Nerval's Lobster writes "Google has sent invitations for a June 6 event in which it will apparently unveil 'The Next Dimension of Google Maps.' Meanwhile, rumor suggests Apple is preparing its own mapping service for iOS devices. The escalating battle over maps demonstrates the importance of cloud apps to tech companies' larger strategies." I only wish my phone would hold by default the X-million data points that my outmoded (but cheap and functional) dedicated GPS device does, without quite so much cloud-centric bottlenecking, and leave all expensive data use for optional overlays and current conditions.
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An anonymous reader writes "AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said today that he expects wireless carriers to start offering data-only cellphone plans within the next 24 months. 'Analysts see such plans as a logical extension of trends in wireless technology. Smartphones with data service can already use it for Internet phone calls and texting through services such as Skype. Phone calls are also taking a back seat to other things people do with their smartphones. AT&T has been recording a decline in the average number of minutes used per month.' He says there isn't a specific plan in the works — he just think it's inevitable."
New submitter mk1004 writes "ETSI members have approved a new, smaller SIM format. 'The fourth form factor (4FF) card will be 40% smaller than the current smallest SIM card design, at 12.3mm wide by 8.8mm high, and 0.67mm thick. It can be packaged and distributed in a way that is backwards compatible with existing SIM card designs. The new design will offer the same functionality as all current SIM cards.' Nokia is not happy about the decision, as they believe their version was superior, but they say they're prepared to license the patents essential to the standard."
x0d writes with news that Google filed an EU antitrust complaint against Microsoft and Nokia on Thursday, claiming they are using proxy companies to make smartphone-related patent claims in an attack on Google's Android business. From the article: "Google also plans to share its complaint about patent 'trolls' with U.S. competition regulators. The Internet-search giant alleges that Microsoft and Nokia have entered into agreements that enable entities such as Canada-based Mosaid Technologies Inc. to legally enforce their patent rights and share the resulting revenue. Google, which hasn't been sued by Mosaid or related firms, described its filing with European regulators as a pre-emptive measure against a developing legal hazard for Android partners. The threat is that if phone makers perceive a significant legal risk in using Android, they may opt instead for Microsoft's Windows Phone software."
concertina226 writes "The European Commission announced on Thursday that it has asked the European Court of Justice to impose fines on Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Slovenia for not transposing binding telecoms rules into their national laws. The official deadline for doing so was 25 May last year. These telecoms rules are aimed at protecting users' privacy online. They also require companies to notify users about any data breach without undue delay and to allow customers to switch fixed or mobile phone operators without changing their phone number, within one working day. But the main sticking point in the telecoms package appears to be the requirement for Web companies to obtain 'explicit consent' from Internet users before storing cookies."
itwbennett writes "Paramedics in Marin County, California, may soon be putting QR codes to lifesaving use. According to an IDG News Service report, 'Lifesquare, a Silicon Valley start-up, has partnered with two emergency response agencies in Marin County to run a year-long pilot program. Lifesquare wants residents to input personal information about their medications into its website, then place corresponding QR code stickers where emergency responders can scan them with an iPhone.' The first hurdle: Getting people to put the sensitive information online. 'The way that we look at is that people already put their information into their driver's license, that's owned by the government, people put their information into credit card company's and that's owned by private corporations,' said Ryan Chamberlain, director of public outreach at Lifesquare."
An anonymous reader writes "I'm in charge of getting some phones for my company to give to our mobile reps. Security is a major consideration for us, so I'm looking for the most secure off-the-shelf solution for this. I'd like to encrypt all data on the phone and use encryption for texting and phone calls. There are a number of apps in the android market that claim to do this, but how can I trust them? For example, I tested one, but it requires a lot of permissions such as internet access; how do I know it is not actually some kind of backdoor? I know that Boeing is producing a secure phone, which is no doubt good — but probably too expensive for us. I was thinking of maybe installing Cyanogenmod onto something, using a permissions management app to try and lock down some backdoors and searching out a trustworthy text and phone encryption app. Any good ideas out there?"
Master Moose sends this quote from a Bloomberg report: "When Apple's next iPhone hits store shelves, Technicolor's engineers will rush to get the handset — not to make calls or play games, but to rip it apart. Technicolor, an unprofitable French company that invented the process for color movies used in The Wizard of Oz and countless other classics, plans to cash in on its 40,000 video, audio and optics patents to turn its fortunes around. The company has a team of 220 people dissecting every new smartphone and tablet from industry goliaths such as Apple, Samsung Electronics and HTC for patent infringements. Although Technicolor signed its first licensing deal in the 1950s, de Russe [executive vice-president of intellectual property at Technicolor] said, 'it feels like the rest of the world has just woken up to why patents are interesting.' Patent licensing is the most profitable business of the company."
itwbennett writes "Softbank, Japan's third largest carrier, has teamed up with Sharp to create a radiation detector chip for the latest model in the company's popular, bare-bones Pantone line of smartphones. The chip 'can detect gamma radiation in the air at doses of between 0.05 and 9.99 microsieverts per hour,' according to an IDG News Service report. 'The phone then uses its GPS to place readings on a map. Due to go on sale in July, it runs Android 4.0 and features standard functionality for Japanese handsets, including mobile TV, touch payments and infrared transmission.'"
Stephenmg writes "Sprint will be shutting down their iDEN network from its merger with Nextel and will migrate users to Push to Talk over CDMA. It will then use the 800mhz frequency to build out its LTE network. From the article: 'Sprint has been decommissioning iDEN base stations as part of its methodical transition to Network Vision, a flexible infrastructure intended to accommodate both the carrier's 3G CDMA technology and its emerging 4G LTE system. About one-third of the iDEN radios are scheduled to be removed by the end of this year. The iDEN system only offers downstream speeds below 100K bps (bits per second), a trickle compared with the multiple megabits per second available from LTE and from WiMax, Sprint's current 4G technology, which is provided by Clearwire. One major benefit to Sprint from shutting down iDEN will be the ability to reuse its 800MHz frequencies for the Sprint LTE network, which a U.S. Federal Communications Commission ruling last week made possible. The LTE service is scheduled to launch in the middle of this year on another spectrum band and later expand to 800MHz.'"
angry tapir writes "LG Display has introduced a 5-inch full HD LCD panel for smartphone displays — the highest resolution mobile panel to date. The widescreen panel is based on AH-IPS (Advanced High Performance In-Plane Switching) technology and has a 1920-by-1080 pixel resolution or 440 pixels per inch (ppi), according to LG. That compares well to Apple's Retina display, which has 264 ppi on the new iPad and 326 ppi on the iPhone 4S."
benfrog writes "Blackberry maker Research in Motion may need to write off more than $1 billion in inventory, according to Bloomberg. The potential 'writedown' comes after RIM took a $485 million pretax charge to write down the value of its PlayBook inventory in December. RIM has said it aims to save $1 billion in operating costs this fiscal year by cutting its number of manufacturing sites and is 'reviewing its organizational efficiency' across the company, which may lead to job cuts of 2,000-3,000. Its shares have tumbled 75 percent over the past year and are down 90 percent from their all-time high."
An anonymous reader writes "The New York Times reports that Facebook has resumed its stealthy efforts to create a smartphone, apparently to assert its position in an Internet increasingly accessed via mobile devices, and to counter products and moves made by major competitors Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon. The Times reports that Mark Zuckerberg has gotten personally involved in the project, which has recently landed several iPhone/iPad engineers from Apple. Wired ran a similar story a month ago, reporting that Facebook has ramped up its "Buffy" code-named collaboration with HTC on a phone which will probably be Android-based, support HTML5 and include a large touchscreen and high-quality camera (for Instagram). Facebook won't confirm or deny these reports."
redletterdave writes "It seemed like a step in the right direction for Yahoo back in November, when the company announced a family of new mobile products that would enrich the way users experience and understand their news and entertainment content. But just shy of seven months after that outburst of mobile and social apps and tools, Yahoo has decided to call it quits on arguably the biggest piece of that mobile package: the personalized magazine app for iPad, Livestand. This was the first major business decision made by Ross Levinsohn, the interim CEO who took over for Scott Thompson on May 13 after the SEC discovered Thompson lied on his resume."
jakooistra writes "My sister recently asked me for a laptop recommendation. I said, 'Sure, what are techie brothers for,' and diligently started my search for her perfect laptop. Two days later, I feel like I've aged two years. Every laptop vendor seems to want to sell a dozen different, poorly-differentiated models, with no real way of finding out what is customizable without following each model to its own customization page. And there are so many vendors! How am I, as a consumer, supposed to find what I need? Is there a website, hiding somewhere I just can't find, that tracks all the multivariate versions and upgrade choices in an easily searchable database?"