Industry News

Startup Goes On With Music Service

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beyond oblivionNew York-based startup Beyond Oblivion secures funding to help launch its planned music service-- one bundling an unlimited music plan into a number of devices' price.

It all sounds similar to Nokia's earlier (and failed) Comes With Music plan. 

Asia will be the first territory to have the service this summer, followed by the US and presumably Europe. 

The company is currently in talks with 4 record companies about the service-- which will pay royalties each time a song is paid and revenue comes from the initial purchase.

Go Beyond Oblivion Secures Financing For Launch

Vidyo Featured in HD Demos

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Vidyo Multiple

The Vidyo™ platform was featured in three demonstrations of HD video conferencing over wireless networks at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The VidyoRouter architecture is the first in a generation of software solutions that leverages H.264 Scalable Video Coding (SVC) for high quality video over internet, 3G, 4G and wifi networks. (As it eliminates the need for a Multipoint Control Unit (MCU), it costs a fraction of MCU-based solutions.)

Alcatel-Lucent and Verizon Wireless in a live 4G multi-continent gaming and live video conferencing demonstration between Barcelona and a moving 4G LTE-enabled vehicle in USA.

Alcatel-Lucent in a demo of high-quality video conferencing via TD-LTE, between passengers driving in a brand new Audi A8 automobile wired for broadband with LTE, cruising the neighborhood around the Arts Hotel in Barcelona, and people at the LTE TDD/FDD International Summit inside the hotel.

Intel in a demonstration featuring a multiparty HD Vidyo™ conference using WiMAX and LTE, connecting three Intel-based tablets running Windows 7 positioned at different booths located within the MWC Exhibit Hall, and a PC desktop participant at a remote location, connected via the internet.

“These demonstrations illustrate the unique properties of Vidyo’s groundbreaking technology platform that delivers exceptional fidelity over general purpose networks, even over wireless networks where available bandwidth constantly changes,” says Ofer Shapiro, co-founder and CEO of Vidyo. “...Vidyo enables people to be more productive and visually collaborate from wherever they are – be it their office, hotel room, airport or internet café.”

“Vidyo’s technology in tandem with Intel’s processor platform makes it possible for our tablet and smart phone users to achieve high-quality multipoint video conferencing,” explains Tim Sweeney, Director, 4G Applications Lab, Intel. “Wireless connections are notoriously unstable, but Vidyo’s technology was developed to compensate for dropped packets of audio and video information on non-QoS networks and the results are exceptional.”

Vidyo also demonstrated its multipoint video communication and collaboration platform at the MWC ShowStoppers event, connecting mobile devices including an iPad, iPhone 4, Samsung Galaxy Tab and the new Google Nexus S with laptops, desktops, and enterprise room systems -- presenting its support of LTE, 3G and 4G smartphones.

Vidyo spans a full range of applications, from the VidyoDesktop with personal telepresence capabilities on a PC or a Mac to the VidyoRoom that encodes and decodes HD-quality video at up to 1080p or 60 frames per second. Vidyo is available today in a pilot mobile service from Elisa Corporation on the Samsung Galaxy Tablet; these services will be broadly available to consumers around the world in 2011.

Vidyo technology is licensed by HP, Google, Hitachi, Ricoh, Fuze Box, Teliris, and others.

Go Vidyo

Snapdragon Gets Next-Gen Family

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Qualcomm snapdragonQualcomm announces its next Snapdragon mobile processor architecture at Mobile World Congress, Barcelona.

Codenamed Krait, the next-gen multi-core (single, dual and quad) 28nm chipsets will offer speeds of up to 2.5GHz per core, alongside what Qualcomm claims is 150% higher overall performance and 65% lower power consumption than current-gen ARM-based CPU cores.

Krait chips will also feature wifi, GPS, bluetooth, NFC support and stereoscopic 3D video/photo capture and playback.

A new iteration of Adreno GPUs is also included, supporting up to 4 3D cores and HD output to flat panel displays over HDMI.

Dual-core AP8960 processor samples will be available by Q2 2011; single-core MSM8930 and quad-core 8063 versions should be out in early 2012.

Go Qualcomm Announces Next-Gen Snapdragon Mobile Chipset Family

Vodafone Webbox Turns Any TV into Internet Access

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Vodafone tore a phone apart...put the components in a keyboard box, added standard RCA connectors – and now you have the Vodafone Webbox, the first device of its kind, bringing affordable internet access to existing television set, just by plugging in a keyboard.

WebboxDeveloped with emerging markets in mind (where many don't yet have affordable internet access), the Webbox is a sleek, black, 14 x 25cm QWERTY keyboard. Webbox plugs into TV with no set-up required, converting any standard domestic television into an internet portal.

The Webbox home screen allows the customer to navigate easily between the core services: Opera Mini 5.1 internet access; SMS and email messaging; internet search and media services including FM radio and a photo gallery tool, as well as a music player.

Vodafone Webbox

The Webbox is on the Vodafone stand at Mobile World Congress 2011.

The Webbox Opera Mini browser runs over the 2.5G and EDGE mobile networks, compressing data by around 90% and so serving fast-loading internet pages. (Opera Mini is available across 20 markets, preloaded onto 32 handsets and downloadable to a total of 278 devices. There have been 9 million downloads of the Vodafone Opera Mini browser to date.)

The browser homepage comes with bookmarks such as news, sport and social networking sites as well as locally relevant apps such as a job search and application service. In addition, the portal comes with some games, a dictionary and a basic text editor.

Webbox in action

Patrick Chomet, Vodafone’s Group Director of Terminals says: “...The simplicity of the product is striking – it brings the internet to the TV, be that at home for the family, in schools for education or in small businesses to assist local economic growth.”

In South Africa, Vodacom will start selling the Webbox from next week. Other markets across Vodafone’s emerging market footprint will launch in 2011. Vodacom will retail the Webbox at a one-off unit cost of R749 (c €75) with a free 2GB SD card, and prepaid SIM with R12 data credit.

Watch Webbox Demo by Vodafone Group

The Smartphone Wars' Changing Face

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Business Insider speculates on the smartphone war front's potential alliance shifts-- what if Nokia aligns with Microsoft (which just happened) and RIM with Google (also rumoured)?

Smartphone WarsAs Nokia and Microsoft announce their team-up, Business Insider says this would be a huge win-- for Microsoft. Even as Windows Phones 7 gets good reviews, it still fails to reach where it's most important (the consumer's pockets). 

Meanwhile Google's Android could get a big boost if RIM's new QNX Blackberry platform handles Android development (resulting in the Playbook and future Blackberry smartphones running Android apps). 

Business Insider's hypothetical chart shows Google/Rim taking over 47% of the market share, while Nokia/Microsot take a 34% worth of the pie-- leaving Appple to feel more of the pressure, as developers start paying more attention to Android and Win Phone 7.

Is there any guarantee the market will turn out this way? Of course not, not when big mobile companies making software platform transitions are involved. Either way, the market is potentially turning into a more interesting place in the next few days...

Go The Smartphone Wars Could Soon Look Radically Different

Go Nokia and Microsoft Announce Partnership