Last week we talked about the Zune HD and what needed to happen for it to be a serious competitor against the iPod Touch. One of these things was a need for good marketing, but sadly that just has not happened. Well, at least it has not happened from the MS marketing team.
What did happen was that news and reviews from tech websites have taken the place of the simply awful MS ads. The positive and in many cases glowing reviews of the Zune have caused the new device to sell out just about everywhere. This is marked contrast to the original Zune and is despite MS' best efforts not to promote the Zune.
This demand could lead to more developers taking an interest in the Zune HD and filling out the currently sparse Zune Market. In fact, news that an iPod game was ported to the Zune HD in around 12 hours is great for both potential consumers and developers looking to work both sides of the street. Yes, the game is not over complex, but it does show that it is possible.
The Zune HD still has an uphill battle and many milestones to get past, but it is off to a very good start. Still, if we hear news that people have jail broken the Zune HD, you will know it has arrived.
So, Apple released its latest version of the iPhone OS version 3.1 recently. At first glance the new software looks like it has a number of improvements. However, it has come to our attention that many people are very unhappy with this new release and not just the jailbreaking/unlocking crowd.
Reports are popping up that OS 3.1 has a negative impact on battery life, SMS/MMS performance, random shutdowns, mobile Safari crashes and breaks exchange support on older generation iPhone's.
The problem has sparked an increasingly response from iPhone 2G and 3G owners on the Apple support forums. This latest issue flies in the face of the current statements by Apple that OS 3.1 is a major improvement over previous ones.
So, what is the problem? Well, if you really want to know it has quite a bit to do with Apple trying to prevent jailbreaking. Apparently their attempt to limit access to the OS is causing some major problems with the way the phone operates. This is increased if you are running on AT&T's outdated network as the extra overhead from certain network checks are causing the decrease in battery life (more edge or 3G transmissions eat up that battery).
Still have no fear that the Dev Team, GeoHot, Saurik, and others will find another hole. In fact according to a recent tweet by GeoHot in response to Saurik. "@saurik is so right, apple fails at challenge response :-)"
After all the 3.1 OS has been broken for the 2G and 3G, it is just the 3G S that is still being worked on.
Well, it looks like they still have the same lame old group working the PR and Marketing desks at Microsoft. After launching a great new product like the Zune HD, you would think they would be looking to hit the ball out of the park with any ads for the shiny new PMP.
Sadly, this is not the case after seeing the first ad. The ad is flashy yet boring. It does nothing to convey what they Zune HD has to offer. Yes it lists them (with text) but it does not grab your attention at all.
If I were looking to get a new PMP this ad would not sway me in any way. All it does is give Apple something to be smug about. They can sit back and know that no matter how good the Zune HD is Microsoft's advertising team will find a way to present it to the public in completely the wrong way.
Nice own goal MS Marketing Team!
The Zune HD launched today. This has been one of the most anticipated media players since the iPhone 3G S. I know that sounds really odd. But it is absolutely true. You see people are actually looking for someone to compete with Apple. Even current iPod/iPhone owners.
So what does the Zune bring that the iPod does not have? Well for starters it has an nVidia Tegra 600 under the hood. This new SoC has 8 cores that can dynamically adjust power to provide the longest battery life possible. It does this by powering down unused and unneeded cores to almost zero power usage.
But the Tegra also brings Open GL ES 2.0 720P playback and a host of other features. This is combined in the Zune with HD Radio, Wireless Sync (over WiFi) an AV dock that allows connection to an HD_TV through HDMI, native gaming support (this is nVidia we are talking about) and multi-touch.
When you combine this with the clean and simple user interface and DRM music from Zune you really do have the potential for an iPod competitor.
Many feel this is one of the reasons that Apple rushed to get the new Touch out without the camera instead of waiting to fix the rumored issues and releasing it later in the year.
It will be very interesting to see just how MS handles this new product. If they market this very nice product properly then Apple has every reason to be concerned.
Ah the iPhone, we are regaled with commercials and other PR gimmicks that tell us that "there's an app for that" but the one thing that the iPhone or iPod Touch has yet to be able to do it to really provide any high-quality (graphics wise) games. I mean there are some good ones (Zombieville USA is a favorite) but nothing spectacular.
That is until someone managed to show Crysis being played on the iPhone. Yep, that's right Crysis has been made to work on the iPhone. Now before you get all excited about picking up Crysis in the App Store, I need to tell you that the iPhone was not doing the work. Instead it was all done by OTOY using a render farm.
The frames are then sent out to the client over the internet making a (according to OTOY) playable high-resolution and high-performance game available on just about any platform. This if it can be done at a reasonable price is an amazing step forward.
But, as with all things that sound this good, there is a catch. That catch is bandwidth. You see for low resolution games (like on the iPhone) you do not need a large amount of bandwidth. Yes it is more than the Edge or even 3G can handle but if you connect to your WiFi and have a 2MB+ connection you are in very good shape.
However, when you try to run at higher resolution; say 1080p the bandwidth requirements for full motion lossless gaming is 20MB. That is a big chunk of bandwidth. Considering the market this is probably going to be aimed at I do not see it coming off very well as most people with lower end hardware that would benefit from this are also not going to have a 20MB internet connection.
Just so we are all clear, when Steve Jobs said they did not want to put a camera in the iPod Touch he was saying it was due to the way the market saw the Touch. Of course this sounded so logical that most people bought it. However, after someone took a new iPod Touch apart there is new speculation about this issue.
You see once the Apple toy was torn apart a nice little spot for a camera was found. This adds fuel to the rumors that it was due to technical issues and not marketing that the camera was left out of the touch.
Still it could be there "just in case" the market demands one (sort of like they are now) I am sure this is the answer and is probably what we will hear in the few days from Apple. The tear down also found that the Touch has support for 802.11n wireless. However it is not enabled in the OS.
Today is pretty much all about Intel's Lynnfeild. You will be inundated with reviews and articles about this new (and impressive) CPU. However as this is my first day back from a long 3-day camping trip, I wanted to start things off with some other news.
In the world of small portable electronic devices there is nothing quite as trendy as the netbook. At least that was the "In" thing until the e-book reader hit the market.
Now just like the netbook, everyone has one. Including it would seem Asus. The interesting thing about the Asus offering is that it just might ship with dual color LCD screens. If this is the case it will offer something that no other e-book reader currently has. This is the ability to allow someone to actually read an e-book like a real book.
Color LCDs aside this is one of the big things that I do not like about the current crop of e-readers. They all are single screen and very boring. When I read I like to move from left to right on one page and then move to the next page at the top. It is a habit and what you are used to doing when (if) you read.
Other uses include a pad for notes, a bowser, and more. There is even talk of a camera and mic (with included WiFi) for Skype calls.
So if the rumors are true (and we will be asking Asus) then the new Eee Reader could make quite an impact on the world of the e-book. Especially if they can get the pricing right.
So remember how Apple would not let Google have Latitude because they said people might get is confused with the existing map application (already from Google). Well...it seems that the confusion thing might not have been the full reason that app was rejected.
A new app called Loopt actually performs a similar function and is possibly much more intrusive. It is capable of updating your location all the time. This means even if you have the application shut down it is still logging your every move.
The concept is one straight out of Minority Report. In that movie ads and services were custom tailored to you based on where you had been and what you bought previously. Well Loopt wants to do that too. They want to create a life track so that they can force ads on you based on where you have been. of course this is not a free service you actually have to pay $4 per month to be tracked all the time. This is probably why Google's Latitude did not make it. Google wanted it to be free, so Apple and AT&T were not getting anything for the extra bandwidth usage.
Man no more lunch-time visits to the topless bars for me…
Wow, there is good news for fans of the game Grand Theft Auto who also happen to be iPhone owners. This good news is that a port of the popular and controversial game will be coming to the iPhone soon.
Of course that is if it makes it past the censors in the approval office.
The new entrant will be called GTA: Chinatown Wars and will feature a top-down view. This should be an impressive game for the newer iPhones (like the 3G S) if Rockstar can keep it clean anyway.
I imagine that it will be 17+ just on principal though. After all this is Grand Theft Auto we are talking about.
Ok, I just had to write something about this one. We all have read that France is holding Apple accountable for the issue with the 12 or so exploding iPhones.
Well Apple apparently is saying that there is no problem; there are no issues with the batteries overheating...nope nothing at all. They instead blame something they refer to as "External Pressure".
I have to wonder if we will see an advisory about how tight you can hold the iPhone soon. After all they released a ridiculous advisory about operating temperatures. That piece of CYA work pretty much told you to stay inside with your iPhone with the AC on High.
You know, I really wish that Apple would get the hint with this. It is ok to have problems with a product. Really, you can have defects, security issues, everything. It is NOT ok to try and sweep them under the rug or ignore them.
It is my hope that the French Government does do something about this. It may very well set a precedent and force Apple to actually deal with these issues. If they would do that and not take their stance that their products are flawless they would gain a lot more respect.
Yesterday we heard about the new Nokia Booklet 3G. There was not much detail at the time so we did some wishful thinking.
Well today we have more information about the new Book. One thing we know now is the price. This comes in around $799 and makes this about the most expensive netbook I have ever personally seen.
The Booklet 3G will also have an Atom Z530 (1.66GHz) 3G capability, WiFi, SD Card reader, swappable SIM cards (for use worldwide), a 120GB HDD and a few other nice features.
Yesterday we heard that it will have native HD support and that the screen would be HD ready as well. There is still no word on what is pushing the HD support but since we now know the CPU that will be under the hood we can rule out Pinetrail.
Every now and then something really cool come out and you just have to have it. This is the case with the PhotoFast CR-8100 Card Reader.
This new product seems tailor made for iPhone/iPod users. In fact it looks a lot like and Apple product. It is able to stack seamlessly with the iPhone/iPod's universal dock and supports just about every type of external card from Compact Flash to Sony's Memory Stick.
PhotoFast is claiming a 10% increase in transfer rate due to "tweaking" of the USB control chip. Maximum read speed is 33MB/s while Writes are 29MB/s. You connect the CR-8100 to your computer with a mini-USB to USB cable. To connect your Universal Dock PhotoFast has provided a 5cm cable to keep everything neat a clean.
The CR-8100 is small and nice looking; it would make an excellent companion for any mobile user (especially mobile users with the iPhone or iPod). No word on availability or pricing just yet but I can tell you that once it is out I think I might be getting one
Nothing like a good Apple rumor. SO here it is... it looks like despite what people are saying now the much dreamed of Apple iTablet might not see daylight until the middle of 2010.
This will have many who were envisioning themselves kicking back with a 10-inch stylish Apple Ebook reader, reading Steve Jobs' memoirs and listening to them in synchronicity through the built in HD iPod are going to have to wait.
There are no specific reason given for the delay just that the rumored September launch will not likely happen.
Of course there is the little fact that Apple is planning an event (again so the rumors say) in September that could indicate the 2010 launch for the iTablet is not correct. Or that event in September could be just to hamper Microsoft's Zune HD Launch.
In the world of high-tech geek gadgets nothing beats a fancy watch that can do everything. Back in my day it was the calculator watch. Man that was cool, then there was the Timex Iron Man that could sync with your PC.
After that I owned a Citizen Divers watch with a built in dive computer.
Now all of that is nothing compared to the futuristic gadgets that are coming out. We have a Video Phone watch and a Bluetooth enabled watch from Sony Ericsson.
Now there is another Bluetooth enabled Watch coming. This time it is RIM that is building the latest toy. There are not many details but it seems more like an extension of social networking that a real business tool. The new watch phone is rumored to have twitter and facebook updates as well as a new form of ear piece that will stream music and other audio information from the watch to your ear. Although it is not stated in the article it looks like this simply connects to your existing Blackberry to pass on the information on it. Maybe if this was the phone it would be more interesting.
There is a new rumor in town. No not about Apple, or the iPhone, it is not even about Intel or Xbox. Now this is about a future version of the Android OS.
According to their normal naming convention the next flavor of Android will be called Éclair. This is technically Android 2.0 and will not doubt feature many new and interesting features. But that is not what the rumor is extolling. According to Cnet Android 2.0 will feature native MultiTouch support.
This means no hacking the OS, no need for custom builds of Android from carriers. The support will just be there. Of course this leave owners of existing android based phones out of the game unless Google decides to put it in a future upgrade (something Google has said will be very difficult) or you hack your phone to add support using one of the custom firmware out.
Ah Hypocrisy at its best. You all know that Palm has been playing cat and mouse with Apple over iTunes sync. When Apple fixes this hole Palm finds another one.
They even advertised that you could sync the Pre with iTunes. This is all good from their end, no harm done right? Well it might be all good when Palm does it but do not let them catch you using their name, images, or any other IP.
You will get a very seriously worded letter demanding that you stop.
This is exactly what happened to the people that made a Palm Pre theme for Android. They received a letter accusing them of selling the theme (it is free) and demanding them to stop.
Here is the most hypocritical part.
"we are concerned that the use of the name "Palm Pre Android Theme" for your product is likely to cause people to erroneously assume that your application is sponsored, authorized or has been approved by Palm, or that you have, or your company has, a relationship with Palm. Creation of such consumer confusion would constitute an infringement of Palm's well-established trademark rights."
Nothing like telling people you have iTunes syncing at all right? No one would confuse that or think that Palm has a relationship with Apple...
Ok it is official, the rumors are no more. The Microsoft Zune HD will hit the stores on September 15th.
The gang over at Gizmodo have gotten some pictures of the actual packaging and the announcement to reserve a Zune with the official launch date on it.
There has been a flurry of press about this new PMP, some are calling it an iPod killer. Others are slamming it as just another "also ran". Well on September 15th we will all know for certain if Microsoft's terrible PR team can get the word out about the technology behind the Zune HD.
It is much more efficient and powerful than the iPod, due to the handy little Tegra SoC inside, but it has some shortcomings too. I am hoping that MS combined with Terga under the hood can actually make a dent in the iPod armor. After any market dominated by a single product is bad for consumers.
There is more news in the world of Zune HD. After the leaked shots we told you about this morning it seems that Yahoo! tech got to spend some quality time with the new PMP from Microsoft.
They loved the browser (despite being base on IE mobile) where they said that it was able to handle full HTML without skipping a beat. Zooming in and out of pages is similar to the iPhone's "pinch" method.
The keyboard also appears to be similar to the iPhone with the larger letter that pops up when you press a key. Music controls were good with an easy mthod of skipping tracks (simply touch either side of the screen)
There are a number of features of the Zune that will make this a contender for your PMP dollar not the least of which is the tiny yet powerful nVidia Tegra under the hood. 720p HD video support, WiFi with WPA and WEP encryption. Full HTML capable browser and an OLED screen.
Still despite its looks (it has been described as the sexiest Zune ever)and power, MS has an uphill battle there are many similarities between the new Zune and the iPhone/iPod touch this will bring the fanboys out of the woodwork screaming that MS stole the ideas from Apple again. Plus let's not forget that Apple's marketing department is one of the best out while Microsoft's has been lagging a little behind
Well the long wait for the Asus/Garmin Nuvifone G60 in the US could be over soon. Well relatively soon, ok maybe by the end of the year.
The phone, which is not much more than a GPS that can make calls is the first in a series of Phones designed in cooperation with Asus.
The Nuvifone G60 has been out in Asia for some time but for some reason has not been setup to hit the US. The problem now facing Garmin is; where in the US market does this really fit?
After all Tom Tom is releasing a GPS application/kit for the iPhone (granted at about $200) and most other smartphones have navigation features plus additional features so why would someone want to buy a year old phone in place of a newer generation phone.
Photo courtesy of Gadgetvenue.com.
Developing new and interesting ways of charging phones is going to be a booming business in the near future. After we saw the birth of the Palm Touchstone we knew that there would be other companies that would do their own take on this concept.
Of course, who better to get the contact charging system than the Apple iPhone. After all if you believe Apple, the iPhone charges everything it touches so it stands to reason that this phone should pull power from the very air itself.
Now while the WildCharge contact charging system for the iPhone 3G S does not pull power from the air. It does enable contact charging. There are a couple of cons to this. The first is the pad itself; it is not the most attractive item out there. The next is that you have to use the iPhone case they provide. So, if you have one you already use (like my OtterBox Defender for iPhone) you either have to give it up or constantly swap cases when you want to charge your phone. The case has small "nubs" embedded into the back that need to make contact with the charging pad to work.
If you are looking for wire-free charging this is a decent start and a bundle with both the base plate and skin case is about $80 US.
Jailbreakers got some good news this past weekend. They found that the new OS 3.0.1 update will not be fixing the exploits used for redsn0w or ulrasn0w.
Apparently all you have to do is point redsn0w to the 3.0 firmware ipsw and you will have a brand new jailbroken iPhone complete with the new SMS security patch.
This is very cool but it also shows the severity of the issue as normally Apple would have waited until they could bring more to the table before releasing an update.