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24Oct/10Off

Engadget Snags Mystery LG Device

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What’s a classy dame like you doing in a gin joint like this? Engadget just posted an image of a mystery LG device that looks to be making its way to Verizon in the, hopefully not too distant, future. Unfortunately, the only details we have to go on is what can be deciphered from the picture.

  • Verizon
  • LG
  • HD Camera
  • LTE
  • WiFi
  • DLNA? Can’t be 100%
  • Perhaps a front facing camera north-east of the Verizon logo, with an equal chance of only being a light sensor

Slim, sexy and probably powerful. Everything we could want from our next-generation Android devices.

Update: Maybe if I actually read the details of the article, I wouldn’t be forced to correct my bad mistakes. Thanks, commenter #2.

[via Engadget]

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24Oct/10Off

DROID Pro – $300?

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droid-pro-priceAs it stands, those of you looking to land yourself a DROID Pro will have to fork over the Franklin Triplets to walk out of the store with one sans law enforcement. Which is definitely upping the game as the unofficial standard for a smart phone seems to be $200 after all is said and done. Even picking up the R2D2 only has you coughing up $250. As much as I like standards and all that jazz this is one that I hope is only a place holder until the November 11 launch, a mail-in rebate is added or it’s just an erroneous error. But as time moves on, prices go up.

What do ya’ll think? Is $300 going to deter you from snagging one?

[via DROID Life]

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24Oct/10Off

T-Mobile TV Heading to MyTouch Slide and Vibrant

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Steady yourselves MTS and Vibrant owners, T-Mobile TV is coming to a handset near you. TmoNews just got a Streamline snapshot containing an announcement that an OTA will be heading to handsets “during the last week in October”. And wouldn’t you know, the last week in October (by numbers) starts tomorrow. T-Mobile TV is a pretty sweet service, for those that haven’t heard about it. It’s a streaming service that will bring partners such as ABC, Fox Sports, PBS Kids and Disney straight to your phone without the need for an additional subscription service. We love free sh…stuff.

As the original MyTouch 3G is getting its jollys off with a FroYo OTA, and the Moto Cliq is in some sort of Beta for Eclair, they will probably be added to the list of phones able to use this service, eventually.

Update: It would seem that I was incorrect when I said that T-Mobile TV is a free service. The first 30 days are free and then $10/month afterwards. The information was garnered from this thread over at XDA.

[via TmoNews]

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24Oct/10Off

Melinda Gates: No Apple products in my house

Bill Gates' wife declares in an interview that her children have asked her for Apple products, but she had flatly refused to entertain the idea.

Originally posted at Technically Incorrect

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24Oct/10Off

SlashGear Week in Review – Week 42 2010

Welcome to another edition of the SlashGear Week in Review! This was a huge week with an Apple event and several new smartphones turning up. Early in the week Mercedes-Benz announced that it was offering a new Media Interface Plus that would allow the user to stream content from a Bluetooth phone to the cars audio system among other things.

The HTC Gratia Android smartphone saw the full specs unveiled this week. The phone has a 3.2-inch screen, 600MHz processor, and a 5MP camera and the OS is Android 2.2. Shinobii Technology pulled the wraps off an awesome controller for the Wii that is perfect for gamers who like to play table tennis games. The controller has all the hardware for the Wii Remote put inside a paddle.

Out sister site Android Community got hands on the sweet HTC Desire HD smartphone running Android and was kind enough to share with us the unboxing photos and more. The device runs Froyo and has a big 4.3-inch screen. This week Nintendo kicked off the 25th anniversary celebration for the original Nintendo game system. It hardly seems like 25 years since that console hit stores. I had the original console system with the robot that moved things around in the real world to open doors in a game.

Netflix streaming landed on the Nintendo Wii this week with no disc needed. The streaming service has been on the console for a while now but you had to use a disc to view streaming content. According to reports the version of the iPhone dubbed 3,2 that is expected to be for the Verizon network has reached the final testing stages. The new device reportedly contains a SIM card slot meaning it could possibly be able to work on more than one network.

Millennial Media reported this week that its numbers for September showed for the first time ever Android devices beat the iPhone on its network. Android ad requests have grown 26% since January. Microsoft has announced Office 365, which is a cloud-based version of Office productivity apps. The service is in beta right now and will be offered globally early next year.

Razer announced this week that its cool line of Starcraft II gaming gear that was unveiled back during the summer at E3 was now up for pre-order. The gear is set for shipment in November. A picture of what is supposed to be the iPhone 3,2 prototype believed to be heading to the Verizon network surfaced mid-week. The device looks visually just like the normal iPhone on the market already.

If you are a fan of Asus Eee Top AIO computer the new 3D ET2400XVT machine went up for pre-order this week. The machine certainly has some nice specs with a 23.6-inch screen, 8GB of RAM, and GeForce GTX 460 graphics, but the price of $1899 makes it less appealing for most. A company called Verykool unveiled a new rugged phone this week called the R80 that launched in Asia. The phone is very nice looking and can survive drops, cold, water, and dust.

The big news this week was the Apple press conference held mid-week. At the conference a lot of new stuff was unveiled with iLife 11 announced. The new version will be pre-loaded on all Macs and will be a $49 upgrade for older Macs. We spent some hands-on time with the new MacBook Air for 2010 in both the 11.6-inch and 13.3-inch forms. We liked the machine and the svelte profiles of both were very impressive.

We spent hands on time for a bit with the 11.6-inch MacBook Air Apple unveiled. The machine has a full-size keyboard, webcam, and the screen is LED backlit with a resolution of 1366 x 768. It gets 2GB of RAM, a 1.4GHz Core 2 Duo and will sell for $999 with 64GB of storage. The larger 13.3-inch MacBook Air also went official with a battery promising 7 hours of run time. The screen has a resolution of 1440 x 900 and it runs a Core 2 Duo CPU at 1.86GHz with prices starting at $1299.

The Apple press event was also the unveiling of Apple Lion OS with some new features and Apple announced that a Mac App Store was coming as well. The apps will run full screen on the notebooks and the service looks really cool.

We reviewed the Toshiba AC100 notebook later in the week. The ultraportable is very thin and packed with a Tegra 250 mobile processor at 1GHz for power. We had some issues with the notebook and hope that a port of Ubuntu might make the machine better than it is from the start with Android as the OS. The day after the MacBook Air went official, iFixit got hands on one and took the thing apart. The company notes that even the screws the machine uses are hard to open showing that Apple doesn’t want folks inside the machine poking around.

Sources are pointing to a new Android-powered eReader coming from Barnes & Noble called the nook Color. The device is set to launch on October 26 so we don’t have long until we know all the details. We spent a little hands-on time with the HP Slate 500 tablet that was announced this week. The machine is being aimed at the enterprise market and will have a $799 price tag.

We learned Friday that Netflix streaming consumes 20% of the peak bandwidth online in the US. That means a lot of people are streaming video content. Sony announced Friday that it was stopping production of the cassette Walkman that was so iconic for anyone growing up in the 80′s. I didn’t even know they were still making the things.

Analysts are predicting big sales for the new MacBook Air notebook unveiled by Apple. One analyst reckons Apple will ship 700,000 of the things in Q4 2010 alone. We got our hands on the 11.6-inch MacBook Air and did a complete review of the notebook on Friday. We reckon the machine is not for every user, but it has great battery life and will work well for many people wanting a thin and light notebook to take on the road. Thanks for reading this week’s edition, see you next week!


Relevant Entries on SlashGear


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24Oct/10Off

Tablets: A Prescription for Confusion

“It appears to be just a handful of credible entrants” said Apple CEO Steve Jobs on iPad rivals, “not exactly an avalanche.” It’s certainly been a shaky few weeks for tablets in general; while Apple’s slate can apparently do little wrong, contributing nicely to another record financial quarter for the Cupertino company, the rest of the market is looking deeply troubled. Qualms over platforms, sizes, pricing and usability have all come to a head over the past seven days, leaving manufacturers looking almost as confused as the would-be consumers.

Jobs laid into Android as a “fragmented” platform and 7-inch displays as “too big to compete with a smartphone, and too small to compete with an iPad.” Nonetheless, Android appears to be the horse on which most Apple rivals are betting. Reviews of the first new batch of Windows 7 slates proved less than positive, with models like the Tega v2 criticized for shortfalls in usability. While Microsoft’s latest version is certainly stronger than Windows XP Tablet Edition ever was, gauged against finger-centric platforms like iOS and Android it lacks the immediacy and intuitiveness users have come to expect.

In response, we’ve seen a gradual distancing of manufacturers from Windows 7, fleshing out vague rumors of reluctance over Wintel slates reported for the past few months among OEMs. MSI has apparently frozen its Windows 7 tablet development, and Lenovo has dismissed the platform as too tied to the keyboard/mouse paradigm as to be suited to pure slates. The question now is not so much whether Android, but which Android, and that’s a thick vein of confusion which even Google itself seems mired in. “What does it mean when your software supplier says not to use their software in your tablet?” Jobs asked, referring to Google’s apparent guidance to manufacturers to wait until at least the next Gingerbread release of Android for tablet use. The first Gingerbread models are expected to arrive at CES 2011 next January – including the new Android model that MSI is supposedly focusing on in favor of Windows 7 – but other manufacturers are even more wary. Lenovo, while eschewing Microsoft’s OS, has said it intends to wait until Honeycomb, the version of Android beyond Gingerbread, before making its play.

On the flip side, Android 2.2 Froyo models are reaching store shelves now, or are expected to in the next few weeks. Samsung’s Galaxy Tab is perhaps the best known, already on sale in some mainland European markets and hitting the UK on November 1st and the US through that month. As well as being one of the 7-inch models Jobs was so eager to dismiss, the Galaxy Tab has found itself mired in controversy over the apparent premium price Samsung – and its carrier distributors – is charging. In the UK, pre-orders have currently settled at around £530 ($830), the same local price as a 16GB iPad WiFi + 3G; in the US, meanwhile, Verizon has been the only network to announce solid numbers, prompting an outbreak of surprise by asking $599.99 for the unsubsidized slate.

Leaked figures from T-Mobile USA, meanwhile, have previously suggested the GSM carrier will be offering the Galaxy Tab at $399 with a two-year data plan, still an expensive option. It seems a risky strategy on Samsung’s part (though carriers set the final subsidized numbers, they’re obviously dependent on the manufacturer’s RRP and wholesale cost), when many had hoped they would significantly undercut the iPad in an attempt to secure market share (and for what is a significantly smaller device).

What must be remembered is that Samsung doesn’t intend to echo Apple’s market approach: a single model with what will probably be a yearly refresh cycle. Instead, as we’ve seen with their Galaxy S family of Android smartphones, the company is planning numerous more Galaxy Tab family slates, both with smaller and larger touchscreens than the 7-inch original. The likelihood is that we can expect the middle-ground between 4-inch Galaxy S and 7-inch Galaxy Tab to also occupy the middle-ground in pricing, to avoid stepping on the toes of either. Samsung’s play is to capitalize on the inherently niche nature of tablets, offering more targeted models built around a core platform and, presumably, hoping the combined sales are enough to sustain the project.

At the other end of the scale there are cheaper slates such as the Advent Vega, a 10-inch Tegra 2 based Froyo tablet headed to the UK market at the start of November, and priced at a mere £250 ($390). In return there’s a barely tweaked version of Android, rather than the custom apps Samsung has worked on, and the assumption that the target audience will prioritize affordability above all else. The company tells us they’re looking to put Gingerbread on the slate when it becomes available, potentially making the Vega both a cost-effective and functional option, though we’ll need to wait until the reviews filter through before knowing for sure.

Android isn’t the only platform; RIM has been gradually drip-feeding us with more information on their BlackBerry PlayBook tablet, expected to reach the market in early 2011. Earlier this week the Canadian company confirmed they would be matching the iPad’s 16GB, 32GB and 64GB SKUs, while co-CEO Jim Basillie took time to rail against Steve Jobs’ tablet commentary. “7-inch tablets will actually be a big portion of the market” he insisted, suggesting that was common knowledge “for those of us who live outside of Apple’s distortion field.” Still, the PlayBook will likely reach the market around the time Apple’s second-gen iPad does, something we can guess will answer most of the criticisms of the first model while at the same time biting away at the BlackBerry slate’s impressive feature set. RIM’s play will be the enterprise market so traditionally enamored with their smartphone line though, as we’ve seen with the iPhone, Apple has proved itself adept at taking an initially consumer-focused device and adding enterprise functionality. Anecdotal evidence has already suggested that business users are eyeing the iPad and finding ways to integrate it into their workday, leaving Cupertino a primed audience.

There are, of course, a few outliers. The HP Slate 500, for instance, finally made its official debut this week, stubbornly sticking with Windows 7 (HP’s webOS slates aren’t expected until 2011). The company has refined its targeting for the 8.9-inch tablet, no longer positioning it as a device for everyone but instead playing on its corporate skills. There’s also a significant advantage in its touchscreen technology, pairing the capacitive touch layer which the iPhone/iPad has made popular with an active digitizer for more precise stylus use. As we know from previous Windows 7 tablets, it’s something business users come to expect as well as something which significantly improves the OS experience. HP’s pricing is also strong – $799 including a desktop dock – perhaps not in comparison with consumer models, but against other Windows 7 slates (like Onkyo’s three model range, now available in the US via importers) and convertible notebooks with hybrid touchscreen displays. As ever, the target is vertical markets like healthcare, though HP will need to prove the Slate 500′s battery life first and then convince corporations that consistency in platforms is worthwhile.

Sharp, meanwhile, has taken a more unusual step and abandoned its traditional PC business in favor of chasing the tablet ereader market with its Galapagos range, though beyond talk of a carrier partnership with Verizon the US details are still scarce. Barnes & Noble are tipped to be augmenting their NOOK range of ereaders with a low-cost tablet – believed to be around the $249 mark – again predominantly focused on ebooks but with the addition of internet browsing. Both companies have turned to Android for the OS.

With his reputation for guiding the tech industry by Apple’s example, it’s easy to overlook that Steve Jobs is preaching one single vision of how tablet computing might pan out. To assume that his sole justification for bypassing 7-inch or similar models is usability, however, is naive. His job is to sell users on the Apple/iOS/iTunes/App Store ecosystem, and to put into place the best range of high-profile devices to suit; keeping that range tightly focused is in the best interest of the Cupertino company’s cachet. That needn’t mean another company shouldn’t carve its own niche; 7-inch slates have portability benefits, for instance, while Android’s arguably fragmentary nature – as evidenced by the variety of approaches manufacturers have taken with it – could potentially be reframed as a positive sign of the OS’ flexibility. Unfortunately, with manufacturer confusion seemingly at an all-time high, it’s unsurprising that consumers are similarly bewildered by the products they see hitting the market today and in tomorrow’s pipeline.


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