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Nokia unveils Windows smartphone Lumia

 

 

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A screenshot of the Nokia website displaying Lumia, the firm's first Windows phone.

Nokia Corp. has unveiled its first Windows-based cell phones in a bid to recapture lost ground in the smartphone market.

CEO Stephen Elop said on Wednesday in London that the Lumia 800 and 710, based on Microsoft Corp.’s Windows software, will be accompanied by four other smartphones.

Nokia, claiming 1.3 billion daily users, has been losing the smartphone race as it is squeezed in the low end by Asian manufacturers like ZTE and in the high end by the Apple Inc.’s Phone, Research in Motion’s Blackberry and Google’s Android devices.

Nokia stock was up 3 per cent at 4.95 ($6.83) in Helsinki.

Nokia launching Lumia 800 and Lumia 710 Windows Phone models

 

Nokia will announce the Lumia 800 and the Lumia 710 during its Nokia World event in London on Wednesday,WinRumors reported on Tuesday. The Lumia 800 was originally leaked as the “SeaRay” and earlier rumorssuggested the phone will pack an 8-megapixel camera and a 3.7-inch display. The Lumia 710 first appeared as the “Sabre” and it allegedly offers a 3.5-inch display, a 1.4GHz processor, a 5-megapixel camera and 1GB of RAM. These two Windows Phone 7.5 devices could hit the market as soon as November, in-line with Nokia’s promise to launch a Windows Phone product this year. Thankfully we have less than 24 hours until Nokia CEO Stephen Elop takes the stage and clears up all of the fog.

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Nokia Lumia 710
  • Dimensions: 119 x 62.4 x 12.5mm
  • Storage: 8GB including SD slot
  • 512MB program memory
  • No SD card slot

nokialumia800

 

Nokia Lumia 800
  • Dimensions: 116.5 x 61.2 x 12.1mm
  • Weight: 142g
  • 512MB program memory
  • No SD card slot

The world's largest cellphone maker Nokia unveiled its first phones using Microsoft software on Wednesday, hoping they will kick-start a rescue of its ailing smartphone business.
The Finnish group, struggling to keep up with nimbler rivals in a hotly contested industry, unveiled the Lumia 710 and Lumia 800 in London and priced them at 270 and 420 euros respectively excluding taxes and subsidies.


Crucially, the lumia 800 will include the full and free navigation service users crave.
The phones will be available in European and other markets around the world by the end of this year and in the United States in early 2012 and into mainland China in the first half of 2012.

Left in the dust by Apple and Google in the booming smartphone market, Nokia decided to ditch its aging Symbian platform in favour of Microsoft's software in a risky deal in February that spooked investors.
Nokia has not rushed with the new phones. Nimbler rivals HTC, Fujitsu and Samsung Electronics have beaten it with models using the latest Windows software, Mango.

Nokia and Microsoft have said they will focus on close co-operation with operators to support the platform.
"Operators really want to have another company on the scene: they don't want Google and Apple to rule the mobile universe," said Magnus Jern, chief executive of Barcelona-based mobile app development firm Golden Gekko, speaking ahead of the launch.

LUMIA HAS DARK BACKGROUND

Nokia's market value has halved since February as investors are unsure whether it can ever regain the market share it has lost.

Its third-quarter results beat low expectations, sparking hopes that the company can survive a painful revamp, but smartphone sales still dropped 38 percent from a year ago.
With Microsoft software, Nokia hopes to gain the kind of attention Apple and Google have attracted from software developers that enrich their devices.

Research firm Strategy Analytics expects Microsoft to double its share of the Western European smartphone market during 2012 to 12.3 percent, helped by the Nokia partnership.

The 12.3 percent forecast for Microsoft's software refers to its use across several mobile phone makers and compares with the much higher market share Nokia's Symbian platform alone previously enjoyed -- it controlled 41 percent of the West European market as recently as the first half of 2010.

The annual Nokia World media and industry event in London on Wednesday includes speakers from the world's largest carriers: China Mobile, Vodafone, Orange and MTN.

Galaxy Nexus, Ice Cream Sandwich OS launched

 

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Google and Samsung today made a gaint leap into the next version of the Google experience phone - Galaxy Nexus and the OS - Ice Cream Sandwich or Android 4.0. The launch comes within days of the launch of the iPhone 4S by Apple.

The Galaxy Nexus has a 4.65 inch display with 1260x720p resolution, one of the biggest in mobile phones and comes with LTE and HSPA plus versions.

The phone has a contoured display with buttonless design and is more sleek than the Nexus S. The bezel is just 4.2 mm, leaving a much larger area for display.

The Galaxy Nexus also features a ‘hyperskin’ battery cover that prevents slipping.

It comes with a 5 mp camera, with zero shutter lag and can record full HD video.

The Galaxy Nexus will be the first phone to have the new Android 4.0 or Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) operating system.

The main feature of the new OS is the brand new Roboto typeface.

The ICS has, apart from the apps tab, a widgets tab. Widgets and apps can be selected and pushed to the home screen with just a single press. Widgets are also resizeable.

Creating folders has also been made easier. Apps can just be dragged one over the other. They combine to create a folder. Apps can also be moved anywhere within a folder. The added functionality is that folders can also be created with contacts with speed dial functionality.

The ICS brings one feature missing from most Android phones, and especially the Nexus range of phones - screen capture. Pressing the power and the volume down buttons simultaneously creates a screenshot of the screen.

Notifications have also received a makeover. The notifications also contain contacts. Unwanted notifications can be swiped away.

The ICS also has major changes to the way the user inputs text. It has an in-line spell checker and talk to text where the user can type anything by speaking.

The new OS features a brand new security feature — face unlock. Once you ‘register’ your face, the phone will open only if it recognises your face, obviating the need for passwords or gestures.

Google has made major improvements to the browser. It supports multiple tabs, and the bookmarks can be synchronised with the Chrome browser in your desktop. The browser opens, by default, the mobile site, but if you wish to see the full desktop version of the site, a single click will bring it to you. Web pages can also be saved for offline use.

The new Gmail app has a two-line display and action buttons at the bottom, that change with what you wish to do with the emails. For example, if you are inside an e-mail, the action buttons will display reply, forward and other buttons that you would use while inside an email. In the preview screen, you can also select multiple buttons and use the action buttons, apart from other things, to delete or archive emails.

Tapping of the contact info on top of the email will show you other ways to get in touch with the contact such as phone number, Twitter or Facebook info.

The new Gmail app also has offline search functionality.

As said earlier, the camera app can take photos with zero lag. Photos taken can be shared with a single click to any network.

The ICS also has photo editing tools. Photos can be edited and effects added. The new edited photo will be saved separately and can also be shared.

The camera also comes with a easy panorama feature, and the ability to take time-lapse videos. While recording a video, the user can also take high resolution snapshots.

The contacts app has received a major overhaul. Called the ‘People’ app, tapping any contact in the list of contacts displayed in a photo grid will bring the full details of the contacts - a high resolution photo, contact details and other social media details. for example, clicking on the contact’s Twitter icon will bring his tweets.

The Beam feature allows transfer of photos, maps, contacts or even apps to another ICS phone through NFC (near field communication) technology by simply bringing both the phones together and with a single tap.

Last but not the least, the ICS allows full control of your data usage. You can narrow down your data usage to specific time-frame and see what has been draining your bandwidth. You can choose to stop the app or prevent the app from using specified actions that drain bandwidth. The app also projects the future data usage based on your present usage. You can set threshold levels for data. Once the data usage reaches the threshold level, the data usage will automatically get cut.

A new Indian OS on cloud

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A screen layout of MICROS, an operating system developed by Deepak John

 

MICROS has been designed by a second-year engineering student

A system crash one year ago forced Deepak John, a second-year engineering student, to devise a portable operating system on cloud, which can solve many problems of travelling professionals, who seek access to secure computers.

The MICROS (Mobile In-Curred Revolutionised Operating System), which has won laurels in nationwide tech fests, boots from a pen drive, to the RAM which then dynamically expands. “The size is limited to 100MB — that makes the distribution of the package easier,” says Deepak, studying in the Loyola-ICAM College of Engineering and Technology (LICET). He calls it a live OS that does not require installation but allows you to access the files stored in the system and perform various file management functions. “This is the best time to access the benefits of cloud, and also have an operating system of your own,” he says.

Multitasking is enabled by the Windows Pre-installation Environment (PE). Open Office is integrated into the system. Users can also access the web and run various Windows applications on MICROS. An application Cloud Command Control designed for MICROS accesses the cloud through a simple interface and a secure login.

As the user selects the drive to boot from the list of available storage devices, the rest is done automatically, in about 10 seconds. “MICROS helps people recover and repair, but it can also be used as a standard OS. It also maintains privacy as the OS gets deleted once switched off and the entire OS gets booted from a pen drive to a RAM hard disk,” says Deepak.

This means that once the system is shut down, the contents in the RAM get permanently deleted. “This ensures that the browsing history, cookies, and various other temporary files that contain vital information regarding your privacy details are deleted. Though the settings stored by various applications will also be erased, the virus, malware or spyware that may have infected MICROS will get deleted as well. ,” says Deepak.

Though it is just 90MB, it is stored in the fastest storage drive in the system and so is capable of running simultaneously many applications, including multimedia, and word processing.

In enhanced packages, MICROS will soon be upgraded to include motion-controlled gestures to control the cursor on screen, says Deepak.

The OS has been made into an open source software and abides by the licensing terms of Microsoft Corporation using the open source edition of Windows PE.

“It is simply a Plug and Play operating system, and combines the best of proprietary and free software, using the cloud to store data. This is what we need now, to ensure comfort of use, affordability and stability,” says the young developer.

iCloud

If you thought Apple had anything missing from its vast and stylish repertoire, it probably was a successful cloud. MobileMe, by all reviews, was not quite of the standard of the other products from the stable.

But that is remedied now, with the late Steve Jobs announcing in June this year that MobileMe was, for all practical purposes, dead, and iCloud was born. (But, if you are a current member of MobileMe, you can still access everything as usual till June 30, 2012). With Apple-iPad, iPhone, iPod touch owners upgrading to the new operating system iOS 5 this week, they were automatically subsumed in iCloud.

This service will automatically store photos, songs and other files on servers at Apple's data centres and sync them all with a customer's Apple gadgets. A photo taken with an iPhone would thus appear on a user's iPad, iPod Touch or an Apple TV.

iCloud will host a range of services for iTunes, photo stream, and documents in the cloud. Furthermore, it stores music, photos, apps, contacts, calendars, documents and more, keeping them up to date across all devices. When content changes on one device, the other devices are updated automatically and wirelessly.

“iCloud is the easiest way to manage content. One does not have to think about keeping all devices in sync as it happens automatically, and it is free,” according to Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice-president of Internet Software and Services.

For music lovers, Tunes in the cloud automatically downloads new music purchases to all devices. So much so one can buy a song on his iPad and find it waiting for him on his iPhone; iTunes in the cloud also download the user's previously purchased iTunes content, including music and television shows to his/her devices at no additional cost.

The innovative photo stream service lets the user take a photo on one device and have it automatically appear on his/her other devices. Similarly, iCloud's Documents in the cloud keeps the documents up to date across all the devices, automatically.

iCloud backs up automatically and securely stores important information daily over Wi-Fi, whenever the device is connected to a power source. The software also includes a service called iMessage that lets Apple customers send text messages to each other.

When you sign up for iCloud, you automatically get 5GB of free cloud storage for mail, document storage and backup. Your purchased music, TV shows, apps, books and photo stream do not count against the storage limit. Using iCloud on a MAC requires a recent version of OS X Lion, and on a PC, Windows Vista (Service Pack 2) or Windows 7. Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010, or an up-to-date version of your preferred browser is required for accessing your email, contacts, and calendars in iCloud.

HTC Evo 3D Review

 

HTC EVO 3D

In an increasingly competitive smartphone market, handset manufacturers have to get creative if they want their new phone launches to create a stir. The HTC EVO 3D is one of HTC's most significant launches this year – not only does it have a dual-core processor, but it's also 3D enabled. And you don't need to wear 3D glasses to see the effect either. LG's Optimus 3D is a similarly endowed phone, but there's a lot more hype surrounding the HTC EVO 3D, because it's the successor to the immensely popular HTC EVO 4G (Sprint's flagship Android phone that was launched only in the US). So will the phone live up to the expectations of HTC and Android fans alike?

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

I've been using the HTC EVO 3D for about two weeks now, and I'm quite impressed. This is a phone that I would be tempted to buy even without the 3D feature. The EVO 3D is a pretty cool looking handset – it's not thin like the Samsung Galaxy S2, but it does have a massive 4.3-inch screen. The usual four Android buttons are at the bottom of the bezel, and are touch sensitive and LED backlit. Connectivity options include a mini USB port and 3.5mm headphone jack, but the mini HDMI cable that was earlier seen on the EVO 4G is missing.

The most interesting feature of the phone though is the camera. Taking up about a fourth of the back panel area, the dual cameras are nestled in a shiny black strip, with a deep red trim. The back panel itself is rubberised and striped, so it provides a good grip. The camera on the EVO 3D is only a 5-megger, and if you want to take a 2D shot, only one of the cameras are utilised. 3D images can be captured only up to 2-megapixel. For a 3D shot, two images are taken simultaneously and are then layered on top of one another to create a 3D effect. The camera shutter button itself is quite clever – there's a slider on top which let's you switch between 2D and 3D modes, and the phone has a large round physical shutter button as well. There is also a front facing 1.3-meg camera for video calls.

USER INTERFACE

The EVO 3D runs on Android v2.3 Gingerbread, and is laced with HTC's latest UI, Sense 3.0. Although Gingerbread provides a great user experience on its own, Sense really adds a level of finesse to the phone and also makes it much more intuitive. The phone has 7 customisable homescreens, and HTC has a neat little selection of widgets that are quite handy to use. Most of these widgets, including Email, Messages, Weather and People have a couple of layout options to choose from, and it's great for anyone who likes a free reign on customisation.

There are also a bunch of features you can access from the lock screen. You can choose from 6 different lock screens, each of which displays a different central widget like Stocks, Clock, Friend Stream, etc. There are also four icons at the bottom, and you can select any one of these by simply ‘dragging' them into HTC's ‘lock ring'. The lock ring also lets you answer or dismiss a call, or snooze or turn off an alarm with a similar dragging movement.

HTC's keyboard was a delight to use in the EVO 3D, and although it wasn't so accurate in portrait mode, the word prediction was the best I've seen on any smartphone so far, so I made very few errors.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE

The EVO 3D's screen has a 540x960 resolution, and was great for any sort of media use. I watched a few episodes of ‘Community' on the phone, and video playback was crisp and smooth. I did face a little bit of stagger between frames, but that was only the first time I watched a video after loading it on the phone. Sound quality is average on speakers, but when I hooked up my earphones, I was surprised by the richness and depth which I got – better than most Mp3 players.

A more powerful processor made for a considerably faster browsing experience. You can do a couple of cool things with the browser, like when you zoom in to a web page, the screen automatically adjusts to give you the best viewing mode. This works really well. You can also tap and long press a word in the text which will bring up the ‘Quick Lookup' option, and you can even highlight an entire sentence or a phrase.

HTC has its own Email app, which I preferred to the Android Gmail that I usually use. It has a more organised layout, displays your contacts' profile pictures and like the browser, resizes the text to fit the screen. Except here you don't even have to double tap.

The 2D camera actually gave me some decent results, and there are a lot of effects to choose from like distortion, vignette, vintage, etc. You can also adjust White Balance, ISO, Exposure, contrast and saturation. Video recording is possible in HD 720p in both 2D and 3D.

3D FACTOR

So the ‘wow' factor of the phone is obviously its 3D capability. I've already mentioned how the cameras work, but what about the results? The phone comes preloaded with a bunch of 3D images and videos, and they're quite impressive. However, because you're viewing content without glasses, you have to look at the screen at a particular angle to see the effect. Moving around will cause distortion. It was fine when watching videos, because you don't really need to move the phone at all. The kickstand that the Evo 4G had is missed in the EVO 3D. More than a regular effect, the 3D files look like they're popping out at you, so there's more depth of field. I also got a bit of a headache when I viewed too much 3D, and a few others who saw the phone had the same opinion.

The 3D photos which I took were nice and sharp in good lighting, but there was quite a bit of grain when I took some low-light shots. Also, the flash tends to whitewash photos sometimes, so you don't get the best 3D effect there either.

PERFORMANCE

One of the things I liked best about the EVO 3D was how fast it was. Apps loaded lightning fast, touch response was mostly spot on and the phone didn't slow down when I had a few apps open. You can really see the dual-core 1.2 GHz processor in action when you're using the phone to its max. However, I did notice a bit of slowdown toward the end of my testing period. The otherwise fluid and responsive touchscreen came up with occasional freezes, mostly when I tried to quickly end a call. When running intensive games like Spiderman 3D, the phone also tended to heat up a bit, but only for a minute or two.

Battery life gave me a day of use – no more. The camera is a big drainer, especially in 3D mode. With a couple of hours of talktime, email and TweetDeck usage and WhatsApp messaging, my battery indicator flashed orange by the end of the day.

Call quality was average, and I felt that the speaker could have been a bit louder. Also, callers on the other end complained that my voice sounded a bit feeble.

OUR VERDICT

The HTC EVO 3D is like the Sensation with an added punch. It looks great, is fast and the 3D effect adds the ‘oomph' factor. While I would give the phone a thumbs up on its performance alone, the no-glasses 3D feature is great to flaunt and will turn a lot of heads too.

Love: 3D effect, no lags in performance

Hate: Battery life is on the lower end, pricey

Rs 35,990

Nokia bets big on NFC for its new Symbian Belle smartphones

 

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Last week, Nokia invited us along with a select group of bloggers for an offsite event to showcase its upcoming Symbian Belle devices, which are expected to be launched in India later this week. The smartphones – 600, 700 and 701 – form a new wave of Symbian devices, all running on a 1GHz processors and a revamped UI that makes it slightly more intuitive to use with a better touch interface. Surprisingly, specs and feature updates were not the main focus of Nokia’s spokespeople at the event. Instead, most of the time was spent on NFC and how Nokia will differentiate its offerings and user experience from its competitors. Hit the break to continue reading.

With these new NFC-enabled smartphones, Nokia will drive its Just Tap marketing campaign with ‘pairing and sharing’ – how users can pair Bluetooth headsets and speakerphones or share pictures and other content between NFC-enabled phones. The company will also place app-specific NFC-enabled tags at retail stores from where consumers will be able to download apps by placing their phones on the tag. The tag contains the URL from where the app can be downloaded. These smartphones will also come pre-installed with Angry Birds Magic, a special version for these phones, where new levels are unlocked every time the phone is paired with a new NFC-enabled device. Nokia already has a couple of NFC-enabled Bluetooth headsets and will also launch a 40W speaker – Play 360 – that will also play nice with these devices.

Nokia seems to have a good story going here but its success will depend only on how it can develop the whole ecosystem. We spent a complete day with these devices and the NFC-enabled pairing and sharing feature mostly worked, these alone will not be sufficient to engage users. The world’s largest handset vendor by units needs to find ways to integrate NFC in daily user activities.

Talking about the devices, we found the three smartphones to have undergone a vast improvement. The UI is zippy, the fixed-focus cameras generated some surprisingly stunning shots and the battery lasted us an entire day of heavy usage. What Nokia still needs to work on is the apps ecosystem. For instance, Symbian would probably be the only platform that does not have an official Twitter or Facebook app. The alternative free apps are pretty basic and we had to buy a paid app in order to share our pics on Twitter.

Symbian Belle does add some bells and whistles to a burning platform and we reckon more can be done to make it Nokia’s workhorse platform for entry and mid-end smartphones.

Samsung launches first 4G smartphones in South Korea

 

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PHOTO: APHIGH-SPEED: A model poses with Samsung Electronics' new smart phones during its unveiling in Seoul, South Korea on Monday.

Samsung Electronics, world's second-largest manufacturer of mobile phones, launched its first smartphones based on fourth-generation (4G) communication technology in a bid to meet growing demand for high-speed wireless services. Galaxy S2 LTE and Galaxy S2 HD LTE compatible with long-term evolution (LTE) technology were rolled out at a media event held in central Seoul on Monday.

The two new smartphones support LTE with data transmission five times faster than the existing third-generation (3G) mobile phones, featuring functions offered by Galaxy S2 smartphones, the company said.

Galaxy S2 LTE is equipped with an Android 2.3, or the latest version of the Android platform, a 4.5-inch wide Super AMOLED display and a 1.5 gigahertz dual core processor, while the Galaxy S2 HD LTE is featuring a 4.65-inch high-definition (HD) AMOLED display with 110 per cent natural colour reproduction and 180-degree viewing angle.

“The 4G LTE technology became the base for enjoying high-speed and high-resolution wireless services. The new products will meet rising demand for such services in an environment where global wireless operators are transitioning to 4G networks,” Shin Jong-kyun, President and Head of Samsung's mobile communications business, told reporters. Mr. Shin forecast sales of the new LTE smartphones would approach the ones of the existing Galaxy S series, adding that it might take time to reach the goal as the LTE networks have yet to be covered nationwide.

Global sales of the Galaxy S2 smartphones reached more than 10 million units since its debut in April, according Samsung.

The nation's top wireless carrier SK Telecom plans to offer LTE service nationwide by 2013, with the country's No. 3 mobile operator LG Uplus aiming to cover the service across the country next year.

NFC Technology: 6 Ways It Could Change Our Daily Lives

 

In the realm of new technologies, near field communication (NFC) is not a new or sexy concept, but it does have clear potential and practical uses. This is why it’s been holding the attention of a slew of big-name companies for a long time. Nokia, Sony, and Royal Philips Electronics founded the NFC Forum in 2004 in order to promote the short-range wireless connectivity technology. Samsung, Motorola, Microsoft and more than 140 other organizations all joined the party shortly after.

NFC allows a device, usually a mobile phone, to collect data from another device or NFC tag at close range. In many ways, it’s like a contactless payment card that is integrated into a phone. In other ways, it’s similar to Bluetooth, except that instead of programming two devices to work together, they can simply touch to establish a connection.

A year after Nokia released the first commercial version of an NFC-enabled phone in 2007, the NFC forum instituted an annual global competition to award the best ideas for applications of NFC, and soon after, trials of NFC products started taking place everywhere from Malaysia to Germany. More than 100 NFC pilot projects have now been undertaken all over the world, and like any technology, NFC has taken some time to gain traction, but it’s on track to go mainstream soon.

“I would say we’re in the early stages where we step from pilot roll-outs [of NFC technology]… into mass market roll-outs,” says Peter Preuss, the NFC Forum Marketing Committee Chair. “And I would say that this will happen within the next 18-24 months.”

Here are six ways that NFC could have the most impact.


1. Contactless Payment


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Unlike many other wireless technologies, NFC has a short range of about 1.5 inches. This makes it a good choice for secure transactions, such as contactless credit card payments. MasterCard and Visa are both members of the NFC Forum, and both companies have been involved in pilot programs that use NFC-enabled phones as a flash payment option. Phones could “tap and go” using infrastructure already in place for credit card systems such as MasterCard’s PayPass program or Visa’s payWave.

Two MIT students have also come up with a way for the mobile phone to replace customer loyalty cards. Their application Eclectyk, which was submitted in the 2009 NFC Forum competition, would not only store credit card information, but also automatically select the right customer loyalty card information for your purchase.

The “digital wallet” concept could extend to coupons and other offers. The startup MoLo Rewards recently launched NFC-based coupon programs in San Diego and Toronto. Consumers can use the site to download coupons, which they exchange by having their phone swiped at the point of purchase. Since NFC-enabled phones aren’t widely available in the United States, the company has started its program by providing radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags that can be attached to the back of the phone. The retailers benefit from being able to track who their coupons are sent to and how they are used. “Want to send a coupon to a consumer who purchased a box of cereal on the 21st of December at 11am EST?” the company asks on its website. “MoLo Rewards can provide you with the capability to do just that.”


2. Transportation


NFC works with most contactless smart cards and readers, meaning it could easily be integrated into the public transit payment systems in cities that already use a smart card swipe. In 2008, German rail operator Deutsche Bahn launched an NFC-ticketing pilot program in which 200 travelers touched their phones to an NFC tag when they boarded the train and then to another when they got off. The fare was calculated and added to their monthly bill. In January 2010, the successful program was expanded to an additional 3,000 travelers. Madrid plans to start a similar pilot program with its bus system in 2010.


3. Health Care


Not only can NFC tags provide medical professionals with information about what treatments a patient should receive, but they can also keep track of when nurses and doctors have checked in with that patient and when. Each time the tag is scanned, the information about who scanned it and when can be transferred to a database. In addition to improving treatment, NFC tags also have potential in the research realm.

A winner of last year’s NFC Forum’s 5,000 Euro prize was a program that helps track patients in low resource areas, and is currently being used in a pneumonia study of young children in Pakistan. Each child is given a bracelet with an RFID tag on it. The tag is scanned every time the child visits a participating health care organization. The clinical and laboratory data associated with that patient is collected and posted to a secure server in real-time.


4. Ease of Use


If NFC-enabled phones become prevalent, you’ll likely be able to initiate a two-player game by touching your phones together. You’ll be able to link a headset to your phone or print a photo just by touching your device to a printer. A second-place winner in the 2009 NFC Forum competition developed a touch-dial system for people who have trouble making phone calls. The user is able to tap a photo of the person he wants to call. The embedded NFC tag in the photo transmits the proper number to the phone automatically.


5. Smart Objects


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An NFC tag often contains information like a phone number or URL. One of the largest series of experiments that uses phones to pick up information from tagged locations is SmartTouch, a project funded under the European ITEA research program between 2006 and 2008. Most of the trials took place in Oulu, Finland, where the city installed about 1,500 “infotags” — in buses, at bus stops, the theater, a restaurant, and a pub — that could be read with a mobile phone. For instance, theater patrons could not only use their mobile phones as tickets, or to order refreshments, but they could also scan tagged posters for more information about plays.

For another project, infotags were installed in schools. Students could get their individual daily schedule, announcements, and information about homework by waving their phones past the tags. A trial held in one pub allowed customers to tap cards with their NFC-enabled phones for more information about products.

NFC may have similar applications as bar codes do now. You can put one on a poster and let pedestrians scan it on their phones for more information. But being able to add more information to any object by integrating a tag has led to some interesting applications that go far beyond billboards. A company called Objecs, for instance, sells an NFC tablet for gravestones. Touching an NFC-enabled phone to the Personal Rosetta Stoneprovides additional information about the deceased.


6. Social Media


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Before Foursquare took off, a German company called Servtag was working towards a similar concept for NFC-enabled phones called Friendticker. The company applied more than 250 NFC-tag stickers at various locations in Berlin that users would swipe their phones past in order to alert their friends that they were “checked in” at that location.

While Foursquare may have stolen the thunder for location-based networking, there are still plenty of social media applications for NFC in the works. Last year, a German university (Technische Universit√§t M√ľnchen) submitted a prototype to the NFC Forum competition that integrated with Facebook. The application,NFriendConnector, allowed people who met in a physical space to exchange profile data through their phones. Their respective statuses would automatically be updated (for example, “I just met so and so”) and they could choose to include their location (“I just met so and so at this bar”). Instead of stalking a new acquaintance’s profile after a night out, this application provides an option to run a matching method based on variables the user provides (such as interest, dislikes, and hobbies) while still chatting with them in the bar

Amazon launches iPad rival, the Kindle Fire

 

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NEW YORK(AFP): US online retail giant Amazon unveiled a tablet computer, the Kindle Fire, on Wednesday that costs $199, less than half the price of the cheapest iPad from market-leader Apple.
The Kindle Fire, which has a seven-inch (17.78-centimeter) screen, smaller than the iPad's 9.7 inches (24.6 cm), will be available in the United States on November 15, the Seattle-based Amazon announced at a launch event in Manhattan

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"Kindle Fire brings together all of the things we've been working on at Amazon for over 15 years into a single, fully-integrated service for customers," Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos said.
Presenting the new tablet to the press, Bezos said Amazon is hoping to sell "many millions" and touted the features of a new Web browser in the Kindle Fire called Amazon Silk.

New basic Kindle for $79

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Bezos also unveiled three new Kindle electronic book readers: a new basic Kindle for $79, a Kindle Touch for $99 and a Kindle Touch 3G for $149.
The Kindle Fire has Wi-Fi connectivity only and is powered by Google's Android software. It does not have a camera like many other leading tablets, including the latest iPad.

The most serious challenge yet to the iPad

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According to technology analysts, a low-priced Amazon tablet could pose the most serious challenge yet to the iPad, which has dominated the fast-growing market for tablet computers since it went on sale in April 2010.
"Amazon will sell millions of tablets, and the rapid fire adoption of the Kindle Fire will give app developers a reason -- finally -- to develop Android tablet apps," said Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps

No serious competitors until Windows 8 tablets launch

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"Apple's place as market leader is secure, but Amazon will be a strong number two, and we expect no other serious tablet competitors until Windows 8 tablets launch," Rotman Epps said.
According to technology research firm Gartner, the iPad will account for 68.7 per cent of the 69.7 million tablets sold this year and will remain the top-selling device over the next few years.

Competing on price, content, and commerce

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At $199, Amazon is significantly undercutting Apple with the price of the Kindle Fire. Apple's cheapest iPad sells for $499.
"Amazon is competing on price, content, and commerce," Rotman Epps said.

Pre-installed Amazon shopping application

 

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The Kindle Fire comes with a 30-day free subscription to Amazon Prime, whose members pay $79 a year for free shipping and receive other benefits such as unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows.
It also has a pre-installed Amazon shopping application as Amazon seeks to drive Kindle Fire buyers to its online store, which features books, music, movies, TV shows and games.

The goal is to drive business

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"Over the past few years, Amazon's customers have gotten used to one-click purchases of books and other published content via the Kindle," independent technology analyst Carmi Levy told AFP.
"(Amazon's) goal is to drive as much business as possible to and through its online retail presence," he said. "Amazon doesn't need to maximize its profits on every tablet sold

Amazon's Tablet Kindle Fire

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Apple sold 9.25 million iPads last quarter and has sold nearly 30 million since launching the device in 2010.
Amazon shares were up 4.16 per cent at $233.54 in midday trading on Wall Street.