Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cloudera releases columnar storage for Apache Hadoop

Cloudera has announced the release of Parquet, a general-purpose file format for Apache Hadoop. More information can be found on the company's blog.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Android poised to overtake iOS, according to IDC

A predicted surge of smaller, lower-priced devices in the tablet market has led International Data Corporation (IDC) to increase its 2013 forecast for the worldwide tablet market to 190.9 million, up from its previous forecast of 172.4 million units. Increases in tablet shipments have been made throughout the forecast period with an average increase of 11% between 2013 and 2016. The latest forecast update of the Worldwide Quarterly Tablet Tracker estimates tablet shipments to be upwards of 350 million by the end of 2017.

"One in every two tablets shipped this quarter was below 8 inches in screen size. And in terms of shipments, we expect smaller tablets to continue growing in 2013 and beyond" said Jitesh Ubrani, Research Analyst for IDC's Tablet Tracker. "Vendors are moving quickly to compete in this space as consumers realize that these small devices are often more ideal than larger tablets for their daily consumption habits."

Android-based tablets expanded their share of the market notably in 2012, and IDC expects that trend to continue in 2013. Android's share of the market is forecast to reach a peak of 48.8% in 2013 compared to 41.5% in IDC's previous forecast. Android's gains come at the expense of Apple's iOS, which is expected to slip from 51% of the market in 2012 to 46% in 2013. Longer term, both iOS and Android will eventually relinquish some market share to Windows-based tablets, with Windows 8 predicted to grow from 1% of the market in 2012 to 7.4% in 2017. IDC expects Windows RT growth to remain below 3% during the forecast period.

"Microsoft's decision to push two different tablet operating systems, Windows 8 and Windows RT, has yielded poor results in the market so far," said Tom Mainelli, Research Director, Tablets. "Consumers aren't buying Windows RT's value proposition, and long term we think Microsoft and its partners would be better served by focusing their attention on improving Windows 8. Such a focus could drive better share growth in the tablet category down the road."

While IDC continues to revise its tablet forecast upward, the firm had done the opposite with the eReader forecast. The growth of low-cost tablets is clearly damaging the prospects of the single-use eReader, and IDC reduced its forecast for the category by an average of 14% between 2013 and 2016. IDC believes eReader shipments peaked in 2011 at 26.4 million units. After declining to 18.2 million units in 2012, the category is expected to grow only modestly in 2013 and 2014, before it begins a gradual and permanent decline beginning in 2015.

Andy Rubin steps down

Andy Rubin, Google's head of its Android operating system, has stepped down. Sundar Pichia, head of Google's Chrome division, will take over his spot. Google has additional information.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Kobo amps up storage on Kobo Arc Tablet hitting stores this November

Kobo, a global leader in eReading, today announced that the Kobo Arc 7" Android 4.0 tablet will be hitting stores in November with 16GB, 32GB and 64GB options. Taking a new and innovative approach to tablet design, Kobo designed the Kobo Arc to transform the traditional tablet experience from searching within apps to an immersive content platform with its unique interface Tapestries. People now have more choice in how they explore, save and experience the music, movies, eBooks, and webpages they love with the Kobo Arc – and with more storage available the possibilities are endless.

"We designed the Kobo Arc to let people focus on the music, eBooks, movies, website and applications they love rather than on the hardware they hold in their hand – though that is amazingly designed as well," said Wayne White, General Manager of Devices, Kobo. "We've accomplished this by offering consumers more – more storage, more customization, more choice – all in the powerful, attractive and vivid Android 4.0 Kobo Arc."

Based on the content people "pin" to their Tapestries – from webpages, news articles, eBooks, movies, or pictures – the intelligent recommendations engine suggests additional content in the first-of-its-kind, Discovery Ribbon. The Kobo Arc is the only tablet that learns about the interests of its user, rather than tracking payment and browsing history, to suggest more of the content they love. Beyond the Tapestries interface which is designed to reflect the personal tastes of its user, consumers can also personalize their Kobo Arc experience through more eReading options, selecting from black or white models, as well as colourful SnapBacks in blue and purple.

The highly responsive Kobo Arc is driven by a 1.5GHz OMAP 4470 dual-core processor to deliver more processing power while retaining more than 10 hours of battery life in a single charge, giving consumers a highly responsive and long-lasting multimedia experience. Its 7" high-definition display with 178 degree viewing angles, 215 pixels/inch and 1280x800 resolution with 16-million colours bring video and pictures to life. In Kobo's laboratory drop-tests, the Kobo Arc's ultra-durable glass proved more resistant to damage than any other tablet currently available in the market. At only 364 grams, the Kobo Arc is also one of the lightest 7" tablets available and with the new storage configurations, consumers will relish in their ability to store as many songs, movies, eBooks, and pictures as they desire.

Comfortable to hold and optimized for reading outdoors, the Kobo Arc has front-facing stereo speakers with SRS TruMedia sound to bring music to life as well as a 1.3 MegaPixel front-facing camera, built-in microphone, and 802.11 WiFi to easily connect to the web without an expensive data plan. The fully customizable Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system allows consumers to configure and modify the Kobo Arc. The company has already begun its development plans for Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean). The Kobo Arc comes with Google Play to provide hours of entertainment through the Google Play Store's 600,000 apps including Gmail and YouTube in addition to pre-loaded apps like Facebook, Twitter, Rdio, Zinio and PressReader.

With the Kobo Arc, Kobo continues to build on its Read Freely philosophy which encourages more people to read anytime, anyplace and on any device they choose. The company's eReading platform automatically syncs people's libraries across devices from the Kobo Arc, to its E Ink eReaders, to the free apps for virtually any desktop, tablet, eReader or smartphone.  With more than 10-million users across 190 countries, Kobo offers more choice than ever before with its new Family of eReaders, growing catalogue of more than 3-million eBooks, and content in 60 languages.

The Kobo Arc will be available for $199.99 (16GB), $249.99 (32GB) and $299.99 (64GB). Pre-orders will be available this fall in advance of its in-store availability this November.

LG to change market dynamics with Optimus G by focusing on differentiated user experience

Today LG announced the launch of the Optimus G, a new premium flagship device offering a unique User Experience (UX) supported by innovative hardware performance. The powerful hardware included in the Optimus G allows for the possibility of such a creative and engaging UX which will enable Optimus G users to “live without boundaries.”

With the powerful quad-core CPU, Snapdragon™ S4 Pro processor and industry best technologies for enhanced viewing and longer battery life, LG adds the finishing touches on the Optimus G with a beautiful sleek design and innovative UX features. The offerings in the Optimus G will provide users an experience currently unavailable on any other smartphone.

“The Optimus G is a groundbreaking premium device not only in the history of LG but also in the smartphone industry,” said Dr. Jong-seok Park, president and CEO of LG Electronics Mobile Communications Company. “With the Optimus G, users will be able to experience unsurpassed UX features that will allow them to perform tasks that really enhance their daily lives.”

New Form of Cross-Tasking and Engaging UX
With reliable and speedy performance, LG’s Optimus G doesn’t solely enable multi-tasking but “cross-tasking” of activities without limitations. If multi-tasking applies to running various applications at the same time, cross-tasking applies to complex tasks that can be completed simultaneously without having to compromise other tasks. Some new UX features that will be included into the Optimus G to showcase its cross-tasking and engaging capabilities are:
• QSlide Function shows two different screens simultaneously on one display. As it doesn’t just show a part of the screen but the entire screen of both functions, the user can complete two tasks concurrently -– such as sending a text message or searching the web while watching a video;

• Live Zooming enhances the video-watching experience as users can zoom in up to five times while the video is being streamed for a close-up of one’s child while watching a recorded video from a school recital;

• Dual Screen Dual Play not only allows mirroring between the smartphone and a TV, it also has the ability to display different content on each screen wirelessly. For example, a slide presentation can be displayed on the TV while the Optimus G shows the accompanying speaking notes;

• QuickMemo allows users to write, draw, or jot a memo with their finger directly on the captured screen for sharing instantly with others as an attachment or a URL. The QuickMemo can also be used as an overlay feature - like jotting down a number using the QuickMemo and directly dialing the number while the number is on the top layer;

• Screen Zooming allows for the zooming in and out of lists in music player, email, text messages and photo gallery. It also offers the ability to change the font size and screen layout;

• Application Link launches preset applications (email, calendar, weather, etc.)  when the alarm is turned off – making preparation time in the morning go a little faster with all the information on your screen;

• Icon Personalizer allows users the ability to customize icons by editing size and adding images so the most frequently used apps can be most easily accessible.

In addition, smart and fun camera features in Optimus G will allow for capturing and seizing those special moments in our lives. Utilizing the industry’s highest resolution camera at 13MP, users will have the opportunity to capture their favorite scenes with:
• Smart Shutter senses camera vibration or the movement of the subject and adjusts the shutter speed for the best shot;

• Time Catch Shot enables the user to choose the best among various shots taken before the shutter button is pressed;

• Cheese Shutter takes photos easily with voice activation command just by saying cheese, kimchi, smile or even LG;

• Low Light Shot Noise Reduction employs a light monitoring system and activates when the camera is used in a low-light situation for the least amount of noise.

Design Masterpiece with Timeless Value
Inheriting LG’s design DNA and heritage, the blend of delicate design and technology placed the emphasis on simplicity with a completely black unibody form in the Optimus G. For this unique look, LG developed and patented the Crystal Reflection finish, which is applied to the back of the Optimus G for a luxurious look and feel. Crystal Reflection gives the Optimus G’s back cover the ability to display different patterns depending on the viewing angle and lighting. Also, the intricate polarized pattern, which sparkles under the sleek surface, creates a three-dimensional illusion that is eye-catching and exquisitely reminiscent of a jewel. And finally, laser cutting gives the Optimus G a clean finish with metallic highlights.

Unparalleled Technologies for Ultimate UX
The elegant yet sleek design and the imaginative UX experience displayed in the new Optimus G were possible thanks to a collection of technologies from industry-leading developers in their field.

As the first quad-core smartphone with LTE connectivity capabilities, Optimus G complements the enhanced UX features with unsurpassed speed and power from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon™ S4 Pro Quad-Core CPU processor. The state-of-the-art display technologies such as the Zerogap Touch and True HD IPSPlus Display from LG Innotek and LG Display harmonize to offer the slimmest, sharpest and clearest viewing experience yet. The new battery from LG Chem has a longer life of 800 cycles, a significant improvement over existing mobile phone batteries. An ultra high-resolution, compact 13MP camera is employed in the Optimus G to offer the sharpest photos without pixelation – even when creating extra-large prints.

LG Optimus G will go on sale in Korea starting next week followed by key global markets in October.

Introducing the powerful Motorola RAZR i with Intel Inside and an edge-to-edge display

Motorola Mobility in partnership with Intel Corporation introduced the powerful MotorolaRAZR i with Intel Inside: the new full-screen smartphone that fits in the palm of your hand. Its Super AMOLED Advanced 4.3-inch display spans from edge-to-edge with virtually no border - giving you more screen with less phone. RAZR i is the first smartphone that can achieve speeds of 2.0 GHz thanks to a fast Intel Atom processor. Jump from a game to a text and over to a playlist, then off to browse the Web - all without stopping and on a long-lasting battery that is 40 percent more powerful than the competition.

The power of Intel Inside means you also get an instant-launch 8-megapixel camera that can load in less than a second2. Just use the dedicated camera key so you get the shot you want. When there's action involved, multi-shot mode lets you snap 10 pictures in less than a second. And with the illuminated sensor located on the back and High Dynamic Range (HDR) capabilities, you'll get a great shot, even in challenging lighting conditions.

"Together with Intel, we're redefining what people can expect from a mobile device. A camera that launches in an instant, Web pages that load blazingly fast and a device that's the perfect balance of screen size and fit in hand," said Jim Wicks, senior vice president, Consumer Experience Design, Motorola Mobility. "RAZR i delivers just that when you put an Intel-fast processor in a beautifully designed phone and add in extra long battery life."

"Motorola RAZR i with Intel Inside naturally blends together the value propositions of high performance Intel Architecture and great battery life, Motorola Mobility device innovation and the Android platform," said Erik Reid, general manager, Intel's Mobile and Communications Group. "Intel's goal is to provide compelling technology options that translate into great user benefits and experiences. RAZR i is a great proofpoint in the collaboration and we're thrilled to be working with Motorola to bring this edge-to-edge experience enhanced with Intel Inside to people around the world."

Powered by Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich (upgradeable to Jelly Bean), RAZR i puts the Google universe in your hand. Google Play gives you access to more than 600,000 apps and games, millions of books and thousands of movies. Get where you need to go with Google Maps for Android with free turn-by-turn directions and voice guidance. And when your hands are full, use Voice Actions for Android on RAZR i to compose a text, get directions, make a call, play a song...or simply Google something. RAZR i also features near field communication (NFC) technology so you can send contacts, links, maps and more directly to compatible phones with Android Beam. Just hold the phones together and tap the screen.

Designed with premium protective materials, RAZR i is built to go everywhere. A diamond cut aircraft-grade aluminum4 frame surrounds the display, which is made of Corning Gorilla Glass, to deflect both scratches and scrapes. On the back, RAZR i is made DuPont KEVLAR strong3. Spilled coffee? Caught in the rain? Don't worry. RAZR i is protected with a splash-guard coating—even on the electrical boards inside.

RAZR i already has a long battery - and when you set up the SMARTACTIONS battery savings rule your phone will automatically adjust to squeeze more out of each charge. Whether you want to maximize your last ounce of power, or prevent your phone from ringing during a meeting, SMARTACTIONS will automatically trigger specific actions. Motorola's exclusive Guide Me app comes preloaded with interactive, swipe-by-swipe tutorials for tons of features – no instruction manual required. Also unique to Motorola, the interactive Circles Widget allows quick access to notifications, weather, time and more.

Availability and pricing
Motorola RAZR i will be available in black beginning in October in select European and Latin American markets including the U.K., France, Germany, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico with more to be announced. A stand out white version will also be coming to select markets. Pricing and availability will vary by country, so please visit www.motorola.com/razri for the latest information.

For more information and multimedia assets for Motorola RAZR i, please visit our press kit at http://mediacenter.motorola.com

MasterCard releases mobile PayPass software development kit to simplify payment application creation

MasterCard continues to make payments simpler and more secure through the release of the Mobile MasterCard PayPass User Interface Software Development Kit (UI SDK) for Android and BlackBerry OS 7 mobile operating systems. Free to license and available globally, this new toolkit helps issuers, mobile network operators and third party developers rapidly build innovative new mobile applications that give consumers the speed and convenience of PayPass Tap-and-Go contactless payments – directly from their smartphone.

The availability of NFC-equipped phones is rapidly increasing, with over 70 models already approved by MasterCard as Mobile PayPass compatible devices, and the growth of Mobile payment transactions is accelerating. According to Juniper Research, payments from NFC-equipped phones are expected to be responsible for sales exceeding $75 billion by 2013.

Prior to the launch of the Mobile MasterCard PayPass UI SDK, highly specialized skills were required to develop applications that could interface with the NFC capabilities in popular smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC One X, Sony Xperia S and RIM BlackBerry Bold 9900. Now, MasterCard is providing a programmer-friendly set of functions that make it easy for application developers to rapidly deliver payment apps to consumers – without having to become smart card programming experts.

“BMO’s vision is to be the bank that defines great customer experience,” said David Heatherly, Vice-President, Payment Products, BMO Bank of Montreal. “We fulfill that vision each and every day by continuing to innovate and by delivering products and services to our customers that are relevant in today’s market and offer a better payment experience. Last September, BMO became the only major Canadian bank to roll out a ‘Tap and Go’ payment solution for mobile phones using a Mobile PayPass tag. MasterCard’s UI SDK gives us the opportunity to continue to be a leader in this space as the technology supporting mobile payments evolves.”

MasterCard’s toolkit provides everything software developers need to quickly create contactless payment solutions for Android and BlackBerry users
• API Code Libraries
• API Specification Documentation
• Developer Guide
• Sample UI Application Code
• White-Label Reference UI Application
• Test Suite to Ensure Compliance and Apps

These tools help to rapidly integrate Mobile MasterCard PayPass into a proximity payment mobile UI application, a mobile banking application or a mobile wallet application. The White-Label Reference UI Application allows financial institutions to create a contactless mobile application within their own branded app. Along with a developer friendly toolkit, MasterCard has also streamlined the UI approval process so that customers can quickly and efficiently bring a Mobile MasterCard PayPass service to market.

“Consumers are gaining comfort and familiarity with mobile and contactless payments, requiring the financial institutions and mobile network operators that offer these services to ensure a consistent and positive experience,” said Mung Ki Woo, Group Executive, Mobile at MasterCard. “As we continue to lead the industry with mobile and contactless payments innovations, we saw an opportunity to simultaneously help our partners and improve the overall user experience. Our first-ever UI SDK provides smart tools and makes it easier for our partners to issue a complete contactless payment solution on mobile.”

Mobile PayPass UI SDK is available to developers of all levels including corporations, financial institutions, merchants, third party developers and more. For more information, please visit http://www.mastercard.com/mobile/mobile-paypass.html