Sandeep Venugopal’s Weblog

August 11, 2008

TSA now allowed to take laptops from you!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 7:36 pm
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Not content with taking your shoes and confiscating your water, now the Department of Homeland Security is gunning for your laptops. As the Washington Post reported yesterday, Border Patrol and Customs agents can now “detain” laptops “for a reasonable period of time” to “review and analyze information.” They don’t need probable cause under the new policy. Doesn’t matter if you’re a U.S. citizen or foreign visitor. Officials can hold the laptops indefinitely. Or hard drives, flash drives, cellphones, iPods, pagers, beepers, video and audio tapes. Ditto papers, documents, books, pamphlets, even litter.

“It’s not our intent to subject legitimate travelers to undue scrutiny, but to ensure the safety of the American public,” wrote Jayson Ahern, U.S. Customs deputy commissioner, in a recent policy paper. Arguing that border searches of laptops have already uncovered intellectual property rights violations, extremist Jihadist literature, video clips of IEDs and child pornography, he pledged the government would never disclose confidential information “without lawful authority.” The policy has been on the books for awhile, but just confirmed under pressure from civil rights and business groups worried about increasing reports of laptop confiscation.

Source: LA Times, Martin


June 25, 2008

Chrysler equips new cars with wireless internet! Niceee…!

Stuck in a traffic jam and really hoping you could update your Facebook page? You soon may be able to in a Chrysler. The No. 3 of the Big Three U.S. automakers will announce a wireless Internet-access option for all 2009 models on Thursday, according to various media reports. Costs of the option — called UConnect Web — and service subscriptions have not been finalized, according to Wired magazine and the Los Angeles Times. “It’s a notion of always wanting to be connected wherever you are,” Scott Slagle, Chrysler’s senior manager of global marketing strategy, tells the L.A. Times. “There’s a demand for that.”

The cars will receive 3G cellular broadband signals, then route them to any Wi-Fi enabled devices in or around the vehicle. Traffic-safety advocates are less than enthused. “Stop already!” Russ Rader of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety told the Times. “Clearly this is a problem. Our cars are becoming just another place to catch up on calls and now e-mail, and that’s a real safety problem.” It remains to be seen which models will get UConnect and what it will cost. Chrysler says it will be competitive with laptop wireless cards, and customers won’t be tied to long contracts.

Source: ABC, Fox, Martin

Apple to make $26 on every sold iPhone 3G! WoW!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 8:02 pm
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According to a preliminary analysis by iSuppli Corp., the new Apple iPhone 3G materials and manufacturing cost is $173. The initial retail price of the phone announced by Steve Jobs will be $199. iSuppli has performed a breakdown of the costs using insights from its analysis staff to develop estimates of iPhone content, suppliers, and costs. “The new iPhone is significantly less expensive to produce than the first-generation product, despite major improvements in the product’s functionality and unique usability, due to the addition of 3G communications,” said Dr. Jagdish Rebello, director and principal analyst for iSuppli.

“The original 8Gbyte iPhone carried a cost of $226 after component price reductions, giving the new product a 23 percent hardware cost reduction due to component price declines.” Tina Teng, wireless communications analyst at iSuppli, added that if the 3G iPhone design is unchanged, the cost should drop down to $126 in 2012. Although the base iPhone 3G will sell for just $199 at retail, Apple will receive far more than that with AT&T footing the bill as it does with most phones. Wireless carriers subsidize much of the cost of devices and make up the difference with revenue from new and existing subscribers.

Source: Betanews, PC World, Martin

June 19, 2008

Omnia, competition for iPhone from Samsung!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 6:35 pm
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Samsung Electronics South Korea released on early Monday preview details on the company’s new smartphone, before the mania of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference begins in California. The Samsung Omnia (SGH-i900) is similar in looks and function to the Samsung Instinct (SPH-M800), but with a few more bells and whistles. For starters, it sounds like it has a very promising camera. With five megapixels and anti-shake technology, this may be the first camera on a phone that produces pictures you would actual think of printing, not just posting to Facebook. This is an improvement over the 2-megapixel cameras on both the first-generation iPhone and on the Samsung Instinct.

The touch-screen smartphone, which runs on Windows Mobile 6.1 and features Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and Opera 9.5 as its Web browser, will also have Wi-Fi. That’s something the Instinct also lacks. Like the Instinct, the Omnia has visual voice mail, 3G capability, Bluetooth, an FM radio, and GPS functionality. The smartphone, of course, also doubles as a music player and, with 16GB, will be able to hold up to 4,000 songs or 100 minutes of video, according to Samsung. The Omnia (SGH-i900) will become available in Southeast Asia first and then be launched to other markets over the second half of 2008, according to Samsung.

Source: Crave

June 8, 2008

Apple is world’s #3 smartphone maker now!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 10:38 pm
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Apple has staked a strong claim in the smartphone market. And it’s a good space to latch onto, as the worldwide smartphone market grew more than 29 percent and the North American smartphone market doubled in the first quarter of 2008 compared to a year ago, according to new research from Gartner. Apple, Cupertino, Calif., is the No. 3 vendor of smartphones, selling 1.7 million units worldwide to grab a 5.3 percent share of the market, Gartner said. Apple has built that share up from nothing, offering no smartphone in its portfolio until the debut of its iPhone in June, 2007. In the U.S., Apple is the No. 2 vendor, grabbing 20 percent of the market. Still, the vendor has a ways to go if it wants to hit No. 1 worldwide. Nokia, Espoo, Finland, holds that spot, selling 14.6 million units in the first quarter and grabbing 45.2 percent of the market. Research in Motion, Waterloo, Ontario, sits at No. 2, selling 4.3 million units to grab 13.4 percent of the market.

Globally, buyers snapped up 32.2 million smartphones in the first quarter, an increase of 29.3 percent compared to the first quarter of 2007. In North America, unit sales more than doubled to 7.3 million. “Despite economic concerns, the smartphone market continued to expand in the United States, driven by heavy advertising and strong marketing promotions as more devices reached mass market price points,” said Hugues De La Vergne, principal analyst for mobile terminals research at Gartner, in a statement. “North American operators are giving these devices strong support, as they provide higher average revenue per unit (ARPU). We expect operators to continue to make these devices the focus of 2008 promotions.”

Source: CRN, Martin

May 3, 2008

Adobe gives away Flash for cell phones! Niceee…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 12:25 am
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Adobe Systems Inc. says it will license its video-enabling Flash software for free for mobile devices to help developers make mobile Internet experiences more closely resemble the experience on computers. The world’s fifth-largest software maker is launching what it calls the Open Screen Project with support from phone makers Motorola Inc., Nokia Corp., Samsung Electronics, Sony Ericsson and Toshiba Corp., from chip makers Intel and Qualcomm, and from content providers including NBC Universal, MTV Networks and the BBC, among other companies. With the Open Screen Project, Adobe said, it aims to improve Internet experiences on all electronics, including computers, TVs and digital video recorders. But mobile devices are a particular focus.

Many mobile applications have met with disappointment from consumers. And game and video developers have been burdened with cranking out numerous versions of applications for mobile devices, said Kevin Lynch, Adobe’s chief technology officer. “You have to make over 100 different versions of that game in order to actually make it work across all these different phones,” Lynch said. Notably missing from the list of industry supporters for Adobe’s project is Apple Inc. The iPhone maker does not use Flash on its smart phones, and Chief Executive Steve Jobs has publicly criticized Flash for being too slow. Adobe says it’s working on a version of Flash for the iPhone — now that Apple has released the information needed to custom fit the software to Apple’s operating system.

Source: AP, Martin

April 27, 2008

June 9 is the date for New 3G iPhone!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 11:32 pm
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The 3G iPhone will be announced June 9, the likely date of Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ keynote at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference, analysts said in research notes on Thursday. The 3G iPhone will be the “first of an impressive wave of new products” from Apple, wrote Citi analysts Richard Gardner and Yeechang Lee. They also expect an updated Mac laptop and iPod lines. The Apple conference is scheduled for June 9-13 in San Francisco. In addition to a 3G iPhone release in early June, the 2.5G model could have a “minor casing change” and a price drop to between US$299 and $349, compared to the current $399, wrote Shaw Wu, an analyst with American Technology Research, in a research report.

Those predictions are consistent with a February prediction Gardner made that 3G iPhones will be announced by midyear. The 3G iPhone release will help Apple meet its target of shipping 10 million iPhones in 2008, Gardner wrote at the time. Apple is confident it will sell 10 million iPhones this year, officials said during a conference call on Wednesday to discuss the company’s second-quarter earnings. Apple sold more iPhones than expected during the quarter and iPhone inventories were not enough to meet the strong demand.

Source: Yahoo, Martin

April 12, 2008

Cell phones allowed on flights in Europe! Niceee…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 6:13 pm
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You can use your cell phone in the skies over Europe later this year under new rules that will allow air travelers to stay in touch — and raise the cringe-inducing prospect of sitting next to a chatterbox at 30,000 feet. But don’t expect to use your phone on a U.S. flight anytime soon. The decision Monday by the European Union makes the 27-nation bloc the first region in the world to scrap bans on the use of cell phones in the sky. The EU insists the change will not compromise safety. Cell phone calls will be connected through an onboard base station — think of a miniature cell phone tower — linked to a satellite and then to ground networks. A flight’s captain will have the power to turn off service anytime.

Phone service will be blocked during takeoff and landing, EU spokesman Martin Selmayr said. That means using your cell phone will fall under roughly the same restrictions as using your laptop or iPod. In Europe, travelers will be allowed to turn on their phones after planes climb past 10,000 feet. That’s when other electronic devices are typically permitted. Captains will also be able to block cell phone service during turbulence. The ban remains in place for all U.S. carriers, including domestic and international flights. Duquette said the FAA had not decided whether to block foreign carriers from allowing cell phone use when they enter U.S. airspace.

Source: AP, Martin

March 18, 2008

Samsung preps ultra-thin 8MP phone camera!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Sandeep @ 11:41 am
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Samsung this morning revealed what it says is one of the world’s smallest high-resolution cameras yet. Although capable of 8-megapixel shots, the new camera is roughly as wide as a coin and a third of an inch thick, allowing it to fit into far thinner and more compact phones than even many 5-megapixel cameras. The sensor is also more powerful than most at its size with up to ISO 1600 light sensitivity, anti-blur and noise correction, and both face and smile detection for portraits.
The optics are also said to be flexible with a 30mm wide-angle equivalent and extremely close macro shooting up to 0.4 inches away from the lens. Samsung explains that the new camera will be used both in Korea and abroad and that it should find its way both into cellphones as well as digital cameras and other portable media devices. Production samples will start arriving for customers in May but should reach shipping products sometime in the second half of this year, though the company has not named any launch partners.

Source: electronista

February 12, 2008

APX 2500 cellphone applications processor from NVIDIA! Niceeee…


It’s been a long while since we’ve seen anything from NVIDIA on the cellphone front, but the company has changed that in a fairly big way today, with it showing off its first major cellphone applications processor: the APX 2500. As CNET points out, that chip is largely the result of NVIDIA’s acquisition of PortalPlayer back in 2006, and represents the company’s first attempt at building a true computing processor for cellphones. From the looks of it, they sure look to have gotten off to a decent start, with the chip itself (based on an ARM11 core) able to run at speeds up to 750MHz, and encode and decode 720p high-definition video, opening up the possibility of some pretty capable cellphone / video camera hybrids. Of course, this being NVIDIA, they also squeezed in some of their GeForce graphics technology designed especially for low-power devices, which they say is to allow for 3D interfaces, but we’re sure could also be put to some other uses as well. No exact details as to when and where we can expect to chip just yet, but it’ll apparently start to make its way into phones sometime next year, with Windows Mobile in particular able to exploit the technology in the chip — no surprise there, given Microsoft’s hand in the chip’s development. Follow the break for a shot of NVIDIA’s totally trippy demonstration interface that’s in use on the APX2500’s reference platform.






The concept phone is also hooked up to a big plasma screen outputting full HD video (720p H.264).

NVIDIA is keen to stress the efficient power management of the APX 2500 too:

“Not including the screen, just the power of the chip, you can run 10 hours of HD,” says Clark. “The reason we don’t include the screen is you don’t know the variables involved in the connector and the screen. I could hazard a guess, but I’d get in trouble…”

Enough for a movie? “Oh certainly, enough for a movie at a quality halfway between Blu-ray and DVD.”

Here’s a shot of the phone (at the bottom of the pic) outputting HD video to the big plasma screen:




NVIDIA is working closely with Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system to get this tech into phones. “It’s in four of the five major manufacturers’ handsets now, after Sony Ericsson announced Xperia last night,” says Clark. “For us, working closely with Microsoft is a speed to market thing.”

Here’s the APX 2500 demo clip. Checkout its true potential.

Source: nvidia, tech dig, eng net

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