Analyst calls for RIM to break apart handset, network businesses

By on July 12, 2011 at 9:00 AM.

Analyst calls for RIM to break apart handset, network businesses

With Research In Motion’s annual shareholder meeting scheduled to take place later today, one popular RIM-focused analyst is calling for the company to split its handset and network businesses into two separate companies. “RIM’s organization, like its handsets, needs modernization. By acting now, splitting RIM into network and handset businesses may target opportunities and unlock significant shareholder value,” RBC Capital Markets Managing Director Mike Abramsky wrote in a note to investors on Tuesday. “RIM’s end-to-end solution was conceived when data devices and networks were nascent — but times have changed,” the analyst continued. Abramsky believes the standalone network business can target a market of roughly 400 million Android devices, Windows Phones, tablets and other devices with “affordable, efficient, cross-platform mobile push messaging, social networking, cloud and business data services (and software)” that is already interconnected with 595 carriers around the globe. On the other end, splitting off RIM’s devices business could accelerate handset innovation, strengthen developer relationships and help the company prioritize its customers and developers over its carrier partners — a sentiment thought by some to be paramount to RIM’s success moving forward. Abramsky reiterated his price target of $35 for RIM stock, noting above-average risk.

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HP shakes up webOS team; moves Jon Rubenstein to product, puts Stephen DeWitt in charge

By on July 11, 2011 at 6:01 PM.

HP shakes up webOS team; moves Jon Rubenstein to product, puts Stephen DeWitt in charge

While HP didn’t exactly hit the ground running following its Palm acquisition, webOS is still one of our favorite mobile operating systems and we can’t wait for the Pre3 to drop at some point this summer. With that said, it looks like HP is moving some executives around, and for good reason. Jon Rubenstein, who was vice president and general manager of HP’s webOS global business unit is moving into an executive role as senior vice president of product innovation for the Personal Systems Group. Stephen DeWitt, who formerly occupied the role Rubenstein is taking over, will replace him as head of the webOS global business unit. Hit the break for HP’s press release.

More →

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GetJar responds to Apple’s cease-and-desist letter over ‘App Store’ name

By on July 11, 2011 at 12:23 PM.

GetJar responds to Apple’s cease-and-desist letter over ‘App Store’ name

Apple is taking its fight to own the “App Store” moniker to a new opponent, and this time it’s GetJar. The Cupertino-based firm, which has filed similar lawsuits against both Amazon and Microsoft, sent the company a cease-and-desist letter asking it to stop using the name “App Store,” The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. Apple believes that it owns the “App Store” trademark. Amazon responded and called the lawsuit “baseless.” Last week, a U.S. judge agreed and said that many other firms use the moniker as a descriptive term and that Apple’s use is “more descriptive than distinctive.” “GetJar has been in the business of offering apps to consumers since 2005, well before Apple, and helped to pioneer the model that the general public understands as an app store today,” GetJar CEO, Ilja Laurs, said. “We have built a strong, global and growing business around this model, and plan to continue to use the phrase ‘app store’ to describe what we do. This move by Apple is yet more proof that the company tends to act as if it is above the law, and even as one of the smaller players in the space, we won’t be bullied by Apple.” In a blog post on the company’s website, GetJar CMO Patrick Mork explained that GetJar simply redirects users to Apple’s own store and that GetJar won’t stop using the term anytime soon. “GetJar won’t be subject to this kind of bullying,” Mork said. “We’re not going to ‘Cease & Desist.’ We were here long before Steve & Co. We were built by developers, to help developers. Not to help sell handsets or search results. In the words of Twisted Sister: We’re not going to take it! Steve Jobs isn’t our Dad.” More →

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Skype for Android updated with video calling support [video]

By on July 1, 2011 at 1:00 AM.

Skype for Android updated with video calling support [video]

Skype announced on Wednesday that its Android application now supports video calling on select devices. The application is particularly attractive because it allows mobile users to connect with other users on Mac, Windows, TV, iOS, or other Android devices. Skype says the app was built with a complete new redesign, too, which includes a new main menu, easier contact navigation, quick access to your profile, and more. There’s even a new “mood” message box that allows you to show what you’re up to or how you’re feeling. Skype for Android requires Android 2.3 and above, as well as a front-facing camera for video chat. It currently supports the HTC Desire S, the Sony Ericsson Xperia neo, the Sony Ericsson Xperia pro, and the Google Nexus S. Skype says it also has plans to roll out support for additional handsets in the near future. Hit the jump for a video demo of the new client in action. More →

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HP TouchPad review

By on June 29, 2011 at 8:30 PM.

HP TouchPad review

It has been exactly 140 days since Hewlett-Packard first unveiled the TouchPad, and I think of it as the first device to emerge from a post-acquisition Palm team that has really been tested over the past few years. To be fair, it will actually be the third webOS device to launch since HP took over Palm, but the the Pre 2 was a leftover from before the deal went through and the Veer never should have been been released. But yes, the Palm team has been through a lot: from botched acquisition talks, to the brink of collapse, to resurrection through Elevation Partners’ investments, to a brilliant new web-based mobile operating system, to the announcement of the phone that would save the business from the brink of collapse, to BGR exclusively reviewing the phone that would save the business from the brink of collapse before any other site on the planet, to the launch of the phone that would save the business from the brink of collapse, to the failure of the phone that would save its business from the brink of collapse, and finally, to HP. Can a company that once lead the industry come back to regain mind share, market share and profit share following a roller coaster ride like that? Hit the break to find out if the TouchPad pushes the company’s mobile business in the right direction or if it is another dud from a company that could be dominating the market.

More →

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Windows Phone ‘Tango’ and ‘Apollo’ updates to follow Mango

By on June 28, 2011 at 10:07 PM.

Windows Phone ‘Tango’ and ‘Apollo’ updates to follow Mango

Microsoft’s new Windows Phone Mango update is expected to begin rolling out this fall, but there are already reports that the company is working on the next updates, codenamed “Tango” and “Apollo.” DigiTimes reported on Tuesday that Compal Communications, which manufacturers devices for Acer and Nokia, recently inked a Microsoft deal confirming that it will build devices for Mango as well as the next-generation Tango update. Microsoft hasn’t discussed Tango yet, so it’s unclear what will be included or how big of a jump it will be from the long awaited Mango release. Reportedly, Tango will then be phased out in favor of a new “Apollo” OS, which we first heard about late last year. More →

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Consumers will spend $2.1 trillion on digital information and entertainment products in 2011, Gartner says

By on June 27, 2011 at 10:01 PM.

Consumers will spend $2.1 trillion on digital information and entertainment products in 2011, Gartner says

According to a new research report from Gartner, consumers are on track to spend a record $2.1 trillion on digital information and entertainment products this year. That figure is expected to hit $2.8 trillion by 2015. $1.2 trillion — 62% — is spent on subscription-based communication services such as mobile, voice, and data services, broadband packages, video services, online gaming, and cable TV subscriptions. $600 billion, 28% of the total $2.1 trillion, is spent on devices themselves, and 10% is spent on content such as computer software, video on-demand, and pay-per-view services. “The three key technology areas that will offer the best opportunity for vendors during the next three years are: wireless broadband, which will enable constant connectivity; location-based services (LBS), which will personalize and take advantage of the constant connected state; and operating systems, which are the foundation for integration applications that can bring it all together,” Mikako Kitagawa, principal research analyst at Gartner, said. Read on for the full release. More →

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Symbian is officially no longer Nokia’s problem

By on June 23, 2011 at 1:24 PM.

Symbian is officially no longer Nokia’s problem

What a long, strange trip it’s been, and now it’s almost over. Nokia may not be done building and selling Symbian smartphones, but at least now it can wipe its hands of Symbian development as of October 2011. Nokia and Accenture on Wednesday announced that their deal to outsource Symbian software development and support is now finalized. About 2,800 Nokia employees will move to Accenture in October when the new arrangement takes effect. “Our collaboration with Accenture allows us to meet our ongoing commitment to support our Symbian smartphone customers and continue to leverage the talent that has the deepest experience on the platform,” said Nokia’s EVP of smartphones, Jo Harlow, in a statement.  “As we move our primary smartphone platform to Windows Phone, we will look to explore potential opportunities to tap this talent pool as they develop and expand their knowledge and capabilities beyond Symbian.” Nokia’s full press release can be found after the break. More →

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Microsoft vs. Apple infographic details rivalry from inception to global domination [updated]

By on June 23, 2011 at 10:35 AM.

Microsoft vs. Apple infographic details rivalry from inception to global domination [updated]

In the world of computing, no two companies have more history than Microsoft and Apple. In fact, the companys’ history is 10,124 pixels tall. From modest beginnings to IPOs, and later to global domination, Microsoft and Apple are largely responsible for computers as we know them today. Microsoft concentrated on software early and now owns the lion’s share of the global PC market, and more recently, Apple looked to mobile computing to revitalize its business and its market cap. Of course from an investor’s perspective, the stock chart at the bottom says it all, but as is remarkably evident in looking over the meandering paths these two tech titans have taken, no one knows what the future might hold. The full, extremely large infographic can be found after the break.

This infographic has been updated by its creator and the updated version is now found below. More →

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RIM is black-burying carriers with half-baked BlackBerrys

By on June 20, 2011 at 11:18 AM.

RIM is black-burying carriers with half-baked BlackBerrys

Launching new products is always difficult. Launching new products with hundreds of different carriers is exponentially more difficult. Apparently there is an easy way and a hard way to do things, however, and RIM has been making carriers offers they can’t refuse. BGR has learned from a trusted source that RIM has been strong-arming several carriers, essentially forcing them to approve devices they normally would not move through the Technical Acceptance phase. More →

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Throwback Thursday: IBM

By on June 16, 2011 at 3:45 PM.

Throwback Thursday: IBM

BGR’s Throwback Thursday segment is typically reserved for extinct tech, but this week we make an exception. On June 16th, 1911 — one hundred years ago today — Charles Ranlett Flint merged three companies to form the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company. Headquartered in New York City, CTR manufactured and sold scales, card-punch machines, meat slicers and a variety of other products that have long since been replaced by several generations of improved offerings. CTR changed its name to International Business Machines Corporation, or IBM, on February 14th, 1924, to better align its name with its wide range of products. IBM would hit its stride building tabulating devices, and it was at the forefront of developing the PCs we now take for granted. Now, 100 years later with a market capitalization of just under $200 billion, IBM remains a leader in the technology space, producing software and hardware that will shape the future of computing. Happy 100th, IBM, and here’s to 100 more.

BGR’s Throwback Thursday is a weekly series covering our (and your) favorite gadgets, games, and software of yesterday and yesteryear.

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BlackBerry PlayBook updated to 1.0.5 (don’t get too excited)

By on June 7, 2011 at 8:46 PM.

BlackBerry PlayBook updated to 1.0.5 (don’t get too excited)

RIM on Tuesday announced the availability of a new software update for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet. Before we get into all the details, we should note that this is not the major update PlayBook users have been waiting for that will enable email and PIM functions without the need to tether. Now that we have that out of the way, version 1.0.5 of RIM’s QNX-based operating system brings the following additions to the BlackBerry PlayBook: the Facebook app is now preloaded, in-app payment support has been added, Wi-Fi hotspot detection has been added, the status bar menu has been tweaked a bit and a few new languages are now supported. We’ve applied the update to our PlayBook as so far, everything is going just fine. If you haven’t yet received a notice letting you know that the update is  available, you can check for it manually in the device settings. Hit the break for RIM’s full press notice. More →

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Apple iOS 5 iPhone / iPad 2 hands-on!

By on June 6, 2011 at 6:02 PM.

Apple iOS 5 iPhone / iPad 2 hands-on!

We just loaded up Apple’s brand new iOS 5 on our iPhone and iPad 2, and man… we’ve been waiting a while for this stuff. For starters, notifications with Notification Center are so, so necessary, and while we haven’t lived with it for a while, we can already see how much of a difference this will make in daily usage. Also, the Twitter integration? Ridiculously slick and easy. Now, the really interesting part… iMessage. We haven’t found anyone to use this with, so we’ll report back, but it’s tied to your Apple ID which is how your iPad and iPod touch can make use it of, since they obviously don’t have cell phone numbers. Well, you know, the iPod touch doesn’t. We’ll be updating this post live as we keep toying with iOS 5 on the iPhone and iPad 2, and we’ll keep updating the screenshots in the gallery below as well!

  • Preference to open pages in Safari in a new page or in background (amazing!).
  • More alert choices for emails, calendar, and the ability to buy more.
  • Ability to create keyboard shortcuts (autotext) to replace custom phrases. The default entry is “omw” which is replaced with, “On my way!”
  • Software update option in settings to check for the latest OS.
  • Sync now button to wireless sync to iTunes
  • Ability to customize how notifications in Notification Center look — you can customize how many recent ones to show, 1, 5 or 10, if it’s showed in the lock screen, if it’s in Notification Center, and also the alert style, banner or alert style.
  • Twitter installs directly from the settings page if it’s not installed directly, you aren’t even taken to the App Store.
  • FaceTime button in iMessage messages at the top now
  • Tweeting photos is, so so slick. It displays on Twitter as powered by Photobucket, and it’s from iOS.
  • There’s a new option to print out from the Maps app… hilarious.
  • You can make new albums right from the device itself in Photos.
  • You can move and add photos to albums.
  • Doesn’t look iMessage is fully baked in here yet.
  • You can customize the default alert times. This is so needed — so now when you enter a calendar entry, you don’t have to set the default alert time you like — I’m a 15 minute calendar alert type of guy.
  • Email flagging doesn’t look to be enabled in this beta, though S/MIME support is. Never mind, it is. You have to go into the message and tap “mark”.
  • It seems that Reminders sync with Exchange (Tasks basically), but you can’t set location-based reminders if you’re on Exchange, just with iCloud. You can selectively choose where to sync the reminder though, it’s just not streamlined if you use Exchange.
  • You can set the caller ID for FaceTime calls, so if you call someone, you can choose it to display your cellular number or email address.
  • In the weather app, there is a new pane for a current location which will show you weather for wherever you are.
  • When syncing with iTunes you can use the device normally ‚ no more syncing screen!
  • You can delete individual calls from the call list — I know a lot of people that just got super excited.
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