Tag: smartphone

Internet cafés are dying out

Internet cafes, which were once the communication hub in developing countries, are fast dying out.

According to Quartz  the reason is the rise in smartphones which are making the need to go into a café largely redundant.

In Rwanda, one café went from 200 customers per day to just ten and in India they are suffering too—some in the southern city of Mysore have opted to sell stationery or sweets instead of web access.

Café owners have diversified their offerings to include flight bookings, mobile phone top-up cards, and accessories for various gadgets.

Cafés in Myanmar, where mobile penetration is extraordinarily low are seeing the same trend happen there.

More developed markets had seen cafés survive to cater for immersive online gaming. But the number of these sorts of cafes in South Korea fell to 15,800 last year from 19,000 in 2010.

The number of cafes in China, meanwhile, dropped seven percent to 136,000 in 2012 from the previous year.

All this flies in the face of a five-year study released by the University of Washington in July found that Web users in some developing countries continue to rely on public venues like cafes and libraries for Web access even when smartphones are available.

It insisted that one technology does not replace the other and mobile phones do not solve access problems. 

LG boasts of curved OLED smartphone display

LG is to start mass production of curved smartphone displays and launch a smartphone with the new screens next month.

Samsung has already announced that it will introduce a smartphone with a curved display in October.

Curved displays are being touted as the next big thing. They allow bendable or foldable designs that could eventually allow mobile and wearable gadgets to take new forms.

This could help along the smartphone market, where new ideas are desperately needed to keep it ticking along.

According to Reuters, LG has started production of a six-inch display curved top to bottom. It plans to launch a smartphone with the curved display in November. Samsung’s phone will have a display curved side to side.

Technology firms have yet to figure out how to mass produce the parts cheaply and come up with display panels that can be thin and heat resistant.

LG said its OLED is built using plastic substrates instead of glass, and by using film type encapsulation and attaching protective film to the back, it is “bendable” and “unbreakable”.

The company says its screen is vertically concave from top to bottom with a 700mm radius and is 0.4mm thin. LG boasts it’s the world’s thinnest and lightest, weighing in at 7.2 grams with a six inch screen.

Rumours of curved screens have been floating around for some time now. It was thought while companies were keen to implement them in smartphones, it was first necessary to figure out cheaper production methods that kept phones using the panels cost effective.

Aussies push for smartphone code of conduct

Tourist hotspots in Queensland Australian are to display a Smarter Smartphone Code of Conduct in a bid to crack down on “smartphone dependency”.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a survey commissioned by the local tourism body found that almost half of Australians had argued with their partner over mobile phone use.

Commissioned by Tourism and Events Queensland, the study found that half of Australians believe they could not live 24 hours without their smartphone, while 65 percent keep their phone within arm’s reach all day, every day.

80 percent of people surveyed said they had had a conversation with someone who was texting at the same time.

The smartphone code of conduct is to be displayed on coasters, in taxis and on bedside tables in hotels across the Sunshine Coast.

Queensland is the first Australian state to introduce a code of conduct in its tourism industry. 

Samsung phone powered by urine

A team of researchers from the the University of the West of England and University of Bristol has come up with a way to power mobile phones using urine. 

The researchers used urine to charge a cascade of microbial fuel cells and managed to charge an unspecified Samsung phone in the process.

“We are very excited as this is a world first, no-one has harnessed power from urine to do this so it’s an exciting discovery,” Dr. Ioannis Ieropoulos said. “Using the ultimate waste product as a source of power to produce electricity is about as eco as it gets. One product that we can be sure of an unending supply is our own urine.”

The technology is not ready to go mainstream.

It generates just enough power to send a few texts or make a short voice call. It works as a proof of concept, and researchers hope they could one day come up with a way to use it in bathrooms, to power other electric appliances.

We must admit we love the future – where one day pubs could become some sort of disgusting alternative to wind farms.

Smartphone sales to grow 32.7 percent this year

Global smartphone shipments are expected to reach 958.8 million units this year, up 32.7 percent over last year’s 722.5 million units. 

According to the latest IDC report, smartphones will outsell feature phones for the first time this year, marking a watershed moment for the industry. The positive trend will continue for years to come and the focus is now shifting to emerging markets. In fact, emerging markets will account for 64.8 percent of all smartphone shipments this year, up from 43.1 percent in 2010.

IDC says demand has spread from developed markets to emerging markets. Because of this, average selling prices (ASPs) for smartphones declined to $372 for 2013, down from $407 in 2012 and $443 in 2011. ASPs could drop as low as $309 by 2017, IDC believes, with emerging market demand the main catalyst in this change. “Computing at such low end-user cost has posed many challenges to handset OEMs and component suppliers,” IDC said.

In other words, the smartphone market is growing at 33 percent year-over-year, while average prices are dropping eight to nine percent a year.

However, the cost cutting underlines another trend – the shift toward “good enough” computing. As smartphones mature, fewer consumers will be willing to go for ultra high-end phones. This is especially true for cash strapped emerging markets and European markets that are suffering financially.

The upside? As ASPs plummet, people who actually assemble smartphones will finally be closer to affording them.

Lenovo smartphones to go global

Lenovo is the world’s second biggest PC maker, but it is also one of the biggest smartphone players in Asia. However, most consumers in the West don’t even know Lenovo makes smartphones. This might be about to change – fast.

Lenovo is in talks with NEC about plans to create a global smartphone joint venture. As a result, the first big wave of Lenovo smartphones threaten to arrive on American and European shores as early as next year. 

According to Reuters, the deal has yet to be finalised, but everyone is already taking it very seriously. NEC’s phone business has faced its fair share of troubles in recent years and a deal with Lenovo could practically save it in one fell swoop.

Where there’s smoke there’s usually fire. Lenovo exec Gianfranco Lanci has told DPA that the company plans to enter the phone market in Africa and West Asia later this year, while the big push into Europe will happen in 2014. 

“In Western Europe, you have to sign contracts with every telecom company and make sure your devices are compatible,” said Lanci.

Lanci also said Lenovo plans to become the world’s number one PC maker next year. 

Lenovo plans to take on US smartphone market

Lenovo has already made significant inroads in the Chinese smartphone market, but it hasn’t done much to capture Western markets. This might be about to change over the next year or so.

Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing told the Wall Street Journal that the company could enter the US market next year. He said smartphones are Lenovo’s new opportunity and that his company is serious about the market, as it is seen as a potential source of long-term growth. Capturing the US market won’t be easy, as it is a bit more competitive than China.

However, Lenovo is planning to roll out new high-end phones in China, in an effort to break Samsung’s and Apple’s dominance in the 3,000+ yuan market. Its latest smartphone, the K900, sells at 3,299 yuan, or $538. The company is hoping to attract more affluent consumers who tend to buy Samsung and Apple phones. 

Lenovo senior vice president Liu Jun told China Daily that the company aims to become the top smartphone vendor in China within two years. We strongly suspect that it will not limit its high-end push to China, and would not be surprised if the first Lenovo high-end phones tip up in Europe and the US quite soon.

Lenovo aims to sell 60 million smartphones this year

PC churner Lenovo is getting serious about the smartphone market, so serious in fact that it is planning to sell 60 million smartphones over the next 12 months.

Lenovo’s smartphone push is practically unnoticeable in the west. Most of its efforts are focused on China and a few other Asian markets. 

In fact, Liu Jun, senior VP of Lenovo, claims the company now sees Samsung and Apple as its biggest competitors. Lenovo is becoming more than a PC maker and it wants to compete with smartphone makers rather than other PC outfits. 

In 2012 Lenovo shipped 23.5 million smartphones and grabbed 11 percent of the Chinese smartphone market. It managed to ship five times as many smartphones as in 2011 and now it is looking to triple last year’s shipments, according to People’s Daily.

Lenovo’s goal is ambitious. It wants to become the biggest smartphone maker in China over the next two years, so Samsung and Apple might have to step up their game in mainland China.

If Lenovo manages to pull it off, it is more than likely that it will try to expand beyond China.

Phablet and superphone sales to remain strong

Sales of oversized smartphones and tablets are strong, and according to Transparency Market Research, the trend is set to continue over the next five years. 

The outfit’s latest report found that superphone and phablet sales will reach 825 million units by 2018. They will generate $116.4 billion for manufacturers who decide to jump onto the phablet bandwagon. Asian markets are expected to see the fastest growth rates over the next five years, TalkAndroid reports.

The vast majority of phablet devices run on Android and Transparency Market Research believes Google’s OS will continue to dominate the market over the next five years. However, the share of Windows based devices is also set to increase, thanks to upcoming phablets from Nokia, HTC, ZTE and Sony.

Apple is nowhere on the list as it doesn’t produce large phones, at least not yet. However, if phablets prove to be more than a fad, Cupertino will probably be forced to respond. 

Durex trials vibrating smart-pants

Durex’s Australian arm has created a pair of vibrating underwear, nicknamed Fundawear, which are equipped with touch technology powered via a smartphone.

Users wishing to please long distance lovers download an app, which has handy diagrams of your partner’s private parts.

Touching these on the screen will kick start the pants and the “teasing, tickling and tantalising” fun begins.  
 
The pants are apparently part of the condom manufacturer’s drive to improve what they describe as “the ultimate pleasure” and are said to be the latest offering from the company’s ‘durexperiment’ team.

To show couples all around the world how it works the company has posted footage of young couple Nick and Dani having a go on YouTube.