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Mobile & Wireless News Open Source

Symbian 3 Is Ready To Go

The Symbian 3 operating system is ready but Nokia’s N8 smartphone will be a bit late to take on Apple’s iPhone 4

The new version will run on the Nokia N8 phone due to appear shortly, and improves the Symbian operating system – the most widespread smartphone OS in the world – in various ways. Symbian 3 (also called Symbian^3 or S^3) was demonstrated at Mobile World Congress in February, when the second version of Symbian was released as open source.

Functionally complete – but is it an iPhone competitor?

“This is an important milestone for the Symbian Foundation as it marks the first time this point has been reached for a fully open source release and the time at which Symbian 3 is considered ready for community use,” said Rafe Blandford of All About Symbian, following the announcement that Symbian 3 is “functionally complete,” in the Symbian developer newsletter.

“This is an important stage for device creators and developers, but is not of major significance to consumers, other than to indicate that Symbian 3 is well on track for being in devices in the second half of the year,” said Blandford. “The Nokia N8 was the first Symbian 3 device to be announced, but there are many more on the way from multiple manufacturers.”

Symbian 3 having now been declared officially Functionally Complete marks an important milestone in the platform and represents a transition from feature submission and stability into the hardening phase. However, “functionally complete” is not the same as “feature complete,” Symbian officials said.

There could still be some minor changes to the platform – even though the software is slated to begin to appear on devices in the later in the year – following a delay to the original shipping date of the Nokia N8

Symbian 3 features include home screen improvements, next generation graphics, better data networking and a better entertainment experience including HD video, smart remote controls, interactive radio, music store integration and podcasts.

For developers, Symbian 3 delivers support for the Qt application framework version 4.6. Availability of Qt 4.6 for Symbian 3 means developers can start using the power of this new runtime, to plan new applications and to start the migration of their existing applications. Where used, Qt application framework will sit alongside the Avkon UI framework, enabling both forward and backward compatibility. Avkon is the name of the legacy UI framework that Qt replaces.

Nokia is pinning its hopes on Symbian 3, along with a general upgrade and simplification of its phone and smartphones, but has downgraded its sales forecasts

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Mobile & Wireless News

Symbian 3 Is Ready To Go

The Symbian 3 operating system is ready but Nokia’s N8 smartphone will be a bit late to take on Apple’s iPhone 4

The Symbian Foundation has said version 3 of the Symbian open source mobile phone operating system is finished and ready for use by device makers and developers.

The new version will run on the Nokia N8 phone due to appear shortly, and improves the Symbian operating system – the most widespread smartphone OS in the world – in various ways. Symbian 3 (also called Symbian^3 or S^3) was demonstrated at Mobile World Congress in February, when the second version of Symbian was released as open source.

Functionally complete – but is it an iPhone competitor?

“This is an important milestone for the Symbian Foundation as it marks the first time this point has been reached for a fully open source release and the time at which Symbian 3 is considered ready for community use,” said Rafe Blandford of All About Symbian, following the announcement that Symbian 3 is “functionally complete,” in the Symbian developer newsletter.

“This is an important stage for device creators and developers, but is not of major significance to consumers, other than to indicate that Symbian 3 is well on track for being in devices in the second half of the year,” said Blandford. “The Nokia N8 was the first Symbian 3 device to be announced, but there are many more on the way from multiple manufacturers.”

Symbian 3 having now been declared officially Functionally Complete marks an important milestone in the platform and represents a transition from feature submission and stability into the hardening phase. However, “functionally complete” is not the same as “feature complete,” Symbian officials said.

There could still be some minor changes to the platform – even though the software is slated to begin to appear on devices in the later in the year – following a delay to the original shipping date of the Nokia N8

Symbian 3 features include home screen improvements, next generation graphics, better data networking and a better entertainment experience including HD video, smart remote controls, interactive radio, music store integration and podcasts.

For developers, Symbian 3 delivers support for the Qt application framework version 4.6. Availability of Qt 4.6 for Symbian 3 means developers can start using the power of this new runtime, to plan new applications and to start the migration of their existing applications. Where used, Qt application framework will sit alongside the Avkon UI framework, enabling both forward and backward compatibility. Avkon is the name of the legacy UI framework that Qt replaces.

Nokia is pinning its hopes on Symbian 3, along with a general upgrade and simplification of its phone and smartphones, but has downgraded its sales forecasts.

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Cloud Mobile & Wireless News

Symbian Foundation Backs Open Cloud Manifesto

The Symbian Foundation is publicly backing the Open Cloud Manifesto and has pledged to move more deeply into the cloud:

The Symbian Foundation has thrown its weight behind the Open Cloud Manifesto, saying the manifesto can help lead to a more open cloud environment.

In a 1 July blog post, Ian McDonald, head of IT for Symbian, said, “With the popularity of cloud computing quickly rising there is a real need to ensure that the cloud is open and not a proprietary lock-in.”

Open Cloud

As such, Symbian has become an official supporter of the Open Cloud Manifesto. The tagline for the Open Cloud Manifesto is that it is “dedicated to the belief that the cloud should be open.” The manifesto outlines the challenges facing organisations that want to take advantage of the cloud.

A description of the manifesto on the Open Manifesto website defines it as follows:

“The Open Cloud Manifesto establishes a core set of principles to ensure that organisations will have freedom of choice, flexibility, and openness as they take advantage of cloud computing. While cloud computing has the potential to have a positive impact on organisations, there is also potential for lock-in and lost flexibility if appropriate open standards are not identified and adopted.”

McDonald said Symbian is a big user of cloud computing and will soon take even greater advantage of the cloud.

Passionately Open

Said McDonald in his post:

“Inside Symbian we use the cloud thanks to a wide range of providers – over twenty in fact – and we don’t even run our own file or email servers! Symbian Ideas, Symbian Horizon and this blog run on cloud infrastructure, and we have plans to shift nearly all our sites onto the cloud in the next few months.”

Moreover, McDonald said Symbian is an organisation that is passionate about being open. “The planning for our releases, the decision making processes (including the councils) and all our code are out in the open,” he said in the blog post. “As such we totally support the Open Cloud Manifesto which is working to ensure that different cloud offerings can work together and that there are open standards.”

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Goverment IT Mobile & Wireless News

TalkTalk Threatens Legal Action Over Mandelson’s File-Sharing Strategy

But TalkTalk’s challenge to Mandelson’s plan to disconnect illegal file-sharers depends on EU laws that are still under debate

Internet service provider TalkTalk has threatened to take legal action over Lord Mandelson’s plan to disconnect illegal file-sharers – but lawyers say the ISP’s case depends on European laws that are not yet passed.

TalkTalk’s executive director of strategy and regulation Andrew Heaney said in a blog post that Mandelson’s approach was “based on the principle of ‘guilty until proven innocent’ and substitutes proper judicial process for a kangaroo court”. He also warned that “TalkTalk will continue to resist any attempts to make it impose technical measures on its customers unless directed to do so by a court or recognised tribunal.”

The business secretary announced yesterday in a speech at the Cabinet Forum that the government’s “three strikes” policy on illegal file-sharing will be implemented by July 2011, unless his initial strategy of issuing warning letters brings about a 70 per cent reduction in online piracy. However, he emphasised that “technical measures will be a last resort and I have no expectation of mass suspensions resulting.”

Mandelson’s hard-line approach to file-sharing has already been heavily criticised by ISPs such as BT and TalkTalk, which have complained about the high costs of implementing such a scheme as well as the difficulties of enforcement. TalkTalk has even launched its ‘brightdancing’ ad campaign as a protest against Lord Mandelson’s plans to disconnect people accused of internet piracy without a trial.

talktalk.jpg

Earlier in the month TalkTalk staged a demonstration in Middlesex, in which an internet security consultant used Wi-Fi hijacking to download content, including Barry Manilow’s hit Mandy. Within a couple of hours he had identified 23 wireless connections that were vulnerable to Wi-Fi hijacking on a single street . The aim was to demonstrate the difficulties of proving who is to blame for an illegal download, and that Mandelson’s plan to disconnect offenders could result in a large number of innocent victims.

However, the feasibility of TalkTalk having a serious legal case against the government over file-sharing depends largely on the outcome of formal talks in the European Commission to resolve differences of opinion on internet piracy laws. On 6 October, European telecoms ministers formally rejected the parliament’s key amendment – the now infamous Amendment 138 – which allowed governments and rights holders to force UK ISPs to disconnect their customers from the internet.

In its place, the new provision reads that “Any such measures liable to restrict those fundamental rights or freedoms may only be taken in exceptional circumstances and imposed if they are necessary, appropriate and proportionate within a democratic society… Any measures may only be adopted as a result of a prior, fair and impartial procedure ensuring inter alia that the principle of presumption of innocence and the right to be heard of the person or persons concerned be fully respected.”

Rob Bratby, partner in technology and media law firm Olswang, told eWEEK Europe that some kind of compromise should be reached in Europe over the next couple of months. However, with the date of the government’s digital economy bill in late November fast approaching, the question is whether there is enough time for Mandelson to unite public opinion.

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Mobile & Wireless News

Transport For London Suspends Underground Data Service

The live data feed for the London Underground Departure Board has been suspended after it was swamped with app-based data requests

Transport For London (TfL) has confirmed that it has suspended its London Underground Departure Board (Train Prediction) data, after it was swamped by “overwhelming demand by apps.”

The suspension is only temporary, but a TfL spokesperson confirmed to eWEEK Europe UK that the service has been down since Friday 2 July.

Normal Service ‘In Two Days’

However he said that he hoped the service would be restored within the next 48 hours.

The spokesperson could not give the exact reasons for the crash, but pointed at TfL’s decision last month (15th June) to open up the data for commercial applications.

“The change in our T&Cs meant that developers could use our data for commercial gain, hence the rush,” said the spokesperson.

According to TfL, since the feed went live a fortnight ago, it received ten million hits a week. “This was one of the reasons for the crash,” the spokesman confirmed.

“We are really encouraged that the feed to our Tube departure information is so popular and TfL is doing everything to restore it as soon as possible but this may take some time,” said Steve Townsend, Director of Information Management for London Underground, in a statement.

“We’re sorry for the temporary disruption to this API Beta feed and we will provide an update as soon as we have further information,” he added.

Tube Data is popular

The crash shows that TfL’s data is proving extremely popular among developers, who are adding the feed to their iPhone or Android-based apps. This data feed is also provided to train stations and live traffic cameras, and will soon include data from bus stops and bus routes as well.

The crash also mirrors the increasing strain being felt on mobile networks, thanks to the increasing popularity of smartphones.

O2 for example blamed the data strain caused by smartphones such as the iPhone on a number of network failures last year. O2 has since scrapped its unlimited data bundles, as has many other operators.

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Mobile & Wireless News

Twitter App For Blackberry Finally Launched

Research In motion (RIM) has launched its official Twitter for BlackBerry application after months in beta.

RIM officials said the new Twitter for BlackBerry 1.0 app went live on the evening of 6 July. The Twitter for BlackBerry smartphones beta started in April and during the course of the preview, RIM released one update to the application, the company said.

Seamless Integration

With Twitter for BlackBerry smartphones, users can get their Direct Messages as soon as they arrive.  It even works with the BlackBerry Browser and BlackBerry smartphone camera, so it only takes a moment to post a link or upload a picture directly to Twitter. Plus, users can follow friends, search for a topic of interest, and more, RIM officials said.

The new 1.0 version also features “Go to User” – the ability to access any user’s profile from anywhere in the application using auto-complete functionality for followers, company officials said.

Features at launch for the Twitter for BlackBerry application include: Push notifications for Direct Messages; timeline support; support for following and followers; support for posting, sending, deleting, replying and retweeting Tweets; support for trending topics; seamless integration into core BlackBerry applications; and URL shortening, among other features.

Geotagged Tweets

Meanwhile, new features added during the beta period include: auto complete for @ usernames, the ability to view photos from Yfrog and Tweetphoto, the ability to view geotagged Tweets, and hotkeys for navigation, among others.

The application will be available on BlackBerry App World (www.blackberry.com/appworld) in the social networking category.

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Mobile & Wireless News

UC and Video Conferencing Apps Arrive On iOS, Android

ShoreTel, Vidyo and Radvision have launched Unified Communications and video collaboration for iOS and Android

Unified communications and video collaboration technology vendors are bringing their products to smartphones and tablets as enterprises increase their demand for high-end communications capabilities while dealing with employees looking to bring their mobile device into the corporate environment.

ShoreTel on 10 October is expanding the reach of its ShoreTel Mobility solution – which enables the integration of mobile devices with IP PBX systems – to smartphones and tablets running Google’s Android operating systems and Research In Motions BlackBerry OS 6 platform. ShoreTel will continue its ongoing support for devices running Apple’s iOS operating system, including iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches.

BYOD

ShoreTel made its announcement less than a week after video collaboration software vendors Vidyo and Radvision separately unveiled plans to bring apps for their technologies to the iOS and Android platforms. At the same time, as part of a larger WAN optimisation announcement, Cisco Systems officials said that later this month they are making their Show and Share solution for searching, watching, recording and uploading videos available to iPad and iPhone users through a free app in the Apple App Store.

The moves come amid the dual trends of greater enterprise demand for communications tools – including for remote workers – to improve employee productivity and reduce corporate costs and address the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) push, with workers looking to access corporate data and applications through their personal mobile products.

ShoreTel’s mobile technology comes from its acquisition of Agito Networks last year. Agito’s RoamAnywhere Mobility Router enables users to use their mobile devices as they would their PBX phones. Pejman Roshan was an executive with Agito when it was bought by ShoreTel. Now ShoreTel’s vice president of mobility, Roshan said in an interview with eWEEK that until a couple of years ago, Agito sold its technology primarily for RIM’s BlackBerry devices, which were the mobile phones that businesses typically issued their customers.

That changed when Apple introduced its iPhone smartphone, he said.

“When the iPhone came out, there was a surge of customers who wanted to migrate to that smartphone, and then later [customers started migrating] to Android,” Roshan said.

Radvision officials noted a recent study by Nemertes Research that said 86 percent of enterprises are seeing an increase in the number of employees who are telecommuting, and that 43 percent say their mobility budgets are growing by double digits.

Now ShoreTel, Vidyo, Radvision and other communication technology vendors are bringing their solutions to mobile platforms to address those issues.

Video conferencing

ShoreTel’s updated ShoreTel Mobility solution enables employees to access corporate communications applications on their own smartphones and tablets while making it easier on IT staffs by reducing support costs and securing the corporate network by separating the personal and professional environments on the mobile device. The solution is available on devices running Android 2.1 and above, including offerings from Motorola, HTC, Samsung and Cisco’s Cius business tablet. There also now is support for such BlackBerry devices as the Torch 9800, Bold 9700 and Bold 9780.

For their part, Vidyo officials on 6 October announced that their VidyoMobile for iOS 4.x is available on iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches through an app in the Apple App Store. With the app, enterprises can enable their mobile workers to participate in corporate video conferences from their iOS devices. Vidyo’s software solutions already enable video collaboration on laptops, desktops, telepresence and high-definition room system, and are interoperable with endpoints from such competitors likes Polycom and Cisco – including endpoints that Cisco acquired when it bought Tandberg last year.

Vidyo is aggressively rolling out offerings to challenge such players as Cisco and Polycom in the burgeoning video collaboration space. The company initially targeted its software at desktops and laptops. In June, the vendor unveiled its VidyoPanorama offering, which is designed to compete with immersive telepresence systems from Cisco and Polycom by offering high-quality video collaboration for significantly less money.

VidyoMobile is another solution that enterprises can leverage to increase collaboration among employees and increase worker productivity, according to Asish Gupta, chief marketing officer and senior vice president of corporate development.

“The business applications of VidyoMobile are compelling,” Gupta said in an interview with eWEEK.

VidyoMobile enables users to participate in conferences with more than 100 participants, according to Vidyo. The solution on the iPad 2 can display up to four participants at a time, and users can customise their view and select presentation materials. VidyoMobile for iOS 4.x is available now, and will support the latest versions of the iPhone. VidyoMobile for Android smartphones and tablets is in beta and will be available to select devices in November.

Data collaboration

Radvision announced on 3 October that its Scopia Mobile v3 application is available in the Apple App Store. The app will offer HD video conferencing, data collaboration with review capabilities, conference call control and an intuitive user interface.

“[Enterprises] want people to be able to join the

on any device at any time,” Robert Romano, vice president of enterprise marketing, said in an interview with eWEEK. “And it’s not just video and voice, but data also.”

Radvision officials want to make joining and navigating through a video conference easy, with the ability to participate through a single click, full two-way video and the capability of seeing up to 28 participants simultaneously. Users also can easily connect with a wide range of telepresence, standards-based HD video conferencing systems and unified communications applications, including Microsoft Lync.

They can view presentations, documents and images, and review previously shared materials, and can manage aspects of the meeting such as starting and stopping recording or streaming, end a meeting, mute background noises, stop cameras or disconnect people. They also can access video conferences through mobile broadband or WiFi.

The mobile devices become “so much more than just an endpoint”, Romano said.

Scopia Mobility v3 is available now from the Apple App Store. Romano said v3.1, which will include support for Android-based devices, will be available during the winter.

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Mobile & Wireless News

Apple Netbook Plans “Impossible to Predict”

The product may closely resemble the Apple iPhone or iPod Touch, only larger and with VOIP capability.

Tech Superpowers founder and Apple expert Michael Oh says if Apple is going to compete against HP, Samsung, Asus and others in the netbook space, it’ll do it in a way that redefines the market and doesn’t undermine the MacBook Air.

A Reuters article published on March 11 quotes an unnamed source close to Taiwanese touch-screen specialist Wintek, who said Apple is placing orders for 10-inch touch-screens to be delivered in the third quarter of this year.

Wintek currently provides the screens for Apple’s ubiquitous iPhone. On 9 March, speculation about a possible Apple netbook spread across the Internet after a Taiwan-based newspaper reported that two Taiwanese companies had been selected to contribute to the device. Apple officials declined to comment.

Michael Oh, president of Boston-based Apple reseller Tech Superpowers, says all the rumors and speculation need to be absorbed carefully and with more than a little wariness. “My guess is that it’s hard to say how accurate these supplier stories are,” he says. “Looking at it from the Apple ecosystem, it doesn’t make sense to me to release this product right now.”

Oh, who also wrote a blog post positing his thoughts on the rumors, says despite the opportunities available to a company releasing a low-cost PC during an economic downturn, Apple has never released a product so reactive to economic and market conditions. “In my opinion, it feels a little too rushed, a little too early,” he says. “Maybe they’ve fast-tracked some prototype product, but they’re not the kind of company that rushes a product to market in order to fill a hole in the market.”

Oh added that the one time Apple employed that strategy with Cingular Wireless (now AT&T, the iPhone’s exclusive carrier) and the ROKR iTunes phone in 2005, the product was an “abysmal failure.” Not to mention a highly portable, feature-full netbook would undercut the marketing strategy for Apple’s razor-thin Air.

“If Apple released a netbook now, they would completely undermine the MacBook Air,” he says. “If they’d come out with a netbook at $500, it would destroy the MacBook Air, and I can’t see them destroying a product line like that.”

Oh said a netbook-type product is unlikely because Apple is very calculated not only about the design and product, but the ecosystem around a particular product. When and if Apple does unveil a netbook-like device, it will be done in order to redefine the customer perception of what a $500 (£363) portable device can do. “In order for them to enter into the market, they have to feel like they have something really innovative to present to consumers,” he says.

A device twice the size of the iPhone, with a 7-inch touch-screen, a mobile version of iWork and Bluetooth connectivity is what Oh says he can see coming to market. Another big component will be VOIP capability. “One of the things you’ve been seeing with the iPhone is that they’ve been pushing VOIP apps off to the side,” Oh says. “I think that if Apple comes in with a mobile device and it comes with VOIP because it’s not locked in with an AT&T contract, suddenly they’ve opened up a new application that might be an opportunity for them to create real value-add for their device.”

Regardless, Oh says rumors remain rumors and cautions that trying to predict where Apple is going to go next is never easy. “There is always a risk if they come in with the wrong product with the wrong features—but it’s been a long time since they’ve done it, and the netbook is a prime opportunity to run that risk,” he admits. “But the one thing in all these years I’ve learned is, trying to guess what Apple is going to create in their ecosystem is impossible.”

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Mobile & Wireless News

UK Troops In Afghanistan Want Solar Gadgets

MOD announces a new scheme to get troops the gifts they need in the run-up to Christmas – and solar powered chargers are a favourite item

Business travelers in sunny climes are starting to use solar chargers to fuel the family of gadgets they haul around with them – and it seems that soldiers on a combat tour are no different.

But while using a solar charger might be a “green” choice for some, for front-line troops the decision to use the sun is more out of necessity than concern for the environment.

Along with a range of other high-tech kit including portable DVD players, game consoles and solar or wind-up radios, solar chargers are on the list of must-haves for troops in Afghanistan according to a statement released by the Ministry of Defence this week. A campaign is under way to provide the solar powered tech to troops in Afghanistan’s Forward Operating Bases thanks to sponsorship from Littlewoods and Woolworths.co.uk.

According to the MOD, troops want the solar chargers to top-up MP3 players and other gadgets. Earlier this year, US start-up Novothink launched a case for iPods and iPhones with a built in solar panel. The Surge, as the device is known, is a plastic back cover for iPods and iPhones that adds about 10mm to the thickness of the phone, and has a built-in solar panel. Two hours of charging gives about half an hour of talk time, says Novothink.

The MOD released details of the wish-list as part of wider plans to publicise a scheme to channel donated cash and presents for frontline troops into a central fund which is easier to manage then sending out items individually. The Operational Welfare Fund announced this week by the MOD and The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Familes Association (SSAFA Forces) Help is an alternative way for members of the public to send gifts to troops in a way that doesn’t overload the military’s postal system – and delay mail from relatives and friends.

“The generosity and heartfelt support of communities at home is important in keeping up morale, often in very difficult conditions,” said vice admiral Peter Wilkinson, the deputy chief of the Defence Staff. “However, experience over the past two years has shown that the operational mail system can be swamped by the public’s generosity with the result that the all important personal mail becomes significantly delayed. While parcels from the public are without doubt popular with recipients, the delays they inevitably cause to the delivery of personal mail are considerably less welcome.”

In June, handset maker ZTE launched a low-cost solar phone which can be used without any mains electricity at all, thanks to a claimed solar cell breakthrough which could power other devices. The Coral-200-Solar has a single solar panel on a specially-designed back, but is otherwise a customised version of ZTE’s Coral 200, a leading ultra-low-cost phone designed for emerging markets.

Samsung announced a “Blue Earth” touchscreen phone, and has delivered a $60 dual-charging Solar Guru E1107 phone in India, which claims to provide five to ten minutes talk time from one hour in the sun.

The Operational Welfare Fund is especially important given the rise in donations to troops expected at Christmas. “I appreciate, just as members of the Armed Forces do, the public’s great generosity when they choose to send Christmas parcels out to the troops. Public support is such a great morale-booster. But I really cannot stress enough that donating to the Operational Welfare Fund is a much more effective way of supporting our servicemen and women,” said Armed Forces minister, Bill Rammell MP.

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Mobile & Wireless News

US Demand Delays UK iPad Launch

Apple has sold so many iPads in the US, there aren’t any left for us

Apple has delayed the UK launch of the iPad by one month, because of high demand for the tablet device in the US.

The international launch of the iPad has been delayed by one month, because stocks are low after Apple sold 450,000 tablets in the first few days after its US launch – a figure that went up to half a million during the first week of sales.

UK users can buy online

Rumours that the iPad would be launched in the UK on 24 April can now be put to one side, although UK uses do have the option of buying tablets from online shops – which have been imported from the US at a premium – or entering eWEEK Europe’s prize draw for a chance to win one of the coveted devices free.

“Demand will likely continue to exceed our supply over the next several weeks as more people see and touch an iPad,” said an Apple spokesman in a statement. “Faced with this surprisingly strong US demand, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the international launch of iPad by one month.”

Apple will announce international pricing and start taking pre-orders on May 10, with the device expected to show up in the UK online Apple store by the end of April.

Since the US launch, some users have reported problems connecting to Wi-Fi, and other nay-sayers have warned that the size and shape of the device will lead to accidents, but thus far, these considerations have shown no sign of denting initial enthusiasm for the iPad.

The iPad has turned out to be surprisingly costly for Apple to make – a “teardown” has revealed that Apple is paying around £171 for the basic components in each iPad which is considerably more than had been expected.

Apple is also reported to be working on a smaller version of the iPad, which would replace the iPod Touch.