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Monthly Archives: October 2012

Moshi for iPad
  • Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says there have already been 4 million Windows 8 upgrades

     


    Microsoft put the finishing touches on a massive month this week, with the global launch of Windows Phone 8 Monday, and the Build developer conference Tuesday.


    The company already launched their extra-sized Surface Tablet earlier this month, as well as holding their Windows 8 event.


    But what most of us were really waiting for was windows Phone 8, and now it's here. Touted by the event's speakers as "the most personal smartphone operating system you can get," Microsoft began by highlighting the growing number of apps for Windows Phone, 120,000 and counting.


    However, speakers stressed that people, not apps, are the focus of the revamped OS, and called out Apple and Android for not doing enough to really change smartphones since they arrived on the scene.


    As such, Microsoft is banking a lot on one of Windows Phone 8's main features, "live apps." Live apps move like live tiles and update themselves, so that your phone becomes like your fingerprint, says Microsoft.



    "For example, the Facebook app updates the lock screen with your personal photos,"  explains WebProNews. "A number of app developers including Twitter, Zynga and Rovio are updating their apps to take advantage of live apps."


    That brings us to what TechCrunch says the "future of the Windows 8 platform," hinges on – the developers.


    Because the OS – nevermind the idea of live tiles – is so new, Microsoft's going to have to lure developers to it for it to really take off. At the moment, says TechCrunch, the number of new Windows 8 apps is "underwhelming," and that may explain the somewhat middling reviews Microsoft's Surface Tablet has received:


    "Most of the reviewers cited the lack of apps – and not the hardware itself – as one of the reasons they didn’t enjoy the experience."


    But as he took the stage to kick off the Build developer conference, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer already had some positive news about the new OS' reception, saying that there have already been 4 million Windows 8 upgrades in just the few days since its launch. Hopefully some of those interested parties are developers.


    But as for regular users who want to get in on the new OS, Windows Phone 8 will be globally available by November across a number of devices, including the Nokia Lumia, and HTC and Samsung smartphones.




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  • Nuance Communications just released the beta version of their Dragon Mobile Assistant software for Android.


    Dragon is the name of a line of speech recognition software products that can do things like make calls, keep your calendar and send texts just by giving your phone a command. The English version of the app is available on Google Play for free right now. It works on the Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 OS or later.


    Nuance dominates the market for speech recognition. They’ve been working with Apple on their voice control technology, the most famous being Siri (available on iPhone 4S and iPhone 5.)


    Here's how the voice recognition software works on your phone.



    Start the app with the greeting, “Hi Dragon”, and then give it a command like:


    “Tell Lori, ‘I’ll come find her when I get to the restaurant.” or
    “Schedule a meeting for 2 p.m. tomorrow.” or
    “Give me directions to the Statue of Liberty” or
    “What’s the weather in Chicago?”


    As long as Dragon can interpret what you said, you'll get an answer.


    Nuance’s press release says it’s plan is to expand availability and debut new features by year end. “We’re at a transition point where voice and natural-language understanding are suddenly at the forefront,” said Vlad Sejnoha, chief technology officer at Nuance Communications. “I think speech recognition is really going to upend the current [computer] interface.”


    If you've ever tried to call about a complaint or order a prescription over the phone, you've experienced Nuance's voice technology. It's been used in places like calls centers for awhile.


    Now the rapid rise of powerful mobile devices is spreading the use of voice interfaces. One reason for the stunning advancements in voice recognition technology is that smartphones have so much processing capability. They can access high-bandwidth data connections that exist on massive servers in the cloud. The combination of more data and more computing power means sophisticated programs like voice recognition will fit into smartphones.


    Apple’s Siri was the first to bring voice-recognition technology to mobile devices, and (finally!) Nuance has now brought Android a little closer to having its own voice functionality. Others like the Windows Phone platform, other mobile systems, and a lot of apps won’t be far behind. The interfaces still have to be refined, but the good news is that the capability of talking to our devices is already built in to the hardware.


    Nuance doesn’t plan on stopping at cellphones. Inspired by their success, the company is working on putting speech interfaces in many more places like televisions and vehicles.




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  • This week kicked off with a bonanza of Nexus news from Google

     


    Hurricane warnings mat have put an end to Google's plans for an October 29 event, but Android fans won't have been disappointed with what Googled offered up on Monday instead: a bonanza of news about their highly anticipated upcoming Nexus devices.


    In lieu of an event unveiling, Google has simply made an announcement online, confirming what most of us have been suspecting for some time – A Samsung-made Nexus 10 tablet, and an LG-made Nexus 4 smartphone.


    The rumors of an LG Nexus 4 smartphone have been confirmed by Google

     


    The fact that the new gadgets couldn't be revealed live didn't seem to lessen the impact of the announcement, as major news organizations and leading tech sites jumped onto the Nexus news en masse.


    Now, we're breaking down all the latest talk to give you the major points of this dual announcement.


    Release dates and pricing:


    Both the Nexus 10 tablet and Nexus 4 phone will be available as of November 13 in the U.S and Canada, as well as in several European countries and Japan for the Nexus 10.


    Google's pricing the unlocked LG Nexus 4 at 8GB for $299, and 16GB for $349 or $199 through T-Mobile with a 2-year contract.


    Specs and reviews:


    There's already been a lot of positive reactions to the Nexus 10.


    With a slightly more curved body than most of us had anticipated, the entirely Samsung-made tablet has a 10" display that Gizmodo's calling better than retina at 300 pixels per inch.


    Inside, it boasts a a dual-core 1.7GHz Samsung Exynos processor, 2 GB of RAm, and is available in either 16 GB or 32 GB models.


    Powered by Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean), it's also got front and back cameras and front-facing stereo speakers.


    The new Samsung Nexus 10 tablet

     


    As for the new LG smartphone, the Nexus 4 also runs on Android 4.2 and, like the Nexus 10 tablet, has gotten good reviews, with Gizmodo claiming "it might be the best Android phone yet."


    A collaboration between Google and LG, it bears a lot of resemblance to the LG Optimus G, but has a more rounded body, better software, and new features like PhotoSphere and Gesture typing.


    Behind its 4.7", 320 ppi screen, it's got a quad-core 1.5 GHz Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, 2 GB of RAM, and comes in either 8 GB or 16 GB models.


    A couple of other strong points are its 8 megapixel rear-facing camera, and the fact that it supports wireless charging.


    If you're looking for detailed specs, TechCrunch has a pretty complete list for both devices here.


    Meanwhile, we'd like to know what you think about Google's new Nexus devices. Are you planning to get one? Both? How do you think they live up to all the hype? Leave your opinion in the comments section.




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  • Apple’s determination to remain different may finally have backfired. It seems the Lightning connector has brought back to life an old argument over universal standards.


    Back in 2009, 10 major cellphone manufacturers agreed with the European Union that there needed to be one standard design for the connectors that charge cellphone batteries. A universal connector would give a much longer shelf life to chargers if the ones purchased today would still work with the devices designed down the road.


    These manufacturers agreed to use the micro-USB charger design that is used with almost every type of mobile device – except Apple products. While Apple was one of the 10 manufacturers to agree to the universal standard, it decided to show compliance through the use of an adapter. While everyone else designed their equipment for the micro-USB connector, Apple kept their 30-pin connector as the standard for all their devices.


    Now, Apple has shown their continuing commitment to their own design with the introduction of the Lightning charger. But now Apple’s competitors aren’t the only ones irritated by the company’s ongoing rebellion. By redesigning their connector (which definitely was long overdue), they’ve forced all their current customers to buy new hardware in order for their equipment like docking stations and chargers to work with the next and future generations of iPhones, iPads, iPods, iMacs… you get the idea. We’ll give Apple a (very) small bit of credit for the Lightning adapter, but still, it’s another few bucks out of your pocket.



    Apple no doubt is a believer in the “wow” factor. They don’t want to just make consumers happy. They want to knock us off our feet with style, innovation and technology. Apple may have seen their loyalty to a proprietary connector as necessary to maintain the Apple aura.


    Apple’s connectors do more than charge and sync. From a single port all Apple equipment can be connected to every other one, and with an adapter, that same port can also output these devices to non-Apple equipment like an HDMI television. With most of the other micro-USB compatible equipment out there, you need separate ports – one for charging and one for connecting (and a lots of other functions.) More ports add bulk and can make Ironman’s suit look like the Incredible Hulk is wearing it.


    Apple is going to always behave like they own the sandbox, and as long as they’re making more money than anyone else, they can. Maybe we don’t want to stop them, either. Even now, none of their competition has truly matched the style and quality inherent in most Apple products. It’s good for us that they keep trying, though.



    This post was posted in Apple and was tagged with 30-pin connector, Apple connectors, Lightning connector, Lightning adapter

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  • If you haven’t pre-ordered your Apple iPad Mini or your iPad with Retina display by the time you’ve read this, your window of opportunity has passed. Within 36 hours, the Apple online store sold out of all the new iPad options.


    In case you still want to be ready to click “Buy” as soon as iPad pre-orders are taken again, here are your choices. Also take note of those shipping and delivery dates. A few of them are the vague “Available to ship: 2 weeks” or “Available to ship: mid-November.”


    Note: your choices for all iPad Mini models are black & slate and white & silver.


    iPad Mini Wi-Fi only:


    16GB for $329, Available to ship: 2 weeks
    32GB for $429, delivery 11/2
    64GB for $529, delivery 11/2


    iPad Mini Wi-Fi + Cellular for Verizon, AT&T and Sprint:


    16GB for $459,
    32GB for $559
    64GB for $659


    All are “Available to ship: mid-November.”



    Note: your choices for iPad Retina are white and black


    iPad with Retina Wi-Fi only:


    16GB for $499
    32GB for $599
    64GB for $629


    All “Deliver 11/2”


    iPad with Retina Wi-Fi + Cellular for Verizon, AT&T and Sprint


    16GB for $629,
    32GB for $729
    64GB for $829


    All show “Available to ship: mid-November.”


    Do your research, make up your mind now and keep www.apple.com open on your browser.




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  • Beware: bogus iPhone 5 dock is total BS
    Posted on October 28, 2012 by ewilkinson

    Seeing is not believing: beware this bogus iPhone 5 dock

     


    At Pure Mobile, top-notch mobile accessories are kind of our thing.


    So when we came across a story on Gizmodo about a bogus Chinese iPhone 5 dock that doesn't actually work, all we could think was "for shame."


    "Don't buy an iPhone 5 dock," Gizmodo warned, "because it's a Chinese scam."


    Their information comes from Double Helix Cables, where a friend actually had a hands-on experience with the fake accessory. Here's what they had to say:


    "Opening up the box and out pops this stinker. I did a double take because it looked like a prank, prop, or placeholder of some sort. The lightning plug on the dock looks like a damn piece of cardboard, if you can even call it that. Because it's a cardboard-like chunk of circuit board that supposedly is going to fit into my iPhone 5."


    The reviewer goes on to write about the the fact that dock's cutout "isn't remotely close to being iPhone 5 shaped," and then elaborates on the "home brewed lightning plug [...] which 100% doesn't fit."


    A critic of the phoney dock took major issue with its "home brewed lightning plug"

     


    This lovely critique then ends with the writer concluding that any "further effort to make this non functional dock [work] would probably damage my iPhone."


    Granted, Apple doesn't actually make a dock accessory for the iPhone 5, yet. But that's no reason for third party manufacturers to start churning out ones that simply don't work.


    Many would be more than happy to produce a suitable iPhone 5 dock that actually functions, especially if they don't have to compete with Apple itself. There are plenty of fun third party iPhone 5 gadgets out there that not only work, but work really well.


    And, in our opinion, there's no excuse for this kind of blatant BS when so many companies have been able to turn a dollar making affordable and functional iPhone accessories that consumers actually want.




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  • Branded as the official James Bond Skyfall phone, Sony's XPeria TL arrives at AT&T November 2

     


    Dubbed the "Official James Bond Phone," the latest in Sony's XPeria Lineup, the Xperia TL, will be swaggering into AT&T stores as of November 2.


    In pretty hyperbolic style and promising to "give everyday people the chance to live like James Bond," the AT&T press release promised to make the new smartphone available for $99.99, so long as you sign a 2 year contract.


    According to Engaget, the device has quite a lot going for it, despite the fact that its "materials feel cheap." For one, it's got a 1.5GHz dual-core S4 processor as well as NFC capabilities.


    Sony's XPeria TL features a 4.6-inch 720p display

     


    Aside from that, AT&T just couldn't help reminding us all (for what seems like the thousandth time) that the Xperia TL is "featured in the upcoming James Bond cinema release Skyfall [and] will be used in the film by 007 himself."


    But just in case you didn't get the message, they've preloaded the device with tons of Skyfall content like "behind the scenes footage, interviews, clips, wallpapers, ring tones, and more."


    Though we have a hard time believing that any smartphone can ever really let someone "live like James Bond," we have to admit the XPeria TL at least looks slick enough to be something Bond would carry.




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  •  



    Samsung has been promoting the "Next Big Thing", and this time it’s the Galaxy Note 2. The phone was launched yesterday at Samsung's Galaxy Note II World Tour 2012 press event. T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T and Verizon will all be carrying it. Just considering cost, timing and coverage, which service provider should get your business?


    Here’s the lowdown on cost and timing:


    Verizon
    Pre-order date: Oct. 25
    Available: Nov. 27
    Price: $299.99 with a 2-year plan, $699.99 off-contract


    AT&T
    Pre-sale date: Oct. 25
    Available: Nov. 9
    Price: $299.99 with a 2-year plan, $649.99 off-contract


    Sprint
    Available: Now
    Price: $299.99 with a 2-year plan, $699.99 off-contract


    T-Mobile
    Available: Now
    Price: $369.99 with a 2-year plan, $699.99 off-contract


    The Galaxy Note 2 has 4G LTE capability, and you don’t want it to go to waste. While Verizon beats all the competition for nationwide 4G LTE coverage (370+ markets), AT&T is rapidly expanding their 4G LTE network and is adding to their network all the time (approximately 65 markets.) Sprint basically covers Atlanta and big cities in Texas (15 markets) with their 4G LTE, the rest is 3G. T-Mobile doesn’t yet have 4G LTE connectivity, but they advertise their network as “4G”, which is really a supercharged 3G (HSPA+ 42) network.


    For those buying an unlocked Galaxy Note 2, here’s a heads-up. The unlocked version isn’t compatible with CDMA carriers and LTE networks.


    There’s no doubt that the Galaxy Note 2 is a fine smartphone. Its 5.5-inch Super AMOLED display is the big reason it’s being called a “phablet” – part phone, part tablet. In a nod to its tablet-ness, the Note 2 is the only smartphone that comes with a stylus that Samsung calls the” S Pen.” For those of us with big fingers or who are touchscreen accuracy-challenged, a stylus sure comes in handy.


    Inside the Galaxy Note 2, you’ll find a quad-core 1.6GHz Exynos processor, up to 16GB of storage space (with expansion up to 64GB), and 2GB of RAM. On the back is a high-quality 8MP camera with an LED flash, and on the front a 1.9MP camera for video calls. The camera can record video in 1080p, and has a 4x zoom. It’s rated for up to 15 hours of talk time and 12.5 days of standby time.




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  • Carphone Warehouse leaked, well, everything about the next Nexus smartphone

     


    As writer Ernest Hamlin Abbott once put it, "rumors are not news; but they sometimes foreshadow news."


    And, boy, have the rumors ever been stacking up concerning Google's next Nexus device, even though Google's expected to be saving any official news about it until their October 29 event.


    Still, between the speculation that the new Android phone will be LG-made, the pictures, and even a premature review, we've already learned quite a bit about the upcoming Nexus 4.


    And today, a new leak from retailer Carphone Warehouse revealed pretty much everything else, right down to the LG phone's specs, price and expected release date.


    Advertising pre-orders for the phone, Carphone Warehouse has listed a price of £389.95. And their description boasts that the new smartphone has a 4.7" LCD display, and "the fastest and smoothest version of Android yet," Android OS 4.2 Jelly Bean, as well as some new features:


    "Search gets smarter with Google Now. You ask. Google answers, instantly, and with all the detail you want... Stay in touch with Gesture Typing, a faster way of typing that lets you spell words by dragging your finger across the screen from letter to letter."


    Meanwhile, Carphone Warehouse sets October 30 as the start date for delivery, just one day after Google's event. Though, after this last and possibly most comprehensive leak, there isn't much Google could tell us about their latest smartphone that we don't already know.




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  • Now that the launch of the Surface tablet is history and the Windows 8 hoopla will be behind them today, Microsoft is revving up for their next event: release of the new devices that will run on Windows Phone 8. Lucky for all of us, Microsoft will live stream the event to be held in San Francisco on Monday, October 29th. Get ready for a broadcast at 10am PST.


    Microsoft will also show off more Windows Phone 8 features like Xbox Music, new competition for Spotify and iTunes. “There are a whole series of…new capabilities and features that will come that we haven’t talked about and there’s integration with Windows 8 that we’ll demo closer to the date,” promises Greg Sullivan, Microsoft’s Windows Phone senior product manager.


    Both product manufacturers and wireless providers have been announcing they'll be showing off a range of Windows Phone 8 devices at the event. The lineup includes HTC’s Windows Phone 8X and 8S, Samsung’s ATIV S, Nokia’s Lumia 820 and 920, and Verizon’s exclusive Nokia Lumia 822 (aka the Atlas). There’s also an outside possibility that ZTE will be there with a Windows Phone 8 device, too.


    Hopefully Microsoft will be specific about shipment dates for Windows Phone 8 devices. So far, we've only heard that they will begin shipping in November.


    In the meantime, Microsoft is showing its new Windows 8 to the world today.




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