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17Mar/11Off

iPhone 5: To Have Or Not To Have NFC Chip?

The stories are all over the place about whether the future iPhone 5 will have an NFC chip. The latest is brought to us from a tweet by Forbes tech reporter Elizabeth Woyke who says that the next iPhone will have NFC capabilities. NFC stands for Near Field Communication and it allows users to simply wave their phone over sensors to pay for things, and supports more mobile media sharing.

“Just met with an entrepreneur who says the iPhone 5 *will* have NFC…according to his friend, who works for Apple,” tweeted Woyke earlier today. The iPhone 5 would work great with NFC because of the credit card information Apple already has with payments over iTunes for movies, apps, and music.

Earlier in the week The Independent reported that the next iPhone wouldn’t have NFC because Apple was concerned that there wasn’t a clear standard across the industry. So you’ll have to take this latest bit of information with a good pinch of salt. It probably is only a matter of time before Apple decides to pull the trigger on NFC for future iPhones. Some Android phones already support the technology.

[via Business Insider]


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17Mar/11Off

The Daily To Erect Paywall Next Week

The iTunes exclusive newspaper, The Daily, was the first to adopt Apple’s new in-app subscription model but has been offering up its content for free waiting for the arrival of iOS 4.3. After the new iOS arrived, The Daily offered an additional week free, but is now reminding people that they will have to pay starting next week. This news comes just on the heels of the New York Times’ paywall announcement. However, the two publishers have very different subscription costs.

Starting next week The Daily will charge subscribers 99 cents per week to view content, which comes out to around $50 dollars a year. That’s not too bad especially when compared to the New York Times’ offering. Subscription to the NY Times is required in order to access more than 20 articles a month and the rate starts at $15 per four-week cycle.

Originally, The Daily had a two week free trial for potential subscribers to test out the news service, but that was extended by two more weeks when Apple was late in delivering iOS 4.3. The Daily is expected to launch in Western Europe by the summer depending on when exactly iOS 4.3 becomes available over there.

We will soon see whether the two subscription services take off now that people have to pull out their wallets. In this day and age where free content is so easily accessible via the web, most folks will likely complain about this change. But for all the news content, flashy galleries, and videos, is $4 a month too much to ask for? Would you pay for access to The Daily or the NY Times?

[via 9 to 5 Mac]


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17Mar/11Off

Angry Birds HD Update Angers Fans With New Advertising

Angry Birds has reached the status where any minor tweak and fans take notice. So with last night’s update for Angry Birds HD, which inserted advertising into the game, you can imagine the commotion. The update brought fifteen new levels, a new golden egg, and advertisements wrapped up nicely in the “news section.”

Fans are mad because the “news” is played every time a player is paused before restarting and it can’t be skipped. It forces the player to wait for the animation to load and run before they can play again. The advertisements push official Angry Birds merchandise and the move has backfired on Rovio as angry fans are leaving scathing comments on iTunes. One poster felt the update “really gives you the feeling that someone lowered the quality control bar and chose to add a poorly placed…and tacky-looking…advertisement on the pause/menu screen to push Angry Birds gear.”

For the casual gamer this may seem like merely an annoyance because the advertisement only takes about 1-2 seconds to run and finish, but over multiple plays it could make anyone mad. Plus, many folks pay for games to avoid getting bombarded with advertisements as you would on a free ad-supported game.

[via 9 to 5 Mac]


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17Mar/11Off

Intel Acquires Silicon Hive In Push For Mobile Processing Chips

Intel acquired Silicon Hive today in an effort to push itself further into the mobile device market. Silicon Hive is a company specializing in making chipsets for smartphones, media hubs and other small devices. Intel has been lagging behind in mobile processing, and although its Intel Atom is gearing up for tablet devices, their processor is still too big, demands too much power, and is more expensive than those of competing chip makers such as ARM and NVIDIA.

“We now target phenomenal successes inside Intel in the delivery of differentiated multimedia experiences in Atom-processor based SoCs”, says Silicon Hive company chief Atul Sinha. Sinha says that the company will be folded into the processor chip giant to help improve the media performance of Atom system-on-a-chip (SoC) processors.

No details yet on how much the deal is worth or when it will get full approval. Intel’s current Atom chips are still not as efficient in media performance when compared to Qualcomm’s Adreno graphics or NVIDIA’s Tegra 2. The purchase of Silicon Hive will hopefully speed up their development in this area.

[via Electronista]


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17Mar/11Off

Why would anyone watch shows on an iPad from home?

Tell me something: why are so many people I know so excited to watch a movie or television show from their iPad when they’re at home?

I know what you’re going to say. While your significant other is watching their favorite show in the living room, the iPad (or another tablet) gives you the chance to watch what you want in another room without being forced to sit through another episode of a show you don’t like.

I’ll accept that. In fact, I know a few people that actually do that. But what I don’t (and never will) understand is the practice some people undertake of watching their favorite shows or movies on the iPad when there is a perfectly nice (and unattended) HDTV sitting in the living room.

I bring this is up is because I was presented with this scenario recently when I arrived at a friend’s home. I walked in and found my buddy sitting on the couch in the living room watching an episode from the last season of “24” on Netflix.

As one might expect, I had to address this.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Just watching ‘24’ on Netflix,” he said.

“You have an Apple TV,” I responded. “Why not just watch it on there?”

“Oh, this is easier.”

Though I went about my day after the exchange, his response stuck in my mind. So, when I got home, I started to inquire with others to see if they too have watched a film or television show on a tablet, rather than on their HDTV when it was there for the taking. Much to my surprise, many of those I talked to have.

The results of my informal survey make some sense. Many of the major cable and satellite providers let customers watch content from the iPad in their homes. Time Warner Cable recently released the TWCable TV iPad app, and according to that company, demand for the app, which only lets users watch programming in the home, has been quite high.

I don’t get it.

The iPad to me is a fine device that can be used for entertainment away from the home. But when I have the opportunity to watch a movie or TV show, I’ll choose my television every time. The experience is more comfortable, it’s easier on the eyes, and perhaps most importantly, it allows me to be more immersed in the content I’m consuming.

Based on my non-scientific research, however, I’m starting to wonder if I’m alone in my thinking. It seems that the iPad and other tablets have become convenient entertainment tools in the living room.

Even so, I doubt I’ll join the proud group of people that use their iPad to watch television shows or movies on their iPads when HDTVs are readily available. I just don’t see any reason for it. And as far as I’m concerned, it’s nothing more than a drain on my iPad’s battery life.

What do you think? Should I join the ranks of those who sit on the couch in a quiet living room to watch movies on their iPad?


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17Mar/11Off

iPad 2 StealthArmor St. Patrick’s Day Giveaway!

Oh so you’d like the back of your iPad 2 covered as well, do you? Well what do you know, we’ve got one heck of another contest for you (the first being a Wrapsol giveaway,) that’s directly in collaboration with StealthArmor, a group that makes no less than super strong back skins for your iPad 2, your iPhone 4, and heck, a whole bunch o’ other items. What you’ll be able to win here is YOUR CHOICE of a lovely green St. Patrick’s Day back for your iPad, iPad 2, or iPhone device!

All you’ve got to do to win a lovely skin from StealthArmor is the following, and make sure to follow all the rules!

RULES

1. Follow our Twitter.
2. Tweet a picture of yourself holding up your iPhone, iPad, or iPad 2 with [the official SlashGear app] downloaded and open on the screen.* This tweet must include the following: @slashgear #armormyidevice http://tinyurl.com/winaskin3 and a link to the photo (using something like http://twitpic.com/.)

3. Contest begins March 17, 2011, at the moment this post is published, and ends at 11AM CST on Monday the 21st of March, 2011.

*This will act as a time stamp, so many sure your screen is tilted so noone can photoshop your screen away from you! Furthermore, the photo must literally show at least your hand holding the device, if not your whole person looking happy and excited into the camera.

We will pick winners at random once the contest is over at 12 NOON Pacific Time, Tuesday the 15th of March, 2011, and announce winners later that day. One winner per household, one person may only win once, winner may not be employed by or in the family of a person employed by R3 media, and we hold the right to disallow ANYONE from winning for whatever reason we deem necessary. You may take and submit as many photos as you like, but only one will be considered for the drawing. U.S. citizens only. This contest begins INSTANTLY! Start taking those photos!


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17Mar/11Off

Things We Missed, You Shouldn’t [March 17th]

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Happy Thunderbolt Day! Here is the rest of the Android news we missed:


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17Mar/11Off

Staples Now Taking Motorola XOOM Pre-Orders, Shipping 3/25

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Yet another retailer has opened their pre-order page for the Motorola XOOM Wi-Fi. Staples has the tablet for $599.98 and you can reserve yours up through March 23rd. Staples will begin shipping out pre-orders on March 25th, with units arriving no later than the 28th.

[via Staples | Thanks, Stan!]


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17Mar/11Off

In Wake of Tragedy in Japan, Sony Ericsson Expects Supply Chain to Be Disrupted

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Today Sony Ericsson issued a double-edged press statement in response to the earthquake and subsequent tsunami, which wreaked havoc in Japan in one of the nation’s largest natural disasters ever. On a bright note, SE has confirmed that all 1100 of their employees working in Tokyo survived the tragedy uninjured, and their office buildings suffered minimal damage. The bad news of all of this is that SE expects the event to cause problems with the supply chain of components as suppliers recover from the disaster. They are currently in talks to assure a minimal impact.

Thankfully delays in production are all Sony Ericsson had to report during a period of time that could have brought much worse news. Our continued thoughts and prayers goes out to those affected by this terrible act of nature, their families, and the Japanese nation as a whole.

Sony Ericsson Statement on Japan Earthquake

SONY ERICSSON STATEMENT, 17 March 2011 – Sony Ericsson is closely following the situation in Japan and our thoughts go out to those affected by this tragic event. The safety of our employees remains the highest priority. We have approximately 1100 employees (including consultants) at two offices in Tokyo, and we can confirm that no employees have been injured, and that there is no major damage to our offices.

The affected area in northern Japan supplies a large portion of the world’s electronics industry with components, and the current situation will impact Sony Ericsson’s business.

As part of our business continuity plan, we are in contact with all our key suppliers in the region and we are identifying the possible relocation of certain component manufacturing, and looking at secondary sources of supply. Although the full impact of the current situation on our business will take additional time to assess, Sony Ericsson anticipates disruption to its supply chain operations.

We continue to monitor our supplier situation daily, in real time, and we will keep our operator and retail customers informed about the status of their specific supply.

We will continue to update our communications as we learn more.

[via AndroidCentral]


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17Mar/11Off

Rumor: Motorola Atrix and XOOM Headed to Sprint with 4G WiMAX

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We have heard that the Motorola XOOM will be headed to at least one carrier besides Verizon when it lands on AT&T later in the year, but a new rumor says the Honeycomb tablet may end up on Sprint as well. The same rumor, originating with our good friends Android and Me, suggests the Motorola Atrix 4G will make the same journey. Both devices will apparently be outfitted with 4G WiMAX radios, despite recent stirrings that suggest Sprint may soon make the leap to LTE.

The rumor apparently comes by way of a trusted inside source, but as of yet we have heard little suggest whether or not the rumor will come to fruition. If it does, word is Sprint plans to announce the Atrix (along with laptop dock) and XOOM next month.

[via Android and Me]


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