twitter web interface but is rather just a shortened link by Twitter itself. Besides that, even the action function does not offer full functionality.
Up until now Nokia provided software update tool only for Windows Platform. Nokia has now released a Beta version of Nokia Software Updater for Mac via Nokia Beta Labs.
Although most of the current Smartphones released by Nokia have the facility to receive an update Over-The-Air (OTA), yet many find it easy to update via Nokia Software Updater. The first version of NSU for Mac by Nokia Beta Labs does not offer much features besides updating the firmware. The software also cannot be used to install or update apps on your Smartphone like you can do it on the Windows counterpart.
Once you connect your device to the Mac and start Nokia Software Updater for Mac, it quickly connects the handset to PC Suite mode but fails to automatically detect whether a new version of firmware is available for the handset connected. Users need to manually check whether the firmware is available or not. Since it’s still a Release Candidate, Nokia expects the software may even not function properly so use the software at your own risk.
RIM today announced a new improvised version of Facebook for BlackBerry v2.0 Beta available only for Beta Zone. The new version comes after almost gap of three year and brings in tons of new features like Chat for real time conversation. It also brings in new notification bar through which you can check out notifications, friend requests, and messages. User can access these notifications even if they are not inside the app.
News Feed also has been improved with ability to add photos to friends Walls, update, check in to Facebook Places etc and makes it easier to like/comment on friends update without accidently clicking on like.
Initially the app is app is available only for Beta Zone users and only for those sporting BlackBerry OS 6 device. All in all this is a pretty huge update from the previous version of the app and since there are very limited number of downloads available be quick to get hold of your copy of Facebook for BlackBerry v2.0 Beta.