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Battery Life: iPad 2 vs. Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1

clock June 17, 2011 01:00 by author Jeremy

A recent article on AllThingsD by Katherine Boehret compared the differences between the iPad 2 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. While the prices are the same for each ($499 for the 16GB WiFi model, $599 for the 32GB WiFi model), differences include the camera, the physical size, and the app market.

Most importantly, however, was the difference in battery life. Boehret's testing (which included 75% screen brightness, WiFi-enabled, and a video loop) concluded that the iPad 2 would last just slightly over 10 hours, while the Galaxy Tab ran at a measly 5 hours 38 minutes in comparison.

Sure, the Galaxy Tab may be just a bit thinner (and really, who doesn't like sleek?) and have better camera quality; but is it worth half the battery life? Granted, it's doubtful people will be using the battery constantly like Boehret did in her testing, so I'm sure that the battery lasts longer than 5 hours on average. Nonetheless, it's something to consider when purchasing a tablet.

Source: AllThingsD

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E3 2011 - Microsoft's Kinect, Sony's PSVita, and Nintendo's Wii U

clock June 11, 2011 01:25 by author Jeremy

This past week hasn't been shy as far as introducing new gadgets and technology. With WWDC on Monday, you'd think we couldn't have gotten any more excited (after all, iTunes Match seems fairly spiffy). Oh, how wrong we were.

Though E3 didn't officially start until Tuesday, we were already seeing keynotes on Monday. Microsoft pumped up their Kinect-system, showing off a slew of games such as Dance Central 2 and Kinect Star Wars. Other games were introduced that will still use the basic controller, but aren't left out from the Kinect system: voice-controls used through the Kinect's mic can be utilized during gameplay.

Even the main XBox360 menu is getting a makeover. The new UI will later include Bing voice search for Hulu, Netflix, live TV, and even YouTube. With this much integration of the Kinect, Microsoft likely won't even need a new console for quite some time.

On the other hand, Sony let out a bit of news on their NGP - now officially named the PlayStation Vita. This handheld has received quite the popularity since it was introduced in January, and there were several demos to be had. Several of these games are available for both PS3 and PSVita, and Sony announced that games can stop on one machine, only to pick up on a different one (for example, switching from your PS3 to your PSVita). Most importantly, though, was their announcement of the final price and date: $249 for the WiFi model or $299 for the 3G model, hitting stores this holiday season; AT&T will be the sole carrier. That's got to be one strong battery to display the crazy visuals of the Vita while maintaining internet connection...

Aside from their keynote, Sony also introduced the PlayStation-brand 24" 3D monitor and 3D glasses, available for $499 as a bundle. With these, you'll be sacrificing the comfort of your ears for the joy of being able to play with friends locally while viewing a full screen. According to Sony's press release, letting the Lithium Ion battery in these glasses charge for 3 minutes results in 3 hours of use, with 45 minutes bringing you roughly 30 hours of wear.

Meanwhile, Nintendo took a different approach to their keynote. After a large symphony orchestra playing through a montage of Zelda-scenes to honor the 25th anniversary, Nintendo dived into showing off new games for the Nintendo 3DS and the handheld's infamous AR (augmented reality). More importantly, though, was their announcement of a new system: the Wii U, which will make use of a 6" controller with a screen. You can use the controller to share pictures and videos from your tv to your handheld, or you can use it to play certain games (for example: holding it up to the screen while playing baseball makes it act as a virtual glove). Nothing was mentioned as far as how the remote will be powered or charged, however.

 

 

Oddly enough, the actual Wii U wasn't spoken as much as the Wii U remote was, but from photos during their keynote, it looks very similar to a Wii but with rounded edges. It will be backwards compatible, so all your odd Wii gadgets will work with it. The Wii U is scheduled to release in 2012.

 

Source: engadget, prnewswire



WWDC 2011 - OS X Lion, iOS 5, and iCloud

clock June 8, 2011 01:27 by author Jeremy

What's the best way to start the week? Probably with WWDC, if you're an Apple fan. In the past few years, we've seen new releases of products each time WWDC came around. Unfortunately, there aren't any new hardware products this time around, but the new software will more than make up for it.

Steve Jobs started us off with OS X "Lion", the latest build for Macs. This upgrade is available from the Mac app Store and can be downloaded straight to your Mac: no need for CD's anymore. It'll come with over 250 new features, but only 10 were previewed at WWDC. Lion will be available for $29.99 in July.

  • Multi-touch Gestures: How can you go wrong with this? Feel free to zoom, scroll and swipe to your heart's content. From what we saw, you can use up to 3 fingers for different commands and functions.
  • Full-screen Apps: Fairly self-explanatory there. Not only can you run the apps full-screen though, you can also swipe on your trackpad to switch between apps.
  • Mission Control: This will show all currently running apps or open documents in a sort of windowed-array. You can assign certain sections of your screen to hold specific windows in different sizes, and even zoom in on specific apps and windows for a preview.

  • Auto-Save: This feature can be toggled on/off, but when left on, it will not only automatically save your documents, but also load up your document to exactly how you left it. Auto-Save also includes the capability to see past "versions", allowing you a sort-of "timeline" of your file.
  • AirDrop: Files kept in this section can be shared with other nearby users running AirDrop. No need for flashdrives or cables, and no need to set up any programs. Simple!
  • Mail: A new version of Mail includes a favorite-folders section, which allows for easy viewing and searching. Speaking of searching, the search-bar can filter by people, subjects, or even dates. Mail can be viewed as a conversation, so that all messages show inline.

Next up, iOS 5 was introduced for all the iPhone fans out there. Features include:

  • Notifications: Hate those pesky push-notifications that constantly interrupt what you're doing? Then say goodbye to them. Apple is adopting an Android-like method of notifying users: a swipe-down menu can now be accessed from the top. During games and videos, a small animation appears up-top that disappears shortly after. Clicking on the animation will take you straight to the app, or you can ignore it and carry on. Notifications also appear while the screen is locked, and swiping to a particular notification will open up that app directly as well.

  • Reader View: Ever browse a website and the words are too small, or you have to keep swiping left and right to see everything? With Reader View, the OS will re-organize the screen to make everything readable in one scrollable page.
  • Reading List: Now you can save that website you're browsing for later without adding it to the bookmarks or leaving the window open! Just add it to the "Reading List", which can be accessed across devices (more on this later).
  • Reminders: This will allow you to set reminders based on the date or location. Feel like being reminded to stop by the bank the minute you leave your house? Just set it up accordingly, take one step out the door, and you're set.
  • Camera: The camera's been upgraded to include a button on the lock-screen for easy access. Also, the volume-up button now serves as a capture button, and you can edit your pictures directly (reduce red-eye, crop, rotate, etc).

  • Mail: Addresses can be dragged-and-dropped (from the To/From fields, for example). You can flag individual pieces of mail as unread, and search the contents of the messages from the search bar. Rich text formatting is finally included, as well as indentation control and a built-in dictionary (which, actually, works for all apps bought through the app store).
  • Game Center: For the gaming-enthusiast-on-the-go! This app will keep track of high scores made by you, your friends, and even your friends' friends. You can recommend games to them through here, and vice versa. Or, play a turn-based game with your friends from this app.
  • PC Free: Brand new devices can now be activated straight from the device: no need to go to a PC anymore. Software updates are OTA, and you can even sync iTunes without the wires! Which brings us to...

The iCloud! The long-awaited solution to everyone's hopes and dreams...at least when it comes to cross-device synchronization. And that's assuming all your devices are Apple products. But hey, brand loyalty pays, right? The iCloud is a free service that Apple is offering, which will hold all your content in Apple storage facilities. All of your content can then be pushed to your other devices.

So, what kind of content, you ask? Just about anything from your documents to your music, from your pictures to your videos. There are slight limitations though: for example, photos only last in the cloud for 30 days, but your devices can hold the last 1000 cloud-shared photos. Obviously, your PC/Mac can hold save these for as long as you want.

The music you bought is automatically uploaded to each device as well, assuming you have the capacity for it. And speaking of music...

iTunes Match was probably the most exciting news (for me, at least). This will scan your library and attempt to match your songs to anything in the iTunes Music Store's database. Songs that are matched are upgraded to 256Kbps AAC without DRM That's right folks: all those torrented CD's you've been listening to are now somewhat legit. iTunes Match is $24.99 per year, but Jobs promises that the matching-and-moving will take minutes, not weeks (which seemed like a swing against competitors Amazon and Google's music services).

So, no iPhone 5. Can't say I'm shocked, but it doesn't mean I'm any less excited. And you should be excited too! Don't you have some files to go prepare for the cloud?

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Keynotes from the D9 Conference, 2011

clock June 6, 2011 23:45 by author Jeremy

Engadget has done quite a number of liveblogs in their day, and their most recent stories are up from last week's D9 Conference. We'll give a quick wrap-up of the interviews from Google's Eric Schmidt, Hewlett-Packard's Leo Apotheker, Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky, Nokia's Stephen Elop, and AT&T's Ralph de la Vega. (Oh, and be sure to put on any cautionary-equipment you may have: these company reps get a lot of burns, hardballs, and snide comments thrown their way!)

Starting with Google's keynote on May 31st, we're presented with Managing Editor of the Wall Street Journal, Robert Thomson, followed soon after by- wait, seriously? Is that Glee's Jane Lynch?

Claiming to be the temporary CEO of "News Corp" (which, ironically, owns All Things Digital and thus D9), she apparently ripped on News Corp's iPad-only publication The Daily, cracked a joke about Glenn Beck, and even took a major swing at Sarah Palin! Talk about a grand opening for keynotes.

Eventually, Google's Eric Schmidt hit the stage and talked up Google Music as his first order of business. He admits earlier on that getting the music industry to work with non-Apple companies has been hard. He also defended Google's privacy-issues: some believe that they're just holding too much information, with even Steve Jobs calling Android a "probe in your pocket". According to Schmidt, data and information collected is only held for roughly 12 to 18 months, all of which is anonymous. And if you still think that Google has too much power with privacy, just take it from Schmidt himself: "If you've spent any time with the U.S. Government, you may start to feel more comfortable with this data in the hands of a private company." Ouch.

Their 12 to 18 month rule may not apply to Google Wallet, however: "[T]hat'll fall back onto widely regarding credit card policies already in place. We have a strong policy inside of Google to not data mine this stuff to create a surprise." Sounds good enough for me! This quote followed an actual demonstration of Google Wallet itself, which was also shown at the Google Wallet press event on May 26th.

On June 1st, there were three speakers to go through, starting with Hewlett-Packard's Leo Apotheker. With the combination of both HP and Palm, webOS is ready to become an active participant in the market against Android and iOS. And with webOS, HP is gaining a much larger foothold into the software business; it can be run on laptops, smartphones, and even printers. But being the large company that HP is, it has to battle against just about everyone on numerous fronts. Whether they can handle this Jack-of-all-trades approach has yet to be determined.

Later on in the day, D9 met with Microsoft's Steven Sinofsky, who gave a full preview of Windows 8. While this isn't the official name, Windows 8 is supposed to be Microsoft's OS for tablets. Rather than a start menu like Windows PCs have, the "desktop" will consist of tiles, like apps on a smartphone. The appearance of these will change depending on the tile: for example, a social networking tile's picture might reflect a recently-made post on twitter.

Also, there are different keyboard types and settings depending on how you want to use it. And at certain times (such as when running Excel), you'll run into familiar-looking Windows 7-esque desktop, to which Sinofsky commented, "We don't think people should have to give up things they know to deal with a new form factor."

The last keynote of the day was with Nokia's Stephen Elop. Much of this keynote revolved around Nokia's game-changing business plans, including their transition to Microsoft's Windows Phone instead of staying on the Symbian-train. According to Elop, staying with Symbian would have taken Nokia up to 6 years to really catch up with the rest of the world; siding with Android wouldn't have out well either due to issues revolving around differentiation.

Finally, on June 2nd, AT&T's CEO Ralph de la Vega had to defend against the onslaught of irritated demands and questions about his company's lack of service. Earlier in the interview, de la Vega promised better signal strength in both New York City and San Francisco. This transitioned to the subject of the possible AT&T / T-Mobile merger, which could help bring LTE service to 97% of the U.S. population, as opposed to the 80% AT&T could achieve on its own. Nonetheless, there was still much skepticism toward AT&T's LTE-service, comments over the possibility of overcharing in the past and current expensive prices.

De la Vega did have a bit of good (or at least interesting) news to share, though. First off, he made direct references to possible shared data plans between a single user's multiple devices. There aren't any official plans behind this yet, so it may be a while before we see it in action, if we even do. Also noted was the fact that their femtocells (which are used to help boost signal strength in relatively-weak areas) could actually reduce quality in areas with already-high signal; this wasn't known before, so be sure you're using the Femtocell accordingly!

Between the Google Wallet and webOS hoping to emerge well in the market, last week's D9 Conference went off with a hitch. Now all that's left is to see if these new fads catch on!

Source/Pictures: Engadget, AllThingsD



HP expands their previous Battery Recall Program... again.

clock June 3, 2011 00:57 by author Jeremy

Some of you may remember HP starting an HP laptop battery recall in May of 2009. The Consumer Safety Products Commission helped recall roughly 70,000 units affecting various HP laptop models between 2007 and 2008.

And in case you weren't around for that, perhaps you witnessed the expansion of that same recall back in May of 2010, which threw even more HP laptops on the bad-list. No? Well then, here's a doozie for ya...

Just last month (oh look, another May), HP expanded that same recall from 2009. If your device or battery bar code is on the list below, you may want to contact HP...just in case.

That, or wait until next year's likely recall. 3rd time's a charm, right?

Sources: HP laptop battery notebook recall 2011 - Check out the HP notebook recall for 2011 and the list of laptops that should get their battery replaced.
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission - HP Expands Recall of Notebook Computer Batteries Due to Fire Hazard. Consumers urged to recheck notebook models and batteries.
HP Notebook PC Battery Pack Replacement Program - HP urges customers with notebooks listed in the 2009, 2010 and 2011 announcements to validate the battery even if they have validated it previously.

There's also new replacement HP laptop batteries and chargers available on eBatts.com that are ready to ship and come with a full 1 year warranty.



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