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LG intros Optimus Sol E730 smartphone in India


LG has introduced the Optimus Sol E730 smartphone in India. Packed with loads of features the phone runs on the Android OS, v2.3.4 (Gingerbread), and uses a Qualcomm MSM8255 Snapdragon processor. It supports GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, as well as HSDPA 900/2100 MHz. Measuring a sleek 122.5×62.5×9.8mm, it weighs about 110g. The ultra AMOLED capacitive touchscreen supports 256K colors. The panel is 480 x 800 pixels and 3.8 inches (~246 ppi pixel density).

LG Optimus Sol E730.

LG Optimus Sol E730.

Some other significant features include: Corning Gorilla Glass protection, card slot microSD, up to 32GB, 2GB memory included, with internal memory worth 1 GB storage, 2 GB ROM and 512 MB RAM. For data, it uses GPRS Class 10 (4+1/3+2 slots), 32-48 kbps amd EDGE Class 10, 236.8 kbps. Speed offered by the LG Optimus Sol E730 include HSDPA, 7.2 Mbps; HSUPA, 2.9 Mbps. For WLAN users, there is support for Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi hotspot, DLNA, etc.

The phone comes with a 5MP camera, which however, pales, (as would many other released and to be launched mobile smartphones) when compared to the recently announced Nokia 808 PureView that has 41MP sensor with high-performance Carl Zeiss optics and new pixel oversampling technology.

Some of the camera features in the LG Optimus Sol E730 include geo-tagging and face detection. Again, videos can be made using the 720p@30fps capability, which otherwise dwarfs against the Nokia 808 PureView’s full HD 1080p video recording and playback with 4X lossless zoom and the world’s first use of Nokia Rich Recording.

Well, this phone too does not have a stylus! Actually, all or most of the Android OS based smartphones are coming without the stylus, and one wonders why! The phone uses a standard Li-Ion 1500 mAh battery, with stand-by time of up to 100 hours and talk time up to 4 hours.

As for the applications or apps, they are all standard now on smartphones! Even the LG Optimus Sol E730 is packed with loads! Besides the regular ones — such as Alarm/Clock, Browser, Camera, Contacts, E-mail, Facebook, FM Radio, GMail, Google Search, Maps, Messaging, Music, News and Weather, there are some new ones as well. For instance, SmartShare alllows you to play and share content from any wireless device via this mobile phone. It requires Wi-Fi settings to operate.

The LG Optimus Sol was priced at Rs. 19,000 at the time of release.

Wireless leads in global semicon spends!

February 1, 2012 2 comments

Interesting, but not surprising! Wireless is now leading in the global semiconductor spends!! I was having a chat with a Frost & Sullivan executive this morning, and he mentioned telecom. Of course, that’s the key driver!!

According to IHS iSuppli, wireless has now displaced computers as the top semiconductor spending area for OEMs in 2011. And, this trend may continue in 2012, going by early indications. Noteworthy in the wireless march has been the tremendous success of Apple’s iPhone and iPad.

As per IHS iSuppli, the global spending by the world’s top OEMs on microchips for wireless products was $58.6 billion in 2011, up 14.5 percent from $51.2 billion in 2010. This has led to wireless leading computers as the world’s largest OEM semiconductor spending segment in 2011. Notably, tablets and mobile handsets have led the way!

With many more companies developing smartphones and tablets, this trend does not appear to buck any time soon. It is further expected that the wireless segment will continue to generate the highest growth over the next two years. Smartphones are definitely a part of this, as are tablets.

Back in late 2000, at the ITU World Telecom in Hong Kong, the first mobile phones with Internet browsing were being touted. As were 3G and Bluetooth! Those were the days when ‘WAP is CRAP’ made more headlines and bore the brunt of many ‘telecom jokes’. Why, in early 2002, I even wrote an article for Electronics Business Manufacturing Asia (EBN Asia), on Bluetooth,  which was still trying to find its bearings. I can’t locate that article anymore, but some of the comments in that article are worth remembering. One comment was whether Bluetooth and WiFi could co-exist!

One magazine had said, “The future of Bluetooth wireless technology is becoming decidedly mixed as proponents and analysts continue to question not only how soon the short-range technology will take off, but also whether the technology is fundamentally sound.”

Thankfully, all of those days are behind us! Today, Bluetooth is firmly entrentched, as is WiFi. And, on the mobile phone!!

In 2003, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) unveiled a new ‘five-minute ready’ program created to challenge and guide Bluetooth product developers and manufacturers in the Asia Pacific region to deliver devices that give consumers a “five-minute out-of-the-box experience.” I had met up with Anders Edlund, marketing director for Bluetooth SIG in Singapore, and had a clear understanding of the technology. Today, I believe, the Bluetooth SIG is advancing standardization of active 3D glasses using Bluetooth!

SonicWALL on securing mobile devices!


Shubhomoy Biswas, country director, SonicWALL India.

Shubhomoy Biswas, country director, SonicWALL India.

Welcome to the new year, everyone! 🙂 Thanks to Dixita at MutualPR, I had a conversation with Shubhomoy Biswas, country director, SonicWALL India, regarding securing mobile devices.

First, users have come to expect secured access “anytime, anywhere”, whether over 2G or 3G networks or Wi-Fi, for both personal and business tasks. What is SonicWALL’s take on this?

Biswas said: “Smartphones and tablets operate in two worlds: they can connect to the corporate network over wireless, or bypass the network entirely using mobile cellular connections. This means they might download malware from the web over 3G/4G, and then disseminate it to the network over the corporate WiFi network. Transferring data in and out of the corporate network, smartphones are beyond IT control. At the same time,  IT needs to provide enterprise workers with secure access to network resources from tablets and smartphones.

“Today’s new workforce believes that their personal technology is better than what they have at work. Sixty-nine percent will use whatever application, device or technology they want, regardless of source or corporate IT policies. Less than half will stick to company-issued devices. This consumerization of IT has particularly affected the business use of smartphones and tablets.” Read more…

M/H can truly deliver ‘real TV’ experience!

November 24, 2011 Comments off

Ronen Jashek, co-founder and VP Marketing, Siano Mobile Silicon.

Ronen Jashek, co-founder and VP Marketing, Siano Mobile Silicon.

Siano Mobile Silicon, based in Israel, is going strong in mobile digital TV space. Thanks to Rachel Glaser, of Ruderfinn, Israel, I managed an exclusive with Ronen Jashek, co-founder and VP Marketing, Siano Mobile Silicon.

First,  let’s understand what the US standard for mobile digital TV — ATSC-M/H (Advanced Television Systems Committee – Mobile/Handheld)— all about! Jashek said: “ATSC-M/H is a standard that was established on the foundation of ATSC, a digital technology that replaced Analog TV in the US back in 2009. ATSC is the US equivalent to other international standards, like DVB-T (Europe), ISDB-T Full-Seg (Japan), and others around the world.

“ATSC is targeted (and consequently, was designed to do just that) to deliver HD content to domestic, stationary applications (i.e., big-screen TVs at home) that primarily use fixed antennae. It therefore does not address issues that are related to mobile use-cases – mobility (being able to receive the signal while moving at high speeds), efficient power consumption (to address the mobile, battery-powered devices) and extremely high sensitivity and immunity to interface (which is required in a typical mobile use-case when “on the go”).  As a result, these aspects are exactly what M/H (Mobile/Handheld) is addressing. In a word, M/H can be considered the equivalent of DVB-H (again – in Europe), CMMB (in China) and ISDB-T 1-Seg (Japan and LatAm).

“ATSC-M/H was established by the ATSC standardization body, as a joint effort by its members, after realizing the need to secure a technology that would enable true mobile TV service to take off and flourish in the U.S. The various ATSC committees worked on the standard for several years, up until its final version was formally approved in the fall of 2010, paving the way to the deployment and launch of the M/H TV service.”

Given the considerable interest around mobile handheld TV, how significant is the mobile-ready programing? Jashek replied: “Based on the underlying M/H technology, US broadcasters now have the means to get their content out there – direct to consumers. Currently, there are about 60 cities with a total of close to 80 TV stations that are already airing mobile TV content.

“To date, however, most of this content is local – meaning, it’s produced and aired locally. But this is not nearly enough to generate a successful, enticing mobile TV market. Enter the Mobile Content Venture, the MCV – a coalition of the top US broadcasters (FOX, NBC, ION, and others) that set its mission on delivering the mobile TV service built on the broadcast technology and spectrum.

“Naturally, the content that can be delivered by this coalition is the best available premium content in the US Quoting their official plans – “At launch, the service will initially consist of at least two ad-supported, free-to-consumer channels in each DMA. Additional channels and markets are expected to be added.” There’s no doubt that once the MCV plans are in motion and materialize, the content will be extremely attractive to render the service successful.” Read more…

Microsoft launches developer program for Windows Phone

November 3, 2011 Comments off

MIcrosoft Windows Phone.

Microsoft Windows Phone.

Microsoft has launched a program for developers where they can build applications (apps) for mobile and win a Windows Phone. It also showcased some of the latest Windows Phones from leading handset vendors.

Microsoft calls the Windows Phone as People vs. Icons — it puts people first. The mobile phone itself has a load of features, such as People Hub, Groups, Threads, Better email, Calendar, Bing Vision, IE9 and Pictures Hub. There’s more, in form of XBOX Live, Multitasking, Music + Videos, Custom Ringtones, Office 365, Live Tiles, Voice to text, My Windows Phone, SharePoint, Local Scout, Remote Wipe.

According to Harish Vaidyanathan, Microsoft, the company has moved up from zero (0) to 30,000 apps in just 12 months.

Microsoft also highlighted ‘i Unlock Joy’ for students. The Windows Phone is designed to put people in the center – making it easier for them to connect and share with friends, family and colleagues, so they never miss a moment. Here’s your chance to unlock your creativity — build apps for the latest Windows Phone, and win the latest mobile phone.

Microsoft has unveiled a program for developers and students where they can participate and build apps, and win a Windows Phone. For students, the program runs till December 31, 2011, while it runs till March 31, 2012 for developers.

Windows Phone will present your apps to people in smarter and easier ways. The new Metro UI design helps developers create breathtaking apps and makes them easier to discover and use. “I Unlock Joy” program is definitely your chance to become the users’ favourite and get a brand new Windows Phone.

Developers can download the complete set of developer tools to build Windows Phone apps. They can choose the tools and technology for app development. They can also become a member of the Windows Phone Marketplace with an annual membership fee of $99 and get access to the App Hub and certification process. Developers can submit an unlimited number of certified paid apps and up to 100 free apps as registered App Hub member.

In case you are a woman developer, you too have a chance to win a Windows Phone by developing just 1 app (for first 100 female participants). Women are required to submit their apps on the Marketplace by March 31, 2012.

To participate, be aware that you are a technology professional – software developer, project manager or software architect – working and residing in India. You are not an employee, intern, agent or a relative of an employee of Microsoft Corp. (India) or Microsoft Corp. or any of their affiliates; You are not involved in any part of the execution or administration of this program.

You can participate in the program by:
* Submitting three (3) new Windows Phone Apps that get published at the Windows Phone Marketplace by March 31, 2012;
* Submitting two (2) new Windows Phone Apps that you have ported from existing Android and/or iPhone apps, which get published at the Marketplace by March 31, 2012; and
* If you are a woman developer, submitting one (1) new Windows Phone App based on Entertainment, Fashion, Leisure, Gaming, Recreation or Travel Themes, which gets published at the Marketplace by March 31, 2012.

So, fill up the Registration Form posted on Microsoft’s website with all the required information. You need to register on the App Hub with a $99 annual membership fee, which entitles you to publish and manage apps at Windows Phone Marketplace. Your app should get certified on App Hub and published at Windows Phone Marketplace on or before March 31, 2012. To participate, developers need to go through the application submission checklist.

PS: I shall refrain from commenting on the Windows Phone, for now! 😉

Lava Mobiles launches classy S12 smartphone!

October 26, 2011 1 comment

Lava S12 mobile phone.

Lava S12 mobile phone.

Lava Mobiles has introduced the classy S12 smartphone. The phone’s smooth curvature and slim arc back gives it an easy palm-fit. It is only 1.3cm thick and has a matte leather finish. The S12 runs on Android 2.2 (Froyo) and works on quad GSM band 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, UMTS 2100 MHz.

The S12 supports 3G, HSDPA 7.2 Mbps and HSUPA 384 kbps. It uses a Qualcomm 7227 600MHz processor, and is WiFi, A-GPS and EDGE/GPRS enabled. The Lava S12 allows connecting to the Internet with either 3G or WiFi. It has a 3.2-inch HVGA (480×320) display.

Some other features include 5MP camera with 2X zoom, Android music player, Android video player, Bluetooth v2.1, Android browswer, 120MB storage and extenal memory expandable up to 32GB. The home screen has the feature to change to an engaging 3D user interface, allowing the user to switch between various screens using a single gesture.

Like many other smartphones, the Lava S12 allows users the opportunity to do much more than simply calling or messaging. For business, there is Moneycontrol, while users can access Gmail, as well as Google Maps and Latitude. There is Google Places as well, besides a Voice Search app.

Users can download froma a range of Hungama.com content, such as songs, ringtones, videos and wallpapers. Saavn allows you to listen to latest Bollywood songs, etc., and has a smart search that delivers fast results. TuneWiki is yet another app that plays music, and streams Internet radio and videos. Then, there is YouTube, and a year’s free subscription of Zenga TV – that allows you to watch MTV, Colors, Headlines Today, Movies, etc. The TOI app provides news.

For those who book air or rail tickets, there’s Ngpay. You can also use it to book movie tickets or for shopping. For the social networking buffs, the S12 has Facebook, Twitter and Nimbuzz apps built in. Those looking to do some work on the move can take the help of Adobe Reader. The SlideIT feature is an innovative keyboard. It can be used to send/type emails, SMSs, or for chatting.

I could not find a stylus, and wonder how easy it will be for users to type. Perhaps, this is the only drawback!

The S12 has in-built smart sensor technology as well. Its Pocket Mode feature makes the incoming call alert convenient, and the Quiet ringer on gesture feature can silence phone calls by simply sliding a hand over the phones.

The phone uses a 1,300 mAh, Lithium-ion battery. It supports a talk time of GSM up to 650 minutes and UMTS up to 485 minutes, and a stand-by time of GSM up to 590 hours and UMTS up to 650 hours. The phone itself weighs 120g with the battery and measures 117 x 57.5 x 13.4mm. The Lava S12 can be bought online from Lava Mobiles’ website for Rs. 8,500.

Ether 1.3.1 phone adaptive antenna solution integrates with smartphones!

July 14, 2011 Comments off

San Diego, USA based Ethertronics Inc., enabling innovative antenna and RF solutions to deliver the best connected experience, has launched Ether 1.3.1, a phone adaptive antenna solution. Ready for integration with smartphones or other classes of phones, the Ether 1.3.1 can realize design benefits such as 50 percent reduction in antenna volume, yet maintain compliant performance.

Laurent Desclos, president and CEO, Ethertronics.

Laurent Desclos, president and CEO, Ethertronics.

According to Laurent Desclos, president and CEO, Ether 1.3.1 allows an antenna system to dynamically tune itself for optimum performance.  Phone form factors are constantly changing throughout the design cycle.

“Current solutions, using passive antennas, require the antenna to be re-tuned with each change to the phone form factor, lengthening the time to market. Ether 1.3.1’s advanced active circuitry is able to adapt to changes in the form factor, reducing the need for lengthy antenna redesigns.”

In addition, Ether 1.3.1 can be designed to take up less volume than other antennas (up to a 50-percent reduction), providing more space for other components, and yet, still remain specification compliant.

Is this solution only suitable for smartphones then? Desclos said that Ether 1.3.1 is not limited to just smartphones.  It can be integrated into all tiers of devices such as feature phones and tablets supporting 2G, 3G, and 4G mobile device designs. Ether 1.3.1 is said to be ready for commercial deployment. Several design references have been accomplished to date. Products from OEMs will be announced in the future.

It is said that Ether 1.3.1 allows more freedom in antenna structure design. Elaborating, Desclos said: “Ether 1.3.1 allows more freedom in antenna structure design in a few core areas: size, placement and ability to meet performance specifications. Through the use of active impedance matching techniques, smaller volume antennas can be achieved.”

This is especially important as phone form factors shrink, while more components are added to phones for increased functionality (cameras, GPS, etc.). Ether 1.3.1 can additionally be used to achieve compliance as the antenna system can be dynamically tuned for known challenge areas in specification compliance.

Finally, how can the Ether 1.3.1 solution be tuned for tougher challenges by toning down the antenna size?

Typically, when the antenna’s size is decreased, performance suffers since there is less volume area to cover the required bandwidth. The beauty of active impedance matching is that the technique allows for the antenna volume to be reduced by as much as 50 percent and still maintain compliant performance. As a result, active impedance matching allows for a wide range of designs, since the technique is applicable to a broad range of form factors.

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