Samsung Galaxy S Advance Android Jelly Bean update

peoples-phone-android-jelly-v2Samsung Galaxy S Advance owners will be pleased to know that an update to the latest Jelly Bean iteration of Android will begin rolling out to their handsets in January.

This good bit of news comes courtesy of the official Samsung Germany Facebook page and is sure to delight users of the old but still very popular member of the Galaxy family.

The post, which was translated in Google, said: “Dear fans, more and more devices will now receive the update to Android Jelly Bean. Even the Galaxy S I9070 Advance gets this and is available in January on gravel or over-the-air is available.”

Samsung had previously stated that the S Advance would leapfrog over an update to the now very much ageing Ice Cream Sandwich edition to the much newer, tastier Jelly Bean, but had given no exact ETA as to when this would happen other than a vague ‘coming months’.

Well, it appears that the wait is almost over. At least for owners who bought an unlocked version of the phone, as contract customers will surely face a slightly longer wait.

Features and improvements Android Jelly Bean brings include a snappier, cleaner user interface, an enhanced notifications system, updated versions of several native apps and numerous performance optimisations.

 

 

  

Nokia wants BlackBerry sales ban over Wi-Fi patent dispute

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Patent squabbles in the smartphone industry don’t always revolve around Samsung and Apple, it appears, with the news that Nokia has requested injunctions on archrival Research In Motion’s (RIM) BlackBerry range.

The Finnish giant is seeking a sales ban on BlackBerry products in the UK, US and Canada over allegations that RIM has been using Wi-Fi technology patented by Nokia without paying any licence fees.

The legal action follows a recent arbitration process in Sweden that would have allowed RIM to extend an existing patent deal between the companies to cover the use of Wi-Fi connectivity as well.

However, after RIM failed to agree on a deal, the arbitrator was forced to rule in Nokia’s favour and find RIM accountable for compensating Nokia for every Wi-Fi enabled BlackBerry device it sells.

“RIM is liable to pay royalties and damages to Nokia for its … sales of any subscriber terminals (handsets or tablets) … compatible with the WLAN standard,” said the arbitrator in the ruling.

“RIM has not contested that it manufactures and sells products using WLAN in accordance with Nokia’s WLAN patents.”

The Canadian phone-maker said it would respond to Nokia’s threat of litigation “in due course”.

“Research In Motion has worked hard to develop its leading-edge Blackberry technology and has built an industry-leading intellectual property portfolio of its own,” RIM stated.

It’s clear RIM’s not going to simply cut a deal with and solve this spat amicably. However, that may be a very risky and costly move, especially with the imminent launch of the first BlackBerry 10 devices early next year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘iPhone wouldn’t be possible without our patents’ says Samsung

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A key Samsung mover-and-shaker has launched yet another attack on Apple after it was revealed that an earlier ruling favouring the iMaker over a patent dispute is going to be reassessed.

Earlier this week, the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) agreed to re-examine its preliminary ruling in September that Apple didn’t infringed four of Samsung’s patents relating to 3G wireless technology.

According to Samsung’s head of mobiles, JK Shin, Apple’s iPhone would not even exist if it weren’t for patents held by the South Korean giant.

Shin previously ruled out the prospect of settling with Apple, which recently agreed to a 10-year patent sharing deal with HTC following similarly acrimonious legal warfare.

“The truth never lies. Without Samsung-owned wireless patents, it’s impossible for the Cupertino-based Apple to produce its handsets,” said Shin.

“As you know, Samsung is very strong in terms of portfolios of wireless patents.”

Shin’s sentiments are hardly surprisingly given Samsung’s massive defeat against Apple in one of the industry’s sourest court cases where it was ordered to pay the Cupertino-based rival a staggering $1.05 billion in damages.

Apple has been reportedly trying to sign a patents agreement with Samsung for years, but without success.

How this will affect the iMaker in the long run remains to be seen, especially amid chatter that it might face litigation over the inclusion of 4G LTE support on the iPhone 5.

Samsung is one of Apple’s biggest suppliers of chips and components under a deal that’s set to expire in 2014. If there’s any chance of a compromise happening on the patents, it’s likely to be then as a new agreement could serve as leverage for negotiations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BT unveils world’s fastest working high-speed broadband service

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BT has launched the first ever trial of a 10Gbps or ‘hyper-fast’ broadband network in a live working environment.

Cornwall based engineering firm Arcol UK Ltd, is the test site for deployment of the new technology where the service runs in tandem with the company’s existing 330Mbps service on the same fibre.

The proof of concept trial uses new fibre technology called XGPON (Tens of Gibabits on a Passive Optical Network) developed by electronics company ZTE, in partnership with Openreach.

Arcol is connected by a direct fibre link from its offices to BT’s exchange in Truro, and is the first business in the country to enjoy the record-breaking speeds, with more bandwidth available than was used at the highest peak for the entire Olympics media network.

The demonstration aims to show how even faster speeds could be provided over Cornwall’s new fibre infrastructure in the future by upgrading the electronics at the exchange and in user premises.

Potential speeds are so fast that the physical limits of the networking and computer equipment prevent the line from being used at its maximum capacity. And although the direct link between the Truro exchange and Arcol runs at 10Gbps, the company isn’t connected to the wider internet at those speeds as there is nothing that can be done on the web with 10Gbps.

Ranulf Scarbrough, Programme Director for the Cornwall SuperFast Broadband Programme, said: “What is exciting about this trial is that these hyper-fast speeds have been obtained over the exactly the same fibre that carries BT’s fibre broadband services today. All we are doing is changing the electronics at either end.”

“This trial shows we are thinking and ready for the future even though there are no current plans to deploy this technology. A lot of this project is about future proofing – making sure that it’s not just the fastest speeds today but that we can continue to be at the cutting edge for five, ten, twenty years.”

The 10Gbps trial runs over high speed fibre optic network established by the Superfast Cornwall Programme, a pioneering superfast broadband partnership between the EU, BT and Cornwall Council, which has made fibre optic broadband available to over 100,000 Cornish homes and businesses.

Until recently, Arcol’s 40 staff had shared a 1.5Mbps internet connection. The Superfast Cornwall Programme has delivered high speed fibre-to-the-premise to the business park enabling Arcol to connect at 330Mbps. Alun Morgan, technical director at Arcol, said the ability to connect at such fast speeds was “opening the door” for the company to achieve much more.

“We are still only just discovering the sorts of things we can do with these speeds, such as taking advantage of services like videoconferencing and using a cloud-based ERP system so we can access this information elsewhere, and it has enabled us to be much more efficient and aggressive,” Alun Morgan said.

 

Checkout the latest deals on BT broadband here.

iPad will dominate tablet app downloads through 2017

peoples-phone-phone-apps Like McDonald’s, Apple’s App Store keeps chugging along serving billions and billions, though downloads (over 25 billion to date) in the case of Apple, not burgers.

A new report says Apple is in prime position to keep its online marketplace lead when it comes to tablet app downloads for the five years.

Strategy Analytics says Apple’s release of the iPad Mini, it’s lowest cost tablet ($329) to date, will greatly expand the number of iOS devices out there and, in turn, generate even more app downloads.

The research firm notes App Stores are key for mobile device makers like Apple, Google and Microsoft.

Google’s Google Play store is actually set to overtake Apple when it comes to smartphone app downloads. Strategy Analytics say by 2017 Apple will have 56% of tablet app downloads, while Google Play will have over 45% of smartphone downloads (with iPhone downloads about half that percentage).

The research firm says download numbers for Windows RT tablets are small since the devices are just now hitting store shelves. But the percentage of app downloads via Windows 8 tablets (RT and Windows 8 combined) is expected to increase significantly in years to come.

Shrinking App Store revenue – The revenue generated by paid app downloads is huge, but the report says that growth will start to tail off over the next several years. Between 2008 and 2017 Strategy Analytics says paid downloads will generate more than $57B globally. However, paid apps begin to decline as free apps are forecast to become over 91% of all downloads by 2017. As the percentage of free app downloads grows, the average selling price of all downloaded apps (free and paid) will drop to just 8 cents for smartphone apps by 2017.

Such a decline in revenue and increase in app store maintenance costs – including app approval personnel, marketing, and other maintenance costs – may force app stores to consider new revenue streams or higher revenue splits. “Paid downloads remain an essential component of the app ecosystem,” says Josh Martin, Director of Apps Research at Strategy Analytics. “Paid downloads will remain an important way for smaller developers to monetize their efforts. “For developers committed to paid downloads transitioning to tablets may be the smartest way to preserve the business model over the long term.”

BT handles more than 182,000 donation line calls

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BT handled over 182,000 calls from viewers across the country during last night’s BBC Children in Need Appeal Show, marking 32 years of support since the first Appeal Show in 1980.

More than £26 million had been raised for BBC Children in Need 2012 by 2am – and millions more is expected to pour in over the coming weeks as people send through all the monies raised at fundraising events across the UK.

As well as providing the complex network infrastructure that enables the BBC Children in Need donation phone number to be routed from callers across the country to the participating call centres, BT provides call centre support and hundreds of BT staff volunteers to take donation calls every year.

Liz Williams, BT’s general manager sustainable business, said: “BT has been providing integral support for the BBC Children in Need appeal since the very first telethon in 1980. BT staff at call centres in London, Lincoln, Warrington, Newcastle and Glasgow were among thousands of volunteers who manned phone lines across the country taking donations from tens of thousands of callers.

“With BT’s help, BBC Children in Need has raised more than £650 million since it began. This is a milestone we can all be proud of.”

BT also used the giant LED display at the BT Tower to project an animation of Pudsey Bear, visible across the London skyline.

Coverage of the BBC Children In Need 2012 Appeal was hosted by Sir Terry Wogan, who has been awarded life presidency of the charity. The seven-hour broadcasting marathon is the BBC’s biggest broadcasting event which links BBC centres all over the country.

The donation lines are still open on 0345 733 2233.

 

Checkout the latest deals on BT broadband here.

Customers are being charged ‘extortionate’ premium rate numbers when booking holidays

Campaign group RightCall have claimed that holidaymakers are being charged over £7 before speaking to a customer advisor when booking vactions over the phone.
 
Campaign group RightCall have claimed that holidaymakers are being charged over £7 before speaking to a customer advisor when booking vactions over the phone.

 
This claim has come following research undertaken by RightCall looking into premium rate calls. They tracked the average cost of calls made to 084, 087 and other premium rate numbers used by holiday booking lines.
 
For example when phoning Scandinavian Airlines and booking a flight, RightCall were placed on hold for an average of 13 minutes – resulting in charges for that time totalling £7.54.
 
Also investigated were other popular companies such as Hertz Car Rentals, Eastern Airways, Heathrow Airport, Gatwick Airport, P&O Cruises, Premier Inn, Travelodge and Thomas Cook – all of them were found guilty of overcharging customers.
 
RightCall CEO Naufal Zamir commented on the findings saying, “Many consumers don’t even realise they’re calling expensive premium numbers. The underlying problem is not the service charge paid to the travel companies, which is well advertised by the company you are calling. What makes it extortionate most of the time is the access charge that mobile companies charge on top.”
 
 

Nigeria’s BlackBerry addiction offers hope for Research in Motion

“What’s your BB pin?” The question is the ultimate social status badge for many young, urban Nigerians. Standing in front of a row of gleaming BlackBerry handsets in a Lagos phone shop, sales assistant Remi Olajuwon explained: “The average Nigerian has a very healthy interest in status and luxury. So if somebody asks for your BlackBerry pin and you don’t have one …” she trailed off with a dismissive flick of her false eyelashes.
 
“What’s your BB pin?” The question is the ultimate social status badge for many young, urban Nigerians. Standing in front of a row of gleaming BlackBerry handsets in a Lagos phone shop, sales assistant Remi Olajuwon explained: “The average Nigerian has a very healthy interest in status and luxury. So if somebody asks for your BlackBerry pin and you don’t have one …” she trailed off with a dismissive flick of her false eyelashes.
 
Retailing at between $200 (£126) and $2,000 in a country where most live on less than $2 a day, the cost alone made it a status symbol, she added. “People come in to buy one just to show they’ve been promoted.”
 
Amid sagging sales in Europe and North America, developing markets offer a ray of hope for Research in Motion (RIM), after the maker of BlackBerry posted a $235m loss for the latest quarter. In Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt, Africa’s three biggest economies, BlackBerrys outsold smartphone competitors this quarter. Kenya and Ghana also had buoyant sales, officials said.
 
Around one sixth of Africa’s 620 million active phone subscribers come from Nigeria. Half of Nigeria’s 4 million smartphone owners use BlackBerrys, and use among the wealthiest segment of society is forecast to increase sixfold by 2016.
 
“There’s a misconception Africans only want cheap phones [but] Nigeria is a key market for us. We’re seen as an aspirational product,” said RIM regional director Waldi Wepenerlast month, after the company opened its first Nigerian store in Lagos’s computer village, a sprawling haven for tech junkies.
 
With its image increasingly outdated elsewhere, RIM hopes to capitalise on Nigeria’s twin obsessions with status and communication. BlackBerry-related dramas flood newspapers’ agony aunt pages. On social websites, debate rages as to whether a bride photographed using her phone during her wedding ceremony was reading an e-Bible, or was merely a BlackBerry addict. The Nollywood film industry, whose clunkily named movie titles are a good cultural barometer and include delights such as the “Fazebook Babes” series, has recently spawned the hit multisequel “BlackBerry Babes”. The comedy follows a group of scantily clad university girls obsessed with getting the latest phones.
 
The popularity of BlackBerrys in Nigeria is partly born of necessity. Erratic internet services and a nonexistent landline network are plugged by unlimited data bundles, costing about £12 a month. Unpredictable phone networks force those who can afford it to own two handsets.

 
“I already have another smartphone, but I need a BlackBerry pin number to socialise with friends and get babes. BlackBerry has an edge because of the pinging,” George Emeka, a university student said, using the colloquial term for its instant messaging service.
 
Others are getting more bang for their buck. Yahya Balogun, who lives in a Lagos slum, used eight months of savings to buy a secondhand model. The taxi driver has caught on to the growing number of high-end businesses who advertise and communicate using BlackBerry pin numbers as well as traditional means. “All my clients in [upmarket district] Victoria Island own BlackBerrys. It is a good investment,” Balogun said.
 
In his rundown district where extended families squeeze into single rooms, neighbours frequently browse on his phone. “My daughter can use the internet [for schoolwork],” said neighbour Tosin Alabi, his face lit by the screen’s blue glow during a recent powercut. “Personally myself I can never pay 1,000 naira [£4] every week for internet. And the battery is terrible when I can go for two days without charging my own phone,” he added, indicating a battered Nokia feature phone.

 
Nokia’s low-cost phones remain the top overall sellers across Africa, though affordable mid-range mobiles could also erode RIM’s top-end dominance, analysts say. Last year, Chinese manufacturer Huawei gobbled up almost half of Kenya’s smartphone market with the launch of its $100 devices powered by Google’s Android software. RIM has felt the heat in South Africa, where, unlike Nigeria, mobile carriers offer packages with Apple iPhones. “You’re only with it if you have an iPhone, preferably the iPhone 5, or Samsung Galaxy SIII,” said Khayakazi Mgojo, based in Pretoria.
 
A three-day loss of service across Africa and parts of Europe last year was the final straw for some. “I switched because BlackBerry was frustrating me with all its constant freezing at the most inconvenient times, short battery life and the daily reboots,” Mgojo said. Nevertheless she added: “I still use it for social network because it’s cheap compared to buying data bundles.”
 
RIM hopes to bat away growing competition in its most important African markets by releasing its jazzed up BlackBerry 10 software in South Africa and Nigeria at the same time as other global markets next year. “At a time when Nokia is strengthening its distribution arm in Nigeria and Apple has recently appointed its first official distributor … the opening of the first BlackBerry-branded retail store is a logical step [to remain] the country’s No 1 smartphone vendor,” said Nick Jotischky, an analyst with Informa Telecoms & Media.
 
And for the consumer there still seems a popular groundswell for RIM’s best known product. Manzo George, a businessman who owns three BlackBerrys, said he had no plans to switch over to an Android phone anytime soon. “When people ask me why not try a new brand smartphone, I tell them there are smartphones and then there are BlackBerrys.”

 
The once mighty BlackBerry is no longer a status symbol in western markets, but RIM hopes for a revival on 30 January with the release of its new operating system, BlackBerry 10.
 
Caught in the crossfire between Apple and Android, RIM has lost market share. Its devices excel at email and instant messaging, making them popular with younger users who cannot afford big phone bills, but the company has been left behind because of its failure to create a smartphone that can efficiently navigate the wider web.
 
RIM’s worldwide market share stood at nearly 20% in 2009, says research firm Gartner, but has now fallen to 5%. While smartphone sales are booming, RIM’s shipment volumes have fallen 57% in a year, according to IDC resaerch. In June the firm reported its first operating loss since 2004, and set out plans to shrink its headcount by a third, shedding 5,000 jobs.
 

 

BT Wi-fi launches new Windows Phone app as hotspot numbers pass 7.5 million

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BT today announced that its wi-fi hotspot numbers have passed over 7.5 million across the world, as it launches a new BT Wi-fi access app making it easy to find a wi-fi hotspot in the UK and to login from a Windows Phone device.

The new app, which will be available on the Windows Phone Store is the fourth BT Wi-fi app to launch. It follows the success of iOS, Android and Blackberry apps, which have now passed over two million downloads by BT Broadband customers.

BT Broadband customers have free and unlimited access to the largest wi-fi network in the world. The numbers include more than 65,000 in Birmingham and Leeds, around 72,000 in Manchester, Edinburgh and Sheffield, and more than 59,000 in Liverpool, Brighton, Bristol and Cardiff.

BT also has more than 500,000 hotspots in Greater London which were put to the test this summer by residents and visitors during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. On the Olympic Park alone more than 170,000 spectators were welcomed every day, and it was estimated that over 50 per cent of them were likely to be using wi-fi-enabled devices. BT Wi-fi delivered an industry first with 100 per cent availability throughout the Games.

Andy Baker, CEO, BT Wi-Fi, said: “Our mission is to make it easy to find and use BT Wi-fi at our 4.5 million UK hotspots. The new Windows Phone app completes our stable of apps, making it really easy to find a hotspot out and about, no matter what type of device you are using.”

The latest BT Wi-fi access app makes it easy to find a wi-fi hotspot and login from any Windows Phone device such as the new Nokia Lumia 920.

BT Wi-fi hotspots are free to more than six million BT broadband home and business customers. They are found at homes, independent businesses, city centres and well-known brands including Starbucks, GAME, John Lewis, Hilton and Thistle hotels, Welcome Break and RoadChef service stations, American Airlines and SkyTeam airport lounges plus Network Rail stations.

 

Checkout the latest deals on BT broadband here.

Cyber thieves profit via the mobile in your pocket

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If you want to steal money by picking pockets then you face weeks if not months of work to perfect the skill of lifting wallets, watches and purses without your victim realising.

Unless, of course, you decide to profit by taking cash from the phones in people’s pockets. You could learn how to do that right now. If you can click a mouse button twice you can create a malicious computer program that can steal money from a smartphone.

The two-click fraud system is hosted on a website based in Russia which lets anyone who signs up create mobile malware.

With their first click, wannabe cyber criminals decide their target audience (among others they can choose to hit users of Facebook, Skype and Opera) then click again to pick a web address on which a malicious program will lurk.

The only hard part of the process is spamming out enough messages to get people visiting the booby-trapped site. Anyone that does visit will reach a page that hosts an app that looks official, inside which lurks code that can steal cash via premium rate SMS services.

The site was shown by Kevin Mahaffey, chief technology officer of security firm Lookout. He said the site was one of a growing number which were “industrialising” the creation of mobile malware.

“As more and more people around the world are adopting smartphones and using them to download apps, bank, and conduct business, there’s more and more of an incentive for criminals to attack phones like they’ve attacked PCs in the past,” he said.

 

Crimeware kits, which let novice cyber thieves crank out their own viruses with a few mouse clicks, have been behind the huge rise in the number of malicious programs that plague PCs.

Now, said Mr Mahaffey, such kits were starting to be made for mobile malware.

“The good thing about these sorts of malware sites is that they are not extremely sophisticated in the way the malware is constructed,” he said. This made the malware relatively easy to spot and block.

What criminals liked about mobiles, said Mr Mahaffey, was their intrinsic connection to a payment plan. This made it far easier to siphon off cash than with PC viruses.

“All phones that have access to SMS are able to charge money to their phone bill via premium rate SMS and that’s one of the top vectors we see of criminals trying to steal money,” he said.

Almost 70% of the millions of scams Lookout sees every month try to steal cash by surreptitiously racking up premium-rate charges, he said. Malicious apps made it hard for people to realise they were being scammed, he added, because they could work surreptitiously while phone owners used a different application.

Alongside the growth in mobile malware is a rise in junk or spam text messages being sent to phones – many involving fake offers in an attempt to sucker the recipient into revealing their credit card number.

“We’ve seen a 300% rise in the spam processed year-on-year in mobile,” said Chris Barton, senior director of research at message filtering firm Cloudmark.

 

In Europe, about 2.25 billion junk mail text messages are sent every month, suggest statistics from Cloudmark. This is dwarfed by the billions of junk mail messages sent every day via email but scammers like mobile spam because junk sent to a phone is more likely to be opened, he said.

Analysis by Cloudmark suggests that less than 25% of the junk mail messages sent via email that get through filters are opened. Worse, from the spammers’ point of view, it can take up to 24 hours for those messages to be seen. By contrast, more than 90% of junk sent to mobiles will be seen by a phone owner within 15 minutes of the message being received.

Ciaran Bradley, head of handset security at Adaptive Mobile, said the amount of spam mobile owners received varied widely depending on where they lived. In some countries, such as India, it was not uncommon to get up to 40 junk text messages a day.

In other places such as the UK, he said, getting one or two junk mail messages was seen by most people as too many.

“SMS spam is a lot more invasive if you are not used to it,” he said.

As well as sending more spam in different countries, scammers were also tuning their campaigns to the different devices in those nations.

For instance, said Mr Bradley, in Africa many scams were centred around mobile banking and credit transfers to capitalise on the greater use of those technologies in that region.

In places where smartphones were more predominant, fake or booby-trapped apps were getting increasingly common. Google’s Android operating system for phones was proving particularly popular, he said, because it was relatively easy to take applications apart, add in some malware, re-compile them and then put them on an unofficial marketplace in a bid to snare victims.

There was a particular problem in China, said Mr Bradley, as there was no official market place to acquire apps for Android phones. As a result, he said, many people were visiting rogue marketplaces and finding fake or booby-trapped apps.

Google was starting to do a better job of policing Android apps, said Mr Bradley, and had cracked down on those programs that produced adverts that looked like system messages in a bid to trick people into clicking on them.

But, he said, there were straightforward ways to stay safe.

“For most people, if you stick to the official marketplaces, the chances of getting hit by malware are pretty small.”