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Kingston 32GB MicroSDHC Class 4 Review

If there’s one thing we’re used to seeing on mobile devices of late, it’s “microSD cards up to 32GB supported.” Problem is, when it actually comes to fitting maximum-size microSDHC cards inside, your choices have been relatively limited and generally expensive. Kingston is aiming to change that, with a 32GB Class 4 memory card that promises both performance and a sub-$100 street price. Is this the card your smartphone has been waiting for?

There’s not much we can say about microSDHC hardware: the fingernail-sized chips have become the de-facto standard in mobile memory, thanks to their high capacity and diminutive scale. With many smartphones relying on memory cards for their primary storage, and with the card slots themselves often hidden either underneath the battery cover or, worse, under the battery itself, it makes sense to opt for the biggest chip around.

Kingston offer two SKUs with the 32GB microSDHC card, either with an adapter to convert it to full-sized SD or without. Ironically, street pricing has settled at roughly the same $99.95 figure for each (even Kingston’s RRP only expects a dollar more for the adapter).

The most important thing is performance, and the Kingston chip put in a decent showing. Plugged into our computer, we recorded sequential read-rates of 6.012MB/s and write rates of 4.871MB/s; that’s considerably lower than the Class 10 SDHC cards we reviewed back in April, but realistic for use in a smartphone. It’s worth noting that real-world performance will likely be impacted by the speed of the handset or device you’re using, too.

Equally important, then, is the fact we’ve had no errors or data loss during the time we’ve been testing the card – making multiple read/write cycles and swapping it with various devices – and no sluggishness either. It’s still considerably cheaper to buy two 16GB microSDHC cards, but then again you pay for the convenience of not having to swap our your memory (and safely store the removed card). SanDisk offers a 32GB card for roughly $10 less, but it’s a slower Class 2, and so far the microSDHC market is yet to deliver the sort of sales pressure to force pricing down any further. Still, if you want the most capacity for your device, and you don’t want to carry a wallet full of spare cards, Kingston’s 32GB microSDHC doesn’t disappoint.

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The Daily Slash: November 17 2010

It’s a day full of fun, in the USA at least, so much of it I can barely contain my joy for it all! Two more Samsung Galaxy Tabs available, one from Costco, the other from Bell. LG announces a new phone by the name of APEX, and Giorgio Armani releases their very own Samsung Galaxy S. Then some sweet concepts: a Porsche phone, a hybrid AMOLED/E-Ink phone, a Mercedes-Benz Biome concept car grown in a nursery, and a solar powered umbrella. Evan’s “Week with the HTC HD7″ continues with “the Apps,” Don decides on Vizio, and Phillip marks the recession of the Social Tide with one big delete button. All this and MORE on The Daily Slash!

You know that pesky little thing called Net Neutrality – aka the principal that service providers and governments should not be allowed to restrict content, sites, platforms, equipment and modes of communication through the internet? Well the UK Communications Minister Ed Vaizey is against that, saying today at a London telecommunications conference organized by the Financial Times: “the market should decide the extent to which service providers can charge for preferential content delivery and slow down other traffic.”

Enough said?

[Via Reddit]

R3 Media Network

Sam’s Club Now Offering iPad With Minor Discount
HTC DROID Merge Heading To Verion On Thursday
Twitter Update iOS app, Provides Push Notifications For Mention And Direct Message

Android Community
Hamilton CapTel offers Android app for hearing impaired
Nexus S concave touchscreen originally intended for Sprint?
Sony Ericsson ANZU/XPERIA X12 previewed
Samsung Galaxy Tab: Five Carriers, Three Cases – Which Feels Best?
Dropbox for Android Updated
HTC Knight is actually HTC EVO Shift 4G?
Mobclix survey reveals demographics of Android users
Samsung and Cellular South agree to LTE network launch plan
Samsung Galaxy Tab for Bell Now Available, Costs $599.95 [ANOTHER TAB]
Android Market’s Publishing Interface Gets Updated, More Signs of Gingerbread [GINGERBREAD]
Cooliris Liveshare Application for Android Deployed Today, Special Events Around the Globe This Week
Conceptual Design for Porsche Smartphone is Sleek, Hot, Amazing [CONCEPT]
Honeycomb equipped Motorola MOTOPAD expected February/March 2011 [HONEYCOMB]
Giorgio Armani Samsung Galaxy S Announced from Seoul [REAL DEAL]
HTC and Samsung believe Android will dominate future smartphone market
PocketBook IQ EBookReader Hands-On and Video Review
Verizon Galaxy Tab Hitting COSTCO for $589.99 [ANOTHER TAB]
LG Apex Announced by US Cellular, to be Released on November 19 [NEW PHONE]
Cooliris Liveshare App Review [REVIEW]

Low-temp ceramic micro fuel-cells promise affordable methane power
Fluid Dress is incredible labor of fluid-filled love [Video] [MPLS YAY]
Color e-paper drawing tablet gets Berlin outing
White iPhone 4 conversion kit seller gets legal threat after $130k sales
Motorola MOTOPAD Honeycomb tablet due Feb/Mar 2011 with Tegra 2 tip insiders
PeeWee Pivot 2.0 tablet laptop launches
Fujitsu multitouch resistive touchscreens bring cheap pinch-zooming to Windows 7 notebooks
Hulu Plus officially launches at $7.99 per month; hits Roku today
BYD Alice Tegra 2 Froyo tablet wants a chance at the market
Palm to reclaim smartphone “birthright” with phones & “a great tablet” tips Rubinstein
Sharp 3D smartphone launches for US, India & China tipped for 2011
VUDU 2.0 UI teased; HD PS3 streaming due later this month
A Week with the HTC HD7: the Apps [FEATURED]
Why my next HDTV will be a Vizio [COLUMN]
How Microsoft Got 1,000 Plus Apps Developed for the Launch of Windows Phone 7
Conceptual Hybrid Display Phone Works with Both AMOLED and EInk [CONCEPT]
Sony PSP2 Supposedly Breaks Cover, Shows Off Twin Thumbsticks
Day Shade Night Light Solar Powered Patio Umbrella Conceptualized [CONCEPT]
Mercedes-Benz Biome Concept Car is Grown Inside a Nursery [CONCEPT]
Bose Bluetooth Headset unboxing & hands-on [FEATURED]
Google Docs Now Let You Edit Documents on the Go
Assistant Professor Wants to Install a Camera Into the Back of His Head
The Social Tide Receding [COLUMN]

To see more Daily Slash posts, click here: [The Daily Slash] or here: [SlashGear Morning Wrap-Up]

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A Week with the HTC HD7: the Apps

I have spent almost a week with the HTC HD7 from T-Mobile USA, the first device for the Magenta network to run Microsoft’s new and “improved” Windows Phone 7 mobile Operating System. So far, we’ve taken a look at the hardware, which I was pretty impressed with, even if I had seen other devices much like it already. And then, we took a personal look at the software, and I came out pretty confident in the system, even if there were a few things in there that threw me for a loop. Tonight, we take a look at the apps. As of the time of this writing, Microsoft says they’ve got just over 2,000 applications available in the Windows Marketplace. I picked out my favorites, and I’m also going to talk about the native ones, too. So let’s get into it.

Native Applications

I think it’s an obligation that I start with the email client. For me, having email sent to my phone is a must, and so I’m always trying to find the best application to make that easier on me. I hate having to go through lengthy screens, or complicated user interfaces to get what I want. It should be simple enough, smooth enough, and efficient enough to make me want to use it, but not just because I have to. When I had originally seen demo videos of the email client for Windows Phone 7, I wasn’t all that impressed. But, just like in the software article, it’s after I got time to play with and use it, and actually experience it, that I realized how much work had gone into it.

Finding an email is easy with the search function, along with the top navigational words. Finding your way into your Inbox, or to some messages you may have flagged, to any unread digital parcels you may have is easy: just swipe left or right. The same user experience is found in the email client, just like the rest of the phone, and it just works. No more having to deal with drop down context menus. Just swipe your finger, and you find what you’re looking for. You can even add folders, to make navigating to frequently used ones all that much easier. The black-on-white format of the email application, consistent from Exchange to Gmail, isn’t distracting at all, and just makes looking at emails all that much easier. Everything is sized correctly, aligned, and you don’t need to do any scrolling to the left and right, like I’ve had to do with so many other email clients in the past. Again, Microsoft made sure that this just works, and that it looks good while doing it.

However, I have noticed something peculiar about the sync for my email accounts on the HTC HD7. At first, I wasn’t noticing it at all, because I didn’t have my other devices syncing my email, too. But, when I wanted to test how accurate the sync between the Windows Phone 7 device was, and my actual email Inbox, I found some inconsistencies. Primarily, I don’t feel like the HD7 is as fast as I would really like it to be. Not all the time. There were a few occasions that I would test the sync, and sometimes the HD7 would receive the email even before my web-based email. But, more often than not, I find that my Palm Pre plus, and Samsung Fascinate are syncing my emails (both my Gmail, and Microsoft Exchange) faster than the HD7. For me, this is almost a deal breaker, but I’m hoping that with some kind of bug fixes in the first service pack for Windows Phone 7, this gets addressed.

I’m going to bundle the Internet Explorer and Zune Music & Videos applications together, so hopefully that’s all right with you. First, Internet Explorer. I’ll go ahead and admit that I don’t use IE on my computer, nor have I used it any time in the recent past. I’m just not a fan of it. And, I’m still not a fan of it, even when I’m using it on the HD7. There’s nothing really wrong with it, I’ve found, but I’m just not a fan. First and foremost, I can’t find a way to access the URL bar, to type in a web address, when I’m in landscape mode. In fact, when I’m in landscape mode, I pretty much can only do one thing: view the page I’m on. Turn the device to portrait mode, and you get all of your options back: URL bar, settings, favorite, and open a new page. For me, this just makes me hate using Internet Explorer even more, because I prefer to browse the Web in landscape mode. It’s just more comfortable. But, overall, the speeds are good, and web pages are pulled up accurately. Not having Flash player isn’t a drawback for me, so I can’t judge whether or not I’m getting the “full experience” that some people may think I’m not receiving. It works well enough for me, even if I can’t really do anything in landscape mode.

Right out of the gate, I was a fan of Windows Phone 7 because of its ability to sync to Microsoft’s Zune Software. I may be one of the few, but I personally don’t use iTunes anymore. If I did, I would easily spend way more money than I could make, and that’s not good. So, Microsoft’s Zune Pass, for $14.99 per month, works perfectly for me, and knowing I can sync it to my HD7, and listen to music through it, is pretty much amazing. And, I wasn’t let down. I’m able to sync my music, take it off, and add more whenever I want, and I’m fully capable of accessing the Zune Market from the device while I’m out and about, letting me download the music I want when I want, thanks to the Zune Pass.

But, one quick thing I did notice, is that the music player is tied to this Music & Videos service. Doesn’t seem like a bad idea at first, but it really is. Why? Because if you don’t have enough service to, say, access the Music & Videos section of the Zune Market, then you can’t get to your music. For those who live in an area with great T-Mobile service, you’ll probably never notice this. But for me, in my usage, I don’t have the best service, and I’ve noticed a few times where I just wasn’t able to get to the music I wanted to listen to, because I didn’t have a data connection. I’m sure this seemed like a good idea to someone at Microsoft at the time, but I’m here to tell you: it isn’t.

Yes, there is a way around it, but it doesn’t really fix any problems. Let’s say you’ve listened to music at some point, earlier in the day. Back when you had a data connection. But, now that you don’t, and you’re not able to surf the Internet, you want to listen to some music instead. Oh, but look at that, no data connection means no Music & Videos, so what do you do? Well, if you haven’t turned your device off since that last time you listened to music, all you have to do is hit the volume rocker, up or down. That will bring your volume level indicator up, in the toaster notification at the top of the display. You’ll also get options for playing your music, or skipping forward or back. Once you hit play, you can listen to music again. But, be warned: you still won’t be able to access your music library from the device, as long as you don’t have a data connection.

It’s annoying because the music is saved on the device, courtesy of Zune Software, but obviously Microsoft believes you should be tied to the Internet in some capacity or another if you want to listen to your music. Not cool, Microsoft.

And the last native application I’m going to look at, is Office. This is one of the other reasons I was excited to get my hands on Windows Phone 7. While I’m a huge fan of Google Docs (did you see that it’s gone mobile, now?), I still have a soft spot for Microsoft Word (don’t ask me why, because I couldn’t tell you). So, being able to use a full, Windows Phone 7-based version of it seemed like a great idea. And, in essence, it really is. Creating new documents is easy, editing new documents is easy, and saving them, both on the device and on your PC, is simple enough. I don’t really have any negative things to say about it, especially considering the applications, which include OneNote (a huge plus, in my book), are free. If I had to pay for them, I’d probably be singing another tune.

To wrap-up the native applications, I can safely say that Microsoft may have played it safe to the vest with some of them, but for the most part I’m pleased with what they’ve done. Their email client is top-notch, Microsoft Office is excellent, and even if there are some limitations to just the music player itself, it’s backed by a huge library of music and music videos, all of which I can download whenever I want (as long as I’ve got a data connection). Out of the box, applications wise, Windows Phone 7 does pretty well for itself.

Third Party Apps

There are over 2,000 applications in the Windows Marketplace as of right now. Obviously, I’m not going to go through all of them. In fact, I’m not going to go through most of them. I took some time to go through the Marketplace, I found some applications that looked interesting to me, and I downloaded them to try them out. Some of them stayed in their free trial state, while others got bumped up to the full version. I’m going to pick out my favorites, and I’ll tell you why. There’s a few in there that may not surprise you, and some that may.

Oh, and I’ll tell you right now: not a single one is a fart app. Not one. Not because Windows Marketplace doesn’t have any (because they have a lot), but because there’s no way I’m going near a fart app.

First, is Netflix. This application works so well, and looks so good, that I can barely believe it. I’ve used Netflix on another mobile platform, and I was impressed with it then too, but the Windows Phone 7 variation just brings everything I’ve enjoyed so far about WP7, and puts it in the Netflix app. The same left-to-right and right-to-left swiping navigation is present, which makes navigating the application a breeze (and fun), and the software is quick and responsive. Even while I was moving through my Instant Queue, I wasn’t finding any lag. Starting movies is quick, but obviously it’s going to depend on your data connection, and coverage. I tried a few times to get Netflix to work on a weak EDGE connection, but it wasn’t having it. Don’t get me wrong, it still played the movie, but it wasn’t watchable. I tried again when I had full signal strength, still on EDGE, and I got a movie that I could watch, without interruption or non-synced sound.

The experience is so much better on WiFi, though. There were plenty of times when I was sitting back, messing around with something on my Xbox 360, when I put the HD7 down in front of me, set it up on the kick stand (which I still dislike, for the record), and started watching a movie. There’s something about watching a full length movie on a mobile device, though, and even if I love Netflix on the HD7, I probably won’t be using the service all that much. That will change for most people, though, especially for those who do a lot of travelling. The HD7′s 4.3-inch screen is awesome to watch stuff on, though. No arguments there.

Foursquare. There were rumors that Foursquare creators weren’t going to make a Windows Phone 7 application for launch, but money got involved, and here we are. I’m glad they took the time to do it. Just like with Netflix, and every other aspect of Windows Phone 7, the navigation and presentation of the application is unarguably one of the best ones I’ve ever seen. I’ve used Foursquare for awhile now, but I’ve got to admit that the applications are pretty boring. That’s not the case with the Windows Phone 7 version.

And then there’s DoodlePad. This is just a fun application. With DoodlePad, you can draw whatever you want, with all sorts of color options, ink sizes, and photos. If you’re bored, of if you can’t watch Netflix or listen to music thanks to your data connection, DoodlePad is a great way to keep yourself, or even anyone else with you, entertained. It’s robust in its own right, with plenty of options for drawing and coloring, but it’s a pretty light application other than that. It opens quickly, drawing is smooth, and erasing is easy. Simply put, it’s just a fun app to have, and use every once in awhile.

This next app is perhaps, arguably, a native application, but only because of the carrier, and not because of Microosft. T-Mobile’s T-Mobile TV is a pretty fantastic application, and if you’re someone who loves TV (I’m not, really, I promise), then the HD7 and T-Mobile TV is a pretty safe bet. Not only do you get options for old episodes for a particular network, including ESPN, Disney, and ABC, but you also get live TV. The quality of the video is top-notch, even if you don’t have the best service, and I didn’t find any trouble with audio synchronization.

In all, the third party applications are new. There are a few more in the Marketplace that caught my attention, that I used, but didn’t stick around for long on my device. The Ragdoll application that Microsoft showed off months ago is in the Marketplace, and it’s a lot of fun, but I personally feel like it shouldn’t have cost any money. If you’re looking for a lot of free applications, then the Marketplace probably won’t be your favorite place. However, there are free trials for everything, so you do get a good grasp of an application before you buy it. As anyone can expect, the Marketplace has room to expand, and as long as the developers keep up with the growth, there’s nothing holding it back.

The Wrap-Up and HTC Apps

If you’re someone who needs apps, the Windows Marketplace will probably have something for you. And, if not right now, then they more than likely will. Whether that’s because Microsoft nudges developers towards the platform, or they come on their own, there’s no reason why I can see that developers would want to shy away from Windows Phone 7. The user base will grow, as more devices are released, and with it the application library will grow with it.

There’s one final point I want to make. HTC, known well for their proprietary User Interface on previous Windows Mobile devices, and now primarily on Android-based handsets, called Sense UI, wasn’t allowed to do any tweaking to the overall look and feel of Windows Phone 7. (And now I know why — there’s no reason for it.) But, that didn’t stop them from creating the HTC Hub, which will let you access applications from HTC, like Weather, and Stocks. None of these are mind blowing, except the Weather application. HTC improved it, ten-fold, and the animations are great. However, the HTC Hub is no reason to get an HTC-manufactured Windows Phone 7 device. There aren’t enough applications to make me say that it will be your one-stop shop for awesome apps, either. That could change in time, I imagine, but I doubt it.

The wrap-up is simple enough: the Marketplace is a broadening experience. There are only 2,000+ apps in the market right now, and there are plenty of apps in there that some would see as a waste of time. But, there are some gems in there, too. Honestly, it reminds me of Apple’s App Store, when it first launched. Yes, it was amazing at the time, but there really weren’t a lot of applications that really stood out. Yes, there were some, but not a lot. But there were a lot of apps that no one cared about. Windows Marketplace is in that place right now, but thankfully the outlook is promising.

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Why my next HDTV will be a Vizio

Whenever I talk about HDTVs with other tech lovers, they typically point to Samsung LED-LCDs or Panasonic plasmas as the go-to televisions for the person looking for the best picture. And as an owner of a Panasonic plasma, I never protest. My 50-inch HDTV has been a treat to have in the house.

But when I get my hands on my next HDTV, I won’t be buying a Samsung LED or even a plasma to replace my beloved Panasonic. No, when I finally head to the store to get my hands on a new HDTV, I’m going to buy a Vizio set.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Yes, Vizio is supposedly a “budget” HDTV company that shouldn’t be able to compete against products from competitors like Samsung and Panasonic. But if you’ve been following Vizio’s improvements over the years, you’ve probably noticed that visual quality is quite impressive. And all the extras available in its HDTVs make it an ideal choice.

Oh yeah, and there is also that fact that they’re more readily affordable than alternatives.

For the sake of this discussion, allow me to point to the Vizio XVT3D554SV. The LED set features a 55-inch display and 3D technology. Plus, it’s nice and thin at about 3 inches thick. It also has ample inputs for set-top box lovers, thanks to its 5 HDMI ports.

Now, those specs might not seem like much. But consider the fact that the 55-inch set also comes with 120 zones for local dimming; a full selection of Vizio’s “Internet Apps,” including Netflix, Pandora, and Amazon Video On Demand; and the kicker, Wi-Fi, built-in. So, instead of worrying about running a cable from your router to your HDTV, all you need to do is connect it to your Wi-Fi network and you’re all set.

The best part is, its MSRP is just $2,400.

Some might say that competitors have similar offerings. And that’s certainly true. For example, Samsung’s 55-inch LED 3D TV UN55C7000WF, comes with Netflix, Hulu, and other entertainment apps, and features a one-inch thickness. But it only comes with 4 HDMI ports. And the only way to access your Wi-Fi network with the device is with the LinkStick adapter. Oh, and then there’s the issue of price: its MSRP is $3,299.

That’s not to say that Samsung’s HDTV won’t beat Vizio in picture quality — I haven’t tested either product myself, so I can’t say for sure — but on paper, when one compares the competition to Vizio, the HDTV maker holds up quite well. In fact, I think it delivers the most value for your hard-earned dollars than any other company on the market.

And that’s precisely why I’ll be buying a Vizio set next time around. It’s not that I have an issue with other fine options from major vendors, but I like knowing that I’m getting a lot for my money. And time and again, Vizio delivers products that prove it’s trying to capitalize on that kind of customer.

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Verizon: We now have 4G Service, AT&T Doesn’t [4G WARS]

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Verizon’s inviting AT&T back into that age-old marketing war we were just talking about, and this time they’re dishing out blows about their 4G network. The ad was spotted inside of what looks to be a bus stop, but we can’t confirm that. And we honestly don’t care. What we care about is the fact that Verizon’s getting aggressive with AT&T, again, and T-Mobile and Sprint might find themselves caught up in the fire before too long. Question, though: why isn’t Verizon going after T-Mobile? T-Mobile uses the same type of network as AT&T which they claim is 4G. Is AT&T just an easier target because they haven’t been calling their HSPA+ network 4G and because they have no phones that take advantage of it? Let’s not forget that Verizon has yet to launch a 4G phone either. (Though I’m sure they’ll have no problem bragging about the speeds customers can get using their MiFi devices.) FIGHT! [Twitter via AC]


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Google Formally Briefs Developers on Market Changes; Includes Video Support

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There was a lot of speculation regarding what Google was taking the market backend down for earlier, and they spilled their own beans with the revelation of some new application upload options. Since then, they’ve also updated registered developers via email on the changes in juicy bulletpoint form.


For starters, Google will require a “feature” graphic of 1024×500 (tablets?), a required high-res icon with a resolution of 512×512 (likely for the web-based market front-end), will be introducing the ability to upload 8 screenshots in the future and requires 1 overall, and last but most definitely not least, will allow you to upload an optional promotional video to YouTube for users to view right on their phones. It sounds like some even bigger changes are forthcoming and we can’t wait until Google finally pulls the wraps off of whatever else they have in store for us soon. Read the email sent to developers below.


We’re writing to inform you about some changes to Android Market that require your attention.

First, we have added support for a recent changes feature, which allows you to add notes about changes specific to the newest version of your application. You are able to submit these from the Developer Console, similar to descriptions. In the Market app, these notes will appear under the app description as “Recent changes.”

Second, there is now a ‘draft upload’ capability for application updates. This feature enables you to edit your app listing and upload a new version without affecting the version live in Market. Your app listing edits will not change your live listing until you select “Publish.”

Finally, we are adding support for larger promotional graphics to showcase your application. In addition to the currently required app screenshot, you will be required to upload one “feature” graphic. Supported promotional assets will now include:
- A “feature” graphic, landscape aspect ratio, 1024 x 500 (required).
- A high-res icon, 512 x 512 (required)..  The Android icon design guidelines located at apply.
- 2 screen shots, 320w x 480h, 480w x 854h, or 480w x 800h, increasing to 8 screen shots in the future (1 required).
- A link for a promotional video hosted on YouTube (optional).

Thanks, and we look forward to continue working with you on Android Market.

The Android Market Team

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Samsung Galaxy Tab Now Available from Bell

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Canadians on Bell can now grab up the Samsung Galaxy Tab as they’ve started stocking it for $649.95 without a contract. Data plans you can look forward to are 500MB of data for $20/month and 5GB of data for $35/month. (Overage on the $20/month plan is handled by simply upgrading you to the 5GB package.) Those interested can also add Tablet TV onto their package for $10 that’ll get you 10 hours of viewing, with additional viewing costing $1 per hour. Contact your local Bell dealer today for more details. [via Mobile Syrup]


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PowerAMP for Android Update Brings 4×4 Widget, Tweaks, Fixes

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PowerAMP development is moving right along with today’s update to build 269 bringing a larger 4×4 widget for use on your home screen and lock screen, support for album art on large tablet devices, and your expected round of miscellaneous bug fixes and enhancements. Here’s the entire list of recent changes per the Android market listing:

- large 4×4+ widget for Home/Lock screen, matches PowerAMP theme

- swipes for Lock Screen

- optional ticker in status bar

- support for bigger album art on tablets

- win-874(Thai) and SJIS tag encodings

- equ thumbs more sensitive to dragging

- increased ogg/mp4/ape sound buffer for non-FPU phones

- bug and stability fixes

Go ahead and update it now if you haven’t already.

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How Microsoft Got 1,000 Plus Apps Developed for the Launch of Windows Phone 7

According to a source “familiar with Microsoft’s developer outreach” speaking with GigaOM says that as the company got ready to attack the whole Windows Phone 7 situation, the split off into two teams: a depth team made to reach approximately 50 of the top app makers in the world, and a breadth team made to access the rest of the developer community and offer them support. What did that depth team do? Dish out the cash! Sources speaking with Ryan Kim note that in many cases, Microsoft offered either revenue guarantees or developers to work with companies to develop their particular WP7 app. Amongst those built or payed by Microsoft are: IMDb, Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, and Amazion, plus more.

“It’s not that we’re funding a team of developers to build apps,” said Kim’s source, “It was that without the apps the phone is incomplete; consumers will be handicapped if they don’t have a good Foursquare or Twitter app.” Foursquare had originally planned on only creating an app when WP7 reached 10 million devices sold – after getting payed to develop though, Foursquare was available for the initial launch.

Some groups didn’t take a cash bonus, for some weirdo reason – for example PopCap – offered $100,000 for a game (it’s unclear which game, precisely), but turned it down and created a game anyway (again, unclear if this is the game they would have been payed for): Bejeweled Live.

The director of PopCap’s mobile business development did note that the group didn’t want to be tied to a game creation agreement while their developers were only just getting used to the tools needed to create, but did find value in being on par with the WP7 launch. Stein noted: “Whenever you talk subsidy or royalty guarantees, there are strings attached … We weren’t sure we could meet the commitment but we already identified we wanted to be on there. If the platform succeeds, the dollars we were kicking around the table will be peanuts.”

In the end, (in the beginning, that is,) Microsoft ended up promising initial Windows Phone 7 customers “over one thousand apps” – a number that’s since grown past 2,000 – still no massive number compared to Apple’s 300,000 or Android’s 121,000, but hey, seems like they did their jobs, yes? Cash rules every app around me.

[Via HotHardWare]

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Conceptual Hybrid Display Phone Works with Both AMOLED and EInk

Oh conceptual design, how awesome thou art. This is the “Second Life Mobile Phone Concept” by Cho Sinhyung & Jeon Jungjae, a phone that employs both a lovely AMOLED screen in glorious full color when it’s active, and an E-Ink display when it sits in standby mode. Juice saver deluxe! Furthermore, the degree of transparency in the screen shows the percentage of battery remaining. Fade away like you’re Marty McFly. Futuristic.

Forever running out of power? Everyone is, even if you plug your phone in every chance you get. While this concept is based around the life of the battery, take a peek at the excellence in the aesthetics as well. Seems like it’d have more than a couple fingerprints on it on the daily, and maybe it’s breakable, but heck if it doesn’t look spectacular.


[Via Yanko Design]

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