lalit's blog

Microsoft Announces Windows Phone 8 and Leaves Windows Phone 7 Customers Hanging

Submitted by lalit on June 20, 2012 - 4:18pm.

Microsoft today announced their new Windows Phone 8 operating system for mobile phones. The new OS is based on Windows 8 core, meaning it will share common networking, security, media and web browser technology, and a common file system with Windows 8. This also means that current Windows Phone 7 users won’t be able to upgrade to Windows Phone 8.

Some of the key features of Windows Phone 8 that Microsoft highlighted are:

  • Multi-core processor support: As reviewers have noted, Windows Phone runs buttery smooth on phones with a single processor. But piggybacking on the Windows core provides support for multiple cores—so we’re ready for whatever hardware makers dream up.
  • Bigger, sharper screens: Windows Phone 8 supports two new screen resolutions—1280x768 and 1280x720, opening the door to amazing new handsets with high-definition 720p displays.
  • More flexible storage: Windows Phone 8 supports removable MicroSD cards, so you can stuff your phone with extra photos, music, and whatever else is important to you, and then easily move it all onto your PC.
  • NFC wireless sharing: If you haven’t heard the term “NFC” yet, I’m betting you soon will. This emerging wireless technology lets phones share things over short distances. In Windows Phone 8, it helps make sharing photos, Office docs, and contact info easier—just tap your phone another NFC-equipped device. How cool is that?
  • Internet Explorer 10: The next version of Windows Phone comes with the same web browsing engine that’s headed for Window 8 PCs and tablets. IE10 is faster and more secure, with advanced anti-phishing features like SmartScreen Filter to block dangerous websites and malware.
  • Wallet: Windows Phone 8’s new digital Wallet feature does two great things. It can keep debit and credit cards, coupons, boarding passes, and other important info right at your fingertips. And when paired with a secure SIM from your carrier, you can also pay for things with a tap of your phone at compatible checkout counters.
  • Better maps and directions: Windows Phone 8 builds in Nokia mapping as part of the platform. Our partnership will provide more detailed maps and turn-by-turn directions in many countries, plus the ability to store maps offline on your phone so you can work with maps without a data connection.
  • Cooler apps and games: Basing Windows Phone 8 on the Windows core will unleash a new wave of amazing apps and especially games, for reasons I’ll touch on in a moment.

Windows Phone 8 will ship this fall and devices based on the new OS should come to the market by end of this year. Check out the introductory video of Windows Phone 8 below.

 

Foxconn’s Chairman Says Upcoming iPhone 5 Will Put Samsung Galaxy S III to Shame

Submitted by lalit on June 20, 2012 - 2:03pm.

In an interview with China Times Hon Hai (Foxconn) Chairman Terry Gou talked about Hon Hai – Sharp alliance and how it will be important in keeping ahead of Samsung in TV business. While talking about upcoming TV plant at Foxconn, he also asked consumers to wait and see the new iPhone 5 by Apple that will be way ahead of recently launched Galaxy S III. Foxconn is Apple’s manufacturing partner for iPhone and iPad lineup and hence Gou’s statements have lot of weight. Gou said the following to China Times:

Gou also urged consumers to wait for the launch of Apple's iPhone 5, saying that the new model will put Samsung's Galaxy III to shame.

With Hon Hai's marketing and manufacturing strengths and Sharp's key technologies, the two will be able to defeat their arch-rival Samsung, the chairman said.

This would indicate that Apple might be finally able to use the long rumored IGZO LCD display from Sharp in upcoming iPhone. Sharp started mass production of the new displays in March and said that it will have full capacity by summer this year, which would be in time for iPhone 5 launch. [Via Focus Taiwan]

 

Microsoft Surprises Everyone with Surface Tablet, Even Their PC Manufacturing Partners

Submitted by lalit on June 18, 2012 - 11:15pm.

Today at an event in Hollywood, Microsoft unveiled two Surface tablets and accessories for the tablets. Microsoft says the tablets are designed to seamlessly transition between consumption and creation devices. They were conceived, designed and engineered entirely by Microsoft employees. The main highlights of the new products are:

Software takes center stage: Surface sports a full-sized USB port and a 16:9 aspect ratio – the industry standard for HD. It has edges angled at 22 degrees, a natural position for the PC at rest or in active use, letting the hardware fade into the background and the software stand out.

VaporMg: The casing of Surface is created using a unique approach called VaporMg (pronounced Vapor-Mag), a combination of material selection and process to mold metal and deposit particles that creates a finish akin to a luxury watch. Starting with magnesium, parts can be molded as thin as .65 mm, thinner than the typical credit card, to create a product that is thin, light and rigid/strong.

Integrated Kickstand: The unique VaporMg approach also enables a built-in kickstand that lets you transition Surface from active use to passive consumption – watching a movie or even using the HD front- or rear-facing video cameras. The kickstand is there when needed, and disappears when not in use, with no extra weight or thickness.

Touch Cover: The 3 mm Touch Cover represents a step forward in human-computer interface. Using a unique pressure-sensitive technology, Touch Cover senses keystrokes as gestures, enabling you to touch type significantly faster than with an on-screen keyboard. It will be available in a selection of vibrant colors. Touch Cover clicks into Surface via a built-in magnetic connector, forming a natural spine like you find on a book, and works as a protective cover. You can also click in a 5 mm-thin Type Cover that adds moving keys for a more traditional typing feel.

Two models of Surface will be available: one running an ARM processor featuring Windows RT, and one with a third-generation Intel Core processor featuring Windows 8 Pro. Surface for Windows RT will feature ARM processor, 10.6-inch ClearType HD display, 32GB or 64GB storage, microSD card slot, USB 2.0, and 31.5W-h battery. It will be 9.3mm (0.36-inch) thick and weigh 676 grams (about 1.5 pounds).

Surface for Windows 8 Pro will come with Intel’s third generation Core processor, 64GB or 128GB storage, 10.6-inch ClearType Full HD screen, microSDXC slot, USB 3.0, mini DisplayPort and 42W-h battery. It will be 13.5mm (0.53-inch) thick and weigh 903 grams (about 2 pounds).

Surface for Windows RT will release with the general availability of Windows 8, and the Windows 8 Pro model will be available about 90 days later. Both will be sold in the Microsoft Store locations in the U.S. and available through select online Microsoft Stores.

By calling the Surface tablet “the ultimate stage for Windows”, what Microsoft is telling everyone is that tablet from their PC manufacturing partners will be second rate when compared to Microsoft’s offerings. This announcement might be good for Microsoft (if the Surface tablets succeed), but its bad news for their manufacturing partners.

 

Harman Kardon Introduces Five New Headphones

Submitted by lalit on June 13, 2012 - 12:34pm.

Harman today announced availability of a new line of Harman Kardon headphones. The new line include five options: two sound-isolating in-ear models tailored specifically for iPhone use and three on-ear and over-ear styles – including a wireless Bluetooth and noise-cancelling model. Details of the five headphone models are:

The in-ear model NI ($99.95) features 9mm drivers to provide a wide-dynamic range and high sound-pressure levels. This ultralight model has a rectangular black housing – shaped like the back of an iPhone – and a three-button remote with a built-in microphone for calls. Three sizes of silicone sleeves offer a comfortable fit and noise isolation.

The in-ear model AE ($149.95) acoustically enhanced headphones isolate noise and are enclosed by a silver-toned aluminum casing for superior acoustic dampening to provide true low-frequency reproduction. The headphones include premium 9mm drivers optimized to work with the metal housing to deliver extended bass response. A three-button remote with a built-in microphone is included, while foam sleeves are offered along with three sizes of silicone sleeves.

The on-ear model CL ($199) are defined by precision with metal hinges, a sand-blasted metal finish and rectangular ear cups that reflect the iPhone’s iconic design. The 40mm drivers are uniquely baffled to create an air flow that extends the low frequencies – bass – better than other models in their class. The detachable cables feature highly finished metal connectors, while the cables are made of a tightly woven fabric to enhance feel as well as durability and flexibility.

The over-ear model BT ($249) Bluetooth headphones include an integrated microphone so users don’t have to remove them for a call. Built-in playback buttons sit along the side of one ear cup for easy music controls. These high-performance wireless headphones are charged via the included USB cable, but also work in passive mode. That means if the battery – which lasts 12 hours – is dead, users can attach the fabric-covered headphone cable for wired playback from an iPhone, iPod or iPad. Competitive Bluetooth headphones do not offer passive playback.

The over-ear model NC ($299, available late summer) noise-cancelling headphones include HARMAN’s proprietary digital active noise-cancelling technology the company developed for acoustic installations in premium automobiles. Slow-retention foam is used in the ear pads to create a comfortable fit that also improves passive noise cancellation by creating an acoustic seal. The headphones have a 30-hour battery life and are recharged via the included USB cable. Unlike competing noise-cancelling headphones, the Harman Kardon headphones continue to play when the battery runs dry. The headphones come with a fabric-covered detachable cable and a premium case.

The Harman Kardon headphones are now available exclusively at Apple Retail Stores and Apple.com. You can get more information about the headphones on Harman Kardon’s website.

 

Teardown Reveals Tightly Packed Guts of New MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Submitted by lalit on June 13, 2012 - 8:22am.

As always iFixit has posted a complete teardown of the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display. iFixit’s teardown has revealed some interesting details about the new MacBook Pro including the proprietary SSD and soldered RAM. iFixit concluded the teardown by saying:

  • MacBook Pro 15" Mid 2012 Repairability Score: 1 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair).
  • Proprietary pentalobe screws prevent you from gaining access to anything inside.
  • As in the MacBook Air, the RAM is soldered to the logic board. Max out at 16GB now, or forever hold your peace—you can't upgrade.
  • The proprietary SSD isn't upgradeable either (yet), as it is similar but not identical to the one in the Air. It is a separate daughtercard, and we’re hopeful we can offer an upgrade in the near future.
  • The lithium-polymer battery is glued rather than screwed into the case, which increases the chances that it'll break during disassembly. The battery also covers the trackpad cable, which tremendously increases the chance that the user will shear the cable in the battery removal process.
  • The display assembly is completely fused, and there’s no glass protecting it. If anything ever fails inside the display, you will need to replace the entire extremely expensive assembly.

Sony Reveals Entry Level Xperia Miro and Xperia Tipo Android 4.0 Smartphone

Submitted by lalit on June 13, 2012 - 8:18am.

Sony today revealed two new entry-level Android 4.0 based smartphones. Sony Xperia Miro features 3.5-inch low resolution 480 x 320 LCD touchscreen, 5-megapixel camera, single core 800MHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 processor, 1500mAh battery and Android 4.0.

The second handset Xperia Tipo features 3.2-inch VGA screen (480 x 320), 3.2-megapixel camera, 800MHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S1 processor, dual-SIM support, and 1500mAh battery. Both the handsets will be available in wide range of colors. No word on pricing or launch date yet, but we believe that these handset will be priced for lower end of smartphone market (unlocked $100 to $200 range). Check out the introductory video below. [Via The Verge]

 

Is This The New iPhone 5? (Update Images are 3D Renderings)

Submitted by lalit on June 13, 2012 - 7:06am.

We have already see back panel pictures of the upcoming iPhone 5 few times. And now a Chinese website has posted pictures showing the complete phone. The phone in the pictures show iOS running, but according to the translation posted by Macotakara, the Chinese website wasn’t able to confirm if this was the real thing. Macotakara’s Danbo posted the following translation:

iPhone Chinese Web post several photos of new iPhone, which seems to be fully assembled. New iPhone, called as iPhone 5, is considered to has been leaked as parts by parts.

While this iPhone photo shows live iOS running, we don't have idea if this photos are computer generated rendering or composited by Photoshop.

iPhone Chinese Web tells that they are not confirmed it is true or fake.

We don’t know if this is the real thing, but if it is then Apple has working iPhone 5s out there, which would mean that the handset is almost production ready and it will be launched way before the rumored Q4 2012 that many analysts have quoted. Check out the other three pics below. We are loving the new design.

Update: The images are 3D renderings made using Rhinoceros 3D software and not real iPhone 5 pics. The images were posted on Flickr by Martin uit Utrecht and they were based on leaked back cover photos and video. However, as we said before we are loving the design and hope that Apple will have something similar.

 

 

 

OS X Mountain Lion to Ship in July

Submitted by lalit on June 11, 2012 - 4:34pm.

Apple today announced that OS X Mountain Lion, the ninth major release of the world’s most advanced desktop operating system, will be available in July as a download from the Mac App Store. Mountain Lion introduces more than 200 innovative features including the all new Messages app, Notification Center, system-wide Sharing, Facebook integration, Dictation, Power Nap, AirPlay Mirroring, Game Center and the enhanced security of Gatekeeper. With iCloud built into the foundation of OS X, Mountain Lion makes it easier than ever to keep your content up to date across all your devices.

Using your iCloud account, Mountain Lion makes it easier than ever to set up your Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Messages, Reminders and Notes. The new Reminders and Notes apps help you remember important tasks and jot down your thoughts quickly, while iCloud automatically keeps everything up to date. Documents in the Cloud works with iCloud-enabled apps including Apple’s iWork suite so you can always access and edit your documents on any device.

The new Messages app replaces iChat and brings iMessage to the Mac, so you can send messages to anyone with an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or another Mac. You can include attachments, high quality photos and HD video, and your iMessages appear on all your devices so you can pick up a conversation right where you left off. iMessage includes group messaging, delivery and read receipts, typing indicators and secure end-to-end encryption. The Messages app also supports traditional instant messaging services, including AIM, Yahoo, Google Talk and Jabber.

Mountain Lion streamlines the presentation of notifications, and with Notification Center you can see all your notifications from OS X and third party apps in one convenient place. You can customize which apps send you notifications, the type of notification you receive, and how many items are shown in Notification Center. When you want to focus on your work or watch a movie, you can choose to temporarily suspend all notifications.

New system-wide Sharing is built into Mountain Lion, making it easier than ever to share links, photos, videos and other files. Clicking the Share button allows you to share quickly without having to switch to another app, and you just need to sign in once to use third-party services like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Vimeo. Facebook and Twitter are integrated with Notification Center so you can receive notifications when someone sends you a message or mentions you in a post or Tweet.

With built-in support for Facebook, you can post photos, links and comments with locations right from your apps. Once you’ve signed in, your Facebook friends automatically appear in Contacts with their profile photos. Your Facebook notifications work with Notification Center in Mountain Lion, and you can even update your Facebook status from within Notification Center.

Dictation is built into Mountain Lion and allows you to dictate text anywhere you can type, whether you’re using an app from Apple or a third party developer. Mountain Lion also introduces Power Nap, an innovative new feature that keeps your MacBook Pro with Retina display and MacBook Air (second and third generation) up to date while it sleeps. Power Nap automatically refreshes Mail, Contacts, Calendar, Reminders, Notes, Photo Stream, Find My Mac and Documents in the Cloud, and when plugged in, downloads software updates and backs up your Mac using Time Machine.

The new Gatekeeper feature makes downloading software from the Internet safer by giving you control over which apps can be installed on your Mac. You can choose to install apps from anywhere, just as you do today, or for maximum security you can set Gatekeeper to allow only apps from the Mac App Store. The default setting allows you to install apps from the Mac App Store and apps from developers that have a unique Developer ID from Apple. In addition to checking daily for security updates, Mountain Lion includes app sandboxing to keep misbehaving apps from compromising your system, and kernel ASLR for improved protection against buffer overflow attacks.

Additional new features in Mountain Lion include:

  • AirPlay Mirroring, an easy way to wirelessly send an up-to-1080p secure stream of what’s on your Mac to an HDTV using Apple TV, or send audio to a receiver or speakers that use AirPlay;
  • Game Center, which brings the popular social gaming network from iOS to the Mac so you can enjoy live, multiplayer games with friends whether they’re on a Mac, iPhone, iPad or iPod touch;
  • a faster Safari with a unified Smart Search Field, iCloud Tabs that present your open tabs across your devices, and a new Tab View to quickly swipe through them;
  • new features for China, including significantly improved text input, a new Chinese Dictionary, easy setup with popular email providers, Baidu search in Safari, built-in sharing to Sina Weibo and popular video websites Youku and Tudou; and
  • over 1,700 new APIs that give developers access to the latest core OS and web technologies, as well as the newest features of OS X, including Documents in the Cloud, Notifications, Sharing and Game Center.

OS X Mountain Lion will be available in July from the Mac App Store for $19.99. Mountain Lion requires Lion or Snow Leopard (OS X v10.6.8 or later), 2GB of memory and 8GB of available space.

 

Apple Previews iOS 6 with Over 200 New Features

Submitted by lalit on June 11, 2012 - 4:27pm.

Apple today previewed iOS 6, introducing over 200 new features to the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, and released a beta version to iOS Developer Program members. iOS 6 will be available to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users this fall as a free software update. New iOS 6 features include: an all new Maps app with Apple-designed cartography, turn-by-turn navigation and an amazing new Flyover view; new Siri features, including support for more languages, easy access to sports scores, restaurant recommendations and movie listings; Facebook integration for Contacts and Calendar, with the ability to post directly from Notification Center, Siri and Facebook-enabled apps like Photos, Safari and Maps; Shared Photo Streams via iCloud; and Passbook, the simplest way to get all your passes in one place.

“iOS 6 continues the rapid pace of innovation that is helping Apple reinvent the phone and create the iPad category, delivering the best mobile experience available on any device,” said Scott Forstall, Apple's senior vice president of iOS Software. “We can’t wait for hundreds of millions of iOS users to experience the incredible new features in iOS 6 including the new Maps app, expanded Siri support, deep Facebook integration, Shared Photo Streams and the innovative new Passbook app.”

iOS 6 includes an all new Maps app with vector-based map elements that make graphics and text smooth, and panning, tilting and zooming incredibly fluid. New turn-by-turn navigation guides you to your destination with spoken directions, and the amazing Flyover feature has photo-realistic interactive 3D views. Real-time traffic information keeps you updated on how long it will take to get to your destination and offers alternate time-saving routes if traffic conditions change significantly. Additionally, local search includes information for over 100 million businesses with info cards that offer Yelp ratings, reviews, available deals and photos.

Siri, now available for the new iPad as well as iPhone 4S, includes language support for English, French, German and Japanese, and adds support for Spanish, Italian, Korean, Mandarin and Cantonese. Siri is optimized for use in 15 countries and helps you get even more done with just your voice, whether it’s finding the latest sports scores or making restaurant reservations. You also can ask Siri to update your status on Facebook, post to Twitter or launch an app. Additionally, Siri takes hands-free functionality even further with a new Eyes Free mode, enabling you to interact with your iPhone using nothing more than your voice.

Built-in Facebook integration is the best ever in a mobile device, allowing you to sign in once and post from Notification Center, Siri and Facebook-enabled apps, including Photos, Safari and Maps. Your Facebook friends’ information is kept up to date across all your iOS devices, automatically updating details in Contacts when they change, and scheduling events and birthdays in your Calendar. You can also “Like” content directly from the App Store and iTunes and see what your friends recommend.

With more than 125 million users already enjoying iCloud, iOS 6 introduces new ways to share photos with friends and family using Shared Photo Streams. Simply select the photos you want to share, pick which friends you want to receive the album, and the Shared Photo Stream album is instantly available on their iOS devices, iPhoto and Aperture on their Mac, via the web or even through Apple TV. You and your friends can leave comments on or “Like” any photo in a shared album.

The new Passbook app is the simplest way to get all your passes in one place, such as boarding passes and baseball tickets. Passbook lets you scan your iPhone or iPod touch to use a coupon, get into a concert or check into your hotel. Passbook automatically displays your passes on your Lock Screen based on a specific time or location, so when you walk into your favorite coffee shop your loyalty card appears and you can scan it to buy a coffee or check your balance. Passbook can even alert you to last minute gate changes or flight delays at the airport.

Building on Apple’s commitment to provide innovative solutions for education and accessibility, iOS 6 introduces Guided Access. This new feature allows a parent, teacher or administrator to disable hardware buttons to lock an iOS device into a single app, especially useful for test taking or helping someone with a disability stay focused on learning. Guided Access also includes the ability to confine touch input to certain parts of the screen.

Additional new iOS 6 features include:

  • enhancements to Safari, the world’s most popular mobile browser, such as iCloud tabs, offline reading lists, photo uploads and full screen view;
  • support for FaceTime calls over cellular networks;
  • the ability to set up a VIP Mailbox, making it easier to quickly view messages from important people you designate as VIPs;
  • the option to decline incoming calls with a quick message, set a callback reminder and enable a new Do Not Disturb option; and
  • a whole new set of improvements and services specifically for iOS users in China, such as improved text input and built-in support for popular Chinese services including Baidu, Sina Weibo, Youku and Tudou.

The iOS 6 beta software and SDK are available immediately for iOS Developer Program members at developer.apple.com. iOS 6 will be available as a free software update for iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, the new iPad, iPad 2 and iPod touch (fourth generation) this fall.

 

Apple Updates Current Generation MacBook Air and MacBook Pro Lineup

Submitted by lalit on June 11, 2012 - 4:18pm.

Apple today updated MacBook Air with the latest Intel Core processors, faster graphics and flash storage that is up to twice as fast as the previous generation. MacBook Air is the ultimate everyday notebook, and with new lower prices it is more affordable than ever. The current generation 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro have also been updated with the latest Intel Core processors and powerful discrete graphics from NVIDIA.

Available in 11-inch and 13-inch designs, the new MacBook Air features the latest Core i5 and Core i7 dual-core processors and is perfect for browsing the web, making movies and managing photos. The new integrated Intel HD Graphics 4000 is up to 60 percent faster and gives the MacBook Air plenty of power to tackle games and videos. MacBook Air features flash storage up to four times faster than traditional hard drives for instant-on performance and fast access to your apps and data. Now with 4GB of faster memory, configurable up to 8GB, you can run memory-intensive apps with ease. MacBook Air also features a new FaceTime HD camera that delivers high-definition 720p.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro features the latest Intel Core i5 or Core i7 dual-core processors up to 2.9 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.6 GHz. The 15-inch MacBook Pro features the latest Intel Core i7 quad-core processors up to 2.7 GHz with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.7 GHz and NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M discrete graphics. Both the 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro can be configured with a 1TB hard drive or SSDs up to 512GB that are up to twice as fast as the previous generation.

MacBook Air and MacBook Pro both feature a high-speed Thunderbolt port and two USB 3.0 ports to easily connect to external displays and a wide variety of high performance peripherals. The 13-inch MacBook Air, and 13-inch and 15-inch MacBook Pro deliver up to 7 hours of wireless battery life, and the 11-inch MacBook Air delivers up to 5 hours.

The 11-inch MacBook Air comes with a 1.7 GHz processor, 4GB of memory and is available with 64GB of flash storage starting at $999, and 128GB of flash storage starting at $1,099. The 13-inch MacBook Air comes with a 1.8 GHz processor, 4GB of memory and is available with 128GB of flash storage starting at $1199, and 256GB of flash storage starting at $1,499.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro is available with a 2.5 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of memory and 500GB hard drive starting at $1,199, and with a 2.9 GHz dual-core Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of memory and 750GB hard drive starting at $1,499. The 15-inch MacBook Pro is available with a 2.3 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 4GB of memory, Intel HD Graphics 4000 and NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M, and 500GB hard drive starting at $1,799; and with a 2.6 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 8GB of memory, Intel HD Graphics 4000 and NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M, and 750GB hard drive starting at $2,199.