In my review of the HP TouchPad, which we published last night, I went off on a tangent about the “touch-to-share” functionality Hewlett-Packard introduced with the TouchPad tablet and the Pre 3 smartphone. I think it bears repeating. In a nutshell, touch-to-share allows the user to tap a webOS smartphone to the TouchPad in order to push any URL in an open browser page from one device to the other. I wrote at length about this feature, which is still in its infancy but exhibits tremendous potential. But the real value for touch-to-share goes far beyond the technology itself. The feature is great and HP can take it in a million different directions, but the bigger picture here is that touch-to-share can become an amazing way for HP to differentiate its tablet from the competition in a way that might actually pique consumers’ interest. Tech companies are so concerned with catching up right now that they forgot a very important piece of the puzzle: valuable differentiation. Flash, for example, is not a way for a company to differentiate its products — just ask the senior RIM executive who recently made a plea for RIM to step up its game. Companies are so concerned with pushing media tablets out to market that they’re forgetting to give consumers a reason to buy them over the market leader, the Apple iPad. If an Apple competitor ever wants to see real, long-term success with a tablet line, valuable differentiated features like a mature touch-to-share solution are paramount. With that, hit the break for my thoughts on the technology, as originally seen in our review of the HP TouchPad. More →
Following the World Health Organization’s revelation last week that cell phones are “possibly carcinogenic to humans based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer associated with wireless phone use,” Jabra has issued an easy fix: instead of putting a cell phone to your ear and possibly getting a brain tumor, use one of its Bluetooth headsets. Jabra says its headsets emit 800 times less radiation than cell phones — just 0.0025 watts max output compared to 2 watts max from cell phones. In a Jabra-sponsored survey, 61% said cell phone radiation only concerned them “a little bit” or “to some extent” and 25% said they were not at all concerned. But when informed that using a Bluetooth headset has been scientifically proven to drastically reduce exposure to radiation, more than half of the respondents said they would use a hands-free device. Hit the break for Jabra’s press release. More →
Verizon Wireless has detailed a software update that will soon be pushed to the Motorola DROID X, thus confirming that the phone will be upgraded to Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). The update will include a number of enhancements and the more prominent ones include a new user interface, better word prediction, app grouping, an improved email application, geo-tagging support in the camera, a download manager application, auto-focus improvements for the camera in low-light conditions, and improved battery life while using Bluetooth. Phone Scoop says Verizon has confirmed it will begin pushing the Android 2.3 update to DROID X phones on May 27th. More →
Our friendly FedEx man was kind enough to deliver us the soon-to-be-released Casio G’zOne Commando from Verizon Wireless. Unlike most full-touchscreen smartphones, this Android 2.2.1 device is designed to be abused. The Commando meets military standards 810G for immersion, rain, and shock, dust resistance, vibration, salt fog, humidity, solar radiation, altitude, along with low and high temperature storage. The handset, which is not the lightest full-touchscreen we’ve handled — but certainly not the heaviest at 5.4-ounces— sports a ruggedized composite case which protects a 5 megapixel auto-focus camera with flash, 1460mAh battery, 512MB RAM, 3.6-inch WVGA touchscreen display, and a host of other assets. Want to know what our first impressions are? Good. Have a look at the gallery below and hit the jump to read on.
Motorola has announced that there is a new software update available for the Verizon Wireless DROID Pro. Unfortunately the patch will not update your DROID Pro to Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), but it should reduce the frequency of UI lockups, offer improved audio during calls, and the following fixes:
- Improved audio on voice calls.
- Improved stability and performance.
- User interface display now refreshes when user switches from GSM/UMTS communication to Global Mode.
- Device now prepends 011 to Country Code to send SMS messages.
- Global Mode no longer resets when connecting to a USB charger.
- Visual Voice Mail now detects airplane mode while Wi-Fi is active.
- Prompt return to full screen brightness after wake-up.
- Upgraded Bluetooth firmware.
- Improved interoperability with Microsoft Internet Application Gateway (IAG) configurations.
- Device string format for Exchange changed to include device name and version number.
- Upgrade to Google applications Release 7
It looks like PC manufacturer Lenovo is planning to throw its hat into the tablet ring, and a detailed report filed by This is my next explains what the Chinese OEM may have up its sleeve. According to the blog, Lenovo is working on a 10.1-inch, NVIDIA Tegra 2 powered slate that packs quite a punch. The device, which will run Google’s Honeycomb operating system, will come in one of three now-standard tablet storage configurations: 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB and has a target release date of July. The aforementioned 10.1-inch IPS window will boast as 1280 x 800 pixel resolution which will facilitate control of the tablet’s hardware features: 3G and 4G cellular connectivity, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, full-sized SD card slot, HDMI-out, and a laptop-like docking station. The tablet, like much of Lenovo’s hardware, seems to be geared towards the corporate buyer — there are slides dedicated to Cisco, McAfee and Symantec integration and security. But if we know our readers (and we think we do), there will be a few of you adding this tablet to your technology war chest upon its release. More →
When EA launched NBA Jam for the iPhone and iPod touch in February, there was one glaring omission: the ability to dunk on your friends. On Thursday EA fixed that by updating the game with local multiplayer, which means you’ll be able to take to the court and play against your buddies using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. If you use an iPad, there’s more good news – EA also launched NBA Jam HD for $9.99. NBA Jam has been a staple on our devices since its debut, and it’s been updated with the current NBA roster, too. Lace up those Nike’s and install the update. More →
Research In Motion’s BlackBerry PlayBook launched in U.S. and Canadian markets earlier today, and that is good news for RIM enthusiasts… that is unless you have AT&T. As many of you know, the PlayBook uses a small piece of software called BlackBerry Bridge to acquire cellular connectivity and provide messaging and other crucial PIM functionality — by transferring calendar, email, and contact data between a BlackBerry smartphone and the new tablet. So what’s the problem? It’s not officially supported by AT&T. On RIM’s official BlackBerry App World page, BlackBerry Bridge is listed with the following support status:
“Supported Carriers — All carriers except: AT&T”
Determined users have found unofficial ways to load the Bridge application onto AT&T BlackBerry smartphones, but the fact that RIM’s highly anticipated tablet offering is not yet officially supported by a major U.S. carrier is very disappointing. An AT&T spokesperson provided the following comment: “AT&T is working with RIM to make the BlackBerry Bridge app available for AT&T customers. We have just received the app for testing and before it’s made available to AT&T customers we want to ensure it delivers a quality experience for our customers.”
Via a press release today, AT&T announced that it will be offering two, Android-based LG handsets in both the prepaid and postpaid variety. The postpaid Phoenix and prepaid Thrive both sport a 600MHz processor, 3.2-inch touchscreen display, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, aGPS, 3.2 megapixel rear-facing camera, microSD card slot, and 7.2Mbps HSDPA radio. Both smartphones, which run Froyo (Android 2.2) will be available on April 17th with the Phoenix retailing for $49.99 with a signed two-year agreement and the Thrive retailing for $179.99 contract-free. Prepaid customs that purchase a Thrive must sign-up for one of three new, prepaid data-plan offerings also announced: $25 for 500MB, $15 for 100MB, or $5 for 10MB. The full press release is after the break. More →
Stop dusting off your old Atari 2600 and get to the iTunes App Store, stat. Atari Interactive on Thursday announced the release of its Greatest Hits application for iOS devices including the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. The download is free and includes PONG, but there are also a number of in-app purchases available including many classic Atari Arcade and Atari 2600 games. The app offers original cabinet and box art for each game, and there are 25 different packs of four games that cost $0.99 a piece — or you can buy the entire collection for $14.99. Titles include hits like Asteroid, Missile Command, Air-Sea Battle with Bluetooth multiplayer support, Breakout with Bluetooth multiplayer, Battlezone, and more. Atari’s Greatest Hits is compatible with devices running iOS 3.0 or later. We know what we’re doing for the rest of the night. More →
Today, Samsung and Boost Mobile jointly introduced a new member of the Galaxy family, the Galaxy Prevail. Running a fairly-stock iteration of Android 2.2 (Froyo), the device sports a 3.2-inch touchscreen display, 2 megapixel rear-facing camera, Bluetooth, GPS, and microSD card slot (support for up to a 32GB card). The device is the first CDMA, Android-based device to be offered by the prepaid wireless carrier. The Galaxy Prevail will be available in “late April” for $179.99 contract free. Pair the handset with Boost Mobile’s $50 monthly unlimited plan, and you have yourself a pretty nice setup. The full press release is after the break and we’ll have our hands-on posted momentarily. More →
A new Motorola iDEN phone has just been approved by the Federal Communications Commission. The phone is referred to by two names in FCC documents — the i475 and the i235 — and offers a candybar form factor with a full QWERTY keyboard. As expected, it features push-to-talk support and offers Bluetooth connectivity, 2.5mm headphone jack, camera, speakerphone, and an FM radio. Motorola has yet to officially announce the phone. More →
Remember that vaguely named “LTE Smartphone” being flaunted at CES by both Samsung and Verizon Wireless? According to intel gather by blog PocketNow, it looks like that very same handset will henceforth be known as the DROID Charge. Originally codenamed Stealth, the DROID Charge (also known as the SCH-i510) packs a 4.3 inch Super AMOLED Plus display, 1GHz Hummingbird processor, 8 megapixel rear-facing camera with 720p video recording, 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, LTE/CDMA radios, Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth, aGPS, HDMI-out, and Android 2.2. Neither Verizon nor Samsung have confirmed the device’s new nickname, and “April” is a popular release-date rumor circulating the intertubes. More →