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Gadget watch: Why RIM is giving free BlackBerry

Last updated on: November 2, 2011 17:41 IST

Gadget watch: Why RIM is giving free BlackBerry

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Kul Bhushan, ThinkDigit.com

Here's the latest that has taken the tech world by storm: from Samsung and Nokia's flexible displays to first Windows 8 smartphone to RIM's offer of free BlackBerry Curve 8520 with PlayBook tablet to the first tablet that will come out with Android Ice Cream Sandwich and more.

Get all the updates that is hot and happening in the world of technology and gadgets.

In view of the ongoing festive season in India, Research in Motion (RIM) is offering a free BlackBerry Curve 8520 with the purchase of its recently launched tablet PlayBook.

"This festive season on purchase of BlackBerry PlayBook on MRP (max retail price), BlackBerry is offering a free BlackBerry Curve 8520 and a BlackBerry PlayBook accessory," says RIM in a statement. The offer is valid for all the PlayBook variants -- 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB models.

The PlayBook 16 GB variant is available for Rs 27,990, while the 32 GB comes for Rs 32,990. The 64 GB model is priced at Rs 37,990.

The BlackBerry Curve 8520 is available for Rs 9,600 at the retail and online stores. The Curve 8520 is considered to be an entry-level BlackBerry device. The device features a 2.46 inch TFT display, 2 MP camera, 256 MB of internal storage which could be extended up to 32 GB via microSD.

The offer is valid till November 30, 2011.

RIM's free Curve 8520 offer seems to be a good deal for the Indian customers and also for the company looking to push the PlayBook sales in India. It may be recalled that the PlayBook has failed to change the fortunes of RIM, which is facing stiff competition from Apple's iPhone and Google's Android devices.

Having said that, does the new RIM offer interest you? Let us know your take in the comments section below:

NEXT: iPhone 4S reportedly suffering from battery life issues


Image: BlackBerry Curve 8520 and PlayBook tablet

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iPhone 4S reportedly suffering from battery life issues

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Like the initially flawed iPhone 4 with its glaring death-grip flaw or antenna issues, it looks like the recently launched iPhone 4S is suffering from its own performance issues, such as a low battery life.

While the fix of the issue is much simpler this time around, and will probably just require a software or resource management patch, it appears to be affecting a large fraction of customers, with more than a thousand posts on the issue up on Apple's support forums.

Apple seems to be aware of the issue, with reports of it contacting affected users spreading over the internet.

Speculation about the possible cause of the issue seems to be centred around the iOS 5's Location Services, with the device constantly checking time zones, and draining battery power. If this is indeed the issue, a temporary fix for users is simple -- switch off the automatic Setting Time Zone feature.

While the culprit is thought to be iOS 5, there have been no publicised reports of older generation hardware suffering from the similar problem under the new OS. Some users think it is something bigger than location services that is causing the drain, and even fresh-installed the OS to ensure there were no extra applications running in the background, to no avail. To be noted however, is that not every iPhone 4S owner is facing a problem with battery life.

For now, Apple has yet to release an official statement about the entire issue.

NEXT: First Windows 8 smartphone scheduled for January release

Also Read: Get Ahead Gadgets and Gaming

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Image: iPhone 4S

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First Windows 8 smartphone scheduled for January release

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While Windows 8 still seems to be a long way from official release, reports of upcoming devices supporting it are becoming more common -- such as the Dell Latitude ST tablet. Now, a Chinese company, In Technology Group, has announced it is developing a Windows 7 smartphone that will support Windows 8 when it is released, just like the Windows 7-at-launch Dell tablet.

ITG has in the past launched two Windows phones, one that ran XP, and another, the XP Phone, that ran Windows 7. The upcoming Windows 8-ready device will be called XP Phone 2, and will be the company's slimmest, lightest, and most energy efficient such device. ITG is calling the "smallest notebook PC in the world."

The XP Phone 2 will feature some pretty solid hardware with a 4.3-inch display, a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom Z530 processor, 2GB of RAM, and 112 GB of SSD storage space. ITG also mentioned it is considering a 2 GHz offering as well. Other specs revealed include an 18-hour talk time, and 46 day standby time.

The XP Phone 2 measures in at 140 x 73 x 17.5mm, and will apparently have a docking system to provide a keyboard for laptop-like form factors.

As for pricing and availability, nothing yet has been revealed -- though a January release is speculated.

NEXT: Lenovo Windows Phone device spotted online

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Image: Windows 8 smartphone

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Lenovo Windows Phone device spotted online

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Looks like another OEM has joined the Windows Phone bandwagon, with pictures of a device resembling the Lenovo LePhone S2 running Windows Phone 7.5 appearing on the web. Earlier in October, Andy Lees, Microsoft's president of the Windows Phone division, had mentioned that new OEMs will be joining soon, and, other reports also speculated that the company was in talks with Chinese manufacturers like Huawei, Lenovo and ZTE, at around the same time.

The images were leaked on Chinese news site, CNBeta, and the device in them appears to be identical to the LePhone S2 Android device that we've been hearing about as the successor the LePhone. The leaked device seems run dual-operating systems -- Android and WP7.5.

According to WPCentral, the device is probably an early prototype, considering the unfinished look of the device, with its barely visible Windows Phone buttons.

For now, Lenovo has not launched a smartphone anywhere outside of China. Some reports speculate that the dual-operating system device might just be an engineering experiment by a developer at Lenovo, and not much else.

We'll have to wait from an official announcement from Lenovo, or other Chinese OEMs, before we can assume the veracity of the device.

NEXT: Samsung Galaxy Note to arrive in India by November

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Image: Lenovo Windows Phone device

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Samsung Galaxy Note to arrive in India by November

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Samsung will be launching its Galaxy Note smartphone in India on November 2, according to a recent report by IBNLive. The Korean consumer electronics giant will also be live streaming the launching event on that day, between 12:30 and 13:30. Pricing is still under wraps.

The Galaxy Note was first introduced to the world back in September, and was launched only in a few markets across the globe. The Galaxy Note certainly has a unique form factor, with its massive 5.29-inch display, the largest of any mobile phone till date, with a resolution of 1,280 x 800 pixels the device is quite thin though, measuring in at 9.65 mm at its thinnest, and isn't inordinately heavy, weighing in at 178 grams.

The device is called the Galaxy Note because of its S Pen feature, which will allow users to take notes, write, and even navigate using the capacitive stylus provided. Samsung is also going to release an S Pen SDK for third-party developers.

Other specifications of the Android 2.3 Gingerbread device include a 1.4 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex A9 processor with Mali 400 GPU, 1 GB of RAM, choice of 16 GB or 32 GB of built-in storage expandable to 32 GB via microSD card, an 8MP rear autofocus camera with LED flash and 1080p HD video recording, a 2 MP front-facing camera, stereo FM radio with RDS, GPS with A-GPS, active noise cancellation with dedicated mic, and a massive 2,500 mAh battery.

The Galaxy Note also features a gyroscope and proximity sensor, a barometer, and, a variety of connectivity options -- Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n with hotspot, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA; HSDPA 21Mbps, HSUPA 5.76 Mbps; Bluetooth v3.0+HS, as well as USB-on-the-go and microUSB v2.0 (with MHL for TV-out).

The device also comes with a document editor onboard, Samsung's ChatON software, as well as optional NFC support.

NEXT: Samsung to launch phones with flexible displays next year

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Image: Samsung Galaxy Note

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Samsung to launch phones with flexible displays next year

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Remember Nokia's flexible phone prototype showcased at the Nokia World 2011 event? Well, we don't know when Nokia is going to materialise its 'concept kinetic device' but what we know is that Samsung will start selling bendable phones from next year!

"The flexible display, we are looking to introduce sometime in 2012, hopefully the earlier part than later," says Samsung spokesperson Robert Yi on its earnings conference call. "The application probably will start from the handset side and then migrate over to tablets and other mobile devices." The spokesperson declined to divulge more details.

Earlier this year, Samsung had taken over a Dutch company Liquavista, which develops electrowetting displays. These displays are not only known for their low-cost but also for high brightness, flexibility and transperancy.

Samsung has already showcased its flexible and transparent displays at the CES 2011. The 4.5-inch flexible and 19-inch transparent AMOLEDs had then received extensive media coverage.

If reports are to be believed, Samsung's flexible phones will also feature an interactive screen, very much like the one showed off by Nokia. While Asha and Windows Phones headlined the Nokia World 2011 event, Nokia's concept 'kinetic device' also managed to grab the eyeballs (more on it later in this slide show).

As previously reported, Nokia's bendable phone features a flexible OLED display, which can be bent from the middle and edges.

Samsung's foray into the flexible display segment has not surprised the industry much as the company seems to be riding high on the success of its devices, especially the Galaxy S II. The company also recently surpassed Apple in global smartphone sales in the third quarter of 2012 (more on it later in this slide show).

NEXT: Samsung takes the lead from Apple in Q3 global smartphone sales

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Image: Samsung's flexible displays

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Samsung takes the lead from Apple in Q3 global smartphone sales

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Tides are turning, with Samsung taking the lead from Apple in global smartphone sales in the third quarter of 2012, according to a report released by Strategy Analytics. Apple had taken the lead for the first time in the second quarter, with an 18.5 percent share that's now dropped to 14.6 percent. The Korean giant in the meanwhile, has raked up a 23.8 percent share of the market in Q3 2011, growing from 17.5 percent in Q2.

The two companies, who partner on various components for iOS devices, have been engaged in litigation over smartphone design patents for a while now, and their worldwide sales battle in this context of countrywide sales disputes make for interesting times.

NEXT: Nokia's concept kinetic device has a flexible OLED display

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Image: Samsung takes the lead from Apple

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Nokia's concept kinetic device has a flexible OLED display

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While Windows Phone smartphones headlined the Nokia World 2011 event, Nokia also unveiled a very innovative prototype phone, featuring a flexible OLED display. The prototype named 'Nokia kinetic device' features a large flexible OLED display, which can be bent from the middle and edges.

The Nokia phone uses its "flexible" feature to scroll through its applications. For example, you can zoom in and out photos by bowing it inward and outward respectively. Similarly, you can play and pause the music. By tapping the edges, you can pan through the photos on the phone.

CNET.com in its report quotes Tapani Jokinen, one of the brains behind the kinetic device technology, as saying that the flexible phone could have feature to receive call or pause music without needing to look at the screen. However, Jokinen did not disclose when will this phone hit the retail market.

NEXT: Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime to sport Ice Cream Sandwich OS

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Image: Nokia's concept kinetic device

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Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime to sport Ice Cream Sandwich OS

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Taiwan-based hardware maker Asus has announced that all of its Eee Pad series of tablets will be soon upgraded to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. The first Asus tablet to sport the latest Android OS will be the upcoming Eee Pad Transformer Prime.

In a statement, Asus says, "Are you waiting for Ice Cream Sandwich? Good news for ASUS customers. Google recently announced the latest update for Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, which brings some exciting new features and capabilities. We're delighted to confirm support for Ice Cream Sandwich on the ASUS Eee Pad Family -- our aim is to bring the latest Android update to the Eee Pad Series, but at this time we are unable to set a date for its release. Please stay tuned for more news on our Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade plans".

The announcement comes ahead of the launch of the long-awaited Transformer Prime, or Transformer 2.

The naming certainly does indicate that ICS might be onboard. The new Asus tablet has got extensive attention after it was rumoured to feature Nvidia's much-awaited Kal-El quad-core chip, or the Tegra 3. Even though the specs of the new Eee Pad Transformer Prime are still sketchy, it supposed to feature a 10-inch display and nearly 15 hours of battery life.

The Prime also includes a mini-HDMI port and SD card slot. The Transformer Prime is expected to be launched on November 9, alongside with Tegra 3.

The Eee Pad tablet range is comprised of Transformer and Slider tablets. Both forms of the tablets have either integrated or detachable keyboards. Presently, they run on Honeycomb operating system. In case Asus manages incorporating the ICS in the Transformer Prime then it will be perhaps the first tablet to sport the latest Android OS.

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Image: Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime

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