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1Dec/11Off

New Ice Cream Sandwich Hidden Feature: “Dreams” (Screensavers)

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Those boys over at Google definitely know how to have a good time. First it was the NyanDroid Easter egg and now we have this. Well, I wouldn’t exactly call this an Easter egg. More like a hidden feature no one has heard about — until now. It’s called “Dreams” and it acts as a screen saver that strangely serves absolutely no other purpose than looking kinda flashy. The feature is actually buried deep in the Ice Cream Sandwich OS but with a little know-how and the use of Launcher Pro, Dreams is easily accessible. So, when you want to zone out and just watch all of your icons fly at your face — now you can. If you’re into that sorta thing. What’s more is the flying icons can actually be tapped and if you’re quick enough, maybe you’ll launch your intended app. We keep learning new things about Ice Cream Sandwich and it’s fun little tidbits like this that keep it interesting. Can’t say screen savers would ever be a feature I would want on my phone (battery killer) but how ’bout you?

[Via AndroidPolice]


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1Dec/11Off

ASUS Confirms December 19th Launch For Transformer Prime – Releases New Promo Vid

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ASUS Transformer Prime reviews have been flooding the internets this evening (spoiler: everyone loves it) and with that has come an official release date and promo video for the supertablet. Contrary to our earlier post, the ASUS Transformer Prime will, in fact, launch on December 19th — online and in retail outlets — as quickly as they can get them out to stores. No word yet on 3G/4G versions but that’s always a possibility as well. So, enjoy their all new video (and product site) that gives a more in depth look of the Prime and when your friends/family ask what tablet they should get for the holiday season — let this video do the talking.

 


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1Dec/11Off

Transformer Prime available 12/19 says ASUS

In addition to our first hands-on post and introduction to our review series on the ASUS Transformer Prime, we’ve got official word from the manufacturer on availability of the device in stores. While recent unconfirmed reports had the tablet coming out early in December, we’ve now got confirmation coming straight from ASUS that shipments should line up with the start of the week of 12/19/2011, this setting the release about one week later than the incorrect accounts. Furthermore, the first firmware over the air update is set to be released on the second of December, this putting it in plenty of time to be popping up on new Prime owners screens right out of the box.

This tablet is the first on the planet to feature a quad-core processor, one made by NVIDIA and detailed in our series of posts on the chip itself – start here, all you lovers of processing power and all its intricacies: NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core mobile processor revealed and detailed. Now the Transformer Prime is a tablet that in our first hands-on experience has clearly proven itself as a superior slate that rivals the rest of the Android slate series easily. As far as what ASUS has to say on when the device will be released:

“We expect availability to start the week of 12/19 based on the pre-orders and inbound shipment schedules.” – ASUS

Then for those of you that pick the tablet up, you’ll have an update right away:

“We expect to release FOTA image update 8.8.3.27 on 12/2 that updates the EC firmware to improve battery life with the dock in power saving mode along with a few minor performance tweaks.” – ASUS

Now check out our first of a set of hands-on videos with the Transformer Prime and think about what you want to know about the tablet, no matter how important or absolutely trivial. We’ll do our best to find a way to give you what you need to know on the tablet in our hands-on review series and/or our final grand finale review, one way or another!

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Transformer Prime available 12/19 says ASUS is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2011, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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1Dec/11Off

ASUS Transformer Prime Hands-on and Unboxing

The newest Android tablet by the name of ASUS Transformer Prime is also the first place on earth you’ll be able to work with the NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core mobile processor, and today we’re going to have a peek at it’s power for the very first time. We’ve got both the tablet itself and the keyboard dock that when connected allows this lovely slate a second life as a laptop, and what we’re going to do here is give you our first impressions and a full hands-on treatment with the hardware. We’ll also have a full review up for you within the next few days, so stay tuned for that too – meanwhile, enjoy!

Hardware

This tablet is made of Gorilla Glass, radial-spun aluminum, and a whole bunch of varied innards that we’ll never come in contact with. The only moving parts on the tablet are the removable covers for each of the ports, the volume bar, and the power/lock button. Unlike the original Transformer whose volume and power buttons have been prone to get a bit loose after extended usage, these are set nicely in place like a high quality product’s buttons should.

Transformer on the left, Transformer Prime on the right

The tablet is cold to the touch most of the time because of its entirely aluminum back, and the glass along the front has a nearly up to the edge coverage, making the whole tablet seem rather refined in its industrial design. The back camera boasts an impressive 8-megapixel rating and has a single LED flash, an upgrade on both accounts when you compare this device to most of the rest of the tablet selection out on the market today, including the first generation Transformer.

We won’t go too deep into the products of the camera today, but know this: it’s a vast improvement over most tablet-type camera toters your humble narrator has seen thus far. The camera interface remains mostly the same as your average Honeycomb shooter, as does most of the user interface, but ASUS has done an excellent job modifying the few bits that it has, including first of all the pop-up menu in the lower right-hand corner, it now including the all-important Super IPS button which will blast forth the brightness up to 600nits for outdoor reading.

There’s also to three modes in which you can work: power saving, balanced, and high-performance (aka normal). In our initial battery test, we stayed in Normal mode for the majority of it, and with it we’re seeing something like 10+ hours with a large bit of that being screen off time. This is by no means the scale to judge the battery life by as it wasn’t done under any kind of controlled set of rules, but it is a very basic peek at what we’re likely dealing with here. Expect a vast improvement when we flip the power saving mode on.

Initial Benchmarks

Check out our first round of benchmarks here, and note that each of the following is on the tablet without the keyboard dock attached — also head to the gallery below to see the improvement this tablet has made over the original transformer if you wish.

We’ll also be doing extended tests showing the original Transformer verses the new Prime in a later post, just so you know, as well as any other comparisons to mobile devices you’d like us to do.

Transformer Prime vs. Macbook Air

Another possibility is us comparing this tablet docked in its keyboard dock compared to the MacBook Air. One thing I’ll say right now, something I’m sure some of you out there will have a tiny heart attack reading, is that this device with its keyboard dock may well be a good alternate for those of you thinking the MacBook Air is too costly for your tastes. The Transformer Prime attached to its keyboard is both thin and light, and the whole thing is made of a nice thin but tough aluminum, so what does that sound like to you? Also the keyboard itself is really quite good, comparable to full-blown laptop keyboards from that same fruit-flavored company.

Hands-on

In our first two hands-on videos you’re going to see the device compared to the original Tranformer and some of the unique bits in the software on the Prime, followed by a nice close-up look at the keyboard dock. First up have a peek at the intro and mind the whale at the end, I think you’ll find the bubbles to be more than enough to entice you to go under the sea to track your batteries, if you know what i mean:

Then it’s time to head down deeper into the settings on this tablet / transforming tablet computer, noting especially how NVIDIA wasn’t about to let us take a peek at their Tegra 3 processor embedded inside without testing out a plethora of new games. The games will be shown in future hands-on videos, mind you, so let us know which ones you want to see first and I’ll be sure to fire them up.

Release Details

Then note this: the ASUS Transformer Prime, otherwise known as the ASUS Eee Pad Transformer Prime, will be released $499 for the 32GB TF201 model, $599 for the 64GB model, and $149 for the new docking station in the USA. The tablet will be available in Amethyst Gray (like ours) and Champagne Gold, and per Asus: “We expect availability to start the week of 12/19 based on the pre-orders and inbound shipment schedules.” Sound like a good deal to you?

Wrap-up and Questions

At this time I’d like to ask you, the prospective user to ask any and all questions you may have of this tablet so that we can answer them in the upcoming hands-on and review posts. Anything at all, ask away, and don’t forget to mind the videos as well as the photos incase you answer appears there in some form or another. Thanks in advance, and expect the full review in just a few days right here on SlashGear in the main news feed!

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ASUS Transformer Prime Hands-on and Unboxing is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2011, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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1Dec/11Off

ASUS Eee Pad MeMo 7-inch tablet running Android 4.0, dropping in January

There have been more than a few iterations of the ASUS Eee Pad MeMo since it was first announced at the Consumer Electronics Show last year. Asus touted a 3D display with a stylus-equipped touch interface. Then, later on, they dropped the 3D altogether. Now, Asus apparently had decided upon no more changes, and will evidently be dropping the 7-inch tablet running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich this upcoming January. Let’s hope that Asus actually sticks to their words, and stop this fickleness.

ASUS has included in this Eee Pad MeMo a MeMic Bluetooth companion that can be used to make calls, listen to music, and act as a remote for media. The MeMic is apparently part of the main reason that the MeMo tablet has taken so long to hit the tablet market. To add to that, the ASUS Eee Pad MeMo will be offered through carriers, and this is a much longer process than just shipping it out to local distributors. Ouch.

The ASUS Eee Pad Memo hopes release with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, although, with the Android 4.0 team more focused at the moment on the Transformer Prime, the 7-inch tablet may have to wait its turn in line for for some “Ice Cream”. Asus’s aim is to have the MeMo ready to launch with ICS and we really hope they do.

[via Netbook News]


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ASUS Eee Pad MeMo 7-inch tablet running Android 4.0, dropping in January is written by Paul Fang & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2011, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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1Dec/11Off

Galaxy Nexus LTE for Verizon spotted in the wild, video by early owner

It appears that the Samsung Galaxy Nexus LTE, aka the version coming out in the USA under the Verizon banner, is closer than we thought – what we’ve got here is not only a couple of photos, but a video of one lucky early owner of the device just filmed today! What this likely means is that the release of the device on the 4G LTE network is right around the corner and that we can expect an announcement regarding such a release perhaps within the week. The video at hand shows everything to be in order for the device save a few carrier-added applications from the big V that we’re sure wont be long for the root-sensitive amongst us.

What the photos show is not anything entirely new as we did get a glimpse of the final physical build of the device just earlier today from Verizon *unofficially, of course* but you’ll get to see a couple new items in the video below. The boot animation appears to be the same as the international edition, and the Verizon apps total to a grand two. Not to harsh, to say the least! Have a peek at what we’ll be holding in our hands before the year is over:

Then head back to our own reviews of both the international edition of the device and the operating system Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich as fast as you can! We’ll be seeing this device before you know it, ladies and gentlemen, and the speed will be yours! And better yet, once we get our root on, the unhindered power of Ice Cream Sandwich will be ours!

[via Phandroid]


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Galaxy Nexus LTE for Verizon spotted in the wild, video by early owner is written by Chris Burns & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2011, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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1Dec/11Off

AT&T & T-Mobile mulling joint venture if acquisition deal falls apart

Judging from all the rumors, it seems like that AT&T is looking at all of its remaining options in light of its withdrawn attempt to acquire T-Mobile USA from parent company Deutsche Telekom AG. Wall Street Journal gives us the latest possible scenario, which is the possibility of AT&T and Deutsche Telekom teaming up together for a joint venture should the acquisition deal ultimately fall apart. And this would be apparently be a partnership that would entail the two telecom giants pooling their infrastructure together.

As AT&T’s planned $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile USA faces rising opposition from the FCC, which has stated that the merger would lead to significant job loss, negligible cost savings passed on to consumers, overestimated efficiences, and that the lack of evidence that AT&T couldn’t provide more than 80% LTE coverage without the merger. Well then, the FCC doesn’t sound like they’re much of a fan of any kind of contact between the AT&T and T-Mobile USA.

The potential panacea to all problems telecom? According to WSJ, a joint venture between the two companies could help solve some of the wireless-capacity impediments both companies are expected to face in the oncoming years while also being to avoid the industry competitive issues brought up by the Justice Department. Analysts have also suggested that two companies could jointly use the T-Mobile spectrum that AT&T have had their eyes on while Deutsche Telekom retains its T-Mobile customers.

[via Wall Street Journal]


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AT&T & T-Mobile mulling joint venture if acquisition deal falls apart is written by Paul Fang & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2011, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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1Dec/11Off

Alibaba in talks with Softbank to lead Yahoo acquisition bid

Chinese internet group Alibaba is said to be involved in ongoing negotiations with Japanese telecom giant Softbank in an attempt to establish a bid for all of Yahoo (Alibaba already owns Yahoo’s chinese business group, in exchange for a 40% stake in Alibaba and ‘strategic partnership’ in 2005). Sources familiar with the matter have informed Bloomberg that leading private equity firms Blackstone Group and Bain Capital have also been tapped to participate in the acquisition talks.

This most recent report looks to be one of several recent ones all leading towards discrete collaboration between companies that are eyeing part or all of Yahoo’s business with predatory visages. Yahoo’s board is claimed to be meeting with other potential buyers, including TPG Capital and Silver Lake, which have proposed minority stake offers. Those bids are speculated to be less than $17 per share, while an outright all-out purchase is expected to fetch more than $20 per share. Yahoo shares rose 6.9 percent to $16.79 in trading today.

The Alibaba-led group is said to be waiting for Yahoo to engage in talks toward a potential outright acquisition, although the companies are said to be leaving open the possibility of a hostile takeover. That sounds dangerously (to Yahoo, at least) likely, especially with both veteran private equity firms Blackstone Group and Bain Capital on board. It seems like the once-leading internet company has some thinking to do, before their stock dwindles even further (remember Microsoft’s offer for $33 a share a couple years ago? Well, Yahoo, that offer ain’t there anymore).

[via Bloomberg]


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Alibaba in talks with Softbank to lead Yahoo acquisition bid is written by Paul Fang & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2011, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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1Dec/11Off

Arduino 1.0 release now available

Arduino 1.0 is finally out, after many years of revisions and changes to “clean up the Arduino environment and language, as well as adding lots of additional features.” For those of you that need a refresher, the Arduino open-source software development platform lets you program microcontrollers that’re essentially the backbone behind insanely cool DIY projects that have been released in the last few years. This is great news for the open-source DIY electronics hacker community, marking the offical release of the Arduino software.

On the Arduino Blog, new updates listed for the development environment include a new file extension, toolbar icons, and color scheme as well as a progress bar on compilation and upload. Furthermore, language changes include modifications to the Serial class, addition of DHCP and DNS support to the Ethernet library, a new SoftwareSerial library, multi-file support in the SD library, modifications to the Wire library and UDP class, etc. The team is expecting to push the updated reference for Arduino 1.0 live in the next day or two.

To download the Arduino 1.0 release, we’ve linked you here. Also, check out the release notes here. Congratulations to the Arduino team for their first official software release! And to developers and would-be-DIY developers, happy building! We look forward to see what awesome DIY projects you’re working on, and be sure to send us a tip if you think it’s really something news-worthy.

[via Arduino Blog]


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Arduino 1.0 release now available is written by Paul Fang & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2011, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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1Dec/11Off

Android 4.0 source code for x86 processors opening up to developers

For all of the Android developers out there, Google’s Android development team has opened up Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0.1) for x86 processors for both Intel and AMD systems. Take note that the release isn’t yet completely stable, there being some compatibility issues with Intel processors for sound, hardware acceleration, camera, and ethernet. On the flip side, Ice Cream Sandwich compatibility seems to be working just fine with AMD processors, Wi-Fi, sound, and hardware acceleration for AMD chipsets all good to go.

This is rather good news for AMD, and especially AMD tablet chipsets, seeing that they haven’t been getting much attention in the tablet space lately. Pushing out Ice Cream Sandwich support right now for x86 may just encourgae more developers, and more manufacturers to turn their attention to Intel and AMD, instead of the other chipset makers (cough, Qualcomm, ARM, I’m looking at all of you) that have been dominating the tablet market. The more the merrier, I say.

The instructions for downloading the source code are provided below by the Android development team. On the open source page, you’ll also find the ISO image for MSI’s AMD powered Brazos Tablet. So developers, launch your Android SDKs, and start building something awesome.

Hi all, The ics-x86 branch based on Android 4.0.1 is ready.
You may download the source as usual: $ repo init -u git://git.android-x86.org/manifest.git -b ics-x86
$ repo sync or from the SourceForge mirror $ repo init -u git://android-x86.git.sf.net/gitroot/android-x86/x86/platform/manifest.git
-b ics-x86
$ repo sync

[via 9to5 Google]


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Android 4.0 source code for x86 processors opening up to developers is written by Paul Fang & originally posted on SlashGear.
© 2005 - 2011, SlashGear. All right reserved.


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