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Stanford, Open University reach 50 million downloads on Apple's iTunes U

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Software | Posted: Apr 4, 2012 10:29 am

Two of Apple's university partners both reached some huge milestones this week using Apple's free education service, iTunes U. Stanford and Open University reached 50 million downloads of their respective content. Brent Izutsu, the senior program manager for Stanford on iTunes U said:




It shows there is a huge appetite for high-quality educational content. And that will only grow as more people look online to supplement their education.


Stanford includes over 100 collections of course lectures in a variety of subjects ranging from entrepreneurship to clinical anatomy. iTunes U launched back in January, with subscriptions to Stanford's channel hitting 300,000. Open University did even better than this. Open University is the first school in Europe to reach one million active subscriptions through iTunes U. They also see more than 40,000 new downloads each day.


Martin Bean, Vice-Chancellor of The Open University says:


With more than 50 million downloads to date, we know that students value our high-quality learning materials, and that is really underlined by the speed with which we have reached one million iTunes U app course subscribers.

Samsung GALAXY Note gets leaked Ice Cream Sandwich ROM

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Operating Systems | Posted: Apr 4, 2012 9:19 am

Samsung's GALAXY Note may have kicked arse in ad campaigns, beating out Doritos and M&Ms, and its reward may just be Ice Cream Sandwich. No really, thanks to Samsung and RootzWiki, you can now enjoy ICS on your 5.3-inch GALAXY Note smartphone.




RootzWiki have intensely tested the ROM before releasing it, so that the user ends up with a great experience rather than a slightly beautiful paperweight. RootzWiki's internal build tester provided them with the following rundown of working features:


  • Face Unlock is fully functional
  • LTE connections are solid and up to speed
  • Phone calls work great both ways
  • Audio quality is up to par
  • Stereo Bluetooth is fully functional
  • MMS is fully functional
  • GPS is fully functional
  • Google Talk and Video Chat work
  • Google Voice is fully functional
  • Task Manager is smooth and transitions are quick
  • Downloaded Flash video and in-browser video works flawlessly
  • Chrome autosync is fully functional
  • AT&T Hotspot functionality works, external devices connect fine

Continue reading 'Samsung GALAXY Note gets leaked Ice Cream Sandwich ROM' (full post)

Samsung's GALAXY Note commercial wins "most effective" ad for Q1

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Apr 4, 2012 8:23 am

Samsung's 5.3-inch "is it a tablet or smartphone" GALAXY Note has been rated the most effective ad for Q1 of 2012, according to a survey conducted by analyst firm Ace Metrix. The commercial is said to have achieved a higher score than ads from companies like Doritos and M&Ms, which made number two and three.




Based out of 950 points, the GALAXY Note commercial scored 686 points, this is based on respondents answers to questions regarding persuasion, relevance, and watchability, among other factors. The Doritos and M&Ms ads both scored an equal 671 each. Ace Metrix CEO, Peter Daboll, said in a statement to CNET:


It will be very interesting to watch how Samsung's continually impressive ads affect the company's marketshare vis-a-vis competitors like Apple, which, this quarter, did not come close to measuring up to Samsung's advertising prowess.

Next Issue Media preparing Android newsstand, iPad version is coming soon

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Software | Posted: Apr 4, 2012 7:25 am

Reading magazines on a tablet is something that tablets can do better than most smartphones, because of their size, and it seems Next Issue Media has taken the next step of providing a publisher-neutral outlet by previewing its first native app. The Android-based title will provide a native approach to reading magazines from Conde Nast, Hearst, Meredith, and Time.




The service is unique in that way that is has an optional, universal subscription, where instead of paying per title, readers can pay $10 per month to get access to monthly magazines, or $15 for these plus weekly magazines like The New Yorker. Readers still have the option to subscribe individually, or pay for individual issues. The current app has some limitations, where it only works on Android 3.x tablets, and hosts just 32 titles, with big names like Car & Driver, Fortune, and Wired in the mix.


The new Android app should arrive on Wednesday, with iPad version to be near submission to Apple, but exact release dates are unknown at the moment. Next Issue will require to give Apple a 30-percent cut if subscriptions are offered from within the app itself.

Google TV hits Europe, and more in September

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: HT & Movies | Posted: Apr 4, 2012 6:29 am

Google TV is set to launch in Europe, and other parts of the world in September. Sony will be manufacturing and selling two different Google TV-based consumer products, according to a report by Les Echos via GigaOM.




If you want to jump on the Google TV train, the standard set-top box will retail for around $266, with a premium model featuring a Blu-ray player will have a $399 price attached to it. Echos does not that Google TV is confirmed to launch in France and could also hit Germany, Spain and the U.K. simultaneously.


On the remote control for the unit, we could see a Google Play button that will direct users to Google's app and content stores, which would be a big change and quite easy for users to get into. Sony are also jumping on board, where they'll bundle their Music Unlimited on-demand library with each system. Google is expected to launch a second-generation of Google TV products later in the year, which will have ARM-based processors instead of the more expensive Intel-based chips.

Amazon is said to be testing in-app purchase system for Kindle Fire apps

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Apr 4, 2012 5:24 am

It's being reported that Amazon are testing an in-app purchase system for their Kindle Fire tablet, which would give content providers and developers increased opportunities to monetize services. A move that most companies seem to be keen on lately.




A report from Businessweek has said that the new system had been piloted for the last month, and would allow users to buy both subscriptions and individual items from within mobile applications. Amazon would be something similar to other companies like Apple, and take a 30-percent cut of all revenue generated from in-app sales, which is the same amount that the company takes for the sale of apps.


Maria Ly, co-founder of fitness program provider Skimble, told Businessweek that the pilot is in its early stages, and that she is "very optimistic about it". The in-app system would give forms like Skimble an entire new market to intro packages and services to consumers within the apps, as while users are in the app itself, they're more inclined to buy related services and products. Ly is quoted in the report:


We really wanted to attack the Kindle Fire market, but also have access to the payment methods that support our business.

Pioneer adds two new Elite AV receivers to their 2012 lineup

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: HT & Movies | Posted: Apr 4, 2012 4:18 am

Pioneer have just updated their 2012 AV receiver line up with two additional Elite-branded receivers, first up we have the VSX-42 which is priced at $450 and the second one at $650 - the VSX-60. Both AV receivers sport six HDMI inputs on the back, Ethernet, video scaling, optional Bluetooth ($99) with A2DP, AirPlay, DLNA, Panadora, and iOS or Android apps.




The VSX-60 is a bit beefier, with 10 more watts per channel, 7.2 instead of 7.1 support, optional Wi-Fi, and a better video processor. The VSX-60 also sports a HDMI input on the front of the receiver, is SiriusXM ready and adds a bunch of video and audio enhancements such as Stream Smoother, Advanced Video Adjust and a few others.


Pioneer are making these units cheap enough that even if you have an existing amp, you might consider upgrading. This includes myself.

RumorTT: Apple working on physical game controller for iOS devices

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Apr 4, 2012 3:29 am

According to AnandTech, who have been informed of "an internal Apple project to bring a physical controller to the market", we could see the company release a new controller for iOS devices, for gaming. But, we also might never even see the product, ever.




Confused? Yes. The report adds "whether or not it will ever see the light of day remains to be seen". Google introduced a similar concept, where they added both wired, and wireless controller support to its Android OS with the launch of Android 3.0/Honeycomb last year. A move like this would make games such as Grand Theft Auto 3 (and obviously a lot, lot more) playable on iOS devices.


At the moment, gaming on a touchscreen can be kind of tricky, and with Apple pushing their new Retina Display on the new iPad, we should see a next-generation of games on iOS devices over the coming year. Epic Games told CVG back in February that they're "constantly pushing" platform holders to make their next-generation consoles as advanced as possible "because if they don't, Apple will go right past them", and I would have to agree, as I've said something similar for quite some time now.


Interesting times ahead, everyone!

SAPPHIRE HD 7970 Toxic sports 6GB of RAM, factory-overclocked, slick cooler

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Video Cards | Posted: Apr 4, 2012 3:08 am

SAPPHIRE is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to their Toxic-branded video cards, and it looks as though the SAPPHIRE HD 7970 Toxic is going to be no different, and maybe even step it up a bit when it comes to smashing the ball out of the park. The card comes with a resolution-busting 6GB of memory in 24 GDDR5 memory chips, 12 on each side.




In order to power the factory-overclocked "Tahiti" GPU from AMD, and 24 GDDR5 7 GT/s memory that takes some seriously strong VRM. Sapphire decided to implement an 8+3 phase power supply, which uses solid-state chokes, that don't whine under stress, as well as International Rectifier DirectFETs. The FRM draws power from two 8-pin PCIe connectors. Sapphire went a step further by implementing LEDs for each of the 8 vGPU phases, which gives a real-time indication of their individual loading. These LEDs can be seen through a window on top of the card, as pictured below.




The cooler is built from a large aluminum fin heatsink which draws heat from teh GPU and memory chips on the obverse side of the PCB. The FETs on the obverse side are cooled by additional heatsinks. From here, we have the memory chips on the reverse side of the PCB cooled by a metal back-plate. The heatsink makes use of four 8mm-thick nickel-plated copper heat pipes, as well as a vapor-chamber plate. This is ventilated by two 80mm fans.



Continue reading 'SAPPHIRE HD 7970 Toxic sports 6GB of RAM, factory-overclocked, slick cooler' (full post)

Reports circulating that there has been a stabbing at RIM's BBM party in London

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: BREAKING STORY | Posted: Apr 4, 2012 3:07 am

Well, that got out of control fast. Reports are flying out onto the Internet that there's been at least one stabbing victim at a BBM party RIM was hosting in London. Those at the party aren't allowed to leave. There are multiple tweets on the event, below:




Two people stabbed at the #BBMParty, venue now a crime scene. Shizze


- George Eason (@mrgeorgeeason) April 3, 2012


There's been an incident at the Blackberry party and no one is currently allowed to leave #bbmparty #OMG


- Edward Gleave (@Ed_StarOnSunday) April 3, 2012


So I can't leave the #BBMparty cos some1 got shanked in the neck #ThisCantBeLife


- Joe (@NotUrAverageJ0) April 4, 2012


OhmyGOD someones been stabbed with a broken bottle at the #bbmparty !? That's awful. How absolutely horrific.


- Jennifer-Rosellen (@JRosellenM) April 4, 2012


According to a reporter at the Daily Telegraph, the police department have actually made an arrest:


Met: Man in serious condition in hospital after incident shortly after midnight at #bbmparty in SE1. One arrest. Guests still held.


- Matthew Holehouse (@mattholehouse) April 4, 2012

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