Microsoft Stores taking $25 deposit on Nokia Lumia 900

Nokia Lumia 900

AT&T, Microsoft and Nokia haven’t said when the Lumia 900 will hit stores or how much it will cost, but if the flagship Windows Phone is a device you just have to have, you can now pre-order it.

Microsoft’s retail stores are currently taking a $25 deposit for those looking to reserve themselves a Lumia 900 on launch day, whenever that is. The deposit offer was first reported by The Verge and confirmed to The Times on Friday through Microsoft Store employees.

Rumor has it that the Lumia 900 could launch in March at a price of about $99 on a 2-year contract, which would undercut top-of-the-line rivals such as Apple’s iPhone 4S and the Android Ice-Cream-Sandwich-equipped Galaxy Nexus, built by Samsung.

In the U.S., the Lumia 900 will be exclusive to AT&T and feature a 4.3-inch display, a polycarbonate body in cyan or black, a 1.4-gigahertz Qualcomm single-core processor, 512 megabytes of RAM, 16 gigabytes of built-in storage, an 8-megapixel/720p video rear camera and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera.

I spent a bit of time with the Lumia 900 at CES in Las Vegas last month, and the phone did look quite impressive and something I thought could sell at $150 or $200 on a 2-year contract. Check out my hands-on look at the Lumia 900 below.

RELATED:

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Lumia 710, Nokia’s first U.S. Windows Phone — review

CES 2012: Lumia 900, Nokia’s first 4G LTE Windows Phone, debuts [Photos and Video]

– Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

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Twitter.com/nateog

Photo: A Nokia Lumia 800 smartphone sits on display inside a Nokia retail store in Helsinki, Finland. Credit: Ville Mannikko / Bloomberg

Glenn Close Kristy Hinze

DotNetNuke acquires software firm iFinity to beef up its Web content management platform

DotNetNuke (DNN), the Silicon Valley company behind a popular Web content management platform for Microsoft .NET, this morning announced that it has bought iFinity, a website and software development company headquartered in Queensland, Australia.

The acquisition of iFinity, a supplier of modules and consulting services for the DotNetNuke website platform, will enable DNN to beef its flagship solution up with a complete URL management solution, helping customers improve search engine optimization.

iFinity founder Bruce Chapman will join the DNN development team, effective immediately.

He writes:

The immediate plans for all the Url-related software are to integrate the codebase into DotNetNuke 7.1, a process which has been kicked off immediately. The underlying Url Master technology will become the standard way of powering all Url related functions in DotNetNuke, for all editions, for all versions from 7.1 onwards.

The majority of the Url management features will go straight into the commercial editions of DotNetNuke, but the underlying capability and improved Urls will be in the open-source community platform.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but all of the available iFinity software products IP will be transferred to DotNetNuke.

DotNetNuke says there have been over 7 million downloads of its open-source project, and that its global community is 1 million members strong.

Founded in 2006 and funded by Sierra Ventures, August Capital and Pelion Venture Partners, DotNetNuke is headquartered in San Mateo, California, with offices in Vancouver and Amsterdam.

Image credit: Thinkstock

Alex Kingston Helena Christensen

Redesigned Technology blog moves to new address

Tech blog

The L.A. Times Technology blog has been redesigned, and with our new duds we’re rolling out a new URL. So if you’ve been a loyal follower of our work, please update your bookmarks.

Our hope is that you’ll find the new look to be cleaner and easier for reading, viewing photos and watching videos. Please let us know what you think about the new look by leaving us a comment on the Technology blog’s Facebook page or by shooting a tweet to @LATimesTech.

Thanks for reading, watching and clicking.

– Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Nathan Olivarez-Giles on Google+

Facebook.com/nateog

Twitter.com/nateog

Image: A screen shot of the Technology blog’s new look. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Christina Applegate Natalie Portman

EU Sets January Deadline for Google’s Antitrust Response

Today in international tech news: The European Union gives Google a deadline to rectify Europe’s antitrust concerns, the creator of a Facebook page that let people rank sexual partners avoids jail time, Samsung backs off its attempted Apple injunction in Europe, and the UK’s Pirate Party is forced to drop its hugely popular proxy service to The Pirate Bay.

The European Union gave Google a January deadline to devise detailed proposals to resolve a two-year antitrust investigation into whether Google used its market dominance to thwart rivals, according to Reuters.

The Union’s antitrust chief, Joaquin Almunia, issued the deadline Tuesday in Brussels to Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt. Should Google fail to address European complaints, which are anything but new, then Google would face a long battle with one of the world’s most powerful antitrust authorities.

If found guilty, Google could be forced to fork over 10 percent of its revenue — the standard penalty sought by the European Commission in antitrust cases, including the Commission’s case against Microsoft.

Given Google’s US$40 billion revenue, that would mean a $4 billion hit.

The Commission has substantially reduced its differences with Google since the two sides started negotiating in July, Almunia said.

European complaints center on Google unfairly favoring its own services over rivals, as well as potentially copying materials from other sites without permission.

Creator of Facebook Sex Page Avoids Jail

In Australia, the 22-year-old creator of the degrading “Bendaz Root Rate” Facebook page has avoided a jail sentence.

The Bendigo Advertiser, reported that the page creator, David McRory, had originally received a four-month jail sentence for publishing objectionable material. That sentence, however, was appealed and subsequently replaced with “community corrections orders.”

The page, which was cocreated by McRory and his brother last summer, invited people to rate their past sexual partners. Hundreds of comments were posted to the page’s wall, available for anyone to see.

Samsung Backs Off Apple Ban

Samsung has ceased its attempted sales ban on Apple products, including the iPhone and iPad, in five European countries.

The Guardian reported that Samsung was warned by the European Commission that it could be abusing its ownership of patents that are “essential for standards such as 3G networking.” Samsung’s decision to drop the lawsuits came hours after Apple lost a motion in a California case requesting a sales ban on Samsung products.

While it has dropped its push for injunctions against Apple, Samsung will nonetheless pursue lawsuits seeking payments for use of its patents.

The would-be injunctions in Europe arose from Apple’s use of standards-essential patents, which companies have to use to make devices compatible with things like 3G or Wi-Fi. The patent owner (Samsung) is supposed to agree to license terms with applicants (Apple), but the two sides have not yet come to terms.

Pirate Party’s Pirate Bay Proxy Nixed

A proxy service in the United Kingdom that provided access to The Pirate Bay was shut down after legal threats.

The BBC reports that the proxy was offered by the Pirate Party UK, a small political party whose platform calls for unencumbered Internet access. The proxy came under fire because The Pirate Bay has been blocked by all major UK Internet service providers.

The legal threats levied by the British Phonographic Industry, Britain’s music industry body.

The Pirate Party is not affiliated with The Pirate Bay.

The Pirate Party UK’s website experienced a huge spike in traffic after it launched the proxy. The Web monitoring service Alexa reported that the site went from being ranked 1,943 in the UK to No. 147 — ahead of Netflix, Huffington Post and the National Health Service website.

The Pirate Party in the Netherlands had also offered a proxy to The Pirate Bay. Like its British counterpart, that proxy didn’t last.


David Vranicar is a freelance journalist and author of The Lost Graduation: Stepping off campus and into a crisis. You can check out his ECT News archive here, and you can email him at david[dot]vranicar[at]newsroom[dot]ectnews[dot]com.

Susan George Melanie Griffith

Fitness Trackers Make Terrible Gifts

Unless the person you’re shopping for has obsessive tendencies, fitness trackers won’t help him or her get into shape.

Fitbit Is Sad

Fitbit Is Sad I’ve been using the more expensive Fitbit One, so this Fitbit Ultra is sad. Dan Nosowitz

Fitness trackers, little pedometer-type things that purport to measure your activity and help you get into shape, are on about a billion gift guides this year. But maybe they shouldn’t be. Here are the two most pressing reasons not to buy someone a fitness tracker like a Fitbit, Nike+ Fuelband, or Jawbone Up as a gift.

1. It implies your giftees are fat. And maybe they are but if you feel like that’s something they should know you should probably not use a pedometer as a messenger. Be nice!

2. 99% of people won’t use it. And this is the more pressing reason–it’s not that they’re bad products, exactly, it’s just that fitness trackers have positioned themselves as gadgets for the masses, a futuristic way to get in shape. And they’re not! They are helpful tools for a very particular type of person, and you know maaaaaybe one of that type of person, and that person probably already has one of these.

I’ve been using both of the new Fitbit products for a few weeks now. I am in awful shape, an overripe chimera of laziness and injury and sedentary job and also laziness, and I thought “hey, I bet this’ll help motivate me to get into shape!” It did not, and that’s only partly due to the execution of the product. The Fitbit One, which just about every reviewing publication ranks as the best or one of the best fitness trackers out there, is fine. It’s tiny and well-designed, it can track your steps, it syncs with an app on your phone, it tracks your sleep patterns. All of that stuff together can be very helpful for monitoring your health, but I suspect very few people will actually see the benefit.

That’s because fitness trackers are dumb. I don’t mean dumb as in “bad,” I mean dumb in the same way that an old flip-phone is dumber than a smartphone. It just can’t do very much on its own. Here’s one (unusually active) day of using the Fitbit.

Fitbit App

Fitbit App: I had pho for lunch today. Pho is not listed, although anhyrdrous disodium phosphate is. Weird.  Dan Nosowitz

Last week, before going to bed, I remembered to have the Fitbit track my sleep. I dug the Fitbit out of my pants, put on the big velcro wristband, stuck the Fitbit in the wristband’s pocket, pressed the button to tell the Fitbit I was going to bed, and then went to bed. Woke up the next morning, pressed the button to tell the Fitbit I was awake. Took the Fitbit out of the wristband, put it in my pocket again. Had breakfast. Logged onto the Fitbit app to tell the app I had breakfast. Searched for the specific breakfast I had, guessed how much I had eaten. Logged it. Biked to work–about a 6.5-mile trip–which the Fitbit did not register, because it only registers walking. Logged onto the Fitbit app to tell it precisely how long and how far the bike trip was.

Worked. Had lunch, logged onto the Fitbit app to tell it what I had for lunch. Fitbit directory didn’t list what I had–it mostly includes fast food or chain food–so I guessed at the calorie count. Went to the gym after work. Moved Fitbit from pants to a clip on my workout shorts. Worked out. Fitbit doesn’t pick up on any of that, because I didn’t do anything like walking, which is what the Fitbit measures. Logged onto Fitbit app to tell it what I did. Weighed myself at the gym. Logged onto Fitbit to tell it how much I weigh. Biked home. Logged onto Fitbit app to tell it about that. Ate dinner. Logged onto Fitbit app and took my best guess as to calorie count. Took Fitbit out of pants, synced with iPhone app. Put it into wristband and told it I was going to bed.

From all of that, I saw how many calories I burned, how far I walked, how many flights of stairs I climbed, how many calories I took in. I could see graphs over time, comparing my activity day by day, week by week, month by month. All of that is cool! But I am not an obsessive type, and I lost interest in spending literally hours per day with the Fitbit app after about two days.

This isn’t exclusive to Fitbit; all of the major fitness trackers (Fitbit, Nike+ Fuelband, Jawbone Up) have their own quirks and pros and cons–the Fuelband and Jawbone Up, as wristbands, don’t have the problem of having to remember to bring it with you, though they don’t track your food intake–but they mostly work the same way. They’re glorified pedometers with added fitness tracking software. To really get the most out of these gadgets, you have to be kind of obsessive. Just using them casually gets you very little of value; for a few days, it’s cool to see how many steps you take, and I did take the stairs rather than the escalator to get more “points,” but I very quickly tired of it. They just don’t give enough information because they can’t extract enough data, and they can’t be encouraging because they don’t analyze the data they get.

Fitbit In Wristband

Fitbit In Wristband: You stick the Fitbit One in a wristband when you go to bed.  Dan Nosowitz

I still think there’s a place for fitness trackers. The Basis Band, for example, is one step closer to being actually helpful for two main reasons. First: it can measure your heart rate, unlike any of the other trackers I mentioned. Second: it uses that data to recommend new exercises–instead of just giving you a chart, it’ll advise that you walk around the office for ten minutes. That’s much more helpful to the vast majority of people who don’t like looking at charts all day.

Fitness trackers can only really be helpful when they get smart. Data is great, but for most people, it’s not enough to just gather data and present it. You have to analyze it, figure out what it means and how to use it. The dream of a fitness tracker is pretty much like a fitness-centric version of Google Now: it needs to take in your data and then figure out what you actually want to know. That’s the next generation of this data tech–it’s not about the data, it’s about the conclusions. What we want is a fitness tracker that suggests, that figures out your lifestyle and then gives you advice, that actually helps you get into shape rather than just telling you exactly how out of shape you are. Hopefully the next generation of fitness trackers go in that direction. But for now, don’t bother with a pedometer.

read more Becky Delos Santos

DotNetNuke acquires software firm iFinity to beef up its Web content management platform

DotNetNuke (DNN), the Silicon Valley company behind a popular Web content management platform for Microsoft .NET, this morning announced that it has bought iFinity, a website and software development company headquartered in Queensland, Australia.

The acquisition of iFinity, a supplier of modules and consulting services for the DotNetNuke website platform, will enable DNN to beef its flagship solution up with a complete URL management solution, helping customers improve search engine optimization.

iFinity founder Bruce Chapman will join the DNN development team, effective immediately.

He writes:

The immediate plans for all the Url-related software are to integrate the codebase into DotNetNuke 7.1, a process which has been kicked off immediately. The underlying Url Master technology will become the standard way of powering all Url related functions in DotNetNuke, for all editions, for all versions from 7.1 onwards.

The majority of the Url management features will go straight into the commercial editions of DotNetNuke, but the underlying capability and improved Urls will be in the open-source community platform.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but all of the available iFinity software products IP will be transferred to DotNetNuke.

DotNetNuke says there have been over 7 million downloads of its open-source project, and that its global community is 1 million members strong.

Founded in 2006 and funded by Sierra Ventures, August Capital and Pelion Venture Partners, DotNetNuke is headquartered in San Mateo, California, with offices in Vancouver and Amsterdam.

Image credit: Thinkstock

Lisa Loring Martina Warren

Steve Jobs turning over in his grave? Look-alike touts rival Android

Fake_steve_jobs

Steve Jobs likeness continues to pop up in the most unlikely places. He’s been immortalized as a bronze statue in an office park in Hungary, his image was painstakingly recreated in what might be the world’s most detailed action figure, and now a Taiwanese commercial making its way around the Internet depicts the recently deceased Apple visionary as a shill for an Android-based tablet called Action Pad.

Oh, the irony!

The man playing Jobs in the commercial is Taiwanese comedian and impersonator Ah-Ken, according to a report in Reuters. The commercial never explicitly uses Jobs name, but Ah-Ken is dressed in Jobs trademark black turtleneck and blue jeans, his hair is a silvery grey, and he’s wearing glasses. He’s standing on a stage meant to mimic those that Jobs paced across during major Apple announcements and speaking excitedly to an applauding audience. One thing he has that Jobs never had: a halo and wings.

At the end of his talk he says, “Thank God I can play another pad.”

Jobs of course hated Android with his whole being. His biographer Walter Isaacson writes that he never saw Jobs as angry as when he was talking about a lawsuit Apple had filed against Android.

After telling Isaacson that he considered Google’s Android to be a wholesale ripoff of the iPhone, he said:

“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this. They are scared to death, because they know they are guilty.”

Maybe things change in the afterlife?

Action Electronics, the company that makes the Action Pad along with other electronic gadgets, sees no problem with the advertisement. “Steve Jobs always promoted things that were good for people, Apple products, so his image can also promote other things that are good,” a spokeswoman told Reuters. “It’s just an impersonator, not Jobs,” she said.

The reaction on YouTube has been mixed with commenters vacillating between disgust and amusement, but the video itself is rapidly racking up views.

ALSO:

Steve Jobs statue unveiled in Budapest office park

Demand for iPhones in China could skyrocket, analyst says

Steve Jobs action figure is advertised; will Apple respond?

– Deborah Netburn

Image: Screen grab from a Taiwanese commercial for Action Pad that depicts Steve Jobs as a shill for the Android-based tablet. Credit: YouTube

Tammy Gretchen Robyn Douglas

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