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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.