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Archive for June, 2010|Monthly archive page

Microsoft Kin is Dead

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2010 at 9:13 pm

We’re learning this afternoon that Microsoft’s Kin line, for all practical purposes, is riding off into the sunset just a few short weeks after its release. Sources close to Microsoft tell us that Andy Lees has rolled Kin into the Windows Phone 7 team and has canceled the existing product’s launch later this year in Europe on news that sales weren’t as strong as expected. Speaking of sales, Verizon’s already-launched Kin One and Kin Two are soldiering on for the time being, but for how long is anyone’s guess. Here’s Microsoft’s official statement:

“We have made the decision to focus exclusively on Windows Phone 7 and we will not ship KIN in Europe this fall as planned. Additionally, we are integrating our KIN team with the Windows Phone 7 team, incorporating valuable ideas and technologies from KIN into future Windows Phone releases. We will continue to work with Verizon in the U.S. to sell current KIN phones.”

For what it’s worth, we didn’t think much of the Kin when we reviewed it — to be fair, we’re not the product’s target demographic, but it certainly seems as though the phones got no love from the tweens, teens, and twentysomethings it sought to win over, either. It’s hard to say how the Kin’s untimely (or is it timely?) death ties into Robbie Bach and J Allard’s departure, but since Lees has his hands more closely wrapped around this project than he had in the past, it stands to reason that there’s a link there. After all, just how bad do sales have to be to kill a project mere weeks into its retail launch?

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Carbonite mobile application now available for blackberry

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2010 at 9:04 pm

When first announced over a month ago, Carbonite for BlackBerry was only working on a select few devices/OS versions. We got word today that the app has been updated and now supports the Pearl Flip, 96xx, 89xx, 83xx, 85xx, 9000, 9700 and Storm. If you are a Carbonite user, this app is a great one to have on your device. It allows you to access all of your backed up files on the go so you never have to be without your documents, photos or media. Features include:

  • Browse: You can browse the directory structures on all of your Carbonite-backed-up computers.
  • View: Bring up PDFs, photos, music and video files, Excel, Powerpoint, Word documents and other text files can be opened and viewed right on your BlackBerry.
  • Share: You can forward any file via email, right from your phone.

The app is free to download from carbonite.com/blackberry, and Carbonite accounts are available for both PC and Mac starting at $54.95/year. Hit the links below for more.

eBay for BlackBerry out of beta

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2010 at 8:59 pm

The eBay app first popped up late last year in beta form, but we haven’t heard much about it since. Today RIM announced the app has finally made its way out of beta and is also available in six countries (in addition to North America) including France, Germany, Australia, Italy, Spain and the UK. With the eBay app for BlackBerry, users can browse items, place bids, check activity and more. The app also integrates with your BlackBerry calendar so you don’t miss a thing. Other features include:

  • Daily Deals – View limited time bargains on popular items, where items are often over 50% off the original price and include free shipping
  • My eBay – Access personal eBay activity including Watched items, Bids, Sales, Saved Searches and Favorite Sellers
  • Member Messages – Receive and reply to messages and emails sent through My eBay
  • Payments – PayPal account users can purchase items within the application
  • Re-List Items – Re-list items for sale when current listing ends with no sale

Sort Search Results by Distance – Sort search results by distance from location (up to 1,200 miles)

Now, I don’t think this will make a difference to many people.

iMovie for jailbroken iPhone 3Gs

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2010 at 7:56 pm

Well, I think we all knew this would happen ( including Steve Jobs CEO of Apple Inc). iMovie has been hack with some requirement changes in info.plist, including changing front facing camera to “false”, and minimum system requirement to 3.0.0. It is also supposedly said to work with the iPod Touch, so I guess you could put the video on your iPod Touch and edit, then export, but it really just doesn’t make sense for an iPod Touch.

Kinect detailed in newly precise tech specs

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2010 at 7:48 pm

Sure, you know Kinect, but do you know Kinect? While retailers have backed off publishing $150 pricetags for Kinect in bizarre displays of solidarity, UK shop Play.com has up some new specifics on the technology in its listing for the device. Here are a few of the standouts that were news to us:

  • Field of view is relatively limited, something we could sense when spending time with Kinect at E3. The unit sees 57 degrees of horizontal and 43 degrees of vertical, with a 27 degree physical tilt to keep you in the action.
  • Depth of view is similarly strict, ranging from 4 feet to 11.5 feet.
  • Skeletal tracking is limited to two active players at a time, as we knew, but the system can at least keep its eye on up to six people at once — like that totally optional pair of backup dancers in Dance Central.
  • Resolution, because we know you were wondering, is detailed as well: 320 x 240, 16-bit at 30 fps (we’re guessing this is the depth camera), 640 x 480, 32-bit color at 30 fps (yeah, this is the color one), and 16-bit audio at 16 kHz.

No huge surprises, and we’re sure a few more details will leak out before launch — can’t you just wait to get “off the couch, on your feet and in the fun”?

Source: Engadget

Sony to recall half a million ‘too hot to handle’ VAIO laptops

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Well, this isn’t good. Sony‘s issued a warning that about half a million of its VAIO laptops are at risk of seriously overheating, and could even cause burns. The company says that the heat-monitoring chips of its VAIO F and Vaio C series laptops (which were launched in January) could be defective, causing them to overheat and physically warp. Sony says it’s received about 40 total complaints about the issue, and that affected customers will be able to download a software fix or contact the company directly to have the laptop picked up for a repair.

Source: Wall Street Journal

ASUS Eee PC 1215N with NVIDIA Ion and dual-core Atom D525 is a netbook powerhouse

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2010 at 12:13 pm

The phrase “netbook powerhouse” would typically be considered an oxymoron. That was before ASUS announced its Eee PC 1215N bumpin’ a 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Atom D525 processor with NVIDIA Optimus to intelligently switch between its NVIDIA Ion discrete and integrated graphics. That means it’ll cut through 1080p video without any problem when displayed on the 12-inch 1,366 x 768 pixel display or out to an HDTV via the included HDMI jack. Other specs include Bluetooth 3.0, 802.11n WiFi, integrated webcam with lens cover, choice of 250GB or 320GB hard disk drives augmented by 500GB of ASUS WebStorage, and pass-through USB to charge connected devices like cellphones when the Eee is powered off. Sorry, no mention of battery performance, price, or availability on this so-called netbook.

Via: Engadget
ASUS Defies Convention with the Eee PC™ 1215N Multimedia Netbook

Effectively Integrating the Intel® Atom™ D525 CPU with Next Generation NVIDIA® ION™ Discrete Graphics to Deliver Unprecedented Performance

Consumers who want their multimedia entertainment on-the-go have always found their needs wanting. But that is set to change with the launch of the ASUS Eee PC™ 1215N Multimedia Netbook. ASUS has managed to squeeze the Intel® Atom™ D525 processor and the next generation NVIDIA® ION™ discrete graphics processor into a netbook to deliver stunning levels of performance. It also comes with the latest USB 3.0 and Bluetooth 3.0 technologies.

Unprecedented Performance Meets Energy-Efficiency
The Eee PC™ 1215N defies the notion of netbooks being designed just to cater to basic computing needs. The 1215N packs the Intel® Atom™ D525 dual core processor, as well as the next generation NVIDIA® ION™ discrete graphics processor with NVIDIA® Optimus™ technology to deliver a netbook with hard-hitting multimedia performance capabilities.

NVIDIA® Optimus™ technology intelligently switches between integrated and discrete graphics to provide the optimum graphics solution required, thereby extending battery life in the process.

Delivering Multimedia Enjoyment in Droves
The next generation NVIDIA® ION™ discrete graphics processor found in the Eee PC™ 1215N enables it to deliver a visual experience never before seen on netbooks. The 1215N is capable of smooth, crystal-clear playback of high definition videos in 1080p on its 1366 x 768 HD widescreen display with 16:9 display ratio.

Hardware decoders embedded within the 1215N perfectly decode H.264, VC1 and MPEG2 file formats while the HDMI-output port enables Full HD 1080p playback on large screen displays.

The 1215N also features a camera cover over the webcam’s lens to give users added privacy.

High Speed, Efficient Connectivity
The Eee PC™ 1215N comes packed with features designed to deliver an efficient computing experience to supplement its multimedia prowess.

USB 3.0 will let users transfer files at up to 4.8GB per second, almost 10x that of USB 2.0; while Bluetooth 3.0 lets users sync up with a myriad of digital devices at speeds that are 8x faster than that of Bluetooth 2.1.

802.11n Wi-Fi connectivity gives users faster surfing speeds and higher throughput when compared to 802.11b/g standards.

The 1215N is also capable of charging mobile phones via USB even when the Eee PC is switched off. The mobile phone can also draw power from the Eee PC’s battery.

Cloud Access Anytime Anywhere
The Eee PC™ 1215N’s 250GB or 320GB hard drive is supplemented by 500GB of ASUS WebStorage. Users can simply store files via a simple drag and drop interface.

ASUS @Vibe comes pre-installed in the 1215N and is a one-stop repository for various software and applications. It gives users access to music, videos, radio stations, and other forms of online entertainment whenever they please. ASUS @Vibe contains both localized and international content. These entertainment services are updated periodically and are available on a free trial.

The 1215N features LocaleMe, an application that leverages on Microsoft’s Bing map. It helps users pinpoint their exact location, as well as provide information about the surrounding areas. Users can use LocaleMe to find addresses and route directions.

Eee PC™ 1215N users are also granted access to Boingo global Wi-Fi services at a special price. A single account gives users access to over 100,000 hotspots at airports, hotels, cafes and restaurants around the world.

Amazon gets robbed

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2010 at 2:34 am

You often hear about Amazon Web Services having some downtime issues, but it’s rare to see Amazon.com itself have major issues. In fact, I can’t ever remember it happening the past couple of years. But that’s very much the case today as for the past couple of hours the service has been switching back and forth between being totally down and being up, but showing no products.

Obviously, Twitter is abuzz about this — though there’s no word from Amazon on Twitter yet about the downtime. Amazon Web Services, meanwhile, all seem to be a go, according to their dashboard. The mobile apps on the iPhone, iPad and Android devices are sort of working, but it doesn’t appear you can go to actual product pages.

Via: TechCrunch

Twitpic Blocks Posterous’ Import Tool; Out Come The Lawyers

In Uncategorized on June 30, 2010 at 2:31 am

Well that didn’t take long. Halfway into their big 15 importers in 15 days campaign, Posterous has managed to make one of their competitors very angry. Twitpic is so angry, in fact, that they’re blocking the service and threatening legal action.

This morning, Posterous introduced their new “Rescue your photos from TwitPic” tool — a one-click way to import your photos from Twitpic over to your Posterous blog. This is the same type of importer Posterous has already made for Ning, Vox, Tumblr and a host of other services — as I said, they’re about halfway through the 15 of these tools they intend to make.

The idea, of course, is that if they make it easy enough to get your existing content on to Posterous, they think you’ll like their service so much that you’ll permanently switch. Twitpic, doesn’t like that idea one bit.

According to Posterous, Twitpic had some idea such a tool might be coming and sent a letter last Thursday threatening to sue the company if they launched it. “Their claims are completely bogus,” Posterous co-founder Sachin Agarwal tells us. “Posterous is simply acting as an agent to the user who owns the photos. We authenticate the user’s Twitter credentials and then download the images on their behalf,” he continues.

“Our lawyer sent a response to TwitPic this morning indicating that we aren’t breaking any laws here, but simply giving users a way to access their own photos and then decide which service they like best. Nevertheless, TwitPic banned our servers within a couple hours of the importer launch,” Agarwal says.

Twitpic has since responded to that letter from Posterous. We’ve had a chance to see them all. Twitpic seems most concerned about Posterous’ methods for accessing this data. The user privacy issue is brought up a number of times — and they also wonder if Posterous isn’t access Twitpic “trade secrets” with this importer.

“We are simply using their public RSS feed to pull images on the user’s behalf. There are no privacy violations here,” Agarwal says.

Twitpic says they’re not going to stop users from exporting their data, but prefer users do so manually, rather than with the use of this tool. Of course, if this really is just pulling the pictures through users’ RSS feeds, it’s hard to argue that this tool is anymore more than useful for people who are looking to switch. Plenty of other blogging sites offer similar import tools.

Via: TechCrunch

What Would iPhone 4 Sales Be Like If It Weren’t Tied To AT&T?

In Uncategorized on June 29, 2010 at 12:19 pm

1.7 million iPhone 4s sold in three days. It’s a massive number any way you slice it. But it’s perhaps even more impressive when you consider the initial pre-order system failures, the device shortages (which Apple apologized for in their release), and the fact that half of the family isn’t even available yet (the white iPhone 4). And most impressive may be that those who bought it in the U.S. were willing to sell their souls to AT&T for another two years.

But GigaOM’s Kevin Tofel gives the beleaguered network credit for the launch today, citing the network as a “huge reason” Apple sold so many iPhones. On one hand, he has a good point. If AT&T hadn’t advanced the upgrade eligibility time (in some cases by as much as six months), it would have been much more expensive for many of them to upgrade from the iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4 — and many likely wouldn’t have.

The fact that at least one survey suggests that as many as 77% of iPhone 4 buyers were people upgrading from older iPhones may make this idea even more potent (though only 600 or so people in three cities were surveyed — again, of 1.7 million phones sold).

But first of all, let’s remember that included in the 1.7 million number are four other countries not tied to AT&T that saw the iPhone 4 launch on the same day as the U.S.: UK, France, Germany, and Japan. Still, while Apple doesn’t break down iPhone 4 sales by countries, it’s likely safe to assume the majority were sold in the U.S.

So let’s say that Apple sold over a million of those iPhone 4s in the U.S. Now close your eyes and imagine a world where the iPhone wasn’t tied to one carrier in the U.S. (it’s easy if you try). I don’t think I would be going out on a limb at all to guess that Apple would have doubled that sales figure. Hell, even if they just added Verizon, I bet they would have doubled it (provided Apple produced enough phones in first place, of course). And even in that scenario, doubling the number may very well be modest.

At this point, the biggest inhibitor of iPhone growth in the U.S. is AT&T. Period.

I believe Apple knows this. But, as they so often do, they’re taking the side of profits over market share. They have a very sweet deal with AT&T. A deal that makes the iPhone their largest source of revenue. If they have to give up those exclusive terms, the subsequent deals with other carriers would likely be less sweet — particularly a Verizon deal, as they have some leverage being the largest carrier in the U.S. and one closely aligning itself with the competing Android platform.

So while AT&T may deserve some credit for the 1.7 million iPhones sold this weekend, they also deserve a significant amount of credit that more weren’t sold. And don’t think they don’t know that either.

PR bullshit aside, the reason AT&T allowed some iPhone users to upgrade to the iPhone 4 early is purely a business decision. In order to get the new phone, those customers also have to sign a new two year contract, tying them to the network for that timespan. Obviously, AT&T will be getting paid for each of those months by each customer. It will only take a couple months or so of your new contract for them to recoup the cost they ate so you could upgrade. So let’s not pat AT&T on the back too much here.

Further, while few people outside those at Apple know the terms of the exclusive AT&T agreement, at least some of those people work at AT&T. They have an advanced look at the writing on the wall. If they know that Apple plans to move the iPhone to other carriers, say, next year, AT&T would want to start maneuvering now to make sure customers can’t abandon ship so easily. How do you do that? Lock them into new contracts. New contracts with more expensive early termination fees.

I’m not saying that’s for sure what is going on here. But it makes a lot of AT&T recent maneuvers make a lot of sense.

So, yes, the number of iPhone 4s is impressive. But the number of iPhone 5s Apple sells next year may be out of this world.