Opera Mini For iPhone Submitted To Apple App Store For Approval

Opera Software has just submitted Opera Mini for iPhone to the App store for approval. The browser was first demoed at MWC ’10, where it received rave reviews from almost everyone who got an opportunity to play with it.

According to internal testing, Opera Mini loads pages up to 6 times faster than iPhone’s default browser i.e. Safari. The huge difference is because all pages are first routed through Opera’s proxy servers where there are compressed by up to 90%. The server-side compression also reduces your bandwidth bills and is ideal if you are on roaming.

Opera Mini is the world’s most popular mobile browser, which offers an exciting mix of features packaged in a neat and intuitive UI (user interface). Opera Mini for iPhone is similar to Opera Mini for Java (and other platforms). All the standard features including tabbed browsing, search engine integration, Opera Link (data synchronization), visual speed dial, password manager and find-in-page are present in Opera Mini for iPhone. In fact, there are even a few extra goodies such as session restore. Like its desktop counterpart, Opera Mini for iPhone can resume browsing from where you left off last time. This is a crucial feature for a platform, which does not allow multitasking. However, Opera Mini has its own disadvantages – the major ones being its inability to render rich web content (for example AJAX heavy websites) and the lack of pinch-and-zoom.

Opera-Mini-iPhone

Overall, Opera Mini is an impressive browser, which would appeal to a large section of iPhone users. However, the big question is whether Apple will approve it. Apple is not known for being kind to competition and that is exactly what Opera Mini is. Apple is yet to allow any browser, which does not use Safari’s (Webkit) rendering engine. However, if Apple decides to follow its SDK License to the word, then Opera Software might just get away. Opera Mini does not interpret or execute any code. Instead, all the rendering is done on Opera’s servers. Opera Mini simply displays pre-rendered pages received from its servers.

Only time will tell if Apple will do the right thing for once. Opera is clearly trying to pressurize the App Store approval team through a carefully orchestrated campaign. Let’s hope that their tactics will pay off.

Windows Live Wave Release Dates Leaked

live-wave-4-release

Following the recent leak of the Windows Live Essentials Suite, a roadmap to the release of Windows Live Wave 4 is doing rounds. According to a comment posted on Facebook the following are the release dates of the various Live Wave 4 builds:

  • 28 April VIP Testers (probably MVPs)
  • 18 May M3
  • 3 June Complete Public disclosure.
  • 7 June Public Beta Day.
  • 7 June iPhone main languages Messenger.
  • 25 August iPhone additional languages Messenger + PUBLIC RTW

via MyMicrosoftLife

Windows Live Essentials Suite is Microsoft’s software bundle of essential software for users and contains:

  • Windows Live Messenger
  • Windows Live Writer
  • Windows Live Mail
  • Windows Live Photo Gallery
  • Family Safety
  • Live Sync
  • Bing Bar
  • Companion

National Free Software Coalition Announced

The third National Free Software Conference was held at Bangalore and was attended by 1500 participants from all over the country. The Conference aimed at promoting the use of Free Software from not just a technical aspect but as an ideology. To better promote the ideology of Free Software, the Free Software Coalition was announced. The Coalition has a total of 16 movements and aims to better the condition of open standards in India.

Free Software activist from India, Kiran Chandra told a national newspaper, The-Hindu,

The movement, which originated in small Linux User Groups at the IITs [Indian Institutes of Technology], has gained significant momentum recently. However, this needs to be taken to the next level to increase its user base and subsequently push the need for Free Software, and free societies, across the country.

The conference saw a number of case studies in areas where free software is used by the government to maintain records. This helps in cutting down costs significantly. The best thing about the conference was that it did not just see Free Software movement as being technical and “strictly for developers”.

The Conference has tie-ups with many state level Free Software groups like  FSMWB from West Bengal and Swecha from Andhra Pradesh etc. The Coalition has numerous members from educational backgrounds.
[Via: The Hindu ]

Ubuntu One Music Store is Now Available to Everyone

We all knew that the Canonical is bringing out a music store called  Ubuntu One Music Store. It has been in closed beta for quite some time now and all that we knew about it came from the few beta testers’ blogs. However, today Canonical feels that the Music Store is ready for the public and has released it to the public. The store is, however, still considered as a beta.

If you had missed all the news surrounding Canonical’s new and shiny music store, here is a quick recap on it:

  • The Ubuntu One Music Store will be powered by 7digital, a privately owned digital media delivery company based in the UK.
  • Tracks offered by 7digital for the Ubuntu One Music Store will be available in MP3 format without any DRM.
  • Musics that you buy from the store goes to your Ubuntu One storage.
  • The store is integrated into Rythmbox although plugins may be available for Banshee as well.
  • Region are divided in Ubuntu One Music Store as
    – UK
    – USA
    – Germany
    – Rest of the EU (i.e. not UK and Germany)
    – Rest of the World (i.e. none of the above listed countries)

When Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Beta 1 was released, Ubuntu One Music Store was not included with it contrary to  expectations, although an icon was included with Rythmbox. However, if you are already using Lucid, you can start using Ubuntu One Music Store. To do it do the following:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install rhythmbox-ubuntuone-music-store

After it has been installed, you can enable it from Edit -> Plugins. Keep in mind that it is still a beta and remember to file any bug if you encounter one. Sadly it is not available in Karmic.

The way Canonical has choosen to divide the region has already created some complaints.  Different regions will have different music available. For example customers from “Rest of the World” will not be able to buy music from any major labels.

[via Digitizor]

10 Tech Wars of 2010

Technology can make your life easy or difficult, depending on your perspective. History has shown that difference of perspectives can grow huge and sometimes even lead to wars. The tech battles mentioned here do not involve fist-fights and explosive ammo, their weapons are legal reasoning, public support and user dependencies. Here are some of the biggest tussles of the tech industry in 2010:

Tech  Wara

1. Google vs. China:

To put it simply, China wants Google to censor search results but Google isn’t ready to. They say they would rather leave their $600 Million annual revenue coming from China than compromise on freedom of speech. China doesn’t seem to care and it is probable that Google will exit from China, but it’s not over till it’s over!

2. Android vs. iPhone:

There are other smart phones too but these two are the giants and want to take each other out. We have already seen lawsuits from Apple targeting HTC, the main manufacturer of Google’s Android based phones. So, even though it is a fight between two smart phones, it becomes very serious because of the companies behind them, Google and Apple.

3. iPad vs. Kindle:

Kindle was released quietly a couple of years ago and has gained a solid ground in the e-reader market. The iPad was launched with a lot of hype which turned into a let down for users. Launching soon, iPad will directly take on the Kindle and with both allowing third-party apps, the competition will be tough.

4. Flash vs. HTML5:

HTML5 slowly crept into many platforms this year and threatens to take over Flash. Adobe is naturally angry and heated arguments are ensuing all over between the advocates of HTML5 and that of Flash. Within next few months the picture might get a little clearer as to where Flash stands vs. the new technology. Specially with Apple shunning Flash from its upcoming iPads, Flash better get its act together to stay in the game.

5. FourSquare vs. Gowalla:

2009 saw a new breed of location based social networks. Top two players are FourSqaure and Gowalla and they are fighting it out pretty aggressively. When Gowalla launched an updated iPhone app, FourSqaure didn’t take many days to follow path.

6. PayPal vs. AliPay:

The parent companies of these two, eBay and AliBaba, fought it out a few years ago and AliBaba beat eBay hands down when it came to the Chinese market. Now, PayPal is trying to get a stronghold in the Asian market but it is up against the already established AliPay.

7. Battle of the Browsers:

Mozilla and Google are fiercely after cutting down Internet Explorers long established market share and they are coming pretty close. Google doesn’t care if somebody uses Firefox or Chrome (it supports both), all they want is Internet Explorer to disappear. A massive campaign was launched recently against IE6 but Microsoft’s latest browser IE8 seems to be pretty tough when it comes to security features.

8. Google Docs vs. Microsoft Office:

Google Docs was quickly adopted because of its Cloud based technology but with Microsoft also moving towards the cloud and a lot of third party add-ons available to the desktop based Microsoft Office, the competition is far from over.

9. YouTube vs. Viacom:

This one is not a true war of technologies but its outcome may change the online video industry forever. The case is going on in the court right now. Expect to hear some historical decisions within the next couple of months.

10. Appstore vs. Developers:

Apple has been notorious about its vague and ridiculous app store policies. Developers hate it, but as of yet they can’t seem to do anything about it. IPhone app store is still a pot of gold that want to get a chunk of. Will this change in the next few months? May be.

What do you think will be the outcome of each of these? What other tech wars can you think of that are going on in the current year?

Letter From a Stranded Google China User Who Is A Foreigner And Wants Google In English

Google recently shut down their operations in China by redirecting Google.cn to Google.com.hk, however, that is not the only restriction they have put in place. Google is also redirecting all the Google.com and Google.com/ncr, which provides global access to Google sites in English, irrespective of location when it is accessed from anywhere including China.

One of our readers had several problems when accessing Google from China, even when the person tried accessing the global site. Here is what the unidentified commentator had to say:

I am a foreigner stationed in China. For all these years I had happily been able to use search at Google.com (NOT .cn) – as it had never been banned/censored in China. There had always been an option "Google in English" which was linked to Google.com, and voila – you were out of restricted area.

Not any more. From today I am being forcefully redirected to google.com.hk which I don’t want to use.

Trying to get through to http://www.google.com/ncr does not help: I am turned back to .hk.

Not that is is better or worse, I just DO NOT WANT TO BE REDIRECTED ANYWHERE.

Guys at Google now did exactly what the Chinese authorities didn’t: removed my freedom to search for the information where I choose to.

Such a disgrace.

The Google withdrawal may have led so many people who rely on the search engine to be delivered in English/their language without restriction to now actually just be redirected to a Chinese site which they may not understand.

Did Google even estimate or think or providing an option for users to actually switch their languages to English, or can we expect hundreds of thousands of users to switch to Yahoo, who are one of the biggest successes in China?

LG Launches Android Powered GW620 in India for Rs 18,990

While most Android fans in India are anxiously waiting for Motorola Milestone (Droid) and Sony Xperia X10, LG has quietly launched GW620. LG GW620 is a full QWERTY handset powered by Android 1.5 (Cupcake).

LG-GW620

LG’s first Android offering in India boasts of a 5-megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, Push E-mail, Social Networking Service Manager and GPS.

LG-GW620-Spec

The phone is obviously aimed at budget conscious users wishing to get a taste of Android. The GW620 will be competing directly with the likes of HTC Tattoo and Samsung Galaxy Spica. Although the ancient version of Android used in GW620 is a cause for disappointment, one can’t really complain since very few Android phones are available at its price point. Let us hope that LG will issue an update at some point of time in the future.

Firefox 3.6.2 Released, Fixes Security Vulnerability

Mozilla has upped the ante to fix a severe security vulnerability in Firefox 3.6 which affects several users. The vulnerability in question, was reported by security researcher Evgeny Legerov last month.

Firefox did release a release candidate yesterday, but due to criticality of the bug they have released the final version today.

Mozilla has accelerated its timetable and released Firefox 3.6.2 ahead of schedule. This release contains a number of security fixes, including a fix to Secunia Advisory SA38608 which was previously discussed on this blog when we were first made aware of and were then able to confirm the issue.

If you are a Firefox 3.6 user, go to the help menu and click on "Check for Updates" to update to the current version, if you need any help check our earlier post on how to update Firefox.

Users can also update their Firefox to the latest version by visiting the Firefox Download site and downloading the latest version and installing it.

Airtel Doubles Speed for Broadband Subscribers At No Extra Cost

Airtel-Broadband-Double-SpeedBroadband internet connections in India are a joke. Here, 256 Kbps is still considered to be fast and anything above 512 Kbps still costs a bomb. However, Airtel is hoping to change all that by offering free speed bumps to all Airtel Broadband customers.

According to Airtel’s press release, their new broadband threshold (i.e. the minimum speed offered under broadband plans) will be 512 Kbps. In other worlds, subscribers of 64, 128 and 256 Kbps plans will be upgraded to 512 Kbps connections. Customers currently on 512 kbps and 1 mbps plans will have their speeds doubled to 1Mbps and 2 Mbps respectively. The automatic upgrades will not incur any additional charges and would be completed by June 2010. Airtel will also introduce new ‘Impatience Plans’, which will offer 4 Mbps speeds starting at Rs 899. The Impatience Plans will be available in Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore. However, as always, there is a catch.

Airtel-Impatience-Broadband-Plan-Tarrif

None of these high speed plans offered by Airtel are unlimited in their truest sense. Once the subscriber has used up his quota of bandwidth, he will be offered two choices. He can either chose to pay 10paisa/MB of data transfer or settle for unlimited data transfer at 256 kbps for the remainder of the month.

Airtel’s new initiative is a positive move; however, what millions of Indians really want is a fast, affordable yet truly unlimited broadband plan. It is a shame that all the big names are still inclined on ripping off subscribers by advertising big speeds and setting low bandwidth limits.

Display Weather Reports in Your Web Browser with AniWeather

mostly-sunny The other day I went looking for a good weather reporting tool for the Chrome web browser. I remembered using an addon named AniWeather in Firefox and wondered if there was a similar extension for Chrome. I was amazed to find that AniWeather is now available in Google’s Chrome web browser.

Once you have AniWeather set up, you’ll be able to see the current outside temperature in a little icon next to the address bar.

aniweather-icon

Clicking on the icon displays a very nice looking animated weather report.

aniweather

You’ll discover that there are tons of options for the display of the weather and it even allows you to set multiple locations. The actual weather data is pulled from the famous weather.com website, and you can use links in the AniWeather report to see more information at weather.com.

You can find this cool extension in the Chrome Extensions Gallery or at the author’s website, AniWeather.com. The Firefox addon is available at the author’s website and the Firefox Addons gallery.

For those of you using Internet Explorer, the closest thing to this extension is the Weather Channel Toolbar. It’s good but not nearly as nice as the Firefox and Chrome addons.

weather-com-toolbar-ie

For Opera web browser, there are several widgets that display weather. I haven’t looked closely, but so far I haven’t seen any that display reports inside the browser.

Now you can check the weather while you are surfing the net. The problem you’ll have is pulling yourself away to take advantage of the sunny days.

Be sure to take a look at all of the other Chrome Extensions and Firefox Addons we’ve written about.

Know your technology head on