BGR reviewed Apple’s third-generation iPad earlier this week, and we said the new model was better than the iPad 2 in almost every way. As it turns out, there is indeed at least one area where Apple’s previous-generation iPad outshines the new tablet — albeit by a slim margin — and third-party consumer electronics warranty provider SquareTrade recently took to the streets to prove it. In an effort to illustrate why its warranty services can come in handy, the company performed a series of drop tests to determine which tablet is sturdier. The iPad 2 and new iPad each survived the first drop from waist height with the displays facing upward, but that was as far as they got. A waist-high drop of the iPad 2 with the screen facing down cracked the top corner of the glass face, and a drop from shoulder height finished the job. The new iPad, on the other hand, saw more than half of its screen shattered from a waist height drop with the display facing down. The subsequent drop from shoulder height left the tablet looking like it was run over by a truck. The moral of the story: don’t drop your iPad. SquareTrade’s video follows below. More →
Global Equities Research analyst Trip Chowdhry sent an investor note out on Wednesday warning that a weak back-to-school season caused last weekend’s Mac sales to slump between 35% and 40% from the weekend of July 23rd. It was “probably one of the slowest weekends for Mac sales,” Chowdhry said, suggesting that higher gas prices could be responsible for the decline. Chowdhry surveyed four different university book stores for his data, which doesn’t sound like a large enough sample pool to us, and employees in the stores said slower sales were likely due to summer break. Chowdhry thinks Apple could attract more customers by offering $100 refunds in the form of cash instead of in App Store gift cards. Not all analysts agree, of course: according to CultofMac, UBS analyst Maynard Um recently reported that the Mac “continues to be the most popular among consumers and students heading back to school.” More →
Acer on Friday drastically lowered its 2011 shipment forecast for tablet PCs, Taiwan Economic News reported. The company now anticipates shipping approximately 2.5 million consumer tablets in 2011, down 50% or more from earlier projections of between 5 and 7 million units. Acer chairman J. T. Wang said at a shareholder meeting that Acer would likely meet its second-quarter shipment goals, which are down 10% sequentially, and that third-quarter shipments could be marginally better. Wang said performance will likely not improve until the company’s planned restructuring is completed in the fourth quarter, however. Company president Jim Wong said the company lowered its tablet shipment forecast due mainly to excessive inventory that has built up at distributor locations. Wong believes end user sales have been lower than expected because of strong competition from competing tablet models. More →
Shares of RIM stock have taken a beating since the company announced devastating first-quarter earnings last Thursday. The Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry maker missed Wall Street’s first-quarter consensus, it lowered its full-year guidance, it announced workforce reductions, it confirmed product delays and investors went running for the door as did a top executive. Since the earnings release last week, RIM’s stock has fallen more than 25%. This is bad news for every RIM investor, but two in particular must be especially upset. RIM Co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie collectively own more than 10% of the company, a stake that helped each man achieve billionaire status. Last year, Lazaridis was ranked the world’s 651st richest man by Forbes with a net worth of $1.9 billion, and Balsillie was No. 692 on the list with a net worth of $1.8 billion. Fast forward to today, and neither man can call himself a billionaire any longer. The cheifs’ stake in the company is still worth more than $1 billion combined, but separately, their net worths are now just roughly $800 million a piece. We doubt the employees set to be laid off in the coming weeks and months will shed any tears for the Co-CEOs’ loss, but it’s just another piece of a puzzle that continues to fall apart. Some analysts believe RIM is hardly out for the count, however, and we agree that the company has a bit of fight left in it. If Balsillie and Lazaridis hope to rejoin the billionaire club, it’s time to put those gloves on and start swinging. More →
When Apple first unveiled its iPhone 4 smartphone last summer, most media and bloggers were in agreement that the new glass construction was stunning. They also agreed, however, that the iPhone 4 would likely be more prone to significant damage than other smartphones due to the fragile nature of glass compared to plastic and metal. While we’ve heard our fair share of shattered iPhone stories, U.S. Air Force Combat Controller Ron Walker’s tale should help dispel the notion that the iPhone 4 is inherently fragile. While leaning out of an airplane looking for landmarks, Walker’s Velcro pocket flap popped open and his iPhone 4 plummeted to the earth below. At the time, the plane was traveling at 150 m.p.h at an altitude of roughly 1,000 feet. Once on the ground, Walker told a few friends what had happened, one of whom installed Apple’s “Find My iPhone” app on his own handset in an attempt to locate Walker’s lost phone. Unexpectedly, the app found Walker’s iPhone immediately and when the men drove to its location, they found the smartphone in perfect working condition without a scratch on it. Walker kept his iPhone in a standard Griffin case and it had no other casing or special protection at the time of its fall. More →
Fresh intel indicates that Best Buy will be dropping the price of the Samsung Galaxy Tab, U.S. wireless provider Sprint, to just $299 with a new two-year contract — the device will retail for $499 when activated with a month-to-month contract and $549 with no contract at all. The above image, which comes to us courtesy of a Best Buy source, all but confirms this. No word on if this pricing is exclusive to Best Buy or if it will also be mirrored by Sprint. Recent rumors indicate that Verizon Wireless will also be dropping the price of the Galaxy Tab to $499 contract-free. What do you think? Is the tablet any more attractive at $299 or $499?
Both Zach and I have bought no fewer than five Roku XDS units as holiday gifts this season. So it comes as no surprise to us that Amazon has slashed $20 off of the device’s price now that our Rokus are all wrapped, mailed, and committed. The online retail giant has quietly reduced the price of the 1080p streaming media player from $99.99 down to $79.99. The Roku XDS offers full Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu Plus compatibility, as well as a host of other streaming options thanks to an online channel-store available to all users. Procrastination literally just paid you $20. The XDS is currently listed as “temporarily out of stock,” but if time is not of the essence, you can still go ahead and order yourself Roku’s high-end offering at the new, low price. More →
Here’s a bit of good news: Hulu has just announced that its Hulu Plus premium subscription service will shed $2 from its monthly price tag. As the press release reads: “The monthly price for Hulu Plus moving forward is just $7.99. Any current subscribers who joined during our preview period will receive a credit for the difference from the $9.99 preview price. This credit will automatically be applied to their next billing cycle.”
But the juice doesn’t stop there. Hulu has also announced the following promotions:
• One free week trials for all new subscribers. In addition, current subscribers who joined during the preview period will receive a credit for one week of Hulu Plus toward their next month’s subscription.
• Two free weeks of Hulu Plus for both current subscribers and friends they invite through our referral program. Subscribers can learn more by clicking on the “Referrals” tab on their Hulu profile page.
• 11 weeks ($20 worth) of free Hulu Plus with the purchase of a Sony BRAVIA connected TV or Blu-ray player through January 31, 2011. (See sony.com/huluplus.)
• One free month of Hulu Plus with the purchase of a Roku device through December 15, 2010. (See roku.com/hulu.)
The release also notes that the service is launching on Roku today and will be coming to “Internet-connected Vizio, LG Electronics, and Panasonic Blu-ray players and HDTVs; TiVo Premiere DVRs; the Xbox 360; and Western Digital’s WD TV Live Hub Media Center and WD TV Live Plus Network Media Player,” in the coming months. Updates to the Hulu Plus iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Samsung, and PlayStation 3 players will be made available this week.
Anyone reconsidering Hulu Plus after the price drop? More →
There is a fairly extensive support thread over at Google — that stretches from January of this year all the way to the present — that details issues some Nexus One owners are having with Wi-Fi connections. The bug reports all read like this: your N1 connects to a wireless network; you put the phone down and the display eventually goes to sleep; while the screen is off the N1 is still technically connected to the wireless router but no data is passing through the device; the device sees itself as having a connection to Wi-Fi so it does not revert to cellular data; no email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. updating/data is flowing in the background. The thread reports that the only way to remedy this issue is to flick Wi-Fi off then on every time you turn the screen on, or to turn Wi-Fi off completely. The thread reports that the glitch happens primarily on AT&T model Nexus Ones and later models of the T-Mobile N1s. The group of affected users have seemingly flushed out the Google suggestion that it is a specific type of router causing the issue, and no specific Android firmware can be pegged as the culprit. We want to hear from you AT&T and T-Mobile Sexy Nexy owners. Are you seeing this issue?
This past Wednesday Apple reported a very solid quarter due to growing iPhone and iPod sales that provided enough revenue to diminish its waning personal computer sales. Unfortunately it looks like Microsoft had no such cushion. For the first time in the company’s storied 23-year history, Microsoft reported a year over year slide as Q3 FY09 revenue declined 6 percent to $13.65 billion. Net income slid as well, down a disheartening 32 percent YoY to $2.98 billion. While enterprise revenue remained stable in the quarter, the company cited “weakness in the global PC and Server markets” in rationalizing its poor Q3 performance. So when might things pick up in Redmond? Microsoft admittedly has a lot riding on Windows 7, beta versions of which have been received with open arms by developers and end users alike. With resoundingly positive feedback from beta testers so far, Microsoft could be able to revive stagnant sales on the back of its new OS. According to the company, Windows 7 is still on track for a release in FY10.