The week in gadgets – Apple drops Google Maps, Baidu’s new mobile OS

14 May 2012

A look at gadget happenings, as Samsung brings a new entry-level smartphone to the European market, Apple is to drop Google Maps from the next iPhone, Chinese internet giant Baidu is to launch a smartphone rival to Android, and Foxconn’s chief executive practically confirms Apple’s TV rumours.

Samsung launches entry-level Omnia M Windows Phone

Samsung’s latest low-end offering will hit Europe first and other regions later, as announced last Friday. The minimalist Omnia M Windows Phone features a 4-inch Super AMOLED display, 1GHz processor, 4GB of storage and 384MB of RAM. A smartphone, perhaps, for those looking to just dip a toe into the smartphone market, it also comes with access to Family Story, Samsung’s cloud network for family sharing, and ChatON, a group chat and messaging service.

Apple to drop Google Maps from next iPhone

Apple plans to replace Google Maps on iOS devices with its own mapping service that will include 3D capabilities.

Since 2009, Apple has been developing its mapping infrastructure. In the same year, it bought a company called Placebase. In 2010, it bought Poly9 and in October it acquired Swedish mapping firm C3, whose software and camera technology renders 2D photos into high quality and detailed 3D images.

According to reports on 9to5mac, iOS 6 will see Apple drop Google Maps and replace it with an in-house map app that is apparently cleaner, faster and more reliable.

Instead of Google Street View, Apple will provide 3D visuals of a given area by clicking on ‘3D mode’. iOS 6 is expected to be launched at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference next month.

It crawled from the East

Chinese internet giant Baidu is about to launch a new mobile operating system that will rival Google’s Android platform on smartphones.

The company will soon be launching a new service called ‘Baidu Cloud’, which integrates cloud storage services with its web products.

This is not to be confused with its existing Yi operating system, which is based on Android.

Details are set to emerge in the coming week when Baidu will name the manufacturers of its next smartphone device.

Could we be witnessing the arrival of a new OS giant for the smartphone space? Wait and see.

And finally … confirmation of the Apple TV set?

It simply wouldn’t be a gadget update without a juicy Apple TV rumour. Like a modern-day Bigfoot, many hold strong beliefs an Apple television set exists, and some even claim to have seen it. And now, Terry Gou, chief executive of Foxconn, one of Apple’s manufacturing facilities in China, has practically confirmed it. China Daily reports that Foxconn is making preparations for manufacturing the device, which they call the iTV (but of course!), and that it will be a collaboration with Japan’s Sharp.

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