How Google Maps cleverly avoids getting entangled in border disputes

gizmodo

Gif courtesy of Gizmodo

You can’t please all of the people all of the time – but when it comes to disputed borders, Google Maps gives it a very good try.

According to this wikipedia page, there are more than 200 disputed borders in the world – territories that are claimed by more than one country. Even the USA and Canada argue about who owns two islands, three straits and one sea. That’s more than 200 opportunities for Google Maps to cause offence …  Read more

As predicted, HP launches its Slate 6 and Slate 7 VoiceTab Android 4.2 Phablets

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Last week, we went on the record saying that HP was set to unveil their new smartphones within a week and here we are just 5 days later with an announcement.  The quad-core Slate 6 and Slate 7 VoiceTab are (as predicted) 720P displayed “mega” phablets that will play in the same market as Samsung’s Galaxy Mega line. The initial launch country will be India but more are on the way.  While no price was given, we’d imagine that since the other details were true, the $200 price point for the Slate 6 VoiceTab and $250 for the 7-inch seem like a pretty good starting point.

The phones will come with 16GB of on board storage and have a Micro-SD card for 32GB more storage. As you can see in the image above, they both have stereo speakers a la the HTC One (no word yet on Beats Branding which HP still uses and HTC once used).

It appears that HP has really done its homework here and has identified a market where it can make things happen. HP obviously has a huge brand and PC presence in India and at the same time, the market is easy to enter because the carriers aren’t gatekeepers like they are in the US.

As for the phones themselves, they actually have some styling which is a notable step up from HP’s US slate lineup. While I’ll go on the record saying that I’m not a fan of the Black on Gold appearance from the press release and Android skin they are showing off, I’m not privy to style considerations from India.

Also ringing an alarm bell is the Android 4.2 launch OS. Combined with that pretty heavy looking skin/overlay, Indian consumers are already starting 2 OSes back…and counting.

In all, though Google has to be pretty satisfied with the launch. HP is traditionally a Windows shop but since Meg Whitman’s return has gone ChomeOS and Android first with the Slate line of tablets and now their Smartphones.

Another image if the Slate 6 Voicetab and Press release below: Read more

Samsung predicts record profits as HTC reports first ever loss

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Samsung is predicting a record $9.4B profit for Q3 in its latest earnings guidance, on estimated revenues of $53.9B. While both figures are estimates rather than confirmed results, Samsung’s earnings guidance is usually pretty much spot-on. If confirmed, this will build on the company’s record numbers in Q2.

HTC, in contrast, reported its first ever loss, as it warned back in July. Its revenue of $1.6B was lower than even its lower-end forecast, and it lost $101M – the company’s first ever loss in its 16-year history.

Bloomberg attributes the wildly differing performances to sales of mid-market handsets in growth markets like India and China.

While HTC has focused a revival on its flagship One handset and $12 million marketing deal with actor Robert Downey Jr., Samsung has expanded its range of mid-priced smartphones such as the Galaxy Golden and S4 Mini to capture sales in China and India …  Read more

Google introduces crisis map to aid in flood relief in India

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Google is once again leveraging its technology in the interest of aiding in humanitarian efforts. Yesterday the Mountain View company made a Person Finder available to provide a bridge for those affected by the floods in India, and today Google added a crisis map illustrating which areas were hit the hardest and noting points where attention is most needed.

This crisis map is only an early version aimed at providing quick information, such as, places affected, relief centers and road closures. As always, in times of such disaster, accurate information is hard to come by and our Crisis Response team has relied on scantily available information where available. For now, you’ll find the following information. We are hoping to add more as we go along.
  • Areas impacted by the floods
  • Relief centers and shelters
  • Medical Centers
  • Road closure information

Google encourages people to submit any information that could be helpful to uttarakhand-crisis@googlegroups.com to further support the mission to bring those affected by the floods in Uttarakhand back to stability. Read more

Google preparing to open ‘Android Nation’ retail stores in India

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Back in February, we reported that Google was preparing to open its own retail stores by the end of the year in order to allow consumers to try Nexus, Chrome and even potentially more experimental products like Google Glass. According to a report today from The Economic Times, Google is in the process of opening new “Android Nation” retail stores in attempt to increase its exposure in India:

The US company will partner BK Modi’s Spice Global to set up the stores in various Indian cities, starting with New Delhi later this year. Like other such stores in Indonesia, each Android Nation store will promote and sell Android smartphones and tablets across multiple brands like Samsung, HTC, Sony, LG and Asus, to name a few. The first Indian store will open in New Delhi’s Select Citywalk, a person with direct knowledge of the situation informed ET. Google has been scouting for a 1,200-1,500 sq ft location for this store.

It actually won’t be the first time Google has opened up an Android Nation retail store. As noted in the report, Google also operates two locations in Jakarta, Indonesia through a partnership with Indonesian electronics retailer Erafone.

Google’s new efforts won’t just hit India, there are also apparently plans to expand into the Middle East, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Africa with the help of partner Spice Global. The company will also turn 50 of its 900 Spice Hotspots into Android Nation locations to expedite the expansion. Read more

Google begins cutting an additional 10 percent of Motorola workforce, around 1,200 employees

Google-MotorolaWe heard in October that Google had plans to further reduce Motorola’s workforce after cutting around 20 percent, or roughly 4,000 jobs, in August. The Wall Street Journal reported today on an email from Google that confirmed the company is beginning to cut around 1,200 employees (a little over 10 percent of its current total headcount):

Motorola MSI -0.74% staffers were informed by the company via email this week that “while we’re very optimistic about the new products in our pipeline, we still face challenges.” The company email added that “our costs are too high, we’re operating in markets where we’re not competitive and we’re losing money.”

As for where the cuts might take place, we previously reported that Motorola, which was unprofitable for 14 of its last 16 quarters, planned to reduce its operations in Asia and India, but today’s report said the layoffs would hit workers in the United States, China, and India. Google also warned that further restructuring might be necessary and significant costs could be involved.

In a recent piece from The Wall Street Journal highlighting Google executives’ fear that Samsung is gaining too much dominance, Android chief Andy Rubin said the purchase of Motorola was “a kind of insurance policy against a manufacturer such as Samsung gaining too much power over Android.”