XP antivirus 2011

XP Anti-Virus 2011 or also known as Vista Anti-virus 2011 and Win 7 Anti-virus 2011 is a rogue program that will be installed on multiple operating system.

XP Antivirus

What's new in Google's Android 2.3 Gingerbread?

Part of the fun of owning an Android phone is receiving the updates -- you never know what new treats will arrive when one appears on your phone, like Santa coming down the chimney on Christmas Eve

GingerBread

Lenovo ThinkPad X1

Slimmer than Kate Moss after a month on the Slender diet is Lenovo’s gorgeous ThinkPad X1 laptop, details of which have just shimmied on to the InterWebs

Lenovo Thinkpad

Evolution of Cell Phone

Cell phones have evolved immensely since 1983, both in design and function

Evolution of Cell Phone

Samsung Galaxy S2 Review

The Samsung Galaxy S2 brings the Power of Love Samsung's history in the smartphone game has been pretty quiet – a few budget offerings, some false starts with Windows Mobile and the popular Galaxy S is pretty much it

Samsung Galaxy S2 Review

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Making High-Impact Presentations with the iPad/iPhone

According to data from SlideRocket, about one and ten presentations are viewed on a mobile device. And it looks like this is just the beginning.
Actually, making a presentation with a laptop seems passé. Why not use an iPad, which boots-up instantly and allows for easy navigation with the swipe of your finger? Or, if you are in an elevator and run into a VC, why not give a quick presentation with your iPhone?
Of course, SlideRocket is a top cloud application, which makes it extremely easy to develop mobile presentations. “Think of us as PowerPoint on steroids,” said Chuck Dietrich, who is the CEO.
With SlideRocket, you can integrate multimedia from Flickr and YouTube, as well as add surveys and Twitter feeds. There is even a back-end that has analytics (for example, did a VC spend a lot of time on the “Business Model” slide?)
And yes, SlideRocket is optimized for mobile devices, such as the iPhone and iPad. This is done through the use of a new technology called HTML5. Keep in mind that a presentation that looks good on a laptop may appear terrible on a mobile device.
Finally, because SlideRocket is in the cloud, it is possible to link slides to Google spreadsheets and other applications. “It takes little time to put together a presentation for my board of directors,” said Chuck. “There is no need to update the slides for the latest metrics on our business.”
Note:  Yesterday, VMware (NYSE: VMW) announced that it purchased SlideRocket.  The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Apple responds to iPhone, iPad tracking users' locations: Oops, our bad

map iphone tracker.jpgThe iPhone Tracker software shows where I've spent time the past few months using data collected by my 3G iPad.
Apple has finally responded to reports about the iPhone and 3G iPad tracking locations of the user and promises to address the issue with software updates.
The company denies it is tracking the location of iOS devices, but it is keeping a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around the user to "rapidly and accurately calculate its location when requested."
Apple claims the data being saved on devices is not just the user, but also data from other iPhone users in the area. The information being collected is anonymous. Regardless of who's data it is, my 3G iPad did do a fairly good job of keeping track of my whereabouts.
Researchers have found months of location information on iPhones and iPads, but Apple says this is a "bug" that will be fixed within a few weeks. Location information will be limited to seven days, and users will have an option to kill it completely.
The update also will stop sending this information to the computer when syncing. The data on the phone also will be encrypted.
I've always assumed my smartphone shares a ton of information, some of which I don't mind (I prefer that advertisers target me with ads I may like). However, it seems odd Apple would let this location "bug" drag on since researchers first discovered it in September.
It wasn't until a program was released that easily showed how much location information the iOS devices had on its users that Apple has offered a fix.
It's bad PR to have your mobile devices keeping months long location information on its users, but it could be worse.

Acer Iconia Tab A500 Review

It’s a season for new operating systems. Last week, the BlackBerry PlayBook hit shelves and now the Acer Iconia Tab A500 is bringing Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) to a sub-$500 price point. But how does Acer’s new tablet compare to the iPad, G-Slate, Xoom, and Galaxy Tab? Pretty well, actually.

Design

Acer has had a tough time breaking into the Android smartphone market, but its background in PCs and laptops is a strength when developing a larger tablet like the 10.1-inch Iconia Tab. The tablet isn’t as sleek as the iPad or PlayBook, but it looks a lot more useful from the get-go, with a full-size USB port on the side, a MicroSD slot, two rear speakers, a mini HDMI port, two cameras, an LED flash, a high-speed charging port, a stereo headphone jack, and a standard MicroUSB port. Its power button is also in a good spot and easy to press (unlike the PlayBook’s).
Acer Iconia Tab A500
The volume rocker and screen-locking toggle are less exciting. It’s a bit difficult to know when you’re pressing volume up or down on the unit, and the button for it is hard to press, in general. While the PlayBook has a prominently placed menu item for locking the orientation of the screen (if you don’t want it shifting whenever you rotate the screen), the Iconia Tab’s iPod-style locking switch seems a bit unnecessary and in the way. The same goes for its bulbous docking port, for which you’ll get no use unless you plan on coughing up another $80 to dock your Iconia Tab.
The Iconia Tab A500′s design is two-toned. If held horizontally, a shiny black border surrounds the screen and extends out to the left and right edges. A plastic case with a brushed-metal design covers the back and clamps the top and bottom of the unit, giving it a nice tapered edge that, while not as sexy as an Apple product, does make it easier to hold.
Acer Iconia Tab A500
It’s a good thing that the A500 is easy to hold too, because it’s the heaviest tablet on the market so far, weighing 730 grams — slightly more than the Motorola Xoom. Fortunately, the Iconia Tab, while heavy, has a more balanced weight distribution than Motorola’s tablet. The A500 also has competitive enough stats to justify its weight with 16GB of built in storage, a 1GHz dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, 1GB of RAM, a 5-megapixel rear camera, a 2-megapixel front camera, and all those ports.
The Iconia Tab’s screen is a standard 1280 x 800 resolution, though its colors seem a bit washed out compared with the iPad 2 and PlayBook. The touch sensitive grid is also more visible than we would like. However, these problems are minor, at most.

Android Honeycomb

Most problems we’ve had with the Iconia Tab aren’t hardware issues. Most of them are caused by the still buggy and unintuitive Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) OS. There were a lot of complaints about BlackBerry’s tablet, but the PlayBook’s operating system and iOS run circles around Android 3.0 in usability, design, and stability. Instead of looking forward, Google seems to have taken a step back in intuitive design, making the touch-based Honeycomb more like Microsoft Windows than anything else. And if you’ve ever tried to use Windows on a touchscreen, you know how much we just insulted Android 3.0. The PlayBook and iPad have operating systems that are built around a consistent user experience and universal gestures. Google’s first tablet OS is a chore to set up and forces users to build their desktops from scratch. Worse, it has an ugly, bland Tron-like design scheme to it that actually makes the experience less exciting than if it had no style at all, like previous versions of Android. Actions and gestures are inconsistent and the placement of items is baffling, at times. While Android has always lead the pack in multitasking and notifications, the PlayBook may have it beat. Android 3.0′s multitasking elements are not well implemented.

Lenovo Tablet Line-Up To Get Better With Time And Embrace The Globe

4 Tablets Upcoming 2011It’s no secret that right now tablets are hot and every major PC maker wants to make their way into the reinvigorated slate computing market. In reality most PC makers are either making announcements for tablets they will launch or they have already got some models to market.
Lenovo is one of those PC markers that has already launched a tablet this year, 2011. Lenovo has made available, albeit in limited areas, a tablet and a hybrid PC by the name of LePad and Ideapad U1 Hybrid, the 10.1-inch LePad which runs Lenovo OS or LeOS (Android 2.2 with heavy customizations) can be docked onto the Ideapad U1 Hybrid which will allow you to access Windows 7 using an Intel ULV powered system inside the dock.
Lenovo IdeaPad U1 02The LePad and Ideapad U1 Hybrid are both only available in China, where they have been a few months now. Recent talk from Lenovo concerning these two tablets going global hasn’t been too encouraging either.
However the LePad and the U1 Hybrid aren’t going to be the only tablets from Lenovo according to new reports. A new internal tablet roadmap for Lenovo has leaked and it shows the rough details for three devices and one hybrid system like the one for the LePad. The roadmap indicates that each of the unannounced devices will not be limited to China only for release.
Lenovo Media Tablet Product Roadmap leakThere will be a 7-inch tablet and two 10.1-inch tablets. The 7-inch hasn’t been named yet but it will have the same screen resolution (1280×800) as the 10.1-inch models and Android 3.0 Honeycomb will also be on all three. The first 10.1-inch that will be launched according to the roadmap is named Lenovo Skylight and the other is Lenovo Think Slate. The Think Slate will be an enterprise/business focused device with special security measures and a keyboard docking system for those users.
Other details uncovered in the roadmap leak can be viewed below.
Lenovo Skylight
  • Dual Core ARM processor
  • Android 3.0 Honeycomb
  • Lenovo Family UI
  • 10.1-inch 1280×800 LCD
  • Available outside China in select countries
  • Launch: 3rd Quarter 2011
Lenovo Think Slate
  • Dual Core ARM processor
  • Android 3.0 Honeycomb
  • Lenovo Family UI
  • 10.1-inch 1280×800 LCD
  • Security, Manageability, Enterprise, Customization
  • CTS
  • Available world wide
  • Launch: 3rd Quarter 2011 – 4th Quarter 2011
Lenovo “no name available”
  • Dual Core ARM processor
  • LeOS and Android 3.0 Honeycomb
  • 7-inch 1280×800 LCD
  • Available World Wide
  • Launch: 4th Quarter 2011 to 1st Quarter 2012
As you might expect Lenovo hasn’t issued an official statement to confirm or deny the validity of the info leak on the tablets just detailed.

Bargain alert: Buy a Dell Streak 7 tablet for $400, get a $100 gift card


You know what would be awesome? If Dell would drop the price of a WiFi-only Dell Streak 7 tablet to $299.99. You know what’s probably the next best thing? Dell’s currently offering the tablet for $399.99, but if you pick one up before May 1st you can get a $100 gift card. If you were planning on buying $100 worth of accessories from DEll anyway, that’s not a bad deal.
The Dell Streak is a 7 inch tablet with an 800 x 480 pixel display, Google Android 2.2 operating system, and a 1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual core processor. It’s not the most feature-packed new tablet on the market, but with promotions like this, it’s certainly one of the cheapest Android tablets from a top tier computer maker.

Tech wrap: Privacy storm strikes Sony, passes Apple


Apple denied it is tracking the movements of its iPhone customers, but said it will provide a software update that stores less location information on phones in response to public outcry over privacy issues. Apple plans to release a software update that would cut the size of the wireless hotspot location database stored on its iPhones, and stop backing up that information. The software will be released in the next few weeks, it said.
Users of location-based services like those offered on iPhones have a hard time reconciling the security and privacy implications that come with allowing third parties access to their information, writes Mashable’s Christina Warren.
Sony’s delay in announcing that hackers had stolen names, addresses and possibly credit card details from the 77 million user accounts of its video game online network sparked an online furor from users. Some gamers writing in online forums called for a boycott of Sony products, while shoppers at London video-games stores said they might leave the PSN network, which allows them to play games with other members and buy games online. A Sony spokesman said that after learning of the breach it took “several days of forensic investigation” before the company knew consumers’ data had been compromised.
One U.S. class-action lawyer said he was considering filing a lawsuit against Sony on behalf of consumers as soon as this week. Also, the Iowa and Connecticut attorneys general, who act as consumer advocates for their states, were discussing the matter with their staff, according to their offices. And a government watchdog in Britain said it had already launched an investigation of the incident, which put credit card information at risk.
EBay reported quarterly revenue that grew 15.9 percent to $2.55 billion, fueled by a 23 percent rise at PayPal and a 12 percent increase at its main marketplaces unit, beating Wall Street forecasts of $2.48 billion.
Nokia will axe 7,000 jobs and outsource its legacy Symbian software to cut $1.46 billion of costs as it struggles to compete in the fierce smartphone market. The move includes laying off 4,000 staff and transferring another 3,000 to services firm Accenture – a total 12 percent of its phone unit workforce. Accenture will take over Symbian software activities and support future smartphones, including those running on Microsoft’s Windows platform.
Google introduced its Docs app for Android phones, which allows users to upload content and open documents directly from Gmail. The app can also perform optical character recognition, turning text captured from the phone’s camera into an editable document.

Acer ZGB Chrome OS Notebook Details Surface



Last week brought reports that Google may charge a monthly subscription fee for using Chrome OS, ranging between $10 to $20. Although unconfirmed, it's believed that the subscription may be the result of a subsidizing plan to make the laptops more affordable for consumers. The plan reportedly covers laptop upgrades and the replacement of faulty hardware.
But now details of Acer's Chrome OS ZGB laptop have surfaced. Originally called the ZGA, the company started and then canceled the project last year. Now it's been re-launched as the ZGB, appearing in Chrome OS bug reports as of March 10. Unfortunately, details surrounding the hardware are slim at best.
According to the last line of the bug report, the Acer ZGB laptop will feature a display resolution of 1366 x 768. There's also mention of a LVDS to HDMI encoder by Chrontel, indicating that the notebook will be based on Intel's Atom processor-- AMD's Fusion platform natively supports HDMI, and doesn't need an external encoder chip. LVDS is the signal understood by LCD panels in notebooks.
"The CH7036 is specifically designed for Consumer Electronics Devices and Personal Computers that require High Definition (HD) Content video playback on the external displays," the report reads. "This IC implements an advanced LVDS receiver, a powerful video encoder, a flexible scaling engine and easy-to-configure audio interfaces which can seamlessly convert the LVDS signal source into HDMI /DVI formats as well as the analog RGB legacy display."
Chrome OS notebooks are expected to arrive in the June/July 2011 window, and will be sold in the same manner as Google's Android-based devices. Given the software's web-based roots, the rumored subscription fee may be a requirement for using the notebook outside the home network. Additional details should be revealed in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet and Ultrathin ThinkPad X1 Laptop Details Leaked

lenovo logo 300x281 Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet and Ultrathin ThinkPad X1 Laptop Details LeakedDetails of the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet and Ultrathin ThinkPad X1 Laptop have been leaked, with details coming directly from a Lenovo slide presentation outed by ThisIsMyNext.  Both of these devices look great on paper, with cutting edge technology paired with a slim form factor.
Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet
The Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is not a consumer friendly tablet like the up-and-coming Le Tab, but an enterprise friendly ThinkPad Tablet, also called a Think Slate.  According to the leaked PowerPoint presentation, the ThinkPad Tablet will run Android 3.0, be powered by a Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, offer the option of a stylus, and come in 16, 32, and 64GB options.
The display will be a 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800 pixel capacitive display.  For an enterprise-geared tablet, the ThinkPad also looks quite sleek, measuring 0.55 inches and weighing 715 grams.  When this is compared to the Apple iPad 2 at 0.34 inches and 680 grams, this looks like pretty close competition in the sleekness department.
In terms of connectivity, the ThinkPad comes with USB 2.0 and Micro USB slots, a mini-HDMI port, a full-size SD card slot, and WiFi connectivity.  “Throw in the 3G and 4G connectivity options that are mentioned and we’re pretty much sold on this thing being the mother of Honeycomb tablets,” says ThisIsMyNext editor Joanna Stern.
Ultrathin ThinkPad X1 Laptop
If the Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet is Lenovo’s answer to the iPad, the Ultrathin ThinkPad X1 Laptop is their answer to the MacBook Air.  If reports are correct, this will be a 21.5mm thin ultraportable that can run Intel’s 2.5GHz Core i5-2520M CPU.  This is the same “Sandy Bridge” technology that is in Lenovo’s 34.6mm thick X220, meaning “Lenovo managed to grow the screen and pack the same processor into a device one-third less thick,” according to AnandTech’s Jason Inofuentes.
Other specs include a 13.3-inch, 1366 x 768 Gorilla Glass display, a 160GB SSD card slot, 8GB of RAM, and new RapidCharge battery technology that “will charge 2.5x faster than previous ThinkPad batteries, charging 80 percent in 30 minutes.”

Laptop Gaming To Get More Refined With New 17.3-inch MSI GX780

MSI GX780 01MSI has announced a new gaming notebook today, yes another G Series gaming laptop from MSI is coming soon. The laptop according to MSI will offer not only the latest internal specifications; Intel Core i7 quad-core, Nvidia 1GB GDDR5 discrete graphics, DDR3 RAM etc. but the laptop will have a new gaming specific keyboard.
The new notebook will go by the name MSI GX780 and it will be the second GX laptop offered by MSI when it’s launched, the MSI GX680 is likely to come first. This notebook will boost a 17.3-inch sized LED back-lit display (HD+ or Full HD resolution options) and it will weigh an MSI quoted 3.9Kg with the 9-cell (7800mAH) battery installed.
MSI GX780 02Feeding you the main features first wouldn’t be right for this notebook, the keyboard is where the show is. MSI and contributing partner SteelSeries have designed a new gaming centric keyboard for the GX780.
On the keyboard you will have the usual full QWERTY support commonly found on gaming laptops the size of the GX780, but the keyboard on the GX780 separates itself on key alignment/positioning.
No longer will you accidentally hit the Windows “Start” key while gaming, if you use the GX780, because it has been moved to left side of the keyboard. Also the keyboard will have extra durability and 30 LED backlights too according to MSI. You can see a diagram of the keyboard below and some images of the GX780 keyboard in real life.

MSI GX780 keyboard layoutAbove you can see the layout that MSI with the help of SteelSeries was able to come up with for this notebook and below you can see a couple of real life shots of the GX780 keyboard.
MSI GX780 keyboard demo 01MSI GX780 keyboard demo 02MSI GX780 keyboard demo 03
click to enlarge
MSI will be releasing the pricing for this notebook when they launch it, as they usually do, and right now that release date hasn’t been set. Right now you will have to settle for the specifications chart below.
Processor Intel® Core™ i7-2630QM Processor(6M Cache, 2.00 GHz)
Operating System Genuine Windows 7 Ultimate/Professional/Home Premium
Memory DDR3 up to 16GB
Display 17.3″ Full HD (1920×1080) or HD+ (1600×900) LED backlight
Graphics Nvidia GeForce GT 555M / 1GB GDDR5
Video Output 1x HDMI, 1x VGA
Hard Disk Drive 750GB (4K sector) *2
750GB SATA 7200rpm *2
500GB SATA 7200/5400rpm*2
320GB SATA 5400rpm*2
Optical Disk Drive Blu-ray / DVD Super Multi
Interfaces 2x USB 3.0, 3x USB 2.0, 1x eSATA, SD(XC/HC)/MMC/MS(PRO)/xD card reader
Sound Sound by Dynaudio,THX TruStudio Pro
Communication 802.11 b/g/n WLAN, Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR, 1x Gigabit LAN
Webcam HD (30fps@720p)
Battery 9-Cell Li-Ion(7800mAH)
Dimension (WxDxH) 428 x 288 x 55mm
Weight 3.9Kg (w/ Battery)
Other Features TDE (Turbo Drive Engine), Cooler Boost

Targus Laptop Sleeves Go Green

Toxic free, degradable and recyclable, Ariaprene is considered to be an ecological fabric alternative to neoprene–and now, it will grace the construction of Targus’ A7 and Proxy lines of laptop sleeves.
According to Targus, Ariaprene not only lacks those nasty, environmentally harmful solvents, it offers improved elasticity and resistance to heat and cold. As an added bonus, all Ariaprene scraps left over after the construction of these sleeves will be recycled into new Ariaprene material, pots for plants and/or soft padding for playgrounds.
Targus A7 Laptop Sleeve
image via Targus
The A7 sleeves are designed specifically for MacBooks and will debut at the end of May; the Proxy sleeves are designed for laptops and will feature a low-profile retractable handle, a zippered accessory pocket and scratch-resistant mobile phone pocket. They are slated to launch in June.
These sleeves, along with Targus’ Spruce Notebook Case, are part of the laptop bag-maker’s EcoSmart initiative. The A7 and Proxy sleeves were designed to accommodate 13″, 14″, 15″, and 16″ laptop computers and will be available online and through retailers for between $24.99 and $39.99.

Origin EON17-S gaming laptop overclocks to 4.5GHz

(Credit: Origin)

Yesterday, Miami-based Origin PC announced that it would be taking orders for its most powerful laptop, the EON17-S. For those hunting for the perfect laptop to game on without fear of it melting, the EON17-S might be the rig for you.

The EON17-S notebook sports a Sandy Bridge Intel Core i7 processor and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 485M, the fastest notebook graphics card in the market. And if that isn't good enough, let the people at Origin overclock your system up to speeds of 4.5GHz (with Turbo Boost) for you.

While some might be worried about possible heat issues that come with increased power, Origin engineers were able to increase the speed of the laptop's processor without affecting the system. All this is done thanks to Turbo Boost technology.

The EON17-S features:

  • 17.3 Full HD Widescreen, LED Backlit, 16.9, 1920 x 1080 (1080p)
  • 2nd Generation Intel Core i5 or i7 Processors
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460M 1.5GB or GTX485M 2GB
  • Bluray burner & reader, Hybrid and SSD drive with RAID options
  • HDMI Out; Optical Digital Out, up to 7.1 HD Audio with THX TruStudio support
  • Built-In TVtuner support
  • Built-in USB 3.0 & E-SATA ports
  • The price for this gaming laptop will start at US$1,759. By adding some fancy high-end components such as a 512GB solid state drive or 32GB of RAM however, the price can easily go over US$12,000. You can order one right now at Origin's website and expect your new toy to arrive at your doorstep around mid-May.

Google Docs for Android Converts Photos Into Text Docs

Google Docs (Android) So Android users, was this worth the five-month delay after the Apple iOS Google Docs app?
On Wednesday, Google launched an official Google Docs app for Android that can convert photos of text into text documents, but still uses a web browser to edit docs.
In a blog post, Google wrote, "With this new app it's easy to filter and search for your own content across any Google account, then jump straight into editing docs using the online mobile editors. The app also allows you to easily share items with contacts on your phone, right from within the app."
But as some users have already noted, and we later verified with a Nexus One, the app basically uses a Web browser to load and edit documents – the interface is the same as you'd find through your own mobile browser, except with more limitations. For instance you can't delete individual Google documents, access stored music, video, or PDF files, or edit rich text files.
But wait! It does have one unmatched feature you won't find in the iOS version launched last December. Using the same technology behind Google Goggles, called "optical character recognition" (OCR), the app can parse text from a photo and convert it into a document.
For instance, after I clicked "create a new document from photo," I photographed a printed product description for guitars, and the app automatically converted it into a text document. It doesn't work for handwriting, special fonts, or non-English languages for now, Google said. Click on the slideshow below to see the results.
The app also introduces a widget to your home screen that lets you jump to starred documents, take a photo to upload, or create a new document in a single tap.

U.S. judge sides with Oracle over patent language

Samsung's Nexus S mobile phone, the first smartphone to use the Android 2.3 ''Gingerbread'' operating system, is displayed at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona February 15, 2011. REUTERS/Albert Gea
SAN FRANCISCO | Wed Apr 27, 2011 2:55pm EDT
(Reuters) - A U.S. judge has largely sided with Oracle Corp (ORCL.O) over how several technical terms will be defined in its patent fight over Google Inc's (GOOG.O) Android software, according to a tentative ruling.
Claim construction orders define the scope of a party's patent rights, and thus can often shape the course of the litigation.
Oracle sued Google last year, claiming the Web search company's Android mobile operating technology infringes on Oracle's Java patents. Oracle bought the Java programing language through its acquisition of Sun Microsystems in January 2010.
Some see the lawsuit as a sign of a growing business rivalry between the two companies.
The claim construction order released on Wednesday by U.S. District Judge William Alsup construes terms in three of the seven patents in the case.
Out of five technical terms at issue, Alsup opted for Oracle's interpretation of four. The judge wrote his own construction for another one.
An Oracle spokeswoman declined to comment, and Google representatives did not respond to a request for comment.
Alsup gave both sides until May 6 to submit a critique of his tentative decision.
The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is Oracle America, Inc v. Google Inc, 10-3561.

LG finally shows smartphone pulse


After being kicked in the teeth by rivals such as Apple and Samsung Electronics in the lucrative market for smartphones, LG Electronics now looks to close the gap thanks to the popularity of its latest gadgets like the Optimus handset. / Korea Times
Korean technology giant posts Q1 operating profit as handset loss narrows

By Kim Yoo-chul

LG Electronics posted an operating profit for the January-March period after two consecutive quarterly losses, thanks to an improving mobile-phone business, the company said Wednesday.

Perhaps LG has finally got a clue in the lucrative smartphone market, where it has been thoroughly overwhelmed by rivals like Apple and Samsung Electronics.

LG, the world's third-largest handset vendor and No. 2 television set maker, reported a first-quarter operating profit of 131 billion won (about $121 million), recovering from a record 246 billion won loss in the preceding quarter.

The company's operating loss from its handset division narrowed to 101 billion won from 262 billion in the fourth quarter, helped by the solid performance of high-end products like the Optimus 2X and Optimus Black smartphones.

LG's television division swung to a profit of 82 billion won from a 65 billion won loss in the preceding quarter, LG said in a regulatory filing.

Despite the improvement in its mobile business, LG still reported a net loss of 15.8 billion won for the first quarter, although this was a sharp improvement from the 256.4 billion won loss posted in the fourth quarter.

LG’s first-quarter operating profit represented nearly a 73 percent decline from the 481.1 billion won in the same period last year, while its sales fell to 13.16 trillion won from 13.22 trillion during the span.

LG's struggles in the smartphone market led to the ousting of former chief executive officer (CEO) Nam Yong in October last year.

Replacing him was Koo Bon-joon, a technology industry veteran and brother of LG Group Chairman Koo Bon-moo, who company officials say is making his presence felt with his assertive style of leadership and quick decision-making.

``The most important thing is that our smartphone business has narrowed its losses. We have been focusing on providing products with a wealth of features, sophisticated technology and innovative designs and these efforts seem to be making a difference,’’ said LG spokesman Yoon Won-il.

``Our performance in televisions inspire confidence as well, and we like how we are doing in nascent markets like three-dimensional (3D) and Internet-connected sets,’’ he added.

LG sold 24.5 million handsets worldwide during the first quarter. Yoon said that its Optimus One smartphones, priced more generously than rival products, are selling particularly well in North America.

``The small operating profit was widely expected. LG will see better results in the second quarter with consumers warming to its smartphones,’’ said Han Eun-mi, an analyst at Hi Investment & Securities.

``LG’s smartphone lineup is crucial to its turnaround in terms of the value of its stock, as the limited smartphone offerings under Nam nearly blew the company out of the water in the lucrative segment.’’

Challenges remain

Aside from smartphones, LG also has high hopes for high-end television units, such as 3D flat-screens built on its film-type patterned retarder (FPR) technology that allows it to make cheaper products than those of its rivals.

The company also claims that FPRs allow sharper stereoscopic images with less overlap and flickering.

LG has formed partnerships with global electronics giants like Philips, Vizio as well as television makers from China to prove FPR as a mainstream technology for 3D television.

LG officials claim that the sales of its 3D television products contributed visibly to the company’s 82 billion won operating profit in the segment for the first quarter.

However, LG still trails domestic rival Samsung, which is the world’s largest television maker, in 3D television sets.

``We’ve learned that Sony may adopt LG’s 3D technology soon, while LG has started shipping its 3D panels to Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Dell for their laptop computers. But it remains to be seen whether such deals would be significant enough to shake the industry’s current supremacy,’’ said Kwon Seong-ryeol, an analyst at Dongbu Securities.

Analysts expect LG to improve its global smartphone share to 5 percent by the end of this year. That would still trail Samsung’s predicted 14 percent and Apple’s 20 percent.

LG has a competitive edge in home appliances such as freezers and washing machines. The division reported 102 billion won in operating profit during the latest quarter, an increase of 78 billion won from the preceding one.

``We are seeing the demand for home appliances will steadily rise in the current quarter despite external concerns such as the impact of the massive Japan earthquakes and financial troubles in southern Europe,’’ said LG’s Yoon.

Samsung launches Nexus S handset in India

Ranjit Yadav, Country Head, Samsung Mobile and IT, and Asim Warsi, Vice-President, Marketing, Mobile Business, at the launch of a range of 'smartphones', in Chennai on Wednesday. Photo: Bijoy Ghosh
The Hindu Ranjit Yadav, Country Head, Samsung Mobile and IT, and Asim Warsi, Vice-President, Marketing, Mobile Business, at the launch of a range of 'smartphones', in Chennai on Wednesday. Photo: Bijoy Ghosh
The smartphone is priced at Rs. 29,590
Samsung Electronics, a leading mobile phone provider, announced on Wednesday the launch of Nexus S smartphone in the Indian market. Developed in partnership with Google, Nexus S is powered by Gingerbread (Android 2.3 platform).
Addressing presspersons here Ranjit Yadav, Country Head, Samsung Mobile and IT, said this was the first handset from Samsung with a four-inch super clear curved LCD screen and near field communication (NFC) technology which allowed users to read information from nearby tags that were embedded with NFC chips.
The features included Wi-Fi hotspot, true multitasking and access to over 1.50 lakh applications and widgets on Android market.
The phone comes with a 16 GB internal memory and a powerful battery which provides a talk time of up to 6.7 hours on 3G (14 hours on 2G) and a standby time upto 17.8 days on 3G (29.7 days on 2G). The Nexus S is priced at Rs.29,590.
The company has also launched five new Android-powered Galaxy smart phones — Galaxy Pro, Ace, Fit, Pop and Galaxy Pop CDMA.

White iPhone 4 releases tomorrow, finally (update: Phil Schiller explains the delay



The rare albino iPhone 4 has been spotted numerous times in the wild, skulking through the trees in the magical United Kingdom, cavorting across the mysterious lands of Vietnam, and most recently standing in formation in Belgium. Now it's coming somewhere rather less exotic: the Apple Store. Apple has finally announced it will release the white iPhone 4 tomorrow around the world. Here in the US it'll come in both AT&T and Verizon flavors, warming the hearts and minds of those who like a little less pigment on their handsets. Other than a proximity sensor tweak nothing else has changed on the device, and so the pricing remains the same: $199 on contract for the 16GB model, $299 for 32GB. Sadly, though, your contract also remains the same, and we're pretty sure really wanting a new phone to match your earbuds isn't grounds for avoiding an ETF.

Update: All Things D's Ina Fried had the pleasure to sit down with Steve Jobs and Phil Schiller to learn the reason behind the white iPhone 4's delay. According to Schiller, it wasn't as simple as getting the right whiteness like we reported previously -- turns out this is more to do with adding extra UV protection to keep the internal components behaving normally. Looking on the bright side, Jobs implied that this lesson allowed them to bring out the white iPad 2.

Separately, some time ago our sources added that the white iPhone 4's spring launch window was set in stone back in September (and consequently announced in October), as Apple foresaw the need to delay the iPhone 5 to free up resources for the OS X Lion team and the new maps team ahead of WWDC in June. All will be revealed in good time.

Microsoft's Windows Phones collect location data, too

Yes, iPhones collect some data about their owners' locations — though Apple denies that this is an issue — and yes, Android smartphones track people, too.
So is it any surprise that Windows Phone 7 devices do the same?
CNET reports that any Windows Phone 7 device "transmits to Microsoft a miniature data dump including a unique device ID, details about nearby Wi-Fi networks, and the phone's GPS-derived exact latitude and longitude." (Msnbc.com is a joint venture of Microsoft and NBC Universal.)
Just like Apple and Google, Microsoft claims that this information is collected in order to build a database of mobile cell towers and Wi-Fi access points so that "a mobile device can determine its location more quickly, and with less battery drain, than if only GPS was used."
While the company provides a great deal of information in a "Help and How-To" section of its website, there appear to be some unanswered questions, as CNET points out. For example, Microsoft fails to clarify whether the collected data is transmitted over a secure and encrypted connection. The company also doesn't provide details regarding how often these transmissions occur.
Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., has recently called for a hearing of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology and the Law in order to discuss the mobile privacy issues which have been raised as a result of the recently revealed location tracking revelations. One goal of that meeting is to determine how sensitive information is collected, used, and how to protect consumer privacy.

Apple, Android phone users are heaviest app downloaders

The Nielsen Company
Click on the image to enlarge it.
iPhone owners have an average of 48 apps on their phones, and Android users, 35, making them the smartphone app kings, according to a new report from The Nielsen Company.
In contrast, BlackBerry users have an average of 15 apps on their phones.
This little stat — based on research of consumers who downloaded apps in the past 30 days, Nielsen says — does not surprise me. As both an iPhone and BlackBerry owner, I know which phone I prefer to have apps on and which one is easier to use: Hands down, it's the iPhone. It's simple, quick, seamless (generally), compared to the complicated, time-consuming and clunky way BlackBerry apps are downloaded and used.
That also jibes with what Nielsen found, that iPhone and Android users "use their apps more often: 68 percent of app downloaders with iPhones and 60 percent of those with Android phones reported using their mobile apps multiple times a day compared to 45 percent of app downloaders with Blackberry/RIM phones."
Palm owners came in third, with 21 apps on their phones, followed by Windows Mobile users, with 17.
Still, more of us are apparently getting comfortable with using apps in general. Last year, Nielsen said that the average number of apps on iPhones was 37; Android, 22; Palm, 14; Windows Mobile, 13; and BlackBerry, 10.
Nielsen released the updated figures at the AppNation conference in San Francisco, where mobile software developers and investors are meeting.
Consumers with either iPhones or Android phones "represent the majority of the smartphone market in the U.S. and 74 percent of mobile app downloaders," Nielsen said. So it makes sense that "If you want to understand the consumer landscape for mobile apps, you have to understand the Apple iOS and Google Android ecosystems."

Sharp May Make iPhone 6 LCD Panels

Sharp will make next-generation, low-temperature poly-silicon displays for the iPhone 6, according to a report.
According to Japanese newspaper Nikkan, the company is to make the displays for the handset, which is anticipated in 2012, and will be smaller and lighter than previous versions.
However, given that the launch timing of the iPhone 5 is in some doubt, with many believing that it will launch in September after initially being pencilled in for a June launch, the report seems somewhat premature. Indeed, some analysts have argued that the iPhone 5 itself won't actually launch until 2012.
The newspaper report claims that manufacturing of the LCDs will begin in spring next year, in a plant where Sharp currently puts LCD TVs together.
The news comes after reports emerged earlier this month that Apple had dropped Sharp as an LCD supplier for the iPhone, instead choosing to invest heavily in a new manufacturing plant with Toshiba.
The next-generation, low-temperature poly-silicon LCDs will be thinner and lighter than the screens used in previous iPhones, according to report, allowing Apple to reduce the size and weight of the handset.

Transparent rear panel puts iPhone 4's guts on display

What, no mouse wheel? No gears or pistons? Turns out the underside of your iPhone 4 is mostly battery.
What, no mouse wheel? No gears or pistons? Turns out the underside of your iPhone 4 is mostly battery.
(Credit: iFixit)
Looking for a fun and unusual way to trick out your iPhone 4? Repair-guide site iFixit now sells an iPhone 4 Transparent Rear Panel for $29.95.
Made of clear glass, this replacement back cover reveals all the inner workings of your device. Actually, it reveals mostly battery, but it's still pretty cool if you're into that whole "naked" look.
The panel consists of a camera lens, flash diffuser, and bezel. To install it, you simply remove the two screws from the bottom of your iPhone, pop the old panel off, place the new one, and restore the screws.
The only potential problem is if you have the newer pentalobe screws, in which case you should consider tossing iFixit's $14.95 pentalobe screwdriver into your cart. (Better yet, grab one on eBay for as little as $2.29 shipped.)
One other caveat: the Transparent Rear Panel is compatible with only the GSM (i.e. AT&T) versions of the iPhone 4, meaning Verizon iPhone owners are outta luck. "We have nothing against the Verizon users," says the iFixit blog. "Apple chose to modify the rear panel layout for the Verizon version, and sadly our panel can only fit GSM iPhone 4 units."
What do you think of the Transparent Rear Panel? Cool way to make your iPhone stand out from the crowd, or painful reminder that the iPhone looks a lot sexier with its clothes on?

Android Edges Out iPhone in Number of Free Applications Available

We can’t say this was much of a shock to us, but analytics research firm Distimo today released figures about the world’s smartphone app stores. The highlight of the report was Android’s reign in amount of free applications opposed to iPhone – 134.3 thousand opposed to 121.8 thousand. And this is all while Android still has yet to come close to the number of Apps in the app store for both tablets and phones.
It’s expected considering the nature of the Android market’s revenue model these days. More and more, developers are looking to ads and in-game purchases for revenue instead of one-time purchases at the virtual point of sale. While we’d like to believe this is because that’s truly “the Google way”, we’re sure the real reason is because  - well – a lot of Android users just don’t like paying for apps.
Android holds the number two spot for the amount of applications in its market currently, but Distimo expects the picture to change drastically at the end of the year as they forecast Android beating out the iPhone to become the number one market in terms of size. Sure, a lot of it’s junk, but a bigger number means one less marketing bulletpoint for old uncle Jobs to exploit

White iPhone 4 or black, T-Mobile bets $1,000 its Galaxy S 4G is faster


AT&T and Verizon iPhone 4
White iPhone or black, it doesn't matter to T-Mobile USA. The wireless carrier is going after iPhone users -- i.e. AT&T and Verizon subscribers -- in a publicity stunt involving Apple's smartphone that may or may not cost the company thousands of dollars to pull off.
"Hey Seattle - $1,000 says the Galaxy S 4G is faster than your iPhone. Are you up to the challenge?" T-Mobile said in a message on Twitter on Wednesday.
T-Mobile has laid out a promotion in which iPhone owners will pit their handsets against the Samsung Galaxy S 4G to see which phone is fastest at downloading files in a speed test T-Mobile has set up.
If an iPhone owner's phone proves faster, then T-Mobile will will pay out $1,000 in the form of a check (that will take six to eight weeks to arrive).
Jpeg-Flyer-Mockup_v.7 "T-Mobile has been making significant investments in our network, which is why we are confident our smartphone can beat the iconic iPhone, which runs on Verizon's and AT&T's 3G networks," T-Mobile said in a blog post. "This speed challenge will give Seattle area iPhone users the chance to see for themselves why we are so excited about T-Mobile's 4G network and why now is a great time to be a T-Mobile customer."
The challenge comes as AT&T is working on taking over T-Mobile USA in a $39-billion deal, much to the chagrin of Verizon and Sprint, and maybe federal regulators too.
Both AT&T and Verizon will start selling the white iPhone 4 this weekend as well.
The promotion is only being offered at 10 T-Mobile stores in Seattle -- and so far nowhere else -- this Friday through Sunday. T-Mobile officials weren't available on Wednesday to say why the promotion is being offered only in Seattle.
The speed tests are limited to one per person, and the iPhone owners must be at least 18 years old and a resident of the U.S.
The iPhones used in the tests can only perform the tests using AT&T's or Verizon's wireless networks, not Wi-Fi, and participants have to agree to complete a T-Mobile survey, which likely will include forking over some personal info -- name, address, etc.
The tests use a "free speed test Application specified by T-Mobile," the company said in the blog post.
"Speed challenge consists of three tests of the Galaxy S 4G versus the iPhone based solely on download speeds as measured by the Application; participants will be eligible to receive $1,000 if their iPhones are faster in two out of the three tests," T-Mobile said.

Apple Denies Tracking IPhone Locations, Will Update Software

Apple Denies Tracking IPhone Locations, Will Update Software
The iPhone saves information on Wi-Fi hotspots and cellular towers near an iPhone’s current location, which helps the phone determine its location when needed by the user, Apple said. Photographer: Hannelore Foerster/Bloomberg
April 27 (Bloomberg) -- Former Apple Inc. software engineer Pete Warden talks about the ability of the iPhon to log users’ whereabouts, and Apple's reaction to complaints by privacy advocates. Apple, facing scrutiny from consumers and lawmakers over data collection on its iPhone, said it isn’t tracking the location of customers while acknowledging it gathers information about wireless gear near a user’s handset. Warden speaks with Emily Chang and Cory Johnson on Bloomberg Television's "Bloomberg West." (Source: Bloomberg)
April 27 (Bloomberg) -- Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, talks about Apple Inc.'s statement about the collection of data from its iPhone. Apple said today that it isn’t tracking the iPhone users’ location and plans to reduce the amount of data the device stores. Rotenberg speaks with Margaret Brennan on Bloomberg Television's "InBusiness." (Source: Bloomberg)
Apple Inc. (AAPL), facing scrutiny from consumers and lawmakers over the collection of data on its iPhone, said it isn’t tracking the users’ location and plans to reduce the amount of data the device stores.
“Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone,” the Cupertino, California-based company said in a statement today. “Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so.”
The iPhone saves information on Wi-Fi hotspots and cellular towers near an iPhone’s current location, which helps the phone determine its location when needed by the user, Apple said. A database of hotspots and towers is downloaded on each phone and backed in Apple’s iTunes when users connect their phones. The company will stop backing up the database, it said.
Apple, along with Google Inc. (GOOG), has been at the center of a privacy debate that’s sparked lawsuits from consumers and drawn inquiries from U.S. Congress about whether their products breach privacy rules by tracking and storing users’ locations. The company can’t locate a user based on the hotspots and tower data, Apple said today, the first time its publicly addressed the issue since criticisms arose last week.
“The location data that researchers are seeing on the iPhone is not the past or present location of the iPhone, but rather the locations of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers surrounding the iPhone’s location,” Apple said.

Software Update

The company plans a free software update that will reduce the amount of data stored on the iPhone and will delete hotspot and cell tower information when its location services is turned off, Apple said.
Apple, based in Cupertino, California, rose 51 cents to $350.93 at 9:33 a.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares had climbed 8.6 percent this year before today.
An April 20 report by two computer programmers, including a former Apple software engineer, said Apple’s operating system logs users’ coordinates along with the time a spot is visited.

White iPhone 4 seen boosting sales by 1M-1.5M as Apple explains delay

With the white iPhone 4 finally set to go on sale in nearly 30 countries on Thursday, one new prediction calls for an incremental sales boost of between a million and 1.5 million per quarter. Also, Apple has offered some details behind the delay, including issues with protection from UV rays.

White iPhone 4 predicted to boost sales

Analyst Brian White with Ticonderoga Securities said on Wednesday that he sees the long-delayed white iPhone 4 playing a meaningful role in pushing iPhone sales even higher. Earlier this week, White had predicted that a "mystique" surrounding the device could lead to strong sales following a 10-month delay.

White made a more specific prediction on Wednesday, after Apple officially announced that the white iPhone 4 will finally go on sale on Thursday, April 27. The device, first announced last June but delayed numerous times due to production issues, will be available in 28 countries this week, and White believes it will bring in customers who might have otherwise passed on the iPhone 4.

"This delay has created a certain mystique and scarcity value around the 'white' iPhone 4 that we believe could drive incremental iPhone 4 purchases in the range of 1 million to 1.5 million units per quarter until the iPhone 5 potentially comes to market in September," he said.

Earlier this month, Apple reported a record 18.65 million iPhone sales in the second quarter of its 2011 fiscal year. Apple typically introduces a new iPhone in its June quarter, but this year numerous rumors have indicated that the company is planning a later-than-usual launch, with production of the fifth-generation iPhone apparently set to begin in September.


White iPhone 4


Phil Schiller explains reasons for white iPhone 4 delay

In an interview with Mobilized, Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller explained that there were a number of reasons why his company had such trouble in bringing the white iPhone 4 to market. One of those reasons was that the white models need more protection from ultraviolet rays from the sun.

"It was challenging," Schiller told Ina Fried. "It's not as simple as making something white. There's a lot more that goes into the material science of it -- how it holds up over time... but also how it all works with the sensors."

Over the past year, a number of rumors related to white iPhone 4 issues have cropped up, including alleged problems with the paint mixture, camera flash, light leaks, and even the proximity sensor. Schiller's comments reveal that there were in fact a range of problems associated with building the white iPhone 4, lending support to previous rumors.

Happy 30th Birthday, Computer Mouse!

Logitech Wireless Mouse M325
Thirty years ago today, the first computer mouse to be used alongside a personal computer appeared. On April 27, 1981, the integrated mouse made its debut with the Xerox Star Information System.
First called "Computer-Aided Display Control," the term "mouse" referred to the tool's rounded shape and wire "tail" protruding out the back of the gadget that gave it a rodent-like look.
The mouse has come a long way in its 30 years. Most don't even have wires any more, especially in an era where so many tech companies are producing touch-screen technology with devices like Apple's iPhone or other smartphones and tablets. Additionally, most laptops use some sort of touchpad to navigate the screen, or a pointer stick. The prototype for the first mouse was invented by Douglas Englebard in 1963 while he was working at Palo Alto's Stanford Research Institute. Before it morphed into the mouse that is commonly seen today, it went through many different forms. For example, one method was mounting a device on the user's head or chin. In 1972, wheels on the bottom of the mouse were replaced by a trackball, a feature that many mice don't even use today.
The device went through many revisions before Xerox released it with star in 1982. However, the mouse didn't get a lot of attention until it appeared with Apple's Macintosh three years later.
Can you imagine the computer without the mouse? PCMag's John Dvorak gives the mouse a lot of credit for the rise of the Internet. Computer mice have been an integral part of the tech age, and evolved quite a bit in the three decades since their debut.

Pinhole Cameras Made Out of Hollow Eggs, Break Shell to See Picture


Using blown eggs (basically empty, but complete, eggshells), Francesco Capponi made pinhole cameras that capture somewhat creepy negative photos. Dubbed the Pinhegg, the camera can only take one photo, because the eggshell must be broken in order to see the actual photo, thus destroying the camera. Head on over to Lomography to check out Capponi’s instructions on how to make the camera, and head on past the break to see a few more of the photos.

Camera Whimsy on iPhones

The chances are very low that your cellphone is your best camera; it doesn’t zoom, can’t take pictures in low light, can’t freeze action and generally takes mediocre photos. But it’s the camera you have with you most often. No wonder cellphones have become the most popular cameras on earth.
Especially the iPhone. Its camera is just O.K.— it’s a 5-megapixel job with decent color and clarity, as long as the subject is holding still. But lately, apps have been putting this thing on the photographic map. The iPhone is, let’s face it, really an iComputer. And since it can be controlled through software, the world’s programmers have wasted no time in examining the iPhone camera and adding to, or replacing, its features.
This is no niche software category; we’re not talking about recipe-management software or genealogy software. The photo-apps category on the App Store is teeming with options — 4,000 of them priced at a dollar or two; 2,500 are free — and they’re hugely popular with iPhoners. Some of the apps are meant to replace Apple’s own camera app. Many more extend your creative options by adding filters, editing tools, time-lapse features and panoramas. Most have tendrils shooting right into Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and wherever else fine cellphone photos are shared online.
To save you the four years (and thousands of dollars) it would take you to try out all 6,500 apps, here’s a handy cheat sheet. These are the coolest, best and most useful photo apps for the iPhone, as recommended by my colleagues, my photographer friends and my Twitter followers. These apps are, to use the technical term, wicked cool.
CAMERA-APP REPLACEMENTS The iPhone’s camera-taking app is fine. But it’s slow to start up, slow to save a photo, slow to focus. Turning the flash on or off is clumsy, requiring two taps on transparent, hard-to-read buttons.
If you replace it with an app like QuickPix ($2), all of those problems go away. The app opens much faster than Apple’s, takes photos much faster and can even snap stills while you’re shooting video. The flash is a single icon that you tap on or off. Put this on your home screen where Apple’s Camera app sits, drag Camera into a folder somewhere, and you’ll miss a lot fewer shots.
People also rave about Camera+ ($2) — not because it’s faster, but because it does so much more. The Stabilization feature, for example, ends blurry shots, because it doesn’t fire the shutter until the phone’s motion sensor detects that you’re holding it still for a split second. There’s a self-timer and two-a-second burst mode. You can crop, rotate or sharpen a photo, add a border and apply effects to it (black-and-white, sepia, and so on) — and unlike most of the effects apps, this one lets you control the effect intensity.
When you’re finished toying, you can send your masterpiece directly to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr or e-mail. Pro Camera ($2) a similar, more crisply designed, more sprawling app, adds things like independent focus and exposure points (tap the screen), full color-correction tools and a 6X digital zoom that works surprisingly well. The high-end crowd swears by it.
FILTER APPS A filter, in digital photo lingo, is a special effect: turning a photo black-and-white, for example, or making it look grainy, oversaturated, faded, ancient or in some other way degraded. (For some reason, apps that make your pictures look as though they were taken by cheap cameras in the ’70s are all the rage.)
For $1, you can’t beat the attractiveness and creativity of 100 Cameras in 1. It works with both existing photos and new ones you take, and it lets you combine its effects (100 of them, get it?). The names of these filters are charming. They’re called things like “Hurried and anxious,” “The warm chocolate that we ate slowly” and “A bold thing to say so early in the morning.”
One tap sends your doctored masterpiece to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Smugmug, Dropbox, e-mail or a printer.
Hipstamatic ($2) is white-hot on iTunes these days. It turns the screen of the iPhone into a perfect replica of a cheap plastic toy camera of days gone by; by swiping your finger across the lens or the flash or the film window, you can choose different lenses, flashes or film types. It’s just a glorified effects picker, and you have to pay extra for additional options. Still, it’s cool and creative and really fun. (To see some of the results, visit Flickr.com and search for “hipstamatic.”)

Telltale Signs Xbox 360 Agreement

Telltale Games has signed an agreement to publish video games for the Xbox 360. Specific details are thin on the ground at present, but promised "shortly."

"Adding console support to our acknowledged expertise in digital downloads is another positive step in our long-term growth strategy," said Dan Connors, CEO. "We are pleased to expand the size of our potential audience by encompassing the Xbox 360 console consumer and bring our vision of video gaming to them."
Telltale has a lot of projects on the go at the moment. Notably, yesterday the company announced that the upcoming Jurassic Park: The Game had been delayed, and all existing pre-order customers were issued with both a refund and a coupon to download a free Telltale game of their choice. Could Jurassic Park's delay be anything to do with this agreement?
This new agreement now sees Telltale games on the vast majority of current major gaming platforms, including PC, Mac, PS3, Wii, Xbox 360 and iPad.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Samsung Galaxy s 2 Review

Samsung has a lot riding on the Galaxy S II. When your displays, chips and memory are found in the flagship devices of OEMs around the world, you have to expect consumers will demand more from the hardware that bears your brand. The Galaxy S II (aka Galaxy S 2 or GSII) has even more to live up to: the original Galaxy S spawned several carrier variants that helped it become the best-selling Android smartphone in the US last year, and positioned Samsung as one of the key names to beat in the segment. So, with dual-core – and freshly overclocked – processor at the ready and a huge, Super AMOLED Plus display providing some eye-catching glitz, the Galaxy S II wades into the crowded smartphone market. New Android king or pretender to the throne? Check out the full SlashGear review after the cut.


Hardware

The original Galaxy S wasn’t a small phone, with a 4-inch Super AMOLED display to accommodate. With the Galaxy S II, Samsung boosts the screen to 4.3-inches and the technology to Super AMOLED Plus, the latest high-end evolution of its OLED panels. Thanks to some judicious dieting they’ve ended up with a broad, long, slimline handset – 125.3 x 66.1 x 8.49mm and 116g – that’s actually leading the pack in terms of thinness. In the hand it’s a mixture of textured plastics and a full Gorilla Glass front panel, that feels surprisingly lightweight and creak-free.

Super AMOLED Plus may have a name that sounds pure marketing speak, but its performance is anything but. As before, the picture seems to sit practically on top of the phone, a bright, vividly colorful splash of eye-pleasure. Viewing angles are so broad you could mistake it for a mocked-up store dummy, and the touchscreen is responsive and swift. Our only complaint is the resolution: while WVGA 800 x 480 is pretty much par for the course in mid- to high-end smartphones, the HTC Sensation will bring along an identically-sized qHD 960 x 540 panel later in 2011. Without a Sensation on-hand to properly compare, it’s tough to say whether the Galaxy S II’s brilliant panel technology will be preferable to the HTC’s extra Super-LCD pixels. As it stands, even stretching WVGA over 4.3-inches, the Samsung doesn’t show any pixelation or graininess, and even in direct sunlight proved easily readable.
Samsung Galaxy S II Extreme Unboxing:

Under the display is a central physical home button flanked by a touch-sensitive menu key on the left and a back key on the right. Holding down the menu button calls up search. A narrow volume rocker lives on the left edge while the power/lock button is on the right; some people are used to that from the Galaxy S and Nexus S, but we still wish Samsung would put the key on the top, next to the 3.5mm headphone socket, as is more common.
On the base of the phone is a microUSB port which also supports the MHL standard for HDMI connectivity, assuming you have the correct adapter cable. That’s handy, since the Galaxy S II is capable of shooting Full HD 1080p video at 30fps, still something of a rarity in the market. The camera has autofocus and an LED flash, and is set in a textured battery panel underneath which you’ll find the SIM slot and microSD card slot. In a somewhat unusual flip, the SIM can be removed without taking out the battery – though it takes a power-cycle to recognize a different card – whereas a microSD card cannot.

Up front is a 2-megapixel camera for video calling and vanity shots, sharing bezel space with the earpiece, proximity sensor and light sensor. They’re joined by the usual accelerometer, g-sensor, GPS/A-GPS and digital compass. With the right adapter you can plug USB devices such as memory sticks into the Galaxy S II, too, thanks to USB On The Go support.
Keeping things running is a 1.2GHz dual-core Samsung Exynos processor paired with 1GB of RAM and 2GB of ROM. Two Galaxy S II SKUs will be offered, one with 16GB of internal storage – of which just over 11GB is available to the user – and another with 32GB. Each can handle up to a 32GB microSDHC memory card. Connectivity includes quadband GSM and quadband HSPA (850/900/1900/2100), Bluetooth 3.0+HS and WiFi a/b/g/n, making the Galaxy S II one of the more complete wireless powerhouses we’ve seen; only Nokia’s pentaband HSPA smartphones go the extra step.
Samsung Galaxy S II overview:

In short, there’s a whole lot going on in the Galaxy S II, and it’s a continuous surprise that Samsung has managed to keep it so light and thin. The broad fascia is mitigated by a slimline build that makes it easy to drop the phone into a front trouser or inside jacket pocket, and the Gorilla Glass front leaves us a little more confident that doing so won’t see you snap the Samsung in two.

Software and Performance

Samsung has sensibly started with Android 2.3.3 Gingerbread from the off, and Google’s latest version for smartphones flies on the dual-core Exynos chip. What will polarize is the presence of TouchWiz, Samsung’s custom software reskin. It’s an acquired taste, certainly, though has become somewhat more palatable over the course of its various iterations.
The iconography is still somewhat cartoonish, and we still can’t figure why Samsung decided to make the left-most homescreen pane the default; we prefer the native center-bias of untampered Android. Samsung’s widgets – for news, weather, calendar, bookmarks, various clocks, social networking and a task manager, among others – are also more colorful than, say, those HTC uses in Sense, but there’s a good range on offer and we prefer Samsung’s system for choosing from them.

Long-press on the homescreen and the current view shrinks to fit a pane of options along the bottom, including shortcuts, widgets and other content; you can then sweep between homescreens to drop them in. A similar system is on offer in the main app menu, including the ability to add new pages as well as drop icons on top of each other to make folders. Simple tooltip pages show up along the way to help smooth the process for new users.
Something we wish Samsung had left well alone was the standard Gingerbread keyboard. The replacement is frustrating in various minor ways: we had problems with it recognizing faster text-entry, particularly missing spacebar taps, while the auto-prediction and auto-correction aren’t as accurate as Android’s native system. Auto-capitalization is inconsistent – sometimes “i” doesn’t get automatically changed to “I” – as is apostrophe entry, so you end up with “im” rather than “I’m” most of the time. Swype is preinstalled, though not the default, and of course there are multiple alternative keyboards to choose from in the Android Market, so it’s certainly not a dealbreaker.
Samsung’s other main change is under the “Motion” heading in the settings page, using the Galaxy S II’s accelerometer to control various functionality. You can have the phone mute incoming calls and sounds by turning it face down, or zoom in and out of webpages or images by touching two fingers to the screen and tilting the whole thing back or forward. We had mixed results with the latter, with our movements sometimes not being recognized. It’s also very linear: you can’t angle the phone as you tilt it, to shift the portion of the screen which you zoom in on.

There are various preloaded apps, and some of the native Android software bears evidence of Samsung’s inability not to tinker. The Calendar has had a generally successful redesign – we like the different agenda, month and today widgets – while the Mail app is also tweaked; we generally used the excellent Google Gmail app, however. Samsung’s media player software is much preferable to the native Android version, and adds album art and music controls to the drop-down notification menu. That also has shortcuts for toggling WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, sound and auto-rotation, though not the handy app switcher HTC Sense offers; still, you can long-press the home button to see the six most recent apps as well as jump straight into Samsung’s task manager.
The other apps include preloaded photo and video editing software – more on which later – along with Samsung Apps, the company’s own download store, Polaris Office, an IM client (supporting Windows Live, Google Talk and Yahoo! Messenger), FM radio, News & Weather and a Memo app. There’s also Mini Diary, Samsung’s attempt to get us all penning frequent journal updates (complete with snapshots and as much angst as the average Android owner can manage) along with the My Files manager that, frustratingly, couldn’t actually open an .apk side-loaded file (which a third-party file manager handled with no issues).

Then there’s the wireless stuff, Samsung AllShare and Kies air. AllShare is Samsung’s DLNA client, allowing you topush content from the phone to your HDTV or pull content from a NAS or other device. Kies air, meanwhile, adds wireless access to the entire phone: rather than using Samsung’s Kies desktop management app – currently for PC only – over a USB connection, you run Kies air on the Galaxy S II and punch the IP address it gives you into your PC or Mac browser. That then allows you to browse multimedia on the phone, bookmarks, call logs, contacts and messages, stream music saved on it and copy across content via WiFi.
It’s all limited to computers on the same WiFi network as the phone – not over 3G, like HTCSense.com – but it works surprisingly well, if a little sluggish when dealing with larger files. We’d like to see some media sharing and social network integration there, though: it would be useful to be able to upload photos and video direct to only galleries at Flickr and Facebook, for instance. Samsung has also given the Galaxy S II WiFi Direct support, the new point-to-point file transfer standard that wants to replace Bluetooth (though of course the S II also has Bluetooth 3.0).

Finally, there are the various Samsung Hubs: Social, Music, Readers and Gaming. They work roughly as you’d expect from the names, so the Social Hub pulls in email, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn and IM messages into a single timeline. The Music Hub is an on-device download store for individual tracks – priced at around £0.99 in the UK – or albums, and powered by 7digital. The Readers Hub does roughly the same thing, for digital newspapers, ebooks and magazines (from PressDisplay, Kobo and Zinio respectively). Finally, the Game Hub offers a range of Gameloft titles and other “social” mini games, though frankly the selection is better in the regular Android Market.
Performance is consistently strong: apps load swiftly, the gallery thumbnails populate instantaneously, and pinch-zooming is lag-free. Google Maps loads and locates you faster than on any other device we’ve seen, and the mapping renders as quickly as you can scroll. Raw benchmarks only tell part of the story, but the Galaxy S II scored 2939 in Quadrant Standard and 3540 in Quadrant Advanced, 46.939 MFLOPS in Linpack Pro, while the SunSpider test for browser performance came in at 3584.3ms (lower is better). We’ve a feeling that custom ROMs on this particular handset will simply fly.

Camera and Multimedia

With its Super AMOLED Plus display and high-resolution cameras, the Galaxy S II obviously has plenty of multimedia potential. The main camera, at 8-megapixels, is a welcome step up from the 5-megapixel example in the original Galaxy S; the front-facing camera is, at 2-megapixels, at the top end for what we’ve seen studding the bezels of recent smartphones. In contrast, the iPhone 4 and HTC’s recent line-up offer mere VGA resolution. Still, it’s good enough for voice calling and the occasional vanity snap, but not really anything more thanks to the fixed-focus lens.

Happily the same can’t be said for the main camera, which is capable of some very impressive, natural looking shots. Colors are accurate and Samsung’s camera software thankfully doesn’t over-sharpen or introduce unnecessary artifacts. The pictures may not exactly “pop” like the somewhat exaggerated shots the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Arc produces, but we’d rather have more manual control over post-processing than the Arc allows. Lower light shots aren’t quite as successful, not unusual for a phone camera, with a tendency to lose detail in darker areas. Still, the LED flash helps some.
Settings include exposure, various effects, white balance, a choice between auto-focus, macro or face-detection, ISO, metering (centre-weighted, spot or matrix), blink detection, GPS geotagging and anti-shake. There’s also an outdoor visibility mode for the camera app, which tweaks the UI color scheme for easier use in direct sunlight; however, we found the Super AMOLED Plus display was admirably visible in bright conditions.

Video, meanwhile, can be recorded in anything from MMS-friendly 176 x 144 up through 720p and finally 1080p Full HD. There are settings for exposure, white balance, video quality and various effects, and you can record footage with the front-facing camera as well, though only at a fixed VGA resolution. Whether Full HD or 720p, the Galaxy S II’s video is impressive. Footage is smooth and colors accurate, though the auto-focus system can hunt a little in faster moving scenes. Still, there’s little in the way of glitches or blurring, and playbook looks brilliant on the handset’s display.
Samsung Galaxy S II 1080p sample:

Unfortunately, not everything is up to speed with the Galaxy S II’s 1080p HD. Samsung preloads its “Video Maker” app, which offers clip combination, themes, trimming and various other editing options, but it can only handle 720p HD at most. Meanwhile the HDMI output is not via a regular micro HDMI port but by a combination USB/MHL port: that means you need a special adapter, which Samsung doesn’t include in the box. Unfortunately we did not have access to the correct cable, and so couldn’t test direct HDMI connectivity; we’ll update as soon as we can.
Multimedia playback, meanwhile, sees Samsung’s solid codec support win it points. Audio can be in MP3, OGG, AAC, AAC , eAAC , AMR-NB, AMR-WB, WMA, WAV, MID, AC3, IMY, FLAC or XMF format, while video can be in MPEG4, H.264, H.263, WMV, DivX, Xvid or VC-1, and with up to 1080p Full HD playback support. There’s 5.1-channel pseudo-surround when you’re using headphones, while the speaker is sufficient for some personal use (and there’s Bluetooth A2DP for wirelessly connecting to bigger speakers or headphones if you’d prefer).

Phone and Battery

Big, bright screen, dual-core processor, lots of wireless: you’d be forgiven for assuming the Galaxy S II would gulp down juice like a long distance runner after a race. In actual fact, it’s something of a minor miracle. The standard 1,650 mAh battery took us through two days of use – from off the charger at 7am, through a full day with push email active, the display at maximum backlight while outdoors, lots of photography and some video recording, a couple of YouTube clips, GPS with Google Maps, browsing and some calls, then through the night (again, with push email switched on) and through the next day, only expiring that evening.
That’s ridiculously impressive, and we’ll be watching closely to see if it was a fresh-battery phenomenon or a sign that the Galaxy S II really is in the top tier of current smartphones. Even if you really hammer it with your usage, we’re confident you should get a full day out of a single charge.

Phone performance, meanwhile, was good, with the Galaxy S II clinging tenaciously to a signal. Voice calls are strong, and the speakerphone – though certainly not the loudest we’ve ever heard – is good enough for impromptu conference calls.

Pricing and Value

As Samsung’s new flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S II’s relatively high price is understandable. SIM-free and unlocked, in 16GB form it’s coming in at around £500 ($826); if you want an agreement then it looks like a £35 ($58) per month plan – with a two-year commitment – will get you a “free” phone.
In contrast you’re looking at £45 ($74) per month or more if you want a “free” iPhone 4 16GB, while an HTC Desire HD comes “free” on £25 ($41) per month agreements. No word yet on pricing for the HTC Sensation, but we’re guessing it’ll be in line with the Galaxy S II.

Samsung has a range of official accessories incoming for the smartphone, though so far none have been available for us to review. However, eventually there will be a desk charger (with room to charge a spare battery), an extended battery pack which gives the Galaxy S II a total of 2950 mAh to play with, car chargers and a vehicle dock (Samsung also offers a car interface app in its own app store, which automatically boots when the phone is placed into the vehicle dock), and various cases. There’s also a Sound Station dock, which works as an external amp for the Galaxy S II, and of course the MHL HDMI adapter cable.

Wrap-Up

Make no mistake, the Samsung Galaxy S II could very well be the best Android smartphone on the market today. Several iPhone users we showed it to said it was the first Android device that could turn their heads from Apple’s range, though the iPhone 5, expected to debut in the latter half of this year, should make for a strong incentive for existing owners to stick with iOS.
The HTC Sensation will bring the main Android competition when it arrives later in 2011, with its qHD display a key differentiator from the Samsung. However, it will have to prove itself against the Galaxy S II’s battery life, screen quality and camera, and that’s no easy challenge.

Is it perfect? No, of course not. While we like some of Samsung’s tweaks – the Kies air app is surprisingly useful, for instance – we’d prefer to see a clean Gingerbread install rather than TouchWiz. How much of a delay that UI modification will force on future Android OS updates remains to be seen, and some changes – such as the keyboard – are frankly backward steps. There are also some annoying teething pains, such as the Video Maker app being unable to handle the Galaxy S II’s 1080p footage.
They pale in comparison to the Samsung’s strengths, however. The display belies its WVGA resolution with Super AMOLED Plus technology that manages to be both frugal and visible outdoors, while the dual-core 1.2GHz processor does a similar balancing act with power use and performance. Together they add up to a smartphone with brilliant battery life and the most future-proof hardware we’ve seen to-date. Layer on top of that a great camera, fulsome multimedia support, broad connectivity and a wafer-thin design, and we’re running out of reasons not to buy the Galaxy S II. Samsung has upped not only its game but the benchmark for smartphones in general.