Friday, 2 April 2010 - tech news fast! - tech news fast!

Apple iPod touch 3G: six months on

Posted: 02 Apr 2010 12:00 AM PDT

The iPod touch 3G crashed into the world more than six months ago, almost an eternity in gadget time. We’ve seen a ton of new screen tech, slim audio players and the arrival of Android media players since then, so can Apple’s flagship iPod still stay on top? Read on and find out in our full iPod touch 3G review.

Read the rest of our iPod touch review:

Apple iPod touch: design, build and sound quality
Apple iPod touch: apps and media skills

While our love for the iPhone 3GS’ looks are beginning to wane, we still covet the iPod touch 3G. We can forgive the shortcoming of iPhone OS, the lack of multitasking, and the smudgy back, while it stays so absurdly slim and light. It’s fast, simple and crucially, fine to use in one hand while walking, helped by the remote on the headphones for track skipping. Combined with the option now for a massive 64GB of storage (Something iPod classic owners should really consider now), space for well over 100 movies, and the unmatched, speedy and simple web browser, it’s still the best all-rounder PMP out there.

What we love almost as much as the iPod touch 3G is the eco system around it that just continues to grow. The accessories are endless, with cases and docks for all vocations and tastes built specifically for it, and the iPhone App Store shows no sign of slowing down, with more new apps and games every day.

It’s the latter that has helped the iPod touch 3G actually improve over time. We don’t mind the lack of a camera when there are just so many A grade titles to play, and while we love being able to fire off the occasional email over Wi-Fi with the top notch touchscreen keyboard, it’s not essential. The Nintendo DS was once the go to handheld for casual gaming, but the last six months have seen the iPod touch 3G usurp it: in fact, it’s reaching the point where we find ourselves gaming on it as much as we listen to music.

Some new hardware changes help it stake its claim too: along with the storage bump, it’s got an improved processor and OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics like the iPhone 3GS, so some new titles look better than on previous generation iPods and iPhones – although the cheapest iPod touch 3G lacks these, as well as Voice Control for ordering up songs.

The lowest end iPod touch 3G does have a major USP though: its price. For £152, we just don’t see the point in the iPod nano line anymore, especially considering the touch’s relatively slim size. It’ll still stay strapped to your arm in the gym, so we’d take the trade off in storage space (and the lack of a video camera) compared to a 16GB iPod nano for all the extra software skills any day – it’s only £14 more than the top end iPod nano 5G.

But there are rival media players out there to consider still: the iPod touch 3G doesn’t support all the video files of a larger Archos tablet (Nor do videos look as good on the 480×320 resolution screen), and true audiophiles will prefer the sound quality of a new Sony Walkman and Sony’s top notch digital amplifier. And then there’s the iPad: we won’t know its true potential for some time yet, but it’s yet another portable gizmo begging for space in your bag, and money from your wallet.

Which brings us to the real issue with the iPod touch 3G: do you need a media player at all? It’s been evident for years, but the last six months have only made it glaringly obvious: there are a ton of mobiles out there which are almost as good as the iPod touch 3G for handling media. Needless to say, there’s the iPhone 3GS, but other manufactures are catching up too.

Their handsets might be missing the in-line remote controls, but they’re packing sharper screens, stronger video format support, and even HD video output for connecting to a TV. Even the iPod touch 3G’s syncing isn’t a unique skill anymore, since you can automate file loading for many other phones with the free and excellent doubleTwist software.

It comes down to cost and convenience. The iPod touch 3G is the best all around PMP on the planet, and cheap now too, but the phones are catching up. If you’re sticking with your old candybar, buy an iPod touch 3G. If you’re planning on getting a new smartphone though, think twice, check how big your pockets are, and how avid a gamer you are.

Read the rest of our iPod touch review:

Apple iPod touch: design, build and sound quality
Apple iPod touch: apps and media skills

Related posts:

  1. Apple iPod touch 3G: apps and media skills
  2. Apple iPod touch 3G: design, build and sound quality
  3. New iPod overload – Every must-read Apple iPod nano 4G and iPod Touch 2G story in brief

Apple iPod touch 3G: apps and media skills

Posted: 01 Apr 2010 11:59 PM PDT

The iPod touch 3G doesn’t just belt out your tracks from iTunes on the move: it’s loaded up with iPhone OS 3.0 and the iPhone 3GS’ swishtastic graphics too. But with storage space still failing to match the hefty iPod Classic, is it enough to keep us entertained six months on? Read on and find out in our iPod touch3G review: apps and media skills verdict.

Read the rest of our iPod touch 3G review
iPod touch 3G review: Six months on
iPod touch 3G review: Design, build and sound quality

The iPod touch 3G was solid when it launched six months ago, but it’s only got better thanks to the continuous mushrooming of extra apps. The iPhone and iPod touch App Store is a triumph, and has only got better as time has gone on. Of course a large chunk of the 150,00 apps now available are shovelware, but that still leaves a whole lot of gems you’ll love being able to load up on your iPod touch, whether they’re media streaming apps, tube maps or Mr T voice simulators, especially in a Wi-Fi hotspot, where the differences with an iPhone almost vanish. There are so many well crafted iPod touch programs to choose from now, you’ll run out of money before you run out of space to store them.

The major Flaw with the iPod touch 3G’s app ability of course is the lack of multitasking. It’s a real bug bear on the always connected iPhone 3GS, and admittedly less of one here, but there are still times when we find ourselves cursing the iPod touch’s one track mind. Sure you can play your synced music while browsing the web, but wait until you try to use the superb Spotify iPhone app and you’ll see the limits: you can’t listen to the playlists you’ve paid for while doing anything else,

But the iPod touch 3G’s real forte is gaming. Hotspot or not, the iPod touch 3G will always play them, , and you’re absolutely spoiled for choice now. Whether you need a quick burst of arcade fun (Doodle Jump, Flight Control) or an hours long adventure to pass a long train journey (Final Fantasy I and II, GTA Chinatown Wars), the App Store has you covered, and the iPod touch 3G’s responsive screen will never fail you mid-level.

It’s reached the point where we would advise against buying a Nintendo DSi or Sony PSP if you have any iPod touch: with Apple’s PMP, you can now pass the time just as entertainingly, and save on the pocket luggage too. It’s more a case of passing time for developers to spread their wings than upgrades in the iPod touch 3G, but it’s now become a genuine gaming handheld.

Still, the chances are you may just want to fire up a tune from time to time on the iPod touch 3G, and while sound quality won’t bowl you over ever, there’s no denying Apple has the best UI for jumping around all your tunes. In portrait mode, you can dive through song data in alphabetical order as before, while tilting into landscape mode gives you a colourful, if not practical, album browsing view (Cover Flow). We’re not so keen on Shake To Shuffle, which iPhone OS 3.1 brings to the iPod touch 3G, but the ability to control your music while the iPod is locked in so many ways (The screen, the remote buttons and Voice Control) will make it hard for you to consider any alternative music players.

Our one reservation with the iPod touch 3G is video. While movie files are easy on the eye on its 3.5-inch screen, and play completely smoothly, we’re becoming increasingly sick of Apple’s poor file format support. Apple made a smart move supporting the increasingly standard H.264 codec, but its refusal to add extra support for container files is irritating. If you’ve got a stack of AVI files on your computer, you’ll need to convert them (Lengthy), but we’re more concerned about the lack of future proofing here: we’d love to be able to play increasingly popular MKV files, but the iPod touch 3G just won’t play them.

If you don’t source your video anywhere other than iTunes though, you’ll be laughing. Apple’s online store serves up TVs and films in just the right format for you, so you’ll be able to sync straight away and watch all those niggling problems melt away. A batch of media players maybe set to outdo the iPod touch 3G on the spec sheet, but for ease of use, its software still can’t be matched.

Read the rest of our iPod touch 3G review
iPod touch 3G review: Six months on
iPod touch 3G review: Design, build and sound quality

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  2. Apple iPod touch 3G: design, build and sound quality
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Apple iPod touch 3G: design, build and sound quality

Posted: 01 Apr 2010 11:58 PM PDT

At a glance, the iPod touch 3G has barely evolved from the second gen media player: the frame and screen are almost identical, and what on earth happened to that camera we wanted? In truth though, there’s a lot more going on under the bonnet this time round, so we’ve broken down the highs and lows for you right here in our build and sound review.

Read the rest of our iPod touch 3G review:

Apple iPod touch 3G review: apps and media skills
Apple iPod touch 3G review: six months on

We wouldn’t blame you for shrugging off the iPod touch 3G at first glance. It’s gorgeous, sure, but the outside hasn’t changed. Still though, the design still seems fresh even 18 months on, while the thicker iPhone 3GS is starting to feel a tad tacky. That’s down to the metal backing, which sparkles even while hoarding fingerprints like a CSI detective, and the rake thin profile. It’s only 8.5mm thick at its tubbiest point, and feels even skinnier thanks to the iPod touch 3G’s tapered edges.

The screen on the iPod touch 3G also stays the same, though that’s no bad thing. The 3.5-inch capacitive display is still the most responsive we’ve used on a PMP, and makes typing out emails in Wi-Fi hotspots a doodle. The 480×320 resolution is starting to show its graininess in comparison to the latest smartphones, but as medium sized media players go, there’s still nothing better on the market.

We don’t mourn the lack of the most rumoured addition in run up to launch though, the camera. So many phones pack better sensors than the iPhone 3GS, and you’ll be carrying them around with you just as much as the iPod touch 3G. And since the latter is missing their connected skills too, we’d only end up getting frustrated at the lack of instant Flickr upload. Whatever happened behind the scenes, it’s not an issue for us.

What has changed with the iPod touch 3G though, is the processor inside. It’s more powerful than the iPod touch 2G’s and has support for OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics like the iPhone 3GS. In the real world, that means supported games look better, and navigation is genuinely snappier. Neither result is a reason to upgrade from the iPod touch 2G, but will stop you from getting too jealous of nearby iPhone toters.

Most importantly though, we love the extra capacity on the high end model: you can buy an iPod touch 3G with a stonking 64GB of storage. That’s double the most expensive iPhone, and enough to store 16,000 songs. This is crucial, as it gives iPod classic owners a real option to combine massive storage with all of iPhone OS’ apps and benefits, so if the price doesn’t put you off (£306), you should make the jump now.

A word of warning though: the new, low end 8GB iPod touch 3G lacks the new hardware (and Voice Control), so you won’t be able to play the latest games in the sharpest graphics, or boss it around in your pocket. Dem’s the price you pay for £100 off the pricetag, but we do feel Apple hasn’t made this distinction clear enough so be wary, as you’re essentially paying for a 2G iPod touch with the latest OS.

Supposedly, the extra features have caused a dip in battery life on the iPod touch 3G, with audio down to 30 hours from 36. In reality though, we’ve never noticed the difference, and so long as you don’t leave Wi-Fi on all the time, you’ll get through most of the week listening to tunes on a daily commute before needing to top up.

Audio quality shouldn’t be forgotten, and the iPod touch 3G is both good and bad here. It sounds great with the right headphones: bass is well defined and we’d happily replace a CD player at home with an Ipod and dock combo. But Apple still hasn’t fixed the bundled headphones. The infamous white cans bundled with 32 and 64GB iPod touch 3G flavours have been tweaked to include a mic for Voice Control, but the sound quality remains cheap. It sticks in previously unheard fuzz, even on MP3s with high bitrates, and if they don’t fit your ears, well, tough.

Of course, you have to weight that up against convenience: no other brand media players on the market have the skills of the iPod touch 3G’s in-line remote. If you’re a jogger, you’ll love the ability to change up tracks without fishing around in your pocket, and with all that pavement pounding going on, are you really going to notice the difference in audio quality? We’ve racked up miles using the iPod touch 3G this way, and can say it’s a trade off worth making, and since the iPod itself has a receiver for Nike + iPod data logging built in, it’s one you’ll want to use for exercise.

If you’re a true audiophile looking for the best sound quality possible on the go, move along. The iPod touch 3G’s beauty won’t be consolation while you pine on the bus for your FLAC collection. For everyone else though, go right on ahead: it’s the slickest, most practical media player on the planet right now.

Read the rest of our iPod touch 3G review:

Apple iPod touch 3G review: apps and media skills
Apple iPod touch 3G review: six months on

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iPad ready roll call: Apple lists websites converting to HTML5

Posted: 01 Apr 2010 09:30 AM PDT

The iPad may not have Flash, but Apple’s looking to follow up on its promise of the “best” web browsing experience ever even without Adobe’s video streaming tech. We’ve already seen partners switching to HTML5 for video on the iPad, and now Apple’s popped up a list of the biggest names for all to see.

Head on over to and you’ll see a list of some of the world’s biggest media outlets that take advantage of HTML5 video streaming support. Big news agencies and publications such as CNN, Reuters, the New York Times and Time magazine will all offer video on demand on the iPad.

iPad UK price leaked by

Social media sites are also siding with HTML5 to allow for iPad access to more content. Along with Flickr, which we reported this morning was joining, smart video sharing site Vimeo is present too, so you’ll be able to peep crowd sourced art house clips on the move with the iPad. Apple’s even included a submission button so you can add your own web page to the list of sites with full support for the iPad’s Safari browser.

Apple’s cold war with Adobe over Flash is rapidly heating up: could the iPad usher in a web revolution? We’ll start to get an idea when the iPad goes on sale in the US on Saturday.

Out April | £TBC | Apple

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iPad Tegra 2 tablet rivals delayed

Posted: 01 Apr 2010 09:00 AM PDT

The iPad finally starts its global rollout this weekend, but if you were holding out for an Android rival or another upcoming slate, we bring bad news. Insiders are now claiming that machines with Tegra 2, Nvidia’s powerful system on a chip expected to power a heap of new iPad rivals, have been delayed.

Slashgear reports from trusted sources that tablets based on graphics guru Nvidia’s Tegra 2 chip (The sequel to the powerful hardware in the Zune HD) have been pushed back, with the earliest shipping date now late August. A source says the Tegra 2 chip has “serious issues” with stability, so Nvidia needs extra time to finetune it.

Nvidia: 2010 to be a tablet “revolution”

That means tablets like the Notion Ink Adam could now ship later than expected, and give the iPad, which uses Apple’s own silicon, even more of a headstart. The report also suggests that ICD’s UK bound Vega Android tablet won’t arrive until October.

That’s bad news for anyone who fancies an alternative to the iPad, especially since the rumour mill on the iPad 2 could already be turning by the end of the year.We’ve reached out to Nvidia and ICD for comment so stay tuned.

Out TBC | £TBC | Nvidia (Via Slashgear)

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Sony Ericsson Xperia X10: get it with free Spotify!

Posted: 01 Apr 2010 08:30 AM PDT

The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 is landing this month on just about every network in the UK, so to stand out from the crowd, Three’s sweetening the deal with free Spotify Premium access, for music streaming on the Android smartphone. Oh, and the Sony Ericsson Vivaz is coming along for the ride too!

Pick up the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 on Three and you’ll get two months of free Spotify Premium access (Worth £19.98) so you can stream just about any song you like to your handset.

The Sony Ericsson Vivaz on Three is now also getting the same deal. It’s not as tempting as the HTC Hero Bundle with two year’s of Spotify Premium, but does go someway to solving the problem we had with Three preloading the Symbian Spotify app on the Vivaz, and leaving you to stump up for Premium membership from the start.

Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 in stock now!

To activate the free Spotify membership on either handset on Three, just text Spotify to 39000, but watch out, as after the two months are up, Premium access will be billed to your mobile – still, it’s a convenient option to have there.

Both the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 and Vivaz are available to order on Three now.

Out Now | £varies | Three

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TomTom gives Easter traffic advice: Beat the jams this weekend!

Posted: 01 Apr 2010 08:00 AM PDT

TomTom knows that with the Easter weekend, one of the busiest times of the year on the road is just around the corner. And while it could keep all the realtime info it’s hoarded through TomTom HD Traffic to its customers, it’s just dished out some handy hints and info for free to anyone looking to beat the jams on the way home. Read on for the figures.

TomTom’s crunched the numbers on its TomTom HD Traffic figures from last Easter, and come up with a few helpful tips for those without a satnav, or heaven forbid, a Garmin. Last year, the busiest day on the roads over the period was Thursday, with the rush hour peaking at an early 7am, and a total of 400km of traffic incidents and logjams. The afternoon rush hour was much worse though, with a total of 1500km of traffic incidents.

By contrast, both Good Friday and Easter Monday showed lower levels of traffic on the road than normal, so if you’ve got a long journey ahead, it might be best to set off tomorrow.

TomTom XL IQ Routes edition2 widescreen satnav unveiled

TomTom’s also revealed the worst spot in the country for traffic jams over Easter, and yes, it’s the M25. Specifically, Junction 22-17 in the morning a year ago today saw an 11.7km queue. The afternoon’s longest tailback was between Junction 17 and 26, so if you’re heading that way after work, do your best to dodge it and avoid the headaches. Have a safe and speedy journey!

Out TBC | £TBC | TomTom

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Cheap calls: Ofcom limits to slash mobile costs

Posted: 01 Apr 2010 07:30 AM PDT

Charges between networks must be slashed by 2015, industry watchdog Ofcom has proposed. The consultation plans means landline bills could be cut drastically, and networks could offer bundles with far more minutes each month for less. Read on for the full details.

Under news proposals published by Ofcom, mobile termination rates (MTRs, the cost networks charge each other to connect between them) must be dropped from around 4.3p per minute to 0.5p per minute over the next five years.

The move means that networks will be able to absorb the price of many more cross network minutes into the current tarriffs we pay, or even offer cheaper ones, while the cost of calls from landlines to mobiles could also be reduced. BT has been calling for this with the Terminate The Rate campaign, so you can bet it’s plotting to offer cheaper deals. The plans could also benefit smaller competitors such as mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) and internet phone services a chance to grab a bigger piece of the pie and drive down prices.

Sky discount demanded by Ofcom

Of course, the changes wouldn’t have to be met for five years, but if they’re passed, we should reap some of the benefits before then. Network Three’s CEO Kevin Russell has today already promised to “cut our prices significantly over the next two years.” Now, if only Ofcom and the EU could solve those pesky data charges abroad, we’d be set.

Out TBC | £TBC | Ofcom

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iPad iTunes update rolls out

Posted: 01 Apr 2010 07:00 AM PDT

The iPad may not be with us in the UK yet but iTunes 9.1, the iPad iTunes update, has arrived bringing with it a selection of new features focused on the iPad and a few other changes besides. Read on to find out what Jobs and co have tweaked in the iPad iTunes update…

The changes flagged up by Apple in the iTunes 9.1 update are the ability to sync music, TV shows and movies to an iPad, book organisation and synching between iBooks and your iTunes library and renaming, rearranging and deleting Genius Mixes.

If you were lucky enough to log an iPad pre-order through Bundlebox before it stopped taking orders, you should be able to test out the iPad iTunes features soon. For the rest of us, there's just a few tweaks to peek at and the new Genius Mixes features to mess about with.

Genius Mixes in iTunes which give you a automatically generated selection of tunes can now be rearranged, removed or renamed. That’s handy if a Euro-pop Genius Mix has been embarrassing you.

Besides the Genius Mixes changes, iTunes 9.1 has replaced Audiobooks with a more generic Books category where your audiobooks, iBooks purchases and other ebooks will all be stored. You can drag ePub files directly in to iTunes 9.1 and they'll end up in the Books section. Applications has also been renamed Apps.

You can download the iPad iTunes update, iTunes 9.1, now. Let us know if you've spotted any other new features or changes.

Out now | £free | Apple

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Lunchtime Lowdown: iPad news, LG’s 3D TV and April Fools revealed

Posted: 01 Apr 2010 06:45 AM PDT

We’re just a few short hours from the long weekend, so to steer you through, we’ve rounded up all the top tech news of the day so far and squeezed it into one post for you. Read on for the lunchtime lowdown!

There’s no escaping the iPad: the tablet’s coming up fast, and so are the details around it. We heard how buyers will get a free iBook bundled with their iPad, Flickr is making HTML5 video support for it, peeped some new native iPad apps and got word that the battery life could be longer than Apple claimed. And in the UK, Stephen Fry got his hands on one, while we brought you results of our iPad UK price poll.

In 3D news meanwhile, the launch date of LG’s passive tech telly got brought forward, while Sky made it easy to track down a pub with Sky 3D.

Finally, we rounded up the best tech April Fools. Did you fall for any?

Still want more news? Head on over to the homepage and help yourself.

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