HTC is keen on buying its own mobile operating system, a move that could help differentiate the smartphone manufacturer from its competition.

HTC Chairwoman Cher Wang, speaking to the Economic Observer of China in a report picked up by Taiwan’s Central News Agency, confirmed the company’s interest.

“We have given it thought and we have discussed it internally, but we will not do it on impulse,” Wang said in an interview with the Economic Observer.

A recent sequence of events has many wondering whether some of the major handset manufacturers may start looking toward a mobile operating system of their own. Google’s decision to purchase Motorola Mobility, while helpful on the patent front, puts the Internet giant in competition with its handset partners. Hewlett-Packard’s decision tospin off its PC division and shutter its mobile business potentially puts its WebOS platform up for sale.

The rumors have already swirled around Samsung Electronics, but the company has denied interest in both WebOS and Intel-backed MeeGo. Unlike the other smartphone players, Samsung has its own home-grown OS in Bada, which is available in smartphones in select regions of the world.

HTC, meanwhile, is wholly dependent on Android and, to a lesser extent, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 platform. The company has done an admirable job of customizing the user interface and experience with its Sense user interface, but the allure of creating an end-to-end experience on a phone, a la Apple’s iOS, is likely an enticing one.

“We can use any OS we want,” Wang said. “We are able to make things different from our rivals on the second or third layer of a platform,” Wang said. “Our strength lies in understanding an OS, but it does not mean that we have to produce an OS.”

Taiwan’s HTC has been one of the primary beneficiaries of Android’s rapid success. The company was the first to partner with Google on an Android phone, debuting the G1 on T-Mobile USA in 2008. Since then, HTC has seen a wave of competitors jump into the business with their own Motorola phones, including consumer electronic titans such as Samsung.

HTC, meanwhile, hasn’t been shy about making purchases in the recent months. The company made the baffling decision to spend $300 million for a majority stake in Dr. Dre’s Beats headphone business last month. In July, it purchased S3 Graphics for $300 million to get hold of its patents to better defend itself against Apple.

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While many iPhone photography apps offer a monotone filter, there’s a lot to be said for having an app in your iPhotography arsenal that’s dedicated to creating excellent black & white photographs.

We’ve tried and tested a handful, and here bring you three brilliant black & white iPhone photography apps — complete with screengrabs and some sample photographs.

SEE ALSO: 3 Fresh iPhotography Apps: LEGO Photo, KaleidaCam & WordFoto [PICS]Take a look through the photo galleries below. Let us know in the comments about your experiences shooting monochrome imagery on your iPhone, and any apps you’d recommend.

Name: Postcard on the Run

Quick Pitch:Send real postcards directly from your phone to friends and family.

Genius Idea: Automatic address retrieval.

You’re enjoying the ambiance of a beautiful beach on the island of Maui when you decide to share this perfect moment with your folks and friends back home.

You take out your iPhone, fire up an app, snap a photo, and select who you’re sending it to. You don’t even need to remember their addresses. You add a message, sign your name with your finger, and add a map of the surrounding area — just so you can be sure they’ll be jealous.

Then, for little more than the price of a stamp, the app converts your words and images into a real postcard.

This is the promise of Postcard on the Run, a freshly-launched startup with an iPhone application of the same name. An Android application is supposedly just around the corner.

“The mobile photography space is red hot, especially as a means of sharing experiences,” says Josh Brooks, founder of Postcard on the Run. “Nothing illustrates that experience better than the actual photograph.”

Postcard on the Run creates and mails high-quality photo postcards from your phone from $0.99 a pop. It can even retrieve the addresses of your contacts, so you don’t have to.

The mobile postcard generator application has been done before. You may have heard of Postagram. But, says Brooks, Postcard on the Run is all about refining the details and throwing in personalized touches.

Postal Gopher, for instance, is the startup’s in-app address retrieval system so you don’t have to manually look up and enter contacts’ mailing addresses. You select a contact from your phone’s address book and carry on creating your postcard. Postal Gopher will ping your friend via SMS or email and ask her to verify her address. When she does, your address book is updated with her address and your postcard is shipped off tout de suite.

And what if you could add a smell to capture the mood of your experience to your postcard? In a few weeks time, you’ll be able to do just that. The pending feature, called “smell mail,” will let you select scratch-and-sniff scents such as sun tan lotion, Christmas tree or holiday spice.

Postcard on the Run makes an SDK for developers looking to add postcard printing services to their own applications, which means you may soon find a send-a-postcard option in your favorite iOS or Android photo apps. Camera Genius and Photogene, two popular photo apps for iPhone, will be adding the feature in future app updates.

You can also expect the startup to venture beyond postcards and allow you to turn your mobile photos into other keepsakes.

Postcard on the Run is a four-person team based in Los Angeles. The startup is currently in the process of raising an Angel round of funding.

Series Supported by Microsoft BizSpark

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Remember that scene in Batman where he’s able to see the whole city through people’s cellphones, Mobli CEO and founder Moshiko Hogeg asks me on a visit to his office. “That’s our vision,” he says. “Anything worth seeing has someone there with a camera.”

Mobli, a social video and photo platform, is updating its platform and adding Android and BlackBerry apps to the service it launched on the iPhone in April.

Here’s how it works: Users take photos and videos; the app automatically tags each image with a location (courtesy of Foursquare’s API) and major events in the vicinity. Users can also write tags like “sports” or “football” or “New York Giants” as they see fit. The new version leverages this feature by creating contextually aware filters based on location, date or category. A musician, for instance, could work with the team to create a filter that adds the band logo on photos taken at concerts.

The tagging system enables you to follow specific users, locations and topics. You can also search images for any keyword or place.

“I don’t see it as a photo sharing app,” Hogeg says. “I try to think of it as a place that organizes visual information.”

One day, he hopes that you, like Batman, will be able to see any place where people have smartphones from any perspective using the application. Vice President of Strategy Gil Eyal points to the account of Paris Hilton, one of several celebrities who has set up a presence on the site, as an example.

“It’s not a photo of Paris Hilton,” he says. “It’s a video from Paris Hilton holding a phone at a party. You see what she sees.”

By grouping photos by location, Mobli also works for people who are at the same event in the way that Colorintended. At his wedding, for instance, Hogeg had guests take photos using Mobli that everyone could easily access under its location tag.


Mobli isn’t the first startup to group photos with tags. An app called Badger is structured around a similar tagging system but lacks two things Mobli has: unlimited video and an option to respond with a photo or video.

Both of these contribute to an effect that’s something like an interactive visual diary. And what’s more compelling than someone else’s diary?

During a demonstration at Mobli’s offices, a photo that Eyal posted to his account was viewed more than 300 times and returned more than 20 comments in about 45 minutes. Granted, Eyal has more people following his count than the average user. But the startup’s Google Analytics page backs up the idea that it’s something people want to spend time with.

Mobli gets about 100,000 unique visitors every month. About half of those users are returning visitors, and that half spends more than an hour on the site per visit.

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BlackBerry App World 3.0 new features banner

Good morning, BlackBerry fans. RIM has a tasty little treat in store for you this week: the BlackBerry App World 3.0 update. This version introduces a redesigned front-end that aims to make your discovery of applications, games and themes a whole lot easier; plus social sharing, account management, new My World features and more!

Those of you who are Beta Zone members will have been running App World 3.0 for about a month now, so you’ll already be aware of these awesome new features. But for those of you who aren’t, here’s a little breakdown of everything that’s new:

  • Redesigned Front-End: As soon as you load up App World 3.0, you’ll notice a whole new look. It’s designed to make finding apps a much nicer experience, and includes a rotating banner up-top that cycles through ‘spotlighted’ apps.
  • New Channels: Applications, games, and themes now have their own ‘channel’, allowing you to find what you’re looking for much quicker. No longer do you have to scroll through a whole load of themes to find that app you’re looking for.
  • Social Sharing: Found a great new game (on a BlackBerry?! Yeah, right!) that you want to tell all your friends about? Now you can share apps via BlackBerry Messenger, Facebook, Twitter, email and SMS.
  • My Account: You can now manage your payment options and BlackBerry ID from directly within App World, with home screen access to your account information.
  • New My World Features: As well as telling you which apps you’ve installed (or uninstalled), My World allows you to manage your subscription content and notifies you when new subscription renewals are available.

For more information, and for a sneak peek at App World update, check out the App World page on the BlackBerry website.

App World 3.0 will be available to users running the BlackBerry 5 OS and above, and will be rolled out over the next few days. Pocket-lint reports that some users are already seeing the update, so if you’re one of the lucky ones, let us know what you think.

[via Pocket-lint]

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This is a strange one: apparently, Microsoft is looking to hire “highly motivated, extremely intelligent, and deeply technical people” in order to build a “core location service platform”.

The timing is a little bit off: Microsoft has beenaccused of tracking location without the user’s permission and has issued a response. In the light of these events it is not really clever to look for people in order to facilitate and create a “service to find the location of every Windows Phone device in the world, either by assisting GPS, or by using signal-analysis techniques to compute location where GPS cannot”.

Here’s the complete job description before it got pulled: “The team is looking for highly motivated, extremely intelligent, and deeply technical people to build the core location service platform. We are tasked with delivering a highly scalable service to find the location of every Windows Phone device in the world, either by assisting GPS, or by using signal-analysis techniques to compute location where GPS cannot. You will work closely with MSR and other research groups to improve our algorithms for mining large amounts of data using Bayesian analysis and other machine learning techniques. We have incredibly hard problems to solve in the coming year such as solving the indoor positioning problem as well as motion detection and relevance based positioning.”

Needless to say that the job posting, which went up today, has been already pulled. Microsoft is already able to track the location of Windows Phones for its Find My Phone service which does, of course, need the users approval in order to collect data. Either Redmond is looking to improve the already existing service or is into something different which will probably make huge waves.

Source: Microsoft Careers (Pulled)
Via: Neowin

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Jon’s on his way back from IFA in Europe this week, so Noah Kravitz, host of Rumor Roundup, sits in for another episode of Ask the Buffalo.

  • What Are The Best Headphones for $60-80?
  • What’s HTC Going to Do with Beats Audio? Will They Make an Android iPod Touch?
  • What’s Next for Apple? An Apple-branded HDTV?

As with all episodes of Ask the Buffalo now, you can see them first on the TechnoBuffalo Revsion 3 channel on Mondays beginning at 5 PM PST/8 PM EST.  If you’ve missed any of the previous episodes, be sure to check out all of the Ask the Buffalo installments, and get ready to ask more questions for next week’s episode!

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