Motorola late last week kicked out an update for its Milestone XT720 smartphone that adds a couple of cool features. First, it bumps the device's CPU up from 550MHz to 720MHz, so it should seem a little snappier as a result. Secondly, the other-the-air (OTA) update adds DLNA support.
According to Motorola Europe's Facebook page, the update only applies to users living in the U.K. or Germany. For those that do, the software update is available now.
"We have also produced a top 5 tips and tricks video to maximize the camera functionality of the device," Motorola Europe announced.
Market research firm Gartner went and gave its first "Chief Forecaster," Richard Gordon, a bit of blog space and the first thing he sounded off about was the effect of the European sovereign debt crisis on IT spending.
"Our assessment is that, in addition to the short-term currency effect on our forecast, it is likely that IT spending in Western Europe will be adversely impacted in the medium-term to long-term because government action to reduce budget deficits and debt will mean public sector spending cuts and tax rises and a period of sluggish economic growth," Gordon wrote.
Gordon was quick to put all this into perspective, pointing out that Western Europe accounts for less than a quarter of all IT spending on the planet, and less than 20 percent in the public sector.
Read all of what he had to say -- and there's quite a bit -- right here.
A few years ago in Finland, a case of white collar crime was perpetrated. This in and of itself is not unusual, but the resulting legislation was. It turns out a bank employee used an open Wi-Fi access point to electronically transfer some money that wasn't his. So, clearly the best way to make sure people don't steal is to outlaw open Wi-Fi. That's just what Finland did. But now they're looking back with the benefit of hindsight and realizing they might have overreacted a little bit.
The Finnish Justice Ministry is planning to officially decriminalize unprotected Wi-Fi hotspots. Let's be clear though, this is not an invitation for people to leave the wireless networks unprotected. Individuals should probably protect their networks, unless they really feel like sharing with the neighborhood. This change will be great for businesses that had no choice but to lock down their Wi-Fi networks, causing inconvenience for customers.
It's nice to see a European nation being realistic about wireless networks. Germany recently instituted rules similar to the Finnish ones. We just don't quite see the argument. Do you think everyone should be legally required to lock down their Wi-Fi?
To begin enjoying free turn-by-turn voice navigation, users in these countries will need to download Google Maps Navigation Version 4.2 on a smart phone running Android 1.6 or higher.
In related news, the company has added French, German, Italian, and Spanish to the list of languages supported by its Search by Voice feature for mobile phones. It already supports English, Mandarin and Japanese, and is available on Android, iPhone, Blackberry and Nokia S60 handsets.
Last week, Google enraged German authorities by disregarding a deadline for submitting unauthorized Wi-Fi data it had amassed while collecting images for its Street View service. The company excused itself by saying that there were possible legal ramifications of such a handover that it needed to review, forcing the Hamburg data protection supervisor Johannes Caspar to hint at a criminal investigation against it.
“We screwed up. Let’s be very clear about that,” Mr Schmidt told the Financial Times. “If you are honest about your mistakes it is the best defence for it not happening again.” According to Schmidt, disciplinary action is currently underway against the software engineer who wrote the meddlesome code.
The perils of leaving your Wi-Fi unsecured can be plenty. It can even jeopardize a country's security in extreme cases, as appeared to be the case around 18 months back, when Indian cops found that terrorists were using open Wi-Fi networks to send emails to take responsibility for terrorist activities or to issue threats.
The United States leads Europe when it comes to the number of open Wi-Fi access points. According to WeFi, 40% of all hotspots in the States are unsecured compared to only 25% in Europe. But United States trails France in terms of the number of open access points with captive portals, which are used to “moderate the entry of users into unlocked hotspots.” Although it is not uncommon for public hotspots to be open for the sake of convenience, the use of captive portals can help monitor access and prevent misuse to a certain degree.
Nearly one-third of the world's total Wi-Fi hotspots are unsecured, as per WeFi's estimates. WeFi's database of hotspots includes nearly 50 million hotspots, which the company says is around 10% of the total number of hotspots worldwide.
Spotify is scheduled to launch in the US later this year, or early 2010, but the details of how it will work stateside are still up in the air. In Europe the free version is ad supported, and the ad-free version runs €10 (about $16.60) per month. Due to the competition Spotify faces in the US from services like Pandora, the London based firm is considering a single “freemium” service. Users would be able to pay for specific features.
The service allows users to browse and play any of over 6 million tracks. It even supports offline caching for those times when an Internet connection isn’t available. There is no word yet on the fate of these details for a US release. Licensing negotiations are currently all that stand in the way of US access.
Thanks to a prominently featured 24-inch touchscreen, the Medion X9613 HTPC promises to be a welcome addition to anyone’s home theater.
The X9613, which has currently only been announced for Europe, will come with Windows 7, a Core 2 Quad Q9000 processor, Nvidia GT240M graphics, 4GB of RAM, a Blu-ray drive and a second Slideshow monitor (speculated to be the small screen in the middle of the sensor bar). All in all, pretty generous stats for an all-in-one.
The expected price is anywhere from $2,100 to $2,700 – but that’s after conversion. No idea if/when it’ll be made available to us here in the states. If you’re interested in seeing more though, check out a video if it in action here.
As the upgrade version of Windows 7 is unavailable in Europe, Microsoft is offering the full version for the price one expects to pay for the upgrade version. The price at which the full version is currently available in Europe has had everyone wondering how long it will last. Last week, an Amazon spokesperson told Cnet.co.uk to “treat this pricing as indefinite.” But when it comes to Windows 7 pricing, what Amazon says is of very little import compared to official word from Microsoft.
Microsoft has also announced that the Windows 7 Family Pack will also be available in eight European countries – apart from US and Canada- for a limited span of time. The eight European countries to have been promised a family pack option are UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands and Sweden.
When it comes to handing out fines, the European Commission doesn't mess around. Just last month the EC ____ slapped Intel with a record setting $1.45 billion after finding the chip maker guilty of anticompetitive practices, while in 2004, the EC slammed Microsoft with what today would amount to about a $790 million fine.
The aforementioned incidents no doubt weighing on Microsoft's mind, the software maker will release a version of Windows 7 in Europe with Internet Explorer 8 stripped out.
"To ensure that Microsoft is in compliance with European law, Microsoft will be releasing a separate version of Windows 7 for distribution in Europe that will not include Windows Internet Explorer," Microsoft said in a memo. "Microsoft will offer IE8 separately and free of charge and will make it easy an convenient for PC manufacturers to preinstall IE8 on Windows 7 machines in Europe if they so choose."
Probably a good move, as European regulators earlier this year warned that bundling a browser in Windows would likely violate European antitrust law.