Archive for the ‘Social’ Category

Gravity, a really nice Twitter app lands on Symbian S60 phones

Gravity S60 Nokia screenshot 0004At last, smartphones running the Nokia-led Symbian S60 OS have a native Twitter application. And a very slick one at that.

Gravity is supported on phones running S60 version 3, including my own Nokia E71, as well as the latest touch-friendly S60 version 5, which powers the Nokia 5800 (aka the Tube) and the upcoming N97.

The app supports a host of features, including…

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Hands-on review: INQ1 a.k.a. the 'Facebook phone'

Over the last week I’ve been playing with the INQ1, the so-called ‘Facebook phone’. Designed by the same team behind mobile carrier 3’s original “Skype Phone” (see last100’s coverage), like its predecessor, this fairly nondescript 3G candy bar slider masks plenty of innovation on the software side.

Integrated into the handset, for example, is Facebook, Skype and Windows Live Messenger, along with various widgets, such as Yahoo Weather. Just don’t call it a smartphone, says the company. Instead, the INQ1 is billed as a low cost device, designed to appeal to a broader and, perhaps, younger market than existing smartphones from the likes of Apple, RIM, Nokia and HTC.

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Should Nokia get into bed with Facebook? Err, yes

Nokia is in protracted talks with Facebook about ways to further integrate the hugely popular social networking site into select handsets, reports WSJ. Although any partnership deal has yet to be struck, and may never be, according to the article, citing “a person familiar with the talks”.

An obvious feature that’s being explored is deeper integration of Facebook user profiles and contact info into the phones address book, similar to the INQ1 and the yet-to-be released Palm Pre. “When users looked up a contact, they could see whether their Facebook friends were logged on, send them messages and post comments on their profile pages.”

A potential stumbling block, however, is Nokia’s concern over how much mobile-specific user data Facebook would get their hands on. “Nokia doesn’t want the service to provide Facebook with an avenue to compile data about cellphone users, such as their Web browsing or purchasing habits…”

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Google Latitude shows what's wrong with Nokia's social location (SoLo) strategy

If the next frontier is mobile, a key battle ground is going to be location-based services. And, drilling down further, location-based social networking, such as the ability to share your current location with friends. Yesterday, Google went head-to-head with Nokia and a plethora of startups with such an application. Called Latitude, the Google Map-powered software enables users to keep track of where their friends are and what they’re up to. Sort of like Twitter, IM and GPS rolled into one.

If that sounds a lot like Nokia’s Friend View and, more broadly, the handset maker’s social location strategy (SoLo), that’s because it is. But there’s one significant difference: despite investing heavily in its own mobile operating system, Google Latitude has launched simultaneously on multiple mobile platforms: Blackberry, S60, Windows Mobile, and Google’s own Android. iPhone support should also arrive soon, says the company. In comparison, like other Nokia web services, Friend View is only available on S60 and targeted solely at Nokia’s own cell phones.

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Deja vu: Internet 'widgets' coming to the TV in 2009

I’m getting a case of deja vu. Apparently, 2009 will be the year that Internet ‘widgets’ come to the TV.

At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to be held in Las Vegas next month, Samsung, Toshiba and other manufacturers will unveil new televisions that bring Internet content into the living room through support for the “Widget Channel”, a platform for Internet-connected TVs developed in partnership by Yahoo and Intel (see ‘Yahoo, Intel attempt to solve Web content on television with “Widget Channel”). Of course, Internet-connected TVs were also the talk of CES in 2008, with Sharp, Samsung, Panasonic and Google making announcements. This time, however, Yahoo and Intel think they’ve got it right.

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Taking aim at Apple and Sony, Nintendo announces new DSi portable media device

Meet the Nintendo DSi.

As expected, Nintendo announced its latest portable gaming device, dubbed the DSi, at its fall press conference. The DSi is not a game-only device, however, as it includes browsing capabilities, Wi-Fi, a 3-megapixel camera, and other enhancements that bring it more in line with Apple’s iPod Touch and iPhone and Sony’s PlayStation Portable products. In fact, the DSi is not considered a replacement for the current DS Lite line but a complement, or “third platform.”

The juicy DSi details, brought to us by the folks at Kotaku, include:

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The real power of Google's phone: connecting us to people, places, and things

The real power of a Google phone and the Android mobile operating system isn’t just computing power, or search, or advertising, or maps. It’s the ability to connect people, places, and things like never before.

With the introduction Tuesday of the Google phone — dubbed G1 by wireless carrier T-Mobile — we’re  starting to see the potential disruption that Google and Android will bring in the coming year or two. It’s even greater than what Apple and the iPhone have already accomplished.

Together, the so-called Google phone and the iPhone are disrupting the mobile industry with innovative, powerful, handy devices, applications, and services.  Side by side, the Gphone and the iPhone have their differences but overall compliment one another, not compete with each other.

The iPhone is not unlike Apple, which is known for exquisitely designed hardware, user-friendly software, and a user experience like no other. The iPhone has a consumer, digital lifestyle feel to it, just like Apple products.

The Google phone, on the other hand, is not unlike “PC” in the famed “Mac” vs. “PC” television ads. This is not to say, however, that Google is Microsoft. Far from it.

The G1 — at least from what we’ve seen so far — has a “productivity” air to it, which is expected due to the nature of Google. The Android operating system, and the phone’s hardware, was developed first and foremost to showcase what Google does best — search along with Web applications like Maps, YouTube, Google Reader, Gmail, Calendar.

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Netflix is finally coming to Xbox 360, which is getting a dashboard makeover and Mii-like avatars

netflix xbox 360Long rumored, finally here. Netflix is coming to the Xbox 360.

Xbox 360 owners and Live Gold members who are also Netflix subscribers will be able to stream online movies to their consoles at no extra cost. Netflix is the world’s largest DVD rental service.

The Xbox becomes the only game system that lets users immediately watch movies and TV shows steamed from Netflix. Along with the existing Xbox LIVE Marketplace Video Store, the Xbox 360 has more access to movies and TV shows on demand than any other device connected to the TV, according to Microsoft.

Xbox owners can also share Netflix movies with friends via Xbox LIVE party so you can watch “Super Bad” together. This will require an Xbox Gold LIVE account however.

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Seesmic to release bi-directional mobile client in four to six weeks

seesmic mascotThere’s a lot to like about Seesmic, the so-called video equivalent of Twitter, besides the charismatic founder Loic Le Meur, “in cloud” talent like Sukhjit and Giselle, and the people you meet “face-to-face” through video posting and commenting.

But there is one thing not to like: the lack of take-it-with-you mobility. To use Seesmic you’re mostly tethered to a desktop or laptop computer with a Webcam. You can use a cell-phone workaround like Shozu, but it can be cumbersome, working for some, not for others. Many people are hyper-mobile and participating in Seesmic is difficult, at least during the day.

This is all about to change. Over the next four to six weeks, Le Meur said following the Supernova conference, Seesmic will release its own bi-directional client for the Nokia series-60 phones including the N95. A hack for the iPhone 3G (jailbreaking it) will soon follow, as will a client for phones running Windows Mobile (and, it can be assumed, Android when they become available).

“In a few weeks we will have our own mobile client, which will let you have a full Seesmic experience,” Le Meur said.

The full Seesmic experience includes a two-way conversation. You record and upload video posts to the Seesmic Website (as well as other leading video sharing sites like YouTube and social network sites like MySpace and Facebook) that others can follow like Twitter. The community, including friends and strangers from all around the world, can comment on your post, and you on their’s.

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Loopt: a location aware mobile social network

This post is syndicated from ReadWriteWeb.

Loopt is the third location aware mobile social network to become available for the majority of U.S. smartphones . It joins fellow competitors Whrrl and Brightkite, both of which have already started to gain traction (see ReadWriteWeb coverage of Brightkite). However, this is not a market where the first one to debut on the smartphone will be the ultimate winner. Instead, in the wild west of the mobile social networks, the key will be adoption. This is an area where Loopt is making headway, having recently announced deals with all the major U.S. carriers and support for Blackberry smartphones.

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