HTC is done with QWERTY keyboard phones

April 22, 2012 by  
Filed under News, Smartphones

HTC is famous not only for their different variations of Android phones and innovative UI, but also some of the best physical QWERTY keyboards in the smartphone industry. It’s sad then, that HTC officially said that moving forward they have no more plans to make phones with QWERTY keyboards.

Talking to Pocket-lint during the Frequencies event in Seattle, HTC designers “spoke candidly about moving away from phones with physical keyboards, with emphasis very much being on touchscreens.”

Whether it’s the overall move towards purely touchscreen phones and improving the onscreen keyboard, or the lack of sales of QWERTY smartphones, especially pushed by the underperforming HTC ChaCha released last year, this move doesn’t come as a huge surprise.

Whether ChaCha remains their last QWERTY smartphone, or whether there’s still one last model in the pipeline, HTC looks determined to stay away from this potentially loss making niche.

Five things BlackBerry 10 needs to get right

April 22, 2012 by  
Filed under Articles, Blogs, Smartphones

The BlackBerry World 2012 event is barely ten days away and I am expecting RIM’s CEO, Mr. Thorsten Heins to showcase their new BlackBerry 10 OS for the first time during his keynote address. This is a big deal for RIM and pretty much the defining moment for their transition period. If they impress, they have a chance of making a comeback but if they disappoint, it might as well be game-over for them. Here is a list of five things that RIM needs to make sure they nail with the upcoming BB10 OS.

Gorgeous UI that is different

RIM needs to make sure that BB10 does not necessarily look like iOS or Android. Microsoft got it right with Windows and tiles- it’s different, beautiful and getting there in terms of functionality. With the acquisition of TAT a year or so back, I think RIM has had enough time to create a stunning UI because these guys are really good. Check out their concept video from some time back. That is the first thing that the end user will notice and this experience needs to be flawless.

Smooth and Snappy

One of the thing that irritates the hell out of me is the lag in Android- even when you’re using the fastest quad-core CPU. During transitions, switching apps or even working within apps, you can randomly see pauses in Android which is annoying. That does not exist in iOS or Windows Phone- at least not to the degree of being noticeable and irritating. RIM needs to make sure that BB10 is butter smooth.

Social Integration

Social media is where it’s at nowadays and looking at PlayBook OS2, you can tell that it will very much be integrated into the core of BB10. In fact, even the current generation of BlackBerry Smartphones have a decent Social integration but BB10 will need to the biggest Super App that RIM has created. Hopefully with Gist and Tungle.me as their recent acquisitions, I’m hoping this should not be something hard for them to implement.

Great Camera

BlackBerry has not really been known as a device that is marvelled for the camera quality and this needs to change with new BB devices. With competition from the likes of HTC, Apple and Nokia, RIM seriously needs to step up their game and have a phenomenal camera that not only takes incredible pictures but takes them real fast.

Apps, Apps and more Apps

As much as I like Windows Phone from Microsoft it’s a bit sad to see apps like BoxFiles as a replacement to dropbox and Pinspiration as a replacement for an official Pintrest client. RIM needs to excite developers to build first-hand applications on BB10. Apps like Skype, Pintrest, Kindle and Instagram need official clients on BB10 devices at launch along with games like Words with Friends and Drawesome. This is what attracts an end-user to your platform and no matter how slick your OS is, if it doesn’t have the apps, it will not fly. Microsoft’s Windows Phone is a prime example of this.

These are the five things that I think RIM really needs to work at with BB10. Of course having a killer device to showcase all of this helps. Considering how the portrait-oriented full touch devices are the standard form factors nowadays, I don’t think we’ll see a Bold kind of device as a launch device for the BB10 platform. That might happen a little later but my guess is that you’ll probably see a full touch Torch 9860 kind of device or maybe the older Torch 9800/9810 as a slider and a full keyboard. Something like the concept device we posted.

MIT geniuses play Tetris – on a building

April 22, 2012 by  
Filed under News

There are many things in life that I am proud to have accomplished. Graduate? Check. Sky-dive? Check. Fly around the world playing with gadgets for a living? Check. Play Tetris on the side of a building? Wait, what?

That’s exactly what the brilliant minds over at MIT did this weekend by turning the campus’s Green Building (that houses the MIT Earth and Planetary Sciences department) into a fully-playable Tetris game.

It’s clearly the weirdest hack you’ll ever see, and also one that has been on the drawing board for a while. The hack scrolled the word ‘Tetris’ across the building before launching into a new game. So clearly both brainpower and money are being put to good use here.

Check out the fuzzy but awesome gameplay video below:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IAIPUGO1iko&w=550]

(via MIT)

Man buys 14,000 domains in 24 hours

April 22, 2012 by  
Filed under Industry, News

A self-proclaimed Internet guru this weekend snapped up 14,962 domains in under 24 hours. Mike Mann, who lives in Delaware, is no stranger to the Internet and has been mass-buying domains since the late 90s.

He found his calling after being offered $50,000 for a domain he had initially bought for $70 – Menus.com.

Once he had stumbled on this digital goldmine, Mann lost no time in establishing himself as one of the most aggressive domain buyers there ever was by combining scripts and technology to fess out which domains were due to expire with domain registrars and grabbing them before they could be renewed. This ‘domain hostage’ process for the most part worked very well; his business BuyDomains quickly grew and was later bought for a whopping $80 million in lieu of a four-year hiatus from the domain-buying game. During that time he worked on a few other projects but also made a list of potential domains that he should be buying.

After that four year break, Mann jumped back in to the game and on average buys around 300 domains a day and re-sells them through his company DomainMarket.com. And this weekend, he decided to go through the lengthy list of domains he had written up over the years – and buy them all. His little shopping spree set him back around $100,000 but Mann isn’t worried. He’s confident that the domains he’s bought are worth that much and will bear fruit in due time.

Investment firm accidentally fires entire workforce

April 22, 2012 by  
Filed under Industry, Internet, News

How often is it that you send an email and immediately after hitting the ‘send’ button you realize something was horribly wrong. Could be a glaring typo, or the wrong people were emailed, or weren’t at all.

Something similar happened when the HR department for Aviva, a UK based investment firm, sent an email out to one of their employees informing him that he’s been let go. Except that the email was sent to all the 1,300 people employed around the world by Aviva.

Source: Bllomberg

Aviva spokesperson Paul Lockstone confirmed the mix-up, saying, “It was intended that this email should have gone to one single person,” Lockstone told Bloomberg. “Unfortunately, as a result of a clerical error, it was sent to all of the Investors staff worldwide.”

The HR department soon realized their mistake and an email was sent to the rest (presumably 1,299) of the employees, notifying them to ignore the previous email.  “From time to time, things go wrong,” said Lockstone.

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