Canonical announces full Ubuntu experience for docked Android devices

Canonical—the company responsible for the Ubuntu Linux distro— announced today a fully functioning build of Ubuntu for Android devices. The Ubuntu Unity build will boot after the phone is docked to a keyboard and connected to a display, providing the full experience powered by a smartphone. While Canonical might show more at this year’s Mobile World Congress set for Feb. 27, the firm already revealed hardware requirements including a minimum of 1GHz processor, 2GB of free storage, 512MB of RAM, and HDMI out and USB host mode.

The phone experience is pure Android – it’s a normal Android phone. When the device is connected to a computer screen, however, it launches a full Ubuntu desktop on the computer display. It’s exactly the same desktop used by millions of enterprise and home users on their Ubuntu PCs, and includes hundreds of certified applications, from office productivity to photography, video and music.

As Canonical described in its press release, the best part of Ubuntu for Android is the ability to access and share all Android data across both operating systems including Android apps like phone, contacts, and SMS from within Ubuntu. You might not want to run Android apps when you have access to full-fledged desktop apps in Ubuntu, but you will at least have the option to do so at anytime while docked. The full press release is after the break (via AndroidCentral), and we will keep an eye out at MWC for Canonical: Read more

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 mobile chip benchmarked, twice as fast as the silicon inside Galaxy Nexus

Anandtech put Qualcomm’s new dual-core Snapdragon S4 mobile chip (also known as the MSM8960) through its paces, and the numbers are just mind-blowing. The crux of the publication’s lengthy post is that there is much to look forward to with this chip. With the overall Vellamo score nearly double that of the Galaxy Nexus’s chip (a dual-core 1.2 GHz Texas Instruments OMAP 4460 processor based on an ARM Cortex-A9 CPU with 1GB RAM and a PowerVR SGX540 GPU), Qualcomm’s offering is no slouch by any mean.

In a nutshell: the MSM8960 absolutely destroys every other phone/CPU on the market right now in every. single. benchmark.

The dual-core MSM8960 is clocked at 1.5GHz and it boasts the new 28 Krait architecture that supports one, two, or four CPUs. It will be interesting to see how Qualcomm’s chip stacks up against NVidia’s upcoming Tegra 3 silicon. For the time being, it is the fastest off all the other publicly released phone CPUs, making possible higher-performing smartphones in 2012.

Read past the fold for the benchmark results.

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Wimm talks Android wearables beyond smartphone companions

We told you a few times about the One Module from Wimm, a 1-inch Android-powered device that the company started shipping dev kits for in November. The people at Wimm are focused on bringing wearable technology mainstream, and they recently sat down with Robert Scoble at the company’s headquarters in Silicon Valley to discuss how Wimm’s technology differs from the average Android companion watch. The dev kit was $299 in November but is available now for $199.

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Microsoft criticizes Google Apps with ‘Googlighting’ video and new website to amp smear campaign

Microsoft released the above Google-lambasting video on YouTube (ironically) yesterday to take aim at Google Apps and decry the Mountain View, Calif.-based advertising business of seedily selling productivity software “on the side.”

Microsoft takes a curious spin on “moonlighting” and calls its competition the “Googlighting stranger” while making many jabs at the search engine’s product. The mud-slinging does not stop at the end of the 2.15-minute video, however…

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Fluent is a Sparrow-like UI for Gmail making the ‘future of email’, web-based service runs on all browsers

Fluent is a web-based workflow stream that works with existing Gmail accounts to bring a Sparrow-like user interface to email.

Users can stream email threads and replies, preview aggregated attachments in a tab, quickly reply or compose inline, archive messages, and even add a to-do list with the new design concept that claims to run on any web browser.

Sparrow is a great success as a Mac-only application, and now Fluent hopes to balance the playing field and snag users whom are in dire need of a new Gmail look and functionality. Fluent’s website specifically praises its workflow ability, multiple accounts options, and “blazing” fast search-as-you-type filter.

The streaming email UI is the work of three former Googlers who quit the Mountain View, Calif.-based Company. BusinessInsider said Cameron Adams, Dhanji Prasanna, and Jochen Bekmann left because designers were “less valuable” than engineers at Google, and they felt disconnected from Google’s culture while operating from across the world in Sydney, Australia…

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LG announces ‘L-Style’ Optimus smartphone line for MWC

Just ahead of Mobile World Congress set to take place in Barcelona, Spain from Feb. 27 to March 1, LG has unveiled a new line of ‘L-Style’ smartphones including the 3.2-inch LG Optimus L3, the 4-inch Optimus L5, and the 4.3-inch Optimus L7. LG is calling the line its “new design identity” and plans an official unveiling for MWC later this month. As for the new design concept, a translation of LG’s press release mentions a ‘leather back cover’,  a thin design with squared angles, and a “metal feel of sophistication”.

It looks like the L3, which is landing in Europe this March, will most likely be the entry-level device for the new line, as its the only one not shipping with Ice Cream Sandwich. The two other devices, the L5 and L7, will both run Android 4.0 out of the gate but specifics on specs and pricing for all three devices will have to wait for MWC. Check out LG’s press shot of the devices after the break.
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Twitter leaves Google in the dust, partners with Yandex for integrated search

Twitter paired with Russian search engine Yandex to integrate tweets for real-time search results.

According to Reuters, Yandex has 60 percent of the market share in Russia while Google only holds a quarter. Twitter and Google are no longer partners, and these days the Mountain View, Calif.-based search engine prefers its own Google+ social network combined with personalized search results.

The microblogging service announced today it is giving Yandex permission to meld its pipeline of public tweets, and Reuters said the agreement bears likeness to the contract Twitter has with Microsoft’s Bing…

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Microsoft’s revamped SkyDrive cloud service to take on Google Drive?

With the yet-to-launch Google Drive cloud service that is rumored to take on Dropbox, Microsoft made things a little more official today for its upcoming updated SkyDrive cloud service for Windows 8 and possibly OS X. The new service will include improved file management and synchronization, secure two-factor authentication for remote access to files not yet uploaded to Skydrive, and support for file uploads of 2GB. What makes things interesting are rumors of paid storage options and a Mac client originating from Gemind.com.br who posted (via ArsTechnica) screenshots from Windows Live of SkyDrive advertising clients for “PC or Mac”…

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Microsoft says Google bypasses IE’s privacy settings too (Updated w/Google comment)

Update: Google’s Senior Vice President of Communications and Policy Rachel Whetstone reached out with a statement. Excerpt below, full statement after the break.

Microsoft omitted important information from its blog post today.

Microsoft uses a “self-declaration” protocol (known as “P3P”) dating from 2002 under which Microsoft asks websites to represent their privacy practices in machine-readable form. It is well known – including by Microsoft – that it is impractical to comply with Microsoft’s request while providing modern web functionality. We have been open about our approach, as have many other websites.

Today the Microsoft policy is widely non-operational. A 2010 research report indicated that over 11,000 websites were not issuing valid P3P policies as requested by Microsoft…

For many years, Microsoft’s browser has requested every website to “self-declare” its cookies and privacy policies in machine readable form, using particular “P3P” three-letter policies…

Today the Microsoft policy is widely non-operational.

Much like allegations over Google  “bypassing the privacy settings” of Safari on the iPhone, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Internet Explorer claimed Google is taking similar action to “track IE users with cookies.” After hearing that Google bypassed Safari settings, Google investigated and confirmed a different bypassing mechanism used on Internet Explorers. In a blog post on the IEBlog, Dean Hachamovitch described what they discovered:
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Google acquires failed search rival Cuil’s patent applications

Google acquired the remaining pending patent applications of Cuil, a search engine once extolled as a prospective Google killer.

Two former Google employees and an IBM employee founded the startup that allegedly indexed more websites than Google without retaining information about past search histories or surfing patterns. Many touted it as one of the most successful startups in 2008.

However, things quickly plummeted for Cuil over stirred controversy concerning the abrupt departure of a cofounder. The search engine’s complex two-column format accompanied by thumbnail images did not help the startup’s causes, either. The website eventually went offline in September 2010…

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Google looks to add satellite antenna farm in Iowa to support fiber optic network

Google Fiber wants to erect a satellite antenna farm near its data center in Iowa to likely receive content from broadcast networks packaged with its high-speed fiber optic network.

Google Fiber’s application in a Federal Communications Commission Public Notice for Satellite Communication Services hopes to “register a C-band receive-only earth station and a Ku-band receive-only earth station in Council Bluffs, Iowa.” According to DataCenterKnowledge, the satellite antennas would deliver analog and digital audio, as well as video and data services.

The FCC application mentioned various 4.5-meter satellite dishes for access to satellite transmissions, including international television programming through Intelsat 9. Google purchased an additional 1,000 acres in 2007 near its Council Bluffs data center, and Google Maps imagining depicts a plot of land to the west of the data center where the satellite farm could potentially rest (as seen in the top image)…

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Lawmakers ask FTC to investigate Google over mobile Safari cookies

Following allegations that Google was “bypassing the privacy settings” of the iPhone’s Safari browser, three members of the U.S. House of Representatives want the FTC to look into whether Google’s actions violate a settlement agreement with the FTC stemming from “deceptive tactics” used during the launch of Google Buzz.

Lawmakers, including Joe Barton and Edward J. Markey, Co-chairman of the Congressional Bi-Partisan Privacy Caucus, and Chairman of Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations Cliff Stearns sent a letter to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz on Friday (via ComputerWorld):

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