Posts Tagged ‘QWERTY’
Nokia Puts WhatsApp Hard Key On $72 Asha 210 For Asia, Africa; Qwerty S40 Handset Gets Facebook Button In Europe, Latam
Nokia has announced another handset in its Series 40-based Asha portfolio of low end mobiles which compete with the budget end of Android and cheap BlackBerrys. The 2G-plus-Wi-Fi Asha 210, due to ship before the end of Q2, packs a physical Qwerty keyboard and comes painted in Nokia’s now trademark eye-popping colours (yellow, cyan, magenta), plus black and white. But the most notable addition to this BlackBerry-esque device is a hardware key on the front that short-cuts to messaging app WhatsApp — which, extending the BlackBerry comparison, is the phone’s BBM replacement.
As well as the ability to fire up WhatsApp by long pressing on this dedicated key, Nokia said Asha 210 buyers will get a free subscription to the messaging service for the lifetime of the device. On the Series 40 platform, WhatsApp normally charges a $ 0.99 annual fee after a first year of free use. Last week the messaging service said it now has north of 200 million monthly active users (this compares to BBM’s more modest 60 million). Tapping into the hugely popular social messaging craze is clearly Nokia’s aim here.
Nokia describes the Asha 210′s WhatsApp hardware key as a “world first”, although we’ve seen the mobile maker (and others) stick a Facebook button on a phone before. But before you start wondering how displeased Facebook is going to be with Nokia for two-timing it with a deadly messaging rival, the handset actually comes in two social messaging flavours, with a second variant having a dedicated Facebook key (shown below, on the black handset) instead of a WhatsApp button.
The two Asha 210 social flavours — which also each come in single SIM/dual SIM variants – won’t be offered together in the same market but will rather be region specific, presumably corresponding to where the respective services are most popular. Neil Broadley, marketing director for Nokia’s mobile phones division, told TechCrunch the WhatsApp device will generally target Asia-Pac and Middle East & Africa, while the Facebook flavour will mostly be heading to Europe and Latin America. He also confirmed that neither device will be sold in North American.
Both of our partners are hugely successful around the world.
“On a market by market basis we will have either WhatsApp or Facebook,” said Broadley. “Both of our partners are hugely successful around the world and as we go on a market by market basis, some of our market teams would like to have the WhatsApp variant, some would like to have the Facebook variant. And of course we already have the Nokia Asha 205 on a global basis with the Facebook hard key there as well.”
Broadley added that Nokia is looking at the possibility of making a third variant of the Asha 210 — specifically targeting the Chinese market — with another, as yet undetermined social service loaded on the hard key (China has a variety of homegrown social services that outstrip the popularity of global offerings, such as microblogging service Sina Weibo vs Twitter). Nokia certainly has work to do to win back buyers in China. In its Q1 results last week, China saw the biggest drop of any of Nokia’s regions in terms of sales by value and volume, with $ 334 million in sales in Greater China, down 56% on the year ago quarter.
Low end hardware + social software
Aside from differing social shortcuts, the Asha 210 variants have identical hardware and software, with a sub-1Ghz chip; 2 megapixel rear camera plus a dedicated camera key on the front of the device (in addition to the WhatsApp/Facebook key plus standard nav/call keys); Nokia’s Slam Bluetooth-sharing data transfer tech and its hot-swap SIM system; plus a rubberised full Qwerty keyboard which recycles the pillowed keys of 2008′s Nokia E71. The keyboard also includes shortcut keys for turning on/off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
On the software front, the device comes with WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter preloaded; support for YouTube streaming and web apps; a ‘Games Gift’ of 15 free downloadable “premium” games & apps from the Nokia Store; plus Nokia’s neat voice-guided self-portrait feature, which gets around the lack of a front-facing lens by helping users align a self-portrait when they can’t see the screen.
Nokia’s earlier Facebook-button-packing phone, the full Qwerty Asha 205, was announced in November last year. At the time, the company’s decision to introduce a phone with a dedicated Fb button revived a 2011 trend which, for the majority of last year, appeared to have run its course — without, apparently, covering any of the device maker particpants (including HTC, Orange and Vodafone) in huge heaps of gold.
Asked about sales of the Asha 205, Nokia said it has not broken out any numbers for the model but added that the number of Facebook activations for the device is “significantly higher” than for the average Asha family device. Whatever the sales figures, Nokia clearly believes there is more gold to be mined from low end mobiles by associating its hardware with the biggest brands of the social messaging space.
Asha vs Android: Show me the money
The Asha 210 — along with the entire Nokia Asha range — targets developing markets and cost-conscious consumers, which explains its focus on seeking ways to reduce not just the initial outlay but also the total cost of ownership, while simultaneously amping up its core social offering by making sure it can provide access to big name apps and allow for easy social photo-sharing, as Android does.
The Asha 210 will have a $ 72 price-tag (before taxes and subsidies). The price-tag puts it in touching distance of budget Androids and while the S40 platform is not as user friendly, flexible or as app-rich as Android, Nokia has been working to strength its competitiveness against Android’s low end with additions such as its cloud-based data-compressing Xpress Browser, which ekes out up to three times as much data as non-compression browsers to help keep the user’s data costs down, plus offers such as ‘Games Gift’ and the free WhatsApp subscription.
As with other Asha devices, the 210 also boasts a long battery life — of up to 46 days on standby, and around 12 hours talk time. Nokia noted that it is using push notification technology to reduce battery drain caused by the Asha 210 checking for WhatsApp/Facebook updates. Update checking is done by Nokia in the cloud, with any new info pushed out to the user’s phone when it arrives.
One more thing…
Nokia and WhatsApp are about to hold an online Q&A about the launch of the Asha 2010 so we’ll be checking for any interesting tidbits that come out of the discussion to add as an update below. Currently, around the world, there is still plenty of regional diversity across messaging and social services – messaging apps are especially fragmented. Many of these apps inevitably compete with and come into conflict with social networking giant Facebook, which wants to own all the world’s chatter. And with Facebook having just launched its app-sidelining Android skin, social challengers such as WhatsApp are likely to be keen to find ways to increase their own visibility on mobile. Having your brand stamped on the outside of a phone sounds like a great place to start.
Updates from the Q&A, with Nokia’s Broadley and Neeraj Arora, business development, at WhatsApp:
On whose idea the WhatsApp hard key was, Nokia’s or WhatsApp’s… Broadley: “We have an ongoing relationship with WhatsApp that spans a range of Nokia Asha and other Nokia products. We are both really excited about this opportunity.”
On whether the WhatsApp hard key will be exclusive to Nokia devices… Arora & Broadley: “We are very excited to bring a dedicated WhatsApp button to Asha 210 and we will take consumer feedback for future consideration.”
On whether Nokia will bundle WhatsApp’s software with all Asha devices… Broadley: “We already bundle WhatsApp with many Nokia Asha family devices and are working on extending it to as many Nokia phones as possible.”
On what evidence there is consumers want social messaging hard keys on phones, or whether they just want easy access to lots of apps & services… Broadley: “With the Nokia Asha 210 we’ve worked hard to give people the best of both worlds. People have access to a dedicated hardware button, preloaded social networks ready to go right out of the box, and access to the Nokia Store to download and install more.”
On WhatsApp’s support for dual SIM devices… Arora: “The launch of Asha 210 does signify WhatsApp’s availability on Dual SIM devices. We are working on extending it to other Dual SIM devices.”
On the differences between the Asha 210 and Nokia’s earlier Facebook button phone, the Asha 205… Arora & Broadley: “There is WhatsApp deep linking into social share gallery and there is more to come.”
On the Asha 210′s battery performance… Broadley: “We have a really high quality Nokia 1200 mAh battery in the Nokia Asha 210. The software really helps get great battery life — for example we have something called Nokia Notifications which works in the cloud to check for your social network updates, then pushes them to the phone. This stops the individual apps having to continually check for updates — saving battery.”
On Nokia’s approach to phone design… Broadley: ”Starting with the Nokia 206 announced just before Christmas we’ve been progressively uniting the Nokia portfolio under a single, coherent design language… We have one stunning design approach across the Nokia range.”
On whether Nokia could introduce a Lumia product with a physical Qwerty to differentiate its smartphones from rivals’… Broadley: “We don’t comment on future plans.”
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Main teasers rarely provide much in the way of detail, but this one from Nokia a minimum of includes a beautiful image. It reveals the rounded design language we have actually concerned associate with the company’s latest attribute phones, but with Z and Shift keys that signify we’re looking at a physical QWERTY handset as opposed to a sweet bar– possibly something along free throw lines of the Asha 205 we saw back in November. The photo was accompanied by an article confirming that this’ll be a product from Nokia’s Mobile Phones group rather than the people behind Lumia, which the announcement will happen at 7am GMT (3am ET) this Wednesday. The time zone is suggestive of an Asian or European launch, so it might or could not be worth setting your alarm.
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I’ll admit it: I still use a BlackBerry. I also use an iPhone and an Android phone, but I don’t mind being teased by friends when I need to crank out a long email in seconds, because the BlackBerry keyboard is still the best. My thumbs can speed along on its tactile keys without forcing me to look down as I walk, and it never makes an embarrassing word change using autocorrect.
But really, typing on glass keyboards — like those found on iPhones, Android phones and Windows Phones — should be much easier by now. This week I took a look at a few technologies that gave me hope.
BlackBerry 10 | The keyboard on RIM’s newest smartphone will suggest words right on the keyboard; swipe up on a word to add it to a sentence.
I tested two apps for Android phones that use very different approaches: the $ 3.99 SwiftKey 3 by TouchType Ltd., which is available now, and Snapkeys Si by Snapkeys Ltd., which will be available free in the Google Play Store Jan. 16. (Apple doesn’t allow third-party companies to take over core features, like the keyboard, on devices running its iOS mobile operating system.) I also got to briefly try out the smart predictive keyboard technology on Research In Motion’s upcoming BlackBerry 10.
Of the two new apps, I had an easier time adjusting to SwiftKey 3, which uses a traditional on-screen keyboard and guesses what you’ll type next by using a predictive language algorithm. It also incorporates touch gestures, like a right-to-left swipe across the keyboard to delete the last word and left-to-right swipe from the period button to insert a question mark.
Snapkeys Si was a tougher adjustment: It abandons the traditional keyboard altogether, forcing users to type on just four squares that hold 12 letters; all other letters are produced by tapping in the blank space between these four squares. Like SwiftKey 3, it uses some swipe gestures, like a right-side diagonal swipe down to create a period. Snapkeys Si aims to solve fat-finger syndrome, giving people’s fingers bigger targets and guessing the words they mean to type.
The BlackBerry 10 is scheduled to be launched on Jan. 30. I got some hands-on time with its on-screen keyboard, and was impressed by its suggested words, which users can swipe up to throw into sentences. This is designed to make the device easy to use with one hand. The BlackBerry 10 keyboard also reads and learns exactly where a user taps each key to better predict which letter to type, so clumsy fingers make fewer mistakes.
Snapkeys Si | The traditional QWERTY keyboard layout is abandoned in this app, replaced by just 12 letters displayed in four squares.
SwiftKey 3 for Android is an app that has a healthy understanding of how language is used in everyday conversation, and supports 54 languages, including variations like American, British and Australian English. Creator TouchType scraped Internet language data from around the world to understand how people speak in real-life situations — not by studying a dictionary. It then used this knowledge to create a predictive algorithm that guesses what you’re likely to type next, suggesting three options above the keyboard as you go.
This app can also detect where you meant to add a space, automatically adding it in for you. I found this feature to be a handy time saver as I typed since I could just keep going rather than stopping to tap the space key after each word.
During setup, SwiftKey 3 users can opt to give the app access to their Gmail, Facebook, Twitter and SMS interactions so that it can study a user’s language to further understand how the person talks. For example, if someone always preferred to spell “thanks” as “thx,” SwiftKey 3 would learn this behavior and add “thx” in as a word rather than continuously trying to correct it. A TouchType spokesman says later this year the company may add a feature allowing users to customize the app to write out complete words when they type abbreviations, like typing “abt” to get “about.”
For privacy purposes, the app only stores this data locally on your phone rather than sending it back to the company for making improvements. And you can erase the app’s personalized data at any time in Settings, Personalization, Clear Language Data.
SwiftKey 3 | This app supports more than 50 languages, and remembers how you use words, like knowing to type ‘MacLaren’s’ above.
SwiftKey 3 is free for the first month, and then costs $ 3.99 to continue using it. The app will remember all of your custom language settings when you upgrade, so you don’t have to reteach it.
Snapkeys Si, made by Israeli startup Snapkeys, lets you see more of your smartphone screen while you’re typing by using just four squares containing 12 letters instead of the traditional keyboard. Although these bigger finger targets made it so I never accidentally typed the wrong square, it took me a while to get used to knowing where each letter was and which letters weren’t in squares at all.
Typing words with letters that aren’t in squares requires using the blank space in the middle of these squares. So to type the word “wish,” I’d find the first three letters in squares, selecting each of them. But the “h” isn’t in a square, so I’d tap the blank space between these squares. In the case of “wish,” Snapkeys Si got it right, but other words were more challenging to type, which frustrated me. Suggested words appear on the right side of the four squares, and tapping one of them adds it to a sentence. Once a new word is added to Snapkeys Si dictionary, it will be suggested from then on.
Like SwiftKey 3, Snapkeys Si only saves your personalized language settings on the phone.
The space key is to the right side of these four squares, and the backspace key is to the left. I added periods to the end of sentences by swiping diagonally down from right to left, and added commas by swiping diagonally down left to right.
Snapkeys Si is worth a try if you’re looking for a fresh alternative to traditional keyboards. But I found that it was a lot of work to learn after years of using the traditional QWERTY keyboard layout. The app is still in its beta, or first version, and the company says it will continue to improve.
Smart keyboard apps like SwiftKey 3, Snapkeys Si and others make typing on glass less painful and more intuitive. Just beware of the steep learning curve you may have to climb to start using them.
Write to Katie at email@example.com.
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Remember this little bit of man? It was Christmas Eve when Mr. Blurrycam provided us a consider this keyboard-equipped BB10 prototype. Skip to today, and N4BB has actually evidently discovered updates pictures of it, minus the fuzz. Aside from being more clear, the phone’s screen is notably powered on in this round images– basically proving it’s even more than a dummy. While we’ve known the device is most likely part of RIM’s N-Series, the site keeps in mind that its actual model number may formally exist as the X10 (not to be puzzled with Sony Ericsson, Klipsch and Fujifilm offerings of the exact same moniker). Things will definitely come to be even more clear on January 30th, that’s for sure– for now, struck the source link for a few more images.
[ Thanks, Joel ]
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When all-touch tablets and mobile phones struck the market, the logical evolution was touchscreen keyboards in the same QWERTY collection we ’ ve expanded useded to. Numerous of us have actually gotten utilized to it, thanks to predictive text, but we can all agree that the experience might be better.
SnapKeys, a start-up that has rethought the entire touch keyboard thing fairly a bit, is today launching a beta app that will entirely spruce up the typing experience on touchscreens. SnapKeys Si focuses primarily on the predictive little typing, instead of the pressing of virtual buttons.
In fact, many of the secrets on the SnapKeys keyboard have been tossed out. Instead, there are four buttons, each representing 3 different letters. On the far right of the display, there ’ s an undetectable spacebar and on the left there ’ s an unnoticeable backspace.
Any sort of letter that isn ’ t displayed on a trick is mellowing in between the keys.
As soon as you find out where the 12 letters are on the new keys, you merely type without looking and SnapKeys Si gets every little thing right for you.
According to SnapKeys, the letters that aren ’ t displayed on the SnapKeys Si keyboard are in fact only used about 18 percent of the time. Plainly, for something used so bit, those secrets sure do take up a great deal of screen realty while browsing, texting, emailing etc.
. The major goal of SnapKeys is to provide the individual all the viewing space paid for by the size of the screen, without making any sort of exceptions for even a solitary secret.
That ’ s why, as soon as you ’ ve gotten utilized to SnapKeys Si, the whole keyboard could be set to invisible.
At some point, the business can serve ads and provide a premium variation of the app for users who wish an ad-free experience. Regardless, individuals will still be seeing even more of the content on their display thanks to SnapKeys.
Download the beta right here.
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We initially heard rumblings about the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze Q slider back in August, and just what stuck out most– apart from the rumored Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor and HSPA +42 connection– was that long-winded name. Intriguing, then, that Sammy must re-brand the T-Mobile unit with a name that does absolutely nothing to clarify this mobile’s identity: the Galaxy S Relay 4G. That jumble of words aside, this phone provides a five-row QWERTY format, a dual-core S4 chip and a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash, all for the moderate cost of $ 150 (with a $ 50 mail-in refund). Is this slider the very best T-Mobile needs to provide? Join us past the break as we provide the Relay the full run-through.
Gallery: Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G reviewContinue checking out Samsung Galaxy S Relay 4G review: T-Mobile’s QWERTY slider falls flatFiled under: CellphonesSamsung Galaxy S Relay 4G review: T-Mobile’s QWERTY slider falls flat initially appeared on Engadget on Thu, 27 Sep 2012 14:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for usage of feeds. Permalink|| Email this|Remarks
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Hardware keyboard followers should feel like they’re part of an endangered types– there’s greater uncertainty at presents about software updates, let alone brand-new smartphones. If you’re part of that persecuted group, AT&T and Samsung have your back: they have actually just begun presenting Android 4.0 for the Captivate Glide. All of the attributes will certainly be familiar if you’ve borrowed somebody’s Galaxy S II in the previous couple of months, although it’s hard to object to the much better multitasking and support for Chrome. About the only catch is the need to use Kies to grab the update, however that’s a little sacrifice we’re sure many are willing to make.
RIM merely can’t give up keyboards, and neither can easily many of its followers: also the BlackBerry PlayBook has a formal Mini Keyboard situation. It just about really should not be a surprise, then, that the company is applying for a patent on a tablet design with a sneaky keyboard built-in. The design conceals a full, hinge-attached QWERTY keyboard from critics (and unexpected key presses) underneath a back-mounted cover. When a manager’s urge to use physical buttons comes to be overwhelming, the keyboard swings into action and depends on the cover as a kickstand. It’s a clever answer to hauling around a different keyboard or specialized situation, but it’s difficult to say if RIM will certainly implement exactly what it’s finding out into an end product– the firm isn’t really in the greatest position to experiment with brand-new tablet ideas, and we’ve currently seen a couple of imminent solutions to the hidden keyboard complication from other vendors. That stated, the patent does show that the locals in Waterloo would such as to keep a love of keyboards alive in the tablet era, also if it requires some subterfuge.
Filed under: TabletsRIM applies