We’ve already seen an 11-minute walk-through video comparing a new Windows 8 beta tablet to an iPad 2 running iOS 5, but there are plenty of features Microsoft is cooking up that didn’t make it into the beta release of the OS. In a new video, Microsoft highlights a handful of currently unavailable applications that make use of the oft-praised Metro user interface Windows 8 borrowed from the Windows Phone platform. In the video, Microsoft shows off several apps including Mail, Calendar, People, Messaging and Photos, which features seamless Facebook and Flickr integration. The People application also features Facebook integration, pulling Facebook friends and address book contacts into a single stream. Microsoft’s full demo video follows below. More →
According to Apple’s new MobileMe transition FAQ page, users will be able to access their iCloud services from the web. Specifically, the site says:
Will I be able to access iCloud services on the web?
Yes. Web access to iCloud Mail, Contacts, Calendar, and Find My iPhone will be available at icloud.com this fall.
The FAQ also details some other issues that MobileMe users may be concerned about as their accounts are moved to iCloud. Apple says that photos, apps, music, and books do not count against the 5GB of free storage that comes with iCloud, and users will be able to buy more at a later time. It’s unclear how much additional space will cost, but Apple says it will explain more in the fall. As you’re likely aware, iCloud was announced during WWDC as a replacement for MobileMe. It will automatically store content across all of your devices and keep your mail, contacts, and calendar in sync across all devices. Users will simply need to sign into a new device to pull in all of their settings, photos, and more. More →
On the heels of today’s MacBook Pro unveiling, Apple announced that it would be making a preview of Mac OS X 10.7 — codenamed Lion — available to developers. The company writes that Lion “takes some of the best ideas from iPad and brings them back to the Mac.” Apple details several, previously disclosed, features — such as Mission Control, Launchpad, and multitouch gestures — along with a handful of new, unannounced feature additions:
- A new version of Mail, with an elegant, widescreen layout inspired by the iPad; Conversations, which automatically groups related messages into one easy to read timeline; more powerful search; and support for Microsoft Exchange 2010;
- AirDrop, a remarkably simple way to copy files wirelessly from one Mac to another with no setup;
- Versions, which automatically saves successive versions of your document as you create it, and gives you an easy way to browse, edit and even revert to previous versions;
- Resume, which conveniently brings your apps back exactly how you left them when you restart your Mac or quit and relaunch an app;
- Auto Save, which automatically saves your documents as you work;
- The all new FileVault, that provides high performance full disk encryption for local and external drives, and the ability to wipe data from your Mac instantaneously; and
- Mac OS X Lion Server, which makes setting up a server easier than ever and adds support for managing Mac OS X Lion, iPhone®, iPad and iPod touch® devices.
The new operating system has been given a “summer of 2011” due date. A link to Apple’s new Mac OS X Lion page and the full press release are waiting for you after the break.
New intel gathered by enthusiast blog Droid-Life sheds some light on the steps Motorola XOOM owners are going to have to take to make their tablets LTE compatible. Approximately 90 days after launch, customers can send their XOOM units back to Motorola, free of charge, for the promised LTE upgrade. The whole process, according to a Talking Points data sheet, should take six business days. The memo also notes that users “do not have to change their [data] plan when transitioning to 4G LTE.” Hit the jump to have a look at the document for yourself… and let us know what you think. More →
Today, at the company’s planned media event, social networking giant Facebook took the wraps off of its new communication service. Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, noted that the new system aims to be seamless, informal, immediate, personal, simple, minimal, and short… but not email.
The new service will: provide messaging across all of the different ways people communicate (SMS, email, IM, SMS), a conversation history for reference and archiving, and a social inbox to aggregate all the messages you really care about.
The scenario presented is this: someone sends you an email that is displayed on Facebook as a chat window (the new system is being described as “very IM like”), when you reply to this message an email is sent back to your conversation partner. If you happen to be away from your computer when they reply, you can get a push email notification via the mobile Facebook application or via SMS (the company noted that a new iOS Facebook app will be launching today) and respond from there. The idea is to keep a permanent, running history of conversations with the people you care about while making digital communication feel like an actual, face-to-face conversation. “Your conversations are no longer locked in a phone or a particular email service,” said Facebook engineer Andrew Bozworth. “The days of typing “g2g” and “brb” are over.”
Users of Facebook will be given the opportunity to have a @facebook.com email address that matches the public user-name (facebok.com/public-useranme) that they’ve picked; Facebook employees will use the new fb.com domain purchased from the Farm Bureau. Down the road, the new service will support XMPP, IMAP, and several other open protocols to will allow users to access their Facebook messages however they want.
The company will be rolling out the new service slowly over the first few months; initial testers will be part of an invite system similar to the one used by Gmail early on. More →
It looks like both Vimeo and Yahoo! have jumped on the HTML5 bandwagon. Yesterday, the USA Today reported that internet streaming-video service Vimeo added HTML5 support for embedded video in order to be more compliant with the iPhone and iPad. Until now, the site had displayed embedded video using Adobe’s Flash technology.
Yahoo! Mail announced that it has released an HTML5 mobile webmail client specifically designed for the iPad. The company boasts that the new app is “optimized for the gorgeous large screen of the iPad.” The new Yahoo! Mail HTML5 interface is available now (mail.yahoo.com), and the company closes with, “this is just the first version, and we’ll be constantly iterating to add new features, improve performance, and make Yahoo! Mail for iPad the best it can possibly be.” More →
Today, Google announced planned improvements to the contacts manager located in its Gmail web-based email client. Google touts the Contacts feature now, “works more like the rest of Gmail” and that they incorporated a ton of user feedback. Improvements include:
- Keyboard shortcuts (go to Contacts and hit “?” for the full list)
- Sort by last name (look under “More actions”)
- Custom labels for phone numbers and other fields
- The ability to undo changes you’ve just made
- Automatic saving
- Structured name fields, so you can adjust titles, suffixes, and other name components
- A bigger, more prominent notes field
The new layout looks much cleaner and provides more functionality with fewer clicks of the mouse. Google also mentioned that they, “made it easier to get to Contacts and Tasks,” and that you’ll see links to the two in the upper left hand corner of your screen right under the Gmail logo. Hit the read link for the official Google post. Anyone seeing these updates yet? More →
We haven’t really covered Blockbuster’s DVD-by-mail service since this past March when a string of policy changes finally culminated in our exclusive scoop covering the elimination of Total Access’ one competitive edge over Netflix — the ability of subscribers to enjoy their free in-store rentals while they awaited new DVDs to be delivered by mail. Apparently, we weren’t the only ones appalled by the move. The following is pulled from the company’s latest 10-Q filing:
a $40.7 million decrease in by-mail revenues driven by a 34% average decline in by-mail subscribers”
So, in a single quarter, Blockbuster reveals that it shed 34 percent of its by-mail subscribers and the hejira resulted in a $40.7 million decline in by-mail revenue. Ouch. The prior quarter was no different, and Blockbuster has seen a $76.3 million total decline in by-mail revenue over the half. Time to switch things up, fellas.
[Via Zatz Not Funny!]
Ahhh Blockbuster. As rumors of a possible bankruptcy filing for the movie rental giant swarm throughout the blogosphere, we’ve learned of a new policy change for Blockbuster’s Total Access program that may help the company finally concede victory to Netflix and the barrage of streaming video options currently available. For those who are unaware of the service, Total Access is Blockbuster’s movies-by-mail service that competes directly with Netflix. Queue desired rentals online, receive between one and three movies at a time through the mail and then each time you send a movie back, you’ll receive the next one on your queue to replace it.
Forgetting the fact that Netflix also allows you to stream thousands of not-so-current movies online for free, the one advantage Total Access had over Netflix was the ability for customers to hand mailed movies over to any Blockbuster location in exchange for free in-store movie rentals. The Blockbuster location would then mail your movies back and you could enjoy your in-store rentals as you wait for new flicks to arrive by mail. Long story short, Total Access subscribers have movies on hand at all times, unlike Netflix subscribers who must wait between two and five days for their new flicks to arrive. It’s actually a pretty sweet deal — or “was” as the case may be. The following excerpt from Blockbuster’s Total Access terms and conditions reveals the company is quietly doing away with its leg-up, basically leaving Netflix ahead of the game in every conceivable way:
It’s been a long time in the making but Nokia has finally announced the culmination of its recent development and acquisitions: Nokia Messaging. The service is essentially a combination of messaging applications rolled up into what should be a nice and tidy little package. Mobile email, PIM management, Instant Messaging, push delivery services and more are all covered by the new Nokia Messaging product. There will also be an available web portal into the service (and how about a desktop suite built with Adobe Air?) that will allow users to send and receive email, manage files and more from any web browser. Tom Furlong, Senior Vice President, Consumer Messaging, Services & Software had this to say:
We believe everybody should have mobile messaging – it’s not a privilege service that’s meant only for a certain segment of the market. With Nokia Messaging, our customers can simply and affordably gain mobile access to the world’s most popular email and IM accounts. We are making mobile messaging an affordable experience for everyone, not just for those with specialized phones designed for messaging, but for everyone with a Nokia device.
We’re not exactly sure which comparable mobile devices don’t come with messaging as the beginning of that quote alludes to, but more options are always a good thing. There will be cost associated with this service of course, or at least with certain parts of it, so we can only hope Nokia doesn’t use carriers to force Nokia Messaging on users who might still prefer whatever free option they are accustomed to.