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27Feb/11Off

Blackberry Rep: PlayBook Will Support Android Apps [Video]

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We’re not exactly huge Blackberry fans here at Phandroid, obviously, but we do cover any and everything Android. Having said that, a new video has come out of a RIM  representative confirming that the Blackberry Playbook tablet will – at some point – support Android applications.

We’ve heard those murmurs a while ago, and recent testimonials from the folks who develop Shop Savvy have all but confirmed this to be true. RIM has yet to make any official announcement mentioning this, but this is as good as it’s going to get. We’re not saying we’re going to go out and snatch up a Playbook because of it, but it’s still good news. It’s at the 14 second mark in the video above. [via CrackBerry]


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27Feb/11Off

Motorola XOOM Overclocked to 1.5 GHz [Video]

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The Motorola XOOM – the world’s first Android 3.0 tablet – has been hacked to no end since its release last week, and development continues with coolbho3000′s overclock developments. He first had the NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor clocked at 1.2Ghz, but that was just Saturday. One day later, he’s achieved a stable 1.5 GHz overclock. I’m not surprised that he was the one to achieve it considering he’s the developer of SetCPU, but I am interested to see how big of a performance boost the XOOM will get as a result. (And considering his history, we’re confident that this is the real deal unlike those who claimed to have overclocked the Galaxy S’s CPU to 3 GHz a while back.) Instructions are here. Video proof sits above. [Droid-Life]


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27Feb/11Off

Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc System Dump Online

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The Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc is starting to trickle into the marketplace, and you had to guess that with its arrival would come eager developers ready to pull all of its interesting bits right from the device’s internal storage. Folks at XDA have gotten the full dump if anyone’s interested. You can find Xperia-specific applications, Sony Ericsson’s new home launcher, the keyboard, and more. If you just want the launcher, use this link via the unofficial X10 blog. The entire system dump can be had at XDA.


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27Feb/11Off

SlashGear Weekly Roundup Video: February 27, 2011

Hey guys, this is our very first SlashGear Weekly Roundup video. We highlight the top ten news of the week and hope this will be a good way for those to quickly catchup on the most important weekly tech news. Check it out after the jump and feel free to give us some feedback.

10. Sprint HTC Merge – first CDMA Windows Phone

9. Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread for Nexus One and Nexus S goes OTA

8. Sony VAIO S ultraportable announced

7. Nokia names first MeeGo phone: Nokia N950 targeted as a “development platform”

6. Intel Thunderbolt official announcement. Take a closer look at Thunderbolt and the other Intel partners.

5. Motorola ATRIX 4G Review.

4. Microsoft Kinect SDK release confirmed for personal use in March

3. Motorola XOOM Review and Android 3.0 Honeycomb Review.

2. Apple iPad 2 event confirmed for next week.

1. New Apple MacBook Pro early 2011 range.


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27Feb/11Off

Mac Users Require File Transfer Utility for Android 3.0

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For some odd reason, Android 3.0 and Mac OS don’t get along too well as they are. We won’t jump into why that may be (it could just be something trivial or a technical limitation), but we will point you guys toward a tool you’ll need if you need to connect your new Honeycomb tablet to your Mac in order to transfer files. It’s simple to install and serves one convenient purpose. Find it over at Android.com. [via MobileCrunch]


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27Feb/11Off

HTC DROID Incredible 2, HTC Merge Show Up in Verizon Inventory

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We’ve been expecting Verizon to announce a follow-up to the HTC Droid Incredible for a long while. Most thought that the Thunderbolt would be considered the device’s sequel, but HTC ended up debuting one Incredible S at Mobile World Congress. While that particular device is only officially headed for Europe at the moment, Engadget has uncovered some inventory shots showing what looks to be evidence of an HTC Incredible 2.

There’s no way to tell if this’ll be similar to the Incredible S, but we’d bet our bank on it. (And we wouldn’t be surprised if Verizon injects a pretty LTE radio inside.) Also showing up – yet again – is the HTC Merge It isn’t the first time it’s been spotted in Verizon’s inventory system, and we’re almost 100% certain it won’t be the last. We’ll be looking out for more as the weeks move on.


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27Feb/11Off

The Best Picture of the Year

Having reviewed some of the worst movies of the year for this SlashGear column, I can finally set my sights on the best of the best, just in time for the Oscars. I’m only going to focus on one category, the most important one, the Best Picture. Full disclosure: I haven’t seen all of the movies, but I’ve seen more of the ten nominees this year than in years past, and I’ve probably seen more than you have, because you didn’t want to sit through the movie where the guy cuts his own arm off.

[Image credit: Kevin Harber]

“The Kids Are All Right” and “The Fighter”

These are the two I haven’t seen. If one of them wins, I’ll see it, as long as it’s not The Fighter. Sorry, I just can’t get myself interested. I like everyone involved, but just knowing that this was Mark Wahlberg’s passion project for years has me turned off. First, it’s a boxing movie, and there have already been enough great boxing movies. Second, passion projects are usually too long and too dull. I know, I’m like an Internet troll posting “TLDR” on this review, but unlike the trolls, I’ll regret being wrong.

I did want to see The Kids Are All Right, but it was difficult to find the movie in a theater down here in Texas. Go figure. By the time I had a few free hours in a weekend, it was already gone. I refuse to watch these movies on my home television, too. That’s the way most Academy voters see these movies, on DVD screener discs in the comfort of their own living rooms. I’m convinced that’s why Avatar lost last year and a claustrophobic film like “The Hurt Locker” won. So, all of the other movies I saw in the theater on the big screen.

“The King’s Speech”

This is the front runner. It is also the most boring movie of the bunch, which is why it will probably win. But it’s a very dull movie. Maybe not if you’re British, but I wouldn’t want to sit through a movie about Harry Truman any more than I’m interested in King George VI. I know many viewers found this to be powerful and inspiring, and it was certainly a good movie, but you have to ask yourself, will you want to see this again? Will you buy the movie and show it to your children as an example of the great films of your youth? Of course not, because it’s dull, and in 20 years nobody will want to sit through this movie again.

I also think the movie was a bit shallow. There are clearly some deep-rooted issues that the Prince, then the King, has to deal with from his own childhood. The relationship with his father and brother is hardly explored. I would have rather the screenwriters skipped most of the silly nonsense about Edward VIII’s abdication of the throne and instead focused on the root causes of George VI’s psychological issues. Perhaps they were being deferential, but they missed what could have been the most haunting moments of real character building.

“Black Swan” and “Winter’s Bone”

I’m not sure why this movie got so much hype. I liked it very much, but I don’t think it deserves a Best Picture nomination. I’m guessing that most people who loved this movie and want it to win either never saw “Requiem for a Dream,” or they are huge fans of “Requiem” and want to see Aronofsky finally get his due. In either case, it’s a finely crafted, eerie film, but I wouldn’t say it’s Aronofsky’s best, nor is it the best film of the year. Perhaps I prefer the Aronofsky who asks grandiose questions about the nature of our relationship with society. Or, perhaps I just can’t root for a movie that is, at its heart, about an artist who is consumed by her art. It just didn’t feel large enough to be the winner this year.

I also loved “Winter’s Bone,” but it was a hard movie to watch. Throughout the film you’re rooting for, um, what exactly? It almost seems like the heroine would be better off if she fails at her quest to find her missing father. There are neither heroes nor anti-heroes in this movie, and the bleak setting permeates the film so completely that it chills to the bone. I know that’s the point, but in the same way that “Black Swan” did not seem grand enough in its scale, neither did “Winter’s Bone.”

“True Grit”

Hooray for the Coen brothers! Finally making a movie that a wide audience can get behind. “True Grit” is an intense movie, though not in the scope of the Coen brothers’ entire body of work. Of all the nominees I’ve mentioned so far, this is the first movie that I would keep watching if I flipped past it on HBO. It’s bleak and gritty, not unlike “Winter’s Bone,” but it’s also driven. However, it wasn’t the best picture of the year. First of all, it’s a remake. That doesn’t disqualify it outright, but I do give more credit to original films than remakes in this category. Second, though I was enamored of the dialogue and script for this movie, I wasn’t as thrilled with the acting as most other critics. Matt Damon seemed out of place. Jeff Bridges never lived up to the intense, murderous character he seems to define in his own court testimony about himself. Hailee Steinfeld was good, but her dialogue was so wordy and a bit too clever, which made the character less believable. Again, a good movie, but not the best.

“127 Hours”

I saw this movie because of an interview the director, Danny Boyle, did with NPR. He explained that his goal was to tell the story so that you are not cringing in anticipation waiting for the moment to happen. By the time James Franco cuts his arm off, the audience truly believes that it’s the only option that he has left, and we should be rooting for him to do it already. In that, he succeeded. But when I think back on this film, all I remember is the cutting. It’s beautifully filmed, and James Franco deserves an award for a compelling performance that carries the whole film through to its conclusion. I highly recommend seeing this movie, it’s much better than you expect it will be. But it’s not the best picture.

“Inception”

I can’t figure out why this movie got so much hype. I think it’s because most people missed “Memento,” which is Christopher Nolan’s triumph. Or maybe they didn’t understand just how dark and sinister was the film “The Prestige.” But “Inception” felt more like a stunt. It was a movie trying to be deliberately clever, when its conceit is not very interesting. Even the supposed twist at the end, if there is a twist, did not add much to the movie. In a way, the twist erases all of the commitment the audience has just put into two hours of movie watching, and that’s the worst type of twist. It’s a fantastic looking film, and it deserves awards for visual effects, but it’s not the best picture of the year.

“Toy Story 3″

Didn’t you love “Toy Story 3?” Of course you did. How could you not? Of all the nominees, this will undoubtedly be the best seller on DVD and Blu-Ray. It was not only a great animated movie, it was also a nice way to wrap-up the entire Toy Story saga. That said, I’m tired of the Toy Story saga. I didn’t love the first movie. I find the characters a bit hokey, especially Woody. Maybe I’m too cynical to hope that a movie that is so steeped in peace, love and understanding wins best picture this year. Now “The Incredibles,” that’s an animated movie I could get behind for the award. But “Toy Story” feels somewhat formulaic and predictable. I’ll buy this one to show my kids, but it wasn’t the best picture.

The Best Picture of the Year

The best picture of the year was “The Social Network.” That doesn’t mean I think Facebook deserves an award, nor does it mean Mark Zuckerberg is responsible for great filmmaking. I had no illusions about the veracity of “The Social Network” story. But I think it was a fine film. Besides being so topical for today’s changing digital culture, it had something larger to say about relationships and what it takes to succeed in such a fast-paced, competitive world. The acting was rock solid, especially the supporting characters. Justin Timberlake and Armie Hammer, who played both Winklevoss twins, were interesting and fun to watch. I appreciated the ambiguity of the film. It’s never clear who is the villain and who is the hero. David Fincher leaves the big questions unanswered, but still delivers a satisfying narrative. Plus, the intense score from Trent Reznor kept the film moving so quickly that it could have been an hour longer and still interesting.

Of all the nominees I saw, there was certainly not a bad picture in the bunch, but “The Social Network” deserves the title of Best Picture of the Year more than the rest of the pack.


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27Feb/11Off

Rumor: Thunderbolt Delays Due to Horrible Battery Life

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As we jump from date to date trying to figure out when exactly this phone will come out, there has never really been a firm “reason” for the Thunderbolt’s launch being put off. Many figured it was due to the debut of the iPhone 4, and later that turned into the debut of the Motorola XOOM, but now Engadget’s suggesting the problem is more technical than it is strategical: the phone apparently has horrible battery life.

Another independent source mentioned to them that the bad battery life is due to a bug in the Thunderbolt’s firmware causing signal issues. Whatever it is, they said that a fix is in the works. Hopefully this is the last road bump in a sea of them as this has reportedly been the device’s sixth delay.


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27Feb/11Off

Verizon-branded HTC Merge Up For Sale on eBay

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After months of being hidden by HTC and after a long-awaited announcement, someone is putting their HTC Merge up for sale on eBay before HTC even has a chance to release it. It’s the Verizon-branded version that we’ve seen strut its stuff in countless pictures and a few videos. The seller – xyellowfrizbee, who has a feedback score of 10 – wants $550 for it, but is allowing people to bid on it. (There’s a reserve price that needs to be met, also.) From the listing’s description:

This is a mint condition actual working HTC Merge. I have only used it for 2 days, and it was to install a Shinomi screen protector on it. Everything works great! Currently no one on Verizon has this device. It is not even released yet. Be the first and only one to own it. The device has a clean ESN and will activate fine.

Includes:

-The Phone
-8GB Memory Card
-Shinomi Screen protector installed
-Shinomi Carbon Fiber series body protector
-Chargers
-A Charging Dock
-A standard black case made for the HTC Merge
Not sure I’d be comfortable taking a pre-release phone into a Verizon store for activation, but someone’s willing to. 6 bids have already been placed and it’s now sitting at $152. The auction ends February 28th if you want to get in on it. [Thanks, Ignacio!]


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27Feb/11Off

Ive due $30m stock windfall, may seek relocation back to UK

Other than Steve Jobs's brain, the mind most clearly at work in Apple's history of compelling and human-centric products belongs to Jonathan 'Jony' Ive, 44. After joining Apple in 1992, he rose to become the company's senior vice president of product design and has contributed his own clean, minimalist aesthetic to the wall of industrial design legends. With Tim Cook firmly established as the executive/operations lead on Apple's depth chart, anyone looking for the creative future of Apple has to have Ive at, or near, the top of the list.

Today's Times of London (behind paywall) reports that Ive is about to reap the rewards of his service and dedication. Ive received a 'golden handcuffs' option grant in 2008 when Apple's stock was at a low ebb of around $100, allowing him to buy shares that -- having remained in Apple's employ -- he is now eligible to sell. Ive's profits from these options could approach $30 million, thanks to the dramatic runup in AAPL over the past two years.

With his additional wealth -- his net worth after the options cash in is estimated at $128 million -- Ive and his wife Heather might want to move back to England with their twin sons. The Times suggests that Ive and the Apple board have "been at loggerheads" over Ive's desire to spend more time back home, but the Ives reportedly want to educate their children in England.

Ive owns a manor house worth about $4 million in Somerset. The paper quotes an anonymous friend of the Ives on the topic of a commute from the UK to Cupertino: "Unfortunately he is just too valuable to Apple and they told him in no uncertain terms that if he headed back to England he would not be able to sustain his position with them ... It's a shame. We hardly ever see anyone at the house."

Apple's spokesperson gave the Times a 'no comment' on the option grant and deemed the report of his desire to move to England "speculation."

Photo of John Lasseter & Jonathan Ive from wikimedia commons (cc)

TUAWIve due $30m stock windfall, may seek relocation back to UK originally appeared on TUAW on Sun, 27 Feb 2011 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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