redletterdave writes "Mercedes-Benz unveiled plans on Monday to use Siri, Apple's AI personal assistant exclusive to the iPhone 4S, to power its electronics system called 'Drive Kit Plus,' which will essentially let drivers access their iPhone apps while driving using voice commands. With Siri, Mercedes drivers will have a hands-free solution to listen to music, change channels on the radio, send texts, or make calls. 'Drive Kit Plus' will also come pre-installed with a number of social networks, so drivers will even be able to update their Twitter accounts and post messages to Facebook. Siri will also be integrated with Garmin's GPS system, so drivers can navigate and get directions with simple voice commands. With this move, Mercedes-Benz earns the distinction of being the first carmaker to integrate Apple technology into its vehicles' in-car systems."
An anonymous reader writes "PC Magazine reports that even while Amazon was building their Kindle Fire tablet, it was already planning on a much larger model that 'will be its marquee product and the hopeful cornerstone of its tablet strategy.' Amazon's already begun offering $30 discounts on refurbished 7-inch Kindle Fire tablets, matching last week's new aggressive pricing from Barnes and Noble on their color touchscreen Nook. But PCMag argues that the 7-inch color Kindle was simply a 'beta' release of the larger device to come. 'In no way was Amazon being dishonest with its customers... To be truly fair, many people may never want a screen larger than seven inches because of the associated weight and bulk.' But the author argues that its real purpose may have been as a test run to gather important real-world data for their ultimate war with the iPad. 'After all, as industry insiders joke, all first-generation products, whether hardware or software, are really "beta" programs disguised as initial launches.'"
crookedvulture writes "Asus is showing off a bunch of new devices at the Mobile World Congress in Spain, including a budget Transformer model and an Infinity Series graced with a 10", 1920x1200 display. In addition to the tablets, there's the novel PadFone hybrid. This Snapdragon-powered smartphone has a 4.3" screen with a generous 960x540 resolution. If you want more screen real estate, the PadFone slides into the back of a tablet docking station that offers a 10", 1280x800 display alongside an auxiliary battery. That combo can in turn be plugged into an external keyboard with a full-sized SD slot, USB port, and other perks. The only problem is those auxiliary components are thicker and heavier than Asus' standalone tablets, which offer the same functionality, sans smartphone."
New submitter adycarter writes "Steve Perlman, the man responsilbe for QuickTime and WebTV, has recently launched OnLive Desktop which now offers a 'plus' service enabling iPad users to use Flash, Microsoft Office and the ability to use a Gigabit-speed version of Internet Explorer. The service runs on the same basic technology as their game streaming service in that you're using your iPad as client to access a machine located in the cloud."
MojoKid writes "Fraunhofer IIS has chosen Mobile World Congress as the place to present the world's first Full-HD Voice mobile phone calls over an LTE network. Verizon Wireless has toyed with VoLTE (Voice over LTE) before, but this particular method enables mobile phone calls to sound as clear as talking to another person in the same room. Full-HD Voice is already established in several VoIP, video telephony and conferencing systems. However, this will mark the first time Fraunhofer's Full-HD Voice codec AAC-ELD has been integrated into a mobile communications system. Currently, the majority of phone calls are limited to the 3.5 kHz range, whereas humans are able to perceive audio signals up to 20 kHz. The Full-HD Voice codec AAC-ELD gives access to the full audible audio spectrum."
waderoush writes "You can forget all the talk about 'smart' and 'connected' TVs: nobody, not even Apple, has come up with an interface that's easy to use from 10 feet away. And you can drastically curtail your hopes that Roku, Boxee, Netflix, and other providers of free or cheap 'over the top' Internet TV service will take over the world: the cable and satellite companies and the content owners have mounted savvy and effective counterstrikes. But there's another technology that really will disrupt the TV industry: tablet computing. The iPad, in particular, is the first 'second screen' device that's good enough to be the first screen. This Xconomy column argues that in the near future, the big-screen TV will turn into a dumb terminal, and your tablet — with its easy-to-use touch interface and its 'appified' approach to organizing content — will literally be running the show in your living room." Using a tablet as a giant remote seems like a good idea, and a natural extension of iPhone and Android apps that already provide media-center control. Maybe I'm too easily satisfied, but the 10-foot interface doesn't seem as hopeless as presented here; TiVo, Apple, and others been doing a pretty good job of that for the past decade.
MrSeb writes "In a beautiful twist of fate, T-Mobile USA has announced that it will be launching an LTE network in 2013 using the money and AWS spectrum that it obtained from AT&T after its failed acquisition. According to T-Mobile, this upgrade comprises of a three-phase process: free up 2G spectrum, move HSPA+ to formerly 2G spectrum, and deploy LTE on formerly HSPA+ spectrum. The end result will be a much faster network that can compete with AT&T and Verizon, and download speeds of up to 74Mbps in 75% of the top 25 markets in the US. International visitors should enjoy better roaming thanks to the deployment of PCS HSPA+, too — and finally, an AT&T LTE iPhone would also work on T-Mobile's upcoming network."
New submitter elashish14 tips this news, snipped from Ars Technica: "Apple has been forced to disable push e-mail delivery for iCloud and MobileMe users in Germany this week. The move is thanks to a recent injunction awarded to Motorola as part of the ongoing patent dispute between the two smartphone makers.... The patent at issue relates to older pager designs, but Motorola was able to convince a German court that it applied to Apple's implementation of push e-mail that syncs across devices via iCloud. The injunction went into effect on Thursday of this week, requiring Apple to disable push e-mail syncing in Germany."
AZA43 writes "Everybody knows that BlackBerry-maker RIM is hurting these days. But is it hurting enough to try to attract new customers with the promise of porn and/or gambling apps? A new rating system added to RIM's BlackBerry App World store suggests that it just may be that desperate. The new 'Adult' rating covers, 'graphic sexual content, graphic nudity,' 'graphic violence,' and gambling apps 'as permitted by law.' And that suggests RIM will allow this kind of content into App World, in stark contrast to Apple's no-porn-on-the-iPhone stand."
An anonymous reader writes "Matt Spaccarelli has won a judgement of $850 from AT&T for data throttling. From the article: 'Nadel's ruling could pave the way for others to follow suit. AT&T has some 17 million customers with "unlimited data" plans that can be subject to throttling, representing just under half of the company's smartphone users. AT&T stopped signing up new customers for those plans in 2010, and warned last year that it would start slowing speeds for people who consume the most data. In the last few months, subscribers have been surprised by how little data use it takes for throttling to kick in —often less than AT&T provides to those on limited or "tiered" plans. Spaccarelli said his phone is being throttled after he's used 1.5 gigabytes to 2 gigabytes of data within a new billing cycle. Meanwhile, AT&T provides 3 gigabytes of data to subscribers on a tiered plan that costs the same — $30 per month.'"
New submitter clorkster writes "I am looking to upgrade my mobile phone. I have always bought the cheapest possible phone with the least features since I only use it to make calls and text. Further, I am opposed to paying for internet access twice and my home access is certainly more important and necessary. I am now running into the issue that my phone is too archaic to receive text messages from newer smart phones (they somehow become picture messages). Any thoughts on a good smart phone without data plan or an almost smart phone solution?"
An anonymous reader writes "How are you using smartphones and other portable devices to take charge of your medical care? The NY Times has an article about attachments to the iPhone for tracking blood sugar and blood pressure. There are also glorified web cams that take pictures of your ear drum, teeth or eyes to save you a trip to the doctor's. Some people are tracking the changes in their moles with an iPhone App. Is this the beginning of Med 2.0?" Odd as it sounds, I was able to be more quickly and reliably diagnosed with Lyme disease last fall because I'd taken some pictures on my phone of the lesion I'd wrongly thought was the result of a spider bite. Any camera would have worked, but I had my camera-equipped phone with me, rather than any other kind.
retroworks writes "Great piece in The Atlantic by Kyle Wiens of IFIXIT.org, who visited and photographed the Molycorp Mountain Pass rare earth facility in California's Mojave Desert. The mine is the only source of rare earths in North America, one of the only alternatives to the mineral cartels in China, and one of the only sources for the key metals such as tantalum needed in cell phones. There is of course actually one other source of rare earth metals in the USA — recycled cell phones. Is the best 'state of the art' mining as good as the worst state of the art recycling? If the U.S. Department of Energy subsidizes the mine, will China open the floodgates and put it out of business? Or will electronics be manufactured with alternative materials before the mine ever becomes fully scaleable?"
First time accepted submitter Nick Fel writes "As the UK nears the end of a lengthy digital TV switch-over, the sale of the analogue TV spectrum for 4G mobile phones will disrupt digital TV in almost a million homes. Affected homes will be issued with a filter or required to upgrade to satellite or cable, and in extreme cases may be granted funding to find their own solution."