Industry News

Windows Phone Gets Version 8

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Microsoft follows the Surface tablet reveal with another mobile-related announcement-- Windows Phone 8 (aka Apollo), the next full-blown version of the smartphone OS, currently at version 7.5.

Windows Phone 8The biggest change Windows Phone 8 has is the NT kernel, meaning the mobile OS shares a kernel, file system, media foundation, device drivers and partial security model with Windows 8.

The NT kernel also provides multi-core processor support, removable storage (via microSD cards), NFC capability and even improvements aiming at enterprise use (device encryption, remote management, custom app support).

Windows Phone 8 supports x3 screen resolutions-- WVGA (800x480), WXGA (1280x769) and 720p (1280x720).

Other consumer-aimed updates include a revamped Internet Explorer 10, Nokia-powered mapping, a Wallet app (stores debit/credit card data, coupons, boarding passes) and a more customisable Start screen.

The upgrade however comes at a price-- Windows Phone 7 devices will not get WP8. Instead, WP7 users can enjoy playing with the new Start screen through a 7.8 update.

Microsoft gives no Windows Phone 8 release date, but says the OS will be available in Qualcomm-powered smartphones from Nokia, Huawei, Samsung and HTC.

Go Announcing Windows Phone 8

IDC: Android Fuels W. European Mobile Growth

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IDC reports the W. European mobile market returns to growth in Q1 2012, following 3 quarters of decline-- with shipments growing by 1.3% Y-o-Y to reach 44.8 million units.

Smartphones marketSmartphones account for 63% of the total Q1 2012 mobile market, with shipments of 28.2m units and 37% Y-o-Y growth.

Meanwhile the feature phone segment shrinks further (by -30% Y-o-Y) and reaches 16.6m units.

IDC says European customers "are are still willing" to spend on smartphones-- the most expensive devices (priced over €400) account for 49% of total Q1 2012 smartphone shipments (up from 46% in Q1 2011), with the iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy S II topping sales rankings.

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The Tangled Patent War Web

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Patent Wars PreviewKeeping track of the ever-ongoing patent wars is hard work-- but now keeping tabs on who is suing who is easier thanks to a Bloomberg infographic showing key cases at the International Trade Commission.

As the graphic shows, the smartphone patent wars appear to radiate from one source-- Apple. Other vendors in the various legal fights include Samsung, Motorola Mobility, HTC, VIA, S3 Graphics and even Kodak.

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Draganflyer Soars Commercially

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 Draganflyer

You’ve probably seen the toy/hobby quadracopters and remote-controlled helicopters?

Well, here’s a remote-controlled copter that goes to work. The Draganflys go to work and get professional quality aerial video and pictures in remote, hazardous, or urban areas where full size aircraft are not practical.

The largest Draganflyer, the X8, features an 8 rotor design and a payload capacity of approximately 800 grams that normally gets loaded with a video or still camera. It features a foldable "Grab and Go" carbon fibre frame for easy transport.

On the other end of the spectrum is their most affordable helicopter ever, the Draganflyer X4 (still a platform for getting aerial pictures and video).

The Draganfly Tango is the most recent airplane announced. The unique tandem wing design of the Draganfly Tango ensures that if the DF Tango is stalled the nose will gently drop and the plane will "self correct" once it has gained enough airspeed. Instead of the traditional “drop-like-a-stone” behavior that distinguishes most other unmanned airborne vehicles that stall in mid-air.

The optional camera package comes pre-installed in the aircraft and in a hardshell case for storage and transportation.

Watch The Draganfly at Work

Flexible LG Displays Launching Soon

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EReaders might soon get lighter and more flexible-- LG Display plans to launch a flexible plastic electronic paper display (EPD) in Europe for eReader use this month, a world first according to the company.

LG EPDThe LG design measures 6" diagonally and handles XGA (1024x768) resolutions. Construction is in plastic, meaning the display is only 0.7mm thick and weighs 14g (50% less than traditional glass displays). It is not able to handle colours or animation, but should offer a crisp reading experience.

The company says the EPD display is also "more durable" and is bendable by up to 40 degrees (but cannot be folded or rolled up).

Products carrying the displays should be launching in Europe by April 2012.

The technology can also go towards more future developments (such as plastic OLEDs and flexible displays) as well as find deployment in digital signage applications.

Go LG Display