Category Archives: IT News

India launches tablet computer priced at £23

The Aakash has been developed by UK-based company DataWind and Indian Institute of Technology (Rajasthan). It is due to be assembled in India, at DataWind’s new production centre in the southern city of Hyderabad.

DataWind CEO Suneet Singh Tuli, stated: “Our goal was to break the price barrier for computing and internet access. We’ve created a product that will finally bring affordable computing and internet access to the masses.” The company says it will also offer a commercial version of the tablet, called UbiSlate. It is expected to hit the shelves later this year, retailing for about $60.

Officials hope the computer will give digital access to students in small towns and villages.  Experts say it does have the potential to make a huge difference to the country’s education, particularly in rural areas where schools and students do not have access to libraries and up-to-date information.

However, questions have been raised over the performance of the tablets. Critics believe it is too early to say how the Aakash will be received as most cheap tablets in the past have turned out to be painfully slow. Rajat Agrawal of technology reviewers BGR India, commented: “The thing with cheap tablets is most of them turn out to be unusable, they don’t have a very good touch screen, and they are usually very slow.”

Critics also point out that an earlier cheap laptop plan by the same ministry came to nothing. In 2009, it announced plans for a laptop priced as low as $10, raising eyebrows and triggering worldwide media interest. But there was disappointment after the ‘Sakshat’ turned out to be a prototype of a hand-held device, with an unspecified price tag, that never materialised.

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Microsoft previews new Windows 8 Operating System

Microsoft has been under pressure to respond to Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android platforms.  Windows 8 was unveiled at the Build developers’ conference in California, Windows divisions presidents, Steven Sinofsky said: “We re-imagined Windows. From the chipset to the user experience.\”

The system will function through one of two interfaces: a traditional desktop, similar to that seen in previous Windows versions, and a tablet version known as Metro. Features of Metro include larger, chunky controls that best suite touchscreen use. The current lack of such an input method is widely seen as the reason why few Windows 7 tablets exist. Furthermore, Microsoft announced it would also be launching its own online marketplace – the Windows Store – to sell downloadable applications.

One of the biggest innovations for Windows 8 will be its compatibility with processors designed by ARM holdings. Chips based around the ARM architecture typically use very little power, and as a result are found in the vast majority of smartphones and tablets currently available.

To date, Windows devices have required Intel or Intel-compatible processors, with the exception of Microsoft\’s Windows Phone range. ARM chips are likely to be predominantly used on Windows 8 Metro devices, and will require ARM-specific versions of applications. Tapping into any section of the Windows market will be seen as a huge boost for Cambridge-based ARM Holdings. The company faces growing competition in the mobile device sector since Intel launched its tablet and smartphone-focused Oak Trail chipset in April 2011.

Tapping into the tablet market is seen as vital for hardware manufacturers, and software-makers, such as Microsoft, as the market for traditional computers continues to be eroded. Industry analyst Gartner predicted in April that the global market for tablets would reach 70 million this year, and grow to 300 million in 2015. Sales of desktops and laptops are expected to continue growing, but at a much slower rate than in the past.

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who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2
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International professional and you would like to work in the UK
Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners
specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme)
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Google jumps off the fence as HTC launches another legal battle with Apple

The complaint concerns the nine patents brought last week from Google, four originally from Motorola, three from Openware Systems, and two from Palm.  The general counsel of the HTC Corporation, Grace Lei, said: “We are taking this action against Apple to protect our intellectual property, our industry partners, and most importantly our customers that use HTC phones”. Analysts believe the move indicates not just a fight between manufactures but a battle between Android and Apple.

Apple itself is locked in a dispute over patent infringement with South Korean electronics manufacturer Samsung, which like HTC, uses Google’s android mobile operating system. In August, a court in the Netherlands banned Samsung selling three models of its Galaxy smartphones in a number of European countries after Apple filed a claim for patent infringement. Apples claimed Samsung had infringed its patents by copying the design of Apple\’s iPhone and iPad devices. Samsung has countersued Apple, saying it infringed Samsung\’s wireless patents. Analysts say the increasing intensity of the patent wars may lead to Apple\’s rivals HTC, Samsung and Google joining forces.

Google\’s involvement in aiding HTC represents a new front in an industry-wide dispute over smartphone technology.  Until now, Google has been criticised for sitting on the sidelines while its Android partners faced legal action by Apple. In August, HTC filed a legal battle against Apple in the US, alleging that Apple infringed three HTC patents in devices including iPads, iPods, iPhones and Macintosh computers. In July, Apple won a preliminary ruling from the International Trade Commission (ITC) when an administrative judge ruled HTC infringed two of four patents. The full commission is to rule in December on whether it will uphold or reverse the preliminary ruling. Apple has also filed a parallel lawsuit against HTC in a court in the US District Court in Delaware.

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Lenovo plan to become the No 1 PC vendor in Russia

Chinese computer maker Lenovo group have announced its plans to become the No. 1 PC vendor in Russia in the next three years as part of its efforts to expand in emerging overseas markets. (more…)

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European Commission blocks scrutiny of IT spend

The EC hopes to eradicate the waste with a radically revised IT strategy not dissimilar to that being pursued by the UK government. However, more than a year since initial proposals were put before the president the Commission is still working out how to consolidate its systems and bring runaway IT support costs under control and how to eradicate conflicts of interest over the allocation of its €500m budget.

Catherine Day, secretary general of the European Commission, said \”no final decisions have been taken on these specific issues. Disclosure of these parts [options to eradicate waste in IT expenditure] could lead to external interferences which would be highly detrimental to the decision-making process of the Commission, on a subject which has significant security and budgetary implications.\”

The last significant review of EC IT policy, resulting in the revision of the European Interoperability Framework, was subject to intense lobbying from the software industry and was finally delivered two years late with critics saying that its principles had been compromised by powerful business interests.

The European Interoperability Framework (EIF) was one component of a strategy led by Commission vice-president Maroš Šefčovič for a Europe-wide public cloud in which IT systems could be shared and wasteful duplication of spending eliminated. Šefčovič directed a consolidation and standardisation strategy. The progress of recommendations published by the report of Šefčovič Task Force IT has now been released, following the Commission’s suppression of publication.

The EC released the document after an appeal for disclosure went all the way to the top of its civil service. But it insisted on redacting the report\’s core proposals, exposing extensive areas where it has still not reached a conclusion over the future of its €500m IT budget. The report warned of a danger of a conflict of interests in Digit, the IT arm of the European civil service that handles the allocation of the €500m budget.

The problem is that Digit acts as both \”technology and service provider\” and \”advisor and broker\”. Again the Commission obstructed publication of recommendations on which directors-general have yet to act.

Šefčovič\’s plan relied on establishing common practices across Europe\’s entire administrative and legislative organisation, an ambitious initiative similar to that proposed for the UK public sector. Powerful, top-down pressure would be necessary to see the changes through and even then its aspirations did not realistically stretch beyond the imposition of standard business processes and systems within the Commission to those 53 other institutions with whom it is envisaged it may collaborate more closely.

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At Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private
Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies
who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2
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International professional and you would like to work in the UK
Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners
specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme)
visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that
either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

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Nokia launches three smartphones running new OS

In a statement Nokia said: “Symbian Belle powers all three devices, with single-tap NFC technology for sharing and pairing, the most personal user interface so far and a more powerful mobile web browsing experience”.

The phone maker said the announcement proved the company\’s commitment to Symbian despite its partnership with Microsoft and transition to Windows Phone devices before the end of 2012.
Nokia vice president Ilari Nurmi said, \”Symbian Belle and the three new handsets we are launching today show our commitment to continue delivering Symbian products that allow people to choose what is most important to them in terms of user experience, design, functionality and price. These will not be the last products or updates we will deliver on Symbian.\”

However, Nokia\’s recent financial results showed smartphone sales dropped 32% in the first half of 2011. The firm reported operating losses of €487m (£429m), fuelled by a decline in smartphone sales.

All three new handsets include 1GHz processor, five megapixel camera and 2GB of internal memory. Nokia claims the Nokia 700 is the company\’s smallest and most eco-friendly smartphone. The Nokia 701 is based on the Nokia C7 design and includes a 3.5 inch ClearBlack display and active noise cancellation for better sound quality calls.

Nokia said it plans a series of software updates over the next 12 months. Symbian Belle features NFC support, up to six home screens, live widgets and pull-down menus to access notifications.

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At Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private
Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies
who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2
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International professional and you would like to work in the UK
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specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme)
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either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

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The rise of the tablets and slump of the PC

Hewlett-Packard (HP) the world’s largest seller of PC’s, confirmed it is looking to sell off its personal computing business.  It also plans to stop selling its tablets and phones, in order to refocus on software. Should HP find a buyer for its PC divisions its following steps taking by IBM in 2004, which decided that the low-margin PC business wasn’t worth pursuing.

The rise of alternatives to traditional PCs, tablets, grows from strength to strength. Whilst critics dubbed the iPad little more than “a big screen iPod touch”, Apple sold 9 million units this year and 15 million last year.

There will still be significant numbers of PCs sold worldwide for several years because people will still need PCs for certain tasks. But it’s very clear that many of the habits we associate with personal computers can be carried out with a decent-sized touchscreen and a good internet connection. So while the era of the primacy of personal computers in their traditional form is fading, they are not disappearing entirely. They’re instead taking a different form.

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At Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private
Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies
who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2
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International professional and you would like to work in the UK
Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners
specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme)
visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that
either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

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Oracle Europe Human Resources VP says recruitment doesn’t work

Speaking at the meeting Mr Kearney said on talent management that “the only differential left is the calibre and talent of the people within an organisation. If you want to be the number one, you have to do something different. That’s why talent is so important. Recruitment doesn’t work, because the best talent is not available. The recruitment pool is at best a normal distribution of talent and at worst one minus the best talent. The most talented individuals are rarely available and are cherished by their current employer. If you have them, you hold onto them. The top sales person won’t leave. You only get a chance to recruit them if their company accidentally cheeses them off. Our strategy for sales talent is to grow it.”

In terms of promotion within Oracle Mr Kearney said that “As soon as you promote somebody they go back to being an idiot. Their performance is not going to be great for the first year unless they’re a genius. You’re just trying to find out if their potential will be reached.”

And on performance reviews he said that those who did poorly were ‘obstructions to talent’ and that “It’s not just about that individual but also the people who work for them. Bad leaders do so much damage in an organisation and good leaders so much good. And senior managers are always the last to know who’s under-performing. Pay is off the agenda during reviews but we ask what we could do that is not reward based to encourage them to keep going. Those who reached the top of the talent list were given stock in the company with a four-year vest which is a good retention tool. Talent management is about development not salary increases.”

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At Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). If you are a highly skilled International professional and you would like to work in the UK Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

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77% of IT Professionals say Outsourcing Companies have made up work

Key Points from the report:

  • 77% of IT Professionals believe that outsourcing companies have made up work
  • 43% of IT Professionals work in organisations that have outsourced a significant proportion of their IT
  • 55% of respondents at companies with more than 1,000 employees say that their companies rely on IT outsourcers
  • 30% of respondents at companies with less than 1,000 employees say that their companies rely on IT outsourcers
  • 62% of respondents believe outsourcing agreements have cost more than anticipated
  • 11% of respondents said their company paid less for the outsourcing agreement than they expected
  • 27% of respondents said outsourcing agreements had cost significantly more than planned

According to the President of Lieberman Software, Philip Lieberman “Fundamentally, IT outsourcing has been an exercise in reducing expenses and passing along HR issues to others. The unfortunate by-product of this quest for lower costs and fewer headaches is a situation where corporate collective knowledge, as well as loyalty and intellectual talent, has been lost. Once upon a time, IT was seen as the lever arm of the company – a group that could use technology to make the organization more competitive, exciting and different in the marketplace. Industry analysts and consultants in the area of business process management came up with the idea that every job could be fully described and therefore outsourced to the lowest bidder.”

“Given that the advice came from a ‘credible source’ these executives were able to achieve remarkable reductions in cost and liability for a while, until business challenges began to appear that required flexibility, corporate knowledge, and dedication to the company. The experts never considered dedication and loyalty as elements in their ‘process reengineering’ – it was deemed as not quantifiable.”

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At Commonwealth Contractors we partner with OISC Registered Private Immigration Firms and Tier 2 Licensed Healthcare and IT Consultancies who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor an individual on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). If you are a highly skilled International professional and you would like to work in the UK Commonwealth Contractors can help. Our OISC Registered Partners specialise in Tier 1 General (formerly Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) visa applications and can assist those highly skilled individuals that either wish to apply or extend a Tier 1 General Visa.

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StartUp Britain criticised by North East Software Industry

Mr Callaghan said that “We can see no reason why any number of the North East\’s 350 software companies could not be included among the business tools signposted on StartUp Britain and we would be delighted to act as your gateway to them. It seems bizarre that a government-backed scheme claiming to be the cheerleader for British innovation should be actively signposting people away from British innovation.\”

Sunderland Software City is aiming to inspire the growth of the software industry in the North East, aiming to ‘make the area the place to do business for the International Software Industry’.

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