Friday, August 31, 2012

Hands On: Samsung Galaxy Camera

Hands On: Samsung Galaxy Camera

Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Camera, introduced at this week's IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin, takes clear, colorful images but is buggy and slow.
(To see a video hands on with the Galaxy Camera, watch a video on YouTube.)
Samsung said that the Galaxy Camera is designed to combine the best features of a smartphone and a digital camera, but it's missing one big thing: a phone.
On paper the gadget is impressive and I was excited to try it out. It shoots 16.3 megapixel images and has a 21x optical zoom, a 4.8-inch LCD screen, Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), a 1.4 GHz quad core processor, A-GPS and 3G, 4G and WiFi connectivity.
The zoom is impressive and gives surprisingly clear images at 21x, but the shutter lag on the device is significant. Samsung billed the Galaxy Camera as a device that can shoot professional quality images, but DSLR shooters will be annoyed by the length of time between when the shutter button is pressed and the picture is taken. In some cases it could be longer than two seconds.
Photographers will appreciate the manual controls built into the device's "expert mode." It lets you shoot in manual, program, and aperture- or shutter-priority modes. The on-screen interface for selecting the settings is supposed to mimic the lens-barrel controls found on SLR cameras, but ends up being clunky and sometimes difficult to use.
Like an Android smartphone or tablet, the Galaxy Camera has access to all of the apps in the Google Play store. That means that you could download apps to send images to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so on over the device's data connection. The images could also be added to emails or Dropbox folders, or retouched using a photo-editing app.
In the few minutes that I was using the camera, it froze, displayed an error message: "Warning unknown error by ErrorCallback." The camera needed to quickly reset before I could start using it again.
The Galaxy Camera will start shipping in October. However, its future will depend heavily on its price, which hasn't been announced. While there aren't any digital cameras that pack as many features, otherwise-comparable devices without the Internet connectivity, such as Sony's DSC-HX9V, cost around US$330.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Google+ switches circles, targets enterprise users with new features


Google+ switches circles, targets enterprise users with new features

hangouts-in-calendar.jpg

In an attempt to help business colleagues collaborate more easily and getting things done faster, Google has announced some new features for its social networking app targeting business centric users.The search giant is offering a full preview mode for its Apps customers, who will be able to use the business features of Google+ for free through the end of 2013.

Now Google Apps users will be able to make use of Restricted posts, a feature that keeps posts shared by an organisation private, thereby disabling re-sharing of posts. But users will have the discretion to share a post with particular partners or colleagues outside the organisation if they will.

Privacy is a key element for any organisation and that's why Google+ now gives users administrative controls to set company-wide defaults for post restrictions. These can also be set for just having private meetings within the company.

Hangouts has been a prominent feature of Google+ allowing multiple users to video chat at a time. Now organisations can make use of this feature directly from Gmail. Colleagues can view, share and even edit documents together via Hangout.An additional advantage is that they will also be able to add a hangout to a calendar event allowing attendees to join the meeting directly from the invite or Calendar entry.

Apart from these new features, Google also plans to roll out a mobile version of Google+ for enterprise users with greater administrative controls.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 launches at IFA 2012


Samsung Galaxy Note 2 launches at IFA 2012

Popular phone and tablet the Samsung Galaxy Note has been updated with an improved screen and performance, as well as a better stylus.


The original Galaxy Note was launched last year at IFA 2011, and despite muted critical reaction the 5” phone and tablet went on to sell surprisingly well.
The updated version improves the stylus that allows users to write notes and select areas on the screen, and also incorporates the success of design features now found in the Galaxy SIII phone. It also increases the screen size to 5.5" without making the device bigger overall.
With Samsung recently ordered by a US court to pay Apple $1billion for copyright infringement, analysts at CCS Insight said that the announcement of improvements to the device in a category of products that Samsung created were “a timely response to criticism that Samsung is a follower not an innovator”. The firm added that the S-Pen stylus is now of “high strategic importance and the Note 2 offers opportunity to truly differentiate in the smartphone market”.
New features in the Note 2 improve the operating system, upgrading it to Android 4.1, and now include a quad-core 1.6GHz processor and a 5.5” Super HD Amoled screen. Additional S-Pen features allow users to hover over photos or video, as well as emails or calendar entries, to see more information.
The 9.4mm thin, 180g device also allows users to write notes on the ‘back’ of photographs and improves the ease with which notes can be written while a phone call is being made at the same time. Prices will be announced nearer the October launch, and while 3G and 4G models will be offered it is not yet known whether the device will be compatible with the UK’s first 4G service, from Everything Everywhere via Orange, T-Mobile and Three.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

S II and more: Apple wants these Samsung phones banned now

S II and more: Apple wants these Samsung phones banned now

Apple Inc is seeking speedy bans on the sale of eight Samsung Electronics phones, moving swiftly to translate its resounding court victory over its arch-foe into a tangible business benefit.
The world’s most valuable company wasted no time in identifying its targets on Monday: eight older-model smartphones, including the Galaxy S2 and Droid Charge. While Apple’s lawsuit encompassed 28 devices, many of those accused products are no longer widely available in the world’s largest mobile market.
The smartphones include: Galaxy S II 4G, Galaxy S II (AT&T variant), Galaxy S II Skyrocket, Galaxy S II (T-Mobile Variant), Galaxy S II Epic 4G (Sprint Variant), Galaxy S Showcase, Droid Charge, Galaxy Prevail.
Although Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S III phone was not included in the trial, the jury validated Apple’s patents on features and design elements that the US company could then try to wield against that device. Apple may not have to seek a new trial over the S III, but can include it in a “contempt proceeding” that moves much faster, according to legal experts.
Many on Wall Street believe Apple now has momentum behind it in the wake of its near-complete triumph over the South Korean company on Friday.
The Samsung Galaxy SII. Reuters
“The evidence and weight of the case are heavily in Apple’s favour,” said Jefferies & Co analyst Peter Misek. “We expect there is a two-thirds chance of an injunction against Samsung products.”
An injunction hearing has been set for Sept 20. If US District Judge Lucy Koh grants sales bans, Samsung will likely seek to put them on hold pending the outcome of its appeal.
Apple’s win on Friday strengthens its position ahead of the iPhone 5′s expected September 12 launch and could cement its market dominance as companies using Google Inc’s Android operating system – two-thirds of the global market – may be forced to consider design changes, analysts say.
Apple was awarded $1.05 billion in damages after a US jury found Samsung had copied critical features of the iPhone and iPad. The verdict could lead to an outright ban on sales of key Samsung products.
Apple’s stock scored another record high on Monday.
While the victory does not cover new Samsung products including the Galaxy SIII, Apple will push its case on these products in the near-term, Evercore Partners analyst Mark McKechnie said.
“While a ban would likely increase Apple’s leading smartphone share in the US market, we believe this verdict could lead to Samsung also delaying near-term product launches as it attempts to design around Apple’s patents,” Canaccord Genuity analysts said in a note.
TOOTH-AND-NAIL
Apple’s shares gained 1.9 percent to close at $675.68, tacking on another $12 billion-plus to its already historically leading market value. Samsung lost about the same amount in market capitalization after its shares slid 7.5 percent in Seoul.
“The ruling marks an important victory for Apple against Android. Competitors may now think twice about how they compete in smart mobility devices with the industry’s clear innovator,” Barclays analyst Ben Reitzes wrote on Monday.
“If Apple forces competitors to innovate more, it could take longer for competitive products to come to market, and make it more expensive to develop them.
The victory for Apple – which upended the smartphone industry in 2007 with the iPhone – is a big blow to Google, whose Android software powers the Samsung products found to have infringed on patents. Google and its hardware partners, including the company’s own Motorola unit, could now face legal hurdles in their effort to compete with the Apple juggernaut.
Google shares closed 1.4 percent lower at $669.22. Microsoft Corp , a potential beneficiary if smartphone makers begin to seek out Android alternatives, ended up 0.4 percent. Nokia , which has staked its future on Windows phones, gained 7.7 percent.
Even Research in Motion – which has hemorrhaged market share to Apple and Google – climbed more than 5 percent in early trade before finishing 2 percent higher at $7.01 Canadian.
“The mobile industry is moving fast and all players – including newcomers – are building upon ideas that have been around for decades,” Google responded in a Sunday statement.
“We work with our partners to give consumers innovative and affordable products, and we don’t want anything to limit that.”
The verdict came as competition in the device industry is intensifying, with Google jumping into hardware for the first time with the Nexus 7 and Microsoft’s touchscreen-friendly Windows 8 coming in October, led by its “Surface” tablet.
Samsung, which sold around 50 million phones between April and June – almost twice the number of iPhones – will have to pay damages equivalent to just 1.5 percent of the annual revenue from its telecoms business.
“The verdict does not come as a surprise,” wrote William Blair & Co analysts. “From Apple’s perspective, Samsung’s market size position and its leadership in the handset world was something the company could no longer overlook, and viewing this as another ‘imitation is a form of flattery’ was not possible.”
“Companies such as Samsung, who we categorize as fast followers, have been viewed by the industry for their ability to quickly adopt the latest handset trends … rather than their ability to introduce fundamental innovation.”

Monday, August 27, 2012

India Wins ICC Under-19 World Cup


India Wins ICC Under-19 World Cup


TOWNSVILLE, Australia -- India has won the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup for the third time, beating Australia by six wickets behind captain Unumkt Chand's 111 not out on Sunday.

image
Unmukt Chand of India bats during the final match.
Australia made 225-8 after being sent in to bat, with captain William Bosisto scoring 87 not out. India started strongly, then collapsed to 97-4 before Chand guided the winners to 227-4 in the 48th over.
Chand, who hit seven fours and six sixes, shared in a 130-run partnership with Smit Patel (62 not out), who hit the winning runs with eight balls remaining.
Australia, which also has three under-19 World Cup titles, had never lost a final in the tournament.
India 227-4 in 47.4 overs (Unumkt Chand 111 not out, Smit Patel 62 not out; Joel Paris 1-33), def. Australia 225-8 (William Bosisto 87 not out; Sandeep Sharma 4-54) by six wickets.