Still Anxiously Refreshing Google Play For A Nexus 4? T-Mobile Stores Will Carry It In January


According to TmoNews, the Google Nexus 4 should become available in all T-Mobile stores starting in January. It could indicate that Google is slowly resolving inventory issues as the device has been hard to buy from Google Play. The device will remain available in the online store.

The news comes from an internal email sent to retail locations. As the headline of the memo suggests, T-Mobile and Google are going full-on with an expanded availability. The device was already available in a few T-Mobile stores, but it was nothing close to a nationwide availability

After being sold out, Google started referring U.S. customers to T-Mobile. T-Mobile customers could buy the 16GB Nexus 4 online for $ 199 on a 2-year contract, after a $ 50 mail-in rebate. For reference, Google is selling the 16GB Nexus 4 for $ 300 off-contract.

If a 2-year contract is something that you would be willing to do, you should expect the same price, as T-Mobile confirmed the $ 199 price tag in November. TmoNews believes that each store will only get a few units.

T-Mobile already announced back in November that it would carry the phone, but it was only available online in a few stores. Now, it will be available in-store across the country. Maybe even Google Play will get a reliable inventory soon.

TechCrunch » Gadgets

Gartner: Global IT Spend To Hit $3.7T In 2013, Up 4.2%; Devices Spend Growth Revised Down, Helped By Cheaper Android Tablets

nexus 7

Analyst Gartner has increased its forecast for worldwide IT spending in 2013, revising its Q3 2012 figure up from 3.8 per cent growth to 4.2 per cent higher than last year’s figure. The analyst is now forecasting that worldwide IT spending will hit $ 3.7 trillion in 2013. Much of this spending increase is down to projected gains in the value of foreign currencies versus the dollar, said Gartner, noting that when measured in “constant dollars”, 2013 spending growth is predicted to be 3.9 per cent.

“Uncertainties surrounding prospects for an upturn in global economic growth are the major retardants to IT growth,” said Richard Gordon, managing vice president at Gartner, in a statement. “This uncertainty has caused the pessimistic business and consumer sentiment throughout the world. However, much of this uncertainty is nearing resolution, and as it does, we look for accelerated spending growth in 2013 compared to 2012.”

Gartner’s forecast for worldwide devices spending — which includes PCs, tablets, mobile phones and printers — is expected to reach $ 666 billion in 2013, up 6.3 per cent from 2012. Despite this rise, the forecast is a “significant reduction” on Gartner’s previous 2013 outlook forecast of $ 706 billion in worldwide devices and 7.9 per cent growth. The analyst noted that its long-term forecast for worldwide spending on devices has been reduced as well, with “growth from 2012 through 2016 now expected to average 4.5 per cent annually in current US dollars (down from 6.4 per cent) and 5.1 per cent annually in constant dollars (down from 7.4 per cent)”.

Gartner said these reductions reflect a “sharp reduction” in the forecast growth in spending on PCs and tablets that’s only partially offset by “marginal increases” in forecast growth in spending on mobile phones and printers. The analyst also noted that increased competition from cheaper Android powered tablets has contributed to the reduction in its devices spending forecast.

“The tablet market has seen greater price competition from Android devices as well as smaller, low-priced devices in emerging markets,” Gordon noted in a statement. “It is ultimately this shift toward relatively lower-priced tablets that lowers our average selling prices forecast for 2012 through 2016, which in turn is responsible for slowing device spending growth in general, and PC and tablet spending growth in particular.”

Enterprise software has the highest projected growth in IT spending for 2013, according to Gartner, which is forecasting growth of 6.4 per cent and 2013 spending of $ 296 billion.

TechCrunch » Gadgets

The Ubuntu Phone OS Doesn’t Stand A Chance


I’m an open-source fan and want more than anything for Linux to spread to the far reaches of every desk and kitchen table where enterprise grunts linger. But there is no chance that Ubuntu will make it in those places.

Even if the new Ubuntu Phone OS that Canonical launched today looks pretty, it still is late and oddly tied to the desktop. I would not even call it a mobile strategy. It’s a mobile/desktop strategy more than anything else.

The desktop is something that Canonical Founder Mark Shuttleworth doesn’t want to give up. So much so that Shuttleworth has lacked the appetite for a mobile play, much less an enterprise-focused one. He wants nothing more than to see someone sitting next to him on the train working on his Ubuntu OS-powered device. His heart is in the consumer market.

In the meantime, the only traction Ubuntu has in the enterprise is on the server-side. And that’s not something you hear Mark talk about that much. He has the consumer on his mind. That said, Shuttleworth is making some promises for Ubuntu and the cloud. Here’s a bit from a post he penned Dec. 26:

It’s also why we’ll push deeper into the cloud, making it even easier, faster and cost-effective to scale out modern infrastructure on the cloud of your choice, or create clouds for your own consumption and commerce. Whether you’re building out a big data cluster or a super-scaled storage solution, you’ll get it done faster on Ubuntu than any other platform, thanks to the amazing work of our cloud community. Whatever your UI of choice, having the same core tools and libraries from your phone to your desktop to your server and your cloud instances makes life infinitely easier. Consider it a gift from all of us at Ubuntu.

The supposed benefit of the Ubuntu phone is that it’s a PC. That’s how Canonical marketed the introduction of Ubuntu for Android that it announced in 2012. Now comes much of the same for today’s news. That does not seem like a strong marketing play to me in this day and age. The desktop is not sexy anymore. And this year it will lose even more of its luster as the form factors for mobile make productivity apps more useful on a smartphone or tablet.

Ubuntu has also lost some of its appeal. Geeks once turned to Linux desktops to build apps. Now it’s the MacBook Pro or Air that you will see them use.

Of course proponents will say that the mobile market is still in its infancy and there is a need for an open OS. While I agree, I am not convinced that Ubuntu will become a winner on the scale of Android, its Linux counterpart.

Years will pass before Ubuntu sees developer traction for an Ubuntu phone. The device does not yet have a manufacturer or an operator. And the first device won’t hit the market until 2014. Further, Android apps can’t even run on the Ubuntu Phone OS.

Ubuntu’s community is not what it used to be, and I am not alone in saying that. It has no history in the mobile market and it won’t for quite some time. The brouhaha over search appearing in the “Dash”  of its Unity interface has not helped either. Nor has its practices for who it allows to develop certain features.

I know people who work for Canonical. They’re hard-working and passionate. But I am really curious to see how Ubuntu fares with its mobile strategy in the enterprise market.

I do also wonder about the future of Canonical. Its money comes primarily from the desktop Ubuntu OS.

TechCrunch » android

A Little Sleuthing Leads Nexus 4 Enthusiasts To Estimate About 400K In Sales Of The Device

Screen Shot 2013-01-02 at 2.41.44 PM

Google and LG’s Nexus 4 has been such a coveted item this past holiday season, that it’s been in and out of stock since its release in mid-November. Because Google doesn’t publicly comment on device sales, it’s been hard to understand exactly how much OEM partner LG produced for the device’s initial launch.

However, a little sleuthing by some Android enthusiasts and Nexus 4 owners suggests that LG produced about 400,000 devices going into the end of last year.

How did they do it? They’ve taken the IMEI numbers of their phones and backtracked the production number of their devices using an LG mobile link that’s usually used for finding new firmware. An IMEI number, or International Mobile Station Equipment Identity number, is usually printed on the battery compartment of the inside of the phone. It can be used to prevent stolen phones from accessing a network.

If you take this link and put your IMEI number at the very end, this LG site will spit back out the IMEI followed by a long string of characters that looks something like this: “LGE960 ACAGBK 212KPHG188745 20121206 GLOBAL/GLOBAL N N”

If you break this string apart, you get:
LGE960 = phone model
A = ?
CA = Country where the device was sold. (Others include ‘US’ for the U.S., ‘HK’ for Hong Kong, ‘AU’ for Australia and so on.)
G = Storage (G = 16GB, 8 = 8GB)
BK = Color
2 = ?
12 = Production Month (November)
K = Production Country (Korea)
PHG = ?
188745 = The line or production number, showing that phone was the 188,745th device made.
2012121206 = The production date in YYYYMMDD format

A number of Nexus 4 owners have been sharing and compiling the production numbers day by day (see below). It suggests that LG made about 70,000 devices in October, 90,000 in November and 210,000 in December. Google declined to comment on these numbers.

Still, they’re interesting for a couple reasons. It appears that Google and LG have been conservative with the Nexus 4 launch. LG has previously said that the Nexus 4 “had proven extremely popular, and as such retailers have been met with huge demand.” Google’s U.K. and Ireland managing director Dan Cobley likewise has said there have been communication problems on both ends with managing supply for the Nexus 4.

Keeping supplies tight have made the Nexus 4 debut a world apart from the launch of the original HTC-manufactured Nexus One back in 2010.

265133 14-th ADEUBK GERMANY
266133 15-th AHKGBK Hong Kong
267133 15-th AHKGBK Hong Kong
268133 15-th ADEUBK GERMANY
269133 15-th ADEUBK GERMANY
270133 15-th ASWSBK SWS Switzerland (looks like around 500 units)
271133 16-th AISRBK Israel
272133 15-th ADEUBK Germany
273133 15-th AHKGBK Hong Kong
274133 15-th AHKGBK Hong Kong
275133 15-th AHKGBK Hong Kong
277133 17-th AHKGBK Hong Kong
278133 17-th AHKGBK Hong Kong
279133 16-th AMYSBK
280123 17-th AMYSBK
289000 18-th UK
300123 19-th ADEGBK
305112 19-th ACA8BK
306000 28-Oct (?) AUSGBK, 211KPPB306000 “csn” is also very different from the “surroundings”
306001 8-Oct AUSGBK 211KPHG306001 esnoutgodate=null >>Never shipped?
306009 4-th Dec AUSGBK 212KPHG306009 esnoutgodate=null
306010 19-th AUS8BK 212KPYR306010 esnoutgodate=null
306020 19-th AUS8BK esnoutgodate=null
314001 19-th AFRGBK
314002 19-th ADEGBK
314050 19-th ADEGBK
314123 19-th ADEGBK
315112 19-th ADE8BK
319123 20-th ADEGBK
320123 20-th ADEGBK
321123 20-th AAUGBK
325112 20-th AUSGBK
330123 20-th AUSGBK
340123 21-th ACAGBK
350123 22-th AUS8BK
360123 26-th AUSGBK
365123 27-th AUS8BK
370123 27-th AUSGBK
374110 28-th AUSGBK

TechCrunch » Gadgets

GameStick Launches OUYA Competitor On Kickstarter, Aims To Be The First Pocketable Android Home Gaming Console


OUYA, the Android-based gaming console that made waves when it first launched on Kickstarter last year, met its first shipping target at the end of December when it sent out development consoles to early backers. Now in the new year it faces a direct competitor, one that is also seeking financial backing from the crowdfunding site, in the form of GameStick.

GameStick will be Android-powered like the OUYA, and even features a similar interface, judging by preliminary shots shown off in the project video. Like OUYA it will also be open, and the company is already in the process of working with developers to bring titles to the console, which it may have an advantage doing, given that it has worked with developers to port titles to Smart TVs for the past three years. And the GameStick’s design is the part that really sets it apart from the OUYA – it’s a tiny stick the size of a flash drive with an HDMI connector, that ships with a Bluetooth controller that it actually fits inside of when you want to pack it for travel.

The GameStick packs an Amlogic 8726-MX processor (which is a dual-core Cortex A9 chip at 1.5GHz, along with a dual-core Mali 400 GPU at 400MHz), has 1GB of memory and 8GB of flash storage, uses Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11b/g/n for connectivity and runs Android Jelly Bean. It can connect to gamepads, mice and keyboards, and supports up to four controllers connected at once. The processor choice, while underpowered compared to the OUYA’s quad-core Tegra 3, which was designed by Nvidia specifically to work well with games, is said to have been chosen because of the unique power and heat requirements of the GameStick’s extremely portable form factor. GameStick team lead Jasper Smith said in reply to a Kickstarter commenter that it should be more than enough to handle today’s top Android games.

GameStick hopes to ship its device by April 2013, with prototypes going out to early backers by March. If you’re keeping track, that would put it just one month behind OUYA in terms of making it to market, should both projects stick to their anticipated timelines. The GameStick is also priced at $ 79, meaning it also hopes to undercut the competition on price.

Of course, as with any Kickstarter project, there’s no guarantee we’ll see either of these make it to market, but obviously companies are seeing a demand here for low-cost alternatives to the big legacy players in home gaming. I doubt the smaller upstarts will remain alone in this market for long.

TechCrunch » android