Tag Archives: Mobile News

Sony Ericsson Nypon with Ice Cream Sandwich Caught on Video

Just days after Sony Ericsson Nazomi was leaked, another Sony Ericsson device has shown up on the interwebs. The new device goes by the codename Nypon and is running ST-Ericsson Novathor U8500, which is a dual core 1 GHz chip. The capacitive touchscreen is said to have a resolution of 540 x 960, and the device already features Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0). The videos published by ST-Ericsson are embedded below.



Little else is known about the Nypon, which also goes by the name LT22i. It’s still early days for Nypon, which is shown to be running from a board in the videos. If appropriately priced, it can turn out to be an exciting addition to the mid-range smartphone segment. However, the show stealer for SE’s 2012 series of devices will be the Nazomi that is slated to feature a 1.5 GHz dual core processor, 1 GB RAM, and a full HD 4.3-inch screen.

In many ways, 2011 was the year of course correction for Sony Ericsson. It learnt from its past mistakes and focused on enhancing its ecosystem by becoming more consumer friendly. The beleaguered phone manufacturer also made some crucial decisions like ending the joint venture with Ericsson in order to better leverage Sony’s other properties, and exiting the low margin dumb phone market. Samsung has been providing a tough challenge to all Android manufacturers, but if Sony gets its act right, 2012 could well be the year of its resurgence in the mobile phone market.

Android ICS Ported to Xperia X10

Sony Ericsson has already made it amply clear that its previous generation Xperia handsets won’t be receiving Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). However, all hope is not yet lost for the Xperia owners. The enterprising ROM chefs at XDA are already working on porting Android 4.0 or ICS to the Xperia X10. In fact, the first alpha build of ICS for the X10 is now available for download.

Android-Ice-Cream-Sandwich

Zdzihu, who is one of the most respected developers in the X10 community, has succeeded in getting the ICS to boot on the X10. As of now, most of the basic stuff, including touchscreen, radio, bluetooth, and GPS is working. However, Wi-Fi, mobile data, and audio playback is problematic, and pretty much everything else doesn’t work. The ROM is based on the existing 2.6.29 kernel, and supports devices with unlocked as well as locked boot-loaders.

The biggest challenge in porting a new version of Android is getting the hardware drivers to work. Earlier, Sony Ericsson had stepped in and helped out the FreeXperia team to port the Cyanogen Mod to different Xperia devices. It will be interesting to do see if they intend on doing something similar with ICS. Even otherwise, the release of ICS for the newer Xperia devices should help the ROM chefs. However, we might not even have to wait that long to get a fully functioning ICS ROM, given the track record of Zdzihu and others at XDA forums.

Samsung Galaxy Nexus to Cost $290 in the US

The Ice Cream Sandwich flavored Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which is the latest Google experience handset, was unveiled last month. However, the carriers as well as the manufactures have been pretty tight-lipped about the US launch date and pricing. Google only revealed that the new Nexus will be available stateside in November.

Now, Android Police has leaked a screenshot of Costco’s inventory, which suggests a price tag of $289.99. Since Verizon is listed as the carrier, it is likely that the official price will be Verizon’s standard $299, with Costco subsidizing the difference.

Samsung-Galaxy-Nexus-Price

Samsung had earlier announced that Nexus will go on sale across Europe on November 17. The unlocked version is already available for pre-order on Amazon UK for £549.99. Hopefully, folks in US and Canada will also be able to get their hands on the Galaxy Nexus around the same time.

The Galaxy Nexus sports a 4.65 inch HD (1280×720) screen, and is powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core TI OMAP processor. It will be the first handset to ship with Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0), although both Motorola and HTC have announced that their latest handsets will be updated to ICS. Check out our earlier coverage on the Ice Cream Sandwich to learn more.

Sony Ericsson’s First Dual Core Android Smartphone Leaked [Pictures]

Sony Ericsson’s current flagship, the Xperia Arc S, seems grossly underpowered when compared with the dual-core beasts from other major Android smartphone manufacturers like Samsung, HTC, and LG. While Sony Ericsson got its software segment in order in 2011, it was let down by the hardware department. It made a lot of right calls to woo the Android aficionados, including shipping devices with Gingerbread, unlocking the boot loader, and even officially providing support to the ROM development community. Both the Arc and Arc S are stunning handsets with a gorgeous body and a snappy operating system. Unfortunately, under the hood, both of them house a single core CPU that make the Xperia devices a dubious choice for the demanding consumer.

The good news is that Sony Ericsson’s next flagship device is indeed going to be a dual-core power house that can compete with the latest and greatest from other smartphone manufacturers. The device, which is currently going by the name Sony Ericsson Xperia Nozomi LT26i, will be powered by a 1.5 GHz dual-core CPU and have 1 GB of RAM. Here are some leaked snaps by the way of JustAmp.

Sony-Ericsson-Nozomi-Front
Sony-Ericsson-Nozomi-Back
Sony-Ericsson-Nozomi-About

Nozomi will sport a 4.3-inch capacitive touchscreen, with a massive resolution of 1280×720 pixels. While Google’s Nexus Prime also has similar resolution, it has a slightly bigger screen, which means that the Nozomi will have an advantage as far as pixel density is concerned. Detailed spec-sheet for Nozomi is currently not available; however, from the leaked snaps it is clear that SE will include both front and rear cameras. The pictured handset is running Android Gingerbread 2.3.5, but this can change before release. Given that the handset will probably be released in Q1 2012, Sony Ericsson should ideally launch its next flagship with Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0).

Microsoft India Offers Free Windows Phones to Developers and Students

Windows-PhoneThanks to the availability of cheap Android handsets, smartphone usage in India has exploded over the past couple of years. Now, Microsoft is looking to make its presence felt. As a starter it is trying to woo the developer community, who are often the early adopters and opinion makers. Earlier today, it announced the new I unlock Joy’ initiative under which developers and students can win free Windows Phone handsets and other gifts.

Mr. Moorthy Uppaluri, General Manager, Developer Partner Evangelism, Microsoft India said, India is a vibrant developer market, and we see a lot of excitement and enthusiasm around the availability of marketplace for customers in India. We believe that opening up this marketplace will provide the developer community in India with an opportunity to showcase creativity. He added, The best part about Windows Phone Marketplace is that developers will be able to use familiar development tools and technologies. They create global market opportunities for themselves and reach out to a large user base.

This program is already available to developers and will conclude on March 30, 2012. The main offer has three categories:

Submit and Receive: Developers get a chance to receive a Windows Phone by submitting three distinct, original and non-trivial Windows Phone applications.

Port 2 Apps and Receive: Developers submitting two Windows Phone applications that are ported from existing Android and iPhone applications will get to receive a Windows Phone.

Women Special: The first hundred women developers to submit one Windows Phone application will qualify to receive a Windows Phone each. The applications can be based on entertainment, fashion, leisure, sports, recreation or travel themes.

In addition to these categories there is also a special offer for students. Each student to submit a Windows Phone application will receive a Merit Certificate, a Windows Phone T-Shirt and a 2GB USB flash drive. Students submitting four apps will additionally receive a Windows Phone. Submissions for the student category will close on December 18, 2011. Any app submitted under this initiative will be considered as a valid entry only after it passes Windows Phone Marketplace certification testing.

Nokia Announces New Asha Series of Symbian S40 Phones

Nokia kicked off this year’s Nokia World conference by announcing a new range of Symbian S40 handsets called Asha. The four devices that Nokia demoed are Nokia Asha 200, Asha 201, Asha 300 and Asha 303. The word Asha means “hope” in Sanskrit.

Nokia-Asha-303-Symbian-S40

Nokia Asha 303 is the most power packed handset of the lot. It has a decently sized 2.6″ capacitive touchscreen as well as a full QWERTY keypad, and is powered by a 1 GHz processor. 3.2 MP camera, expandable memory (up to 32 GB). 3G, Wi-Fi, social network integration, instant messaging, and email are few of the other features. Some of the apps that Nokia is bundling with Asha 303 are Facebook Chat, Whatsapp messaging, and Nokia Maps for Series 40. It will be available in two colors (Red and Graphite) and will cost around 115 EUR, excluding taxes and subsidies.

The Asha 300 features a slightly smaller 2.4screen, retains the 1 GHz processor and QWERTY keypad, degrades the touchscreen to resistive, and amps up the camera to 5 megapixel. As a result, Asha 300 will set you back by only 85 EUR. It is also available in the same selection of colors as Asha 303.

The Asha 200 is Nokia’s latest dual-SIM handset with “Easy Swap” functionality. You can change SIMs whenever you feel like without having to switch off or restart your phone. The screen size is still 2.4 inch; however, it is no longer touch sensitive. It also has other features like high performing loudspeaker, enhanced stereo FM radio and ringtone tuning that are popular among the masses. Asha 200 will be available in as many as eight different colors and cost 60 EUR. Asha 201 is a single SIM variant of the Asha 200 and will retail for approximately the same price.

All the handsets will come preloaded with Nokia own browser, which uses remote rendering and compression in Opera Mini style to speed up browsing and save bandwidth. However, the biggest news on the apps side is that Nokia Asha 303 and 300 will come preloaded with Angry Birds! With the exception of Asha 201, all the devices are expected to ship in the fourth quarter of 2011. You will have to wait until 2012 to get your hands on Asha 201.

Meet Dexetra Software, the Indian Startup behind Iris

The biggest selling point of the new iPhone 4S is not its faster hardware or the improved camera. It’s an app Siri. Siri, the personal assistant with a personality, has wowed even the biggest iPhone critics. It is no wonder then that when an app called Iris was dubbed by TechCrunch as (Sort Of) Siri for Android, it raced past 50,000 downloads and made headlines in several popular tech-blogs.

Truth be told, Iris has a long way to go before it can hope to compete with Siri. However, that is hardly surprising given that the first alpha of Iris was coded in eight hours by an extremely tiny team, while Siri was in development for over a year.

Iris-Siri-Clone-for-Android

Dexetra Software, the brain behind Iris, is a tiny Indian startup consisting of just nine members. Before Iris, they were best known for the self-discovery app Friday, and have developed dozens of other applications in several different platforms including Android and iOS.

Dexetra Software was established in the beautiful Indian city of Cochin in April 2010. All of its six founding members had more than two years of experience in various MNCs like Bosch and Wipro. Dexetra Software CEO Narayan Babu assembled a team consisting of two colleagues from Bosch and three college mates. After initially experimenting with multiple platforms and apps, by the end of 2010, Dexetra Software began to focus solely on Friday and expanded its team to nine. The first alpha release in February 2011 was extremely well received and the first stable release is scheduled to arrive in a few months.

Iris, which brought instant fame for Dextera Software, began as an experiment on a lazy Friday afternoon because a few hackers were feeling bored. In the words of Narayan Babu:

We have been working on NLP and Machine learning for over an year now, I had a crazy belief that I could pull this off. Somehow I managed to write a tiny engine that could answer your questions, digging the results from the web.

When we started seeing results, everyone got excited and started a high speed coding race. In no time, we added Voice input, Text-to-speech, also a lot of hueristic humor into Iris. Not until late evening we decided on the name “iris.”, which would be Siri in reverse. And we also reverse engineered a crazy expansion – Intelligent Rival Imitator of Siri.

I had a brief email conversation with M Vijith Menon, who developed a substantial portion of Iris. Here are the excerpts.

On himself:
My name is Vijith Menon. I started work with Dexetra this January. And since then it has been an upward journey to a great work culture’ from a Technical College Life. I’m 23yrs young, and learning; did my B.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering from GRIT, Kottayam, Kerala. I began coding quite recently, and never thought could make a living out of it. But quite recently did I realize that, I have been programming whole my life, so there you have it!

After College I was looking for a job when I came by an advertisement for a requirement at Dexetra. From a junior Application Developer to a Technical Fellow, the 6 months at Dexetra were quite fun filled! I learnt about organization, coding, Version Control, and Testing. The journey continues… I have done application Development in WP7 and Android!

On how Iris works:
Iris is an application that uses the Android voice Recognition, Text to Speech engines and a whole chunk of pre academic and snazzy/snappy jesting brilliance! It has good, powerful and precise true knowledge! It is too early to say how it works, because it is in constant development! The general source of all answers is the World Wide Web.

On whether they had expected Iris to garner so much attention:
Never. As we declared on our blog, as well as in the articles in TechCrunch, it was a lazy Friday Hackathon. The idea came to Narayan Babu (it was more of a Challenge Accepted!state of mind) and he put me up with the general idea of the layout to be drawn, which he updated with designs, later. I daresay, it was quite easy!

On the future of Iris:
We vow to continue developing it, updates are being pushed regularly! We have released the widely stable version 1.0, with a futuristic ICS4 UI. Added features are voice actions (call, text, web search), which were not available in the early release. We are overwhelmed by the response, and user feedback is pouring in! Comparisons and competition will be left for the users to decide! More awesome features would be added pretty soon! No hurries, only steely determination!

On other projects in Dexetra:
We are in constant development of Friday, the life search app for Android. It has been in the works from before the time I joined Dexetra, and is improving every day! The app has completed private alpha, and will be out pretty soon! Many calls have come up already to integrate the two, Iris and Friday, because Voice and Search are such attractive traits for an app.

On whether he got the chance to play with the Android Ice Cream Sandwich SDK:
Yes, a little. But it is early to propound the uses/features. At the API level, fresh ones are available, but haven’t had much of a chance to use them! We’re yet to get a phone though!

Google Nexus Prime Confirmed in Leaked Ad

The official unveiling of Android Ice Cream Sandwich and Google Nexus Prime is still a few hours away; however, a leaked advertisement spotted by Android Police has already confirmed what has long been rumored. The next Google experience device is indeed going to be called the Nexus Prime and it will indeed have a ginormous screen.

The leaked ad, pictured below, touts Android 4.0, 4.7 inch HD Super AMOLED screen, and a 1.2 GHz dual core (Cortex A9 TI OMAP4460) processor. Earlier today, Japan’s NTT DoCoMo had let it slip on Twitter that it will launch the Nexus Prime in November. The highly anticipated unveiling is scheduled to begin at 6:30PM PDT/9:30PM EDT in Google’s Hong Kong office. Ice Cream sandwich is expected to merge Gingerbread (Android Mobile OS) and Honeycomb (Android Tablet OS) into a “cohesive whole”. As is customary, the Ice Cream Sandwich sculpture has landed in Google campus in preparation for the launch. Check out the Ice Cream Sandwich’s arrival video below, or catch up on all the leaked Ice Cream Sandwich news and rumors from our past coverage.

Google-Nexus-Prime

Run Android Apps and Games in Windows with BlueStacks

The explosion of Android handsets across different price segments has made developers flock in hordes to the Android ecosystem. The Android Market already has amassed more than half a million apps, and given its growth rate, a million apps doesn’t look very far away. While many of the apps are silly and low quality, there are plenty of gems too. There are several awesome Android apps like Cut the Rope and Pulse that will be a joy to use even on the larger and clunkier form factors. Unfortunately, baring a few exceptions like the Angry Birds, none of the Android apps are available for Windows.

The good news is that a new application called BlueStacks is promising to make running Android apps on Windows really simple and intuitive. BlueStacks App Player supports embedded virtualization, and can emulate the Android platform on Windows running on x86 as well as ARM architecture. BlueStacks also claims to have the technology to emulate Android running on Chrome OS, or even Windows running on Android ARM hardware.

BlueStacks

BlueStacks App Player is essentially a desktop gadget that acts as an Android app launcher. Unlike the official emulator, BlueStacks feels breezy, and runs high-resolution applications in full screen mode. BlueStacks also emulates all the physical buttons including Home, Menu, and Back. Though some of the fun of running touch screen apps is lost while using a mouse and keyboard combo, apps like Pulse still feel useful.

Pulse-Windows

BlueStacks ships with 10 applications, and it should be able to support up to 26 apps. The official website also claims that you can sync apps through your Android handset using the BlueStacks Cloud Connect app. Unfortunately, I couldn’t manage to download any app from the BlueStacks Channel as well as Android sync. However, BlueStacks is currently only in alpha, and issues are to be expected. The exciting thing is that BlueStacks appears to be optimized enough to be capable of running Android apps fluidly in full screen mode. Undoubtedly, the real test for BlueStacks will be running graphics intensive games and applications; however, BlueStacks has already succeeded in grabbing our attention.

MobiReader for Android Scans and Organizes Business Cards and Documents

Business cards are vestiges of a bygone era. I would hardly be exaggerating if I said that business cards have long outlived their welcome. It simply takes too much effort to go back home manually type in all the data from business cards that you earlier collected during a conference. It’s amazing that in this digital age people still insist on exchanging pieces of paper with their name on it. Unfortunately, all of us are forced to accept this stupidity as no convenient and globally accepted alternative exists. Luckily for us, today’s smartphones are powerful enough to ease the pain and simplify the process of organization of business cards.

Mobi-Reader-Home-Screen

Last week, I received a request to review MobiReader Pro for Android, a business card organizer app. Although getting sufficient quantity of business cards for a proper review turned out to be harder than I thought – trash can is the inevitable destination for almost all the business cards that I receive, I am glad that I took it for a spin.

Mobi-Reader-Card-Holder

MobiReader utilizes OCR (Optical Character Recognition) on snaps of business cards to automatically extract information like name, address, email and phone number. The intuitive user interface makes the entire process a breeze. The OCR can, however, be dodgy on occasions. Proper lighting and focusing is essential. Nevertheless, given that several OCR solutions perform miserably on anything but decent quality scans, I found MobiReader’s detection capabilities to be fairly impressive. For properly captured snaps, it was surprisingly accurate. The parsing engine is also quite smart. It figured out exactly what each field meant in 4/5 cases. The only business card it made a mistake with was mine! Scanned business cards can be saved into MobiReader’s card holder as well as your phonebook.

Mobi-Reader-Contact-View

Another interesting piece of feature in MobiReader is the Augmented Reality view. MobiReader displays contacts as you rotate your camera around based on the location of the contacts. It integrates with Google Map to help you in finding a contact whose address is stored in the card holder.

Although, I have been characterizing MobiReader as a business card organizer, it is capable of doing a lot more. It can also act as a document scanner and organizer. You can scan any piece of text with it, and save it as a PDF, share it via MMS or email, or even upload it to Google Docs. You can even lookup meanings of words directly from the snapped images by utilizing MobiReader’s dictionary integration.

Mobi-Reader-ReccomendedMobiReader is available in the Android market for $3.99. The price is slightly on the higher side as far as Android apps are concerned. However, if you are someone who gets a lot of business cards, or needs to scan a lot of documents, you will probably find MobiReader to be worth a lot more than the four bucks it demands.

Techie-Buzz Rating: 4.5/5 (Excellent)