Blogs

Review Roundup: Google Nexus 7 Tablet

Submitted by lalit on July 1, 2012 - 9:29am.

 

Google launched their first Nexus branded tablet on June 27th, featuring 7-inch 1280 x 800 display, quad-core Tegra 3 chipset, 1.2-megapixel front camera, 1GB RAM, 8 or 16GB storage, WiFi, Bluetooth, Micro USB and 9 hours battery life. The Nexus 7 tablet comes with Google’s new Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) operating system and NFC support. Nexus 7 will ship in July priced $199 for 8GB model and $249 for 16GB model.

Reviews of the new tablet from Google have been largely positive calling it the best Android tablet available on the market because of both its lower price point and the new Android 4.1 OS. However, as almost every reviewer points out that even though Nexus 7 is the best Android tablet, it’s still behind Apple’s iPad. But if you are looking for a tablet below $300 price point this is the tablet to go for right now, as Nexus 7 is much better than Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

Chris Burns wrote on SlashGear “With the iPad and the Amazon Kindle Fire being this device’s biggest competitors, you’ll want to know: which one is worth buying? There’s no perfect answer, but if I had a choice between the three and would get the chosen product for free, I’d of course pick the iPad – it costs more than 2 times this device’s base price for a reason. If I had to choose between the Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire, I’d not think twice about picking the Google product. Every single feature on this tablet, unless you’re an Amazon junkie, is better than the Fire.”

Below we have added links to best Google Nexus 7 reviews available online:

 

Apple Testing iPhone Prototypes with NFC Chips

Submitted by lalit on June 25, 2012 - 12:33pm.

Since Apple showed the PassBook app at WWDC on June 11th, everyone has been talking about iPhone getting NFC (Near Filed Communication) support for payment processing and ticketing. However, there hasn’t been any concrete evidence till now supporting these NFC talks. But that has changed today, as 9to5mac claims that the hardware code dump from preEVT iPhone 5,1 and iPhone 5,2 prototypes codenamed N41AP (5,1) and N42AP (5,2), which revealed few weeks back that the next generation iPhone will have bigger display also has code for NFC controllers and antenna. Seth Weintraub wrote:

Further investigation into this hardware code dump leads us to believe that these iPhones also have Near Field Communication (NFC) controllers directly connected to the power management unit (PMU).

The implications here are obviously monstrous. With the recently announced PassBook application (which we detailed prior to its announcement while speculating about an NFC tie-in), Apple will be set to compete with Google Wallet and the similar service Microsoft unveiled last week. Apple could tie in with a payment processor like Citibank’s PayPass system for credit card transactions or it could become a payment processor of sorts with its hundreds of millions of credit cards already on file at iTunes.

It has been rumored for past two years that iPhone will get NFC support and the rumors were really strong before iPhone 4S was launched last year. NFC is a technology that can bring many other functionalities like file sharing, authenticated pairing of devices and not just payment processing. And for the first time the technology looks ready enough for Apple to use in their devices. Will it be in iPhone 5? That is a question only Apple can answer.

 

Apple Designing The New Mini Dock to Improve Usability and Decrease Unlicensed Accessories

Submitted by lalit on June 21, 2012 - 8:31am.

Commenting on yesterday’s news that Apple’s new iPhone will have 19-pin mini dock, Robert Scoble revealed few more detail about the new dock design. Robert learnt from an Engineering working in the phone world that Apple is making this change for the following reasons:

  1. To control device manufacturers much more completely. It will be nearly impossible to make unlicensed devices, if Apple wants it, and totally impossible to make replacement power supplies that Apple hasn't approved (there is a chip in both ends of the new power supply that ensure that it is an official device).
  2. To make thinner devices possible.
  3. To make water damage less of a possibility on new devices.
  4. To bring us a magnetic connector that's more durable and easier to dock than the existing one. Especially important as more car manufacturers add docks for iPhones into cars (yet another way to encourage people to buy Apple devices rather than devices from other manufacturers).
  5. This new connector will leave more room for array microphones on the bottom of the iPhone, which could enable even better sound quality.

iPhone 5 to Feature 19-Pin Mini Connector

Submitted by lalit on June 20, 2012 - 10:28pm.

It has been rumored for past one year that Apple will replace the 30-pin dock used by all iOS devices for charging and syncing with a smaller “Mini” dock. And since the images of iPhone 5 back cover have leaked this mini dock rumor have gotten even stronger. Today, TechCrunch posted they have confirmed from various sources that Apple will indeed use a smaller 19-Pin “Mini” connector. John Biggs wrote on TechCrunch:

Although the form factor and actual size are still unknown, TechCrunch has independently verified that Apple is working on adding a 19-pin port, replacing the current 30-pin port, to the new iPhone. It is a move that will surly send shocks through the iPhone accessory ecosystem.

The new port is similar in size to the Thunderbolt port available on many MacBook devices but I’ve been told by three independent manufacturers that the pin-out will be different.

 

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]