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GENWI Raises $4M For Cloud Publishing Platform For Tablets, Smartphones

Posted: 11 Oct 2011 01:52 AM PDT


Exclusive - GENWI, which offers a nifty cloud publishing platform for mobile devices, has raised $4 million in Series A funding from Nexus Venture Partners and earlier backers Inventus Capital Partners and Quest Venture Partners.

The company has raised a total of $5.1 million to date.

Offering a cloud-based platform for publishing content on tablets and smartphones, GENWI says it has created and actively manages over 1,500 apps for ‘thousands of’ publishers. GENWI lets its clients publish real-time content once while delivering interactive apps across a wide range of mobile devices (iOS, Android, HTML5 and more).

GENWI’s Cloud Publishing Suite offers a mobile-optimized content aggregation and management system, a custom interface layout engine, usage analytics, intelligent content curation based on analytics, social and ad networks integration, and app distribution – all from the cloud.

The additional capital will be used to build out the infrastructure and an extensive app network to offer more advanced monetization and distribution features for publishers, global expansion and the development of multilingual functionality.

Founded in 2010, GENWI is a privately-held firm based in Los Altos, California.

Company: GENWI
Launch Date: October 11, 2011
Funding: $5.1M

GENWI (Generation Wireless) is the company behind, which enables businesses to build apps for multiple devices in one place; with iSites, users can design an app once and see it seamlessly replicated accross iPhone, Android, iPad & Chrome (native & HTML5/web apps) with no coding. GENWI uses secure & reliable cloudbased technology to keep more than 1,400 iPhone & Android apps up-to-date at all times. Features include tools for monetization, analytics, social media, push notifications and the app management...

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BlueStacks Releases App Player And Cloud Connect Service To Let You Run Android Apps On Your PC

Posted: 11 Oct 2011 01:17 AM PDT

Screen shot 2011-10-11 at 12.38.39 AM

Back in May, BlueStacks raised $7.5 million in series A financing from Andreessen Horowitz, Ignition Ventures, Radar Partners, Redpoint Ventures, and more. This was all pre-launch. Why that kind of money for a startup that hasn’t launched a product yet? Because approximately 630 million new Windows PCs will be shipped by the end of this year, and because BlueStacks has designed downloadable software that will enable Android apps to run on (hopefully) all of them.

And today, to put that money where its mouth is, BlueStacks is announcing the release of the first products that will be a part of its ongoing quest to do just that. For starters, the company is making available the alpha version of its app player for Windows that is basically a free software download that will give users one-click access to Android apps on any Windows PC, tablet, or laptop. (And the ability to view these apps in full-screen.)

BlueStacks hopes that this will be a boon for Android (and Windows) developers, as the software will give them access to the some-billion-odd PC users worldwide without requiring them to modify their apps for those desktops, laptops, and tablets. The BlueStacks team also said today that PC manufacturers and OEMs have expressed interest in making the BlueStacks App Player native on their various devices, as it targets both consumers and enterprises, from children’s educational apps to enterprise-level workflow apps — everything in between.

Along with its app player, the company is also launching a product it calls “Cloud Connect”, which is, well, a cloud-based service that allows PCs to become a veritable extension of any Android-based mobile device — and vice versa. Essentially, after downloading the free app in the Android Market, users can sync the apps on their Android devices with their PCs in one click, with capacity of up to 35 apps ported over from their Android devices.

The app also offers a customer “Apps Channels” page where users can manage their apps in the cloud, viewing the apps that have been downloaded on their devices, including entries in the “Featured Apps Channel”, which offers direct access to the latest apps from developers.

With such a huge market in play, Cloud Connect and the App Player can certainly have global implications; according to BlueStacks President and CEO of BlueStacks Rosen Sharma: “The openness of Android is enabling innovation around the world. We are grateful to Google and others for their contributions. This is also a social equalizer in the US and countries like Brazil, India and China, where a large percentage of the population who can only afford smartphones can now enjoy and benefit from the ubiquity of apps on the Android platform“, he said.

For more, check out BlueStacks and the App PLayer here, or peep the video below:

Company: BlueStacks
Funding: $7.6M

BlueStacks, a Campbell, California-based company that is developing technology to allow users to run Android and Windows applications on x86-based devices.

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Sling Media Launches $29.99 SlingPlayer App For Android ‘Honeycomb’ Tablets

Posted: 11 Oct 2011 01:11 AM PDT


Sling Media, an EchoStar subsidiary, this morning announced the availability of SlingPlayer for tablets running Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) or later. The app is available on Android Market now and costs $29.99, the same price Sling Media charges for any of its mobile applications.

The application basically lets Slingbox owners watch home TV from their Android tablets. (The Slingbox retails for $180 and up).

New to this release of SlingPlayer is a revamped program guide that Sling Media says makes it easier to browse content choices while continuing to watch TV, change channels and control their DVRs.

The earlier released SlingPlayer app for Android phones will continue to work in “Compatibility Mode” on tablets at no extra charge – that version of the application streams from all Slingboxes but not at the higher-quality resolutions available on tablet devices.

Sling Media first teased its SlingPlayer app for Honeycomb devices a few weeks ago with the video below, but you can download it now for $29.99, ¥2600, £20.99 or 23.99 euros.

Company: Sling Media
Funding: $14.5M

Sling Media is the maker of Slingbox, a piece of hardware that enables users to watch and control live television on their computers or cell phones. The Slingbox takes the video from cable, digital cable, satellite, or DVR programming and sends it to your devices over the internet. Video is played on computers using SlingPlayer, a downloadable application for Macs and PCs. The company was acquired by EchoStar in September 2007.

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Company: Android

In July 2005, Google acquired Android, a small startup company based in Palo Alto, CA. Android’s co-founders who went to work at Google included Andy Rubin (co-founder of Danger), Rich Miner (co-founder of Wildfire), Nick Sears (once VP at T-Mobile), and Chris White (one of the first engineers at WebTV). At the time, little was known about the functions of Android other than they made software for mobile phones. This began rumors that Google was planning to enter...

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Google, Vocre, Apple, And Now Raytheon Diving Into Cloud Speech Recognition

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 01:36 PM PDT


If you were following along at Disrupt SF, perhaps you caught Vocre’s impressive demonstration of their near-real-time spoken translation app. As I was watching, I was picturing the gears turning behind the veneer of the app, though: the cloud transcription, translation, and speech APIs, and how there’s a nice big market for this kind of thing. Google knows it, and of course we’ve had speech on Android for a long time. Apple knows it, but took its time to release it in a more consumer-focused package.

Now even defense contractor Raytheon is getting into the game. Their TransTalk app, which has emerged from the soup of defense contracts and government research funds that is DARPA, is specifically designed for deployment in the middle east.

It’s for Android, which jives with the military’s earlier lean towards the operating system, though it look simple enough that it wouldn’t be much of a task for the defense giant to port it to a government-sponsored fork or whatever gets decided on.

The app itself (running on a Motorola Atrix) is a simple affair; it’s meant for deployment with English-speaking troops and has very little in the way of decoration. You select a language (Arabic, Pashto, and Dari are supported, as these are the primary dialects in the middle east theater), speak to it, and it prints and speaks a translation. The other speaker does the same, but pressing a different button.

So the app isn’t noteworthy for its purpose, but what is interesting is that it isn’t a self-contained app, but rather calls out to the cloud. Military applications tend to concentrate as much functionality as possible on the local device, because as you may have heard, warfare tends to be on the unpredictable side, and data infrastructure isn’t guaranteed. So cloud solutions, as practical as they may be for a consumer application, have been viewed with skepticism by the military establishment.

On the other hand, could the choice be viewed instead as shrewd, considering the efforts that DARPA and others are going to in the creation of a connected battlefield? My guess is that this isn’t actually a strategic move, but a pragmatic one: they bait the hook with a cloud solution and reel it in when they’ve got the resources to make it something locally-hosted. Last year they showed a similar app but on a larger platform. Miniaturization isn’t a trivial step, and they probably thought it worthwhile to gauge interest with this cloud version before going all in. Right now the military smartphone platform is still in flux so it would be unwise to start loading their eggs into one basket or another. But decentralized processing isn’t such a bad bet to make, and Raytheon seems to understand that.

BlackBerry Internet Outage Hits Europe, Middle East, Africa

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 01:08 PM PDT


RIM seems to be learning very quickly that when it rains, it pours. Word of a BIS (BlackBerry Internet Service) outage quickly began making the rounds this morning, leaving (once) loyal customers in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East without email and web access.

This is the second outage RIM has dealt with in as many months: their popular BBM service went down this past September, shortly after the company released their disappointing quarterly financials.

For what it’s worth, it’s business as usual for corporate users as BlackBerry Enterprise services don’t seem to have suffered the same fate.

In usual RIM fashion, they’ve acknowledged the issue through their official Twitter account, but they’re keeping quiet when it comes to what caused the outage or how people are currently being affected. A little legwork by The Telegraph points to a server at Slough as being the likely culprit as all three regions affected by the outage are all served by the Slough data center. There’s still no ETA for a fix, but some users are reporting that service is slowly being restored so the wait may soon be over.

Research In Motion
We apologize to any of our customers in Europe, Middle East & Africa still experiencing issues. We'll bring you an update as soon as we can.

BlackBerry users the world over are understandably miffed at RIM, and who knows how events like this will shape the Canadian company’s future. Their stock price recently hit a new five year low, and these outages aren’t likely to instill customers with much confidence. It’s up to RIM to fix things, dust themselves off, and keeping working, but company morale has to be taking a beating right now.

Motorola Hints At October 18 Debut For The Spyder (Or Droid RAZR)

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 10:38 AM PDT


Samsung and Google got some considerable mileage out of their Nexus teaser video, and Motorola apparently wants to join in on the fun. Their own mysterious video went live earlier today, and hints pretty strongly at some impressive hardware due to be unveiled soon.

As with most teaser videos, Motorola’s latest is heavy on imagery but light on detail. In between the images of fast cars and a Douglas Adams reference, Motorola alludes to something faster, thinner, stronger, and smarter ready for a debut on October 18.

On top of that, Motorola sent out press invites to that event, and Engadget discovered that Motorola’s PR team named the image “spyderlaunchinvite”. I’d say that pretty strongly hints at the existence of the Motorola Spyder, which also made the rounds with the monikers Droid HD and Droid RAZR.

What really gets me here is that there are hints that point to different names, provided you look hard enough. The teaser video quickly flashes a razor blade, which seems like a call-out to the Droid RAZR rumor. It doesn’t help that Motorola (with the help of CSC) has recently picked up a handful of RAZR-related domain names that are about seven years too late to be relevant for the original models.

Then again, the invite should theoretically be the most up to date of all the materials that have made the rounds. It seems pretty unlikely that someone tagged it with the wrong filename, unless Motorola has been sitting on the invite image for longer than we thought.

In any case, it won’t be long before we find out what Motorola is working on. If I may be so bold as to quote West Side Story, “something’s coming — I don’t know what it is but it is gonna be great.”

Microsoft Is Getting More Serious About Daily (Bing) Deals

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 10:17 AM PDT

bing deals

Microsoft appears to be readying the formal launch of a Bing-branded daily deals website powered by white-label group buying platform service provider Tippr, a well-informed source tells me. You don’t have to take my word for it: Microsoft and Tippr are testing the service right now, and the Bing-exclusive daily deals site is hiding in plain sight (see here and here, or check screenshots below).

For the record, this offering is notably different from Microsoft’s earlier launch of Bing Deals, which basically features links to aggregated deals from a number of partners, including group buying service providers like Tippr, Groupon, LivingSocial, Zozi and Gilt City but also over 2,000 merchants through Bing Shopping, including Target, Nordstrom, and Zappos.

I haven’t found any mention of, link to, official videos or screenshots of the Bing-exclusive daily deals site powered by Tippr. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure Microsoft has never made any announcements concerning the website whatsoever.

As you can tell from the screenshots embedded below, Bing’s group buying destination site will be familiar to you if you’ve ever visited the likes of Groupon and LivingSocial for deals.

You can use your Facebook account or Windows Live ID to log in, browse and share current deals, past deals, and read more about how it works. The latter page notes:

Subscribe to Bing Deals and we'll e-mail you a new deal every day from a great local business. You can also search at or browse for deals at

Again, this site is the only one I can find on the Web that has ever made any mention of the URL / website

The website also mentions something called a ‘sweetened deal’, which is described as follows:

What is a sweetened deal? It's a deal that gets better over time. Some of the deals that appear on Bing Deals will get a better value as more deals are purchased.

For example, a deal may start off as $10 for $20 at Some Corner Bakery. If enough people purchase the voucher, the deal hits the sweeten point and it becomes $10 for $25! No matter what, you will always pay the same amount for the deal you purchase, but what you get for your hard earned dollars goes up!

The cool thing about Sweeten Deals is that as more people buy, the value of the deal gets better for everybody who purchased and will purchase the deal. This is why it’s a great idea to share the deal you bought with your friends, so you and everybody else get the biggest bang for your buck.

As you can tell from one of the screenshots below, daily deals are / will be available in 12 markets, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Seattle.

When reached, Tippr CEO Martin Tobias declined to comment on the partnership between Microsoft and Tippr. A Microsoft spokesperson tells me he believes this is part of something they’ve talked about before, then referred to as Bing Exclusive Deals for some cities, which are deals you can only get through Bing, but that the team is still “getting it up and running and working out kinks”.

It’s also worth noting that Microsoft last week expanded its Bing Business Portal, adding the ability for local businesses to run group deals – rather than regular deals – on Bing (among other things).

Search Engine Land offers an excellent run-down of everything that’s new.

Other daily deal sites in the U.S. include Groupon, LivingSocial, Google Offers, BuyWithMe, AmazonLocal, HomeRun and Dealster, among many, many others.

Product: Bing
Company Microsoft

Bing is a decision (search) engine from Microsoft officially announced on May 28, 2009. It combines technology from the Farecast and Powerset acquisitions, as well as new algorithms and a more colorful page design, to attempt to understand the context behind the search, which Microsoft claims gives users better results. Bing as a brand is also an attempt to eliminate the confusion caused by Microsoft’s “Windows Live” branding. Bing is now everything “search” related, whereas Windows Live encompasses the remnants...

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Company: Microsoft
Launch Date: April 4, 1974

Microsoft, founded in 1975 by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, is a veteran software company, best known for its Microsoft Windows operating system and the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software. Starting in 1980 Microsoft formed a partnership with IBM allowing Microsoft to sell its software package with the computers IBM manufactured. Microsoft is widely used by professionals worldwide and largely dominates the American corporate market. Additionally, the company has ventured into hardware with consumer products such as the Zune and...

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Company: Tippr
Website: leverages collective buying power to fulfill consumers' daily cravings for the guaranteed best deals on goods, services, and events, while supporting local businesses and communities. is the only collective buying site to offer our patented accelerating deals, which means the deal gets better as more buyers opt in. Tippr is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kashless Inc.

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The Linux Foundation Announces First Ever Automotive Linux Summit

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 10:00 AM PDT

Image (1) toyota-tux.jpg for post 218762

The Linux Foundation announced today the first ever Automotive Linux Summit. Taking place in Japan on November 28, 2011, it will be an opportunity to address the growing need for carmakers and Linux developers to collaborate on the future of cars as devices. Nissan and Toyota will both be there, along with Intel, NEC, and a host of other mobile solutions developers.

Dig it: “cars as devices”. The Internet of Things will be upon us sooner than we imagined. Automobiles are becoming increasingly complicated, with computers and computer systems getting more and more integrated into the whole of the vehicle, not to mention connectivity being expected by the driver at the dashboard. No single vendor can provide the breadth of experience required to develop and maintain the kind of software necessary to power all the computing on a car, so the vendor-neutral approach of the Linux stack makes tremendous sense to car makers.

The Automotive Linux Summit is specifically designed for the automotive industry and the growing cross-industry ecosystem for the future of mobility solutions. This premier vendor-neutral business and technical conference will bring together the brightest minds from the automotive industry, the Linux developer community and the mobility ecosystem. Attendees can expect to learn about how to use Linux and open source software in automotive applications ranging from in-vehicle on-board systems to cloud solutions for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications.

The Automotive Linux Summit currently has an open call for participation, so if you’re into Linux on cars, or cars as devices, consider submitting a presentation proposal.

Aisle411 Partners With ZipList For Shopping Lists, Recipe Search

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 09:37 AM PDT


Mobile shopping app aisle411 is partnering with ZipList, a recipe search and shopping list platform, in the newest release of the aisle411 iPhone app, out now. With the update, aisle411 version 2.0, is also adding better aisle navigation, mapping out an optimized path through stores, whether that’s to help you locate a single item or all the items on your shopping list.

For those unfamiliar, aisle411 is an indoor navigation app designed to help you find your way through large retail stores, like Lowe’s or Home Depot, as well as in grocery stores like Albertson’s, Giant, Safeway, Von’s and others. It’s certainly a useful service where available, but is currently only offered in a limited subset of stores in just a handful of regions in the U.S. (Boo!)

For the lucky few who can take advantage of the app, the updated Shopping List Manager will let you built lists online or in the app using typing, scanning or by speaking, the latter thanks to voice recognition technology powered by Nuance.

The new Recipe Search feature will now provide access to over 130,000 recipes, which can be integrated with shopping lists and routed through the app’s trademark Aisle Navigation.

Also new today is the launch of the aisle411 API and SDK, which will be provided to app developers for free. (Contact the company for more info on that.)

This summer, aisle411 was one of 3 apps that impressed the judges at the Plug and Play Tech Center’s EXPO, a showcase of the best of the startup accelerator’s latest group.

The updated app is available now in iTunes. An Android version will launch later this year.

Company: aisle411
Launch Date: October 11, 2011
Funding: $2.1M

aisle411 empowers anyone with a mobile phone to find products and promotions quickly and easily in retail stores. With sophisticated interactive voice technology powered by Nuance, aisle411 offers a unique in-store search and comprehensive mobile retail shopping solution. With the aisle411 App, users can instantly locate products in stores down to the specific section of the aisle, find product reviews, manage shopping lists, share experiences with friends via social media integration, then get reward points and mobile coupons for...

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Location-Based Photo-Sharing App Trover Comes To Android

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 08:56 AM PDT


Mobile discovery and photo-sharing app Trover arrives on Android today, after having grown its install base to over 100,000 since its iPhone launch in July. The release extends Trover to a second mobile platform, but doesn’t include a new feature set or other notable changes at this time.

Currently, Trover offers integration with Facebook and Twitter for finding friends and sharing photos, but a future version will add Tumblr and Foursquare to its list of supported networks, we’re told.

Trover was created by Expedia and Zillow co-founder Rich Barton, Jason Karas and Andrew Coldham. It aims to provide a new way for people to explore their community via photo-sharing.

When you launch Trover on your mobile phone, it finds nearby photos and presents them in a grid-like layout. As you scroll down, the distance between your current location and the featured photos increases. You can also follow other users, including your Facebook and Twitter friends.

The app is attractive, well-designed, and easy to use, but since its first install on my iPhone, I have to admit that I haven’t often returned to check out new photos on any sort of regular basis. For me, and for a good many of my Facebook and Twitter friends I follow on the service, there’s been a drop-off in usage. Maybe it’s the power of Instagram, diverting our attention elsewhere, or maybe it’s just a general lack of stickiness in an increasingly crowded “photo-sharing” space.

Co-founder Karas acknowledges these challenges, but hints at upcoming features that will make the now entertainment-focused app more practical. One of these is the newly added keyword-based browsing (iPhone only for now) which lets you discover activities through searches. For example, a search for “kids” would pull up family-friendly discoveries. This feature will be further developed to include more helpful information like the URL of the location, the star ratings of the service and more in a future release.

Also planned is support for Foursquare and Tumblr integration, arriving in a month or two, which will allow users to check-in and/or share their photos on those services. Trover’s Facebook posting is being rethought as well, so as to allow for geo-tagging capabilities instead of simple photo uploads.

Trover is being honored today by O’Reilly Media as one of 15 mobile companies featured in its Startup Showcase at the Android Open Conference. The apps O’Reilly picked are meant to showcase some of the best new apps Android has to offer.

The new Android version of Trover is available now on the Android Market now.

Company: trover

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Motorola Launches RhoElements, an HTML5 Framework For Building Mobile Apps For Enterprise

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 08:35 AM PDT


Motorola is today announcing the launch of RhoElements, a Web-based application framework made possible through its acquisition of the cross-platform mobile app development platform Rhomobile. Motorola acquired Rhomobile on July 29, 2011.

Motorola says it plans to announce additional cross-platform development tools, enterprise integration components and cloud-based services for its channel partners and customers in the months ahead.

RhoElements provides an HTML5/JavaScript/CSS application framework with support for HTML5 features like app caching, Web storage, and the ability to optimize network utilization and enable continuous operation when a loss of connection occurs.

The framework is the first product to emerge from the acquisition of Rhomobile earlier this year. This particular toolkit is specifically targeted towards those developers working in the enterprise and in Motorola’s “PartnerEmpower” ecosystem.

With RhoElements, businesses will be able to develop and deploy Web-based applications on existing Motorola Windows Embedded Handheld (formerly Windows Mobile) and Windows Embedded Compact (Win-CE) devices. It will also work with the newly announced Motorola ET1 Android-based enterprise tablet.

The ET1 is a 7-inch, 1.4-pound ruggedized tablet running Android 2.3, which offers a 1GHz dual-core processor, 8 GB of internal storage (expandable to 32 GB via microSD), a Gorilla Glass screen with a 1024 x 600 resolution, 8-megapixel back camera and front-facing camera, plus an optional Bluetooth-connected barcode scanner and mag stripe reader, hot-swappable batteries, and secure system software.

The tablet will be under $1,000 when it launches in the fourth quarter of this year.

RhoElements, meanwhile, is now available to download from here.

Launch Date: October 11, 2011

Motorola Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MSI) is a data communications and telecommunications equipment provider that succeeded Motorola Inc. following the spin-off of the mobile phones division into Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc. in 2011. The company is headquartered in Schaumburg, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. Motorola Solutions is composed of the Enterprise Mobility Solutions division of the former Motorola, Inc. Motorola Solutions also previously had a Networks division, which it sold to Nokia Siemens Networks in a transaction that was completed on April...

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Company: Rhomobile
Launch Date: October 11, 2011

Rhomobile provides a free and open source framework, Rhodes, for cross-platform smartphone application development. Rhodes allows you to use familiar web skills (HTML, HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript) to create a native app, and then deploy that app across all the major smartphone OSes: Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and more are on the way. In addition, Rhomobile allows you to access and edit your data regardless of connectivity with the optional RhoSync, the world’s fastest, most scalable...

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Verizon Officially Announces The Samsung Stratosphere

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 08:01 AM PDT


If you can recall that leaked Verizon roadmap we spotted way back in August, you’ll know that the Samsung Stratosphere is pretty delayed. Once slated for a September 8 launch alongside the mighty Droid Bionic, the phone has now been officially announced just a month later.

Similar in style and specs to the Epic 4G, the Samsung Stratosphere will enjoy the benefits of Verzon’s 4G LTE network, reports MobileBurn. The device sports a 4-inch Super AMOLED 480×800 display, a 5-megapixel rear shooter with auto focus and flash, along with a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video chat. Unfortunately, that rear camera won’t be recording any HD video, so hopefully you’ll have a Flip Cam tucked away somewhere for those special moments.

The Stratosphere is an Android 3.2 Gingerbread device powered by a single-core 1GHz processor. If you didn’t notice from the picture, the Stratosphere also comes loaded with a slide-out five-row QWERTY keyboard and Samsung’s TouchWiz UI.

For the specs on this bad boy, Verizon’s $149.99 on-contract price tag is not too shabby at all. The Stratosphere will be available in-store and online on October 13.


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Nokia Tries To Play It Cool With New Dubstep Ringtone

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 07:40 AM PDT


OK, Nokia, we get it: you want to be cool. The Nokia/Monster headphones spotted a few days back was a start, but what better way to attract a hip young crowd than to jazz up your iconic jingle with some dubstep?

In fairness, Nokia didn’t actually design the thing themselves. Instead, they launched a contest last September where they asked people to submit fresh takes on Grande Valse, the Spanish guitar tune that’s been burned into every Nokia user’s brain since 1994.

The Finnish company received over 6,000 entries (some of which weren’t even ringtones, apparently), and a panel of 7 judges sifted through all of them to find a winner.

Valerio Alessandro Sizzi’s dubstep remix took top honors, and netted the 22-year old audio designer a $10,000 prize. On top of that, his submission will soon be baked into the software of 100 million Nokia phones, and may soon appear in a pocket near you.

In Sizzi’s own words:

“I just thought as a sound designer that a sparkling, up-to-date and with a certain coolness version of the Nokia Tune would have been perfect to attract young and “cool-hunting” customers.”

We’ll have to see about that. Nokia’s got a lot of work to do if they want to cast off their stodgy reputation, and a dubstep ringtone could go either way. In its defense, the ringtone is surprisingly catchy (at least for the first few times you hear it), but only time will tell if Nokia can gain some more traction among the younger set.

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

RIM Introduces NFC-Powered BlackBerry Tag

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 06:21 AM PDT


It was all the way back in February when RIM first promised that “many, if not most” BlackBerry handsets in 2011 will feature NFC technology. It proved true with both the BlackBerry Bold 9900/9930, along with the BlackBerry Curve 9350/9360/9370, and we should see plenty more where that came from. That said, RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie had one more trick up his sleeve at this week’s GITEX conference in Dubai, unveiling for the first time BlackBerry Tag.

BlackBerry Tag will come as part of the next BlackBerry 7 update. The idea is that you can share photos, documents, URLs, and contact information by just tapping your BlackBerry devices together — not unlike the Bump application on iOS and Android. The only difference is that the Bump app employed Bluetooth connectivity while BlackBerry Tag uses NFC technology.

Instead of scanning codes, BBM users will now be able to make connections by simply tapping the devices against each other, which will automatically swap BBM contact info. Even better, developers will have access to the BlackBerry Tag API, meaning they can bake the Tag functionality into their own apps.

It’s been a trying year for RIM. But perhaps this, along with other new software offerings, will get RIM back on track.


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iPhone 4S Tops 1 Million Pre-Orders In 24 Hours

Posted: 10 Oct 2011 05:55 AM PDT

iPhone 4S

Well, what do you know?

Despite all the “disappointment” over a basic refresh rather than a newly designed iPhone, Apple has still managed to break records. Apple today revealed that pre-orders for its iPhone 4S have topped one million in the span of 24 hours, putting to shame its earlier pre-order record of 600,000 iPhone 4 pre-orders in a day.

It can’t be that surprising either. The iPhone 4 was the top device last year, making up more than half of all phone sales in Apple’s history. But even with that success, only 5 percent of all mobile phones (including feature phones) are iPhones. Thus, Apple has made some serious processor improvements, camera upgrades, and introduced the Siri personal voice assistant to the iPhone 4S.

Clearly, it’s paid off.

Company: Apple
Launch Date: January 4, 1976
IPO: October 11, 1980, NASDAQ:AAPL

Started by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne, Apple has expanded from computers to consumer electronics over the last 30 years, officially changing their name from Apple Computer, Inc. to Apple, Inc. in January 2007. Among the key offerings from Apple’s product line are: Pro line laptops (MacBook Pro) and desktops (Mac Pro), consumer line laptops (MacBook) and desktops (iMac), servers (Xserve), Apple TV, the Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server operating systems, the iPod (offered with...

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