As each year draws to a close, we can always count on a flurry of predictions for the tech industry over the coming 12 months. Our favorite soothsaying for 2012 came on Friday from Investor’s Business Daily, and it included a number of gems such as the fall of Apple. So why, exactly, is Apple set to falter in 2012? According to IBD, it’s because “the iPhone is boxy, flat and feeling stale,” while Samsung’s Galaxy line of smartphones “seems cooler.” The site also says Apple’s software advantage with iOS will diminish because “Google’s Android platform [is] now the fastest-growing mobile OS.” IDB’s Brian Deagon continues, “Smartphones and tablets will become commodity items and Apple will be eaten by the collective Android gang.” And while Apple is preparing to launch its first HDTV offering, IBD notes that Samsung is king of the television market as well. Apple will eventually be supplanted as the biggest tech company in the world, of course, but IBD probably would have been better off making this prediction in a year when Apple wasn’t preparing to launch a completely redesigned iPhone and a Siri-fueled HDTV. Even still, I’m sure we had as much fun reading the site’s predictions as the author had writing them. Other IBD forecasts for 2012: “Twitter will totter,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will be fired, ultrabooks will be huge and “BlackBerry will go the way of Palm.”
Apple has reportedly met with top media executives to discuss the company’s vision of the television market’s future, suggesting that the company is moving full steam ahead on its rumored Siri-powered HDTV. The television is expected to include similar technology to the company’s current Apple TV set top box, which allows users to stream content such as movies, music and photos over a wireless network. Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue has reportedly been in the aforementioned meetings and has pitched the idea of a television that could be controlled by voice or motion, seemingly similar to Microsoft’s Kinect technology, and Cue has discussed “new ways Apple’s technology could recognize users across phones, tablets and TVs,” The Wall Street Journal said Monday. Steve Jobs was said to have been working on a prototype for several years before his passing in 2011. It remains unclear when such a product might hit the market, although early rumors have suggested it will use a display provided by Sharp and will launch in mid-2012. More →
Apple may launch an iMac with integrated “TV capability” before it launches its own full-blown HDTV, Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair said Wednesday. Blair said Apple’s new iMacs, which could launch during the first half of 2012, will integrate several features that are currently found in the Apple TV set top box and create a “slimmer all-in-one PC with TV capabilities.” Blair doesn’t make any mention of the Siri voice engine, which Apple is expected to use in its HDTV to completely remove any need for a remote control. “Apple could effectively start with what they already have on the manufacturing line and slowly push their offering from 27 inches and scale up from there to 32 inches and then move on to the 32, 50 and 55 inch market,” Blair explained. While such an idea might be attractive, a number of companies already offer coaxial cable accessories that allow users to watch TV on their Mac computers. Siri voice integration and Apple’s knack for developing killer user experiences are the ingredients that are likely required to make such a product truly ground-breaking. More →
Apple’s competition is scrambling as it attempts to figure out exactly what the company has in store for the television industry next year, one analyst reports. In a recent note to clients, Jefferies & Company analyst Peter Misek writes that production of Apple’s debut television will begin in February at a Sharp plant in Japan. The HDTV will utilize Sharp display panels according to the analyst, and it will launch some time in mid-2012. Companies like Samsung are reportedly looking to Google TV as a potential draw for future sets, but first-generation devices powered by Android and Google’s TV product did not fare well. A report from last month suggested that the key ingredient in Apple’s HDTV will be Siri, allowing users to replace remotes and standard navigation with voice commands like “put on the Yankee game” or “turn to channel five.” Apple has not yet made any announcements regarding the rumored HDTV.
Black Friday is shaping up to be huge for consumers shopping on mobile devices this year, and it looks like consumers shopping for mobile devices will be abundant as well. A new survey conducted by Retrevo.com found that Black Friday bargain hunters will be on the look out for tablets more so than any other gadget next Friday. Among those polled, 32% said they would be hunting for a Black Friday deal on a tablet this holiday season. 25% of respondents said they would scout for deals on HDTVs, 24% said they would be looking for deals on laptops and 19% plan to hunt for deals on smartphones this Black Friday. Read on for more. More →
On Wednesday Ryz Media announced that it has completely revamped its MyTVRemote for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, an accessory that allows iOS device owners to control their TVs without a standard clicker. The MyTVRemote has been updated with a newer IR transceiver, as well as a new orb design. It also provides support for a complete program guide for every zip code in the United States. Using the free MyTVRemote application, TV watchers can see what the most popular programs on TV are or connect using Facebook or Twitter to discuss shows. The MyTVRemote is available in four colors for $9.99 and the corresponding application is free. Hit the jump for the full press release. More →
Nintendo’s next generation Wii console — currently codenamed “Project Cafe” — could land later this year, and it may sport a new controller with a touchscreen display. A user in the NeoGaf forums has posted several images that provide additional details on Nintendo’s rumored system. According to the photos, “Screen Stream takes the 1080p image and pushes each rendered quarter to the player’s personal TV screen,” which is on the controller itself. So if you’re partaking in a four-player game, for example, you’ll be able to view your slice of the HDTV screen directly on your controller. Similarly, we imagine instances where a gamer could manage his or her character’s traits or abilities directly from the controller itself, without having to pause the game for everyone to access game menu options. IGN says the Nintendo Wii 2 will likely cost between $350 and $400, will offer 1080p output with possible support for stereoscopic 3D, and will run a newer version of AMD’s R700 GPU. Hit the jump for more images. More →
We just got back from Samsung’s spring 2011 product lineup event, where we had a chance to check out a host of the company’s new products — including some previously announced devices that are just making their way to the United States (Wi-Fi Galaxy Tab, Galaxy Player devices). Our favorite part of the event, though, was getting to check out some of the new 3D TVs. Samsung says that its UN55D8000 ($3,599.99) and UN46D8000 ($2,799.99), which launched in February, will now each ship with two pairs of its new Samsung SSG-3700SR 3D glasses. The glasses weigh under an ounce and only work with Samsung’s 2011 lineup of 3DTVs. Samsung will also start including Blu-ray 3D versions of the movie Megamind and the complete Shrek collection with each TV. We spent a few minutes watching Megamind with the new glasses on, and can honestly say that we could see ourselves using them at home. They were light, comfortable, and unobtrusive.
Samsung also said that it will be introducing several new features in to its Smart Hub software on its televisions. Smart Hub will now offer a new “store within a store” option that will allow you to purchase additional content within an application. Smart Hub lets you quickly access a host of programs, like Netflix Watch Instantly, Hulu Plus, MLB.TV, and more. Similarly, Samsung’s new remote control application for its Galaxy S smartphones will allow you to view content on your TV right on your phone. The feature is Twin View, and while we didn’t see it in action, the idea sounds awesome to us. Overall, we’re impressed with what we saw and are excited to start seeing more 3D TVs, better glasses, and more smart apps for televisions, hit the market.
We scored some hands-on time with the brand new Motorola ATRIX 4G for AT&T earlier, and it’s definitely impressive. Running a 1GHz Tegra dual core processor, the ATRIX 4G is a perfect example of how the superphone class has really evolved since the introduction of the Google Nexus One just a year ago. It’s hard to beat the ATRIX 4G in the specifications department with a huge 1,930mAh battery, gorgeous 960 x 540 qHD display, and all the requisite HD video features. One of the most impressive things that we got to demo was the HDMI video out capabilities that turn the ATRIX, when coupled with your HDTV, into a real media center. Plug in your HDMI cable, turn on the TV, and the ATRIX 4G display morphs immediately into a remote control to access a Front Row-esque interface on your big screen. Pretty cool stuff. Gaming was also impressive, with no noticeable frame rate or performance issues, even under heavy processor load. NVIDIA has done an incredible job of optimizing this thing for gaming and graphics work. We’re fired up about the ATRIX 4G, but even after our rather lengthy demo with the handset, it was still cool to the touch — very impressive. Our video is uploading, so sit tight for just a couple minutes, alright? More →
LG announced Monday that it will unveil the world’s largest 3D LED television at the Consumer Electronics Show next week in Las Vegas. Or, to be more specific, LG’s LZ9700 is “the world’s largest FULL LED-backlight LCD 3D TV (FULL LED 3D TV).” Packing a mammoth display measuring 72 inches diagonally, the LZ9700 is a 400Hz HDTV capable of delivering “life-sized action” in 2D and 3D alike. Other notable specifications include DLNA support, Micro Pixel Control and support for LG’s Magic Motion Remote Control. “The LZ9700 combines the ultimate in LG’s picture quality with our latest developments in 3D TV,” said Havis Kwon, President and CEO of LG Home Entertainment Company, in a statement. “With the LZ9700, LG is poised to take the lead in the TV market with the world’s largest FULL LED screen that delivers a truly outstanding TV viewing experience.” The LG LZ 9700 will launch in early 2011, though pricing and a specific release date are not yet available. Hit the break for LG’s full press release. More →
We’re at T-Mobile’s intimate myTouch event right now (we’re currently snuggling up with all four colors — white, black, red and purple), and here are our first-hand impressions:
- It feels good in the hand. The device is pretty slim, has a slight Android chin at the bottom, and all in all seems to be very solidly-built.
- The screen is beautiful, sharp and bright — but not as good as an AMOLED in our opinion.
- It rocks the myTouch UI that first appeared with the myTouch Slide, though it seems a bit more refined now.
- We’re currently watching Vincent from SlashGear and Sascha from PC Magazine try to establish a video call. It was unsuccessful at first, but it seems like they’re having way too much fun now that it’s working. Never mind, Sascha is yelling at the phone now.
- Watching a demo of the phone streaming video to a TV set was pretty cool. After some quick initial buffering, movies, photos and YouTube played effortlessly on the HDTV.
We’re pretty excited for the launch of the new myTouch. It’s packed with features and it nicely compliments T-Mobile’s stock Android G2 device as a younger-focused counterpart. Hit the jump for our full gallery, ok?
Well, this one came out of nowhere… T-Mobile has just introduced the new myTouch, and it’s a beauty. Packed with a 1GHz Snapdragon MSM8255 CPU, 5 megapixel camera, 3.8″ display, and front facing camera, the new T-Mobile myTouch compliments the new T-Mobile G2, and pushes the myTouch lineup forward. T-Mobile is making video chat available over 3G networks not just Wi-Fi, which is a great feature, in addition to HSPA+, a pre-installed 8GB microSD card, and Android 2.2. The new myTouch will come in 4 colors, white, black, red, and plum, and it will be “available in time for the holidays.” So, what’s it going to be? G2 or the new myTouch? One more photo after the break followed by the press release! More →
Today, Panasonic announced that they will add Twitter to the list of built-in web entertainment technologies on their VIERA CAST enabled HDTVs and Blu-ray disc players. The company already offers Skype, Netflix, Pandora, Fox Sports, Amazon Video-On-Demand, YouTube, Picasa, Bloomberg, and weather services on VIERA televisions with the IPTV functionality built-in. Panasonic’s VP of corporate development had this to say:
Since we introduced Panasonic VIERA CAST IPTVs three years ago we have added more and more of the top entertainment and social networking sites in the world. The addition of Twitter to VIERA CASTfurther strengthens the interactive options Panasonic VIERA HDTV owners can now use to communicate with family and friends worldwide. Consumers with VIERA CAST-enabled HDTVS can now tweet on Twitter, video chat via Skype, share videos on YouTube and digital photos via Google Picasa right from the comfort of their living rooms.”
Maybe the future of HDTV isn’t in 3D and ridiculous refresh rates… maybe it’s applications? We’ve got the full press release for you after the break. Let us know if functionality like this is something that interests you, or if you think it is just something that will get in the way of your television-viewing enjoyment. More →