HTC has announced that it has made a large investment in Saffron Digital, a London-based digital media delivery company.
Saffron had a great year in 2010 with loads of integration in products by HTC, LG, Sony Ericsson, Nokia, T-Mobile and Paramount, mostly in Europe.
The investment from HTC will allow Saffron to expand to other markets, most notably, Asia.
“HTC’s investment increases our global expansion capabilities and provides us with an opportunity to expand into new markets like Asia and new sectors like games and music delivery,” says Shashi Fernando, CEO of Saffron Digital. “We have grown Saffron Digital into one of the best and most exciting digital service providers in the world and this enables us to take digital content delivery to a new level for our customers around the world.”
Despite the strategic move from HTC, Saffron will continue partnerships with other vendors. Peter Chou talking about the investment:
"Saffron Digital has developed an incredible expertise in mobile multimedia delivery. This ability to deliver optimised content in the future will be a key asset as content becomes more and more complex and localised,“ said Peter Chou, CEO of HTC Corporation. “We are excited to be working with Saffron to increase our global service delivery capabilities and expertise.”
It will be interesting to see how Saffron expands and in which ways HTC uses the digital media delivery company. [Business Wire]
The HTC Desire 2 rumors certainly seem to be gathering pace. Last week we reported that the phone had appeared in Vodafone Germany's inventory system, and now we have a leaked photo which purports to show the device itself.
Leaker "Rastaman-FB" claims the Desire 2 runs HTC Sense on top of Android 2.3.1 and features a superAMOLED display, front-facing camera and capacitive buttons.
The image has since been pulled from the original post, but as you can see above it bears a striking resemblance to the leaked photo of the "HTC Saga" which we reported last week, not to mention the unnamed HTC prototype snapped on a Taipei subway a week before.
According to the leaker, the phone displays the codename "Passion 2" on its softwate information page. "Passion" was the codename for the Nexus One, which was also built by HTC, and was the phone that the original HTC Desire was based upon.
With the pace Desire 2 leaks starting to quicken, it's seeming more and more likely that we could be due an official announcement at next week's Mobile World Congress. [AndroidForums]
The Samsung Continuum has finally entered the custom ROM scene, courtesy of Fascinate developer and Android Central adviser Adrynalyne. It's a basic ROM, based on the DL17 release, with none of the bloat and none of the Bing. In short, it's a de-odexed stock ROM with busybox added, and ready for others to fill in and create a masterpiece. And Adrynalyne doesn't even have a Continuum, but was able to create this with help from bubby323 and Logan302. Community effort FTW.
If you rock a Continuum (and I totally would if I had Verizon service here on the frontier) you need to have a look. Hopefully this is the start of a rich development community for one of the most unique phones of 2010. [Android Central forums] Thanks for the hard work fellas!
Best buy used their Super Bowl ad to pimp their new "Buy Back" program. Buyback allows you to trade in your "ancient" 12-month-old tech for the latest and greatest, helping to reduce the sticker shock for those of us who like getting a new phone more often than the Carrier "encouraged" two-year upgrade cycle.
How much you get towards your new device depends on how long you've had it.
For the first six months you can get 50% of the retail cost
6-12 months will give you 40% back
12-18 months 30%
And if you can't wait another day, you can still get 20% between months 18 and 24.
For example, the Evo currently retails for $599.99. If you buy it and opt for the buy back program, you can trade it in after 13 months and get $179.99 towards the retail cost of your next device.
Sure, you might be able to get more money if you sold it yourself on Craigslist, but this is a great option for those who don't want to go that route but still want to get something for our older device.
The service is typically an optional buy-in program, but for a limited time you can get it free with any qualifying electronics purchase. If you're on the fence about upgrading because you don't want to "waste" your discount if something cool is just around the corner, the Buy Back program might be just what you were looking for.
Just a reminder, folks, that we'll be at Sprint's event tonight in New York City. It's one of those rare occasions where we really don't have much of an idea of what's going to be announced -- heck, it might not even be Android. That said, BusinessWeek (via PhoneScoop) believes we'll at least see some sort of Kyocera Android phone -- we're hoping (really, really hoping) that's not all Sprint has up its sleeve, along with appearances by illusionist David Blaine and CEO Dan Hesse, of course..
The Angry Birds secret code from the Rio trailer ad during the Super Bowl has been found, tested, and decoded. And none of it was done by me. Credit goes out to @AndroidThrasher for the screencap, and scarbzscope on YouTube for the details. Spoiler alert -- the code itself, and a video of the code broken and used is after the break. Thanks fellas!
Now that we've seen the Super Bowl commercial for the Motorola Xoom, it's time to get disappointed by the price tag. Yes, the rumors of the Xoom being in the $800 dollar range are pretty much confirmed by a copy of Best Buy's sales ad showing the price at $799.99. It also tells us that the Xoom will be in the stores on Feb 24, and gives us a breakdown of the data packages being offered by big red, which varies from 1 GB for $20 monthly all the way to 10 GB for $80 monthly.
Still, the Motorola Xoom is one hell of a tablet, and hopefully we'll see a reasonable price on a WiFi only model soon. [Engadget]
No launch date yet, but here's Motorola's full commercial for the Xoom Honeycomb tablet, which aired during the second quarter of the Super Bowl. Says Moto in its release:
Created by Anomaly New York, the ad entitled “Empower the People” is set in an Orwellian, 1984-esque world where technology – and people – are limited by restrictive platforms. Enter Motorola XOOM - the tablet to create a better world - and a new day with optimism, openness, freedom and empowerment.
Motorola XOOM redefines the tablet category by providing more ways to have fun, connect with friends and stay productive on the go. Out of more than 20,000 products announced at CES last month, the Motorola XOOM was named “Best in Show” by CNET and lauded with numerous accolades and awards.
As the first tablet running Google’s new Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system, the XOOM is powerful and fundamentally different than anything else on the market.
Who dares interrupt our Super Bowl commercials with a smartphone announcement? Sony Ericsson, of course, which acknowledged the Xperia Play on Facebook while teasing it at the Feb. 13 event in Barcelona ahead of Mobile World Congress. We'll be there, of course, to get the full scoop. And now, back to the game. [Facebook]
Attention fans of sexy, unreleased hardware -- there's another unofficial hands-on of the Sony Ericsson Neo. This time its from My Android Life, and there's some beautiful images of the phone itself there for your viewing pleasure. Just like the Xperia Play we're seeing this device pop up across the web in some lucky hands, so it has to be close to announcement time from SE. According to My Android Life, it is -- the Neo and Xperia Play will be officially announced at Mobile World Congress. We'll be there, and anything they have to tell us we'll be sure to tell you guys.
In the meantime, hit the source link and see some great pictures of the Sony Ericsson Neo. I certainly hope the insides are as nice as the outsides! [My Android Life]
Like our tipster, at first glance we were sure this was a stretched out LG Optimus S when it showed up in some Sprint training materials with no explanation or even a hint attached. But after a closer look at the buttons, and the area where the screen ends towards the bottom, we're pretty sure it isn't.
Another crazy week has come to an end, and we finally got to see up close and personal an in depth look at Honeycomb. Phil ventured off to Cali to get us some great information, which can be recapped here, and well it looks like it has some amazing stuff in store for the tablet market. Let's take a look at some of what you may have missed over the course of the past week below.
More than a few of us (and us) noticed that when you got the latest update to Angry Birds, the app stated that it needed permissions to your SMS messages. At the time, Rovio told us it likely was a mistake, and that they'd look at it on Monday. However, it turns out it has a purpose and is part of an in-app payment system, called Big Bad Piggy Bank, which can be used to purchase the Mighty Eagle and other content. From Rovio's blog:
Bad Piggy Bank purchases will be paid through operator billing. No credit card is required, you simply select the content you want to purchase in the game, and select the Bad Piggy Bank icon. You confirm your purchase, the payment is made via SMS, and you will be charged in your phone bill.
The Android version of Angry Birds asks for SMS permission because this mobile payment capability has been added in version 1.5.1.
Angry Birds does not use the SMS functionality of the device for any other purpose than Bad Piggy Bank payments.
If the Bad Piggy Bank is not available for your operator, no purchases can be made, and you cannot be charged for anything.
All that said, it's only available in Finland at the moment. And note that this is separate from the in-app billing that Google just announced with Honeycomb.
So the good news is that there's nothing malicious (not that we ever thought there was) in the update. The bad news is it gives the app a permission that so far a very large number of users can't actually use. [Rovio] Thanks, Justin!
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