Author Archive


Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Samsung’s Galaxy S4 Zoom steers its Galaxy brand into slightly new territory, by creating a hybrid smartphone-cum-pocket-camera. Unlike pretty much every other cameraphone around, the Zoom has a 10x optical zoom lens protruding from its rear.

In short, it’s a phone with two faces: one pure Galaxy smartphone, the second resembling a classic point-and-shoot camera. It’s a curious move that’s likely to grab consumers’ attention, but there’s a bigger question here — what’s it like using it?

basics-subhead

If you only look at the Zoom’s phone half, you’d quickly discover it’s largely standard mid-range Galaxy fare — the usual TouchWiz interface runs atop Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean, and there’s a dual-core 1.5GHz chipset powering the show. It felt fast and responsive during my brief hands on, and the 4.3-inch qHD AMOLED screen was bright and plenty big enough for all the typical smartphone uses, without being as huge a pane as…

View original 1,234 more words


Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Now that video on Instagram just got real, a connected pro camera with direct access to Android apps makes a fair bit of sense. Enter the Android-powered Samsung Galaxy NX.

Samsung continues to push its Galaxy brand into new devices’ types and categories, a strategy aimed at extending the success it’s had with the brand in smartphones. Today the Korean giant has added the Galaxy badge to its high end camera range, with the launch of this digital mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (MILC): its first interchangeable lens camera to run Android.

Samsung’s other high end cameras have been badged NX but this is the first time it’s used the Galaxy brand on its pro range. It’s not, however, the first time it’s pushed the Galaxy brand into camera tech territory — having recently extended the Galaxy S4 range with a hybrid smartphone point-and-shoot camera with a 10x optical zoom…

View original 353 more words


ashrules24:

WOW !

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Samsung has just kicked off its Premiere event at Earls Court in London, and decided to lead with one particularly curious device — in addition to the ability to transform from a 2.8-pound tablet to a notebook with QWERTY keyboard, the company’s shape-shifting Ativ Q convertible also gives users a taste of the Android ecosystem.

As is usually the case though, news of the Q slipped out just a bit ahead of schedule — Italian-langauge site NotebookItalia came through with early press images of the Q hours before the official reveal (though there was no mention of the Q’s dual-OS tendencies). That initial leak pointed to the inclusion of an incredibly high resolution 13.3-inch display and an new Intel Haswell Core i5 processor, as well as 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, details which have now been corroborated.

Samsung’s on-stage banter further confirms that the Q’s display runs…

View original 215 more words


Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Games dominate the mobile app ecosystem. Seriously.

It’s easy to forget that as we all search for the next big, hype-worthy app of the moment, but it’s the truth. Eight out of the ten most purchased apps last year were games. Nine of the ten highest grossing apps in the App Store last year, all games.

Combine this with the fact that Apple’s Game Center was launched almost 2.5 years ago, and it’s a bit strange that Google has yet to launch a Game Center-esque hub of their own for Android.

If a string of recent leaks hold true, they’re finally getting around to it.

The guys over at AndroidPolice tore apart a just-released APK for “Play Services” — the behind-the-scenes grunt app that handles things like app updates — and have unearthed a host of details suggesting that Google is on the verge of launching a centralized gaming hub…

View original 179 more words


Originally posted on TechCrunch:

We’re just a few days away from the start of Google I/O, the search giant’s annual developer conference, and while we actually know very little about what Google plans to announce during its massive, three-hour keynote on Wednesday, there is something brewing in Mountain View that has Microsoft’s Office division on edge. Over the course of the last week, Microsoft started a very negative anti-Google Docs campaign that fits the mold of its more general Scroogled anti-Google ads. But why the sudden focus on Google’s productivity tools? That reason, I believe, is Quickoffice in the browser.

Quickoffice, which Google acquired last June, allows users to read and edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents on the iPad, iPhone and Android. Unlike Google Docs, which remains a relatively limited productivity suite when compared to Microsoft Office, Quickoffice does a very nice job at allowing you to open and edit Office…

View original 297 more words


Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Samsung Electronics has developed core technology that will allow it to deliver high-speed 5G wireless data connections to consumers by 2020, the company announced today. The system allows data transmission up to several hundred times faster than current 4G networks.

5G mobile communications technology is the next generation of 4G LTE networks tech and can offer data transmission speeds of up to several tens of Gbps per base station. Once 5G networks are commercialized, they will allow users to transmit massive data files, including UHD movies and remote medical services, “practically without limitation,” Samsung claims.

4G connections have gradually become available to consumers around the world since 2008, but many countries, including China, are still working toward launching their LTE networks. Samsung says, however, that its new adaptive array transceiver technology overcomes the limitations that millimeter-wave bands had when transmitting data over long distances. It transmits data in…

View original 111 more words


PS4, Get Ready To Play!

Lets brush up some Play Station History: 

Back in 2005 when there was no Android or iPhone flu in the market especially for games people only knew PC’s & consoles as the major players.. From then on the Play Station has taken a wonderful lead in the Gaming Industry by launching various creative products such as the PSP, PS2, then the PS3.  For many consoles with Internet connectivity was a novelty. These changes are only accentuated by the length of this console generation, which has exceeded any that went before it. It feels like the PlayStation 4 is launching into a completely different world.

Evolution of PlayStation:

Sitting down with Sony Computer Entertainment Europe’s president and CEO Jim Ryan the morning after the announcement, I asked him which developments of the past six years or so have made the PlayStation 4 possible. Here are the four most significant.

Most obviously, if the PlayStation 3 hadn’t done well over the past five years, the PlayStation 4 would definitely not be happening. “The first thing is that we had a condition of considerable success with the PS3, and had that not happened, we probably would not be sitting here after yesterday’s event,” says Ryan. “PS3 was not all that easy in the beginning, but we’re now 70m units in, and certainly in the part of the world I look after, in most European territories you’re in a very dominant market position, and there’s good momentum – PS3 will carry on going. That success was definitely a necessary condition… it’s a big thing for any corporation to decide that they’re going to introduce a new platform, and you can best do that from a position of success.”

Although the PlayStation 4 does not require an Internet connection to function – something that was rumoured before the announcement, and a prospect that was getting plenty of people worried – connectivity is a huge part of the console’s pitch, as evidenced by the Share button and the console’s Gaikai cloud-gaming integration, which looks set to become one of its defining features. What has enabled this is the improvement of the global Internet infrastructure; more people than ever are online, and more people than ever have access to broadband, so it is easier to justify making connectivity so integral to the console.

PlayStation at its Gaming:

“Our levels of connectedness on the PS3 platform are extremely high – in excess of 90%, even in places like Italy and Spain,” says Ryan. “When you have that level of connectedness it makes that sort of innovation much easier to justify. It becomes much easier to do than if you’re running at 10% levels of connectivity; everybody’s online, so the ROI [return on investment] – which unfortunately people like myself do have to worry about – on those sorts of investment decisions becomes much more straightforward.”

As well as better broadband, social media has totally changed the way we communicate with each other since the PlayStation 3 was announced, pushing us towards sharing more of our lives online. This has made social integration on the PlayStation 4 not only possible, but necessary. The DualShock 4′s Share button and the PlayStation Network’s increased personalisation show how the console is embracing the more socially connected Internet that has developed since the PlayStation 3′s release, claims Jim.

ps4 dual shock4 console

“We think personalisation is very important in this day and age. You’ll have a home page on the network which is yours, [with] stuff that you’ve bought and that your friends have bought, what your friends are doing… The social aspect is probably most important of all – this deep, very rich social engagement, whether it’s via social networks or by using this rather cool Share button.

“I think the general move to this connected world that we live in now makes the realisation of what we’re going to do with the PS4 possible to an extent that really wasn’t the case 5 or 6 years ago, ” he concludes.

In 2006 the idea of being able to use, say, your Samsung phone with your Sony games console was preposterous. Since then, however, smartphones and tablets have become so dominant that console manufacturers have had to acquiesce (and other electronics hardware manufacturers – there are even ovens you can control with your iPhone). This is the impetus behind the Xbox’s SmartGlass, and the PlayStation 4 will use apps to let you use tablets and phones as second screens (as well as the Vita, of course). We are no longer limited by hardware compatibility to anywhere near the same extent.

“One of the things that we increasingly see is that the silos that have existed in the past with these vertical platforms are getting broken down little bit by little bit,” observes Ryan. (In plain English, platforms are no longer closed – they have to integrate.) “Things are becoming more open and less proprietary, and this can only be good for consumers. It brings certain technical challenges and business model challenges in certain spaces, but I think in this day and age companies like Sony have to meet those challenges head-on.”

Watch the Official Live PlayStation Announcement.(Replay)

Nokia Here and Now

MWC, Barcelona:

Nokia is taking one more step to push its mapping and devices services as a standalone business. Today, the company announced during the handset maker’s press conference at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that it would be rebranding all of its Nokia-branded mapping and navigation services as “HERE” going forward.

The Here suite comes pre-installed on the Lumia 520 and includes HERE Maps, HERE Drive and HERE Transit — a public transport guide “that you can use even in unfamiliar surroundings” Nokia’s design chief Marko Ahtisaari said today. You can pin your home location on it as well — and use that as the base for all the data. “These personal experiences are meant to help you spend more time engaging in the world around you rather than navigating your smartphone,” he said.

The company is also adding more functionality and integration into HERE, by integrating it with Sight — an augmented reality service that lets you take pictures of places to help you initiate maps and navigation functionalities. “We want to bring Sight and Location to more and more applications,” he noted.

The move is a sign of how Nokia continues to keep advancing its mapping business as a standalone effort, and as a revenue stream that may grow through partnerships with others, while it continues to exist as a suite of services for Nokia devices themselves. It could also be a sign that so far that effort has not had as much traction as Nokia would have hoped — perhaps because of the association with Nokia.

[ Image Credit: Engadget ]

Yesterday, Nokia was revealed as one of the launch app makers for the Firefox OS platform. Mozilla and its partners are taking a route (a gamble, some might argue) not focused on native apps but HTML5-based web apps to fill out content for the new smartphone platform.

This also follows along with Nokia’s intention, when it first launched the HERE brand for maps last year, to make the service available via APIs both for other Windows Phone handset makers as well as developers on Android and other platforms.

In an Interview yesterday, CEO of Nokia Stephen Elop noted the importance of Nokia’s navigation and mapping efforts and how it’s part of Nokia stepping back from being a strong brand in all cases — quite a sea change for the company.

“Instead of hearing us talk about Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive, you’ll here us talking about HERE Maps and HERE Drive but we’ll also be talking about those capabilities, or some of those capabilities being taken across a broader collection of Windows Phone devices, beyond Nokia devices,” he said.

Lets see Do we Hear about HERE in Future or will or still be called Nokia Maps, Nokia Drives. Post your opinions as comments below.

[-via TechCrunch]

Samsung-galaxy-note-8

MWC 2013, Barcelona:

Samsung’s newest Note, The Galaxy 8.0, an updated, larger Galaxy Note from Samsung was inevitable. Given the undeniable popularity of mid-size tablets it’s no surprise the Korean electronics giant would want to strengthen its grip in a category it helped create. It was just three short years ago that Samsung introduced the Galaxy Tab and now, three Notes later, it’s ready to perfect the one-handed experience. With this new Note, the company’s culled the best of what’s around its Galaxy into an 8-inch form factor, housing a 1,280 x 800 TFT display, Exynos 4 Quad with 2GB RAM (clocked at 1.6GHz), TouchWiz-skinned Android Jelly Bean 4.1.2 OS, S Pen (and suite of associated apps), as well as radios for HSPA+ and WiFi into that familiar, lightweight plastic body.

Hardware View:

But that extra inch alone isn’t the Galaxy Note 8.0′s main attraction. Samsung’s wisely made use of the additional screen real estate to bundle two extra features. Building upon market research that indicates over 80-percent of tablet use takes place within the living room, the company’s partnered with Peel for its Smart Remote app, a visual programming guide with remote control functions baked-in that comes pre-loaded on the tab. And, in keeping with its portrait oriented design, the Note 8.0 also incorporates what the company calls “reading mode,” effectively optimizing the slate’s display for comfortable e-book use.

If you’ve spent any amount of time with the Note II, you’ll know what to expect from the Note 8.0 as its external design is incredibly similar. You get the same all around plastic build — ringed here with metal — ports for microSD and micro-SIM, 3.5mm headphone jack and physical home key. But where the Note 8.0 strays is one of its key improvements: users can now effect the capacitive menu and back buttons using the S Pen.

Admittedly, it takes a bit of retraining to get used to — you’ll want to use your finger out of habit — but it’s a wonder Samsung took so long to implement something so crucial. So, you can officially hang up that gripe right now. The S Pen comes with a functionality which can be named as “Hovering.” Samsung’s S Pen stylus has been upgraded to work both on the touchscreen of the Note 8.0 as well as with the physical navigation buttons, and Samsung is also extending the functionality of the pen in other ways. And the Air View feature, where users can initiate previews by hovering their pen over something without touching the screen, is now getting expanded to third party apps. The first of these is a new version of the Flipboard social newsreading app, where users can select and expand a tile by hovering the pen over a selection.

At 338 grams (11.9 ounces), the Note 8.0′s not much heavier than the iPad mini and as it’s made to be held one-handed, you shouldn’t feel much wrist strain with extended use. We were able to comfortably grip the entire back of the 7.95mm thick tablet, which measures 210.8mm x 135.9mm (8.3 x 5.4 inches), in our hand while navigating with the S Pen in the other. The Note 8.0′s back is non-removable, but that bit’s rendered moot by the accessibility of the microSD and micro-SIM slots on the tablet’s left edge and a sealed 4,600mAh battery.

With a 1.6GHz Eynos 4 Quad CPU and 2GB RAM under the hood, you’d expect the Note 8.0 to showcase nothing but brisk performance. Unfortunately, that didn’t appear to be the case as there were occasional moments where the tablet seemed toslightly hesitate before executing actions — things like dual window view for multitasking or simple app launches. This being the tablet’s official unveiling, it’s quite possible the model we handled could still benefit from software optimization. So, we’ll refrain from passing definitive judgement until a final review unit is in our hands. Apart from that, viewing angles held up well and display brightness shouldn’t pose a major issue outdoors in bright sunlight. Though, it is weird to see a Samsung product without an AMOLED screen — this one’s TFT.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Reading mode and Smart Remote are clearly the Note 8.0′s two biggest software features, but to make the tab just a bit more alluring, Samsung’s pre-loading two other applications suited to the Note 8.0′s form and function. Out of the box, users will have access to an S Pen-optimized version of Flipboard which enables Air View hover functionality and headline previews from the main tile page (up to three, in our experience). Also, as a first for Android and Samsung, Awesome Note (a cloud-based annotation app previously available only on iOS) has been integrated into the device as a free service, exclusive to the OEM for one year.

With the Note 8.0, Samsung is also ushering in a couple of new developments on the apps front, in addition to the new version of Flipboard.

In keeping with Samsung’s original vision of the Note acting as a kind of organizer and productivity device — more screen than a phone for planning; but smaller than a tablet to make it portable — Samsung has scooped an exclusive on a new Android app launch. Awesome Note, a note-taking that lets you track progress and make lists across different categories, has up to now only been available for iOS devices, where the full edition of the app for iPad retails at $4.99.

Now developers Bird are releasing an Android version, and while this will also be sold as a paid app in the Google Play store, Samsung will be bundling it as a free app on the Note 8.0 “for at least a year,” according to Michael Lin, marketing manager, Samsung Electronics.

Other apps that will be preloaded on the device include the newest version (2.0) of Chat-On, Samsung’s cross-platform, cross-media group and direct messaging service; Reading Mode that modifies the screen brightness for reading; and Smart Remote, Samsung’s universal remote control and electronic program guide, playing into the fact that nowadays a lot of consumers (80% in the U.S., claims Samsung) use a second device like a tablet while watching TV

We’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that the global version of the Note 8.0 also packs HSPA+ 21 connectivity (850/900/1900/2100MHz). So, yes, you will be able to hold it up to your head and make voice calls however silly that may look. Of course, it’s more likely that prospective users will want to pair the tab with earbuds and thus reduce the risk of public humiliation. But this voice call perk won’t be heading stateside. Samsung’s confirmed to us that, as of now, the US market will see a WiFi-only variant and its specs could change slightly, too. An LTE variant is also on deck.

Details on pricing and regional release dates are still be announced. Just don’t hold your breath for that news to come this week. What we do know for certain is that there’ll be two storage configurations — 16GB and 32GB — for the global unit’s launch sometime this second quarter. So while you wait for the Note 8.0 to make its slow crawl to market, check out the demo video and feel free to drop in your comments below.

[via Engadget, TechCrunch]

Screen Shot 2013-02-22 at 2.30.01 PM

Here’s a screen grab of what appears to be a landing page announcing registration dates for Google’s massive I/O developers conference in May.

Update:

Google’s made it official. Registration opens on March 13th at 7am PDT (10am ET). Google+ accounts and Google Wallets are required to sign up.

Brief:

Historically, the rush for Google I/O tickets is wild. Around 5,000 developers attended the last year’s conference, yet somehow tickets sold out in less than an hour. Demand is so high, in fact, that Google toyed with the idea of turning registrations into a sort of hacking contest, testing devs’ coding skills before giving them a seat at the show.

However, it appears that idea was scrapped, as I/O 2012 was simply a free-for-all registration, just like 2011.

I/O 2013 is slated for May 15 – May 17 in good old San Francisco, and Google has already hinted that registrations would open up in early 2013. Based on this screen grab, early 2013 is looking a lot like a Wednesday in March.

Then again, it’s pretty easy for someone to throw together this image in photo shop. Still, the timing seems to match up well, and with the speed at which these tickets sell out, it never hurts to have the date marked down on your calendar just in case.

google_io_20131

Google’s I/O conference is growing to be one of the most important tech events of the year, as the search giant often unveils new products and platforms and introduces new tools to help developers make the most out of “open.”

See you there… (hopefully)