What to expect at WWDC 2011

By on June 6, 2011 at 12:01 PM.

What to expect at WWDC 2011

Today is the day that Apple CEO Steve Jobs and other executives will unveil the next advancements out of the industry’s leading innovator at WWDC 2011. While Apple has already announced that the company will be talking about three different main products — iOS 5, iCloud, and Mac OS X Lion — the fact is, Apple once again could possibly change (and influence) the entire way we use computers and mobile devices. Let’s look at iCloud, for example: if Apple is able to transition the device-centric approach to how we work with information and apps to a task-centric approach where the PowerPoint presentation you’re working on is what matters, and not what computer or tablet or smartphone you’re editing it from, that in itself a huge move forward in computing. Other companies have been trying to accomplish this for years, but we having a feeling that Apple is about to show us the beginnings of something so seamless, it really could find mass adoption, unlike most current solutions. Add in music, photos, videos, and your documents, and you should be able to pick up any computer or device and have access to all of your information and data from wherever you are. Coupled with a rumored Airport Extreme and TimeCapsule refresh in which the devices will run iOS and a feature an A4 or A5 processor, and all of your data could sit on one of your own devices and it would use your own internet connection to serve up your files directly to you. Lastly, what if iCloud allowed you to just walk up to any iOS or Mac computer and let you sign in, sit down, and practically act as if though it was your device or computer? What if Apple then implements this using NFC in the next iPhone — just place your iDevice next to a Mac computer, and it will instantly be transformed into your computer. Hit the break for more! More →

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Barnes & Noble announces the all new NOOK

By on May 24, 2011 at 10:15 AM.

Barnes & Noble announces the all new NOOK

Barnes & Noble on Tuesday unveiled its all new NOOK eBook reader, and to say it’s an improvement over the previous-generation model is an understatement. This new version replaces the older greyscale model, not the still-young NOOK color, and it features a major improvement we probably all saw coming… a touchscreen. The eReader sports an on-screen keyboard and it also allows readers to look up words or take notes with simple taps on the beautiful E Ink display. The new NOOK features just one button compared to the Kindle’s 38, which obviously simplifies the user experience significantly. More importantly, the new NOOK can last up to two months on a single charge — double the battery life of Amazon’s Kindle. Other nifty features include a new proprietary dissolve transition that takes readers from one page to the next, and social media integration that allows users to share recommendations via Twitter, Facebook and more. Of course the new eReader also features Wi-Fi connectivity and owners can enjoy free hotspot access at all Barnes & Noble stores as well as every AT&T hotspot across the country. The new NOOK will retail for $139.99 when it becomes available on June 10th from Barnes & Noble, Best Buy and more. Pre-orders are available immediately.

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Verizon Wireless 4G LTE MiFi available now, in stores April 21st

By on April 18, 2011 at 9:28 AM.

Verizon Wireless 4G LTE MiFi available now, in stores April 21st

While we’ve been testing out Samsung’s 4G LTE mobile hotspot for a couple weeks, there’s just something about Novatel that we can’t shake. After all, they were the first with a MiFi device. If you have been holding on to the thought of a 4G LTE MiFi ever since CES, today is the day. The Verizon Wireless MiFi 4510L 4G LTE mobile hotspot is now available for purchase from Verizon online, and will be available in stores on April 21st for $99 after a two year service agreement and rebate. Verizon’s $50 monthly service plan gets you 5GB of data usage, with additional usage billed per gigabyte. The new MiFi, in addition to obviously supporting Verizon’s 4G LTE network, features the ability to share a microSD card over your mini wireless-network and offers an eInk display which conveniently shows network status and battery life at all times on the front of the unit. Verizon has also noted — via Twitter — that it has “a mess of new cities and towns” launching with LTE this Thursday, April 21st. The full press release is after the break. More →

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Layar 5.0 for iPhone, Android launches with Facebook and Twitter sharing

By on April 11, 2011 at 11:59 PM.

Layar 5.0 for iPhone, Android launches with Facebook and Twitter sharing

Layar, the company behind the popular augmented reality app for the iPhone and Android smartphones, announced on Monday that Layar 5.0 is available. The latest iteration allows users to share screen shots — of anything they view through the application — through Facebook or Twitter. Layar 5.0 also provides new animation capabilities, which means some layer content can come to life in 3D form. Coincidentally, we were using Layar this weekend while walking around a new town, and while we find it much easier to simply use a search engine to find local points of interest — because the Layar browser didn’t always return accurate results — we applaud Layar’s efforts to turn local search into an interactive tool that can provide a fun and unique experience. The app is free and is available in both the Android Market and iTunes App Store now, and Layar says that a new Symbian version with the updated features is in the works. More →

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Qik announces Qik Video Connect iPhone app, launches today

By on March 15, 2011 at 9:00 AM.

Qik announces Qik Video Connect iPhone app, launches today

Have you been a fan of Qik, yet kind of depressed its live streaming iPhone app has fallen by the way side? Qik has just announced that it has a brand new app for the iPhone and iPod touch, and it’s called Qik Video Connect. Qik Video Connect streams live video like you’re used to, directly to your Qik.com user page, but it takes things one step further by offering live video calling (over 3G as well as Wi-Fi), video messaging and video sharing. If your friends aren’t around for a live video chat, just shoot them a video message, or even post it up automatically on Facebook or Twitter. Qik also has a premiun version of Video Connect that’s available for $2.99 if you want to access enhanced features like real-time video effects, the capability to edit your videos prior to upload, and HD video quality uploads. We have been messing witih Qik Video Connect for a little while, and well, we really love having Qik live streaming back on our iPhones. The new app is clean, easy to use, and the video sharing features are really intriguing. Both versions will be available in the App Store later on today. The full press release can be found after the break. More →

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iOS 4.3 to be released at 10AM today; personal hotspot supports 5 connections?

By on March 8, 2011 at 8:00 AM.

iOS 4.3 to be released at 10AM today; personal hotspot supports 5 connections?

One of our sources has just let us know something pretty interesting. There has been a lot of talk surrounding Apple’s personal hotspot feature, specifically it’s capability of only supporting 3 wireless connections (as opposed to 5 like many other devices). Well, we have been told it’s all left to the carrier to decide. If a carrier requests it, five devices will be supported, but by default, it’s three.

Oh, and we’ve also been told iOS 4.3 will be available for download publicly at 10AM PT today. Fire up iTunes and get your update trigger-finger ready!

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New Android API eliminates Bluetooth pairing using NFC

By on February 19, 2011 at 8:00 AM.

New Android API eliminates Bluetooth pairing using NFC

Google made its software development kit (SDK) available for version 2.3.3 of the Android OS earlier this month, and Stanford University’s MobiSocial News uncovered a nifty feature that hasn’t gotten much coverage. The new SDK features an API for “insecure Bluetooth socket connections” on both the client and server sides. Coupled with Gingerbread’s widely publicized NFC capabilities, this will allow developers to enable a tap-to-connect feature that lets NFC-equipped Android phones forgo the Bluetooth pairing process. Similar to the functionality HP showed off with its TouchPad tablet and Pre 3 smartphone at the Think Beyond event last week, devices running Android 2.3.3 or later can be connected to each other with a simple tap that will automatically initiate data transfers. Apple is rumored to be cooking up a unique twist for the NFC functionality coming to its next-generation iPhone, so smart functionality beyond mobile payments such as tap-to-share will certainly help Android’s case in the meantime. More →

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New ‘Find My Friends’ feature coming to iPhone in iOS 4.3

By on January 13, 2011 at 11:50 PM.

New ‘Find My Friends’ feature coming to iPhone in iOS 4.3

Apple released its first developer build of iOS 4.3 on Wednesday and needless to say, developers have been on a treasure hunt ever since. We compiled a list of new iOS features last night, but an interesting one popped up early this morning. The forthcoming addition, found buried in the iOS code, is called “Find My Friends.” The purpose of the service is unknown for the time being, but the code suggests that it is tied to MobileMe. The name of the forthcoming feature obviously leads us to believe that Apple plans to add location sharing to MobileMe, likely in line with Google Latitude, which allows users to broadcast their locations to friends. More details will surely follow as new iOS 4.3 beta builds are released. More →

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Google incorporates email delegation into Gmail, time to hire an assistant

By on December 15, 2010 at 9:38 AM.

Google incorporates email delegation into Gmail, time to hire an assistant

If you’re a Google Apps user, you’ve had the ability to delegate access to your email account for quite some time. Now, Google is giving all users of its Gmail web-base email service that option. Via a blog post, the Big G announced the email delegation feature for all users of its popular email platform. The new functionality can be found in “Settings” by clicking on the “Accounts and Import” tab. From there you can add another Gmail account that you would like to grant access to your inbox; delegates will not be able to change settings, passwords, or chat as the user. “Each account will open in a different browser tab or window so you can view both accounts simultaneously, all while signed into your primary account,” writes Google. The new feature is immediately available to all users. More →

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Google Latitude for iOS hits the App Store

By on December 13, 2010 at 11:02 AM.

Google Latitude for iOS hits the App Store

Remember Google Latitude — Google’s location-based social network that allows users to easily share their locations with friends? Yeah, neither did we… at least not until Google’s new iOS app popped up over the weekend. Google Latitude is half-baked at best, though we imagine once Google launches a social network that doesn’t flop, Latitude will probably be folded in to add the LBS element. For the time being, all the service really does is share your location with friends (and Google’s data bank). No added value, no special features — just location sharing. The app supports background updating as well, so if you’d like to trade battery life for the ability to be stalked with alarming accuracy, Latitude is good for that as well. Google Latitude for iOS is available immediately in the App Store, and is compatible with the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad and iPod touch (third and fourth generations). More →

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WSJ: Google preparing to open digital bookstore, Google Editions

By on December 1, 2010 at 10:29 PM.

WSJ: Google preparing to open digital bookstore, Google Editions

A report filed by the Wall Street Journal indicates that Google, Inc. will be opening an online eBook store in the near future. Scott Dougall, a Google product director, told The Journal that the new store “is set to debut in the U.S. by the end of the year and internationally in the first quarter of next year.” Independent booksellers around the U.S. are expected to play a fairly large roll in Google’s eBook ecosystem. As the WSJ reports: “Users will be able to buy books directly from Google or from multiple online retailers—including independent bookstores—and add them to an online library tied to a Google account. They will be able to access their Google accounts on most devices with a Web browser, including personal computers, smartphones and tablets.” The Google model heavily contrasts that of digital reading devices like the Amazon Kindle; the Kindle requires you to purchase books from Amazon’s store in the Kindle format.

Google Editions would also have a revenue-sharing model for third parties. Websites and blogs that talk about a particular book could link its readers to Google Editions to purchase the title and share in Google’s cut of the sale. Proponents of the service say it will provide authors an opportunity to sell their work anytime it is discussed on the internet.

Google’s passion for books is not new news by any means. The company has publicly stated its desire to scan all the world’s books (~150 million) into digital format and make the contents of the digital library available to its search engine users. More →

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Steve Jobs on wireless, driverless printing

By on November 23, 2010 at 1:39 PM.

Steve Jobs on wireless, driverless printing

Haven’t got your Steve Jobs email fix for the day yet? Good, because another one is making the rounds and this time it’s about Apple’s AirPrint feature. If you have been keeping up on the saga, Apple announced AirPrint with support for some select HP printers, but it also indicated you’d be able to print to any shared printer on your local Wi-Fi network. At iOS 4.2 launch, however, only the HP models are officially supported (and enabled). Here is a reported email to Steve Jobs on the issue and the response:

Dear Steve,

You got me all hype about AirPrint. Now with iOS 4.2 released, I find out that I can only print on 11 select printers. Seriously?!

And, Steve Jobs’ alleged reply:

Lots more coming soon. It’s what it takes to make a giant leap to driverless printing, which is huge.

There are unofficial ways to re-enable support for shared printer printing on Mac OS X 10.6.5 and your iOS devices, but for the purists out there, maybe word of this feature slowly being reintroduced in a “huge” way will give you peace of mind. More →

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Path photo-sharing social network for iPhone launches

By on November 15, 2010 at 2:24 PM.

Path photo-sharing social network for iPhone launches

From Shawn Fanning (creator of Napster) and Dave Morin (ex-Facebook) comes a new social network platform. Launched just last night in Apple’s App Store, Path creates (and limits you) to a social network of 50 close friends. You can share your personal moments in the form of photos, tag places, things and people, and also capture where you were at the time geographically. Since your network is limited to a max of 50 friends, the creators of Path think that you’ll not only share more often, but you’ll share more personal “Paths” that you normally wouldn’t throw up on Facebook or Twitter. The problem with Path, at least in our limited use of the application and network, is that with no external sharing, and a very, very limited group of friends, we’re not sure how useful the application is and will be. For instance, most of the stuff I want to share is public anyway (Twitpics, Facebook uploads), and the private photos I don’t want to share publicly, well, they are private. In theory, it would be great if there was a public by default option in Path, something that would let you use Path in conjunction with Twitter and Facebook, and a private option which would then limit your photo’s exposure to just your internal Path network of friends. In a world where updating Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, Instagram, and everything else we’re on constantly, Path at this point seems too limited to be useful. Hopefully that will change, though. Let us know if you have given it a go and what your thoughts are — it’s available now if you want to give a try. More →

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