colinneagle writes "Nokia and RIM, the two former leaders in the early smartphone market, are now basically at the end stage of their downward spirals. This is an opportunity for Microsoft, which wants to make some inroads in the smartphone market, assuming Microsoft it can play its cards right. The question is which firm is worth more. Both have their values, especially in the patent areas. In terms of just smartphones, Microsoft would probably gain more from RIM, because it could integrate BlackBerry Enterprise Server into its own server products. Nokia, though, is a much older player and probably has a lot more of a patent portfolio. The question then becomes which is an easier purchase. Nokia is a 150-year-old storied company. The Finns may not be too keen to let it go to an American firm. There is the distinct possibility Microsoft acquires both firms and keeps the best of both worlds for hardware. But where does that leave OEM partners like LG, HTC and ZTE?"
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
lightbox32 writes "The New York Civil Liberties Union released a free smartphone application on Wednesday that allows people to record videos of and report police 'stop and frisk' activity, a practice widely denounced by civil rights groups as mostly targeting minorities and almost never resulting in arrests. The app was thoroughly criticized by the New York Police Department, which said that the tool might prove useful for criminals."
Whiney Mac Fanboy writes "Apple has agreed to pay a $2.25 million (AUD) fine (along with 300k legal costs) to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission for misleading advertising. Apple misrepresented their iPad product as being a '4G' device, when in fact they're only compatible with a very small percentage of 4G networks around the world. The Age online has the full story."
An anonymous reader writes "The Atlantic has an article discussing how 18- to 35-year-old males are losing their place as the most important demographic for tech adoption. 'Let me break out the categories where women are leading tech adoption: internet usage, mobile phone voice usage, mobile phone location-based services, text messaging, Skype, every social networking site aside from LinkedIn, all Internet-enabled devices, e-readers, health-care devices, and GPS. Also, because women still are the primary caretakers of children in many places, guess who controls which gadgets the young male and female members of the family get to purchase or even use?' The article points out that most of the tech industry hasn't figured this out yet — perhaps in part to a dearth of women running these companies."
redletterdave writes "At next week's WWDC 2012 in San Francisco, Apple is expected to unveil new laptops, desktops, accessories, and software features for its Mac OS X platform. But on Friday afternoon, several pictures surfaced on Twitter showing banners released around Moscone West in San Francisco, saying 'iOS 6: The world's most advanced mobile operating system.'"
Velcroman1 writes "So-called 'blood diamonds' or conflict diamonds are the well-publicized face of the decades-long human rights challenge in Africa. But the mining and sale of a lesser-known but more widely used group of natural resources known as 'blood minerals' has also fueled civil wars in Congo and Uganda — and they're in the latest smartphones. Congress sought to address the issue through the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, which included a requirement for companies to disclose conflict minerals. In 2011 the SEC opened a public debate about this disclosure — but Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Washington is critical of the process. 'They are afraid of being sued by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the World Gold Council,' McDermott said. Ahead of the SEC ruling, Sprint has made baby steps to come to terms with the controversy, joining the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) and the Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade (PPA), and said it is working to make device manufacturers aware of the issue. But are they doing enough?"
jfruh writes "Taipei's Computex trade show has seen an array of strange devices on sale that are somewhere between PCs and tablets: laptops with screens you can twist in every direction, tablets with detachable keyboards, all-in-one PCs with detachable monitors. Some have Intel chips, some ARM chips; some run Windows 8, some Android. They all exist because of the cheap components now available, and because Windows 8 will make touch interfaces possible — but mostly they exist because PC makes are starting to freak out about being left behind by the tablet revolution."
judgecorp writes "After trials, Wi-Fi in the London Underground has gone live in two stations (Warren Street and King's Cross), with plans to fit 80 stations out before the Olympics, which are now only a few weeks away. From the article: '“Our new Wi-Fi service is a fantastic deal for Londoners, with live travel updates, entertainment and news freely available to everyone while they are on the move across the capital,” said Gareth Powell, London Underground’s director of strategy and service development. “Wi-Fi at Tube stations will help us improve the journeys of the millions of people that use the Underground everyday at no cost to fare or tax payers.”'"
SomePgmr writes with this excerpt from an article at The Verge: "Thirty-one. That's the number of months it took Palm, Inc. to go from the darling of International CES 2009 to a mere shadow of itself, a nearly anonymous division inside the HP machine without a hardware program and without the confidence of its owners. Thirty-one months is just barely longer than a typical American mobile phone contract. Understanding exactly how Palm could drive itself into irrelevance in such a short period of time will forever be a subject of Valley lore."
kkleiner writes "Wouldn't it be awesome if our tablets and smartphones could have buttons that morphed out of the touchscreen, and then went away again when we didn't need them? It sounds like magic, but now it is reality. Created by Tactus Technology, a Fremont, California-based start-up, Tactus is a deformable layer that sits on top of a touchscreen sensor and display. 'The layer is about 0.75mm to 1mm thick, and at its top sits a deformable, clear layer 200 nm thick. Beneath the clear layer a fluid travels through micro-channels and is pushed up through tiny holes, deforming the clear layer to create buttons or shapes. The buttons or patterns remain for however long they are needed, just for a few seconds or for hours when you’re using your iPad to write that novel. And because the fluid is trapped inside the buttons, they can remain for however long without additional power consumption. They come or go pretty quickly, taking only a second to form or disappear.'"
angry tapir writes "ARM chips made with an advanced, 20-nanometer manufacturing process could appear in smartphones and tablets by as soon as the end of next year, the head of ARM's processor division said Monday. The more advanced chips should allow device makers to improve the performance of their products without reducing battery life, or offer the same performance with longer battery life."
An anonymous reader writes "I am on a committee to evaluate internet options for a medium sized condo association (80 units — 20 stories) in a major metropolitan area (Chicago). What options are out there? What questions should one ask of the various sales representatives? How should access be distributed within the building (wireless APs, ethernet cable). Does it make sense to provide any additional condo wide infrastructure (servers, services)? How much should it cost? How much dedicated bandwidth is required to support a community of this size?"
An anonymous reader writes "Here's a scenario: you are on a vacation trip for a couple of weeks — on the road. Lots of pictures — 2-300 per day. Maybe some text files with short notes etc. You have a camera with Eye-Fi, a PC, and a phone with WiFi and 3G. Files ends up on the PC (mobile storage), phone provides Internet connectivity. Now, if you wanted to upload all files pretty much as you go — given spotty access to Internet over G3 and WiFi — what would be the best way to do that automatically; set-it-and-forget-it style? I would like them to end up on my own server. rsync script? ownCloud? Some BitTorrent setup? Other? I'm thinking of interrupted file transfers due to no network, re-starts etc. And I would not want to lose any files; including scenarios where files gets deleted locally — that should not result in files getting automatically deleted on the server as well. Sure; I could perhaps use something like Dropbox but that would take the fun out of it."
beaverdownunder writes "Farhad Manjoo examines Facebook's rumoured entry into the smartphone market, concluding, 'So what would be the point in using the Facebook phone? Well, remember, it will be cheap. But so are lots of Android phones. If Facebook makes a phone, then, the device will necessarily spark a battle for the low end of the phone market, with each company offering ever-cheaper devices in the hopes of cashing in on some future advertising bonanza. If you're looking for a cheap, ad-heavy phone based on a dubious business model, you should rejoice. Otherwise, try to stifle your yawns.'"