Monday, September 13, 2010

Google Reported To Buy Quicksee For $10 Million. Here Come More 3D, Geo, Panoramic Videos

Google is buying Israeli startup Quicksee, also known as MentorWave Technologies, for an estimated $10 million, reports Israeli newspaperHaaretz. The startup has raised $3 million from Ofer Hi-Tech and Docor International Management.

Quicksee makes 3D video tour software that can be pinned on a Google Map. It results in an effect similar to what you can see in Street View on Google Maps, allowing the viewer to pan around and see a panoramic image of a location. Except that the panoramic images do not require expensive 3D cameras mounted on top of a Googel vehicle. Anybody can create one with a regular video camera and Quicksee software.

More @ Source

Video: New Amazon Kindle Ad Shows How Impossible It Is To Read The iPad In Direct Sunlight

Real Madrid v. Barcelona, Ali v. Frazier, and now Kindle v. iPad. This here commercialillustrates, in humorous fashion, the fact that the iPad isn’t nearly as easily visible in direct sunlight as the Kindle.

You already knew that the Kindle was perfectly visible in direct sunlight, and now we have Amazon—yes, this is an actual commercial that was seen on television (Good Morning America, to be exact) a few moments ago—stressing the fact.

You have to love the overreaction of the person who posted this on YouTube—“how could they put this on air???”

Maybe because it’s true? Just a guess.

Watch Video at Source

Apple To Sell WiFi iPads In China Starting September 17

Apple just announced that Wi-Fi models the iPad will become available to users in China from Apple Retail Stores, and Apple Authorized Resellers, on Friday, September 17 starting at 10:00 a.m.

iPads will be sold for the retail price of CNY3988 for 16GB, CNY4788 for 32GB and CNY5588 for 64GB. Apple just opened three new stores in Shanghai, adding to the existing store in Beijing. And Apple plans to build at least two dozen stores across the country. As wereported in early August, China Unicom was rumored to start selling iPads in China in the fall.

Nokia’s Smartphone Champion Resigns One Day Before Nokia World

Imagine if Jonathan Ives, the designer of the Mac and the iPhone, walked out of Apple one day before its world developer’s conference? Well that’s the kind of impact of the resignation today of Anssi Vanjoki, who has announced his departure one day before Nokia World, the company’s major annual event. Vanjoki was widely seen as being the potential ‘Steve Jobs” of Nokia – a product obsessive who could get things done. There’s no sign he’s left for another job and the short press release contains no words of thanks from colleagues. Wow.

Vanjoki only recently (
as in, July July) became the company’s Mobile Solutions leader – the one guy that was poised to knock heads together and turn Nokia back into a major smartphone player against the iPhone and Android. But no more.

Source: TechCrunch

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The full iPod touch review (2010)

The full iPod Touch Review
As found on Engadget

At Apple's last event, Steve Jobs called the iPod touch the company's "most popular iPod," and it's easy to understand why. In just a few short years, the iPhone-with-no-phone has kept in lockstep with Cupertino's halo device, benefitting from the same kind of constant hardware and software updating that has helped turned the iPhone into an iconic gadget. The touch has been right alongside the iPhone's meteoric rise in popularity, becoming the go-to second-pocket slab for millions. There are good reasons, too. Apple boasts about gaming on the device -- claiming it beats out both Nintendo's and Sony's offerings in sales... combined. While we can't concede that the device is a dedicated game console, it most definitely games. And it's still an iPod, an internet device, and a thousand other things thanks to Apple's vastly populous App Store. Now the player has once again reaped the rewards of iPhone updates, boasting a new Retina Display, the A4 CPU, two cameras which allow for FaceTime calling and 720p video recording, and all the new features of the company's latest mobile operating system, iOS 4.1. But despite all of the plusses, we still have to ask: is the little do-everything box still worth the premium price tag?


If you own the last version of the iPod touch, the design of the latest version shouldn't come as a major surprise. Instead of aping the iPhone's new glass-sandwich looks, the touch hews close to its roots with a super thin profile made up of one part glass screen and one part all-metal back. The device still bears the smudge inviting chrome rear panel, and continues the trend of shrinking the thickness as far down as possible. We thought the iPhone 4 was crazy thin, but the new touch looks like a toothpick by comparison. In our large hands, we might even argue that it's a little too small -- but it should be just right for the legion of teens and tweens that will clamor for this come holiday time.

As with earlier version, hard buttons come in the form of a single home key, a power / sleep button (finally moved to match the iPhone's placement at the top-right of the device, as opposed to the opposite side on previous versions), and two volume buttons on the left. Around back there's now a small camera lens in the upper corner of the device, while a single, VGA shooter peers out from behind the glass on the front of the player. A quick note: we had a little trouble consistently finding the sleep button when using the device -- it's a bit buried in the housing.

All told, we think it's break even in the looks department. The thinness is certainly welcome, but not a game changer. While we like the iPod touch design overall, there's nothing present in the new version that makes it significantly more lust-worthy than previous generations.

Inside the new iPod touch is Apple's A4 CPU, the same engine used to power the iPhone 4 and iPad (and that new Apple TV as well). We assume the device is sporting the same 512MB of RAM that the iPhone has, but we won't know for sure until someone like iFixit gets their hands on it. The 3.5-inch capacitive touchscreen is called a Retina Display, which means it had equal resolution (960 x 640) and pixel density (326 ppi) as the iPhone 4, but it's not the same IPS panel that you're used to on the touch's big brother. What does that mean in real world terms? Well in our testing we could see noticeable difference in viewing angles, but only at pretty extreme positions. We also felt like the touch's display was slightly darker than the iPhone 4 screen. In general, we don't see this as a major detractor for the device, but there's no question that the iPhone 4 is sporting a qualitatively better display. It may be an "iPhone with no contract" in many regards, but not when it comes to the screen.

Aside from that you've got WiFi (802.11b/g/n to be exact), Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, and Nike + support built in. No GPS here, and obviously no cell radios.

We're a little confused by Apple's reluctance to add a GPS chip to these devices. Since the App Store is litered with navigation software, and this could easily take the place of a TomTom or Garmin device, it seems like a short walk to paradise for the company. The touch checks a lot of boxes on the list, but true navigation is still blank, and we can't really understand why.

Just like Apple wanted, much has been made about the touch's camera capability. It seems like the idea of a touch with cameras has been a long time coming (and based on what we've seen from case manufacturers since the last fall Apple event, we're actually about a year behind schedule). But the cameras on this device aren't quite the same pair that you get on the iPhone 4, and there should be no mistaking one for the other. The rear camera on the device is capable of 720p video, but that means that its maximum resolution is 1280 x 720 -- and when it's used for still photos, that resolution becomes 960 x 720 (that's a 720p at a 4:3 ratio). Obviously this is not the same lens or sensor as the iPhone 4, and when we asked Apple about it, they said it was more a consideration of size rather than cost. According to Greg Jozwiak, using something closer to the iPhone 4's sensor would have made the casing for the touch considerably larger. The camera is also fixed-focus rather than auto-focus, which means that tapping on the screen has no discernible result except for altering the white balance and exposure. Oh, and there's no flash to be found. Around front, the phone sports a VGA camera (similar to that of the iPhone), but again this is a fixed-focus lens.

Sound quality

As with the new nano, the touch did seem to sound a little better than previous versions, but it's not such an astounding difference that you should toss your last gen model in the garbage. Overall, playback seemed solid to us -- at least it didn't leave us wanting for quality. If you're planning on using the external speaker for listening, however, you might want to reconsider. We can't remember the last time we heard something so tinny. Of course, it's not surprising considering the size of this housing. Even though it's located in a similar spot as the iPhone 4's speaker, the volume and quality of audio it produces is not even in the same vicinity. Still, how often will you use this?

Overall, performance was silky smooth on the touch -- games didn't lag, and getting around in the OS was as painless as it is on the iPhone 4. Multitasking worked flawlessly, and for those of you using the device heavily as a media player, it makes juggling playback functions along with the other "stuff" the touch does dead simple.

The new touch does come equipped with FaceTime, though now instead of using your phone number (and SMS) to connect, it asks for your email address as an identifier. Unfortunately, only other 4.1 devices can make a connection with the touch, so we were only able to make a handful of calls. In general, the application worked as effortlessly as it does on the iPhone, though we still had some freezes and breakups even on our strong WiFi connection. Ultimately, we still see this as a side dish and not the main course for these devices. With the iPhone 4, we complained that without 3G options for FaceTime calls, the feature remains limited in use, and that's now doubly true with the touch -- unless you're carting around a MiFi, you're stuck mostly indoors (and probably at home) for these calls. One thing to note about FaceTime on the touch -- on our device the volume seemed extremely low even when cranked up (in keeping with our experience for music playback), though the New York Times' David Pogue told us his device sounded loud and clear. "Like an iPhone," he said.

As we said, Game Center is installed on the device, but no games seem to take advantage of the feature just yet. We did field a few friend requests, but all we could do was look at our list of contacts. We'll likely take a longer look at this feature when it's accessible to all iOS 4 users, but for now the most notable thing about the app is that Game Center looks nothing like any Apple product you've ever seen. That font!

Reading through this review, it should be clear that there isn't actually a whole lot to say about this device that hasn't already been said. The new touch isn't magical or revolutionary, or even unfamiliar. What it is, however, is a product without a peer; a media player that does far more than media playing. Besides the smaller screen real estate, the touch might be better compared to a tablet or netbook -- it has many of the same functions (more, in some cases). So you're not just dropping $229 (8GB), $299 (32GB), or $399 (64GB, also, ouch) on a music and video player -- you're buying into a mini-computer, a video camera, and a game system all with a massive ecosystem.

If you're already carrying around a smartphone with the above functions, maybe the iPod touch doesn't make sense, but for the legions of buyers out there who have yet to make the jump (or are stuck with an outdated handset), this device's appeal is hard to deny. Don't get us wrong, the touch isn't without faults -- the lack of GPS and a fairly low-quality still camera come to mind -- but there's nothing major here that gives us pause (and frankly, nothing else like it on the market). With the addition of HD video shooting, the new Retina Display, and a faster A4 processor, the touch has just gone from "nice to have" to nearly irresistible.
As found on Engadget

Xbox 360 250GB plus Kinect bundle priced at $399 in US, £300 in UK

Microsoft has chosen the small hours of the night to announce pricing of its second Kinect bundle, which is set for launch along with the standalone and 4GB options on November 4 in the USA and November 10 across Europe. The new package throws in the 250GB slim version of the Xbox 360 to accompany the newfangled motion tracker and a copy of the utterly unmissable Kinect Adventures! (it has its own punctuation, it must be good). Pricing is a bit on the painful side, with Kotaku reporting a $399 figure for the US and Microsoft confirming to us a £300 sticker for this "special edition" bundle for the UK.

Verizon sweetens Samsung Fascinate deal with Buy One Get One Free offer

Yes, that fateful day is upon us, the Samsung Fascinate has made its debut on Verizon's online store pages, and it's arrived with a quite unusual (for a top tier handset) sweetener. When buying one Fascinate, you're given the option to obtain a second one for free. Well, the hardware would be free, you'd need two-year commitments on both phones with a minimum monthly data plan of $29.99 a piece, but it's still the nicest thing Verizon's done for us since it started throwing out free Pixi Pluses with purchases of Palm's webOS handsets. You should also bear in mind your initial outlay here is a quite lofty $400, with two separate $100 mail-in rebates bringing the cost down. So it's free in pecuniary terms, but probably not free of headaches.

Nokia N8 officially for sale last week of September, UK shops October 1st

At last, an official date for Nokia's N8 flagship Symbian^3 handset. This one's been a long time coming, featuring the first of two major Symbian updates meant to bring Nokia's smartphone division in line with the competition. Look for it in the "last week of September" at Nokia's on-line shops for £429 SIM free, or free with £35 per month contract. Otherwise, it'll hit the UK high street shops on October 1st.

Source: Engadget

Monday, September 6, 2010

Facebook Denies Testing Places In The UK – But It Looks Close

Is Facebook testing its location based service Places for imminent rollout in the UK? Notes on Twitter started to surface over the weekend indicating that might be the case. And as you can see from this screengrab from @kierondonoghue on Saturday, it did work for a short time.

However, we’ve checked with Twitter’s official spokespeople and they say “We weren’t testing it this weekend contrary to reports.” And a simple check of the iPhone app reveals that even if some people can access their location via mobile in the UK, most can’t.

So there you go. But, the imminent arrival of Facebook Places in the UK and across the rest of Europe is clearly going to have an interesting impact not least on local location-based startups who already compete with Foursquare and Gowalla, to name the two main US players whose services have migrated to Europe.

Twitter’s People Recommendation Engine Appears To Be Working Like A Charm

It’s been about a month since Twitter turned on its people recommendation engine, a set of algorithms that enables the service to automagically suggest people you don’t currently follow but may find interesting.

Twitter has indicated that these suggestions are based on a variety of factors, including the people you already follow and the people they follow. They are, for now, only visible on and the Find People section.

And based on my experience, the algorithms seem to be doing their job just fine indeed – I have most certainly discovered a lot of new interesting people on Twitter who I wasn’t yet following already, and my own follower count has increased significantly in the past few weeks.

So for fun, I decided to use TwitterCounter to look up the counts for a couple of accounts I follow, to see if this is a general trend of something I’m noticing for my account only.

Source: TechCrunch

Scientists using metallic wastes to generate clean energy

Solar farms are swell and all, but they aren't exactly fit for laboratories or studio apartments. Thanks to new discoveries by gurus at the University of Birmingham, though, we could be on our way to a far more diminutive method of creating clean energy. As the story goes, we could soon be using microbes to transform wastes in metals into energy. The team managed to pinpoint Hydrogenase enzymes and BioPd in their research, which they believe can be used as catalysts for the treatment of persistent pollutants. The overriding goal, however, is to "develop a one-step technology that allows for the conversion of metallic wastes into high value catalysts for green chemistry and clean energy generation," but it's difficult to say at this point how close they are to realizing it. The best news? This is bound to start a new rash of Cash 4 Gold commercials.

Samsung N350 throws LTE and HSPA+ into an intriguing new netbook proposition

Yeah, we thought netbooks were old news too, but if they all start strapping up with the latest in 4G connectivity, we might have to give them another look. The Samsung N350 is just such a machine, with dual-mode LTE and HSPA+ built in. You won't be surprised that almost everything else is par for the affordable laptop market course: a dual-core Atom N550 CPU, that boilerplate 1,024 x 600 resolution on a 10.1-inch matte screen, 250GB of storage, 1GB of DDR3 RAM, a multicard reader, and a trifecta of USB ports. The basic wireless options are keeping up with modernity, however, with 802.11n WiFi and Bluetooth 3.0 on board, both of which are nice to see. The 3-cell battery should last up to 6.7 hours and the whole package is expected to retail for €429 ($553) in Germany this autumn. You can probably expect a rebadge under the Go label for the US and a relatively swift launch over here as well.

Nokia N8 launches September 30, says senior manager

Tapani Kaskinen is Nokia's Senior Comms Manager, so it's fitting that he'd be the first person from the company to communicate a solid release date for its long-awaited N8 handset. The gent in question told Finnish newspaper Kauppalehti that advance orders of the N8 will "begin shipping 30 September." Bear in mind we're chewing through a machine translation here, but that part's pretty unmistakable. It also meshes perfectly with earlier speculation surrounding Nokia purchasing Google AdWords -- that indicated a one-week exclusive starting on September 23rd for Nokia's UK online store, which, if you do the math, again points to a wide release at the end of the month. We asked Nokia about it ourselves and they're remaining mum on the matter, but chances are looking pretty good that October will start with the N8 finally in eager users' hands

Saturday, September 4, 2010

iOS 4.1 confirmed for September 8th on Apple's UK website

According to Apple's UK website, iOS 4.1 will hit on Wednesday, September 8th. The US website still displays the non-commital "Coming Soon" message, so we'll have to keep our eyes peeled. We're going to go ahead and guess that all those shiny new iPods will come to retail that day too... but don't hold us to that one. Like we said, it's only a guess.

Ubuntu 10.10 'Maverick Meerkat' enters beta ahead of October 10 release

Ubuntu version 10.10 is about to come out on 10/10/2010 and score a perfect 10 out of 10 with reviewers. Or so the devs hope. The successor to April's Lucid Lynx has this week shrugged off the alpha label and stridden bravely into the world of beta software. GUI modifications are of course apparent, along with performance tweaks promising even faster boot times, but on the whole it doesn't look to be as big a leap as there was between the Lynx and Koala versions. The default photo management program is now Shotwell, replacing F-Spot, and there's an update to the Software Center allowing you to purchase paid-for Linux programs in an App Store-ish sort of way. Nothing's available to buy yet, but the plan is for that feature to go live with the final launch in October. The most intriguing thing about this Meerkat for us just might be the Unity desktop interface, which is now the default for Ubuntu Netbook Edition

Samsung's new Wireless USB chipset enables HD streaming with less power

It's a beautiful combination, really -- lower power consumption, and support for high bandwidth applications. That marriage is evident in Samsung's newest Wireless USB chipset, which was built around Ultra Wide Band (UWB) technology and designed to enable high-def streaming between a mobile host device and a tethered device for viewing. According to Sammy, the two-chip solution will be aimed at cameras, camcorders, TVs, PCs, tablets, beam projectors, portable HDDs, Blu-ray players and handsets, and given that it can handle a theoretical high of 480Mbps with an average power consumption of less than 300mW, even the weakest smartphone battery should be able to stream at least a single episode of Family Guy to the tele. Mum's the word on who all will be lining up to adopt this stuff, but since it's slated to hit mass production in Q4, we'd say those details should be worked out right around CES 2011.

As found on Engadget

Friday, September 3, 2010

Play Your Music Wirelessly Anywhere In Your House

No surprise that iHome is first out of the gate with a speaker dock that's compatible with Apple's newly-open AirPlay music streaming system, but unfortunately the teaser page is maddeningly light on details -- all we know is that it'll have a rechargeable battery and be available for the holidays. We're actually pretty stoked for AirPlay gear -- the idea of setting up a quick mix-and-match whole-home audio system that can stream lossless audio straight from iTunes seems awfully hard to resist -- so we're eager to hear more about this thing, as well as the other third-party AirPlay devices like receivers and stereos that were promised yesterday. We'll keep digging for more, so stay tuned.

Source: Engadget

Google Chrome is 2 years Old

Two years. Can you believe it's only been two years since we started browsing the internet faster than a potato can tear through the air? Well, Google can, and it's certainly not been sitting around during that time, improving Chrome's JavaScript performance by a factor of 3, and throwing in a litany of additional features, like tab side-by-side view, themes, auto-translation, and bookmark and preference sync across machines. To celebrate the anniversary, the company's uploaded version numero 6 to its stable channel, which brings a few more GUI optimizations and some bug fixes to the table. Hardware graphics acceleration isn't yet included in the public release, but it too shall be joining the party before long.

Source: Engadget
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