ABU DHABI: Nokia, a global leader in mobile communications, redefined smartphone innovation with the launch of six new game-changing devices at Nokia World 2013. The mega event held at St Regis Island Resort in Abu Dhabi, turned out to be an exciting platform for Nokia to showcase the latest and newest devices and services to media and analysts from across the world.
“Now more than ever, mobile devices are at the center of consumers’ lives as they look to capture, curate and share experiences on the go,” said Stephen Elop, Executive Vice President, Devices and Services at Nokia, during the keynote session.
Nokia introduced its first Windows tablet the Nokia Lumia 2520, that runs on Windows RT 8.1. It became the cynosure of all eyes at the event as the tablet, touted as the real game-changer for Nokia as well as the industry, is a complete package and made to support life on the go. “It is designed for mobility, reliability, longevity and has a unique sense of style and color,” said Elop, demonstrating the gadget.
Nokia also launched a portfolio of large screen Lumia smartphones: Lumia 1520 and 1320 and three new Asha models – including the first 3G device in the Asha Platform family of smartphones -delivering winning designs, new vibrant colors and a more intuitive user interface, all at attractive prices.
“With a pending Microsoft portfolio, we are embarking on an amazing journey with great products. We will remain the company that continues to connect people,” Elop said.
“With our latest range of Lumia and Asha products, we’re delivering imaging innovation to bigger devices at more accessible prices,” he said. The Lumia 2520 is designed to work anywhere with its vivid 10.1-inch HD display providing the best outdoor and indoor readability. Building on Nokia’s rich mobility heritage, the Lumia 2520 combines both 4G LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity and a 6.7MP camera for the first time ever on a tablet, ZEISS optics, letting people click quality pictures – even in low light.
The Lumia 2520 also comes with a number of unique software experiences that are exclusive to the Lumia family, including the exclusive “Dragon’s Adventure” interactive game developed in partnership with DreamWorks Animation.
Additionally, the Lumia 2520 includes Nokia Storyteller, a Nokia developed application that introduces a new way to curate and relive images and videos as a story on a map, as well as Nokia Video Director, which offers the ability to edit and get even more creative with videos shot on the Lumia 2520 – as well as content from Lumia smartphones.
The Lumia 2520 pairs with a unique and stylish accessory which offers a great set of benefits: the Nokia Power Keyboard. Offering up to five extra hours of battery life and two built-in USB ports, the Nokia Power Keyboard makes battery life worries a thing of the past. The Nokia Lumia 2520 will be available in red and white in a glossy finish as well as cyan and black in a matte finish, and is expected to start shipping in Q4 2013.
The Lumia Series
Continuing to redefine smartphone innovation, Nokia introduces its first-ever large screen Lumia smartphones, the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1320. With a 6-inch screen and the latest software advancements for Windows Phone, the Lumia 1320 and Lumia 1520 are perfectly suited for entertainment and productivity.
The Lumia 1520 offers the latest imaging innovation from Nokia – a 20MP PureView camera with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) enabling sharp images even in the dark. In addition to the new Nokia Camera and Nokia Story Teller applications, the Lumia 1520 offers a 6-inch screen and a 1080p full HD display for outstanding outdoor readability.
The Lumia 1320 features many high-end Lumia innovations on a large 6-inch 720p display and extends the Nokia Camera App to another price range. With a range of imaging apps available, the Lumia 1320 comes with Nokia Music for free streaming of ad-free music and HERE maps and location services.
The Nokia Lumia 1520 will be available in yellow, white, black and glossy red. It is expected to start shipping in Q4 2013. The Nokia Lumia 1320 will be available in orange, yellow, white, and black and is expected to start shipping in Q1 2014.
The Asha experience
The Nokia Asha 500, Asha 502 and Asha 503 combine beautiful design with a rich mobile experience. The newest additions to the Asha Platform family of devices – the Nokia Asha 500, Asha 502 and Asha 503 – join the already successful Asha 501 in pushing the boundaries of affordable smartphone innovation. All three handsets build on Nokia’s renowned design and feature a new crystal-clear look. Support for 3G is available on the Asha 503, which also includes a 5MP camera and comes with a Dual SIM option.
Launching the Nokia Asha 500, Asha 502 and Asha 503, he said, they include new enhancements to the Asha Platform for even more intuitive navigation. “Asha is very exciting as we reach out to the emerging markets. We want everyone on this planet to have a smartphone. Five billion people will have smartphones soon,” Elop said.
Knowing how important free messaging is to people, WhatsApp will be available for the Nokia Asha 501 and is to arrive later in the year for the new Asha devices. “We are quite excited about the future. The statistics are mind-blowing as around 250,000 Nokia devices sign up for WhatsApp every day.
“One swipe to capture and one touch to share. The new Asha user interface enables faster and easier sharing of images on social networks,” Elop pointed out. The Nokia Asha 500, Asha 502 and Asha 503 will be available in bright red, bright green, yellow, cyan, white and black, and are planned to start shipping in Q4 2013. The Nokia Asha 500 features a 2.8-inch screen, 2MP camera and comes in single SIM and Easy Swap Dual SIM variants. The Nokia Asha 502 features a 3-inch screen, a 5MP camera with LED flash and Easy Swap Dual-SIM.
The Asha 503 features 3.5G connectivity, a 3-inch screen, 5MP camera with LED flash, Corning Gorilla Glass 2 and comes in single SIM and Easy Swap Dual SIM variants. People can get the most from Nokia’s latest Lumia portfolio through a new selection of applications including: Nokia Video Director, Nokia Beamer, Nokia Storyteller, DreamWorks Animation’s Dragons Adventure, Instagram, Papyrus and InNote and Vine, a popular video service.
By Sajeev K Peter
New York: At your neighborhood coffee shop, you can order your beverage in small, medium or large. Now, you can do that with phones, too.
HTC Corp. is introducing a larger version of its popular HTC One phone, becoming the latest phone maker to offer its flagship device in three sizes - and, of course, three prices.
The new HTC One Max has one feature unavailable on the smaller models: a fingerprint identification sensor similar to that on Apple's new iPhone 5S. It's an optional way to unlock a phone without using a four-digit passcode. Unlike Apple's version, however, the Max can be programmed to automatically open one of three favorite apps, depending on which finger is used.
HTC spokesman Tom Harlin said the company designed the Max with a fingerprint sensor to make the larger device easier to operate with one hand. Engineers also moved the power button to the side. On smaller models, it's on top of the phone, when held vertically.
The Max has a screen that measures 5.9 inches diagonally. That compares with the 4.7 inches on the standard version and the 4.3 inches on the HTC One Mini. HTC is designing its software to take advantage of the larger screen. With many Android phones, images and text simply get larger on bigger phones. With the Max, the layout of selected apps is reformatted to fit more content.
The Max also has more battery capacity than the smaller models, but otherwise shares their design and hardware features. Like the other Ones, the Max has a camera that can capture better low-light shots than the typical smartphone camera, but images are of lower resolution, at 4 megapixels. The Max weighs 7.7 ounces, which is more than the 5.9 ounces for Samsung's 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 3.
The price hasn't been announced, but it likely will be comparable to the $300 for the Note 3 and Motorola's Droid Maxx. That price typically requires a two-year service agreement and is $100 more than the regular HTC One, Samsung's Galaxy S4 and Motorola's Droid Ultra when they launched.
Harlin said HTC is offering variety to meet consumers' differing needs. Some might prefer a small device that is cheap and can fit in the pocket of skinny jeans, while others might want more screen space.
As for the fingerprint sensor, HTC is including similar security safeguards found in the iPhone 5S. A mathematical representation of the fingerprint is stored on the phone in a secured location, inaccessible to other apps or remote servers. However, HTC does plan to eventually offer a way for other apps to use the ID system, without accessing the fingerprint data directly. Apple has no current plans for third-party access.
Despite assurances of security from Apple, a German hacking group claims to have bypassed the system using a household printer and some wood glue to create an artificial copy of a genuine fingerprint. Apple hasn't commented on that.
HTC said Verizon and Sprint Corp. will sell the HTC One Max in the U.S. in time for the holidays. AT&T Inc. has been offering the Mini since August. All four national carriers, including T-Mobile US Inc., have the standard version.
Tel Aviv: Facebook has agreed to buy start-up app-maker Onavo, the Israeli company said on its website on Monday, without giving any details of the deal.
Facebook is paying between $150 million and $200 million, the Calcalist financial news website said, making it the social media company's biggest acquisition in Israel.
The company, founded three years ago, said that once the transaction closes, Onavo's mobile utility application - which helps people cut mobile phone costs through more efficient use of data - will run as a standalone brand.
Onavo has raised $13 million in venture capital, according to Calcalist. Its investors are Sequoia Capital, Magma Venture Partners, Horizons Ventures and Motorola Mobility Ventures.
Onavo will keep its Israeli offices, making this the first time Facebook will run a research and development centre in Israel, according to the Haaretz news website.
When Facebook acquired Snaptu and Face.com, it transferred the employees to its own offices in California, where Onavo already has offices.
Makuhari - Japan's flagship consumer technology brands have had a rough few years with their products overshadowed by Korean and US rivals, but the Japanese parts makers who supply those rivals are doing a roaring trade.
That is especially true for Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd, known as a supplier for Apple Inc's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy series of smartphones, and which is projecting a 71 percent jump in operating profit this year.
Orders between July to September were on a par with the previous quarter's record high of 190.5 billion yen ($1.94 billion), President Tsuneo Murata told Reuters on Tuesday in an interview at CEATEC, one of Japan's biggest electronics trade shows held near Tokyo.
Although the company does not publicly name its clients, it was listed by Apple as one of its for 2013 and analysts say it supplied vital components for the recently released iPhone 5S and 5C, for which sales have outstripped analyst expectations.
Another Japanese supplier, Nidec Corp, which makes motors for electronics and automotive parts, is projecting sales to increase 12.8 percent this year and operating profit to rise 325.5 percent to 70 billion yen ($713 million). Taiyo Yuden Co Ltd which competes with Murata, is also forecasting a 14 percent increase in sales and 312.3 percent increase in profit.
Domestic smartphone and electronics makers are not in such a comfortable position.
Japan's household names like Sharp Corp, Panasonic Corp and Sony Corp, have suffered losses on their consumer electronics units in recent years, with many analysts blaming a lack of insight into what global consumers want.
But companies like Murata have managed to avoid the same fate by selling directly to companies and making components that can be flexibly used in the finished product.
"Parts makers sell to businesses, so it's easier to see where the market is heading than with consumers, whose needs are more difficult to understand," Murata said."Overseas sales are growing at lots of Japanese parts makers. Ninety percent of our sales are international and I think the industry average is about 60 percent," he added.
Murata's mainstay products are ceramic capacitors, tiny parts that control the flow of electricity in electronic devices from game consoles to car engine controls. The majority are used in smartphones, which account for 40 percent of overall sales.
Although Murata sees the growth of the smartphone market slowing to around 10 percent within two years from 30 percent currently, he says his company would be able to weather that shift without relying on its other divisions such as auto parts.
"It's not just about the number of smartphones sold. If growth slows will innovation stop? The network technology or the architecture can change," Murata said, adding that a change such as an increase in LTE mobile bandwidth could provide a business opportunity.
For now, the president is expecting orders to stay strong through Christmas after a leap at the beginning of September. The company is projecting operating profit to jump 70.5 percent to 100 billion yen ($1.02 billion) this fiscal year, which ends March 2014.
Ask yourself “What are cognitive skills?” and “Why are they now the main focus of the scientific community worldwide?” The answer is simple and one which affects your own household.
Over the past number of decades, scientists have tried to understand the brain and its performance. Why? Every day we are bombarded with information: TV, computers, cellphones, education and much more! So what do we do with that information? We have to process it, store it and respond to it. So, can the brain that you have perform and function better? The answer is a definite YES! How? Consider something you are good at. Did it come easy? Most likely not. You had to work hard at it, and with constant consistent repetition it became easier. The brain is no different. Clinical psychologists have now found a way to improve the brain’s ability to learn, to think, to process and to increase memory. It’s called GENIUSBRAIN and it’s here in Kuwait.
In 1975 two brothers, KeithGibson, a clinical psychologist and Ken Gibson a visual specialist asked a simple question: “How can we make learning easier and faster?” For 25 years the brothers with the assistance of professionals in the fields of neuropsychology, clinical and cognitive psychology, occupational therapy, special education and learning disabilities reviewed the existing research on brain and memory function and learning theory and created and developed the program that is now delivered at GeniusBrain called BrainRx, which after its launch in 2000 became the leading cognitive training program in the United States. The BrainRx program is now run throughout 84 centers in the US and in over 38 international centers.
Brain training is a simple but powerful way to enhance our core ability to learn faster, easier, and better. The brain processes information, input from our five senses through a complex network of neurological pathways. These information pathways are constantly transferring and processing via a host of over 100 billion neurons ultimately controlled by the seven key underlying cognitive skills. These cognitive skills or cognitive abilities, short and long term memory, processing speed, attention, sensory processing, and reasoning can have increased performance with proper training. This increases immediate and future brain function, and produces more accurate recall, quicker processing, and easier learning across a wide range of learning challenges. The model below illustrates how learning takes place. Brain training strengthens each of the “wheels” (cognitive skills) that makes the learning process run more smoothly and efficiently and increase learning potential.
The Learning Model
The key is being able to accurately identify and exercise the correct brain mechanism. Brain training unlocks the brains potential for improved cognitive functioning by engaging a student in specially designed exercises to promote rapid strengthening and growth of these information or neurological pathways. If required skills are weak, learning (that is based on that particular skill) will be hindered. The power of brain training is found in its ability to identify, target, and then strengthen individual cognitive skills.
Here’s how it works. The GeniusBrain Program is split into two parts. The first is the screening or testing of the essential cognitive skills performance on a specific range of information for any individual over the age of six. The resulting report outlines current cognitive abilities and allows the team at GeniusBrain to tailor an individual 72hour brain exercise program delivered over a nine-week schedule that enhances, defines and strengthens these underlying cognitive skills. Personal one on one certified brain-trainers deliver individual brain training exercises that build specific skill strengths, resulting in faster, easier learning. The beauty of this program is that it is measured. A final screening test outlines the positive changes made throughout the course of the program which is essential for a new and positive process for improved learning for life.
Geniusbrain is located in Discovery Mall situated in downtown Kuwait City. Why this location? The owners of GeniusBrain wanted a center for education and improvement of children’s life skills and Discovery Mall was the ideal place. Future developments from the Management of GeniusBrain at the Discovery Center will see that the future for children in Kuwait is more than a shopping trip and the latest restaurant. It’s about enriching one’s life for learning.
*** Alan Wilkie is Center Manager GeniusBrain.
Hackers are gearing up for Friday's iPhone 5S release with a contest to crack the device's first-ever fingerprint scanner, a high-tech feature that Apple Inc says makes users' data more secure.
A micro venture capital firm joined a group of security researchers to offer more than $13,000 in cash along with bottles of booze, Bitcoin currency, books and other goodies to the first hacker who breaks the device in a contest promoted on the website
Arturas Rosenbacher, founding partner of Chicago's IO Capital, which donated $10,000 to the hacking competition, said that the effort will bring together some of the hacking community's smartest minds to help Apple identify bugs that it may have missed.
"This is to fix a problem before it becomes a problem," he said. "This will make things safer."
Meanwhile, Forbes.com reported that a 36-year-old soldier living in Spain's Canary Islands, Jose Rodriguez, has already uncovered a security vulnerability affecting iOS 7, which Apple began distributing to existing iPhone and iPad customers on Wednesday.
The publication said that it is possible to bypass the lock screen of those devices in seconds to access photos, email, Twitter and other applications. It included a video demonstration on its website and advice on how users could thwart the bypass technique: onforb.es/16IU6Y3
Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller told Reuters that the company was preparing a fix that it would deliver as an update to iOS 7 when it was ready. "Apple takes user security very seriously," she said.
Among those getting ready for the hacking contest is David Kennedy, a former U.S. Marine Corps cyber-intelligence analyst who did two tours in Iraq and now runs his own consulting firm, TrustedSec LLC.
"I am just waiting to get my hands on it to figure out how to get around it first," the founder of the DerbyCon hacking conference told the Thomson Reuters Global Markets Forum this week. "I'll be up all night trying."
Security experts worry about the implications of using the module to grant access to sensitive data on the phone and potentially enabling mobile purchases.
The fingerprint scanner on the top-of-the-line iPhone lets users unlock their devices or make purchases on iTunes by simply pressing their finger on the home button. It has been hailed as a major step in popularizing the use of biometrics in personal electronics.
Security engineer Charlie Miller, known in hacking circles for uncovering major bugs in the iPhone as well as circumventing security in Apple's App Store, said it could take fewer than two weeks for Kennedy or some other smart hacker to get around the new lock.
Once they're in, they could gain access to the cornucopia of data typically stored on a user's iPhone and might potentially be able to buy goods from iTunes and Apple's App store.
Miller declined to comment on the hacking contest or potential security vulnerabilities in the fingerprint reader.
To be sure, experts say they know of nothing intrinsically wrong with Apple's fingerprint reader, based on what the company has so far disclosed. Reviewers this week gushed over its ease of use and reliability.
The reader's sapphire crystal sensor is embedded in the phone's home button and reviews the fingerprint as a user touches it to verify his or her identity.
Data used for verification is encrypted and stored in a secure enclave of the phone's A7 processor chip. No information is sent to any remote servers, including Apple's iCloud system.
HD Moore, a hacking expert and chief researcher with the security software maker Rapid7, said such protections mean "the bar is a little bit higher," but that certainly won't discourage hackers from trying to break the new technology.
"This is definitely something to target and something people will want to go after," he said.
Apple shouldn't take hackers' enthusiasm personally.
All major electronics products are subjected to similar scrutiny as new features are rolled out, including devices from Google Inc, Microsoft Corp and Samsung Electronics Co.
For example, in 2012, Charlie Miller led a team that demonstrated techniques for taking over smartphones running Google's Android software through their use of near-field communications, or NFC, a wireless technology used for sharing data or making purchases at point-of-sales terminals.
Bugs are often disclosed by "white hats," hackers who unearth flaws and report them so manufacturers can repair them, preventing criminal exploitation. The hope is the good guys find them before "black hats" uncover them.
White hats have found multiple security issues with iPhones, iPads and in the App store since Apple launched its first smartphone in 2007. They say that scrutiny has helped make it one of the most secure devices on the market today.
Apple executives said at last week's iPhone launch that the new fingerprint reader, dubbed Touch ID, will help make phones far more secure by dint of its ease of use.
About half of all smartphone users don't bother to use current screen-locking technology because of the inconvenience of keying in multiple-digit passwords. Apple is betting users may be far more willing to avail themselves of a solution that requires a single finger-swipe.
"The technology within Touch ID is some of the most advanced hardware and software we put in any device," Dan Riccio, senior vice president of hardware engineering, said at the event.
Kennedy said he needs to examine the new iPhone to figure out how to best attempt an attack.
He said his choices include hacking the software that analyzes the fingerprint data, or physically opening up the phone and connecting it to a custom-built device that would impersonate Apple's fingerprint reader.
He added that it might be possible to lift a user's fingerprint from elsewhere on the device and somehow make a clone of it.
Rich Mogul, an analyst with the security research firm Securosis, said he planned to use it and expects it to be widely adopted despite the fact that hackers are circling.
"Nobody has gotten their hands on it to see what the weaknesses are and how easy it is to crack," Mogul said.
"We'll have to wait to see."
(Editing by Edwin Chan, Andrew Hay, Cynthia Osterman and Kenneth Barry)
SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter is so deeply ingrained in the cultural conversation that its initial public offering is likely to be a hot topic on its trend-setting service for the next few months. Its stock market debut is also likely to be the most scrutinized coming-out party since Facebook went public in May 2012 and promptly flopped. Facebook’s follies made an impression on its social networking rival. Here are four signs of the Facebook influence on Twitter:
Lesson 1: Take the road less traveled.
IPO submissions to the Securities and Exchange Commission typically include exhaustive financial information and other sensitive details. By taking advantage of the regulatory changes introduced since Facebook went public, Twitter is giving investors, the media and would-be competitors less time to pore over its IPO documents.
Twitter gained the wiggle room under a law passed last year shortly before Facebook completed its IPO. Called Jumpstart Our Business Startups act, the law allows a company with revenue below $1 billion to file its IPO papers with the SEC confidentially. This allows the documents to remain secret until 21 days before the company starts marketing the deal to investors – a ritual known as a “road show.”
By reducing the amount of time that its filing information is available for public review, Twitter is hoping to minimize the nitpicking over its business model. Like other high-profile companies that have gone through the standard IPO process, Facebook had to endure more than three months of second-guessing about the information contained in its documents. At the same time, the company couldn’t respond to criticism or misleading interpretations of its filings because of an SEC-enforced “quiet period” that restricts what management can say before an IPO is priced.
Lesson 2: Work the numbers.
Twitter is going public as a younger and smaller company than Facebook Inc., making it easier for the company to generate the kind of robust growth in revenue that tends to excite investors. Facebook was eight years old by the time it went public and had already built such a large business that it was more difficult to speed its pace of growth from one quarter to the next. In its final year before going public, Facebook had annual revenue of $3.7 billion – more than twice as much as Google did when it went public in 2004.
In contrast, Twitter is only seven years old and didn’t even start to generate significant revenue until 2010. Research firm eMarketer estimates that Twitter had $288 million in revenue last year (the actual figure will be revealed once the veil lifts off the company’s IPO documents). Because it still has a relatively small financial base, it won’t be surprising to see Twitter’s revenue more than doubling from the previous year for several quarters after its stock starts trading, PrivCo analyst Sam Hamadeh predicted in a research note.
Lesson 3: Leave some money on the table.
Twitter won’t price its IPO as aggressively as Facebook did, says Hamadeh. That increases the chances of Twitter’s stock rising once it begins trading. He expects Twitter to set its IPO at a price that values the company at about $15 billion. That’s up from an estimated value of $10 billion, based on the money Twitter has raised from venture capitalists and other early investors. Facebook kept raising its IPO price until the company was valued at $104 billion, or about four times Google’s valuation when it went public in 2004. Facebook saw its stock plunge from its IPO price of $38 to below $18 within four months of its IPO amid concerns about its slowing growth and ability to sell ads on mobile devices.
Lesson 4: Timing is everything.
Many analysts thought Twitter might wait until next year to go public, but the stock market’s appetite for social media companies has never been hotter. With the company’s revenue growth picking up again, Facebook’s stock has surged by more than 60 percent in less than two months. Meanwhile, LinkedIn Corp.’s stock has more than doubled so far this year. Things are going so well that even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has gotten over his one-time aversion to going public. In an about-face, Zuckerberg told a technology conference in San Francisco earlier this week that the IPO process turned Facebook into a better-run company. “I have been very outspoken about staying private as long as possible, but I don’t think it’s that necessary to do that.” Zuckerberg said Wednesday. Twitter tweeted the news about its IPO filing less than 24 hours later. – AP