Sunday, October 30, 2011

Nokia with First Windows Phone Handsets

Nokia Lumia 800Nokia unveiled a new crop of smartphones that could put the company back in the smartphone race with rivals iPhone and Android. It could also mark a turnaround for Microsoft's unpopular Windows Phone 7 software.

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop unveiled the company's new partnership with Windows Phone 7 today in the form of the Nokia Lumia 800 - a hi-tech, mid-priced handset running the latest version of Microsoft's operating system.

The phone costs £364. The cheaper, lower specced Lumia 710 model will cost just £234. Both will go on sale across Europe in November.

The pricing in particular could be crucial in putting Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 back in competition with its smartphone rivals. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that the Windows giant would cut prices to drive sales.

The partnership is predicted to capture 12.3 per cent of the European market for Microsoft over the coming year, said analysts Strategic Analytics this week.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Low-End Digital Cameras won't be Around In 2020

cameraWhen Apple unveiled the iPhone 4S, smartphone competitors probably weren’t the only ones beginning to sweat. Digital camera makers also have much to be worried about. Apple’s newest phone has a killer 8-megapixel camera that takes in more light and records video at 1080p HD video. Until recently, those kind of specs were unique to digital cameras, but increasingly smartphones are taking over the market.

“Flip cameras went bye-bye and now low-end camera functions are being taken over by smartphones,” says Rob Enderle, principle analyst for the Enderle Group. Going forward, consumers will have less incentive to carry around a camera when they already have a phone in their pocket that takes quality pictures. “The point-and-shooters – and particularly the cameras that sell for under $200 – will eventually go away and be replaced by cellphones that do the same thing.”

On the other hand, Enderle predicts more expensive and high-tech cameras may have a brighter future, though not by much, as a smaller market of photo enthusiasts seek out professional-quality cameras that go above and beyond what’s offered on a phone.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Killer features from the future: Siri vs. Android Beam and Face Unlock

Both iOS 5 and Android 4.0 have a futuristic touch — and we're not just talking glowing blue tones either. With iOS 5, Apple introduced us to Siri, a voice command and search app that's almost eerily sophisticated. You can speak into your iPhone 4S and ask Siri anything you want (really, anything!) and Siri speaks the information you need — or least a quirky retort. Android has boasted handy built-in voice commands for longer, but Siri is far more comprehensive and far closer to being sentient.

Paired with the futurescape of its new look, Android 4.0 introduces two very cool little bonus features: Android Beam and Face Unlock. If you've ever used the clever app Bump to swap phone numbers, Beam is the exact same idea, but expanded. With Beam, you can tap two phones together and watch as websites, videos, directions, and apps are zapped from one phone to the other.

Face Unlock for Android 4.0 is a trick that could prove pretty useful in securing your phone from prying eyes. Using Google's face recognition technology, you can unlock your phone just by peering into the front-facing camera and having your face recognized.

Winner: Siri Both Apple and Android's new futuristic features have some inherent limitations. Siri is only available for the iPhone 4S, and isn't open to all iOS 5 users. Android Beam will debut on the new flagship Galaxy Nexus phone, and then be possible between any two Android 4.0 phones that have a Near-Field Communication (NFC) chip or sticker. Unfortunately, knowing Google's checkered past with Android updates and its ongoing struggles with its grab bag of Android makers, it's hard to say how long it'll be before the stars will align for Beam.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Why Having A Best Friend is Good for You

best friendIf you’re ever feeling under pressure, it might be an idea to see your best friend. Being in their presence can reduce stress levels – at least according to a study of children.

‘One of the interesting things about these findings is that it’s not just any friend – it’s the best friend,’ said Ryan Adams, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor of paediatrics at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Centre.

A hundred children aged ten to 12 were asked to fill out a diary five times a day for four school days, and rate how they felt about what they’d experienced in the past 20 minutes.

They were also asked whether they’d been alone or with parents, siblings, a best friend, a boy or girl friend, classmates, strangers, teachers or some other person.

And they had saliva samples take to measure for the stress hormone cortisol. Researchers found that the presence of a best friend, more than anyone else, buffered the physical effects of a negative experience, so the child produced less cortisol.

When no friend was around during stressful times, cortisol levels shot up. Although the study only looked at children, experts say its findings are likely to apply to adults too.

Dr Karen Majors, an education psychologist with Barking and Dagenham Community Educational Psychology Service, said: 'A child’s close friends can be problematic and lead them astray, but they can also be incredibly positive and supportive.

'Friendships serve really important purposes socially, emotionally and cognitively as well as being a playmate and companion. For example, previous research shows if you transfer school with friends you know, it bodes well for making new friends.'

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Underwear run sets world record

underwear runA protest of Utah's uptight laws that featured people running through the streets of Salt Lake City in their underwear has set a new world record.

Guinness World Records says the Utah Undie Run broke the previous record for largest gathering of people wearing only underpants or knickers by 1,720 people.

Records officials say 2,270 people stripped to their underwear during the Utah Undie Run on Sept. 24. The previous record of 550 people was set last year in Great Britain.

Utah Undie Run organizers are planning another run next August. The event's goal is to protest the state's conservative politics.

Organizers prohibit nudity. Participants donned bras, panties, nightgowns, swimwear or colorful boxer shorts.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The World's First Bendable Cell Phone

Bendable Cell PhoneDemonstrations of 'bendable' screens have been a staple of technology shows ever since there were screens small enough for us to carry. This week, Samsung has given the strongest sign yet that the hi-tech devices might become reality.

The company demonstrated 'bendable' AMOLED screens 4.5 inches across and just 0.3mm thick in January this year. Reports this week hint that phones using the technology - which can be 'rolled up' and survive hammer blows - will appear in the second quarter of next year.

The technology relies on atom-thick layers of 'graphene' - sheets of carbon atoms - sandwiched together, protecting a layer of liquid crystal 'screen'.

Earlier this year, reports leaked that Samsung had the capacity to manufacture large amounts of the screen by 'early 2012' - but no one knew what they might be for.

Samsung later released pictures of a concept phone using the technology - the Galaxy Skin.The phone would be no mere novelty.

Phones using Graphene screens would be practically unbreakable, and offer an instant advantage over every other smartphone on the market. Now, according to reports in the International Business Times, the handsets could be on sale early next year.

The report was remarkably specific, stating that the handset would offer specifications including a high-resolution 800×480 flexible AMOLED screen, eight megapixel camera and 1Gb of RAM as well as a 1.2GHz processor.