UPDATED 06:47 EST / MAY 09 2012

Samsung and Visa’s Official Olympics Phone with PayWave

Today’s mobile news roundup features Samsung and Visa’s partnership for the Olympics, RIM’s newest device, Apple’s redesigned microSIM, and more.

Samsung and Visa announce official Summer Olympics phone

Samsung Electronics and Visa announced that the Samsung GALAXY S III, the latest Samsung smartphone unveiled only last week, will be Samsung’s Olympic Games Phone during the London 2012 Games.

The Samsung Galaxy SIII comes equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) payment capabilities.  A limited edition Galaxy SIII equipped with Visa’s payment application, payWave, will be available for Samsung and Visa sponsored athletes and trialists, making it possible to buy merchandise with a wave of the device at thousands of retail locations throughout London.

“Mobile payment services enabled by NFC technology are gaining momentum around the world. The Samsung GALAXY S III has been created with our human needs and capabilities in mind and is the ideal device to showcase the ease and convenience of Visa’s mobile payment application at the London 2012 Olympic Games,” said DJ Lee, Executive Vice President and Head of Sales and Marketing team of Samsung’s Mobile Communications Business.

RIM announces stylish new smartphone

After Research in Motion’s very boring Wake Up campaign, which was supposed to push people to like BlackBerries more than iPhones, and their announcement of two new executives, RIM finally announced a new smartphone that probably should have come with the Wake Up campaign.

RIM announced a stylish new smartphone, the BlackBerry Curve 9320, for socially-connected customers. The smartphone features all the core BlackBerry messaging and social-centric features,  such as a dedicated BBM key to bring the power of RIM’s popular mobile social network up in an instant, as well as the best keyboard in its class for quick and easy typing. It includes a built-in FM radio, allowing users to tune into their favorite local stations, and listening to the FM radio does not require a data plan or use data services. Designed to allow both 3G connectivity and long battery life, customers can get up to 7 hours of talk time or up to 30 hours of FM radio listening or music playback with headphones.

“The new BlackBerry Curve 9320 is designed to make it incredibly easy for users to stay socially-connected,” said Carlo Chiarello, EVP, Smartphone Business at Research In Motion. “The new BlackBerry Curve 9320 will be especially popular with customers upgrading to a smartphone for the first time and existing Curve customers looking for a step up in speed and functionality.”

Apple redesigns nano SIM for Nokia

Apple and Nokia have been battling over which of their microSIM designs should be chosen by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute as the standard microSIM design.

Apple is pushing for a smaller microSIM design, smaller than the microSIMs they are currently using.  But Nokia stated that if ETSI goes with Apple’s design, they would pull out their SIM patents, which would make it impossible to manufacture SIMs since Nokia holds patents on communication and processing in mobile devices, essential in the operation of the SIM.

So Apple obliged to Nokia’s protest and redesigned their microSIM. which is now being showcased at CTIA by SIM card maker Giesecke & Devrient.

The new microSIM design now shows that “a small amount of plastic has been added around the edges of the electrical contacts, making the new nano-SIM just long enough so that it can’t be forced lengthwise into an incompatible socket,” a review from the Verge states.

G&D is a voting member of ETSI, but did not actually state that they are backing Apple’s design–they work with everyone.  But the SIM manufacturer hinted that if Apple’s microSIM design is approved, the product will soon be available.

In other Apple news, the case filed by Proview against the iPad maker in California was tossed by Judge Mark Pierce of the Superior Court of the State of California in Santa Clara County.  The reason for the case’s dismissal was due to the agreement by the two parties to resolve the dispute in Hong Kong.

Sony launches 13 MP smartphone in Japan

Sony launched two new Android ICS-based smartphones in Japan, the Xperia SX and the Xperia GX, both with a 1.5GHz dual-core processor. The Xperia GX has a 4.6-inch HD screen, 13-megapixel camera and 16GB of internal flash storage, while the Xperia SX also has 8GB of internal flash storage and an 8-megapixel camera.  Prices for the devices weren’t announced but the devices are expected to start selling during the summer.  No news yet if the devices will be available in other markets.

Snappii supports native Android apps

Snappii, the platform for rapid mobile apps development for non-programmers, significantly improved their support for Android devices, as Android apps created on the platform now utilize native Android APIs.  Snappii Android apps now run faster and are more stable.

Snappii also introduced new features for their Android platform support such as:

  • Create Android apps in 17 languages
  • Utilize enhanced color schemes
  • Leverage Google maps to show business locations
  • Create apps that take photos
  • Create merchant apps utilizing PayPal Mobile payments and more.

“We are proud to say that now Snappii users can create native Android apps.” Alex Bakman, the Owner and President of Snappii said.  “All the platforms we support and are planning to support in future should correspond to high level of flexibility and functionality of iPhone and iPad apps we have released first. We will continue adding new useful features both to iOS and Android apps to let our users make apps in a matter of minutes. The most important thing is that we take our customers’ feedback into account and release the features people need and use today. We are not limited with just standard number of options allowing to create simple mobile apps. We are interested in creating really functional and useful mobile apps.”

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