First North American Samsung Store Opens

First American Samsung Store Opens

Samsung has just opened its first North American retail store. According to Brief Mobile, the store has the same look and feel of an Apple Store because of its minimalistic style and tons of open space. Apparently the staff also wears blue shirts, just like Apple employees do at retail stores. The store also has a clone of Apple’s “One-to-One” service which helps users get accustomed to their new gadget.

This isn’t the first time a company has made an Apple Store clone either–Microsoft is now running over 20 of their own retail locations. The Microsoft Store also offers similar features to that of the Apple Store including personal training. Microsoft currently sells software and hardware at their stores and is mainly using their retail space to push Windows Phone 7 devices.

Samsung’s North American store has launched in Metro, Vancouver at Burnaby’s Metropolis. One visitor decided to shoot a video of the inside of the store which we have embedded below. After you’ve had a chance to give the video a view, let us know if you think the Samsung store blatantly copies Apple’s retail store by leaving comment below this post.

Source: Brief Mobile
Image Source: Stereopoly Blog

 

Nokia’s Roller Coaster Fortnight

Nokia Lumia 900

Oh wow, what a couple of weeks Nokia has had. A company trying to reinvent itself and staying relevant in an increasingly iOS/Android-dominated smartphone world caught the headlines mostly for all the wrong reasons. Here’s a rundown of the news and my take on the same.

Lumia 900 Announced

First, after showing the Lumia 900 at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, they finally announced the availability of Nokia Lumia 900, their flagship device for the North American markets. Pre-orders would start on March 30, at AT&T’s website, and the device would be available in stores on April 8. As a surprise they also announced a glossy white version, to be available only in stores (no pre-order) on April 22. All good news, albeit some would argue that according to leaks earlier, it was supposed to happen on March 18, so this date could be considered a “delay”. Oh well.

Mixed Reviews?

Then, the review embargo is lifted. Suffice to say that while generally extremely positive, there was a feeling that some of the reviewers (especially one at a very high profile site) were very critical of certain aspects of the phone and the OS. I wrote about how the Lumia 900 may have created a very high set of expectations and meeting or beating those expectations would be almost impossible. Also, the device, unlike typical iPhone releases, was not accompanied by a major software update of the Windows Phone OS. So a lot of reviewers started poking around what’s missing in the OS rather than reviewing the device itself. Bottom line, there was a lot of coverage on the stuff that was missing, instead of highlighting how, at $99 with contract, this was an excellent deal for a very well-made phone.

Ubuntu 12.04 Named, The Countdown Begins

The very popular Linux distribution, Ubuntu, has received its new name. With every public frozen release of Ubuntu, a code-name is chosen which traces its roots back to when Canonical took the reigns and pushed out ‘Warty Warthog’ in 2004. Since then, each 6 month release has received a name made up of a carefully selected adjective paired to the name of an animal. From 8.10 ‘Intrepid Ibex’ to 11.10 ‘Oneiric Ocelot’,  we have now arrived at the latest iteration of Ubuntu nearing release – 12.04.

Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical Ltd, explains the thought process for coming up with the newly named release, Precise Pangolin.

We’re looking for something phonetic, something plausible and something peaceful too. We’ll avoid the petulant, the pestilent, the phlegmy (phooey!), the parochial, the palliative and the psychotic. We’re aiming for mildly prophetic, and somewhat potent, without wanting to be all pedantic and particular. Phew.

Let’s ask the question differently what are we trying to convey? 12.04 is an LTS. So we want it to be tough and long-lasting, reliable, solid as a rock and well defended. It’s also going to be the face of Ubuntu for large deployments for a long time, so we want it to have no loose ends, we want it to be coherent, neat.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the  Precise Pangolin.

So, what on earth is a pangolin and why is it precise?

It’s very similar to an ant-eater. It has armor to protect itself, it’s versatile and can adapt to the environment. Fitting name for an operating system that needs to be robust and reliable, yet friendly and approachable by a new user.

To anticipate the launch, the Ubuntu team has put up an online countdown timer. It’s vague and they’re purposely skimping on details to create a stir. The timer runs in real-time and will end in just over 24 hours, when everything will, hopefully, be revealed.

Apple to Launch the iPhone 5 by the End of 2011?

Ever since Apple announced the dates for WWDC 2011, the blogosphere has been abuzz with speculation about what we can expect at the event. Going by historical trends, the first thing that came to mind was the next version of the iPhone – the iPhone 5.

However, a rumor has been making the rounds that Apple won’t be launching the iPhone 5 in June this year. Even the official press release announcing the dates for WWDC 2011 said that “Apple will unveil the future of iOS and Mac OS” at the event. It’s supposed to focus only on the next versions of iOS and Mac OS X, with no new hardware launches.

Today, we have another report by Avian Securities that says that the iPhone 5 production will begin in September, pushing the actual release to Christmas or even next year. It also states that Apple might be working on a lower priced version of the iPhone – just what it needs to fight off the growing domination of Android.

Though without precedent, this belief, that the iPhone will likely be delayed, seems to be the general consensus these days. Maybe you will have to wait another 8 months before you get your hands on the next iPhone.

Here’s the complete note by Avian Securities, courtesy of BI

“Supporting out comments over the last month, conversations with yet another key component supplier indicates that production for iPhone-5 will begin in September. This is consistent with Avian findings in the supply chain in recent months and we believe the consensus view is moving towards this scenario. In addition, our conversations also indicate the existence of a lower-spec/lower-priced iPhone in Apple’s roadmap. However, while our contacts have seen the placeholder in the Apple roadmap, they do not yet have insight into specs or production timing. This leads us to believe that any launch is likely a very late 2011 or more likely a 2012 event. As a reminder, Avian has uncovered several data-points in recent months pointing to the existence of a lower-spec/lower-price iPhone. A lower-spec/lower-price iPhone has also been speculated in the press and gadget blogs, though we do not believe consensus currently discounts the existence of such a model.”

Nokia E7 Launched In India For Rs 29,999

Today, Nokia released the next generation business communicator the E7 in India, within a few days of its global launch. The Nokia E7 sports a huge 4-inch ClearBlack Display with nHD (360×640) resolution.

The E7 also features a spacious four-row slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The handset is powered by an ARM11 680Mhz processor and packs 256MB of RAM. The back of the handset sports an 8MP EDoF camera with dual-LED flash, while there is a VGA cam up front for all your video calling needs.

The E7 also has 16GB of internal memory, and supports USB On-The-Go as well. Sadly, the E7 has an inbuilt battery like the iPhone and the N8.

Nokia_E7

The E7 also suffices the needs of business users with support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, Mail for Exchange and VPN support. Nokia has also tied-up with Vodafone to offer 2GB of free data usage to all E7 owners for six months. The offer is valid for all Vodafone 2G and 3G users.

The Nokia E7 will be available across all Nokia Priority dealers effective immediately, with a best buy price of Rs 29,999.

Sony Ericsson Xperia Play Priced at Rs 32,000 in India; To be Launched in April

The Sony Ericsson Xperia Play is one of the most exciting Android smartphone to slated to be launched this year. It should be available soon, but thanks to Flipkart, we can pre-order it in India now.

It is priced at Rs 32,000 ($710) and will start shipping from the 2nd week of April. The pricing is a bit lower than the earlier suggested pricing of Rs 34,000, but it’s still quite steep.

It was announced at MWC in February and will support a library of exclusive PSP games created for the Xperia Play. It looks quite similar to the PSP Go, but sports much better hardware.

It comes with a 4 inch touchscreen display and a sliding gamepad. It has a resolution of 854 x 480 pixels and comes with Android 2.3 Gingerbread. It is powered by a 1 GHz processor, 512 MB RAM and an Adreno 205 GPU. It also has a 5 MP camera with LED flash and will launch with more than 50 gaming titles.

Go ahead and book your Xperia Play right away. Game on!

Book Xperia Play at Flipkart

Xperia Play

Motorola XOOM Priced at $600 With Contract on Verizon

The Motorola XOOM, the first Honeycomb tablet of 2010 which will run Android 3.0 Honeycomb is slated to launch in two days, on February 24. There has been much speculation about the price of the Motorola XOOM, but we now know that it will be priced at $800 without contract at Best Buy.

Today, Verizon issued a press release which announces the contract pricing of the Motorola XOOM. It will be priced at $600 with a 2 year contract. Data plans start at $20 per month for 1 GB usage.

The pricing is surely a bit steep, but this subsidized pricing brings it closer to beating the iPad. Verizon has also announced that the LTE upgrade to the Motorola XOOM will be free for users when it is released in Q2 2011.

Motorola XOOM

The Verizon Motorola XOOM is a ‘Google Experience’ Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet with a 10.1 inch, 1280 x 800 pixel capacitive touchscreen display. It has a 1 GHz dual core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor and 1 GB RAM. It also has a 5 MP camera and comes with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity and offers 32 GB of internal storage. It won’t offer Flash support when shipped, but should get it within a few weeks of its launch.

Lenovo to Launch LePad Android Tablet in June 2011

Lenovo was one of the first manufacturers to announce a tablet, way back in June 2010. Since it first talked about it, about 132 tablets have already been launched, but Lenovo hadn’t said anything about its tablet until CES 2011.

At CES 2011, we finally got a good look at the LePad. The Lenovo LePad will come with a 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 2 GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage.

Lenovo LePad

It will sport a 10.1 inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels. You can also use a digitizer for pen input, instead of your fingers. It will likely be priced between $399 and $449. it will go on sale in China by the end of Q1 2011, followed by a world wide launch in June 2011.

It will run Android 2.2 Froyo with a custom UI shell by Lenovo. With Google having launched Android 3.0 Honeycomb already, I hope Lenovo offers the LePad with vanilla Honeycomb on it, as a “Google Experience” Android tablet. At the $449 price point, it seems like a very sweet buy, especially compared to the Motorola Xoom which will be priced at $800, or even the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, which will also be priced in the $600-$800 range.

Check out this video of the LePad at CES 2011.

via PC World

Aircel to Launch Huawei Ideos for Rs 8499

The Huawei Ideos first came into the limelight when it was unveiled at IFA 2010 in Berlin. It was showcased as the cheapest Android smartphone to date. It was to be priced at $150 for the unlocked version in the US, close to Rs 7000.

Since then, even cheaper Android smartphones have been launched, like the Micromax Andro A60, but the Huawei Ideos still holds the distinction for being the first truly budget Android phone. Today, Aircel announced that it will be launching the Huawei Ideos in India for Rs. 8499.

The Huawei Ideos is powered by Android 2.2 Froyo and comes with a 2.8 inch TFT capacitive touchscreen display with a resolution of 240 x 320 pixels. It has a 528 MHz processor with 256 MB RAM, 200 MB internal storage and up to 32 GB microSD card support.

It also has a 3.15 MP camera and GPRS, EDGE, 3G HSDPA, Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and GPS. It is powered by a 1200 mAh Li-ion battery. It’s one of the best Android smartphones in that price range, and probably the only budget Android phone to run Android 2.2 Froyo, unlike the Micromax Andro A60, which runs Android 2.1 Eclair.

Check out this post for more details of the Huawei Ideos U8150.

Huawei Ideos on Aircel

Source: Aircel @ Facebook via Fonearena

Apple to launch the iPad in India on January 28

Apple iPadApparently, Apple is planning to finally launch the iPad in India. It will be launched on January 28, according to a report by the Telegraph, exactly an year after it was announced by Apple.

The Apple iPad has had record sales and has single-handedly conquered the whole tablet market. Since its launch, many Chinese tablets have been launched with Android and other OSes, but none has seen the kind of success that the iPad has.

The only tablet that has managed to come close to the iPad has been the Samsung Galaxy Tab, but it’s still way behind the iPad in terms of sales. Apple plans to launch the iPad 2 soon, which is a great move considering that Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablets like the Motorola Xoom, LG G-Slate as well as other tablets like the Blackberry Playbook and HP webOS tablets will soon be available.

The iPad will be available in both versions – Wi-Fi only, and Wi-Fi + 3G. The Wi-Fi model will be priced between Rs. 26,000 and Rs. 37,000 for the 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB versions.

The Wi-Fi + 3G model will be priced between Rs. 33,000 and Rs. 44,000 for the 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB versions. This is very competitive pricing, especially when the Galaxy Tab sells for Rs. 32,000 in the Indian market. Maybe Apple is looking to sell off its entire iPad stock before it launches the iPad 2. Whatever the reason may be, I know many people who would readily buy the iPad at these prices.

via Fonearena