Jan 23, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

IBM Jumps Into Location-Aware Technology

Location and Geotagging seem to be the flavor of the season and IBM seems to be the latest entrant. In a new patent filed at the US Patent and Trademark Office, IBM has sought the credits for a location aware authorization technology.

As the inventors put in their application, companies who offer laptops to their employees might not want them to access certain confidential data outside the office premises. In such cases, this technology will help companies in doing a double check – Check user login credentials as well as verify geographical location of access before granting access.

The patent filing is interesting for two reasons. One, it is probably the first time that IBM is filing a GPS-technology based patent. Secondly, the utility of such a setup needs to be determined considering we are moving towards a networked workplace where employees work from home, shuttle between client locations, etc.

What do you think?

Jan 22, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Is Obsession HTC’s First Windows Mobile 7 Device?

Folks at WMPowerUser claim their sources as saying that HTC Obsession, the company’s much touted 3.7″ AMOLED display smartphone launching later this year shall be launched as HTC Diamond 3, the company’s first phone on Windows Mobile 7.

According to these sources, the device is supposed to be launched in June 2010, though it could be delayed. I’m kind of skeptical on this  one because there are some contradictions here. Just recently, there were reports about Windows Mobile 7 powered handsets launching as late as Q4 of this year. In fact, the report claimed the manufacturers to be getting accessing to the OS not before September 2010.

Considering the launch dates could be put off by as much as two quarters, it is not really clear if HTC would want to wait until then to launch a WinMo 7 powered handset or would be launching Obsession on WinMo 6.5.

What do you think?

[WMPU via Electronista]

Jan 22, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Windows Seven To Launch In Q4 2010?

There has been a lot of confusion regarding the release dates of Windows 6.6 and Windows Mobile 7. DigiTimes has now revealed that its sources have confirmed that Windows 6.6 shall launch during the Mobile World Congress to be held next month while the date for Seven’s launch will be announced at the same time.

It is believed that Microsoft’s Windows Seven will be available to the manufacturers by September 2010 who will then be able to launch Seven powered devices by Q4 2010. Apparently, there are a lot of manufacturers here – Samsung, LG, HTC, Toshiba and Asus to name a few. Windows Mobile Seven is also expected to support Zune, Xbox and Silverlight.

[via Digitimes]

Jan 22, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

A Dual Version Apple Tablet In The Making?

According to sources Fox News spoke to from AT&T and Verizon, both companies have indicated that they are in talks with Apple over an Apple Tablet deal. This has given rise to speculations over whether we could see Apple Tablet coming in two versions – one working over the CDMA network and the other on GSM.

This is significant because earlier rumors pointed out that Qualcomm was unable to produce hybrid chips that could have brought both CDMA and GSM to a single device. With a hybrid device out of the equation now, a dual version appears to be very likely.

However, do not expect this partnership to be announced on the D-Day next week. Sources have also indicated that the agreements between Apple and the carriers is yet to be finalized; which means we might not be hearing the price of subsidized Tablets until later.

[via Fox News]

Jan 21, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Apple Developing Own GPS Based Parking Information Service?

Apple is working on a technology that will couple real-time parking availability information with other parameters to offer users an intelligent parking availability information.

In a patent titled “PARKING & LOCATION MANAGEMENT PROCESSES & ALERTS ” filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office, the company talks of a technology that will consolidate information from a variety of sources  - like the current location of the different buses in your route, the location of the nearest available taxi, streets where a sweeping schedule is on, parking lot availability, Parking cost at different areas, etc. to deliver information to the user that will help them decide where to park their cars.

This is an  ”intelligent” technology where the system will deliver the information based on user preferences (like how much they are willing to walk from the parking lot), current weather information (so that a parking space that is more expensive, but closer to office may chosen during bad weather days). The inventors write

“a general profile may indicate a user would be willing to walk 0.5 miles to save $5.00 in parking. However, an inclement weather profile for the user may prioritize avoidance of walking, even if parking was more expensive. A higher security profile may indicate less walking. A profile itself can be selected based on defined user parameters, as well as information retrieved from databases, such as weather-related information from Destination interface, which may access destination weather information stored in destination database.”

It is interesting that a lot of companies are working on GPS-based  Parking Information technology. You might remember the patent filed by Yahoo recently where the company had talked of a similar technology.

What do you make of such a system? Exciting? Let us know in the comments.

Jan 21, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Microsoft-Facebook Ad Deal : There’s More To The Story

The blogosphere is abuzz with the news that Microsoft has lost a significant chunk of the advertising partnership that it had inked with Facebook and is renegotiating the deal.

You might recall that all of this follows Microsoft’s investment of close to $240 million in the world’s biggest social network when they also subsequently clinched a deal to display Microsoft ads in some markets.

So why has the deal fallen through now, and is this permanent? The answer is possibly NO to both these questions. Firstly, the Facebook of today is not the same Facebook that Microsoft invested in. When Microsoft pumped its money into Facebook back in 2007, the social network had less than 100 million users. Today, it is inching towards 400 million users. With a diversified user base, Microsoft’s predominantly US-targeted ad network does not make much sense.

However, this might not be a permanent reversal as well. You might remember that Microsoft is working on a social network targeted advertising platform which will promote products to users based on thei product’s recommendations from the visitors’ friends and network. It is possible that once Microsoft launches this technology, Facebook could, in all probability, replace its existing ‘Like’ option on ads with Microsoft’s recommendation feature.

What do you think?

Jan 21, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

5 Reasons Why Apple Tablet Will Be Called iPad

The Apple Tablet shall be launching in less than a week from now, and there is still not concrete information about what the device will officially be known as – For that matter, Apple is yet to confirm that a Tablet is actually launching.

But of late, there have been enough evidence to suggest that the Tablet will be called – not iSlate, not iGuide, but iPad. Here are five reasons to believe why this will happen

1. Slate Computing LLC, a firm believed to be the shell company of Apple has supposedly filed for the trademark for the ‘IPAD’ name in Canada recently.

2. Around the same time when this filing was made in July last year, another company – IP Application Development, believed to be yet another dummy corporation of Apple had filed for the ‘IPAD’ trademark in Hong Kong

3. Again, in July of 2009, a UK based law firm filed the ‘IPAD’ name in UK

4. IP Application Development filed the trademark yet again this month in the countries of Australia and New Zealand. Incidentally, this company is also based out of Delaware, USA; much like Slate Computing LLC.

5. The trademark for ‘iPad’ in USA is held by Fujitsu. Apple is apparently in a legal fight against Fujitsu over the the trademark. The filing was first made in September 2009 and has continued through December.

Besides all this, iPad could go well with iPod and other one syllable brand names that Apple has always chosen to go with.

How do you like the iPad name? Tell us in the comments.

[Jesus Tablet via Gawker]

Jan 20, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Sony PS3 Motion Contoller To Be Called Arc?

Popular website for gamers, VG247 is reporting that they have information from close sources who have revealed that the motion controller for Sony Playstation 3 has been christened ‘Arc’.

The motion controller consists of one or two wand-like device topped with trackable balls that shall work with the PSEye. If the rumors are true, then it would mean that the popular term for the motion controller would no longer be ‘Gem’. Last month, EA CEO John Riccittiello had inadvertently revealed the name for PS3′s motion controller which was later clarified by Sony as the internal codename.

The company has refused to comment on this new development however.

[via VG247]

Jan 20, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Could The iTunes Get A New eBook Store?

After the iPhone launched and third party apps became a reality, the iTunes was introduced to a new segment of digital content called apps. The popularity of apps rivaled that of other digital content sold on the App Store like songs; so much so that an App Store was separately carved out of the iTunes store.

With the launch of Apple Tablet imminent, it now appears that the iTunes could soon be seeing a new eBook store in its premises. According to a report on 9to5 Mac, Apple is in discussion with at least six major book publishers who are looking to partner with Cupertino to sell their ebooks to Tablet customers.

According to the source, the book publishers are looking at an “agency model” wherein they shall be able to control the prices and access to the files and the Tablet would merely serve as a platform with Apple receiving a share of revenues. However, it is unlikely considering Apple has always regarded it as a policy to strictly police the content that their users have access to.

Publishers such as HarperCollins are banking on the Apple Tablet as a way to revive the sales of their books. Apparently, to these publishers, the Tablet is a better bet than Amazon Kindle because of the formats that it supports. According to a source, HarperCollins has expressed interest to sell ‘enhanced ebooks’ which are normal ebooks supplemented with videos, author interviews and social networking tools. The publishers say this would fetch the company higher margins on sales.

It will be interesting if Apple secures the partnerships of book publishers well in time before the official unveiling of the Tablet on January 27.

[via 9to5 Mac]

Jan 20, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Apple Tablet GPU Made By AMD?

We would advise you to take this rumor with a mug of salt. Folks at DigiTimes report that they have heard from a few sources that Apple’s soon-to-be unveiled Tablet could come equipped with a GPU made by AMD.

As the author points out, this looks highly improbable for two reasons – AMD does not have any GPUs that support ARM processors and secondly, Apple is most likely to go with Imagination Technologies as partner since the company already owns a signficant stake in Imagination.

Nevertheless, we would stay put on this one until more substantial information emerge.

[via DigiTimes]