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Motorola hopes for Android tablet early next year

US university experiments with social media blackout
Washington (AFP) Sept 14, 2010 - Students and teachers at a Pennsylvania university are banned from "tweeting," updating their Facebook page, sending instant messages or visiting MySpace this week. Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, a private school in the town of Harrisburg with an enrollment of some 570 students, has decreed a social media blackout for the week. The week-long ban on social media, which began Monday, is not punishment but an exercise the university said is designed to "get students, staff and faculty to think about social media when they are not available." The university is blocking IP addresses for campus network computers to shut down access to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and instant messaging services such as AOL.

"Our goal is to challenge people to think about how they came to rely on (social media)," said Steve Infanti, Harrisburg University's associate vice president for communications and marketing. "University faculty, in particular, use social media to communicate with colleagues about curriculum ideas, but what if they had to rely on face-to-face meetings?" Infanti asked in a blog post at Harrisburg.net. "We wondered would the process take longer, or would the outcomes be any different?" Infanti asked. He stressed that the university, which was founded in 2001 and is located between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, was not anti-social media. "(Harrisburg University) looks at social media as a fact of life for millions of people," Infanti said.

"So the real question we are addressing is not whether we connect, but where and in what ways we should connect to benefit from online networking's pluses and avoid its minuses," he said. Harrisburg students will be asked to write an essay when the week is over on the experience of living without social media. The university is also hosting a "Social Media Summit" Wednesday featuring experts talking about such topics as "Twittervention: Social Media and Legal Issues for Employers, Educators and Parents." Eric Darr, Harrisburg's provost, told Inside Higher Ed, an online journal of higher education, that the social media blackout was inspired by observing his 16-year-old daughter multi-tasking between Facebook and iPhone conversations.

"I was frankly amazed," Darr told InsideHigherEd.com. "I thought, 'How do you live like this?' It struck me to think, 'What if all this wasn't there?'" "It's not that, as an institution, we hate Facebook," Darr said. "Rather, it is about pausing to evaluate the extent to which social media are woven into the professional and personal lives of the people on the Harrisburg campus, and contemplating what has been gained and what has been sacrificed." By unplugging from Twitter, Facebook and other social media for a week, "I wanted to make it real for people -- not to make it an intellectual exercise," Darr said.
by Staff Writers
San Francisco (AFP) Sept 15, 2010
Motorola co-chief Sanjay Jha on Wednesday painted a future for the company that included beefed-up smartphones and a tablet computer running on Google-backed Android software.

Jha hoped Motorola would have an Android tablet computer ready early next year, he said while sharing thoughts at a Deutsche Bank Technology Conference in San Francisco.

"I will only develop a tablet if it is sufficiently compelling," Jha said during an on-stage chat. "Hopefully, that is early next year."

Jha has been counting on smartphones running Android to help turn around the Illinois-based company's flagging fortunes but didn't consider the latest generation of the mobile software ready for use in tablets.

"I see the tablet market as an opportunity; no cannibalization with smartphones," Jha said. "iPad is more an extension of iPhone than a migration of a Macintosh. I think that is a natural expansion for us."

Apple has sold millions of iPad tablet computers since the California company began selling them internationally in April.

"The convergence of mobility and computing is very important for us," Jha said. "There could be more form factors that are more smartphone-centric."

A priority in the Android "eco-system" is to improve the online marketplace for fun or functional applications that is key to the popularity of smartphones.

"The Marketplace experience on Android is good, it is not great," Jha said. "We are trying to rectify that situation. You will see us as an ecosystem very focused on that."

He also expected more powerful multi-core computer chips to be built into smartphones in the coming year to boost capabilities, speed and features.

Competition in the smartphone market promises to be intense as this year finishes. The iPhone continues to be a hot seller and a host of smartphones based on Windows Phone 7 should debut soon with the new Microsoft software.

BlackBerry maker Research In Motion is also due to release the latest generation of its mobile operating system.

"Nearly everyone in this business is clicking on all cylinders." Jha said.

The US remains the biggest market for high-end smartphones but Jha spoke of growing markets in China, India, and Latin America.

Jha noted that Motorola also makes TV set-top boxes and that it is "eager to participate" in an Internet-driven evolution of home entertainment that could involve routing digital content from smartphones to televisions.

"You've seen Google TV and Apple TV in that space," Jha said. "I think there are some very good opportunities there."

Motorola posted a six-fold increase in quarterly net profit in July and an optimistic outlook for its mobile phone division ahead of its separation next year.

Jha said at the time that demand was outstripping supply for the "Droid X," an Android smartphones seen as Motorola's answer to Apple's iPhone.

Motorola is selling most of its wireless network infrastructure business to Finnish-German giant Nokia Siemens Networks for 1.2 billion dollars.

Motorola plans to split its businesses in the first quarter of next year, separating products for consumers from its professional equipment division.

The mobile and home entertainment devices division will operate as Motorola Mobility.

The other company, Motorola Solutions, will consist of its enterprise mobility solutions and networks businesses, which include two-way radios, mobile computers, secure public safety systems and scanners.




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Indian handset makers emerge as hyper-competitive force
New Delhi (AFP) Sept 15, 2010
During this year's IPL cricket tournament in India, mobile phone manufacturers used the hugely popular extravaganza to blitz viewers with an array of sponsorship deals and advertising. But rather than seeing the familiar big international brands, cricket fans were bombarded by nimble home-grown handset makers who saw the opportunity to reach consumers nationwide, particularly in rural areas. ... read more

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