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Nokia issued a statement challenging Apple's proposal to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) for a new SIM card standard, the 4FF, commonly called the nano-SIM.  The tiny nano-SIM, designed by Giesecke & Devrient, is Apple's attempt to define the future standard for SIM cards in Europe, and if the push succeeds, all other manufacturers will have to incorporate the design into their devices.  Nokia, Motorola and RIM have teamed up to submit an alternative proposal to ETSI and Nokia put out the statement to explain why Apple's just won't do.

Nokia's claim is that the Apple proposal fails to meet ETSI's prerequisite that the new design eliminate the possibility of getting stuck in a micro SIM slot, and thus avoiding damage to both the card and the device.  Because the nano-SIM is the same length and width of a micro SIM, that potential would still exist.  The other criticisms of the Giesecke & Devrient design are based on the fact that the card would require a tray that would slide into the device, much like Apple's current method of inserting SIM cards into their iPhone. 

Aside from the weak argument that a trayless SIM would be easier for end users to insert, Nokia contends that the need for a tray would increase the production cost of devices.  This is a minor deal when it comes to high-end devices, but potentially significant when trying to develop lower price point ones.  Furthermore, the statement says, that the tray design puts limitations on form factor design.  The Nokia/Motorola/RIM-proposed SIM is smaller and requires no tray, therefore opening the door to further miniaturization of future devices.

Nokia may have some legitimate gripes about the what Apple has submitted, especially if it does not meet some of the requirements set by ETSI.  Apple is sure to fire back in some fashion, though time may be running short, as the vote on the design could happen as early as next week.

Source: TheVerge; Photo: TheUnwired

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It's been awhie since we've talked about Ask Ziggy, the Siri-like app from developer Shai Leib. Powered by Nuance for voice-search and some backend tweaks to customize how things work, the app is a great example of developer ingenuity.

Since the app went viral, Leib has gone back to the drawing board and reworked a lot of the app in response to user feedback. For instance in the new version expected in a few days, it's much more Metro influenced with the SMS chat bubble. But more importantly, the feature list has greatly expanded to include using your geo-location ability to pinpoint weather/time/search requests. You can even set reminders (it will create a Live Tile and alarm), call people, pull up calendar information for any day upon request and much more. (You can see some more screenshots here)

The app should be hitting the Marketplace in a few days and it is still free as far as we know. This is also just the beginning as Leib has much more planned for new and unique features. For now, you can watch out video though to get an idea of what's coming and you can download the old verison here in the Marketplace.

We'll keep you posted when version 2.0 goes live probably next week, so stay tuned.

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IHS iSuppli Mobile & Wireless Communications Service is inclined to believe that Windows Phone will overtake Apple's share of the smartphone market by 2015.  Their projections show Microsoft's market share taking a huge leap from 2011's 1.9% to 9% by the end of this year.  From there, they predict another jump in 2013, where things will level off to slow and steady growth, eventually overtaking Apple's iOS by one tenth of one percent.

IHS gives credit for this rise almost entirely to Nokia, who garnered huge praise for their Lumia 900 at CES and announced their line of 4G phones for the US. 

“One of the hottest new products unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show was the Lumia 900, a Windows Phone-based smartphone sporting a flashy set of features that makes it competitive with the best alternatives offered by the Android camp,” said Wayne Lam, senior analyst for wireless communications at IHS. “This hot product represents Nokia’s first step to reclaim its market share. Combined with Nokia’s efforts to drive the development of the Windows Phone ecosystem, the Lumia 900 and its successors will help Microsoft to reclaim its No. 2 ranking in smartphone operating system market share in 2015.”

We've heard this kind of prediction before and remain skeptical, as always.  While it looks like Windows Phone will indeed catch on and become a force in the smartphone market, claims like this should always be taken with a grain of salt.

Source: iSuppli; Thanks, damthman, for the tip yesterday

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If there was an over-hyped technology in late 2011 it was perhaps Apple's Siritheir voice recognition/information application for the iPhone 4s. Now we'll admit that Siri is quite a strong piece of tech one that we wish Windows Phone had built-in in addition to our Bing Voice service, but the marketing machine behind Siri was a tad overwhelming. Then again, there's no denying facts: Bing Voice while pragmatic for certain tasks is still behind Apple's Siri in some ways.

However, developer Shai Leib has given us Windows Phone users an option: Ask Ziggy. The new app is a free, ad-free and as far as we can tell, completely unique. We spoke with Leib about his project and how it works:

"Ask Ziggy uses Speech Recognition to translate human speech into transcribed text, which is displayed in a speech bubble. The transcribed text is analyzed for patterns to detect commands or general queries. Commands are interpreted and routed to routine phone tasks such as emailing, texting, calling, social network updates, and getting directions.

When a general question is asked, a mixture of mash up technologies and web scraping is employed to search the web for relevant responses. Pattern matching is used to summarize a direct answer from a web page. Several passes may be required to find a concise answer. A direct answer is then spoken out loud, and displayed in a speech bubble. When a direct answer cannot be summarized the user is prompted by speech to click on their search bubble to see web search results based on their spoken query."

That's some pretty impressive work for a single developer if you ask us. The actual voice-recognition software is based on Nuance but the data fetching and matching are all his doing. And it works. That's one thing we want to stress here, we didn't find this app gimmicky at all but instead quite useful for mathematical questions, random trivia, posting to our Twitter/Facebook/Live, getting directions, flight status and more. Having the phone read back to you the answer in a clean, minimalist setting makes it feel smart. Heck, it even got our Monty Python question right (see YouTube video).

The version you see in the video is heading to the Marketplace as we speak but you can grab the slightly older version right now. Give it a go--it's free, useful and really quite an extraordinary app. Leib also has a lot of plans to further refine and enhance the experience including expanded speech grammar, multi-language support and even language translations. Check out the Ask Ziggy website here for more info.

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This isn't exactly anything groundbreaking, but it's interesting nonetheless. Christina Tynan-Wood has published an article over at Momster where it's explained how she managed (somewhat accidentally) to turn her son away from Apple, and has bought him a Windows Phone for Christmas. The son's desire for an iPhone stems from friends and the enticing brand which is the big fruit, but this desperation for the iProduct was cut when his mother received a Samsung Focus Flash from Microsoft.

Leaving the device on the counter in the kitchen, the intrigued son picked up the Focus Flash and played around the OS, while checking out the Xbox Live integration. Blown away by how different Windows Phone is, Christina was given a revised Christmas wish list with the iPhone crossed out, replaced by "phone like yours". The main benefits for her son are Xbox Live, Facebook and Metro UI simplicity, but the lack of apps compared to other platforms is also noted.

Head on over to Momster to read the full article.

Source: Momster, thanks Aston for the tip!

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Just like they did with the Xbox Live and Halo ATLAS apps, Microsoft has brought over Kinectimals to iOS, where players can enjoy interacting with their cute, cuddly e-animals. The title was only released a few months ago on Windows Phone, but features Xbox Live achievements and connectivity with the Xbox 360 version. The question on many minds is -- of course -- why is Microsoft releasing these apps on other platforms?

For the Xbox Live app, Microsoft provided iPhone/iPad/iPod owners with limited functionality for the online gaming service. It still comes nowhere close to what Windows Phone provides with achievements and true integration. As well as this, the app gives iPad users an insight as to how a Windows 8 tablet app could look like, with the Metro UI being implemented. For ATLAS and Kinectimals, the former is again providing functionality to other platforms (so the software giant doesn't come across as creating a monopoly) at a fee while the WP version is free, while the latter is to not only earn revenue from the fairly large iOS market, but it could be that Microsoft is almost attempting to re-brand itself. The only downer is Kinectimals was supposed to be exclusive for us Windows Phone owners. What do Apple followers think of the big M? Excel, Word and Powerpoint.

Perhaps we are seeing the company attempting to change that perception? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Kinectimals can be downloaded from the AppStore for $2.99 for those with iDevices.

Thanks to everyone who sent in the tip!

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Look, we're not going to make a mountain of a mole hill here: we know this video technically doesn't mean much and the developers (the folks behind CarbonWP) also know it's not a real test, but still...it's cool to see.

All it is a push notification sent to both the iPhone and a Windows Phone. Lo and behold, they tie for receiving the message at the same time. Does that make one phone better than the other? Certainly not. But does it make Windows Phone look pretty decent for being able to hold its own against Apple (in this one test)? Sure does. Plus, it makes CarbonWP look pretty sweet too, we suppose.

Anyone else have experiences with the iPhone and Windows Phone receiving notifications? Sound off in comments with your thoughts. Thanks, TechJunky79, for the link!

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It would seem there's some lag with the Apple App Store as we've only just been notified of an update to the Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac this morning, even though the update dates back two days ago. 2.01 (tallied at just under 6MB) features a new "custom ringtones" category and brings the following to the table: 

  • Full sync and import support for Apple Aperture software
  • Drag and drop import of files from Browse Device
  • Ringtone transfer support (for phones running Windows Phone 7.5 or later)
  • Improved video conversion process with user configuration options
  • Support for Windows Phone Marketplace (for phones running Windows Phone 7.5 or later)
  • Localization support for 13 additional languages
  • Improvements to backup and restore operations
  • Improved configuration for podcast sync and photo import
  • Improved iTunes import support in certain languages
  • Improved metadata support for videos

As well as the above improvements, some fixes were also included:

  • Added additional error codes and help references for device update
  • Resolved connectivity issues with certain devices
  • Resolved album art display issues for certain devices

Resolved connectivity issues is huge for us as we've been experiencing problems with using the client to even connect to our handsets. But unfortunately, as can be seen in the above screen capture, the issue still remains to be present and the app rendered useless (we've attempted re-installations, resets, etc. but still no joy). I can't remember the last time the app actually worked. Luckily, Zune is prepped and ready on the desktop. Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac can be found in the App Store.

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This is really interesting. In Walter Isaacson's authorised biography of Steve Jobs, the latest excerpt from the book explained that the Apple co-founder and technology genius was "livid" with HTC's entry with Android.

"I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong," Jobs said. "I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this."

It did seem strange as to why Apple was relentlessly attacking HTC, Samsung and Android in general, simply because Apple doesn't need the revenue or extra coverage since their products do sell. It all boiled down to Jobs closely guarding Apple's innovation against app-grid-layout copying Android. Jobs also reportedly told Eric Schmidt, Google CEO and former Apple board member:

"I don’t want your money. If you offer me $5 billion, I won’t want it. I’ve got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that’s all I want."

Good job... Jobs. Apple continues to attack Android OEMs to keep the pressure on. It makes me wonder if Microsoft should be on the offensive too with Metro UI and how Android has obviously taken some elements from the platform in the past with the recent People app in Ice Cream Sandwich to name one example.

Via: TiPb

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It seems that The Guardian has taken design elements from Metro UI after releasing their Windows Phone app and have applied them to their just-released iPad newspaper. Don't mistake this for a mere copy as the app looks superb on the big screen and does Metro proud.

I see this as well as future implementations with other apps on Apple's platform as a positive sign for Windows Phone.When Windows 8 comes along with the upcoming Xbox Dashboard refresh, we should expect to see more adopters for Microsoft's mobile platform with Metro making its way into competitor eco-systems.

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Apple is continuing the patent war with a new updated entry of the "In-App Purchasing" application they filed back in April of 2010. This update appears to cover most functionality of present app stores that allow the user to purchase additional content within an app. What's more is the patent also covers variations on the process, including the use of HTML 5 web apps.

Let's not forget that the previous Apple trademark injunction against Amazon for "App Store" was declined due to being too broad of a term. Is in-app purchasing really something that Apple patent? What do you guys think?

Source: The Inquisitor

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Global research firm comScore has released a new market share report that show Android increasing its lead from Apple, which remains in second place. Looking at the figures above, we can see Android almost hitting 44% of the U.S. market, with Apple on 27%, RIM at 19% and Microsoft at just under 6%.

RIM experienced a massive 5% drop since the previous report earlier this year. Microsoft (combined OSs) has fallen .1%, which shows the continued extinction of Windows Mobile and the rise of Windows Phone. August, being the month before Mango will hopefully show different results to what we will see in comScore's next report. Let's see a rise in market share for the software giant!

Source: comScore, via: SlashGear

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Apple has announced the iPhone 4S today at the Let's Talk iPhone event with Tim Cook at the helm. So, what's new with the iPhone 4S? Is it a game changer or simply a fill in for the iPhone 5? For a start I'm afraid we do have a killer app here. Unfortunately it's not currently available for Windows Phone (or any other platform) - Cards. Yes, you read correctly. Cards. More on this in a minute.

Comparatively, what has Microsoft and the WP team achieved in the past month? Mango (with 500 features), as well as new handsets announced from Samsung, HTC, Nokia to name just a few. How does the iPhone 4S measure up?  Read on past the break and see what's in store for the iPhone crowd and judge for yourself. 

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In an interesting ruling just handed down last week from the USPTO, Apple has been denied the usage of the term "Multi-Touch" as a trademark, at least in the United States (they're still arguing for it in other countries).

In short, the reason for the denial is that the term has become to generic and is merely descriptive of a feature but does not meet the criteria of "acquired distinctiveness", which is determined by such things as sales success, length and exclusivity of use, and advertising expenditures. Evidently, the ruling board did not think Apple met the requirements, which is an interesting if not surprising decision. For everyone else in the smartphone business, they can now breathe a little lighter knowing "Multi-Touch" as a term is not Apple owned.

Note: For clarification, Apple still has a patent on Multitouch, but not the trademark.

Source: MacRumors

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It's a war out there. Whether it be Apple relentlessly kicking HTC and Samsung into the ground, Microsoft going after royalty fees or Nokia taking on the half-eaten Apple it's a kill zone and patents are the centre of attention. Because of the recent acquisition of Motorola (for more patents) by Google and the scale of attack from companies outside the Android castle, many OEMs are looking at alternatives to Google's platform.

The search giant has now purchased 1,023 patents from IBM to help strengthen a defence against future lawsuits attacking Android OEMs (this is in addition to an earlier purchase from IBM in July). Google has transferred nine patents to HTC in the last week for use in a new lawsuit against Apple, which will intensify the patent battle further between the two.

And so it continues...

Via: Bloomberg

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The J.D. Power and Associates' latest US customer satisfaction survey has displayed some interesting findings. Apple is first in the results, which is perfectly understandable as every iOS user has either a household full of Apple products already or are simply satisfied with Apple hardware. No matter what you think of Apple as a company or iOS (and OS X) as operating systems - Apple makes killer hardware.

HTC is second, thanks to the successful injection of handsets running Android. What will be interesting for HTC is the customer satisfaction potentially rising with the Titan and Radar, which are both beast devices. Unfortunately for RIM, they're well below average and are in between LG and Motorola (now Google) and will not help the cause with investors calling RIM to sell itself or patents. Nokia are last, could this be due to Symbian (among other factors) and not the actual hardware? Only time will tell with their launch of Windows Phone handsets.   

Source: Engadget

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Good news for those of you in our audience who use Macs, you can now get the brand spanking new v2.0 of the Windows Phone Connector app that will allow you to use your Windows Phone with your favorite Apple computer. Changes in v2.0 seem significant and it's just in time for Mango:

Features:

  • Full sync and import support for Apple Aperture software
  • Drag and drop import of files from Browse Device
  • Ringtone transfer support (for phones running Windows Phone 7.5 or later)
  • Improved video conversion process with user configuration options
  • Support for Windows Phone Marketplace (for phones running Windows Phone 7.5 or later)
  • Localization support for 13 additional languages
  • Improvements to backup and restore operations
  • Improved configuration for podcast sync and photo import
  • Improved iTunes import support in certain languages
  • Improved metadata support for videos

Fixes:

  • Added additional error codes and help references for device update
  • Resolved connectivity issues with certain devices
  • Resolved album art display issues for certain devices

Sounds like a solid update and you can find it right here on Apple's website. Thanks, Ashley B., for the tip!

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Steve Jobs resigns as Apple CEO

It was just announced that Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple and...well you know who he is, is stepping down from that position, presumably due to health concerns. Stock trading for the company has been halted pending the news and Tim Cook has taken over as CEO.

CUPERTINO, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.

Steve

We're certain the board will keep him on and he'll still serve in some capacity at Apple. Say what you will of the man, he has certainly earned his place in history, making Apple one of the most profitiable and influential companies iin the world. We wish him the best of luck and good health.

Source: Yahoo! Finance

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I wouldn't be surprised if one day soon the only news that will require reporting will surround lawsuits and patent infringement. Today the Rechtbank 's-Gravenhage (a Dutch court in the city of The Hague) issued an injunction against the Samsung smartphones (Galaxy S, Galaxy Ace, Galaxy S II) and that they should be retracted from import and sale by October 13th. The Galaxy Tab was not included.

The patent in question is owned by Apple ("Portable Electronic Device for Photo Management") and covers the way photos are displayed on a mobile device. The Netherlands plays an important role with Samsung's import into Europe. This injunction will prevent the shipping to the UK, France, Germany, Finland, Ireland, Lichtenstein, Luxemburg, Monaco, Sweden and Switzerland. But let's not get carried away, Samsung has welcomed the ruling and published a statement:

"Today's ruling is an affirmation that the Galaxy range of products is innovative and distinctive. With regard to the single infringement cited in the ruling, we will take all possible measures including legal action to ensure that there is no disruption in the availability of our Galaxy smartphones to Dutch consumers."

Looks like Apple doesn't have a victory and Samsung will attempt to prevent any disruption to the shipping of their smartphone handsets. I expect Google will ensure an update is mirrored to other brands just in case Apple decide to take on other Android manufacturers. According to Samsung in court, the fix is as simple as updating the OS to version 3.0, which doesn't infringe the patent.

Source: Foss Patents, via: This is my next, BBC

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While the next Windows Phone major update is rapidly approaching, Nokia have still wrapped their N9 running MeeGo in a cloud of not-releasing-any-information. Orange Switzerland has published a release date for the handset (as shown in the image above) of Spetember 15th. This goes with 3 stating that they promise the N9 will be with the carrier by September 23rd. 

What has this got to do with WP7 or the "Mango" update? Well, we're currently looking at a September rollout of new devices from the platform-backed OEMs, including Nokia - not to mention Apple is apparently looking at September too for the iPhone 5. Should the release of the N9 coincide with the launch of the upcoming Nokia "Mango" handset this could cause a clash and potentially dissolve hype for either device (probably the N9 in this case with the sheer volume of Mango devices unveiling).

Of course, no official word has been given by Nokia as to the release date they're looking at for the N9, but it will be interesting should the iPhone 5, the N9 and "Mango" mobile phones all pop up at once, truly giving consumers a selection. The first "Mango" device is set to be released this month in Japan, the Fujitsu-Toshiba IS12T (specifications).

Source: Engadget, via: ElectricPig

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