BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) has just conceded to examining its leadership structure. The company has been facing mounting pressure since its disappointing earnings call that confirmed product delays and imminent layoffs. The co-CEO structure of Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis has long been criticized by shareholders and the company has finally responded with the possibility of splitting the co-CEOs.
An open letter from an anonymous senior RIM exec was revealed this morning that railed off eight key complaints about the current state of the company. As if in response to that and to a shareholder request to split up the co-CEOs, RIM has agreed to make some changes—sort of.
RIM’s response seems more like a way to buy some more time in hopes that things will turn around before either CEO needs to get the boot. Instead of allowing shareholders to vote on the matter at the Annual General Meeting, the company will set up an independent committee to study the leadership structure and then make recommendations.
The study will take several months with a report to be issued by January 31, 2012. The Board will have 30 days to respond after the recommendations are received from the committee.
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Okay guys I have the Samsung Dart here to show you all, amazing I know. This little guy is absolutely what you would call a mid-range Android phone, and saying mid-range is being generous. Lately T-Mobile and Samsung have been pushing some decent little mid-range phones out this summer for all those kids and teenagers that are ready for summer and want a new smartphone for graduation or what not. Most have been pretty decent but this is the lower end of the bunch that is for sure.
We’ll start off with a few specs just so you are up to spec. It is small and lightweight Android phone running on Android 2.2 and an old version of Touch Wiz, has a 600 Mhz CPU and a 3MP camera on the rear, but no led flash or anything although you do get a 2GB MicroSD card for all those photos and videos. At first I thought it was a 3.2″ screen like that of the Gravity Smart but quickly found out it was actually smaller, and had a lower resolution. Picture below shows the Exhibit 4G on the left, then Gravity Smart followed by the Dart on the right.
I have to mention it because it is a huge factor in a smartphone since you look at the screen all day, but the Samsung Dart has one of the lowest quality displays I’ve seen to date and I honestly think my G1 looked better. The issue is the 3.14″ screen is only sporting a 240 x 320 resolution and most lower end phones at least are 320×480 in that department. In general the rest of the phone actually feels pretty nice in the hand and of decent build quality. Here is the video below
Samsung Dart hands-on and unboxing
Other than the fact that the display actually is fuzzy enough to give me a headache the phone is quite nice. Android 2.2 works pretty well and the 600 Mhz CPU seems to be enough for a device like this. It comes with Swype pre-installed and it works great and screen responsiveness wasn’t an issue. The phone is currently free with a new line or 2-year contract on T-Mobile or can be bought outright for $200 if you wish. This would probably be a great first smartphone for your kids.
For now check out all the pictures below and get a better look at the device and I will be messing with it over the next few days and will post some final thoughts with a review shortly.
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Amidst the negativity, including a scathing open letter to RIM’s Co-CEOs this morning from another senior exec, the company’s BlackBerry platform saw some updates today that will improve the user experience. The BlackBerry Desktop for Mac app got a 2.1 version that now supports PlayBook syncing and now the Google Search for BlackBerry 6 also gets updated.
The announcement comes from Google Mobile Blog, revealing that several enhanced search features have been integrated that will make using Google.com on BlackBerry devices much faster and easier. There will now be autocomplete and search history queries that appear underneath the search box as you type. There will also have more comprehensive results pages with relevant images, videos, news, and more.
Image search results can now be swiped through quickly and easily on a touch-enabled BlackBerry device, and a new local search feature lets you quickly find restaurants, shops, and other popular business categories nearby.
The improved search experience will affect BlackBerry 6.0 WebKit enabled devices such as the BlackBerry Torch and the BlackBerry Bold 9780. It will also be especially good for touch-enabled devices such as the BlackBerry Bold 9900, which has been delayed for a launch sometime this fall.
[via Google Mobile Blog]
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I was going to through this into the Android Overload but seeing how Google+ is such a hot topic these days, figured it deserved its own post. Not even 48 hours since it was released, the Google+ app has been updated to version 1.0.2 and now includes the ability to sign in using multiple Gmail accounts. Also, noted in the changelog was some minor touch ups in regards to the UI and even a “spiffy” new icon (looks the same to me?). So, if you’ve been too busy messing around with Google+ on the web, be sure to open up your Market app and update the app.
Yesterday, we notified you guys about the new version of Skype 2.0 that allowed video calls over WiFi and 3G/4G. But to many an Android user’s dismay, the new app only officially supported a handful of devices. Google Nexus S HTC Desire S Sony Ericsson Xperia Neo and Sony Ericsson Xperia Pro to be exact.
Well, if you were dying to give the app a spin with your front facing camera equipped Android device, this may be your golden opportunity. Thankfully, Pulser over on the XDA was kind enough to supply the hacked up app found to work with a whole new set of devices (download here).
So if you guys want to give it a spin, leave some comments and let us know if it’s working for you and which phone you are using.
I like to consider myself a pretty easy going guy, always smiling, petting babies and kissing little dogs. Most people would describe me as laid back and are usually amazed at how almost nothing can really set me off. Well, all that changed with the Android Market and, for lack of better words, the Android challenged individuals who have no business rating apps in the first place.
Take these recent reviews on the brand new Google+ app. I can tell you first hand, the app is awesome. It’s got a few bugs here and there but that’s to be expected whenever a new app launches. Overall I would give it a solid 4 stars. So, why the 415 1-star reviews? While I can’t view all of the one star ratings and read all of their reviews, I was able to nab this screenshot here. Yup. These folks are giving the app a 1-star rating simply because they cannot receive an invite. To top it all off, they even have the nerve to provide their email addresses hoping Google, Vic Gundotra or some other benevolent soul will see their pitiful review and send them an invite. Not by a long shot.
I’ve had an Android device since the beginning and I can tell you this: Android will live and die by its Market. If we want to continue to see the OS succeed, we need to be responsible about how we rate the apps in the Android Market. I can’t even begin to tell you how many ridiculous reviews I’ve come across when browsing great apps in the Market.
If you were lucky enough to get into Google+ and have tried the app out, please go back into your Market and rate the app accordingly. Funny enough, I’m sure the majority of people who rated the app 1 star because they didn’t received an invite, wont even take the time to go back and change their rating upon receiving one. And that folks, is what really grinds my gears.
Google is on fire lately! With the launch of the uber exclusive social network, Google+, we were introduced to something I wasn’t used to seeing from Google: polished UI.
Well, it looks like Google is running with the UI from Google+ and incorporating it into Gmail as well. The newer, more minimalistic, clean look wont officially be rolling out for a little while longer but you can get a sneak peak preview with Google making it available as a theme inside of Gmail’s settings. Google had this to say on their blog:
This is part of a Google-wide effort to bring you an experience that’s more focused, elastic, and effortless across all of our products.
Not only will Gmail be receiving a facelift but Google said we should see it in Google Calendar as well so look forward to that in the coming days. I honestly couldn’t stand the old cluttered look and as superficial as it sounds, hated opening my Gmail simply because of how painful it was to look at. Of course, all that has changed and I can now leave my Gmail tab open and get to tackling those 402 unread messages.
Google’s at it again with their famous “me too” approach but hey, I’m not knocking it. This time they’re taking Instagram to the streets with Pool Party for Android. The app was developed by their Slide team and sadly, much like Google+, it’s available by invite only.
Pool Party is a photo sharing app that allows you and friends to upload photos of a concert or party to an album in real time. This not only makes it a direct competitor to Instagram (iOS), but Picplz (Android/iOS) as well. Whether or not we’ll ever see the app leave beta or become open to the public is anyone’s guess but I’m definitely curious to try it out.
We’re all really rather pumped up about the brand new program put out by Google to help everyone in the world be more social and have a great time sharing their interests and lives and whatnot with one another, this program called Google+ – I’m sure you’ve heard of it. I’m also pretty sure that you’d have heard about the fact that this program is still only open to those who’ve got invites to be a part of the program. Up until now these were only people who were specifically invited to be a part of the Beta by Google – now there’s a way in for everyone!
Now we’re not entirely sure that Google has approved of this “work-around” situation we’ve got here, nor are we sure how long it’ll remain open, so you’d better get to it instantly! Reports are that it worked last night for a while, then wasn’t active for several hours this morning, and is now active once more. The instructions for getting someone a brand spanking new working invite are thus, and must be executed by someone already in the program:
1) Add the person’s email to one of your circles
2) Share something with that circle, making sure you’ve checked the option to share via email to the person without Google+
3) That person receives an email with whatever you shared, and a big orange button prompting them to learn more about Google+
4) If they click it they will be prompted to join!
From there they’ll be ready to enjoy all the sweet, sweet social networking that goes on inside Google+, including everything yours truly has outlined in the following post: A Google+ Guide from Top to Bottom. You can also check out a couple other Google+ articles by the names of the following:
Gender’s Role in Facebook and Google+ by Philip Berne
What Google+, Circles, Sparks, and Huddle will Mean for Me and You by Chris Burns
SlashGear 101: What is Google+? by Rue Liu
Get Google+ Invites from SlashGear!
Get in and get taught!
[via Android Community]
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Despite all the fervor for the Apple iPad 2, the tablet actually shipped with disappointing numbers during its first two quarters of this year. Shipping estimates for the tablet were around 6.2 million units in Q1, but only 4.69 million were shipped. And in Q2 only 7 to 9 million units were shipped. This, however, wasn’t due to any lack of demand, but rather, a shortage of supply. With supply kinks worked out, new reports now suggest a much higher number expected for Q3.
Apple COO Tim Cook had attributed the previous low shipment numbers to a major bottleneck the company experienced when they discovered issues with certain components. It was believed to be light leakage issues of display panels from LG, although this was not confirmed. Cook said that they had the “mother of backlogs” and sold all the iPad 2s that they could make.
It looks like the problems are worked out now and reports from Asian components suppliers indicate that Apple is greatly increasing its Q3 iPad 2 parts orders. iPad 2 shipments for the third quarter is set to be around 12 to 14 million.
In order to significantly increase its shipments in the third quarter, Apple has been piling up its inventory of iPad 2 components such as panels in the second quarter to minimize the risk of facing component shortages.
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