Monthly Archives: February 2010

Nokia N97 mini Gold Edition

Under the 18-karat gold plated exterior is the good old N97 mini. There’s absolutely no difference, except cosmetically, between the two versions.

The phone will include:

* 3.2 inch TFT LCD with a 360 x 640 pixel resolution
* GPS with A-GPS Support
* Bluetooth 2.0 with A2DP, USB 2.0
* 5 megapixel camera
* 8GB of on-board storage space
* External memory support (microSD) upto 16GB
* 3.5mm handsfree socket

The Nokia N97 mini Gold Edition will be available in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia for 625 euro in the beginning of Q2 2010.

Microsoft Says Google Acts Raise Antitrust Issues

Microsoft Corp made its most vehement and public attack on Google Inc on Friday, calling its internet rival’s actions potentially anti-competitive, and urging victims to file complaints to regulators.
The broadside comes days after a Microsoft-owned business, along with two other small online companies, complained to European Union regulators about Google’s operations there. Microsoft is also fighting a plan by Google to digitize millions of books, currently under scrutiny by the U.S. Department of Justice. “Our concerns relate only to Google practices that tend to lock in business partners and content – like Google Books – and exclude competitors, thereby undermining competition more broadly,” wrote Dave Heiner, Microsoft’s deputy general counsel, in a blog published on the company’s website on Friday. “Ultimately the competition law agencies will have to decide whether or not Google’s practices should be seen as illegal,” he wrote. Google declined to comment on Microsoft’s blog.

For the past two decades, Microsoft has been among the prime targets of competition regulators in the United States and Europe, over the way it handled its near monopoly of computer operating systems. The world’s largest software maker now seems keen to direct regulatory scrutiny onto Google, by far the world’s biggest internet search company. “As Google’s power has grown in recent years, we’ve increasingly heard complaints from a range of firms – large and small – about a wide variety of Google business practices,” wrote Heiner. “Some of the complaints just reflect aggressive business stances taken by Google. Some reflect the secrecy with which Google operates in many areas. Some appear to raise serious antitrust issues.” Heiner said Google’s way of working with advertisers and publishers makes it hard for Microsoft’s competing Bing search engine to win search volume. He suggested firms who feel they have been hurt by Google should complain to “competition law agencies”. The European Commission has not at this stage opened a formal inquiry into Google after it received complaints this week. Microsoft’s attack is certain to heat up relations between the two companies, which now compete on a broad spectrum of technology products, from software applications and mobile phone systems to internet search and e-mail programs.

Motorola Devour

Motorola Devour Is Hard to Stomach

Motorola’s newest Android phone, the Devour, is pretty. Its sleek body, aluminum build and fun slidey screen practically yell, “Pick me up! Play with me!”

And the first thing you’ll want to play with is Devour’s screen. The sliding 3.1-inch LCD can trace its design inspiration back to the T-Mobile Sidekick. It may not open with a flamboyant 180-degree spin but it’s fun to flick up and feels sturdy — there’s no hint it will snap if you push it open too hard.

That said, the phone is a bit heavy and bulky. Dudes: If you’re trying to carry this 5.9-ounce brick around in a pant pocket, it could get awkward (sagging is so ’90s). And ladies: It definitely adds a little unnecessary weight and a lot of unnecessary bulk to the standard clutch. Translation? You’d be better off leaving this leviathan at home on a Saturday night.

Operating the phone is wrought with issues too. The touch-sensitive navigation pad (square button beneath the display) is finicky. Sometimes it slides through screens and icons with precision, and other times it gets stuck on an app and simply doesn’t work. The same holds true of the touchscreen: Movement is jumpy and sticky. After mere minutes of use, the finger sludge that built up on the screen was just plain gross. No part of us wanted to put it up to our face to make a call.

But we did make some calls, and the clarity was decent, albeit with a slight echo. The phone’s UI made navigating calls a breeze. Web browsing is also quick and efficient.

With Motoblur (a proprietary skin Motorola slaps on some of its Android devices) twitter feeds, e-mail and news can be displayed directly on the home screen. If the screen were larger than 3.1 inches, this might be a cool feature. But trying to read updates that appear at less than an inch wide verges on painful and could result in — get ready for it — blurred vision. Blur offers five screens for icons and customizable content, but moving content between screens is difficult because of the fussy touchscreen. There’s just way too much hassle when dragging and dropping icons.

Devour has a QWERTY keyboard option (for when you tire of the miserable touchscreen), but despite its fairly large size, we found it hard to type on the keys. Pressing them down is difficult because the buttons are flush to the base. And the edges of the phone had a tendency to dig into fingers. Ouch!

This phone is not for the aspiring Annie Leibovitz. The 3-megapixel camera failed to take a decent picture; photos consistently appeared dim and unsaturated. There is a handy little button on the side for taking quick photos, but with such abysmal performance, we’d rather tote around a separate point-and-shoot.

Watching videos on the Devour is also severely crippled by that too-small screen. The speaker produces good volume and clarity, but squinting at choppy episode of Lost is just irritating.

As far as Android phones go, there are better choices out there — even from Moto. (The adept Droid leaps to mind.) The Devour, for all its outer beauty is ultimately just another pretty face without much substance behind it.

WIRED Slide-out screen is sturdy, satisfying. Easy aggregation of social networks. Attractive chassis and beautiful build materials.

TIRED Physical keyboard does not make up for atrocious touchscreen performance. Weakling camera. Good gravy, can someone get a crane to lift this heavy thing?

  • Manufacturer: Motorola
  • Price: $150 (with two-year contract)


Twitter Plans Search Ads Like Google’s

Twitter’s got a new plan to make money from its ultrapopular micropublishing system — copy Google’s lucrative search ads — according to All Things D.

The idea is that Twitter will let advertisers sign up to have their ads show up as tiny 140-word posts when users search through Twitter or through other search engines that use its API.

As Peter Kafka describes it:

A search for, say, “laptop,” may generate an ad for Dell. The ads will only show up in search results, which means users who don’t search for something won’t see them in their regular Twitterstreams…. The services will have the option of displaying the ads, and Twitter will share revenue with those that do.

That’s a fine way to start, because it won’t really interfere with the current reading and publishing of the system, and allows the company time to tune its algorithms. Google’s tech juggernaut runs on text ads, and still makes some 60 percent of its more than $20 billion annual revenue from these kinds of contextual ads placed next to search results — the first ad product it ever introduced.

Google makes about a third of its money from its AdSense program, which lets publishers sign up and have little text ads run on their websites.

That kind of program is the logical next step for Twitter, allowing users to sign up to have, say, every 10th post be an ad placed through Twitter. That ad is related to something the user is talking about (an ad for a nearby restaurant if a user is talking about a neighborhood), or simply a branded ad placed because the advertiser likes a particular Twitterer’s audience.

While that might be more lucrative for Twitter, it would certainly be a larger change and could alienate users. So that makes starting with search ads — something nearly all net users are comfortable with and expect — a smart place for Twitter to start, even if there isn’t all that much searching going on.

Pundits and tech journalists have been wondering for years when and how Twitter would make money. Add this plan to the current recurring millions it gets from licensing its real-time streams to Microsoft and Google, and Twitter has a pretty good answer.

SAP Brings Together SaaS Business Intelligence Offerings Into One Complete, Integrated BI Toolset for the Casual User

WALLDORF, Germany – February 24, 2010 –

Easily upload and combine data from any source to create dashboards, reports and interactive visualizations.

Access and explore data in a guided path to produce visualizations like pie charts, and securely share it with other users.

Use personalized dashboards to organize, manage and monitor different analytics.

Learn more about the powerful features of SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand in this short video demo.

Video Watch the Video

Meeting a growing demand from companies of all sizes for software-as-a-service (SaaS) business intelligence (BI) tools that are easy to use, SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) today announced the SAP® BusinessObjects™ BI OnDemand solution. Targeted at casual BI users currently underserved by products on the market, the solution will deliver a complete BI toolset in one flexible offering. Its ease-of-use also will allow them to be up and running with no prior experience or training. With SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand, business users will be able to access and visually navigate data from any source using SAP® BusinessObjects™ Explorer software. Even casual users can then combine that data in just a few clicks, and follow a guided path that walks them through reporting and analysis. The solution will have scalable pricing models based on business need, allowing companies to easily and cost-effectively scale as required.

With more than 260,000 subscribers, on-demand offerings from the SAP BusinessObjects portfolio empower people with the tools and information required to drive their businesses forward. Responding to customer feedback, SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand brings together all SaaS BI solutions from the SAP BusinessObjects portfolio into a complete, integrated BI toolset. Customers will be able to go to one vendor for all their on-premise and on-demand BI needs, rather than having to assemble a patchwork approach to their BI deployments.

The solution will also include capabilities that make it easier than ever for business users to tap into their data online, get better insight into their organization and securely share illustrative reports and dashboards with colleagues inside and outside the firewall. Significant features include:

  • SAP BusinessObjects Explorer software, which empowers people with powerful data exploration and visualization capabilities.
  • Capabilities that guide people with no prior BI experience through the process of accessing, exploring, visualizing and sharing data – all without needing to switch between applications.
  • The ability to access all on-demand and on-premise data – including SAP data and data from the Salesforce customer relationship management (CRM) application. People will be able to easily upload data to create dashboards, reports or interactive visualizations.
  • An on-demand solution for creating ad-hoc reports, conducting what-if analyses and securely sharing this information inside or outside the company. Business users will be able to provide customers, partners and employees across all lines of business with immediate, anytime access to the most current data.

“GENBAND has been using for a few years, which allowed us to add reporting functionality to our Salesforce applications,” said Angie Reese, CRM Business Applications manager, GENBAND. “Everything I’ve seen in SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand is so easy to navigate. Tools like SAP BusinessObjects Explorer will be a great product to draw a much bigger audience of users. The components of this aren’t as technical as seen with other BI applications. GENBAND is also a big Oracle shop for the back-end and a Salesforce shop on the front-end, so another key benefit of the solution is how easily and quickly it can integrate into our existing IT structure.”

SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand will also include flexible pricing, allowing customers to try and use the product, and easily scale their deployment as necessary. Three editions are planned that range from a comprehensive version with limited storage to one with more advanced capabilities and the ability to handle larger data volumes. This pricing and packaging model allows even casual users to seamlessly move from individual use to departmental-wide deployments. They will be able to build out their SaaS BI system from a complete set of easy-to-use front end tools to add backend capabilities, such as a hosted data warehouse and development environment and single sign-on security.

“Current market trends show strong demand for SaaS BI tools that are easy to use and acquire, and IDC research expects the SaaS BI market to grow three times faster than the overall BI and analytics market over the next five years,” said Dan Vesset, program vice president, Business Analytics, IDC. “As organizations look for intuitive, cloud-based solutions that can empower their end-users, applications that supplement traditional BI functionality of query, reporting and analysis with support for workflow, search and collaboration will become increasingly attractive to them – especially applications that offer rapid, alternative deployment options.”

SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand will be available as industry-specific and line of business-specific solutions through Oco, Inc., an SAP BusinessObjects OEM partner with a focus on large enterprise and upper-midmarket business segments. SAP is currently planning to make SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand available through its SAP® PartnerEdge™ program in the channel partner ecosystem later in 2010.

“As an SAP BusinessObjects partner, SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand gives Oco the unique opportunity to bring our cutting-edge analytics to companies in a new, innovative Web 2.0 solution,” said Bill Copacino, CEO, Oco Inc. “By combining Oco’s pre-built industry and line-of-business analytics with SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand, users gain rich content to create compelling dashboards and multi-dimensional reports with detailed, transaction-level data. Having clear insight into a rich store of business information will enable them to identify specific opportunities for improvement, analyze various response scenarios and take decisive action to realize value from their solution.”

“Customers want to work with their data their way – whether it’s behind a firewall, on the Web, or on their local computer in spreadsheets,” said Marge Breya, executive vice president and general manager, Intelligence Platform Group and SAP NetWeaver Solution Management, SAP. “Only SAP can deliver what customers need in this new reality. We understand that user choice is driving the growth of SaaS BI. That’s why solutions like SAP BusinessObjects BI OnDemand let customers understand their business the way they want – instantly and easily. With access to data at their fingertips, customers can make more confident decisions, share their insights with others and react quickly to any changes in their business. SAP makes BI more pervasive by giving underserved casual users an affordable, easy-to-use on-demand BI solution. This is an important milestone in SAP’s on-demand vision, and further proof that we continue to innovate in the cloud.”