Windows Phone 7.1, a.k.a. Mango, goes official, here's what's new

Mango, a.k.a. Windows Phone 7.1, is served - along with 500 new features. Multitasking is among them, as is much deeper social networking integration, improved message handling and more.

The WP 7.1 update will be shipping on new phones this fall and it will be made available to existing Windows Phone 7 users for free at the same time. And there will be new devices to come - aside from the widely publicized deal with Nokia, Acer, Fujitsu and ZTE will be making Windows Phone 7.1 devices too. Nokia also confirmed their first Windows Phone devices will come with this edition of WP7, so the features listed below will be available on those phones as well.

We recently heard Nokia's WP7 phones will use ST-Ericsson's dual-core CPUs, however Microsoft today confirmed they are sticking with Qualcomm's Snapdragon CPUs for the new batch of smartphones. While that's not bad, we'd really like to see custom SoC solutions from manufacturers. With all the same hardware, manufacturers will find it really hard to differentiate their products but we guess, it makes sense from the software development point of view. It just remains to be seen whether Nokia will be the only maker to use chips of its own choice.

Getting back to the promised changes, Microsoft has added a long list of supported languages to greatly expand the reach of Windows Phone to new countries. The limited language localization offered so far has been cited as one of the reasons for the somewhat poor WP7 track record.

Multitasking is, of course, one of the most hotly expected features. It uses a card interface to switch between apps, very similar to what we've seen in WebOS.
Messaging is done on threads, combining various services - within a single conversation you can switch between SMS, Facebook chat and Windows Live Messenger seamlessly. Now that's new. We like innovation like that though the actual implementation by the users will be tricky, that's for sure.

Other messaging changes promise you will be able to dictate your messages or have an incoming text read to you, thanks to the text-to-speech and speech-to-text features.

Twitter and LinkedIn has joined the social networking prowess of Windows Phone too and Facebook check-in functionality as well as face tagging in photos are built-in. You can pin whole groups of people as live tiles and monitor updates from people in the group or message the whole group right from your Start screen.
Live tiles are improved in general - they will display much more info than their v7.0 counterparts.

App connect helps third-party apps integrate into the Hubs of Windows Phone 7.1 to enhance the core experience of the phone. Apps will also be included in search results, making search in Mango much more context aware and hopefully useful. Check out our coverage on the new search features here.

Internet Explorer 9 is coming with the Mango update too (it's based on the capable desktop browser). IE9 for Windows Phone 7.1 supports hardware acceleration.
Bing services have been extended - Bing Vision (think Google Goggles), Music Search and Voice offer new ways to search the web. A curious new feature, called Quick Cards, will give you instant access to key information (including related apps) whenever you search for a product, place, event or movie.
Local scout will help you find what you need nearby - shops, restaurants or activities will be recommended in an "easy-to-use guide".

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READ MORE - Windows Phone 7.1, a.k.a. Mango, goes official, here's what's new

Samsung Galaxy S II announced in India, will hit shelves by June 9

The much awaited Samsung Galaxy S II has finally got a launch date in India. According to Samsung India, the phone will be on sale starting June 9. However, thanks to a special deal with Vodafone India, their customers will be able to get their hands on the Galaxy S II from June 3.

Now for the big question and that is what will be the cost of this monster of a device. The Galaxy S II will set you back by Rs. 32,890 (US$723), which shouldn't come as a big surprise considering the spec sheet of this phone.

Vodafone customers will be able to pre-book the device from tomorrow by paying Rs. 1,000.

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READ MORE - Samsung Galaxy S II announced in India, will hit shelves by June 9

Next-gen iPhone to have a curved glass display?

As the WWDC comes closer and closer the rumor mill keeps churning details of the next-gen iPhone. This time we got word that the smartphone that will be named either iPhone 5 or iPhone 4S might have a curved glass display. The rumor was fueled by the reported purchase of between 200 and 300 glass-cutting machines by Apple.

The supposed reason behind this purchase is the fact that manufacturers are hesitant to purchase such machinery due to their high costs. The Cupertino-based company is said to be trying to speed up manufacturing of curved glass as it will be needing it for their next iPhone.
Currently the machines are being stored and will be assembled once yield rates for the production of curved glass reach a satisfactory level.

If this rumors turns out true the iPhone 4S will be Apple's second curved glass device, following the iPod Nano. In the smartphone world the curved glass debuted on the Samsung-made Google Nexus S.

There's still no word on the availability of the next iPhone or on when will it be announced or anything, really. But this is the Apple way of doing things and we'll just have to wait for it to be announced, or lost in a bar somewhere.

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Samsung resumes I9000 Galaxy S Gingerbread update

Well it's good news for all Galaxy S owners and an incentive for future Galaxy S II owners as Samsung has kept its promise to give the Gingerbread treatment to the Galaxy S at any cost. And it seems that the update is rolling out anew for the ex-flagship.

Samsung kept the promise it made just days ago and that's deserving of an approving nod.
We remind you that the official update first started rolling out through the Samsung Kies software in March, but was later withdrawn due to issues with it that weren't mentioned. Rumors had it that the delay was due to bugs.

The update is currently available to some Galaxy S users in the UK, but Samsung has confirmed that it might take a while longer to appear with some carriers.

The Gingerbread update should bring several key improvements to the first Galaxy S smartphone - improved performance, less battery drain as well as some usability tweaks.
We hope this time everything will go smooth and everyone will be able to enjoy the latest Android build on their Galaxy S.

Thanks Mike, for sending this in!
READ MORE - Samsung resumes I9000 Galaxy S Gingerbread update

Nokia's WP7 phones to use U8500 dual-core 1.2GHz chipsets?

The CEO of ST-Ericsson got chatty in front of Forbes and said that Nokia’s Windows Phone 7 devices will be powered by the U8500 dual-core CPU and its successors will go on to power Windows Phone 8 phones too.

So far, Windows Phone 7 devices have been exclusively powered by Qualcomm chipsets (due to Microsoft’s limiting guidelines, which were revised recently). ST-Ericsson’s CEO however says that they will be one of two chip suppliers for Nokia’s WP7 phones (he didn’t who the other was).

The first Nokia devices will use the dual-core U8500 chipset, which has been seen running at 1.2GHz. Things might change by the time these devices come out, but they look to be the first dual-core Windows Phone 7 handsets.

The CEO also said that over the course of 2012 Nokia will release 12 Windows Phone 7 devices that will be based on future versions of the U8500 chipset. He also believes that ST-Ericsson will be a key supplier for Windows Phone 8, yep that's 8.

The Mango update is v7.5, so Windows Phone 8 is already very likely in the works (and the rumor mill suggests that it and Windows 8 will be closely related).

The U8500 has a powerful Mali-400 GPU, the same as on the Samsung I9100 Galaxy S II.
READ MORE - Nokia's WP7 phones to use U8500 dual-core 1.2GHz chipsets?

Sharp treats us to a waterproof 16MP Android clamshell in 3D

Prepare to feast your geeky souls on one of the hottest Android devices you have ever seen. Sharp has just unveiled the waterproof AQUOS PHONE THE HYBRID 007SH (a mouthful indeed) with a 16 megapixel camera and a 3.4” FWVGA stereoscopic display that doesn’t need glasses to work.

The Android 2.3 Gingerbread clamshell (yeah, you read that one right) sports GSM and WCDMA connectivity so it should be able to operate on networks worldwide. Unfortunately, the handset will initially only be available in Japan and knowing Sharp we doubt they will expand its reach, ever.
Anyway, with the AQUOS 007SH you will also be getting a 0.7” secondary OLED display as well as GPS, Wi-Fi b/g/n and Bluetooth 3.0 connectivity. There’s also an infrared port on board - a feature that’s still pretty popular in Japan.

The highlights list continues with a microSD slot that allows expanding the internal memory by up to 32 GB, 720p video recording, digital TV tuner and a microHDMI port. The waterproof body of the smartphone measures 113×51.8×19.3mm, which is pretty thick, but it only weighs 140 g.
The AQUOS PHONE THE HYBRID 007SH will become available at SoftBank shops in Japan next month.

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READ MORE - Sharp treats us to a waterproof 16MP Android clamshell in 3D

Android security hole makes stealing your personal info easy

Security is a relative term in digital communications, as German researchers discovered after putting Google’s Android OS through some testing. Reportedly, 99.7% of all droids could be broadcasting the authentication key to your personal Google data when connected over unsecured Wi-Fi networks, making it easy for opportunist attackers to gain access to it.

The problem lies in how some Android apps communicate with the cloud servers. You see, researchers discovered apps transmit user name and password to the server securely and the server returns an authentication token to be used so that the app doesn’t have to log in every time it makes a request.

Researchers discovered, however, that this token is the weak link as it's often transmitted insecurely (making it very easy to steal). An attacker can easily steal one of these tokens by sniffing the unsecured public Wi-Fi network you use. And since the token is valid for up to two weeks (from any device), the attacker can go on and sync your contacts or calendar entries to a device of their own.

In short, your droid may be leaking the key to your personal info without you even knowing it. This type of attack is very similar to how the notorious Firesheep could once steal people’s Facebook accounts.

The researchers tested different Android phones, from different vendors, running different OS versions and found that syncing contacts and calendar data is done insecurely prior to v2.3.3. The Gallery app (developed by a third party and not Google) uses the insecure method even in the latest smartphone version of Android.

Unfortunately, the problem isn't limited to Android’s native apps, third party apps are vulnerable too and will have to be updated to patch the hole.

You can read the blog post by the researchers that found the loophole for more info.

We don't know about you, but that sounds scary to us.

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READ MORE - Android security hole makes stealing your personal info easy

Samsung Hercules for T-Mobile is the stuff from your dreams

T-Mobile might be coming a bit late to the Galaxy S II party, but it seems that it will make a remarkable entrance. We just got word of the upcoming Samsung Hercules, which looks like the most powerful droid the company has ever built, combing the best of both the Infuse 4G and the international Galaxy S II worlds.

We are talking a 4.5” Super AMOLED Plus display and a dual-core CPU clocked at 1.2 GHz. However the chipset will be built by Qualcomm, which means that the processor will be using the Scorpion, rather than the Cortex-A9 architecture. We are yet to see if that’s a change for the better or for the worse.

Samsung Hercules is said to support the 1700 MHz AWS 3G band and if the T-Mobile and AT&T merger goes through it will also come with 850 and 1900 MHz 3G. The great news is that the smartphone will sport HSPA for up to 42Mbps on the downlink and up to 5.76 Mbps on the uplink. The LTE-packing HTC Thunderbolt aside, this is the fastest network data transfers rates we have seen so far.

The impressive specs sheet of the Samsung Hercules continues with 1GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot and NFC support. The 8 megapixel camera should be able to capture 1080p videos, which hopefully will be as good as those of the I9100 Galaxy S II (or in the best case scenario, even better).

The USB port will still come with MHL support, which means you are one adapter away from plugging in your regular HDMI cable and using it for TV-out. All this goodness is squeezed in a package with a profile of just 9.4mm.

The rumored price tag of over $350 will hardly surprise anyone given the feature set. Unfortunately it will take at least until August for the handset to materialize in T-Mobile stores.

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READ MORE - Samsung Hercules for T-Mobile is the stuff from your dreams

BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900 Review, Specs & Price

The BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIM) has announced the launch BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900, running on the BlackBerry OS 7. BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900 features a touchscreen interface, a first for RIM’s Bold series. The phone powered by 800 MHz Scorpion processor, 1.2GHz processor.
BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900 and Touch 9930 have 2.8-inch capacitive touchscreen displays with 640×480 pixels resolution. The phone also featured 5 megapixel camera at rear with LED flash that is capable of recording 720p video. These qwerty phone have an internal memory of 8 GB, which can be extended up to 32 GB using micro SD cards.

1. 5MP camera of BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900 is the most impressive features in this cell phone.
2. There is Standard 1230 mAh battery in it which is also a plus point of this cell phone. 3. Lightening fast processing speed (1.2 GHz) of this mobile phone provides speed and reliability.

1. Overall there is no major problem or drawback associated with this cell

BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900 Specifications
Launch – Q2,2011
Camera & Display
Camera – 5.0 Mega Pixels, Resolution 2592×1944 Pixels, Video, Geo tagging, Autofocus, image stabilization, Face detection, LED Flash
Screen Display – 2.8 inches, Resolution 640×480 Pixels
Color – TFT Capacitive TouchScreen
Special Features
QWERTY Keyboard
Optical Trackpad
Accelerometer sensor for User Interface auto-rotate
Proximity sensor for auto turn-off
BlackBerry maps
Touch-sensitive controls
Digital Compass
NFC support
PDF Viewer
Document Editor
Voice memo & Dial
Audio, Video Recorder & Playback
MP3, MP4 Player
MP3 Ring tones, Vibration
3.5mm Headphone Jack
Downloadable Games
Speaker Phone
Message Support
SMS, MMS, Email, Push Email
Instant Messaging
Predictive text input
Connectivity Options – Bluetooth v2.1, Micro USB 2.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, GPS
Data Modes – 3G, GPRS, EDGE, HTML Internet Browsing
Internal Memory – 768 MB RAM, 8GB Storage
Expandable Memory- 32GB Micro/SD Card slot
Phone Book – Unlimited Contacts with Photo call
Call Records – Yes
Battery Power
1230 mAh Li-Ion Standard Battery
Battery Life – N/A
Battery Talk Time – N/A
Mobile Size and Looks
Size – 115 x 66 x 10.5 mm
Weight – 130 grams
Body Colors – Black

BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900 Price and Release date
RIM has not yet announced the release date and pricing in India.

source : hot mobile news
READ MORE - BlackBerry Bold Touch 9900 Review, Specs & Price

New Symbian^3 homescreen leaked by Nokia Germany

Some images posted on the Nokia Germany website just lifted the curtain on one of the features to come in the next Symbian^3 update. What we are seeing is the free-form widgets that were initially rumored to come with the PR 2.0 Anna update, but apparently didn’t make it.

The new Symbian^3 homescreen with free-form widgets

Until now the Symbian^3 widgets had a fixed size and you could only fit a preset number of them on the screen. However when free-form widgets become available you'll be able to reduce those you need less often in size to make room for the more important ones.

Now there’s an outside chance that someone in the Nokia Germany PR department just went too creative on those images, but we really doubt that this is the case. After all, what would be the point in simulating such a minor feature if you don’t plan on ever releasing. It won’t attract any new customers and it might earn you some bad publicity.

So it’s a pretty safe bet that Symbian users will be able to resize their widgets once the next update becomes available. Dubbed PR 3.0 Belle, this upcoming update is expected to hit in the fall, but given that we’re still waiting for the mass availability of the Anna, we wouldn’t bet our salaries on that.

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LG Optimus Black gets a price tag of 319 euro

The LG Optimus Black starts to finally roll out to stores around the world. Following yesterday's news that the phone will hit UK in the upcoming week, the Optimus Black has made it to the Philippines.

The price of the LG Optimus Black there is 19,990 Philippine Pesos, or around €319 / $464, which is pretty decent for the 4-inch-screen smartphone. Let's hope the phone will keep this pricing in Europe and specifically the UK, where it's expected to launch next week.

The LG Optimus Black packs a TI OMAP 3630 1GHz single-core processor, 512MB of RAM, 5MP camera capable of shooting 720p HD video and the 4-inch NOVA display. Speaking of which, you should definitely check the display shootout we did recently.

Also, as the review is in the works, in our blog we posted user interface and Gestures demo videos of the LG Optimus Black. Don't forget to check them out as well.

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READ MORE - LG Optimus Black gets a price tag of 319 euro

BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9100 Price, Specs, Review & Feature

BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9100 powered by BlackBerry OS and 624 MHz processor. Blackberry Maps, Touch Sensitive optical trackpad Half QWERTY keyboard and many other standard features are included in Blackberry Pearl 3G 9100.

– BlackBerry maps
– Document editor (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF)
– MP3/WMA/WAV/eAAC+ player
– MP4/H.264/H.263/WMV player
– Organizer
– Voice memo/dial

BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9100 Specifications:
Camera & Display
Screen Display – Resolution 360×400 pixels
Camera – 3.15 Mega Pixel, Resolution 2048×1536 pixels, LED Flash, Video, Auto focus
Color – TFT with 256K color.

Special Features
Audio, Video Recorder & Playback
3.5 mm Headphone jack
MP3, MP4 Player
MP3 Ring tones, Vibration
Speaker phone, Downloadable Games
Touch-sensitive optical trackpad
Dedicated music keys
Document editor, Voice memo
Half-QWERTY keyboard
Black Berry maps, Organizer

Message Support
Instant Messaging
SMS, MMS, Email, Push Email

Connectivity Options – Bluetooth v2.1, Micro USB v2.0, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/h, GPS
Data Modes – 3G, GPRS 32-48 Kbps, EDGE 236.8 Kbps, HTML Internet Browsing

Internal Memory – 256 MB, 2 GB included
Phone Book – Unlimited Contacts, Photo Call
Expandable Memory- 32 GB MicroSD/card slot
Call Records – Yes

Battery Power
1150 mAh Li-Ion Battery
Battery Talk Time – 2G: 5.30 hours, 3G: 5 hours
Battery Life – 2G: 432 hours, 3G: 312 hours
Music Play – 30 hours

Mobile Size and Look
Body Colors – Black, Purple, White, Pink, Gardient
Size – 108 x 50 x 13.3 mm
Weight – 93.6 grams

BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9100 Mobile Phone Specification:
Standard battery, Li-Ion 1150 mAh
Document editor (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF)
MP3/MP4 Player
SMS, MMS, Email, IM
3.15 Megapixels Camera
TFT, 256K colors Display
GPRS, EDGE, 3G, WLAN, Bluetooth, USB
Internal Memory: 256MB RAM
Memory Card: microSD, up to 32GB, 2GB included
BlackBerry OS
BlackBerry maps
3.5 mm audio jack
624 MHz processor

Blackberry Pearl 3G 9100 Price
The price of the BlackBerry Pearl 3G is rumoured to be around $449.99 in US, which equals to more than Rs. 20,000 in India and around € 340 in UK where it is expected to be offered by T-Mobile, O2, Vodafone and Orange, not confirmed though.We’ll update the official price as soon as they announce it.The phone is expected to make official entry into the market soon, may be in Q3 2010.
READ MORE - BlackBerry Pearl 3G 9100 Price, Specs, Review & Feature

Sony Ericsson XPERIA PLAY to finally come to O2 UK in June

The first PlayStation-certified smartphone, Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play, is finally going to make its debut on the O2 network in UK next month. The carrier was initially expected to launch the handset in April, but reportedly software bugs found at the eleventh hour pushed its release back.

Now however, we’ve got an official confirmation from the O2 blog that the issues are nearly resolved and the handset will be available in O2 UK network next month. Unfortunately pricing is still a mystery at this point, but we should be getting an update on that soon enough.

Yet, we can’t help but wonder about those alleged bugs. After all, the handset hit the shelves as planned elsewhere and we didn’t notice any deal-breaking issues when we reviewed it, which leads us to believe that the issues had something to do with the bloatware that O2 is trying to install on the handset.

In case you are not familiar with the term, we are talking about the custom carrier-branded software that normally does little more than irritate users and slow-down updates. Boy, do we hope to be wrong with our assumption here.

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READ MORE - Sony Ericsson XPERIA PLAY to finally come to O2 UK in June

Major US carriers are blocking Android tethering apps

Android owners in the US won’t be happy about this – carriers have started blocking the apps that enable tethering on their phones. It’s a service they charge $15-$20 a month after all, you can’t expect them to let you have it for free.

Reports from all over the Internet are coming in saying that AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon are all blocking the tethering apps from the Market (both free and paid ones). Sprint seems to be the one operator that hasn’t blocked the tethering apps.

People who live outside the US might be scratching their heads wondering why you’d need an app to do what the OS can do on its own – well, US carriers usually disable that functionality, until you pay of course. AT&T goes as far as locking out the option to install third-party apps from sources other than the Market.

Finding the apps from other sources is much harder that way. And even if you manage to install those, you might get an email from the carrier – AT&T for one, has been sending out messages to those who use tethering without paying for it first.

It's the very reason why the latest 3.0 version of the popular tethering application PDA Net now features cloaking to mask the tethering activity from your carrier.

If you’re in the US, drop us a comment to say if tethering apps have been blocked for you.

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READ MORE - Major US carriers are blocking Android tethering apps

Samsung Galaxy S II Graphics Performance Locked at 60FPS, But Who Cares?

I don’t mean to sound condescending toward the folks at Nordic Hardware with my title. First, the story: the Samsung Galaxy S II’s GPU doesn’t allow users to run anything at refresh rates greater than 60 frames per second. Boohoo. Since when was 60 frames per second a bad thing? Any graphically demanding game running at 60 frames per second is great, and the overall feel of the OS benefits from it too. But do folks really want or need more?

The argument against 30 frames per second was justified. I experienced the limitation first hand on several HTC devices of yesteryear, including the HTC EVO 4G Developers eventually got around that and delivered 60 frames of goodness per second to all. I was very pleased, impressed, and satisfied with how much snappier it made devices feel (even if actual device performance wasn’t getting a boost). To this day, I remain satisfied. Many others do, too.

What is the point of going further? In 2D and 3D graphics – especially for phone UIs – there is no real world advantage to pushing out as much as you can at the highest framerate. Overall performance can suffer the higher you try to go because your GPU and CPU have to work harder to display a moving image just a bit smoother than what is recognized as the industry standard. Yes, folks, the Mali 400 has a locked frame rate, but you’re likely still going to buy this phone the moment you get a chance.

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READ MORE - Samsung Galaxy S II Graphics Performance Locked at 60FPS, But Who Cares?

HTC Desire HD and Incredible S get sweet Gingerbread treatment

Good news, HTC users! The Desire HD and Incredible S Android 2.3 Gingerbread updates arrive right on time. They are available as a 100MB OTA update, so charge your phones, back up some data and go get some Gingerbread magic.

HTC promised us four Gingerbread updates in Q2 this year - for the Desire HD, Desire Z, Desire and Incredible S. They have just begun delivering those upgrades to the Desire HD and Incredible S.

The update is done over-the-air and is about 100MB, so if you don't have an unlimited data plan you should definitely use a Wi-Fi hotspot.

There is no info when the other two updates will roll out, but we guess it should happen in the next few days.

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READ MORE - HTC Desire HD and Incredible S get sweet Gingerbread treatment

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