Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Huawei to launch Windows 8 phones, new branding campaign


China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, the world's No.6 handset maker, may produce computer tablets running Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system after choosing the same system for its handsets, a senior executive said on Thursday.

The Shenzhen-based firm, which wants to increase its market share by selling mobile phones under its own name, will also spend $200 million on advertising this year to boost its brand awareness, said Shao Yang, chief marketing officer of Huawei Device, the division that sells dongles, handsets and tablets.

"We need to learn how to get close to people and understand people. That's something we lack," Shao said in an interview.

To boost margins in the highly competitive handset market that has eroded margins of some handset makers, Huawei is pushing into the higher-end segment. As a result, its average selling price doubled this year from last year, Shao said, without giving details.

Huawei plans to ship 50-60 million smartphones globally this year, up from 20 million last year and 3 million in 2010. The company's gross profit margin dropped 6.5 percentage points to 37.5 percent last year.

Huawei, founded by chief executive Ren Zhengfei in 1987, has diversified into consumer devices with its Vision smartphones and MediaPad tablets as its core telecoms gear market has stalled. Last year, Huawei recorded sales of 44.62 billion yuan ($7.02 billion) for consumer devices, a rise of 44.3 percent.

(Reporting by Kazunori Takada; Editing by Matt Driskill)

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Paper ties US and Israel to Flame

Experts say Flame is one of the most sophisticated threats ever seen Accusations the US and Israel jointly created the computer virus Flame have been printed by the Washington Post newspaper.

It quoted unnamed "Western officials with knowledge of the effort" as its sources.

The powerful malware was discovered after the UN noticed data disappearing from PCs in the Middle East.

The Post said the US National Security Agency, the CIA and Israel's military had collaborated on the project.

It had "intended to slow Iran's nuclear program, reduce the pressure for a conventional military attack and extend the timetable for diplomacy and sanctions", the newspaper said.

Reuters subsequently reported that current and former Western national security officials had told the news agency the US had been involved in making the virus.

The BBC has been unable to confirm or disprove the allegations.

Continue reading the main story
This cyber-onslaught that Iran has been facing is actually helping it to become a really serious cyber power in its own right ”

End Quote Mark Phillips RUSI Flame is thought to have been first noticed when Iran's servers were taken offline in April following a malware attack on key oil terminals.

Covert action

A later report by anti-virus company Kaspersky Labs said there had been 189 attacks in Iran, 98 in Israel and Palestine, and 32 in Sudan.

A "former high-ranking US intelligence official", who it said had spoken on the condition of anonymity, told the Washington Post: "[Flame] is about preparing the battlefield for another type of covert action.

"Cyber-collection against the Iranian programme is way further down the road than this."

Iran has said it is now able to defend itself against the malware and clean up infected PCs .

Under siege

But the attacks could lead the country to develop its own sophisticated cyber-capabilities, Mark Phillips, a research fellow at defence think tank the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), told BBC News.

"If it did originate from the US and/or Israel, Iran is going to feel under siege as a result of a number of attempts - a previous one was Stuxnet - and will seek to improve its cyber-defences," he said.

"The better you are at detecting cyber-actions, the better you are at infiltrating others.

"This cyber-onslaught that Iran has been facing from Stuxnet through to Flame is actually helping it to become a really serious cyber-power in its own right, which would not have been an intended effect of whoever developed Flame."

Nation-state involvement

Security experts call Flame one of the most complex threats ever seen, suggesting a nation state rather than individual hackers are likely to have been behind its development.

"The reason [sources] may want to stay anonymous is because of the sensitive nature of technologies and capabilities involved," said Mr Phillips.

"We're probably stuck with a situation where we'll only have this speculation for a foreseeable future."

The Israeli embassy in London declined to comment.

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London 2012 – Android and iPhone Game Review

As Olympic fever reaches new heights in the UK, what better time to launch the Official London 2012 game for Android.

There are two versions of the game, free and paid (paid version gives you 3000 points and 5 max stamina points) , and an initial small download. The full size of the game is 72mb, so enable wifi before you launch it the first time..

On first launch, you are required to set up you character. You can choose a variety of faces and hair styles for your male or female character.

The first thing event I entered was 100m, the controls are simple. Hold two fingers on the screen to assume the start position, let go when the gun is fired…then tap the screen like mad to get some speed up. Be careful not to go too fast though, you will stumble and slow down.

As you can see from the screen shots, the graphics are pretty good, as such I’d imagine you need a fairly speedy handset to play it. It also eats through the battery as the handset is put through its paces.

Here is the full list of eatures:

- 9 Olympic events: 100M, 110M Hurdles, 100m Freestyle, Double Trap, Triple Jump, Pole Vault, 100m Butterfly, Kayak (K1) and Archery

- Train and customise your athlete with over 220 items

- 3 game modes: Training / Olympic / Challenge – 8 languages: Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish

- Easy to play – difficult to master

- Enjoy authentic London 2012 Olympic venues

The creators have also created a nice you tube clip if you want to see the game in action before you download it. Click HERE

There are three events unlocked initially, the others require you to complete certain tasks successfully before you can try them.

There have been some comments on the Play Store about the permissions that the app requires to run. It does seem concerning that an app of this nature needs access to SMS, Camera, Contacts and Phone calls. Hopefully the creator will re-visit this or at least explain why such permissions are required.

Personally, I like the game, and it is a good way to waste a bit of spare time.

Links: Android Free, Android Paid, iTunes App Free, iTunes App Paid

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Facebook scraps Credits currency

Many games have already converted Facebook Credits into their own currencies Facebook is ditching its own money system, Credits, and will convert the balance of its members' accounts into their local currencies.

Previously, app developers wanting to charge users for virtual goods or other premium features sold via the network had to use the service.

Facebook said it was making the change to "simplify the purchase experience".

The move may help boost the firm's profits. It takes a 30% cut of all transactions made on its network.

A post on its developer blog also announced that it would allow app creators to charge subscriptions from July. Game publishers Zynga and Kixeye had already been allowed to test out the feature.

Confusing conversions

Facebook had previously market Credits as a "safe and secure way" to make online payments, allowing users to buy them by credit card, PayPal or via prepaid cards sold at retailers.

Members were encouraged to buy large sums at one time by the promise of discounts - for example 50 credits cost $5 (£3.20) but 2,360 credits cost $200, representing what the firm termed an "18% bonus".

However, third-party developers tended to subsequently convert Credits into their own in-game currencies, making it harder for users to keep track of what they were spending.

"Since we introduced Credits in 2009, most games on Facebook have implemented their own virtual currencies, reducing the need for a platform-wide virtual currency," the firm's product management director Prashant Fuloria told developers.

Facebook App Store The news follows the launch of Facebook's app centre in the US

"With local pricing, you will be able to set more granular and consistent prices for non-US users and price the same item differently on a market-by-market basis."

The news comes less than a fortnight after the firm launched an app centre in the US to promote software on its network.

One analyst told the BBC that there was sense in simplifying its processes, but the move carried risks.

"The problem with Facebook Credits was that it was pretty restrictive," said Ian Maude, head of internet at Enders Analysis.

"Doing this takes the headache away from Facebook of having to force people to use its system.

"It still takes part of the revenue which is much more simple, but the danger is that it could end up with a 'farmers market' - a less cohesive solution in which there are a multitude of payment solutions being offered on its network."

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Habbo unmutes to hear from users

Chief executive Paul LaFontaine promises to read "every word" Habbos write Troubled children's social network Habbo Hotel has moved to deal with fallout from revelations that the service was frequented by paedophiles.

Users are being invited to suggest ways to make the site safer following the suspension of its chat facility.

Habbo's owner, Sulake, is operating a separate temporary site called The Great Unmute where they can post their thoughts.

Experts said that Habbo must end its reliance on human moderators.

At launch the site was inaccessible for many and Paul LaFontaine, Sulake's chief executive, tweeted: "We have so many users hitting the site we had to increase processing capacity by 400%. Keep it coming!"

The temporary site was originally scheduled to be taken offline at 8pm BST, but Mr LaFontaine said that limit would be extended to "make sure everyone gets the chance to input their story".

Habbo's future

Habbo temporarily removed its chat facility last week after Channel 4 reported that the service was routinely being used by adults to engage children in explicit conversations about sex.

"For a full week since Channel Four's report went on air, my team has worked tirelessly to create the best possible solutions to the challenges we face from a small minority," said Mr LaFontaine.

"Now it's time to allow our loyal and legitimate users a brief chance to have their say before we finalise our plans for Habbo's future."

Continue reading the main story image of Jane Wakefield Jane Wakefield Technology reporter

The comments on the Great Unmute website seem, so far, to be very positive.

One described Habbo as "not just any social community" but a place to hang out with friends.

Another suggested experienced Habbos could act as moderators, while others said it was up to parents to monitor their children's activities on the site.

Some participants said that the current system of reporting inappropriate conversations worked well enough, while others called for automatic bans if users were caught by moderators talking about inappropriate topics.

Most of the Habbos felt that the Channel 4 report was not a true representation of the site and that paedophiles in the hotel were the exception rather than the rule.

As well as written comment, Habbos will also be able to upload multimedia content.

"The Great Unmute is a chance to get creative in new ways; the site will allow multimedia content, giving users a real chance express their views in a responsible way with a watching world," said Mr LaFontaine.

"You have my word, my team and I will be reading every comment, looking at every picture and watching every video clip. My commitment to you right now is to deliver the safest possible user experience."

Behaviour profiling

Some believe that the answer to the problems experienced by Habbo could be solved by investing in technological solutions.

Adam Hildreth, chief executive of Crisp Thinking, a firm which provides monitoring technology for hundreds of online children's games, told the BBC: "The current Habbo model is completely flawed. 200 moderators for over 70 million messages each day is never going to work."

"Habbo has to invest in some clever technology, whether they develop it themselves or use a third-party. Otherwise they are fighting a losing battle," he added.

Crisp's technology employs behaviour profiling and is used by online children's games, including Moshi Monsters and Bin Weevils. It is often used in conjunction with human moderators.

The tech has also recently be used by the Metropolitan Police to analyse chat logs of a man suspected of online grooming.

"It is able to distinguish between kids being kids and an adult pretending to be a kid," said Mr Hildreth.

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Fetch delivers prestigious award for

Scoops Best Use of Mobile Marketing at Marketing Society Awards

Award-winning mobile marketing agency, Fetch Media, added another trophy to its cabinet at this week’s Marketing Society Awards, scooping Best Use of Mobile Marketing for its client, online hotel booking service,’s brief to the agency was to establish a strong mobile presence, hit growth targets and boost market share. Its main aim was to increase global traffic through mobile, acquire new customers by increasing visibility and launch products throughout the year, targeting global markets.James Connelly, Managing Director at Fetch Media, said: “Fetch and have collaborated over the past 18 months to build and implement a mobile strategy that delivers for the business. The results are paying dividends in terms of revenue and users, so we are very pleased to be recognised by Marketing Society and the industry.”

The global marketing campaign was launched across 42 markets on the Android and iPhone Operating System platforms.

Fetch advised on the design of an easy-to-use app to help customers find and book a hotel room quickly. built the app in-house.

Fetch also helped the brand create relevant app store content and search optimisation to increase the number of downloads after the launch.

To keep the app at the top of the app store travel rankings, Fetch targeted bursts of advertising across key times of the day and days of the week.

Tracking mechanisms were in place for the marketing team to collect data in smartphone app usage to enhance customer relationship management.

The app reached Number One in the travel category of iTunes in 29 countries and was in the Top Ten in all 42 countries.

Christelle Chan, Marketing Director at, said: “We are living in a very exciting time with the emergence of mobile as a new platform and we, at, are greatly honoured to be recognised as being at the forefront of mobile marketing. Our objective is to seamlessly embrace the post-PC era with the help of Fetch’s expertise, which is a great contributor to our success.”

Beating off competition from Pizza Express, Cadbury and ASOS, the judges said it was the clear winner for its ‘phenomenal global results’ and for meeting all of its clear objectives.

About Fetch Media

Fetch Media is an award-winning, full-service mobile marketing agency based in London and San Francisco. Managing mobile and tablet campaigns in over 50 countries, the agency works with leading brands to deliver best-in-class strategy, creative, media planning/buying and tracking services. Clients include, Sony Music, Atlantic Records, Badoo and William Hill.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Youngsters want SMS integrated into social networks

Rating: Survey for tyntec shows strong potentilal for OTT services, too

A Pan-Atlantic survey carried out for mobile interaction specialist, tyntec, has found that UK youngsters embrace mobile social networking more than US counterparts. The survey -conducted by YouGov – reveals that 66 per cent percent of UK mobile users aged between 16-24 check Facebook and Twitter on the go daily, as opposed to just 37 per cent percent of Americans. The poll of 2,000 UK/US smartphone users show the so-called ‘millenial’ demographic in the UK is more advanced when it comes to using emerging cloud-based mobile services. A surprising statistic, however, is the number of youngsters seemingly unaware of so-called OTT (over-the-top) messaging services like Whatsapp.

40 percent of US millennial consumers were unaware that such applications even exist compared to 27 percent of UK.

A high proportion of the youngers in the UK (52 percent) and US (61 percent) users were also interested in having SMS integrated into social networks.

According to tyntec’s CEO Michael Kowalzik, “This indicates a trust level and familiarity with SMS which presents huge opportunities for Internet players and operators alike.”

Kowalzik continued, “The survey shows some interesting discrepancies between younger UK and US mobile users.

Previously, we would have assumed that this demographics’ mobile Internet usage would have been similar, however it seems that the UK mobile audience is more Internet savvy across the board.”

The research shows that UK users are the heaviest users of social networks via mobile devices.

15 percent say that they use these platforms on smartphones more than five times a day, compared with 8 percent of Americans.

Naturally, tyntec has a solution which would enable mobile network operators to build on the opportunities reveled in this survey.

Its tt.One solution enables companies to deploy OTT services both quickly and easily, allowing both to capitalise on new revenue streams, the company claims.

It also says that the solution bridges the telecoms and web worlds with mobile phone numbers – giving companies the means to enable seamless communication with SMS and voice.

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