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The Daily Slash: December 1 2010

Oh my goodness! Crazy speeds and companies blowing up and phones being thrown around like candy! All the signs of a great day here at the R3 Media Network! First, SlashPhone breaks some news about Motorola being divided into two different divisions starting at the beginning of 2011. Then Google Reader sends an app to Android (making it even MORE impossible to get away from the news!) Angry Birds gets a Seasons expansion for Android devices (probably in the chute for Apple’s App Store.) And finally, Vince has his hands on one of the incredibly small amount of LG VL600 Modems out in the world right now, and he wants to show you Verizon’s LTE “4G” network speeds first hand, and Ben wants to tell you all about why Verizon’s LTE and the other 4G networks are important. All this and… yes! More! Today on The Daily Slash!

In Irvine California there is a man named David Norris, a man who owns a company that aims to “fingerprint” every computer, mobile phone, and TV set-top box in the world. With the “credit bureau for devices” Norris is building, each device will have a “reputation” based on that device’s online activities including, specifically, shopping habits and demographics. Fingerprinting has been used up until now as a replacement for “cookies” as a method of preventing illegal copying of computer software and to stop credit card fraud. At the moment, Norris’s company has id’ed over 200 million devices – by the end of the year, they expect to have cataloged one billion (one tenth of the world’s total.)

[Via Wall Street Journal Tech]

R3 Media Network

New Winamp for Android Receive Music from Your PC Wirelessly
Nokia Smartphones Get Opera Mobile 10.1 Final Release
Motorola Divided Into Two Different Division on January 4th
Dell’s Website Show Off Venue Pro For A Moment

Android Community
Official Google Reader App Comes to Android
Motorola Defy Rooted
Verizon’s 4G Network Officially launches December 5th
Motorola DROID Update Preparing for Release, Will Bring Software to Android 2.2.1
Samsung’s New Near Field Communication Chip Promises Increased Wireless Connectivity
Angry Birds Expansion : Seasons Revealed on Android Only!
Autodesk launches SketchBook Mobile for Android users
Google Editions to offer digital books on Android and any other device
Micromax Andro 60 will be Cheapest Android Phone in India Soon, Runs 2.1
Motorola Olympus Gets Bought at Flea Market, Runs Motoblur and FroYo
LG Star gets hands-on video treatment
DoubleTwist receives big update, now features AirSync

Android, iPhone, and BlackBerry in Dead Heat for Most Desirable Smartphone of the Month
LG VL600 LTE Modem hands-on and unboxing [FEATURED]
The Freedom of WikiSpeech [COLUMN]
PlayStation Phone “Spy Video” Shows Device in Action
The Importance of Verizon LTE and 4G Networks [ON TIME ANALYSIS]
Handmade Steampunk PC with Windows 7 Home Premium or Linux Ubuntu
Evernote 2.0 Beta for Mac – Now with Sharing and Notebooks Stacks [MINI REVIEW]
HP Slate 500 Arrives, Gets Unboxed by Lucky Owner
World’s Smallest Cellphone Jammer Blocks GSM and 3G Signals
LG VL600 LTE USB Modem Landing This Sunday for $99
‘Tis The Season for Acquisitions [COLUMN]
Parker Brothers Choppers Creates 10 TRON: Legacy Light Cycles, Only 4 Left [Video] [WANT]
LG VL600 & Pantech UML290 LTE USB Modems Launching Verizon’s 4G Network
Dell Venue Pro Available Starting Today, Will Ship by December 9th
Verizon’s 4G LTE Site Launches, Reveals Details [Updated]
Live TV on iPad Today Via DISH Remote Access App
Halo: Combat Evolved Remake Not Being Made, Microsoft Focusing on Reach
WordPress Updates to Version 3.0.2 – Do It!
Steve Jobs Confirms Extension of AirPlay Features in 2011 – Safari, Third Party Apps, Etcetera
Palm Acquisition Leads to HP Pulling Out of Windows Home Server Market – Leaves Vail Lonely
H2O Audio Presents a Full Color-Blasted Line of Waterproof Earbuds
Text messages marketing Robots movie worth $200 each
Bitfenix unveils awesome Colossus Venom computer case
iPhone 4 Vent Shell Case is full of holes
Samsung Mobile Display outs new Super PLS display to replace IPS tech
Apple patent app shows optical MagSafe data connector and convertible tablet
OWC outs new rack mount Mercury Rack Pro RAID device
Futuremark delays 3DMark 11, geeks saddened

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

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Galaxy S Gets Ripped Off in a Big and Small Way; Promises Froyo Before the Real Phone

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It’s been a while since we’ve seen an Android phone rip off the iPhone, an iPhone-look-alike running Android, a Win– you get the point. Today’s occurrence rips off the Samsung Galaxy S’s design, runs Android 2.1, and does it with a screen that’s a half an inch smaller and a chassis that looks twice as thick. The screen isn’t AMOLED, we’d assume, and it has a measly HVGA resolution. We’re also sure it won’t have that snappy fast 1GHz Samsung Hummingbird processor inside, but it does come with a respectable 512MB of RAM and ROM. They even include the logo, for good measure! The irony in all of this is that they promise an upgrade to Android 2.2 is forthcoming within a few weeks, but a lot of us (especially in the United States) are having trouble getting that from Samsung for the REAL Galaxy S line of phones. Hmph. [M8Cool via Engadget]

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Android Platform Versions Chart Updated, 1.x Won’t Go Without a Fight

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It’s December 1st and Google’s ready to serve up some new platform distribution numbers. Last time, we saw Android 2.0+ taking up a majority of the pie at 77% (Eclair  with about 41% and Froyo with 36%), while 1.5 and 1.6 were still lingering around. This time, Froyo’s taken over the top spot with 43% while Eclair drops to 39.6% for a combined 82.6%. As for Cupcake and Donut, they’re still taking up 6.3% and 10.6%, respectively, which – combined – accounts for nearly 17%. The trend has been out with the old and in with the new – as it should be – but once 1.x is fully antiquated we’ll be wondering why everyone isn’t on 2.2, 2.3, and eventually, 3.0. [via Android Developers]

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Android Transforms into Jack Frost Thanks to Dead Zebra

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Dead Zebra’s back for another special holiday Android toy, and this time our green robotic friend seems to have grown a carrot for a nose, buttons for eyes, and has turned completely white: he’s a snowman! If you’re into the standard set of Android toys provided by Dead Zebra, then you’ll absolutely love these. The getup is complete with a scarf and a matching top hat to keep your ‘droid friend warm throughout the Christmas season. Check Dead Zebra’s storefront soon for your chance to get one of these. (Trust me: they won’t last) [via Android Guys]

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Android, iPhone, and BlackBerry in Dead Heat for Most Desirable Smartphone of the Month

Of course, the month we’re talking about here is October of 2010, but this sort of data takes time to compile, ye know, and The Nielson Company’ve done quite a job doing so. According to this study done by the folks at NC, the smartphone market now covers about 27.7% of the whole pie, the pie being the Total Market Share for phones in the USA. Of that smartphone percentage, three competitors stand out the strongest and are surprisingly close in their race for dominance: RIM BlackBerry OS with 27.4%, Google Android OS with 22.7%, and Apple iPhone OS with 27.9%. After that it goes Microsoft Windows Mobile, Symbian OS, Linux, and Palm OS, with 14, 3.4, 3.3, and 1.3% respectively. After that, desire sets in, and the numbers get real interesting.

The question NC had for their group of people living in the USA next was what mobile phone users who planned to upgrade to a smartphone next year was desired the most – what would you buy if you got exactly what you wanted? It seems that iPhone is in the lead here for those people who already own a smartphone of some kind, with Android being in second place for that crowd with 28% to Apple’s 35%, and Android beating Apple by 2 percentage points in the category for people who at the moment only have featurephones. After that, you can see the scales tip from iPhone and Android to “Not Sure” as age increases, and “Not Sure” and iPhone winning for females while males have an ever-so-slight preference for Android over iPhone, leaving the rest int he dust.

[Via Android Community]

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LG VL600 LTE Modem hands-on and unboxing

There are arguments as to whether Verizon’s LTE network – as with Sprint and T-Mobile’s – is true 4G. Having been trying one of the carrier’s first 4G USB modems today, that discussion hardly seems relevant: this is undoubtedly the fastest mobile broadband experience we’ve had in the US to date. After the cut, first impressions and speed tests galore.

You’re not likely to call the LG VL600 USB modem stylish; it’s a chunky dongle, packed with both 4G and 3G radios for when you’re outside of the 38 cities Verizon says will have LTE service by the end of this year. It – together with the rotating Pantech UML290 – will be $99.99 when it goes on sale come December 5, with a new, two-year agreement. Data itself is $50 for 5GB per month or $80 for 10GB; after that it’s $10/GB.

Setup is easy, so long as you use a PC; there are no Mac drivers for the LG. Once set up we were online in seconds, and then the fun began. Per Verizon representative, “the LTE LG modem does not currently support Mac OSX but we are working quickly to make that happen.”

Impressive stuff, though Verizon is careful to point out that it’s early days and hardly saturated with users right now. Speeds will inevitably take a dive as loads increase. Still, we’re enthusiastic about what Verizon is offering, even in this fledgling state. When it comes to 4G, HSPA+ and Sprint’s WiMAX have a fight on their hands.

Unboxing and hands-on

Windows XP - LTE Tempe-SlashGear0000
Windows XP - LTE-SlashGear

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The Freedom of WikiSpeech

I’ve had a lot of trouble wrapping my mind around the whole WikiLeaks affair. My first instinct was conservative, to say the least, and perhaps even jingoistic. I agreed with the sentiment that WikiLeaks, and its founder Julian Assange, was directly attacking the U.S. I hadn’t felt this way about the previous WikiLeaks revelations, but something about this recent information dump struck me differently. In the past, the revelations had always been about the wars the U.S. is fighting abroad. I have some complicated views on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and I won’t get into them here. But regardless of whether you are in favor of continuing the fighting abroad or withdrawing all of our troops, I think we can all agree that war is the most dire situation in which a country can find itself. It’s not a decision to be made lightly, or ignorantly. That is why I was supportive of previous WikiLeaks actions. Americans should know the truth about the wars we are fighting, and that means the entire truth.

[Image credit: Justin Kern]

I’m not ignorant to the realities of how this information might endanger our troops and the informants who are helping us. I think they should be afforded some protection. But I also think that in some cases, if the truth is going to inflame our enemies and put our troops into more danger, perhaps it is the reality that the information has revealed that is to blame, and not the release of the information itself. In other words, if we’re doing something so horrible that we don’t want anyone to know about it, perhaps it’s something we shouldn’t have been doing in the first place. Revealing that horror to the world isn’t the problem, it’s the horrible act itself.

This latest document dump still had me questioning some of my core beliefs. War is one thing, but diplomacy is another thing entirely. I would like to think that our diplomats and embassies abroad are working in the best interest of the American people, and all people worldwide. I definitely think that there should be some sort of oversight, and plenty of transparency, so that we can be sure that the things we say and do behind closed doors match the things we voted for behind closed curtains.

But I also know that diplomacy can be like a game, and subterfuge and secrecy are as much a part of this game as pomp and circumstance. Sometimes, we have to be nice to someone’s face while sneering behind their backs. This is true with our closest allies or staunchest enemies. This isn’t a lie, this is etiquette. We have to work with other countries, other leaders, to move towards a better world. Sometimes that means kowtowing to unsavory characters.

I also think there are leaders who may be more open-minded than the collective world news media portrays the general populace of the countries they lead. Those leaders should be free to say and do unpopular things behind closed doors, so long as they are working towards greater peace and freedom from harm for their people. If King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia wants to take a more liberal stance towards Israel and democracy in the Middle East than popular sentiment in his country might allow, he should feel comfortable having conversations in private with American diplomats, without worrying that those conversations will be made public in a giant information dump years later.

That said, there is no right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States that I hold more dear than the first amendment. I am a true freedom of speech advocate, not just one of those people who wants freedom for the speech I consider decent and moral, and censorship when I think speech crosses the line. For me, freedom of speech comes down to one rule: don’t hurt anyone. And I mean that literally. I’m speaking of physical harm, not emotional damage. I think it’s very rare that speech can actually cause physical harm, and so I think that almost all speech should be allowed.

When can speech cause real, physical harm? If you yell “fire” in a crowded theater, and the resulting stampede causes injuries, that’s physical harm. If you’re standing before an enraged lynch mob, and you push that crowd over the line from unreasonable rage to actual physical violence, that’s physical harm, though even in that case I’m hesitant to censure speech because I don’t believe words alone can inspire people to violent acts.

Do you want to create a piece of art that offends my religious beliefs? Go right ahead. I won’t pay to see it, but I won’t stop you from creating it. Do you want to march down the street wearing white hoods and spouting hateful, racist rhetoric? I won’t like what you have to say, but I’ll fight to the death for your right to say it. Even better, I’ll organize a counter-rally of clowns to highlight your stupidity. I think that the best way to combat verbal ignorance and intolerance is with education and experience, not censorship.

At its heart, the WikiLeaks issue is a free speech issue. In fact, I think it’s wrong to even blame WikiLeaks themselves for causing these problems. WikiLeaks did not gather the documents, and they certainly did not write the problematic diplomatic cables. If there is blame to be laid upon this issue, it is upon the person who stole this information in the first place and passed it along. It is upon the lax security of the U.S. government, to allow this sort of information to fall into the wrong hands. If I can keep my parents from seeing photos of my wild weekend in Las Vegas on Facebook, certainly the U.S. government should be able to keep highly sensitive, behind-the-scenes documents a secret.

In fact, not only do I not blame WikiLeaks for this document dump, I actually admire the way they are handling it. They seem to be presenting the documents they control without editing or comment. They aren’t editorializing what they have found, though it is clear that there is a political agenda behind the organization. They have passed along the same information to numerous news organizations, across a number of countries and cultures, so that no one group has control over the information.

I worry a great deal over the people who may be harmed by this leak, the people who may be physically hurt when their involvement in U.S. government affairs is revealed. If the person who leaked these documents is found and convicted in a court of law, I think there is an argument that this leak was treasonous, especially if that person is a soldier in our armed forces. But once the information is out there, it is best to let it flow freely and openly. You can’t un-ring this bell, and even though it might have consequences for the way we interact with other countries in the future, and the way we gather and store the troves of information we collect, I don’t blame WikiLeaks for the problem.

Of course our government’s first reaction to the WikiLeaks dump was righteous indignation, even bombastic threats, but that has been tempered significantly in the past few days. As Secretary of State Clinton told reporters on Monday, as bad as it was to reveal our secret thoughts to other countries, the reaction from our allies was generally “You should hear what we say about you.” Well, maybe we should. Maybe we’ll look back on this time and realize that the truth wasn’t so shocking or damaging. Our reaction to this issue can set the tone for the rest of the world as a model of how our country respects free speech.

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PlayStation Phone “Spy Video” Shows Device in Action

Oh you PlayStation phone, you sassy little lady. You’ve been walking around these internets for over a month now and there’s not a moment of you on film yet – but wait! Someone has one in Greece? Find them! Take a video! Oh goodness, who would have thought the PlayStation phone, aka what calls the Sony Ericsson Z1 PSP phone, aka codename Zeus would have found it’s moving self into these internets via it’s namesake’s birthplace? What this video is, apparently, is an account of Sony Ericsson’s half gaming device / half Android phone being used in the wild by a man with hairy arms. Let’s take a look!

The fine folks over at report that not only is this device smooth and sassy, it’s carrying Android 2.3 Gingerbread. There’s a hefty 4-inch touchscreen thats rather responsive, and the video itself features some really dramatic music so you can get in the mood for suave spying. Though how they know all this (aside from the suave spy music) even though the video they’ve got is called a spy video, we’re not sure.

[Via Android Community]

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Multi-Card USB Readers from Elecom are Super Kawaii and Super Helpful

Multi-card USB readers – why is this concept more well played? It IS played though, even though it might not be well spread. Here’s a couple for you from Elecom, available in Japan (or over the internet through GeekStuff4U, which is in Japan too, but online, and online is everywhere!) One is the multi-card stand-up reader MR-C27 which reads up to four SD/SHDC or SDXC cards at a time – supporting cards up to 64GB. The MR-SMC06 is a dual-card USB stick or thumbkey which has no internal memory in and of itself but has two microSD or microSDHC slots. Super cute and super handy!

Both of these fine items can be found on GeekStuff4U and I’m sure your everloving nerd friends would just LOVE to have them for a holiday gift – bank on it. The MR-C27 multicard is [here] and the MR-SMC06 seems to be sold out or just gone for the moment, but that link’ll find it for you when it’s back up.

[Via AkihabaraNews]

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The Importance of Verizon LTE and 4G Networks

Verizon detailed today the launch of their next generation 4G network. 4G has been talked about this year heavily as Sprint has been heavily promoting the fact that they were the first carrier to launch a 4G network in the United States. Sprints 4G network is based on a technology called WiMax where Verizon’s launch is on a technology called LTE.

So the real question is why should anyone care about 4G and what does it mean for the broader consumer technology industry. Let’s explore.

The reality is every major carrier in the country is going to move to 4G at some point in time. While the mobile phone market was maturing it was all about the voice network. Carriers competed on coverage, voice quality, network reliability etc.

Those battles will still exist however the value is moving from the voice network to the data network. This is because of the rise of smart phones and smart devices where data becomes a more central part of the device experience.

The battlefield going forward will be which carriers have the fastest data network and that is where LTE comes into play. 3G networks had a fundamental problem and it wasn’t the speed. 3G networks were built for faster data but failed at handling a lot of concurrent consumers consuming data per network node. In essence if a lot of people in a particular city or area were on the 3G data network at the same time the network slowed down drastically.

LTE looks to solve this problem by not only being faster with download speeds ranging from 6-12 MBS realistically but also to handle more data consumers per network node. This is the part that is a big deal. If it proves true then the carriers will start being more aggressive with their pricing for data plans. They will want to recoup those costs of the new network and since data is where the new value is I expect very aggressive data plans as the networks get established.

These faster data networks will be key to future consumer experiences with mobile devices. Sharing video, capturing and sharing live video, multiple party video conferencing, playing multiplayer graphically rich games in real time, etc all require faster bandwidth and networks that can handle millions of people consuming that data at the same time. The Qik application for iPhone and Android, for example demonstrates all the things that 4G will make better.

This move is good news for consumers and for the industry. Faster data speeds add value to the innovations we want to crank out over the next few years. Having cheaper access to these faster data networks lowers the barrier for consumers to begin using these new innovations.

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