Archive for February, 2014

The latest development of Ubuntu for phones and tablets is on show at this year’s Mobile World Congress – including the visually stunning “scopes”, a new mobile UI paradigm.

Ubuntu has announced partnerships with Meizu, a hot manufacturer of phones in China, and BQ, a specialist European phone manufacturer, to bring the first range of Ubuntu devices to market in 2014. The industrial design of those devices is on show at MWC for the first time.

Ubuntu’s scopes are at the heart of its content-centric interface. They enable users to find content directly in the home screen. This gives industry partners extensive opportunities to customise the core interface of Ubuntu around their services and content.

Ubuntu’s tablet experience has also made substantial progress, its amazing multitasking fluidity has come to the fore and makes a great impression on devices between 7” and 10”.

Interested developers can join the GSMA’s WIPJam for a Web Tech Hack session on writing HTML5 apps for Ubuntu, and on integrating them with native devices using Apache Cordova. Look out for the Nexus 7 prize Canonical is giving away as part of the associated hackathon.

The world’s biggest messaging service WhatsApp, which Facebook has just bought for $19 billion, will add voice calls to its product in the second quarter of this year, its chief executive Jan Koum said on Monday.

With 450 million users worldwide, WhatsApp and its competitors South Korea’s KakaoTalk and China’s WeChat have punched a hole in telecom operators’ revenue in recent years by offering a free alternative to text messaging.

The news that the most powerful of them was adding voice calls to its service will likely be seen as worrying for telecom operators globally, which got about $120 billion from text messaging last year, according to market researcher Ovum.

“We are driven by the mission that people should be able to stay in touch anywhere and affordably. Our goal is to be on every mobile phone in the world,” Koum said on Monday, speaking at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Koum said WhatsApp’s acquisition by Facebook would not alter his roadmap to develop the product to reach the next 1 billion users. No advertising will added to the service, he said.

Facebook’s Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg was also slated to speak at 5pm GMT.

WhatsApp’s Koum also sought to cast himself as a partner to telecom operators and not simply a competitor. He announced a partnership with KPN’s E-Plus under which it will launch a WhatsApp branded mobile service in Germany.

“We are working with carriers in established markets to bring value to end users,” he said.

Microsoft Corp is conceiving the idea to allow Android apps on Windows given that the Android has become such a success in a short span of time. The company is split in taking the step, though. One segment of Microsoft anticipates that the company should allow Android apps to run inside its platforms to fill the app deficit. The other segment thinks that it will not be a wise choice for the company and will lead to the end of Windows.

As per reports from The Verge, running Android apps on Windows means that Microsoft will allow Android apps on Windows and Windows Phone platforms. The negotiations are still on over the topic and are said to be in their early stages at Microsoft Corp. The Windows maker’s new CEO Satya Nadella is likely to take a call over the matter soon.

If Microsoft heads with this idea, the company may use a virtualisation layer like Bluestacks’ solution to run Android applications on Windows and will provide the apps through its own customised store. Apps like Temple Run in Android version run on Windows 8 using BlueStacks.

No details are available as of now, since Microsoft is yet to make a choice. Microsoft is reportedly keeping a close eye on the performance of Nokia’s new Android smartphone that may be launched at the Mobile World Congress, this month. The performance of the new smartphone is likely to be a deciding factor for Microsoft to take this call.