iOS 5 beta 3 gives the iPhone custom text message alert sounds, calls the 1990s to ask how they're going
Apple are finally catching up with my good old trusty Nokia 3310, custom text message alert sounds. Sarcasm aside, its about time Apple started offering custom text message alert sounds and iOS 5 beta 3 includes them. The new beta allowed users to fish for new features and one of the first ones was of course the custom alerts for SMS. Others weer subtle like a new icon for Reminders, a toggle for location/GPS settings added to the initial, iTunes-free setup and small tweaks to the wording of certain options.
The biggest thing was a "Buy More Tones" button sitting right in the Text Tone selection screen, where it has never been, ever. Scrolling down further and the custom ringtones people had made themselves or purchased are sitting there waiting to be used as an SMS tone.
Microsoft are flexing their patent muscle and scooping some of that sweet, sweet Android success. According to a Reuters report, Microsoft are demanding that Samsung Electronics pay $15 for each smartphone handset that is Android-powered or face a patent infringement lawsuit. Right now there are no details on what patent Microsoft are claiming here but they have already managed to successfully extract royalty fees from several other Android device makers.
Back in April 2010, Microsoft reached a settlement with HTC over the same thing, and in the past couple of weeks there have been four more companies that have lost the arm wrestle with Microsoft; Onkyo, US Defence Contractor General Dynamics Itronix, Velocity Micro and Wistron.
Samsung is reportedly trying to negotiate down to $10 per handset in exchange for a "deeper alliance" with Microsoft and its Windows platform. If Microsoft does win, it would be a pretty big coup. Remember that Samsung sold 10 million Galaxy S handsets last year and have already sold 3 million Galaxy S II handsets. Versus Apple, they're one of the strongest brands. Microsoft #winning from each sale is just sweet, Microsoft justice.
As well as having manufacturer Foxconn play a key role in getting iPad 3's to market, Digitimes have learned that Apple is looking very seriously at getting a second manufacturer aboard to help ease supply issues. It appears at this time Apple is considering either Taiwan-based Quanta Computer or Pegatron Technology, though given Pegatron having already secured orders for the next-gen iPhone (5), sources have suggested they are the likely candidate for the new iPad contract as well.
The main reason behind the move to go with a second manufacturer this time around comes after a massive explosion occured in one of Foxconn's factories in Chengdu, China back in May which left three people dead and 15 injured. Apple is looking to minimize production risk and ensure things will go smoothly post launch, which sources are also indicating to be around the end of Q3 or early 4th.
While not in any way confirmed, market rumours are also saying the new iPad might be named iPad 2 Plus as opposed to iPad 3, being the thinnest iPad yet whilst sporting an upgraded, higher resolution display.
Analyst firm Chetan Sharma has just published its half-yearly assessment of the state of the mobile industry for 2011. The firm has predicted that worldwide mobile revenues will reach a staggering 2-percent of the global GDP by this year, which in dollars, turns into an amazing $1.3 trillion total. A group of ten mobile operators control nearly half the revenue between them.
Other interesting tidbits are the reported revealed included an estimation of worldwide mobile data revenue, which is tipped to rise above $300 billion. Chetan Sharma also notes that the majority of mobile sales in the US are smartphones (golly!). Mobile devices are actually overtaking traditional computers in both volume of sales and revenue.
The ASUS Eee Pad Slider was due a little while ago and has now been delayed with a hint of "soon" and looks to get itself smelling the UK Autumn air for a release date. The QWERTY-powered slider will ship in Autumn and ASUS have put together some surveys and better "understand what is important for our customers."
I put this into my magical translation device and it turns up with "LOL, it's delayed and there's nothing you can do about it." The Slider itself looks pretty killer and should start making its way to not only shelves, but hearts soon enough.
Microsoft are updating Windows Phone 7 nice and fast, the previous update included copy and paste and the next update is rumored to include support for near-field communication (NFC).
They're also rumored to include NFC tech into WP7-based smartphones as early as this year. The tech would allow a WP7 user to bump a Windows Phone-based devices against a compatible cash register to complete the transaction. Three letter word begins with w, ends in n and includes an i in the middle? Win, people, win. This would do away with credit/debit cards in my wallet and would allow coins to finally not weigh my pockets down!
Apple's iOS 4.3.1 update has gone live and is available for your iOS-based device right now. But, if you're not experiencing any of the problems listed in the bugfix changelog, it's always good to remember the age old saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".
Jailbreakers note: Jailbreakers have not confirmed whether Apple have changed any of the underlying structure or not, what does this mean you ask? Well, a jailbreak for 4.3.1 might be much further away than a jailbreak for 4.3 - but, if you aren't jailbroken, then by all means - go forth and grab it from
the most amazing program in the world, iTunes.
If you have kids, you know that any time you get a new gadget they either want one line it or they want to play with it. I always get nervous letting my kids play with my iPad because I worry that they will drop it and break it. VTech has unveiled a new gadget for kids that will give them their own tablet called the InnoPad.
The InnoPad is a small tablet with educational software and games that are designed for kids 4-9 years old. It has a 5-inch color LCD screen that is touch sensitive and a tilt sensor for controlling games. It also has a microphone, USB port, SD card, and a headphone jack.
The tablet is designed to be rugged enough to survive drops that come with kids playing. The device has all sorts of games and other software that can be added. Most of the software that VTech offers is made for educational use. The InnoPad sells for $79.99 and software for the tablet is $24.99 per title.
Back in late December, I mentioned that a company called HEX had a cool silicone watchband in several colors that would turn your new iPod nano into a watch. The only downside to that is that geeks that like to use their nano for working out with the NIKE+ accessory couldn't use the HEX band. HEX has announced that in April it will have a new version of its cool watchband.
The new version of the watchband is called the Sport Watch Band and it is fully compatible with the NIKE+ accessory. The change for compatibility appears to be nothing more than cutting the side out of the case so the little dongle for recording your workout parameters can be installed. I would think if you already own a HEX watchband a sharp knife and a steady hand could mod yours to work with NIKE+ too.
HEX also has a new armband that you wear around one of your guns to hold the cable in place so it doesn't flop around on you while you run. Having cables bouncing on your arm as you workout is irritating after a while. The silicone of the watchband also projects the nano while you work out. Pricing is unannounced at this time, but it should be very close to the $30 the original cost.
The Android Market has been an ever-expanding collection of applications and games for the Android-powered phones and this new Android Market website. The new Market aims to capture the internet audience from a PC instead of just Android-powered devices.
The website makes it quite easy to discover new apps with a bigger, brighter interface. A great feature is the ability to send apps from the website directly to your Android device with just a few clicks - all without wires! Social features are built in also, you can share apps with your friends through Twitter.
I hate fighting with wires to charge my gadgets. They always fall behind something or I lose them under all the boxes that migrate towards my office each week. It is compounded by the fact that I have a ton of gadgets to charge at any given time. If you charge lots of gear and are tired of having to find an outlet and cord for each one you need the Touch-n-go Multi-device charger.
The device is an oddly shaped plate that is black on top and silver underneath. It has 16 different divots in the top with three little pins each. The divots and pins remind me of the magnetic charge port on the bottom of some cordless mice I have used. The idea is that you can charge up to 16 different gadgets at one time from this single charger.
That is enough charge space even for my wife's gadgets and mine. Each of those divots can be filled with a little magnetic circle with a charge cord attached for various devices. I see cords for iPhone and USB devices in the pic. As short as the cords are, this thing will be jam packed if you use all of the spots for charging at one time. It's supposed to ship soon for $99.
Yesterday I talked about the next-gen iPad was getting a higher resolution display, well there are now more rumors that are pointing toward this actually happening. MacRumors is now saying that this might actually happen.
The fuel to this rumor is Apple's updated iBooks app at 1.1 accidentally included artwork for double the amount of pixels of the current iPad. The bookmark icon included art for the iPad, iPhone, iPhonex2 and iPadx2. The x2 versions are exactly double the resolution of the original versions.
Researchers at BAE Systems in the UK are hard at work on a system that movie fans will recognize as being very similar to the tech that the Predator used to hide from Arnie. BAE is looking at a system that may be in the field in as little as five years that can hide a vehicle the size of a main battle tank using sensors and e-Ink on the surface of the vehicle.
The researchers have dubbed the technology e-camouflage and as the vehicle rolls along the camera sensors on the outside would project the image all around it on the surface to allow it to blend into any environment. The researchers are basing the program around seven different fighting vehicles for now.
The vehicles are a mixture of manned and unmanned vehicles that will have versions that are armed and some that are unarmed. Some will be troop carriers while other will hunt the enemy or provide anti-aircraft support. The British military wants a vehicle ready for operational capacity by 2013 weighing 30 tons, powered by a hybrid system, and packing the survivability and fighting power of current main battle tank.
Asus have leaked out a bit of CES content - below we have some shots of the Eee Pad and Eee Slate.In the shot you can see it includes a USB 3.0 port (whoa!) which is inside of a very thin keyboard which is then attached to the touchscreen display.
This thing is looking more like a tablet PC rather than a tablet - but this is not necessarily a bad thing. Asus rocked the world with their EeePC range a few years ago and created an entire new market which didn't really exist until then.
More leaks are coming out about Apple's iPad 2 with one of them saying the next-gen iPad will have a smaller, slimmer, flatter case, all while including rear-facing, improved speakers.
According to a Japanese blog, an anonymous Chinese source has revealed that the new case shaves 3mm from the length and width which results in a slightly smaller bezel. The source says the 9.7" LCD display will remain.
Google has just announced a partnership with Verizon Wireless to provide 3G wide area network (WAN) coverage on each Google Chrome OS device. Each device will receive 100MB of data for free each month for two years.
Google's Chromebook is part of this and has been seen as a cloud computing device, a device that gives users the option to stay connected to the web via the browser constantly.
Oooh - DigiTimes is pushing out some chinese-whispers that local component makers are claiming Foxconn has been notified that it must ship Apple's "iPad 2" within the next 100 days.
DigiTimes is reporting that Apple's plan to start mass production in January had to be pushed because of ongoing firmware testing. Even though it starts shipping in February that does not mean your grubby little tablet wanting hands will be able to purchase it then. The original iPad was announced in January, began US shipment in April and was on shelves in May.
Today should be named Google Day. Unlike another company who releases a Beatles discography to their music store and says it's a day we'll never forget, Google have had around 1,256 announcements today!
Google's Andy Rubin was on stage at D: Dive Into Mobile today where he bought with him a prototype Android tablet by hello-moto, Motorola.
eReaders are huge in the US today and they are popular around the world. Sony eReaders have been on the market much longer than popular devices like the Kindle and Nook have, but early on Sony eReaders didn't catch the eye of users in Japan. Back in 2007, both Sony and Panasonic pulled out of the eReader market in Japan. Despite the market not being enough for them in their home countries, Sony has been selling its eReaders in the US for a long time now.
Sony is now set to go back to its home market with its eReaders. Sony will offer a 5-inch screen eReader in Japan starting on December 10 for 20,000 yen or $240. A 6-inch screen version of the reader will be offered for 25,000 yen. Reuters reports lack of content was the main reason the Sony readers failed originally. The popularity of eReader rivals and tablets like the iPad has to be another factor pushing Sony back to its home market.
If you are a serious geek that likes to show off your geekiness there are all manner of shirts and other clothing items that will do the deed. None of them will mark you as geek as much as the Syte shirt. This black t-shirt has a pocket in the front that you can cram your iPhone or iPod touch into.
The shirt will hold the device in either portrait or landscape modes. The clear pocket will allow you to show the people around you what you are watching, even if you can't see it yourself. I guess this shirt is sort of like the people that spend money to put screens in the headrests of two seat cars just so the people behind them can see what they are watching.
Most people are busy updating to iOS 4.2 today - and on the iPad some people are not a happy camper.
Sitting next to their sniper rifles, marshmallows and tents, these not-so-happy campers (myself included) do not like the iPad's rotational lock switch being swapped to a "mute" button ala the iPhone with the new iOS 4.2 update.