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Microsoft goes full steam ahead for retail stores, 44 total by June 2013

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jul 12, 2012 4:17 am

Microsoft talked of retail stores earlier this year, and those plans are now coming to fruition. The Redmond-based company behind Windows and Office plans to open up a Microsoft Store in Toronto, Canada later this year, as well as another store in Puerto Rico, according to Microsoft's Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner, where he spoke at the Worldwide Partner Conference.

 

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Microsoft currently have 20 stores open across the United States, with 9 more coming this year. Microsoft is opening an Orlando-based store on August 18, and its Boston Prudential Center on August 23. The Canadian and Puerto Rican stores will be the first time Microsoft have stepped outside of the U.S. with a Microsoft-branded store.

 

The company also has plans to extend across the pond to the U.K. with a store in London in 2013. Microsoft hopes to have a tally of 44 retail stores open by June 2013. Comparing them to Apple, they are small fries for now, with Apple having 364 stores in 13 countries, with a whopping 246 of those in the U.S..

Angry Birds Trilogy to fling into the Xbox 360, PS3, Nintendo 3DS later this year

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jul 12, 2012 3:20 am

It looks like those pesky Angry Birds are coming back, with Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio being thrown together to form Angry Birds Trilogy. The Angry Birds Trilogy is forming and will arrive on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and the Nintendo 3DS this "holiday" season.

 

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PlayStation Move, Kinect and StreetPass features will be available for their respective platforms. Angry Birds Trilogy will be an Activision-published title, and has been completely "built from the ground up" for the new platforms it's flinging onto.

 

Rovio exec Petri Järvilehto told IGN:

 

You can think of the game as the ultimate collector's edition. There are new cinematics, extras and other entertaining content. In addition, all of the existing material has been uprezzed and re-treated for the high-resolution and big screen.

Twitter inks deal with MediaTek, should see an embedded app on millions of feature phones worldwide

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jul 12, 2012 2:26 am

Twitter already sports 140 million users on their social networking service, but we all know that's not enough to combat against Facebook's near-billion users. Twitter announced today, a partnership with chip maker MediaTek.

 

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The new partnership will see Twitter embedded on millions of "smart feature phone" devices across the world. MediaTek will preload the Twitter feature phone application in their MRE middleware, providing a reference design for mobile handsets. From there, vendors can then add Twitter services on their devices with little or no memory impact or requirement for powerful hardware, encouraging Twitter usage no matter what handset it may be.

 

MediaTek's MT6255 ARM9 chipset will be the first to sport Twitter applications, the chip features a clock speed of 416MHz, and has both SAW and RTC embedded into the chipset in order to avoid external components. The chip features long battery life, supports WVGA display resolutions and can play back most modern video formats. The chip also supports the installation of Opera Mini, allowing users to save data when visiting mobile websites.

Google releases the Google+ app for the iPad

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Apps | Posted: Jul 11, 2012 10:21 am

Back in May, Google redesigned the Google+ experience for the iPhone, which added some new visual elements into the social networking app. But today, the company has released the Google+ app for the iPad, as well as introducing new features into both the iPhone and iPad apps.

 

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Google designed the Google+ for iPad app with the iPad in mind, with your stream styles content based on popularity, type and orientation. The team has also added unique ways to interact with the app, such as:

 

  • Pinch and expand posts right in your stream to add your comments
  • Use two fingers to drag a post from your stream to easily re-share it
  • Start a Hangout from your iPad and stream it to your TV using AirPlay

 

Google have also now created the ability to create, and manage Events on Google+ directly from the iPhone app. You can post a comment, upload a photo or check out who's going. Your past event invitations are saved with all of the photos and posts shared by your friends, allowing you to relive that party anytime you wish.

 

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Continue reading 'Google releases the Google+ app for the iPad' (full post)

San Francisco will stop buying Macs for the city's 50 agencies, over the EPEAT issue

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jul 11, 2012 9:30 am

Just a few days ago, Apple pulled 39 of their products (old, and new) from the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) and it looks like this move is already starting to haunt them. San Francisco will shortly cease purchasing Macs for the city's 50 agencies, and this could just be the tip of the iceberg for Apple.

 

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This is all according to Department of Environment officials who spoke to the Wall Street Journal, with the officials saying that within the next two weeks it will send out letters to agencies explaining that Macs "no longer qualify" for city money. This is all because Apple pulled 39 of their products from EPEAT, and while workers will still be able to buy Macs, they'll have to go through a process described as "long" and "onerous".

 

While this isn't the death bell ringing for Apple, it could be a sign of things to come. Only 1- to 2-percent of the city's computers are Macs, which amounts to around 500-700 systems. For Apple though, the loss of orders, and the press it receives, as well as the multitudes of other government agencies who pick up on the news could exclude Macs from purchasing departments. Legally, 95-percent of all U.S. federal government purchases must be EPEAT-certified.

Continue reading 'San Francisco will stop buying Macs for the city's 50 agencies, over the EPEAT issue' (full post)

Next-gen iPhone 'engineering sample' poses for the camera

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jul 11, 2012 8:19 am

As we get closer and closer to the next-gen iPhone launch, we see more and more pictures and details of the device. This time Gotta Be Mobile have posted a few pictures of what they're calling an "engineering sample" of the next-gen iPhone.

 

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It's not clear what the sample itself represents, it just looks like a solid chunk of metal machined into the form of what would be the upcoming iPhone. If the picture and device are real, this would support previous information showing a large central section on the back plate that differs from the top and bottom portions of the rear casing.

 

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Measurements also seem to be in line with previous information, where the next-gen iPhone looks to be the same width as the iPhone 4S (5.86cm) and a little taller (just over 12cm, versus 11.52cm of the 4S), this is to accomodate the larger display on the next-gen iPhone.

Unreleased 13-inch MacBook Pro benchmarks appear

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Laptops | Posted: Jul 11, 2012 7:21 am

The Retina display-powered MacBook Pro is out in 15-inch, but what of the smaller 13-inch model? Well, it appears that unverified benchmarks of an unreleased MacBook Pro model running an unreleased build of Mountain Lion ended up in the logs of benchmarking tool, Geekbench.

 

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The new non-Retina 13-inch MBP has the model identifier "MacBookPro9,2", while the 5-inch non-Retina model is "MacBookPro9,1" and the corresponding Retina model is "MacBookPro10,1". Of course, the machine name for the MacBookPro10,2 could have been faked, but the information listed on the Geekbench result is pretty consistent with what would be expected from a new 13-inch MBP.

 

The unreleased machine is, according to the Geekbench results, running a 2.9GHz Intel Core i7-3520M, and runs Built 12A2056 of OS X Mountain Lion. We should hear more of a 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro in the coming months once we get closer to its launch.

Ballmer says that Microsoft are ready for Apple in the battle for consumers

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jul 11, 2012 6:24 am

Microsoft is looking to fight Apple like they've never fought before, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer admits that Microsoft and select partners ceded some of the boundary between hardware and software to Apple in the years gone by, but with Surface, that's a thing of the past.

 

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During an interview with CRN, Ballmer highlights that Microsoft has advantages in productivity, enterprise management and manageability, but Microsoft aren't prepared to let things like the consumer cloud and hardware/software innovation go uncontested to Apple, Ballmer says "not going to happen, not on our watch".

 

One interesting thing Ballmer let slip during the interview, is that he didn't deny that Microsoft have thought of making their own smartphone hardware. When asked about the subject, Ballmer said right now, they are working extremely hard on Surface. Surface is Microsoft's sole focus and core right now. Ballmer added:

 

Look, we'll see what happens. We have good partners with Nokia, HDC in the phone space. I love what we've got going on with the Surface. We are going to focus on Surface and our other Windows 8 tablet partners and see if we can go make something happen.

Dropbox doubles the space for Pro accounts, doesn't cost them a thing

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Cloud Computing | Posted: Jul 11, 2012 5:26 am

Dropbox have just amplified their cloud storage and syncing offerings thanks to the increasing competition from Google, Microsoft, Amazon and others. Starting from today, Dropbox Pro subscribers will receive twice the storage space on their accounts, at no additional cost.

 

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This means that those who were previously paying $9.99 per month, or $99 per year for 50GB of storage, will now receive 102GB of storage (100GB plus 2GB of free space that all users receive). Those who are paying $19.99 per month, or $199 per year will now receive 202GB instead of 100GB.

 

Dropbox are also offering any Pro members a 3-month 100GB trial to share with friends.

Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update is currently rolling out to all Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ devices

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Operating Systems | Posted: Jul 11, 2012 4:35 am

Google have announced the rollout of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, which first arrives on Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ devices. If you haven't yet heard of the wonderful Jelly Bean OS, with its Project Butter and new features, you should definitely read up on it, especially if you're rocking a handset that is ready to receive the OS.

 

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If you're rocking a Galaxy Nexus HSPA+ device, you should hopefully soon receive a prompt notifying you to update the handset over the coming days. Jelly Bean is set to hit other devices shortly, such as all Galaxy Nexus', Nexus S, Motorola Xoom and the Nexus 7, which will ship with Jelly Bean on-board later this month.

 

Some stand out features of Jelly Bean are Project Butter, where the engineers at Google have made Jelly Bean buttery smooth, the OS runs at a constant 60fps, which is just impressive. Something else to get excite over is Google Now, which can tell you today's weather before you start the day, how much traffic to expect before you leave for work, or your favorite sport team's score as they're playing.

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