EU Bets on 5G to Catch Up in Mobile Technology


The European Union is looking to sign agreements with China and Japan and the United States to cooperate on developing the next generation of mobile broadband as it seeks to help its companies catch up in the race to develop such technologies.

Europe, once a leader in the 1990s in the second-generation GSM technology standard for mobile phone networks moving into the digital era, has fallen behind the United States, Japan and South Korea in the deployment of the latest 4G standard for mobile broadband services.

The region’s network operators including Britain’s Vodafone and Spain’s Telefonica were slower to move to 4G than Japan, Korea and the United States and adoption in Europe remains lower compared to other advanced economies.

European policymakers are now trying not to repeat the mistakes of the past and are seeking to be at the forefront of developing the standards for 5G, which promises much faster video downloads, denser network coverage and the possibility of connecting billions of everyday electronic objects to create “the internet of things”.

“With 5G, Europe has a great opportunity to reinvent its telecom industrial landscape,” Guenther Oettinger, the EU’s Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, told the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Tuesday.

In June last year the European Commission signed an agreement with South Korea in which the two sides committed to cooperating on setting technical standards and ensure the necessary radio frequencies are able to support the new network.

“It is our intention to sign similar agreements with other key regions of the world, notably Japan, China, and the United States,” Oettinger said.

(Also See:Airtel, China Mobile Partner for 5G, Telecom Equipment Procurement)

The Commission will soon start formal discussions on 5G with China, according to a person familiar with the matter, which is also keen to have its say on what 5G should do. China is home to the world’s second-biggest maker of mobile network equipment,Huawei, and ZTE, the fifth biggest.

But the chief executive of France’s Orange said work remained to be done on 4G, whose rollout across Europe has been patchy and slow.

“We need to prepare for 5G but let’s not jump too fast. We should enjoy 4G,” he said.

Most industry experts expect the first commercial deployments of 5G in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

Much work remains to be done to set technical standards for the technology, and figure out exactly what it is supposed to do that current 4G gear cannot, experts say.

In the meantime, companies that make mobile network equipment such as Sweden’s Ericsson, Huawei, Finland’s Nokia and France-based Alcatel-Lucent are jockeying for position and carrying out experiments with operators to prepare for 5G.

Japan’s NTT DoCoMo is already working with Nokia and Ericsson to develop networks running at high frequencies for use in the 5G wireless era – technology expected to be showcased at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Meanwhile Huawei has said it will invest $600 million in 5G research and expects to have a network ready for deployment by 2020.

“We are closely working with our customers to get to 5G. It is the only way to fully meet the demand of machine to machine technology,” said Huawei’s chief executive Ken Hu.

The head of Nokia, Rajeev Suri, said that he thinks the drive to develop 5G technology promises to be a “three-horse race” between Ericsson, Huawei and his firm, leaving out the fourth biggest equipment maker, Alcatel-Lucent.

“I don’t aspire only to be third,” said Suri on a panel on Tuesday. “We will move up.”

[source :]

Apple Beats Samsung as Top Smartphone Maker in Q4


iPhone-maker Apple has dethroned Samsung from the top spot on the global smartphone tally, a position that the Korean electronics giant had strongly held for over three years, research firm Gartner on Wednesday said.

For the entire year, however, Samsung firmly held on to the top slot.

According to Gartner, the US-based firm captured a 20.4 percent share (74.83 million units shipped) of the global smartphone market, which saw over 367.48 million units being shipped in the October-December 2014 quarter.

Samsung, which had a 24.4 percent share in the third quarter of 2014, saw its share declining to 19.9 percent in the last quarter of the year with shipment of 73.03 million smartphones.

“Samsung’s performance in the smartphone market deteriorated further in the fourth quarter of 2014, when it lost nearly 10 percentage points in market share,” Gartner Principal Research Analyst Anshul Gupta said.

Samsung continues to struggle to control its falling smartphone share, which was at its highest in the third quarter of 2013 at 29.5 percent, he added.

“This downward trend shows that Samsung’s share of profitable premium smartphone users has come under significant pressure,” Gupta said.

Gartner Research Director Roberta Cozza said while Apple dominated the premium phone market and Chinese vendors are increasingly offering quality hardware at lower prices, Samsung can secure more loyalty and longer-term differentiation at the high end of the market through a solid ecosystem of apps, content and services.

However, the Korean major stayed firm as the largest smartphone vendor for the year 2014 shipping over 307.5 million smartphones (24.7 percent share) compared to Apple, which shipped 191.4 million units and had 15.4 percent share.

In 2014, total smartphone shipment totalled 1.2 billion units, up 28.4 percent from 2013 and represented two-thirds of global mobile phone sales.

Lenovo (along with Motorola sales) had a 6.6 percent share, followed by Huawei (5.5 percent) and Xiaomi (5.1 percent) in October-December 2014 quarter.

Chinese vendors like Huawei and Xiaomi are continuing to improve their sales in China and other overseas markets, increasing their share in the mid to low-end smartphone market.

“Chinese vendors are no longer followers. They are producing higher quality devices with appealing new hardware features that can rival the more established players in the mobile phone market,” Cozza said.

Brand building and marketing will be key activities in deciding which Chinese vendors can secure a foothold in mature markets, she added.

[source :]

Apple OS X Yosemite 10.10.3 Public Beta Released


Apple has released the public beta of its upcoming computer operating system, OS X Yosemite 10.10.3. Registered beta users can head on over to the Mac App Store Software Update tab to download the new beta.

The new update is labelled as Build 14D87, and is the same as the second 10.10.3 beta for developers which was released a week ago, according to a report by 9to5Mac.

The new release includes the new iCloud-based Photos app for Macs, a new set of emojis and improved login to Google accounts for profiles with two-factor authentication enabled. It follows closely on the heels of the last stable release of OS X Yosemite 10.10.2, which rolled out to users at the end of January.

Apple is also trying something new this season with its first ever public beta program for the iOS mobile operating system that runs on iPhones, iPads and select iPods, in an effort to involve the slightly-more-knowledgeable public in the effort to eliminate bugs before the release of iOS 8.3. A report from 9to5Mac states that the release will match the third iOS beta for developers, and will be followed by the iOS 9 public beta in summer, right before the launch of the next iPhone in fall.

[source :]

Microsoft's Excel-friendly Android virtual keyboard packs a 10 digit number pad

excel android keyboardTablets aren’t typically great at data entry, as you have to hunt and peck for the numbers on the virtual keyboard.

Microsoft is trying to ease the pain, releasing its own Keyboard for Excel to the Play Store. It includes the traditional 10-digit keypad that still graces the right side of hardware keyboards, something number crunchers swear by for rapid data entry.

It only works in landscape mode, as it would put too tight of a squeeze on the rest of the keyboard on a vertical orientation. Because it’s designed for this single purpose the keyboard doesn’t have many other features like autocorrect or gesture typing, so don’t count on it as a full-blown keyboard replacement. Also, because Excel is built only for tablets, those are the only devices on which you can install it.

The keyboard still works for entering text and symbols, so it should handle all your needs when using it with Microsoft Excel for Android.

Why this matters: Microsoft’s strategy is to get you using Office, no matter the device.Office for Android¬†puts the big three on your tablet:¬†Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. This Excel-focused keyboard is a solid add-on for those who want to dabble with spreadsheet entry.

[source :]

Panasonic Eluga U2 With 4G LTE, 64-Bit SoC and Android 5.0 Lollipop Launched


Panasonic has silently launched the successor of the Eluga U, the Eluga U2, in Taiwan at TWD 7,990 (approximately Rs. 15,700). As yet, there is no information of its global release.The smartphone can be grabbed from Yahoo online store in Taiwan. The Panasonic Eluga U2 is a single-SIM device unlike the dual-SIM Eluga U. The smartphone runsAndroid 5.0 Lollipop with the company’s Fit Home UI out-of-the-box, making it the first device to run Lollipop by Panasonic.

Upfront, the Panasonic Eluga U2 features a 5-inch full-HD (720×1280 pixels) IPS display and is powered by a 64-bit quad-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor coupled with 2GB of RAM.

The Panasonic Eluga U2 sports a 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash, and a 5-megapixel front facing camera. Inbuilt storage on the Eluga U2 is 16GB, which is further expandable via microSD card (up to 32GB).

Connectivity options on the Eluga U2 include 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS/ A-GPS. The handset measures 141.5x71x7.95mm, weighs 131 grams, and comes with a 2500mAh battery.

Last year in July, Panasonic had launched the Eluga U smartphone in India, priced at Rs. 18,990. The dual-SIM (Micro-SIM) Panasonic Eluga U features a 5-inch (720×1280 pixels) IPS OGS display, and is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor coupled with 2GB of RAM. Other specifications include, a 13-megapixel autofocus rear camera; a 2-megapixel front-facing camera; 16GB of built-in storage expandable via microSD card (up to 32GB), and a 2500mAh battery.

[source :]

PhotoMath Updated to High-School Level, Android App Coming Soon

Damir Sabol, Croatian computer expert and entrepreneur, was helping his son with his maths homework when he had an idea.”I found it a bit tedious, all those additions and multiplications, so I reckoned, ‘We already have intelligent software, why not make it deal with maths?'” Sabol said.

The result was PhotoMath, a free app that scans and solves equations, providing a step-by-step explanation. It has been downloaded more than 11 million times since its introduction in October, and it was just updated on Thursday to take it to high school level. An Android version is due in days.

The app is based on the same technology as an earlier app called PhotoPay that was introduced in 2012 by Sabol’s company, which is also called Photo Pay. That app facilitates mobile banking, by scanning household bills and paying them instantly.

“Basically, what we do is teach mobile phones to read things from the real world,” Sabol told Reuters in his sparsely decorated office in Zagreb, where a dozen young software engineers jot down ideas and algorithms.

He said the PhotoMath averages about 1.5 million users every month and he had received scores of emails from grateful students, parents and even teachers.

“Will I allow my pupils to use the app? Absolutely,” a British maths teacher wrote on, after a pupil proudly presented the app in class.

“As a means for them to check their work it’s unrivalled … They are far more likely to ‘listen’ to an electronic device, rather than teacher, telling them that they are right or wrong,” the teacher wrote.

Sabol says he has never regretted making the app available for free.

“Now, of course, we are looking for ways to be commercial,” he said. “Without that, we cannot continue developing the app.

[source :]

Samsung Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge Promotion Leaks Design and Names


Samsung is expected to launch its next Galaxy flagship smartphone alongside a curved-display variant at the company’s Galaxy Unpacked 2015 event during MWC scheduled for March 1, which is just a couple of days away from now. But the leaks related to the device just don’t stop coming in.The latest in the series of leaks is from mobile carrier Sprint. The US carrier along with T-Mobile, and AT&T earlier this week unveiled pre-registration pages that featured a side view of the Galaxy S6 Edge along with the words ‘Six Appeal’. Soon after, AT&T’s site code confirmed the names – Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge.

More recently though, Sprint briefly put up a contest page (now pulled down) which showed the top-halves of both the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. In the meanwhile, more live images of the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge have surfaced on the Internet, matching the phones seen on the Sprint contest page, alongside new details about UI on the handset.

First spotted by Android Police, Sprint’s promotional teaser pages are for interested consumers to sign up for alerts on the handsets. Another promotional contest page shows the front panels of both the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge.

The image only shows the upper half body of both the Samsung handsets that house the company logo just above the display while the screen has March 1 date potentially tipping the launch day. Sprint’s contest page seemingly also spills the names of the two handsets, in-line with previous reports, and says, “Pre-register for the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge that are coming soon and you’ll be entered for a chance to win one of six GS6 (Galaxy S6) devices that are given away each week for a limited time.”

In another leak, Sammobile reports that the Galaxy S6 will come preloaded with just two in-house apps while it will also include the themes feature that debuted on the Samsung Galaxy A3 and Galaxy A5. The report claims that Galaxy S6 users will be able to change “icons, colour bar, voice tones, background image and background colour in menus.”

samsung_galaxy_s6_s6_edge_leak_xda.jpgThe report adds that the new themes should be available to download from the company’s Theme Centre; though there is no word on whether the handset will support third-party themes.

Lastly, more live images of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge have emergedon XDA forum (via GSM Arena). On Thursday, some images of the Galaxy S6 were leaked via XDA forum showing the brushed metal frames alongside front and rear panels, as well as the lack of a microSD card slot and removable battery.

The latest images show the front and rear panels of both the yet-to-be-announced handsets. In one of the images the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge are seen with switched-on screens. The curved-display edge of the Galaxy S6 Edge on one side is also visible in the image. The rear images of both the Galaxy S6 and the curved-display variant look identical with a protruding camera, a notable feature that’s visible. As mentioned before, the images match that of the Sprint contest page, and we can now be reasonably sure the two phones will arrive in the form leaked by the carrier.

samsung_galaxy_s6_s6_edge_front_leak_xda1.jpgBased on previous reports, the Samsung Galaxy S6 is likely to feature a 5 or 5.1-inch QHD Super AMOLED display; run Android 5.0.2 Lollipop; octa-core Exynos 7420 processor; 3GB of RAM; a 20-megapixel camera with OIS (optical image stabilisation); 5-megapixel front-facing camera, and a 2600mAh battery with fast charging features.

Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked 2015 event on March 1 will kick off at 11:00pm IST and you can tune into NDTV Gadgets for live updates from the event.

[source :]

Truecaller iPhone App Update Adds New Widget to Help Identify Numbers

Truecaller earlier this week updated its iPhone app to version 5.0, and added a new Today Widget apart from redesigning the UI to optimise it for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, and improving other features.The new Today Widget, called Truecaller Widget Search, is meant to help quickly identify a missed call, and lets users copy a phone number from call history, and then drag down Apple’s Today View to see the Truecaller widget and identify the caller. The updated app is available on the App Store.

The feature is available for iOS 8 users, and can also be used to search for people within and outside the user’s phonebook. The firm says the app will first help search for the number or name inside the user’s phonebook, and if it is not available, will search from within the Truecaller database that is claimed to have 1.6 billion names.

Users can now also information and photos from social media profiles to the Truecaller phonebook, a feature that Android users got back in December. Users will be able to choose the way they look in their friends’ Truecaller phonebooks by updating their profile.

Apart from this, the new user interface allows for quick ways to send text messages or place calls to user profiles just discovered. Once a user profile is pulled, users will need to swipe left to place a call or text. The updated Truecaller app for iPhone also brings updated Spam filters for better protection against unwanted calls, and the app is claimed to be faster than before.

Alan Mamedi, co-founder and CEO of Truecaller, spoke of the changes in the new app in a statement, “We want to streamline and personalize the experience for our users as much as possible and a smarter design was essential to improving the experience. This is the next big step we’re taking to increase the utility of our app, while helping the iOS community save time with tools they need to identify unknown numbers. We think the new Truecaller will improve the way millions of people use the service every day, and based on some of the great feedback we’ve had so far, we’re confident that we’re moving in the right direction toward our next 100 million users.”

[source :]

Microsoft Tipped to Launch 5 New Lumia Smartphones at MWC 2015


Amidst several HTC and Samsung teasers, and other leaks and rumours for MWC 2015, a new leak now shows a list of Windows Phone handsets that Microsoft might launch at its March 2 event at the trade show. The Redmond-based tech giant might launch a total of five new entry-level and mid-tier handsets, according to the report.

The list of Windows Phone handsets revealed by AdDuplex (via Phonarena), based on devices in testing visible on its servers, shows five handsets model numbers along with multiple variants and the screen/display information.

The list first shows the Microsoft/Nokia RM-1031, which features a 4-inch WVGA (480×800 pixels) resolution display, hinting at an entry-level handset. The list also states that searching for the particular model number online returns matches for Nokia XL, a short-lived Android handset.

The second smartphone shown is the Microsoft/Nokia RM – 1062, which also has variants – 1063 (AT&T), 1064, 1065, 1066, and 1067, all of which will feature a 5.7-inch HD (720×1280 pixels) displays. The Microsoft/Nokia RM – 1072 is shown housing a 5-inch HD display. It too has variants – 1073 (AT&T), 1074, 1075, 1076, and 1077.

adduplex_windows_phone_device_february_mwc_2015.jpgThe report further shows the Microsoft RM -1109 and RM – 1113, both of which might be the variants of the Microsoft/Nokia RM – 1072 mentioned above. Like RM- 1072, these handset are also seen with 5-inch HD display. The report adds while the RM – 1072 model was seen in Brazil, the RM – 1113 was seen in Asia. Lastly another entry-level handset Microsoft/Nokia RM – 1099 has been mentioned with 4-inch WVGA (480×800 pixels) resolution.

Needless to say, Microsoft has not confirmed any of the aforementioned handsets. The firm has also not released any teasers like Samsung or HTC keeping its plans a complete secret. Earlier this week, Microsoft announced a new variant for the Nokia Lumia 635 with bumped-up RAM. Also, details on its unannounced Lumia 640 Dual SIM DTV smartphone with integrated digital television was surfaced.

[source :]

U2 Tops iTunes Listening Charts Despite Free Album Furore

U2 faced such a backlash over its free album that the band apologized, but the Irish superstars claimed vindication Tuesday as research showed its music dominated iTunes listening.U2’s “Songs of Innocence” was automatically sent to the world’s half billion iTunescustomers as a promotion for the new iPhone 6, leading to so many complaints thatApple set up a special webpage on how to delete the album.

But research company Kantar Group said that 23 percent of iTunes users in January 2015 listened to at least one U2 track – far more than second-placed Taylor Swift at 11 percent.

U2 on Tuesday seized on the survey, saying the figures showed that the band’s strategy had been proven right.

“This is fantastic news,” lead singer Bono said in a statement.

“If these figures suggest that these songs still matter to people, then we’re knocked out. That’s all any songwriter wants,” he said.

Guitarist The Edge added: “We took a big risk but today we can say that the experiment worked.”

Bono had earlier apologized, telling an online forum in October that U2 got carried away due to a “drop of megalomania” and fears that the album would not be heard.

Kantar based its survey on an initial sample size of 2,510. It said that virtually all of the people who listened to U2 last month heard a track from “Songs of Innocence.”

However, many iTunes customers listen to tracks on “shuffle” mode, and complaints about the U2 album came in part from users who resented that “Songs of Innocence” entered their libraries against their will.

Stars ranging from Ozzy Osbourne to Sinead O’Connor have lashed out at U2 over the giveaway, saying the deal with Apple – reportedly worth $100 million – set a bad precedent for lesser-known musicians who cannot survive by giving out their music for free.

[source :]