Archive for August, 2010

Hotmail Adds Exchange ActiveSync Push E-mail + Contacts + Calendar

Hundreds of millions of phones—including Apple’s iconic iPhone—support Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, which allows your phone to be instantly updated with new e-mail, calendar entries, and contact updates. Not only has this instant updating, known as “push,” been an option for Exchange/Outlook accounts from the start, Google beat Microsoft with this feature over a year ago, with its Sync technology.

Now you can get this same push functionality with a Hotmail account. While the Hotmail ActiveSync capability works with iPhones, iPads, Windows Mobile 6.x phones, Windows Phone 7 phones, and Nokia E, S, and N series phones, Google Sync adds BlackBerry to the list. Hotmail’s ActiveSync may work with other devices, such as Android 2.2 phones, but Android 2.1 has a known issue that prevents it from working. Microsoft claims that more devices, including Android 2.2, will be added to the tested-and-approved list in the coming months. Microsoft provides setup instructions for each approved device type on its Windows Live Solution Center site.

I quickly tried the new syncing on my iPhone 3GS, and it worked as advertised for messages, contacts, and calendar entries. By default, three days worth of mail were kept in sync on the phone. And I could also still keep my Outlook/Exchange account in sync, thanks to the iOS 4’s multiple account support. It even supported multiple calendars, but not to-do items. The only tricks to setting it up were to choose Microsoft Exchange as the account type and use m.hotmail.com as the server.

The feature is a good fit with other new features in the lastest version of Windows Live Hotmail. If you use its Sweep function to clean up your inbox, your changes will automatically show up on your phone. The same goes for contact “de-duplication,” by which you can remove multiple entries for the same person.

You can read more about Exchange ActiveSync for Hotmail, as well as view a video demonstration, on the Inside Windows Live blog, where Dick Craddock, Microsoft group program manager for Windows Live Hotmail, adds that “in the coming months, we will continue to bring out new features and capabilities based on feedback from our users.”

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Intel Considering Infineon Buy, Maker Of iPhone Android Chips

Germany’s Infineon Technologies AG, formed in 1999 from the spinoff of Siemens AG’s semiconductor division, is among the most dominant forces in the smartphone industry. While its CPU offerings have yet to take off and dominate, every iPhone and a large number of Android smartphones use some chip (such as wireless 3G modems) from Infineon’s portfolio.

Now hot on the heels of its $7.68B USD acquisition of the world’s top antivirus software vendor McAfee, Bloomberg reports that the world’s top CPU maker Intel is preparing to purchase Infineon’s wireless business. The rumored purchase price would be 1.5B € ($1.91B USD). Infineon’s CPU unit and other businesses would presumably not be included in the sale.

Such a purchase would give Intel fuel for its upcoming planned campaign against the ARM architecture in the smartphone arena. Intel, a firm proponent of x86 based designs, currently has no CPUs in smartphones currently on sale. Intel is working to develop scaled-down variants of its Atom platform to compete in the smartphone sector.

With Infineon’s mobile wireless expertise, Intel could design better x86-based system-on-a-chip (SoC) offerings to compete with similar packages from ARM. Intel could also potentially look to package “hardware security” leveraging McAfee’s experience into such a SoC design.

Infineon’s wireless silicon designs both discrete and packaged with other system components (in SoCs) act as a broadband processor controlling the output of phones’ radio device.

Infineon’s smartphone plan presently looks bullish, with the company looking to “ramp-up of new smartphone and entry-level phone platforms at several major customers.” That kind of drive obviously has the potential for great financial profitability, a tempting proposition for Intel.

On the other hand, another implication of the purchase, if it goes through, would be to create uncertainty, for ARM-based smartphones like the iPhone or Android Galaxy S. These phones use ARM CPUs, but currently rely on discrete Infineon wireless communication chips. Presumably Intel would want to keep that business alive — especially since it pulled in 346M € ($439M USD) last fiscal quarter. A decision to slow development on discrete offerings in favor of x86 SoC designs, though, could be used to force x86 onto the smartphone market.

Neither company has officially acknowledge talks. Infineon officials would only say their company has made “significant progress” with an unnamed buyer interested in the wireless unit. Intel has not commented on the talks.

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Dell Enters Aero Smartphone In US Market

PC maker Dell on Wednesday launched its first Android powered smartphone Aero in the US market.
Though the company had earlier launched a smartphone named Streak, Dell itself termed it as a tablet and said that Aero is its first wireless handset.
The Aero runs on Android 1.5 operating system and weighs 104 grams. It features a 5 megapixel camera, 3.5 inch touch screen and is a quadband mobile phone with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, 3G and GPRS capabilities.
The latest Dell device also comes with handwriting recognition application, Microsoft Exchange e-mail, Quick Office mobile productivity application, a search manager, and inbuilt Facebook application.
The Aero is priced at $299.99 in the open market and at $99.99 with a two year contract with AT&T.

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Samsung Galaxy S Wins European Smartphone Of The Year

The Samsung Galaxy S 1900 was named the European Smartphone of the Year at the recent European Imaging and Sound Association (EISA) Awards 2010-2011, while the Samusung Wave HD won the European Social Media Phone of the Year award.

The EISA judges commented that the Galaxy S is “a ‘jewel in the crown’ for demanding users wanting to be connected, entertained and updated on the move. It’s a well made device that should capture the attention of every mobile phone lover.”

Regarding the Wave HD handset, the judges stated that it “capitalises on the current interest in smartphones by providing means and applications for social media environments” and “is thin and beautifully designed, featuring a metal chassis”.

“We are absolutely delighted that the Samsung Galaxy S has been recognised by such a reputable association as EISA as the European Smartphone of the Year ahead of competitors devices such as the iPhone 4,” said Gary Twohig, general manager of Samsung Mobile Ireland.

“Wave HD has been a runaway success since it went to market earlier this summer. Overall it a very exciting time for us in Ireland with sales of the Galaxy S and Wave HD going from strength to strength.”

The EISA is an association consisting of 50 magazines with an interest in multimedia across 19 European countries. In June of each year, the editors from all its magazines meet to decide which of the products covered in their publications will receive an award from the EISA.

The Galaxy S is powered by Android. It has a 1 GHz application processor and a 4 inch Super AMOLED screen. It offers HD video, Samsung’s TouchWiz 3.0 interface and advanced Location Based Services (LBS).

The Wave HD offers a 3.3 inch AMOLED touchscreen, with a 1GHz processor. It features a 5 megapixel camera with an LED flash and Bluetooth 3.0.

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