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Giesecke & Devrient launches SECCOS® Mobile Payment Sticker for all phones without NFC

Posted by Charbax – July 17, 2012

I think we really need to replace cash and credit cards with our smartphones as soon as possible. NFC is now being included in pretty much evey major brand Android phone released since the beginning of the year, there are still hundreds of millions of phones in the world that do not have NFC technology built-in, and some brands may still consider shipping devices without NFC. I've heard one consideration is that integrating NFC does cost some money and that the NFC antennae actually is kind of big and not too easy to integrate.

But, while it may take months or a year or so for 100% of all new phones and tablets to include NFC, here's the solution for the rest of the market to use their phones for payments and identification right now.

Stickers. Basically the sticker triggers the other device to send a message through the Internet to the identified device. Then the payment is done through the app, no need for a PIN code for payments below $25 or 25 Euros, while the bank can automatically choose to require that a pin code be typed in to approve larger payments.

The NFC is just a technology to make it easier to identify a mobile user with a fixed terminal or with another mobile user. Basically it's like a QR code but without having to aim a camera and scan a picture of it, and NFC can trigger actions on the receiving/emitting device. That triggering can thus work with simply a passive sticker on your non-NFC smartphone if the other NFC-enabled entity "simply" beams you the trigger action through the Internet. The only question I guess is how big is the Sticker, may it bother some users or are all non-NFC users going to be perfectly fine with putting such a sticker on the backs of their smartphones. The sticker may also work on the battery behind the case if that case is plastic based or metals that somehow do not interfere with the NFC signaling.

Munich, July 17, 2012 – G&D presents the first payment sticker to meet the specifications of the German banking industry. When the sticker is attached to a cell phone or smartphone, contactless payment becomes possible even if the device itself is not NFC-enabled. The SECCOS® Mobile payment sticker is certified for the MasterCard® contactless payment method PayPass™. This allows bank customers worldwide to pay bills at over 350,000 PayPass locations.

Although there are around 50 NFC-enabled smartphone models now available, the number of users is still relatively low. This has left the field open for contactless payment stickers to play an important role as a bridge technology on the road to mobile payment by cell phone.

Read the rest of the press release here: gi-de.com

brightsideofnews.com: Carriers boycot Windows Phone because of Skype, non-upgradeability and Nokia’s bad strategy

Posted by Charbax – July 14, 2012

I think carriers prefer Android mostly because it provides the most competitive hardware environment, with the best prices, the best hardware features and the best variety of components, styles, brands, choices for consumers and more. Tomi Ahonen of brightsideofnews.com writes:

The total Nokia Lumia line has been Osborned [announcement of a future product ahead of availability], not by Elop, but by Ballmer (...) by announcing no upgrade path to Windows Phone. (...) even after Nokia was brought in, today the combined market share of Windows Mobile and Windows Phone is down to 2% globally (with share still falling). (...) Ballmer says there won't be a migration path for Windows 8 either. Your existing WP7 based smartphone is an expensive paperweight: you have to buy a new smartphone to enjoy Windows 8 - the Microsoft handset partners team has shrunk to four: Nokia, HTC, Samsung and Huawei. Three of them - Samsung, HTC and Huawei do the majority of their smartphones on Android.

(The dotted line is when Elop was hired to join Nokia and here is the second part of that slide, showing what I originally used it for, to explain the madness of the Elop Microsoft strategy:)

Stephen Elop admitted to the Nokia Shareholders Meeting that carriers don't like Skype 'of course' and that some carriers have taken the step to even refuse to sell any Windows Phone based smartphones, explicitly because Microsoft owns Skype. (...)

And this was not just hitting Nokia Lumia smartphone sales, it was hitting all brands of smartphones running Windows. Elop explained further that for more than a year, Microsoft had tried to negotiate with the carriers to get some resolution about the Skype issue - with kind threats like 'Skype will come in any case' (unhelpful) and that after a year of such 'persuasion' there were exactly zero carriers who had taken Microsoft's offer. (...)

This is about Microsoft now owning the hated Skype and being able to bankroll the biggest threat to the existence of mobile operators/carriers. (...)

The Windows dream of smartphones is now dying and money thrown by Nokia into this bottomless pit is money wasted.

The solution for Nokia I think is quite simple. Simply use Android now (2). With Android, Nokia can easily increase their sales by 50x within months. The same easy and obvious solution is the one for RIM. Just use Android like everyone else! Compete with your knowledge of hardware and services and don't try to own or control the ecosystem! Don't try to build AOL when everyone else is using the web!

Kontron KTT30 Tegra3 mini-ITX motherboard announced

Posted by Charbax – July 14, 2012

No price announced yet. Here's a Tegra3 mini-ITX board.

Specs:

- ARM Cortex-A9 Quad Core 900MHz Processor with NEON Technology
- Integrated Chipset
- DRAM Up to 2 GB DDR3L memory down
- Graphics Ultra low power NVIDIA GeForce GPU with enhanced 3D capabilities; 1080p H264 MPEG-4 encoding/decoding Video Processor
- HDMI 1.4a (up to 1920x1080 pixel), 24 bit LVDS (up to 2048x1536 pixel @ 18bpp) and DSI (up to 1440x900 @ 18bpp), support for 3 independent displays
- 1x mPCIe, 1x mPCIe/mSATA, 1x mPCIe for 3G (oboard SIM socket) 2x SD card
- Target power consumption < 7W, full board
- USB 3x port USB 2.0 (2x Type A and 1x Micro (supports also device mode)
- Serial port 2x RS232 (1x 8wire RS232 port and 1x port which can be used either as cc-talk or 4wire RS232)
- Ethernet 1x 10/100/1000 Ethernet Controller
- CSI/DSI/12-bit par. Camara input, Bootable eMMC
- Mass Storage 2x SD Card, 1x eMMC ( Bootable), 1x SATA 2.0
- Sound Line in/out/mic, S/PDIF in/out (electrical)
- Operating temp. 0°C to 60°C

Find more information: kontron.com
Found via: blogeee.net

E Ink/Hydis and Sharp announce cross-licensing agreement for LCD manufacturing

Posted by Charbax – July 14, 2012

My guess is maybe they plan to combine Sharp's Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide (IGZO) with Hydis's Advanced Fringe Field Switching (AFFS) for LCD screen manufacturing. The cross-licensing agreement lasts 10 years from now.

Here's the press release:

July 12, 2012, Hsinchu, Taiwan – E Ink® Holdings (8069.TW), the leading developer
and  marketer  of  electronic  paper  display  technologies and  FFS  LCD  technologies,
today  announced  that  the  company and  its South  Korean  subsidiary  Hydis
Technologies,  have  each signed  a  patent  cross‐licensing  agreement  for  TFT  LCD
products with Sharp Corporation of Japan.

Under the  terms of each Agreement, which will be in effect  for  ten  (10)  years,  the
two parties will be able  to use certain proprietary  technologies of  the other in the
manufacturing of LCDs.   The agreements make provision for the payment of patent
licensing royalty.  In addition, during the effective period of the Agreements, the two
sides  will  maintain  patent  peace  to  exempt  each  Company and  their customers'
operations  from patent  interference  and  allow each  of  the  parties  to  focus  on
business development.

Hydis’ Fringe Field Switching (FFS) technology is currently used in LCD‐based tablet
PCs, smart  phones,  and  other  high‐end  handheld  devices.    LCDs  using  FFS
technology provide users with a wide viewing angle, high contrast, high‐resolution
display with  the  benefit  of  lower  power  consumption and  is  superior  to  other
similar wide  viewing  angle  technologies in  the market.   Hydis FFS  technology has
been  licensed  to  other prominent LCD  manufacturers  in  the  past,  and  these new
agreements will continue to broaden the use of the technology.  Future applications
of the FFS technology include notebook computers and television, markets in which
the potential growth for utilizing Hydis’ FFS technology remain huge.

“We  are  very  excited  about  these agreements with  Sharp,”  stated  Scott  Liu,
Chairman  of  E  Ink  Holdings.    “FFS  technology  can  greatly  enhance  a  user’s  LCD
experience,  and licensing  to  other leading  LCD makers will  allow  us  to  reach  new
markets and customers.”

$129 Exynos4412 Quad-core ARM Cortex-A9 development board!

Posted by Charbax – July 12, 2012

HardKernel presents their new ODROID-X, it's a quite affordable open mobile development platform based on Exynos4412 ARM Cortex-A9 Quad Core (same as in the Samsung Galaxy S3) which shows PC-like performance.

Specs:

* Low-cost mobile software development platform
* Quad core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore
* 6 x High speed USB2.0 Host port
* 10/100Mbps Ethernet with RJ-45 LAN Jack
* Audio codec with headphone jack and microphone jack
* Android 4.0.4 ICS

HardKernel pretty much is the official/unofficial Samsung Exynos/Hummingbird development kit maker out of South Korea. You can watch my previous videos when they launched the ODROID-A Exynos4210 Tablet Development Kit in March 2011, the ODROID-T in June 2011 and when they launched the original ODROID gaming development device in March 2010.

I guess you can consider this a bit like the official Exynos4412 development board, the Exynos4412 is one of the most powerful ARM platforms on the market today. If there's a box, you may consider this an awesome ARM Powered desktop and set-top-box also. Can you run Jelly Bean, Ubuntu, Chromium OS and Windows RT on it? And it's a games console, see how Super Mario Kart 64 is emulated smoothly on it:

And Ubuntu:

And if you'd like it in a tablet form factor, HardKernel provides the new $850 ODROID-Q with a built-in 3G modem.

E Ink Booth Tour at SID 2012

Posted by Charbax – July 12, 2012

E Ink CMO Sri Peruvemba shows new products and concepts from E Ink and their partners, including traffic lights, crosswalks, kayak and bike computers, and various signage.

Source: E Ink's YouTube Channel

Lenovo LePhone S899t smartphone using ST-Ericsson Nova A9500 launched in China

Posted by Charbax – July 12, 2012

There's a new dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 3G TD-SCDMA Android ICS phone on the Chinese market to be sold at around $200 (1299RMB) starting mid-july on Lenovo's Chinese website and China Mobile retail stores all over China. In addition to the Nova A9500, ST-Ericsson CG2900 and CW1100 connectivity solutions were also selected by Lenovo enabling GPS, Bluetooth, FM and Wi-Fi features. Maybe the screen size is 4.5" IPS, is it a qHD resolution 4.5" IPS screen? Let me know in the comments if you know more specs about this phone.

This could be a big deal if Lenovo and China Mobile plan to mass manufacture and mass sell this dual-core phone at sub-$200 price points all over China. That can help the ST-Ericsson A9500 platform reach a good position as a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 solution for affordable Chinese Android smartphones, ready to compete with the upcoming dual-core MediaTek MT6577 platform.

Source: press release at stericsson.com

My Google I/O (June 27-29th) predictions

Posted by Charbax – June 26, 2012

1. Nexus Tablet, 7" preferably with Pixel Qi LCD to merge Tablets with E-readers. Keyboard dock for Chrome productivity.

2. Android Jelly Bean launched, feature major new features and integrates Linaro code talked about in my video Linaro improvements to Android 4.0.4 performance on the Pandaboard TI OMAP4430 platform for speed optimizations. Most important feature I think is the merger of Smartphone, Tablet, Google TV Set-top-box, E-reader, Chromebook with final fully optimized Chrome on Android on ARM, full Desktop/Laptop level Chrome on ARM Android browsing.

3. Google upgrades Cloud Computing platform to support and host php/mysql web apps such as wordpress, phpbb, mediawiki, Google hosts it for free with unlimited bandwidth when AdSense is used on every page.

4. Google Entertainment System (GES) is launched. It's a layer to turn all Android HDMI/MHL devices and Set-top-boxes into full home console gaming machines that can rival Nintendo/Sony/Microsoft as home consoles. Consider Google to launch the Google Entertainment System for $49 with HDMI out only and up to $99 with a full Google TV HDMI input/output and IR blaster functionality. It's ARM Powered, it's powerful enough to replace your Desktop computer outputting a full Chrome browser on your HDTV/Monitor and using Bluetooth or RF keyboard/mice. It includes the new RF signal to manage Android@Home, thus turning your home into an intelligent connected platform. Consider it a sort of Nexus device to show how Google TV should be done, to show home Android@Home should be done, to show how Android can be used to challenge home consoles, to show how ARM Powered Chromeboxes should be done and to show how the Google Android Hub system for WiFi, White Spaces should be done.

5. Google+ launches major Recommendation/Personalization functionality. Consider the web will no longer be the same. You'll have a totally new experience of web content through a new version of Google+ that is able to provide automatic streams for you based on the items you +1. Finally, the + in Google+ is going to be making full sense. Finally the +1 button is going to be used and everyone will instantly understand the meaning of using the +1 button, it is to teach Google what you like and have Google show you better content automatically. It'll be absolutely revolutionary. A totally new way to surface quality on the web. You don't need a lot of followers, you don't need to be famous, you don't need to be viral, soon after you post quality/original content on the web it can automatically reach the deserved audience. Who circles who will make less and less sense. HD Google+ Hangouts (up to 1080p high bitrates) are added as an enterprise on-demand perhaps paid feature.

6. Google may open up Android development process after Jelly Bean. Consider it Google opening up nightly Android advancements to the rest of the world and taking in more upstream suggestions for Android improvements from the open source community in General. As part of Google's anti-fragmentation effort, Google can announce real-time collaboration in the development of future versions of Android, so new versions of Android reach more devices sooner using over-the-air upgrade systems worldwide. Expect Google to announce Android's total daily activations number to be well above 1.5 million if all Android devices are included in the count, meaning not limiting the count to Google Certified devices, but also include all Chinese devices sold not only in China, also sold in India, Brazil and worldwide. Google can announce that Android tablets daily activations also have overtaken the iPad since December 2011, again if all Android tablets are included in the count, also including the millions of non-certified Chinese Android tablets such as the $55 Android ICS tablets featured in my video: $55 AllWinner Boxchip A13 Tablet Factory Tour

7. Google Project Glass to be released before the end of the year. It's not just the Google reference hardware, it's more importantly about a software layer on top of Android optimized for Augmented Reality usages to be used hands-free using any heads-up microdisplay including the Kopin Golden-i that I filmed and that I have been using since October last year: Motorola Kopin Golden-i at CES 2012 I think it's just a layer of new APIs for Android apps to function well in a hands-free headmounted mode, using Google Voice Actions for voice-commands, using the accelerometer, compass, and all other usual sensors and thus simply providing an optimized Android Home Replacement and APIs for that. The first Google Glass compatible devices can be released from $199 to $499 before the end of this year.

8. Google's Self-driving car system should be targeted as sub-$2000 add-on that can be added to any car. Just add some sensors and cameras to the roof of your car, and insert some electronics to the driving system of your car, and it should be turned into a Google Self-driving car. Google can announce partnerships with several major car makers to include the self-driving car functionality as a sub-$2000 option to several car models, to be shipping before the end of the year.

9. $199 ARM Powered Chromebooks launched. imagine it as nice as an Ultrabook, but for $199, running a full speed Chrome OS on one of the latest ARM processors, for example TI OMAP4470, Tegra3, Exynos4412, HiSilicon K3V2, Qualcomm S4, and more. 20-hour battery life. 100% security using ARM TrustZone. Speed is way faster than Intel Atom Chromebooks, browsing speed is comparable to any $1000 Ultrabook.

What else are you expecting from Google at I/O this year?

You can discuss this thread on Google+: https://plus.google.com/106075758531242552855/posts/Sx8ttoic3NJ

Andreas Constantinou of VisionMobile talks about Developer Economics at LeWeb London 2012

Posted by Charbax – June 26, 2012

Andreas Constantinou talks about the trends of mobile platforms, monetization for developers and more. You can download VisionMobile's report on Developer Economics for free at visionmobile.com. You can also watch the official video of his 10-minute keynote presentation here.

thecitystreet.com networking for people working in finance at LeWeb London 2012

Posted by Charbax – June 26, 2012

Vana Koutsomitis, CEO and Founder of The CityStreet presents her new startup, which is about the organization of parties and other events for people working in finance, so they can network and potentially find new jobs.