During the Mobile 2.0 Europe – openIDEAS conference in Europe this week, Rovio’s Peter Vesterbacka said that the smash hit game Angry Birds is now downloaded more than one million times per day. Rovio has said that before — in October 2010 the firm proclaimed that the Android version was downloaded 2 million times in 2 days — but it’s certainly a feat for that trend to continue 8 months later. Vesterbacka attributed the game’s runaway success to strong branding, but we also think it’s due to Rovio’s consistent game updates and continued drive to get the game on nearly every mobile platform, including iOS, Android, webOS, and soon Windows Phone. More →
American Airlines is starting to offer Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 units to its first class passengers as an entertainment option during several flights, Mashable is reporting. Apparently the tablet will be an option on flights between Los Angeles and New York, San Francisco and New York, Los Angeles and Miami, Boston and Los Angeles flights operated by 757s, and a few European and South American flights operated by American Airlines’ 767-300 aircraft. 6,000 tablets are being deployed in total, and American Airlines will offer passengers access to Wi-Fi during the trip. Hopefully AA at least loads the Tabs up with a few movies and some tunes, too. More →
HTC isn’t just planning one or two successors to its first Android tablet — the HTC Flyer — instead the company plans to deploy an entire range of Android tablets, said HTC’s European president, Florian Seiche, during the Reuters Global Technology Summit. One such tablet could be the HTC Puccini, possibly destined for AT&T with a 10-inch screen and LTE in tow. “I really believe that the tablet market is really going to be a big market in the future and this is just a start,” Seiche said, noting that his firm feels good about the reception towards its HTC Flyer already. “In five years’ time, schools will have tablets probably instead of physical notebooks. I think that’s going to be such a massive wave of additional penetration in society… I think we can’t even guess the potential,” Seiche added. Mr. Seiche touched on the smartphone market and noted that HTC has plans to launch a new smartphone with near-field communications (NFC) built-in sometime this year. He also discussed Nokia’s budding partnership with Microsoft and Windows Phone: “It will not change our commitment to Microsoft,” Seiche explained. “With a new player entering, it should actually help to elevate the relevance of that platform … we actually feel that we should be able to benefit.” More →
Speaking during an investor briefing on Tuesday, Nintendo’s president Satoru Iwata said that sales of his firms new 3DS portable gaming system failed to meet expectations. “Sales of the 3DS have been weaker than expected since the second week of launch in the US and Europe,” Iwata said while discussing the device’s launches in Europe, the United States, and in Japan. Nintendo had expected to sell 4 million units last quarter, but sales fell short at 3.61 million units. Iwata said that he hopes sales will increase as much as 40% during the next year, AFP reported. We reviewed the 3DS earlier this month and argue that the gaming system doesn’t offer enough features to justify its $250 price point. More →
A few sharp eyes over at TmoNews noticed that after searching “HTC Sensation” in Google, an advertisement popped up stating that the device was set to land on June 8th. Unfortunately it appears HTC has become the wiser and pulled the ad, which now simply says “pre-order now.” It remains unclear whether or not the leaked date is for the phone’s U.S. debut on T-Mobile or its European launch — although we suspect it’s the latter. We met up with HTC ahead of the Sensation 4G’s April 12th launch to get an early hands-on and left feeling impressed with the device — formerly known as the HTC Pyramid. Its uni-body build design felt solid, the 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor was snappy, and we love HTC’s updated Sense user interface. If the Sensation 4G does end up landing on T-Mobile shelves during the first week of June, that gives the brand new LG G2x just over a month and a half to marinate as the only dual-core smartphone in the company’s lineup. Nothing like some a little friendly competition, no? More →
Sony has officially dropped the suggested retail price of the PSP in Europe to €129.99 ($187.29). This follows the company’s February 25th announcement that it was slashing the price of its gaming system to $129.99 in the United States. Sony also said that — beginning on April 14th — PSP owners will be able to access an unlimited cloud-based music service called Music Unlimited. Powered by Qriocity, Music Unlimited will allow PSP owners to listen to customized music channels or sync up with tunes stored on their PlayStation 3, PC, or other Sony devices. “The price cut is aimed at increasing adoption of the player in Europe,” said Sony spokesperson Satoshi Fukuoka. The move may also be tied to the recent launch of the Nintendo 3DS, which we reviewed earlier this month. More →
Microsoft has filed a complaint with the European Commission in regards to Google’s search operations in the European Union. “Our filing today focuses on a pattern of actions that Google has taken to entrench its dominance in markets for online search and search advertising to the detriment of the European consumers,” said Microsoft’s general counsel, Brad Smith. “Google has engaged in a broadening pattern of walling off access to content and data that competitors need to provide search results to consumers and to attract advertisers.” Smith added that Google has a 95% grip on the search market in Europe and that the company has aimed to stop any other firms from creating a competitive search alternative. Smith also argued that Google, since acquiring YouTube in 2006, has restricted other search engines from properly accessing YouTube videos for search results. More →
Oh Google Maps, is there anything you can’t do? Via a blog post just moments ago, Google announced an incremental update to its Maps application for Android. The update, which is still technically in beta, brings real-time traffic routing right to your smartphone. “You don’t have to do anything to be routed around traffic; just start Navigation like you normally would, either from the Navigation app or from within Google Maps,” reads the announcement. “Before today, Navigation would choose whichever route was fastest, without taking current traffic conditions into account.” The software will work in both North America and Europe, and is waiting for you in the Android Market. Enjoy. More →
Early this morning at Mobile World Congress, HTC announced six new and updated mobile devices that will be coming to market in the next few months. Three of the six devices are the Incredible S, Desire S, and Wildfire S.
The HTC Desire S has a complete aluminum design paired with 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and 3.7-SLCD screen. The Desire S also packs a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera, 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, Bluetooth 2.0, Wi-Fi b/g/n, 768MB of RAM, and 1450mAh battery. Oh yeah, and Android 2.3.
The Wildfire S is HTC’s lower-end Android set and will sport a 600MHz Qualcomm processor, 3.2-inch TFT display, 512MB ROM, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.0, 1230mAh battery, and Android 2.3.
The Incredible S’ spec sheet is as follows: 1GHz Qualcomm processor, 768MB of RAM, 4-inch SLCD WVGA display, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.0, 8 megapixel rear-facing camera, 1.3 megapixel front facing camera and Android 2.2.
All three devices will be will be available in Europe and Asia in Q2 of 2011 and ship with HTC’s Sense UI. Hit the jump to check out the full press release and a few more images.
UPDATE: HTC’s initial press release indicated that the Wildfire S and Desire S would ship with Android 2.4; that is not the case. The Desire and Wildfire will ship with Android 2.3.3 and the Incredible S will ship with 2.2 (to be updated to 2.3 in the near future). More →
Visa has begun trials of an iPhone-based mobile payment system in Europe, Computerworld reports. The trials, which started today, require on-device software to be installed on testers’ iPhones, as well as a hardware accessory that contains an NFC chip. Visa’s solution also requires retailers to install a hardware terminal capable of processing the mobile payments. Apple is expected to add native NFC capabilities to its next-generation iPhone, which means users would not have to attach any additional device to their phones in order to pay for goods and services. Apple has not yet confirmed the addition of NFC to its next-generation smartphone, however, so it is unclear if the company plans to restrict third-party access to NFC capabilities. In that event, third-party solutions like the one Visa is currently trialling would still require a hardware accessory to function. A survey conducted by Visa in Europe found that 87% of iPhone users would be willing to connect a hardware accessory to their phones in order to enable mobile payments. More →
An LG exec was recently heard voicing concerns surrounding the Windows Phone 7 platform, basically saying that the new OS has potential but sales aren’t meeting expectations. He also reportedly said that savvy smartphone users might find the platform “boring.” Lucky for Microsoft, Europe’s largest cellular carrier doesn’t appear to share LG’s opinion. Deutsche Telekom, owner of the massive European network T-Mobile, is hardly bored with the emerging mobile operating system, having told German Press Agency dpa that Windows Phone 7 sales to date have been excellent. “We are ahead of budget, Microsoft is very pleased,” Deutsche Telekom’s head of consumer marketing Ingo Hofacker said at a CeBIT preview in Munich. As huge as the European market is, it’s great to see a wholehearted endorsement issued based on sales from the region’s leading carrier. A second wave of new Windows Phone 7 devices is expected to be unveiled by multiple cell phone makers at the Mobile World Congress show next month. More →
If we know one thing about Apple it is this: they like control… and this latest rumor seems to reaffirm that creed. Blog GigaOM is reporting that Apple is planning to release an iPhone with an integrated SIM that can be used on any wireless carrier — partnered with Apple — in the EU. A universal iPhone if you will. As the report explains:
Sources inside European carriers have reported that Apple has been working with SIM-card manufacturer Gemalto to create a special SIM card that would allow consumers in Europe to buy a phone via the web or at the Apple Store and get the phones working using Apple’s App Store.
This special SIM would have an upgradeable flash component as well as a ROM component. The article goes on to explain:
The ROM area contains data provided by Gemalto with everything related to IT and network security, except for the carrier-related information. The flash component will receive the carrier related data via a local connection which could be the PC or a dedicated device, so it can be activated on the network. Gemalto will provide the back-end infrastructure that allows service and number provisioning on the carrier network.
This would be yet another way that Apple can control the end-user experience — and potentially the distribution — of its popular smartphone device. For us, one of the benefits of using a SIM-based device is having the luxury of popping the little plastic card into virtually any compatible, GSM device you choose. What do you think? More →
A German newspaper has preemptively published the purported release date for Nintendo’s next mobile gaming system, the 3DS. The paper writes that the 3DS will be released in Japan on November 11 and will have a European release date sometime in the spring of 2011. The paper also states that Mario Kart 3DS, as well as The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, will be two titles available when the device launches. Nintendo has a press event scheduled for September 29 in Tokyo, Japan; it seems like we won’t have to wait too long to find out if the publication is correct. More →