While the smartphones market in Japan has only reached a 6% penetration rate compared to 31% in the United States and 30% in the United Kingdom the countries users are far more engaged with the devices they do own. The infographic shown below demonstrates the true impact smartphones have had on Japanese consumers. Among the […]

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Kieron-Scott Woodhouse was fed up with cellphones all looking alike, so he took the matter into his own hands, building his own brand of smartphone out of a solid block of organic bamboo.

The 23-year-old design student at Middlesex University in the UK created a design concept for the ADzero Android phone, posted it on a website, and soon it was spotted by investors who helped him bring the project to reality.

As you can see in the video, not only is the ADzero phone a beautiful work of finely crafted art, but it’s made of sustainable materials. The fast-growing bamboo takes just four years to grow. Woodhouse says it’s durable as well. According to Woodhouse, that bamboo is “just as strong as any kind of plastic.”

The handset has additional niceties on board as well, including a ring flash. Which, if it’s anything like professional ring flashes we’ve encountered, gives your photos smooth, even illumination, especially for close-ups.

The smartphone will be released first in China and the UK. Take a look at the video above, and hear Woodhouse talking about the phone and its unique capabilities for yourself.

[via JustAdZero]

More About: android, smartphone, Startups, trending

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HTC‘s recent partnership with Beats Audio has produced its first result: a revamped version of HTC Sensation called HTC Sensation XE.

The device is aimed at music lovers, and comes with several software and hardware enhancements to provide a better audio experience. Besides shipping with Beats by Dr. Dre in-ear headphones, the Sensation XE also features a special audio profile that automatically turns on when you use the headphones, as well as a remote control which allows you to pause, play or skip through tracks as well as answer and end calls without touching the phone.

Some of the other specs have been bumped too, so the new Sensation now comes with a 1.5GHz dual-core processor as well as an extended battery pack which will come handy for those long music listening sessions.

As far as price & availability goes, all we know is that the device will be available in EMEA and Asia Pacific from late September.

More About: Beats Audio, htc, HTC Sensation XE, smartphone

ShoutEm, the Zagreb, Croatia-based startup that started out as a white-label Twitter solution, has significantly changed its strategy with a new version, launching in beta today.

Instead of merely creating your own Twitter, ShoutEm now lets you effortlessly create a full-fledged iPhone app, with support for an RSS feed, event listings, video, audio podcasts, radio streaming, locations and microblogging – all in one.

We’ve tried the app creation process and it really is as simple as it can be: You add modules and rearrange them as you please, and then test the app on your iPhone by downloading a special app called ShoutEm Mobilizer and logging in with your ShoutEm credentials.

Your app can be quite simple; for example, it can consist only of an RSS feed from your company’s website. However, if you want, you can add a rich array of features that would put many iPhone apps to shame. One module we’ve had some trouble with was the images module, which works well with Flickr but with some other sites, such as Imgur, doesn’t display images correctly.

You can also brand the app with the colors and logos of your company, including setting up your own application icon, home image, iTunes artwork and more.

ShoutEm doesn’t offer a free version. To create your mobile app you must pay a monthly fee starting from $29.90/month for the Basic plan, which offers up to 1000 installs and lacks some of the more advanced features such as Events. The Advanced plan starts from $49.90 and offers up to 2,000 installs, while the Pro plan also offers plugins for WordPress and Drupal and up to 5,000 installs. The most demanding customers can negotiate the price for an Enterprise plan, which offers all of the above plus advanced customization of the application.

Viktor Marohnic, one of ShoutEm’s co-founders, spoke about the company’s strategy. “Remember when WordPress was all the rage, and everyone was creating websites and blogs? Well, now it’s happening in the mobile realm,” he says.

“There are tens of thousands of companies around the world that want – no, need – a mobile app, but can’t afford to go through the expensive process of hiring a development team, waiting for the app to be finished and submitting it to Apple’s App Store for approval. With ShoutEm, you don’t have to do any of that. Creating a mobile app with ShoutEm is simple, easy, customizable and – we think – cheap,” says Marohnic.

ShoutEm has prepared 100 beta invites for Mashable readers; to use one, register over at www.shoutem.com/registration using the code “mashableapps”.

More About: application, iOS, iphone, Mobile 2.0, mobile app, Shout’Em, smartphone

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Potential owners of Google/Samsung Nexus S smartphone now have another (albeit purely aesthetic) reason to choose that device over Apple’s iPhone 4: It will probably be available in white color.

We say probably because all we have now are a couple of images of the white version of the device, showing that Samsung has once again opted for a black front and a white back combination instead of making the Nexus S uniformly white.

Still, if you’re adamant about having a powerful, white, touchscreen smartphone, the Nexus S might be your best bet, as the white iPhone 4 has been as elusive as the Yeti and, last we heard, it won’t hit the stores before spring 2011. There’s no word on when the white Nexus S might appear in stores, but we’re hoping it’ll be sooner than that.

[BestBoyZ via Engadget]

More About: android, Google, Nexus S, samsung, smartphone, trending, White

The next generation of the iPhone and iPad will sport a new version of Apple’s A4 chip with a dual-core graphics processing unit that should enable even higher resolutions on these devices, as well as support for HD (1080p) video playback, AppleInsider reports, citing sources familiar with the matter.

More precisely, the chip in question should be a dual-core SGX543 GPU from Imagination Technologies. The rumor goes hand in hand with another rumor that claims the iPad 2 will have a much higher resolution screen than its predecessor, although the jury is still out on the exact number of pixels it’ll have.

The SGX543 graphics chip will most probably be paired up with a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU, which should make the iPad 2 a very powerful machine, more than capable of playing HD video.

As far as the iPhone 5 goes, the most recent rumor has it that it will also sport a multi-core CPU, and that it will be completely redesigned compared to iPhone 4.

[via AppleInsider]

More About: apple, Chip, chipset, dual-core, graphics, ipad, iphone, smartphone, Tablet